The Bridge: Still No Barrier - friday 2013-10-18 1353 last modified 2013-10-18 1354
Categories: Film, Current Events
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I wrote about the 2006 documentary The Bridge several years ago, noting at the time that the municipal political will needed to start the process of putting up suicide barriers on The Golden Gate Bridge had finally arrived, perhaps due to public pressure from two films focusing on the problem, with enough force to approve design and installation of such a barrier.

Five years after that welcome vote, there is still no barrier.

Because while the board was ready to indicate to the world that they were willing to put up a barrier, they weren't willing to fund it. Since then, they've installed a road barrier to prevent opposing traffic from crossing over (about half the cost of a suicide barrier, having killed less than 1% of the number of people who have jumped), and they've installed pretty lights over on the sister Bay Bridge. Yet even with annual bridge toll revenues of +$100M, there's no money to be found for a suicide barrier?

In my original post, I mused about whether or not turning the Golden Gate's fatal attractive force on its head to counsel the suicidal might be even more helpful. Perhaps if it happened in sufficient force, but I don't think that takes the actual population into account. What the barrier would prevent is spur of the moment, opportunistic suicide attempts, which are often not further pursued when thwarted. It's akin to home security measures. The determined intruder will not be dissuaded by a deadbolt. It's the momentarily inspired passerby who tries the door and fails that locks keep out. Someone who is determined to die will find a way; someone who just had a really bad month will try the knob and find it locked against their self-harm - and in the majority of cases, that will also be the end of that train of thought.

The Bay Area is known the world over for its bright and innovative entrepreneurs and engineers. Here's an easy problem for them to solve: find $45M to put up a suicide barrier on the bridge.

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