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Legal obligations aside, let us throw out a moral question: if you saw someone motionless in the street, critically injured following a hit and run accident, would you phone for police and render aid, or would you snap a pic of the dying victim and Tweet about it?
A nineteen-year-old driver in Edinburgh, Scotland, opted to do the latter when he saw a body in the road outside Edinburgh’s Ocean Terminal. The injured man, who had been sleeping in the road prior to being struck by a car, was later pronounced dead at the Edinburg Royal Infirmary.
According to The Daily Record, the driver in question, 19-year-old Ikram Choudhury, came upon the scene at roughly 1:55 in the morning. Stopping his car, Choudhury snapped a picture of the victim on his smartphone, then tweeted, “Eeeehm wtf? Some guy just casually lying outside Ocean Terminal.”
Choudhury then returned to his car and drove home, never checking on the victim and never dialing 999, the U.K. equivalent of our 911. Police arrived on scene at 2:10 a.m. and immediately called for an ambulance, but the victim later succumbed to his injuries.
Choudhury’s picture of the victim remained on his Twitter feed for some eight hours, until police asked him to take it down.
In Choudhury’s defense, he didn’t witness the hit and run accident and likely assumed the man was just another homeless guy, sleeping off a drunk in a rather inappropriate place. Still, common sense would have dictated a call to 999 to report a body in the road.
Police have cleared Choudhury in the actual hit and run, but the teen driver may still face charges for failing to render aid.
Let this be a reminder to all of us that life is more than an opportunity for social media recognition. The real world, with real people, real drama and, occasionally, real danger, lies beyond our computers, tablets and smartphones.