October 11, 2013
Witnesses to a murder on San Francisco's Muni were too absorbed in their phones to interfere
Late last month, a thirty-year-old man walked onto a light rail car in San Francisco and shot a twenty-year-old student in the back of the head. [via Motherboard]
The student, Justin Valdez, died. According to The San Francisco Chronicle, any chance for interference was obviated by the other passengers' general lack of awareness.
Video of the incident reportedly shows passengers on the Muni vehicle totally absorbed in their cell phones, oblivious to the gunman brandishing his weapon and ignorant of the murder about to take place.
Is this yet another sign that we are far too consumed with our technological innovations to the detriment of all else? Even though societyís smartphone infatuation is certainly problematic, the answer is probably no.
... A city, and especially that cityís public transportation systems, can be overwhelming. Itís a normal human impulse to want to create oneís own space, to stay within the bounds of our own minds instead of dealing with the noise, the smells, the unwanted attention that surrounds us. Messing around with a cell phone is just one of many ways we create that space. Cell phones are a tool, not the cause, of our desire to be left alone.
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