A café in Sydney, Australia, is currently the site of an ongoing siege. The gunman is inside with a number of hostages, while heavily armed police have the surrounding area on lockdown. The crisis is believed to be politically motivated, with hostages being made to display a black Islamic flag in the café window.
The reaction from almost all sectors of Australian society has been one of horror and condemnation: It’s “profoundly shocking,” said Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and a coalition of Australian Muslim groups has released a statement decrying the gunman’s actions as “despicable,” and that the “misguided individuals … represent no one but themselves.”
Meanwhile, the hashtag #IllRideWithYou has begun trending on Twitter, with tweeters offering to travel on public transport with Australians who wear religion attire and don’t feel safe given the events of the siege and fears of reprisals.
If you reg take the #373 bus b/w Coogee/MartinPl, wear religious attire, & don’t feel safe alone: I’ll ride with you. @ me for schedule.— Sir Tessa (@sirtessa) December 15, 2014
Blackburn to Southern Cross 9:04am (or the 9:10 if I'm running late) #illridewithyou— Bhakthi (@bhakthi) December 15, 2014
#illridewithyou is the absolute best response to today's events. Those that seek to violently divide are best countered & defeated by unity.— Rae Earl (@RaeEarl) December 15, 2014
However, there’s another social media trend born out of the crisis that’s not nearly so affirming: People taking selfies at the site of the siege.
Un pti selfie devant la prise d'otage à Sydney pic.twitter.com/o3etCbnqcA— Philippe DouxLaplace (@pheeldoulap) December 15, 2014
The reaction to the selfies on social media has been highly critical: “Love taking a selfie but HOW is this OK?” asks one person. “Anyone taking a selfie at this siege in Sydney needs their heads checking :|” writes another.
People taking selfies at the area around the Sydney hostage situation. We have reached peak selfie and it is terrible.— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) December 15, 2014