Millions of years have gone into humans figuring out how to survive danger and carry on the species. But modern technology has turned the clock backwards on this.
In the 1980's video cameras become cheap and widely available. Suddenly, instead of frantically running away from tornadoes, every bozo suddenly felt the need to stop and shoot movies of them, hoping to get 5 minutes of fame on the local news. I'm not talking about trained stormchasers here. These were always local yokels in a car, with their terrified kids screaming in the background, who pulled over to get some once-in-a-lifetime shots of an oncoming funnel cloud as it destroys their house. Nice work.
Similar videos popped up with every earthquake. "Hey! The house is shaking! I'm gonna film this for a minute, then check on the kids!"
But the phenomenon has gotten worse with the invention of the cell phone camera.
Besides the obvious dangers of distracted driving, now every disaster is accompanied by people frantically whipping out cell phones. Some take pictures of it. Others feel it's a great time to call friends. "Yeah, the building is on fire. You wouldn't believe it. I should probably leave soon. How was the poker game last night?"
It's obvious to anyone that you can run faster if you swing BOTH arms. So if you're running for your life, it would seem counter-intuitive to swing only one. Right? Now let's look at this screen shot from CNN earlier this year, of people fleeing aftershocks of the Chilean earthquake.
Yup. Both of them are running, and talking into cell phones (not to mention the person who stopped to take their picture).
"Yeah, It's a bad aftershock. I hope it doesn't knock over the cell phone transmitter antenna. If it does, I don't know how I'll be able to call Marta to tell her about the aftershocks."
Imagine you're a prehistoric man in a cave. Suddenly a saber-toothed tiger walks in. Your reaction, sensibly, is going to be either to run like hell or find a club. Somewhere along the line our intelligence allowed us to survive these encounters.
But nowadays people are different (I'd like to thank my reader, Lee, for sending this):
'A bobcat walks into a bar . . .'
March 27, 2009, 6:55 p.m.
The Arizona Republic
COTTONWOOD, Arizona- A bobcat walked into a roadside bar in Cottonwood.
What happened next was not a joke but "pandemonium," two or three minutes of chivalry, cell phone cameras and people jumping on top of pool tables to get out of the way. When it was over, two people were scratched and bleeding, and the rabid bobcat was killed by police in a parking lot on Main Street.
At about 11:40, three people walked out of the Chaparral, a neighborhood bar with signs for Schlitz, Budweiser and Coors over the entrance. Tuesday is free-pool night.
"I said good night," said bartender Scott Hughes, 41. "Next thing I know, they are running back in, followed by a bobcat. One jumped on the pool table, and two more jumped onto the bar."
The bobcat chased two people around a pool table. That's when people took out their cell-phone cameras to get a picture.
People talk about the degradation of morals and the end of society. Hell, we've survived a lot, and I'm not worried about political hysteria from either side.
But sheer stupidity is another issue.