Niagara Gazette

Columns

December 8, 2012

GLYNN: No one helps man staring at death

Niagara Gazette — It's a story that happened about 500 miles away from the Cataract City but it serves as a shocking reminder how people anywhere can be cruel and insensitive at a critical moment.

Perhaps you read about it. Or saw the TV reports on the homeless drifter that pushed a Korean immigrant man off a platform onto a subway track at the Times Square station in New York City. Naeem Davis, 30, the drifter, told police the pair had bumped into each other before reaching the turnstiles and the arguing continued on the platform.

The horror was captured by freelance reporter R. Umar Abbasi standing on the platform with other onlookers when Ki Suk Han, 58, went tumbling into the path of the rapidly approaching train.

A human life was on the line. The doomed man clinging to the side of the platform was looking desperately for a hand, any hand, to grab. No one bothered to reach out. That swooshing sound behind the two bright front lights was coming closer. No hero in the crowd this time.

The photographer apparently was more concerned about his dramatic photo destined for the front page of the morning tabloid. If Abassi had put down his camera to get involved in a rescue attempt, he'd miss the chance for prize-winning shot. At least that's the way I see it.

I find it hard to believe that Abassi, as he tried to justify his actions, was "too far away to help." If that were the case, why did he dash toward the scene — instantly after spotting a person "flying through the air" onto the platform — and keep shooting and flashing as he admitted himself. His argument that the flickering light on his camera was intended to alert the engineer that he should stop before the Times Square station is tough to accept.

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