Obviously there’s very little funny about the topic of suicide, but I think it’s fair to say that the worst part of stories like these is being reminded of Third Eye Blind and the terrible pain they’ve inflicted upon the world.
The Golden Gate Bridge, one of the most iconic images of the West Coast. Majestic and beautiful, a symbol of mankind’s ability to meet any obstacle head on and overcome it against all odds. What better metaphor from which to leap to your death when you’ve decided you can’t overcome your own life’s obstacles? And 2013 was a record-breaking year for the despondent bridge visitors as 46 people made the Golden Gate their stepping off point from this cruel, cruel world.
Official numbers of suicide totals since the bridge’s construction in 1937 haven’t really been kept, so it’s difficult to know for sure if this is in fact the highest number of quitters who have flung themselves from the deck, 220 feet above the San Francisco bay. But the 2013 total is the most since officials began keeping track in the year 2000, and more than the 40 that the San Francisco Chronicle claimed in 1977.
Plans for a “suicide barrier” (a “steel net” that would hang about 20 feet below the sidewalk) were approved in 2008 but the $66 million project has yet to be funded. Currently, two to four bike cops patrol the sidewalks of the bridge at any given time, the intervention from whom is said to have stopped some 118 potential divers last year.
And while I don’t want to disparage the folks whose idea of a depression strainer under the bridge is going to be the answer to high impact swan dives from one of the most popular public suicide spots in the world, I’m fairly certain that those that wish to do themselves in, probably won’t be overly put off by having their leap interrupted by a painful crawl to the edge of a “net” that will serve mostly just to reduce their ultimate plunge from 220 to 200 feet. There’s also probably a couple other ways to kills yourself, if you’re so motivated.
Though I’m sure there are some who might be grateful (steel net joke!) for the second chance to change their mind that the net might provide. But then you’ve got the whole new problem of people jumping off into the net for the thrill of it. And if you don’t think THAT’S something that’ll result from the net’s installation, then you probably think that suicidal people won’t be able to figure out how to kill themselves once a metal trapeze net is strung up under the Golden Gate.