Put the phone down, step away from social media

Jillian LeBlanc, Columnist

Some rather questionable images have been circulating various social media platforms as of late. One of these instances involves two photos of two separate women “riding” live sea turtles at Florida’s Melbourne Beach.

It has always been an unwritten rule that everyone leaves wild animals alone, especially ones that are more exotic than a squirrel, yet some have missed the memo. In fact, there are many laws in place to safeguard these animals, including sea turtles.

It’s pretty well known that human interaction with sea turtles, intentional or not, can disrupt their reproduction, and sometimes their ecosystem. Despite their armored shell, sea turtles are rather fragile creatures —ones that are very sensitive to human involvement.

These few facts were basic tidbits I picked up in middle school, things that can also be learned by a quick Google search. This information that tends to land on the “common sense” spectrum, in regards to knowledge, is suddenly ignored or overruled by something more important.

Social media, and our worldly status, appears to trump the livelihood of nature. In the top right-hand corner of the questionable photos, the signature Snapchat countdown can be seen. This image then traveled from one outlet to the next, eventually taking the Internet by storm.

Society is constantly trying to one up each other, and what cooler way can you showboat on Snapchat than riding a live sea turtle? Unfortunately, when said “cool” behavior is actually harmful and inhumane, acting “cool” starts to become a problem. This petty behavior goes beyond attention seeking, and soon becomes a felony due to unlawful actions.

Although it’s doubtful that these women intended for their photos to be spread across the world, they still got the attention they were looking for. People try so hard to achieve their five seconds of fame, despite morals, ethics, and even laws. These women threw caution to the wind, along with their dignity and intelligence, when they chose to mistreat an innocent animal.

Wild animals are not toys; they’re not here for our enjoyment or entertainment. Animals have a right to the world, just as we do. It is not fair for people to belittle their existence for a few seconds in the limelight. Just because they cannot talk, write or express themselves in the ways that we can, does not make them inconsequential or inferior life forms.

Due to social media, the tool that created temporary fame for two negligent women, it also led to their incrimination. Only one woman has been identified, and according to CNN, she is facing a slew of charges.

The charges being made against Stephanie Marie Moore are more than fair. Moore and her accomplice should’ve acted more humane, and simply more rationally. They were both tempted by the lure of media, and sealed their fate with the flash of a photo.

This one act of pure carelessness could’ve easily been avoided. If society weren’t driven to constantly be in the limelight, maybe both of these women would have given some thought to their actions. Maybe others like them will first consider the situation, and the ramifications, before they act so foolishly.

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