Golden Gate Bridge “Suicide Net”

suicide-netIn California the government tries to make it hard for people to do many of the things they want to do, even to commit suicide. The latest is to spend beaucoup bucks building a “suicide net” along both sides of the span of the Golden Gate Bridge to catch jumpers. The photo at left shows an architect’s rendering of what the net will look like.

Stopping suicidal people from flying off tall buildings onto the street or sidewalk below makes sense because innocent people are placed in mortal danger when someone jumps. Jumpers off a bridge don’t place others at risk and so stopping them is not as imperative.  Especially if the cost is too great.

Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge began in January, 1933 and was completed in April, 1937 at a cost of $27 million, about $1.5 billion in today’s dollars. Now the Golden Gate Bridge District plans to spend $142 million to build a suicide net. That’s about 9.5% of the original cost of the bridge.

I’ve seen nets of this sort on other bridges. I assume those nets were part of the original construction design and therefore were probably more cost effective than adding one to an existing bridge.

You’d have to be an insider to know whether the bridge committee weighed the pros and cons of a suicide net, and if they did what specific facts were discussed. Here’s a list of cons they should have discussed:

The net won’t work, at least not completely because after jumping into the net one can simply climb out and jump again.

The net detracts from the architectural beauty of the bridge.

Even if it works and stops jumpers from the Golden Gate, there are plenty of other bridges, including the Bay Bridge, they can jump from.  Should other bridges also have nets at likely astronomical cost?

The net is likely to make the bridge an attractive nuisance as drunks, druggies and wackos jump into it for thrills. San Francisco is sicko central so there’s no shortage of that sort. Already over-burdened emergency trauma centers will be further strained treating nut cases for injuries sustained jumping into the net.

Spending so much money to save the lives of people who want to kill themselves is nuts. The same amount of money could be spent in ways to improve the safety and well being of normal people who want to live. This is the con that wipes out the pro of suicide prevention, assuming that is a proper pro.

This may be controversial. California is full of barking-moonbat crazies and the Golden Gate Bridge is doing public service by processing a few of them out from time to time. Since the bay below is full of sharks and has a strong current out to open water, there is no mess left for others to clean up. The jumper is gone, erased from planet earth without a trace.

One might think I hold some animus for people who commit suicide. One would be right.

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