Photo shoot gone bad: Indian teenager becomes the latest selfie-safety statistic


posted Monday, May 2, 2016 at 12:48 PM EST


If you've ever been jostled by a crowd of snap-happy tourists, competing for space and jousting with their selfie sticks at a local landmark, you'll know how bothersome the socially obsessed can prove to be for the rest of us. But did you know that selfies can also be deadly? Sadly, it's all too true: The rise of the cameraphone and social networking have given birth to hordes of selfie shooters the world over, and all too many of them are too wrapped up in perfecting their posture and framing in the quest for likes from their peers to pay sufficient attention to the world around them, sometimes with deadly results.

Last year we reported on news that more deaths had been attributed to selfies than to shark attacks, and while we've yet to hear of plans for the Discovery Channel to replace its popular Shark Week with a selfie-themed alternative, the not-so-humble photographic form continues to take lives at an alarming rate. The latest to fall victim to his smartphone was 15-year old Ramandeep Singh of the Pathankot District in Punjab, India, according to a report today from CNN. While posing with his father's unsecured .32-caliber pistol for a selfie, Singh accidentally pulled the trigger and shot himself last Friday evening, local time. He was rushed to the hospital and underwent an operation in an attempt to save his life, but sadly doctors weren't able to save him and he passed away yesterday afternoon.

A page from a brochure released last year by the Russian government as part of a campaign to warn the country's citizens of the many potential dangers of selfie photography.

Of course had the gun been locked away safely, Singh's death could easily have been avoided, so the selfie craze can't bear all of the blame. Still, a cursory glance at social networks, dating sites and the like shows that selfies involving an element of danger -- guns, railroad tracks and the like -- are a popular selfie subject, especially among the younger generation, suggesting that we need to do more to educate selfie shooters about the potential dangers of their pursuits. And indeed, governments are starting to take heed and do just that.

As noted by CNN, the Indian city of Mumbai recently cracked down on selfies in locations that were particularly injury-prone, instituting police patrols at accident black spots in an attempt to stem the rising tide of selfie fatalities. (The country reportedly ranks first worldwide in terms of selfie deaths, a statistic it is doubtless keen to shed.) And in Russia, the country's Ministry of Internal Affairs went as far as to release a brochure and website detailing the risks of selfie photography, after a spate of more than a hundred injuries and deaths last year.

One can only hope that these measures start to show results, because whether you're a fan of their creations or just find them to be a source of frustration, the loss of life among selfie shooters is equally senseless.

More selfie danger:

Selfies cause more deaths this year than shark attacks

Three college students killed in daredevil selfie attempt in front of train