Tag Archives: social media

The entertainment of a suicidal man

On Thursday 27th of August Princes Street in Edinburgh closed in the area surrounding the 200 ft tall Scott Monument.  The reason behind this was a man had been spotted at the top of the monument and it seemed that his intention was to jump to his death.

Emergency services responded and the area was sealed off while efforts were made to bring the man down to safety.  He was, eventually, brought down safely and will now receive, I hope, the help that he needs.

However, during his time of turmoil atop the monument something horrible was unfolding on the ground.  Some of the people in the crowd gathered were taking pictures and videos of the incident at the top of the monument.  Why? All I can think of is that they see this as some sort of entertainment and want to capture it for posterity.  Were they hoping to catch a still of his jumping? A video of his descent and the end of his life?

What sort of sick people do that?

What were they going to do with such an image? Post it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? “I was there when a guy killed himself LOLZ”.

It is absolutely sickening that people took pictures of the incident.  He was brought down safely, good, but people have pictures on their phones and tablets of a man at the absolute end of his tether and can think of nothing else to do but end it.

The Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News both printed the reactions of some of the people who witnessed this picture/video taking.

Dozens of people who gathered at police cordons on Princes Street took to Twitter and Facebook during the incident to criticise others for taking pictures.

Kerry Miller tweeted: “In Princes Street and there’s so many people taking pictures of that guy on the Scott monument and it’s actually so horrible.”

Holly Johannessen tweeted: “The amount of people stood trying to take photos is sick.”

Chris Scullion added: “Some maddies actually have their camera out.”

And another Twitter user, Kate, tweeted: “People taking pictures at Scott Monument and people moaning about Princes Street being closed, what is actually wrong with you?”

Well said everyone who thought that taking pictures/videos was horrendous.  You are the ones with a shred of human decency.

We don’t know what drove this man to reach the stage that he did, that he wanted to end it all and we never will because it won’t be published in the media.  It could be a number of things from severe mental health to being so entrenched in debt that there is no way out to, well, it’s hard to stop giving reasons why someone would be at the stage of thinking death is better than life.  He could have had a terminal illness.

We will probably never know so it is incredibly insensitive for people to be recording it and taking pictures of it.  Did they think it was part of the Festival? A show to be a part of? In actuality, I don’t think anyone believed it was that, I believe they all knew what was happening and they believed they were getting a thrill out of it.

Who gets a thrill out of someone ready to end their life?

Let’s say it’s a mental health issue.  I have a mental health problem.  My condition comes under the umbrella of Mental Health yet I wouldn’t consider it as such but it is and I have to accept that.  I am doing that and I’m reaching out to other people in an effort to help them.  Have I thought about suicide? Yes.  Even down to the planning.  Could I do it? No.  I was scared.  Scared of dying.  Did I worry about what would happen to my family if I did it? No.  I believed they were better off without me.  So that quashes the theory that people who commit suicide are selfish.  They are far from it, when you get to the position that you feel it would be better to go, you also feel that in the long term your loved ones will be better off without you.

Let’s say the guy was in severe debt.  Sometimes looking at your bank account can be seriously upsetting.  Sometimes it can lead you to severe thoughts.  Let’s take for example Me.  If I die, of any cause, my family get a very generous amount of money. It doesn’t matter if I’m in debt, my family get that money regardless. So you can see why, if my family got into debt so much that it affected me and made extensively stressed and worried but can’t help them alive, I could consider that my life ending would benefit my family.  In dire straits, I could help my family by dying.  If you understand that, you could understand someone wanting to end it all to benefit their family.

Or there’s a terminal illness.  Some people don’t want their family to go through it.  Some people get diagnosed with a terminal illness, given a timeline and they don’t want their families, their other halves, their children or even their parents to go through a horrendous few weeks or months.  They don’t want them to see them deteriorate from a healthy person to skin and bones with no energy and in the last gasps of their lives.  Those people aren’t able to choose the end of their lives legally so suicide is the option.

If you read all that and still think it’s acceptable to film, photograph and play down the plight of a desperate man then please no longer read my blogs, articles and tweets.  There is no excuse for demeaning suicide or the attempts or thoughts about it.

I’m happy that this man was talked down and brought into help.

There are other people who need help though, those who thought it was entertainment.


If you need to talk to someone about how you are feeling then contact The Samaritans.

If you have been there and want to help prevent others from getting that far then you can also take part in World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th.


You are not alone.  Never forget that.


Look Up…but don’t look away

I’ve seen this video circulating around social media in the last couple of days.  Look Up is utterly fantastic and spoken word used to its very best…on social media.  Yet it’s about putting your phone down and not using social media.

I don’t disagree with the video.  There are many aspects of it which are true.  We do need to rely less on social media, our phones, our on line lives.  We do need to get back to meeting up with real friends in the real life rather than pretending that those we talk to on line are all we need.

Only, I couldn’t help but think to myself that all these advances on the Internet have helped people.   They’ve made sure that a grandmother in Britain can talk live and see live her grandchildren in Australia.   Pictures can be exchanged immediately, moments after being taken, ensuring that loved ones don’t miss out on important days because of distance.  The video highlights the love found because the boy looked up from the phone and asked directions from the girl who happened to be walking along the street.  Yet many people meet each other on line now.  It’s hard to say you should leave the phone behind to meet the person of your dreams when the person of your dreams may actually be on line.

I’m a huge football fan, with social media and the Internet at my finger tips I can, if I can’t make the match, live the highs and lows of my favourite football team with fans who are at the match or who can’t make it but we can equally share the drama.  Those at the match provide insight, media companies provide their commentary, the Internet provides it all.

Breaking News comes to me quickly.  I tap an app on my phone and the latest news is at my fingertips.  A bleep from my phone alerts me of news to come.

I’m not sure I can, I’m not sure I want to live without that.

We can do small things though.  We can not be so rude as to check our phones while on a date, while out with friends, while eating dinner with our spouses or children.  We can make sure our children don’t vegetate in front of a games console or tablet but get out smell the fresh air, interact with real life.

Yet there is something else I realise, by reading social media, many of my friends are doing this, they are living life, they are merely reporting it via social media.

So yes, Look Up, but don’t look away.


Think twice about Twitter death rumours

This point came to me this evening when I saw that there had been a Twitter rumour about Margaret Thatcher dying.  This isn’t the first time that this rumour has circulated around Twitter and it comes a day after rumours that Prince Philip was suspected to be very ill.

These sorts of rumours are not doing Twitter any good.  Social media, particularly Twitter, has stormed ahead in the last year or so in bringing breaking news from all over the globe to the ordinary person long before our news channels pick up the story and, indeed, people use Twitter as a way of keeping up with the news rather than trawling news sites.  Twitter has the added advantage of its social side so while you’re checking up on the news you can also be catching up with friends whether they are Twitter friends or real life friends.

We know Twitter works because there are so many people using it from the ordinary person on the street to sports stars, politicians, actors and even leaders of political parties, presidents and prime ministers of various countries.  No one wants to miss out on what’s going on and the chance to share their news with their followers.

So, as I said before, Twitter has become the place to be for the latest news…until you start getting the rumours.  I Googled “Twitter death rumours” and it seems you’re not anyone these days unless you’ve had a Twitter death rumour.  Reese Witherspoon had one where she was apparently stabbed.  The Pope has had a death rumour, Denzel Washington, Fidel Castro, Assad, Rowan Atkinson, Kim Jong-Un…oh the list goes on and was today joined by the Margaret Thatcher death hoax Tweets.

Regardless of how you feel about any of the individuals on the list above, the death rumours are only going to serve to do damage to social media, Twitter in particular.  I’ve already read on Twitter tonight, a few times, that people are going to be more cautious about what they do when they see a Tweet announcing the death of someone.  I believe that a few media typed re-tweeted today’s Tweets about Thatchers death.

Personally, I think it’s best to always exercise caution when I see a Tweet about someone being seriously ill or being dead.  It’s something that comes naturally to me as a person who was taught never to leap two feet into something without assessing the situation first.  Not just on Twitter but in life and work.

The sad thing is, if these Twitter rumours increase and people start to lose faith then Twitter loses its lead in bringing people news before the news channels and people start to wait on the news channels to confirm what they’re reading on Twitter.

With so many users, Twitter will never be rumour free but I would hate to see it lose its edge because of them.