Sunday, June 12, 2005


Sleater-Kinney's new album has a song on it called "Jumpers" that's almost certainly was inspired by an article of the same name in The New Yorker. The article by Tad Friend is subtitled, "The fatal grandeur of the Golden Gate Bridge", and it chronicles the history of Golden Gate Bridge suicides in riveting detail.

Friend asks the question, "why no suicide barrier?"; it turns out that polls show most people are against a barrier. He examines several possible reasons for this, and maybe even hints at what I think is the real answer, but never really states it: People don't want a suicide barrier because somewhere in the back of their mind, they don't want to lose that option.

Update: Maybe that's too bold of a statement, and it probably needs more explanation unless I want it misinterpreted. First of all, if you haven't read the article, the author summarizes several of the commonly given objections to a barrier (ugly, expensive, not useful) but gives evidence that dismisses all of those reasons. I'm left feeling there's another reason.

What I'm suggesting is: If you had a hypothetical condition that was fatal, and resulted in increasing agony until you finally and brutally passed away, would you choose to kill yourself? Even people who respond "no" still want think of this as a choice that they would make, not as something that would be forced upon them.


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