What a horrifying photo. It’s the photo of a Korean man, Ki Suk Han, in the subway tracks seconds before he is fatally struck by an oncoming subway. The photographer decided to take this photo instead of at least attempting to help. R. Umar Abbasi, later explained to the press that he tried to alert the train conductor with the flash of his camera, but he couldn’t have helped the man and he was also afraid to approach because the perpetrator was running toward him.
According to Curtis Sliwa, Founder of The Guardian Angels, the platform was full of people and no one attempted to help the Korean man in the track even as he tried to pull himself up. It was 22 seconds between the time when the man was pushed into the tracks by the homeless man and when the subway struck him. Sliwa contends that there was plenty of time for people to have helped him back on the platform. Either people were too horrified or were afraid to help.
When I look at the photo of the man trying to get onto the platform, it appears to me that a few strong helping hands could have saved the man’s life. I wonder what I might have been able to do if I was on the platform. Would I have pleaded with other people to help the fallen man? I don’t think I would have been able to pull the man to safety by myself, but I don’t think I could have stood there doing nothing.
I go on the subways and lots of times with my children, and I fear that someone may push us on the tracks. I always make sure that we move a safe distance away from the tracks when the train approaches, but I’ve never considered the possibility of what I might do if someone else happens to fall in. It’s different than offering a seat to an elderly person or a pregnant woman. It’s a decision you have to make in a split second and at the same time you may be risking your own life if you decide to help.
When I was in high school, I remember waiting on the platform for the train to arrive so I could go back home. Being a clumsy teenager, my backpack dropped into the tracks. As I stood there wondering if I should just abandon the bag, a fellow high school student jumped into the tracks and retrieved the bag for me. Not exactly a life or death situation, but it was nice that someone was willing to do that me.
I heard some people took photos and videos after the Korean man was struck and killed. Why? These people have no respect for the dead.
What would you have done if you were on the platform?