Smile at a Stranger. Tomorrow he/she could be your Saviour.

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In the aftermath of yet another horrific incident i.e the Boston bombings we ‘normal’ human beings are left reeling at the unfathomable motives behind it.

We have all seen the shocking pictures of casualties and of the 2 calm faces of the suspects mingling amongst the crowds. What are they thinking? Who can even begin to understand how their minds work. They are part of  the human race yet so far on the edge, out of the norm that no person with any empathy with fellow marathoners in our human race can comprehend.

We feel outrage and sick to our stomachs that they can engineer to do something so devastating to others, are they so full of hatred that it had made them unhinged? Whatever way we try to fathom it we never will. There will be more to follow and more tragedy for innocent people who are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

On the other hand look instead the wealth of human kindness and selflessness witnessed by those that rushed forwards to help the injured with no thought for themselves. They did not personally know the victims, they did not know that more bombs were not about to go off. They did not know that buildings may fall and endanger themselves. They just acted on instinct to help others. There may have been more in the death toll if not for these people.

The striking image of the poor man in the wheelchair with severed legs and the helpers,one of which is physically clamping his femoral artery closed to stem the life ending flow of blood. If not for his actions the man could well have bled to death in the mayhem. These are the people you want to be around, god forbid we should ever find ourselves in similar circumstances. And who are ‘these’ people?

These real life heroes are all around us every day. The man we pass on the street on our way to work, the lady on the bus, the people we may even judge in a negative way because they are different. Look around you tomorrow, should you ever unfortunately be in the wrong place at the wrong time and something terrible happens, the chances are there is someone in the vicinity that would jump to your aid and potentially save your life.

So go on why not smile at a stranger today because you never know that stranger could turn out to be your saviour one day.

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Social Media – The Darker Side – Boston Marathon.

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Don’t get me wrong I am a bit of a social media junkie. I am involved in most of the top social media sites out there. It is a phenomenon of the 21st century which cannot be avoided and is best embraced or get left behind so to speak.  Any 20 odd year old readers don’t know any different  but everything is out there nowadays warts and all. Most of it is a positive experience but like most things in life there is a dark side.

For instance it first came to my attention when a young boy in my daughters school aged 18 died tragically in a skiing accident several years ago and the ‘trolling’ community decided to make a spoof Facebook page to ridicule and Photoshop images of him with obnoxious comments which were of the utmost bad taste. I found it quite unbelievable that there were such minds out there who would do this for fun.. I delved further to find that there was a whole community that looked for RIP pages and did the same for many other young people. I discovered pages way more shocking than the original. How upsetting for friends and family to discover these in the depth of their grief. However I put it down to a small faction of disunited youths ( or not so young)  that took pleasure in others shock reactions and misery.

But then the Boston Marathon Tragedy. Any normal human being has feelings of sympathy and outrage but no, I have discovered on Twitter (and I haven’t gone looking!) some really bad taste jokes getting many likes. Anyone suggesting it is wrong/distasteful is shot down and told not to look and if you don’t find it funny to unfollow. I have seen on Facebook spoof pictures of an 8-year-old child running apparently in the marathon in aid of the Sandy Hook kids. It is shared by many genuine, caring people but it is FALSE! All in aid of their post going viral and getting recognition, for what, I really don’t get. The child is apparently alive and well. How disturbing for the parents/family

Then there are the images, there is an etiquette in journalism that you can only show so much graphic detail and it has strict boundaries, rightly so, as no to offend. Not so in cyberland, anything goes as freedom of speech/right to know. I have seen photos of the Boston marathon of victims with their legs blown off in shreds (on Instagram) with captions like ‘As a Muslim this makes me smile!’ and the following tasteless comments. Of people dead or dying with made up stories surrounding the image just to get more hits!

It got me thinking that (god forbid) I was ever in a situation such as the Boston Bombing, I too could be photographed and ridiculed. The image of me dead or dying with some spoof cover story brandished around Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc would be there for friends and family to stumble across at any time. I personally find this a gross invasion of personal rights as a human being.

Social media is a good thing generally but there is a true dark side that has no rules, regulations or human decency. Is this freedom of speech? I, like the majority of humankind find the people who place bombs to kill and maim as many people as possible impossible to comprehend. However I find the many people who jump on these incidents for their own ends equally disturbing.

So do we have to adjust that in the new world order of social media that we are all vulnerable to this kind of unwanted exposure in the hour of our greatest need!?