San Francisco Commuters Missed a Murder By Staring at Their Phones

Train commuters did not notice a gunman because they were distracted by their personal devices

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A man raised a .45-caliber pistol several times and pointed it across the aisle on a crowded San Francisco Muni train. Not one of the dozens of passengers looked up from their phones and tablets until the man shot a San Francisco State student getting off the train, a security camera on the train shows, according to SFGate.

Nikhom Thephakaysone allegedly killed 20-year-old Justice Valdez in an apparently random encounter in a crime that may have been prevented had commuters looked up from their phones.

“These weren’t concealed movements—the gun is very clear,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “These people are in very close proximity with [the shooter], and nodody sees this. They’re just so engrossed, texting and reading and whatnot. They’re completely oblivious to their surroundings.”

[SFGate]

31 comments
JokeMonkey
JokeMonkey

When will America learn! The Second Amendment has surely killed far more children and innocents than it has ever protected!

choose2live
choose2live

I'm so disappointed in myself for reading this....on a train.....commuting. 

markgarrett65
markgarrett65

So now shootings are being blamed on smartphone and tablet users???

You know, the shooting may have also been prevented if the man didn't have a gun!

SuperWittySmitty
SuperWittySmitty

I do a lot of reading on my commute, mostly the old-fashioned kinds (with a book!) This article implies that this behaviour should be met with disapproval, because I'm not looking around and maintaining awareness of my surroundings. Yes, I am engrossed in what is probably a good novel; sorry if my commute is so mundane that fiction is a welcome distraction.


The writer of this article really wants to mock those people who spend a good portion of their day staring at their cell phones. I agree that they're a worthy target. If they didn't have a smart phone connection to allow them to connect to various forms of mental stimulation, they might actually buy a magazine to read. That is where this article is really coming from- no one buys magazine anymore and this writer thinks by making fun of commuters and implying that they bear responsibility for the actions of this gunman, Time magazine will be around a little longer in print form. Not likely.


Now, back to my novel. 

PiaLunaHalliwell
PiaLunaHalliwell

Although I agree it is crazy that nobody even noticed, if they had there could have been mass casualties.  Also it says that he raised his pistol several times so I just don't buy that the victim didn't make a sound or that that passengers didn't look up after then first shot.  This article clearly does not have all the facts.

Voixdelion
Voixdelion

This article is assuming too much when it says it might have been preventable had people looked around and noticed.  I think you generously overestimate the likelihood that anyone would have done anything at all other than panic. Although there's a teensy possibility  that someone might have caused a flying limb to knock the gun away in their flailing freakout and thereby inadvertently saved the day, the likelihood that someone would have actually both intentionally and productively intervened to stop the shooter is probably not even as as great as that.  

cccp
cccp

if you look around..you will be amazed what you see....i see.....dummie teens walking around texting...and thinking they look cool...but they are really just fools...

cccp
cccp

the mindless many....we love you.

mahadragon
mahadragon

Where is the rest of the story? What happened to the gunman? Was he arrested? Did he simply walk off the Muni train and have a latte? What about after the kid was shot? What did the other people do? Did they subdue the gunman?

omg.my.apple
omg.my.apple

I am attending the same school as Justin, he's only a year older.
By all accounts that Valdez was a really giving guy and involved in numerous environmental projects since high school, he may have been the type of guy who would want his passing to be meaningful by warning other people to pay attention to their surrounding.

I didn't know him in person, but even so, it is really inappropriate for all theses news outlets, to be treating his passing with the headlines "some idiot didn't pay attention on the bus so he got killed". This article is giving me that impression even if it doesn't say so directly. For crying out loud! THIS IS A PERSON! Someone who contributed more to his world than most of us really care to! Time magazine is an incredibly influential and well respected news outlet, LIVE UP TO READERS EXPECTATION, AND WRITE WITH MORE SENSITIVITY!

methepatriot
methepatriot

BRAIN WASHED SHEEPLE affected by to much fluoride from drinking water. TARDS SHEEPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JonGibson
JonGibson

What brands of phones were involved?  

RutherfordVanGleason
RutherfordVanGleason

Or maybe some people did notice but pretended to be looking at their devices. They didn't want the guy with the gun know that they were looking at him because, you know, he had a gun. 

therantguy
therantguy

Wait, so these people are bad because they didn't get involved in a situation where a guy had a gun? Would people feel better if the story was "commuter watching other commuters closely was shot and killed trying to take gun from would be murderer"?

eagle11772
eagle11772

"Train commuters did not a gunman because they were distracted by their personal devices".  Apparently the writers and editors here are also too distracted to notice obvious things.

CrossWinds
CrossWinds

Luke 21:34-35..........

34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

zaglossus
zaglossus

This is why I still usually carry a now outmoded flip/dumb cell phone bought at Target for about 25 bucks.

zaglossus
zaglossus

Put that thing in your pocket and look around.

TheInsomniac
TheInsomniac

This sounds like a scene out of some pseudo-edgy art film. And that's where we are in our society, completely oblivious to what's happening right in front of our faces.

JonGibson
JonGibson

@CrossWinds what?

This scriptural citation might be better suited to the subject at hand:  

Matt 24:3, 10-12 "While he was sitting upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately, saying: “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?

Then, also, many will be stumbled and will betray one another and will hate one another.  And many false prophets will arise and mislead many; and because of the increasing of lawlessness the love of the greater number will cool off."

fullwolfmoon
fullwolfmoon

@TheInsomniac That about sums us up. Depressing. People also have the attention span of goldfish these days. 

LeonHargrave
LeonHargrave

@fullwolfmoon @TheInsomniac 

What is the attention span of a goldfish these days?  Seriously, I must do some research on this because the goldfish is far more interesting than most news articles I have read lately.  I'll keep all of you updated on my findings.

LeonHargrave
LeonHargrave

@fullwolfmoon @TheInsomniac 


My research has been completed.  The attention span of a goldfish is 3 - 9 seconds.  This study did not identify whether test subjects were Pepperidge Farm goldfish or not.  I suspect they have longer attention spans... would need one in order to perform in commercials.

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