June 05, 2006

lethal beauty

I am going to give you the red light in advance because this post isn't going to be light and fluffy with a creamy center. It's a bit heavy.

Well at least for HHmomma and anyone that usually stops here for some tasty bitchyness or a look at a life that is usually far more laughable then their own.

Shall I continue?

Over the course of the past three weeks, the chosen path for travel has been the monumental Golden Gate Bridge. Now, I have to say that prior to these past trips, my journeys have not required me to travel over the Golden Gate bridge's but for a handful of times. Which seems strange since I'm a bay area native- but sometimes life is about the road less traveled.

The story below is what changed the way I was feeling inside as we drove over the GG bridge the last 6 times. Previously it was just like traveling over any bridge, just enjoying the view. A spectator.

Let me explain what preempted these strange feelings.

Over the course of the past few months the chronicle has been sharing a seven part piece of the suicides that have taken place on the Golden Gate bridge. I found myself reading each part to this series. Hence it was like the train wreck we all talk about. This was more synomous with a good chick-lit book. Just not in the same light reading type of way. The story was very fortuitous.

Not the fact that suicides were occurring, because most people know that the GG bridge has been responsible for suicides for decades. More importantly that suddenly the GG bridge has become less famous for it's beauty, and more notable for a way to end ones life.

In early May at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco the showing of the controversial documentary: "The Bridge,by Eric steels in which he captures six suicides from the golden magnet for troubled souls played. Though controversial it seems that the moments he captured had a very strong impact. They compared it to a snuff film.

Given the fact that some of the families participated in the creation of the film, my guess would be that the element of a snuff film was not what the director/creator intended.

Strangely enough, I think reading these stories really made me think about the families and their pain. Some of the survivors talk about how they had to drive back over the bridge after learning that their loved one had ended their life on that very piece of spanning beauty. Looking at the bridge through red eyes and anger, rather then noticing the smiling tourist on the bridge searching for someone to capture their visit with a simple snap of a camera.

When we were driving over the bridge I felt this sudden sickness come over my body. My stomach clenched and it seemed as though I had some personal attachment to this bridge. I honestly felt as though there was life there on the bridge. Not after life or spirit, but life. So much life that has been wasted. Could someone have done something? Would the jumper had found some other way to handle their pain?

With all of this being said it leads to the question that has been plaguing many people. Do we build a barrier?

You may be surprised to know that many of the survivors who lost loved ones, feel that the bridge should be left in it's natural state. They felt that even though they weren't aware that their loved ones were in pain, that they would have found another way to sadly take their lives.

Is the bridge board's structure preventing progress on a suicide barrier? What do you think?


Blogger bethrat said...

bridge or no bridge a successful suicide can occur anywhere. I feel that the loss of any human life is tragic and mournful, but this is not a preventable accident. It is not a design defect. I would move to close the bridge to foot traffic rather than spend tax payer's money that should be used in school and safety programs than to create another barrier for suicide. THis will not prevent suicide at the bridge - only make it more difficult. It does not solve the problem.

June 05, 2006 2:13 PM  
Blogger auntjeri said...

Life wasted, pain undetected...and yet a thing of beauty...it is the conundrum of life...I have little understanding of what prompts suicide and the brevity to go through with it...true enough...bridge or no bridge, barrier or no barrier...ways will be found. Meanwhile, after 20 years in SF I doubt we can trust the GG bridge agency to spend money on it or not just create a monumental mess and fiscal waste.

June 05, 2006 7:32 PM  
Blogger Mary Horn said...

visiting from your flatmate dizzy girl

June 06, 2006 12:55 AM  
Blogger Dolores said...

Well, the bridge is beautiful. People will find other ways to commit suicide; and perhaps in their own way.......they felt this was a beautiful place to end their tortured lives. A barrier would hide the beauty that is there.

June 06, 2006 9:32 AM  

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