One Suicide Every Nine Days on Golden Gate Bridge

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The Bridge
Too often
Suicides often don't make the news for a variety of reasons: respect for the departed and family, and to deter future suicides.

Neither is foolproof, especially in San Francisco, home of the world's most prominent suicide magnet.

Fatal leaps from the Golden Gate Bridge spiked last year, per a report in The Examiner: 40 people died after jumping from the span, up from 25 in 2009.

That's about one death per nine days, a sobering statistic and one that's renewing calls for a (pricey) suicide barrier, funding for which is currently nonexistent.

The notion of a suicide fence or net on the Bridge has fostered heated debate, with historic preservationists at loggerheads with suicide prevention advocates (were aesthetics worth lives, one side asks. The other says yes).




A compromise was reached when the bridge's overlords, the Golden Gate Bridge and Transportation District, approved a $50 million net underneath the bridge that would not impede views, work crews, or the bridge's ability to withstand wind.

The bridge has been a suicide magnet since its first opening. Mental health professionals have been asking for a barrier for 75 years, the Examiner reported, and "at least" 1,500 people have died in fatal leaps since 1937.

And at least one school-age child has fallen victim to peer pressure: a year ago, a 17-year old high school student jumped from the bridge last year and survived, escorted to shore by a 55-year old surfer who excoriated him for being so frivolous with his life.

The net, however, isn't arriving anytime soon: Bridge funds will not pay for the suicide barrier, and the project is $45 million short, according to reports.

As it stands, the bridge's current suicide deterrent techniques -- signs, authority figures, and dissuading bystanders -- prevented about 100 more "possible suicides" in 2011, according to the bridge district.

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5 comments
Ted Smith
Ted Smith

I SAY JUST LET THE LOSERS JUMP.  THE WORLD WILL BE A BETTER PLACE WITHOUT THEM.  WHO NEEDS THEM, ANYWAY?

sprkles484
sprkles484

That is a very insensitive statement.....I personally know someone who jumped off of the bridge when we were in High School....she died of course....and I do NOT think that the world is a better place because she did it.....and trust me, in the long run, it is costing more tax dollars for all of the agencies that have to become involved when each of these people take a leap. The net would eventually pay for itself.

 

wampum
wampum

We have 2 billion people too many on the planet...let them jump!

Joltcolared
Joltcolared

If you wanna kill yourself, you're gonna find a way. A stupid net won't save anyone. There are hundreds of ways to commit suicide. This is ridiculous.

Surfwatcher
Surfwatcher

 Would you say that if it were someone really close to you, a family member or friend? Never be so callous about human life, no matter what they may do they are still someones husband, father, brother, son or friend.

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