What I reckon: Gawking at people in need

So I’m festivally sitting in a nail salon on Acland St getting my fluoro greens for Christmas when a homeless man outside the shop takes a turn. All of a sudden there are two people on the phone to an ambulance and are trying to help keep him down. They came in for gloves to help him with first aid until the paramedics arrived. From my point sitting in the store, I couldn’t see the homeless man. But what I could see was everyone else in the general public and their disgusting behaviour.

I watched a woman pull out her phone and start filming the man who was disoriented and had just wet himself in the street. There was zero respect for him as a human being, only for what would make a good Instagram post. When she saw me death stare her down for doing it, she stopped. She clearly knew she was wrong to do so, but still did it anyway.

Like sheep, people crowded around the man within meters of where he was just to get the first hand gossip and once the paramedics arrived it got worse. Everyone needed to know what was going on, and everyone needed a piece of the action.

But not a single person at that point other than those who were originally helping him and the paramedics were there out of genuine concern. Most of them were displaying behaviour that was completely disrespectful. If it was you passed out in the street, how would you feel if a crowd was amassing about you so they’ve got some gossip to share with their buddies and videos of you at your lowest to share online. I was disgusted. And voiced as much to the people I was sitting in the salon with.

The thing is, yes, he is a homeless person and yes, he has hit a pretty low point in his life. Most of the time these people are happy enough to ignore this, put their heads down and keep on going until there is some drama we can stand about and judge. But who are we to judge another when we have zero idea what they may have been through to wind up there?Who are we to decide that this person isn’t worth mattering about unless the paramedics are there and it’s providing petty entertainment?

The point is, this man is a human being, not an animal in the zoo to be gawked at for the purpose of the entertainment of others.  To do this is to take away his humanity and those that stood around filming him should be fucking ashamed of themselves.

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