When disaster strikes, there are plenty of ways you can respond without being a massive tool. You can donate money (but not your old clothes or lawnmowing shoes). You can help with the recovery (unless they specifically ask you not to). If charity isn't your thing, then at the very least, you can refrain from taking grinning selfies at ground zero or buying a guided safari tour through the worst of the devastation. Or you can do the opposite and respond in the most unhelpful and insensitive way possible -- the way these heroes decided to.
6People Fly Drones Above A Wildfire, Preventing Firefighters From Putting It Out
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Drones are everywhere these days. All you need is a couple hundred bucks and a GoPro to operate your very own remote-controlled spybot. Predictably, this newfound elevation in social status has turned many people into assholes. For example: the remote rubberneckers who used their drones to get a close-up view of a gargantuan wildfire 50 miles east of Los Angeles, and thus prevented firefighters from actually putting out the fire. Thanks to the entire state being so dehydrated that meteorologists have described it as "akin to SpongeBob jogging in Hell," a blaze sparked and quickly turned into a 3500-acre apocalypse. Nobody died, but at least 20 cars erupted into flame like Michael Jackson in a Pepsi commercial.
Well, the owners can always rely on LA's stellar public transportation system to get around.
Very likely, the fire could have been contained much earlier than it was if the firefighters hadn't found their efforts significantly delayed by five recreational drones dicking around the scene. The drones' operators wanted to videotape the fire without being anywhere near it, so they sent their toys to record as much delightful footage as possible of a bunch of strangers at serious risk of being burned alive.
As both the authorities and common sense will tell you, small metallic objects flying around bigger, stronger aircraft (like firefighting planes) are a danger to pretty much everyone. According to a spokesman for the US Forest Service, "It can kill our firefighters in the air ... They can strike one of these things and one of our aircraft could go down, killing the firefighters in the air. This is serious to us."
US Department Of Agriculture
Why do we send armed drones to war zones, when an irresponsible asshole is deadly enough?
Not content with simply slowing down the firefighting efforts by half an hour (long enough for the fire to spread to the highway), some of the drone operators chased away the firefighting planes. They absolutely knew that they shouldn't have been there, and they didn't give a fuck. It was like the most hellish Cars sequel imaginable.
David McNew/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Perfect for anyone who watched Cars 2.
5Idiots Flock To The Site Of A Fatal Explosion To Take Selfies
Last March, a massive gas explosion in New York City's East Village destroyed three buildings, killed two people, and injured 22 more. At one point, the fire was so powerful that firefighters couldn't even get inside the engulfed buildings to subdue the destruction. People were forced to watch in horror as their whole lives burned away. Others recognized the perfect opportunity to get a bitchin' new Facebook banner picture.
New York Post
No, that's not the usual fire and brimstone that appears behind you when you use a selfie stick.
Way too many people decided to whip out their phones and pose happily in front of what could have been a growing mountain of charbroiled corpses, for all they knew. One couple even captioned their photos with hashtags like #beingtourists and #weresocreepy, so they were clearly aware that what they were doing was, at the very least, in extremely poor taste. They later claimed that they were only being ironically terrible -- which, as you may have noticed, is the exact same thing as being genuinely terrible.
It was all worth it for those six "Likes," though.
Most of these dipshits were just regular (albeit incredibly insensitive) folks. But then there was the "reporting live from the scene of the accident" selfie courtesy of a former communications director for the Iowa Democratic Party (and current DNC spokesperson). Of all people, someone who works in PR probably should've known better. Although she had been out of work for three weeks at the time at which she took the photo, so maybe that was the one subtlety of the job she couldn't quite grasp.
"Wait, so you aren't supposed to flash a smiling peace sign at the scene of a catastrophic accident?"
Pissed-off residents posted signs saying things like, "Get over yourself. This is a tragedy, not a tourist attraction. Show some respect." Meanwhile, the New York Post miraculously got something right for a change, labeling all the selfie-takers "Village Idiots." Holy shit, you guys. If we're agreeing with something the New York Post says, we really might be in danger as a species.