Sunday, May 27, 2012

THE DARK SIDE TO THE GOLDEN GATE

   San Francisco is in the throes of a massive party to celebrate the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th birthday. One of the most astonishing and admired man-made wonders of the world, gracing millions of postcards, featured in countless films, the famed bridge is synonymous with the city.
   Yet it has a dark side nobody is referring to for fear of spoiling the party. 
  Back in 1974 a journalist and very good friend of mine named Gerry Brown produced a television documentary called The Bridge which focused on the number of suicides from the structure and highlighted the need for adequate safety barriers. Now, 38 years after The Bridge was shown on PBS, little has been done and the Golden Gate remains the world's top suicide site.
   Since it opened in May 1937 there have been an estimated 1.600 deaths in which the body was recovered and many more in which the victim was never found.Every two and a half days someone goes to the bridge to either jump or try to jump. 
  Some people oppose a safety barrier because they think it will spoil the iconic look of the bridge; others think it won't make a difference because suicidal people will find another way to kill themselves. 
  I don't want to spoil the party but isn't it worth a try? Gerry Brown thought so and if he was still alive he would be the first to join any party that celebrated the installation of suicide-preventing safety barriers.

1 comment:

  1. It's a beautiful bridge and if someone finds it THE bridge that they want to leave this life by, then what difference does it make to anyone else? There are so many other worthwhile causes to champion AND 1.600 deaths is nothing...that's not even 2 deaths!

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