Of what value is life?

Upon reading the news this morning I was presented with the above image accompanying the tragic story of an airline accident in Nigeria. What disturbed me most was, not so much the tragedy of the accident, but the reaction of the onlookers in the image. I am sure that you have already noticed that almost everyone in the photograph has a mobile phone with which they are taking pictures. Possibly the image itself came from one such mobile phone, thereby implicating me in this macabre spectacle.

Rather than being saddened by the loss of life associated with such an event the onlookers are more interested in taking pictures to ensure the memorability of such a spectacle. Now I realise that if such an incident occurred in a densely populated region of New Zealand, such as Auckland, the response from onlookers would be somewhat similar. I understand that there are other reasons, than that which I am about to suggest, which trigger such an indifferent response from people. Yet, I cannot help but reflect on the reality that as our human population continues to grow and in the ensuing struggle for life on our finite planet, the value of each individual life is often diminished.

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