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The Argument Clinic

Doppleganger posting in The Argument Clinic
User: argument_clinic (posted by evilgrins)
Date: March 9th, 2009
Subject: Suicide barrier on the Golden Gate
Security: Public
Media:FOX Evening News
Tags:golden gate bridge
10:02 PM 9/10/08 · I've been hearing various debates about this for about the better part of the last 2 or 3 years and I just wanted to drop in my 2¢ here. This is in regards to the proposed suicide barrier that many would like placed on the Golden Gate Brigde. Both by people that have lost loved ones who decided to jump off the GG before, people that will do whatever they can to prevent pointless death, and people that have actually jumped off the bridge and survived...

...the latter being those that, on the way down, changed their minds.

This post was sparked by a bit on the FOX Evening News tonight about those opposed to the idea of putting a suicide barrier on the Golden Gate and even though it hasn't come on yet, it got my gears going.

I'm one of those that doesn't want the thing added to the bridge.

Don't get me wrong. I am not for suicide in any sense...but sometimes I can see it being a good thing. Not the people that are depressed and think their lives aren't worth living that so often get featured in the news. These tend to bother me only in that if anyone had made the effort they might've remained alive long enough that whatever pain brought them to that point would allieviate itself or just not be strong enough to warrant such a final action.

I'm only in favor, and only in the most uncertain sense, of suicide if a person is terminally ill or in such unbelievable agony that cannot be ended in any other way. I mean seriously have gone through all forms of trying to end the suffering every other way first. Not all gung ho about that either but I can get behind the concept much more readily than someone who was deeply in love finding out they got cheated on and must end it all...

...that's tragic but not worth it.

Not opening this up to a theological debate or anything, and certainly not the rather annoying Christian concept that if you commit suicide you're automatically going to burn, but if there is an afterlife and you do kill yourself...don't you think it would be an even greater pain to be stuck feeling what caused you to kill yourself forever and not be able to do anything about it?

It's also a matter of worth which is in my mind as why it's a bad idea. Putting a suicide barrier up, the full length (cuz any other way would be pointless) of the bridge, would be extraordinarily expensive. It's been awhile since the last time I heard a guesstimated figure but I believe it's fair to say it was in the $40 to $50 million range. Not that the preservation of lives isn't worth that but I can't help look at the rest of the Bay Area and see what that money could be better spent on...like say the homeless. There's programs galore out there already to help them and yet, have you noticed any lessened presence of them?

Clearly more work needs to be done for this. It may seem unsensitive but perhaps more effort on people that're trying to stay alive anyway they can than those so determined to end theirs.

Also, there's the whole desire to kill themselves in the first place. Interviews with people that would've attempted to kill themselves that were stopped from people that survived the fall, obviously only those that went for the Golden Gate, have said that if there was a barrier they might not have tried it. The main draw of this particular bridge isn't just because it's so easily accessible, what with people walking the length of it daily, but because it's such a landmark that it's almost a romantic notion to throw themselves off it...

...yet we've no shortage of bridges in the Bay Area. Odds are pretty good that even if a suicide bridge were put up then people would use some other means to off themselves or just pick another bridge. Among my friends, and folks I just generally know, one person in that association that I know of, if only vaguely, died by purposefully jumping off this bridge. I don't believe this person lived anywhere even remotely close to the bridge which kind of lends itself to the thought that if the bridge had the barrier then it's really not a question of distance travelled to find another ideal location.

I've known a lot of people that have killed themselves and I've been fortunate to talk quite a few out of it; either permanently or at least for a protracted amount of time. A lot of people that want to die will find a way and a suicide barrier is just an obstacle that can redirect them to another option. Krystle BabinKrystle was a repeat attempter until she actually worked out how to make homemade poison gas. Now I don't deny she was an amazingly creative person but her determination to kill herself would not be put off no matter how many hospitalizations she went through or how many times she was committed for psychological evaluation...

...and she's not alone in this.

A suicide barrier is a preventive measure and maybe it really is worthwhile but just because you put a bandaid over a cut doesn't mean it's going to stop bleeding immediately. I would see the massive amount of money directed to finding better ways to stop the desire to commit suicide rather than on a barrier that will only stop it at one particular location. Maybe not even then, someone determined enough can probably get around whatever barrier they erect.

I can't site anything specific but other locations in the world have put up suicide barriers on bridges and I think it would be interesting to see if it stopped people flinging themselves off the bridge altogether or whether people still do find a way to fall...

...well, there is the Empire State Building. People used to jump off it ages back to kill themselves. That's why there's that really high fence and glass panelling all around the ledge that's too high to get over. Still, every so often some people to manage to get past that thing and if they can't...there's a lot of other really tall buildings around it.
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