Bashid McLean selfie, originally posted to Twitter in 2013 and quickly becoming viral, depicts McLean holding his mother Tanya Byrd’s decapitated head in one hand and holding it aloft with the other hand. This photograph quickly went viral online.

Why did McLean take the selfie?

McLean’s motives for taking the selfie are unknown. Experts speculated that his actions were likely meant to shock and disgust people or gain attention, in an attempt to garner headlines or gain any kind of edge-of-your seat exposure.

What were your reactions to the selfie?

Reactions to McLean’s selfie have been mostly negative. Many were shocked and disgusted at its content and have demanded his arrest while others debated its ethics of posting such an offensive photo to social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.

What happened after McLean posted his selfie?

McLean was arrested and charged with murder and desecration of a corpse; following trial and conviction he was given life without the possibility of parole.

Where is the selfie now?

Shortly after being posted, Twitter and other social media platforms swiftly removed it; however copies continue to circulate online.

What are the ethical considerations involved with sharing my selfie?

There are a number of ethical implications to consider when sharing the Bashid McLean selfie. On one side of the debate is an argument for confronting violent crime head on and using selfies as a visual representation to show its brutality; others feel this kind of act can serve to traumatise viewers instead.

What are the legal consequences of sharing my selfie online?

In some jurisdictions, sharing the Bashid McLean selfie could be considered a crime. Some US states prohibit disseminating and displaying images depicting violent crime as such images are considered unlawful material.

What are the social and cultural consequences of taking selfies?

The Bashid McLean selfie has sparked a number of social and cultural debates. Some argue that selfies represent society’s increasing tolerance of violence while others believe they illustrate humankind’s darker sides.

What can we do to prevent future tragedies like these from unfolding?

Steps can be taken to help prevent tragedies like that which occurred with Bashid McLean.

These include:

  • Increased mental health awareness and support
  • stricter gun control laws
  • more effective interventions for people at risk of violence


The Bashid McLean selfie is a disturbing and thought-provoking image. There is no single answer to these issues; therefore, dialogue must take place to prevent more tragedies in the future.

Interrogative questions

What are the ethical, legal, and cultural ramifications of uploading selfies online?
How can we stop future tragedies like these from occurring?

Discussion topics

The ethics of sharing graphic images on social media
The potential impact of violent images on mental health
The root causes of violent crime
How to prevent future tragedies like the Bashid McLean case