Sombre Jumping-Off Point
Deaglán de Bréadún
Last March while covering the Taoiseach’s visit to California, I took time out of a fairly hectic schedule to pay a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It was my first time on the West Coast but the Bridge was well-known to me from movies, especially those of Clint Eastwood.
It was a memorable experience: the Bridge was everything I had imagined, and more. Sadly, though, I learnt later that it was (still is, presumably) a favoured jumping-off point for suicides. Indeed, there have been as many as 2,000 since the Bridge was first built back in the 1930s.
It’s good news, therefore, to read that, finally, a net is being put in place to catch the “jumpers”. Why hasn’t there been one in place for years? Disturbing also to read here that money from the Bridge tolls could not be used for this purpose.
Suicide is a great and tragic mystery to most of us. How anyone can contemplate taking his/her life, when others go to so much trouble and expense to prolong even the most miserable and pain-ridden existence, is very hard to understand. It is especially so in a place like the US, the richest country in the world, with San Francisco one of the world’s most exciting cities. But as the song says: It never rains in California, but girl don’t they warn you, it pours, man it pours” (Click here if you want to hear it.)