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What's the best way to respond to hostage crisis in your neighborhood? Take a selfie, apparently. 

Australian police have locked down the center of a popular shopping district in Sydney after a gunman stormed a cafe and took several customers hostage. But despite the gravity of the situation — what's being called one of the biggest security scares in Australia in decades — some bystanders are smiling widely and snapping selfies as close to the scene as possible.

This sort of reaction is, sadly, unsurprising. People around the world have been rubbernecking at accidents or crises since before the rise of the selfie. With the prevalance of social media, however, gawking is less about fascination with an incident and more about showing your digital friends: Yes, I was there, and yes, this happened to me.

These selfies are the perfect confluence of a national tragedy and digital narcicissm. There's a time and place for selfies, and hostage situations aren't one of them.

Perhaps this single tweet sums up this terrible trend best:


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