Oh sure, selfies are all fun and games and pouty fish lips ... until someone or something dies.
Who in their right mind, you have to wonder, would dangle off the side of a tall building, cozy up to the edge of a cliff or stand in front of a speeding train or bull to take a selfie?
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Death by selfie is a real thing.
It’s not this.
Before this week, death by selfie was one sad chapter in the annals of silly human tricks. But then a man on a beach in Argentina lifted a rare, young dolphin out of the sea and passed it around for selfies — and the poor thing died.
Murder by selfie?
Animals can be unwilling selfie subjects. People have been gored by bison in Yellowstone National Park while trying to take selfies with the mammoth creatures. Others have been pierced by bulls while trying to grab the perfect Instagram post.
The “bear selfie” became such a craze that the U.S. Forest Service begged tourists to leave the grizzlies alone.
Note to selfie-takers: It’s not a good idea to get too close to rattlesnakes. That rattling sound typically means “I’m not ready for my close-up.”
Last month the economics site Priceonomics revealed what it dubbed the “tragic data behind selfie fatalities.”
It scanned three years of news reports of deaths precipitated somehow by selfies. It found that since 2014, 49 people died as a result of some sort of accident involving a selfie.
(The asterisk on that statistic: The count could be higher because those are just the deaths reported by the media.)
Among the dead: a Polish couple vacationing in Portugal who stood on the edge of a cliff to take a selfie and fell over to their death.
It’s not selfies that kill people, apparently. It’s people that kill people, and dolphins.
“A lot of these so-called selfie deaths can be blamed more on carelessness than photography,” Morgan O'Rourke, a risk management professional, told CNN of the selfie tragedies.
“You have to be careful about taking shortcuts when trying to determine what is and isn't threatening.”
Several people have fallen into craters while taking selfies. Last fall a Japanese tourist reportedly died of a heart attack after falling down a staircase at the Taj Mahal while trying to take a selfie.
That man was 66. But young men in their 20s make up the biggest group of selfie fatalities. Twenty-one-year-old gun enthusiast Oscar Guilar was one of them. In July 2014 he tried to take a selfie with a gun for his Facebook page and accidentally shot himself in the head.
Other selfie fatalities:
▪ In April 2014 Courtney Sanford, 32, was posting selfies as she drove through North Carolina — and seconds after posting to Facebook crashed the car and died.
▪ In January 2015 two men in the Russian Ural mountains died while taking a selfie with a hand grenade – after they had removed the pin.
▪ In May 2015 a tourist fell off a cliff and into the sea in Bali while trying to take a selfie.
▪ In May 2015 Anna Ursu, an 18-year-old Romanian described as “selfie-obsessed,” burst into flames and later died when she touched a live electrical wire while trying to take a “special selfie” on top of a train.
▪ In August 2015, David Gonzalez Lopez, 32, died while taking selfies during a bull run in Spain.
Last summer, alarmed by a growing number of selfie-related accidents, the Russian Interior Ministry launched an information campaign to teach citizens how to safely take selfies.
Russia’s fatalities include a 17-year-old girl who fell off a bridge and fell on an electrical wire while taking a selfie. In September a teenage boy fell off a nine-story building while posing for a selfie.
And what, in heaven’s name, is going on in India? In the Priceonomics survey, 40 percent of the selfie deaths, 19, took place there.
Among the dead: three Indian college students killed by a train they were trying to take a selfie with and an Indian teen swept out to sea while taking one.
Last year’s big selfie headline was that more people died trying to take a self portrait, 12, than the eight who died from shark attacks.
Hmmm. Wonder why?