Internet Rubbernecking May be Safer, But It Is Still Heartless
In this digital world of ours, it seems as if anything and everything can be found on the internet. Do you want to make a cake in the shape of one of the more obscure Smurfs? The internet can find it for you. Do you want to buy switch plates that will make your bedroom look like the hallways of the starship Enterprise? The internet can find it for you. It is no surprise then, to find out that the internet has provided us with an outlet for a near universal guilty pleasure, rubbernecking.
Youtube car crash videos have developed into one of the biggest sensations on the internet. Indeed, people have been looking at car crash videos on Youtube with such frequency that even Glee commented on it (in an episode where Mercedes Inferno, a video of a character singing a cover of a Disco classic, is initially mistaken for a car crash video). Having that kind of distance may strike people as being a safer form of rubbernecking. People can satisfy their voyeuristic tendencies without causing traffic delays or further accidents. Unfortunately, it leads to more dangerous side effects as well. That kind of distance reduces the level of empathy in the viewer. Rather than seeing a horrific accident and feeling sympathy for the driver, the modern day rubbernecker sees an accident and laughs, as if they were watching a television program with no real danger involved.
This is exactly the scenario that occurred to Mary Beth Saginaw in 2012. Two years prior, Mary Beth was in a car accident that nearly took her life. She was in a coma for three months, suffered burns and numerous broken bones, and became financially destitute due to the fact that her insurance would only cover a small fraction of her bills and the other driver had no insurance. Two years after that accident, an accident she was still recovering from, Mary Beth had a shock when her sister was surfing the web looking at Youtube car crash videos, only to see (for the first time) her own accident. People were mocking her, not knowing much about her actual suffering. “It was like being in the accident all over again,” said Mary Beth. “I cried for days.”
We all think that the internet is a world with no consequences. After all, it IS so very much like television. We need to remember that people like Mary Beth exist, however. Click on these Youtube car crash videos if you must, but always remember to feel empathy for the pain of those in these videos.