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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Debate Over A Deadly Bridge

By Silvia Uribe

This is the story of a bridge over which a huge dispute has erupted and continued for years now. The yeast of the argument is not that uncommon, if you think about it: beauty vs. practicality.

Some, don’t want to disrupt the beautiful view that we can enjoy while traveling through the bridge, while others emphatically argue that the benefit of the barrier surpasses anything else.

I’ve heard all sorts of well thought-out reasons on both sides, interesting points all of them, but the question remains: should the Cold Springs bridge barrier be finished?

As true as it is that many desperate souls have made the decision to take their own life by jumping off the bridge, it is a fact that if they don’t jump off the bridge, they could probably find another door knob to turn, and take the false gate to solving their problems. The key word here is “probably” keep that in mind.

However, being the practical woman that I am, I completely support the barrier. Here is why.

a) Nature has already been disrupted by the mere construction of the bridge that’s already there, but because it serves many of us to go through the pass, we didn’t oppose it. Many were benefitted by it, and that was a practical decision.

b) The barrier in dispute will be translucent and won’t stop our view of the valley, and

c) With the barrier, the bridge won’t represent such an easy path for those who want to end their lives, and by obstructing and delaying their intention, the barrier might just save those lives.

I’ve worn and still wear many hats in life. Working with victims of crime is one thing that has taught me a lot. Many of these victims, had great difficulties in dealing with the consequences of such crimes, and several - more than one would like to think- consider suicide. From them I’ve learned that it only took someone listening to them, or making a verbal contract for them to snap out of the moment, and realize that there are other alternatives.

Not because someone tries, or thinks about committing suicide they are condemned to do so. So, not everyone who considers jumping off the bridge will look for an alternative to accomplishing the same purpose.

To me, natural beauty and life are one and the same. We cannot care and preserve the former if we don’t care and preserve the latter. If someone is not there to enjoy nature, what’s the value of its beauty? By the same token, enjoyment should not fly in the face of life preservation.

Consider this: If your loved one were at risk of committing suicide – and we know that the bridge is a magnet in those cases – would you choose the practical solution of the barrier, or would you choose to preserve the view instead?


roy said...

a friend of mine jumped from that bridge... would the barrier have saved her? It certainly would have required her to think a bit more and that may have been enough. Just that possibility makes the answer simple for me.

hillary b said...

regarding your comment "it is a fact that if they don’t jump off the bridge, they could probably find another door knob to turn, and take the false gate to solving their problems."

There's a pretty amazing statistic that says that over 90% of people who attempt suicide and do not complete it, do not go on to commit suicide later in life. A restriction of means is a huge part of keeping people from making that decision that hurts so many, and solves nothing.

Anonymous said...

Practicality. People can have or see the view from somewhere else. I am sick of hearing people jumping off that bridge.

Anonymous said...

the beauty of life itself

Anonymous said...

Silvia, this is a great article. We should all re-post it on Facebook so more people get to read it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the barrier funding should go to a suicide hotline and signage on the bridge. But I know it doesn't work like that... ;)

Anonymous said...

Indeed. Life is as important as Mother Nature. I agree with the barrier.

Anonymous said...

I have been following this story for years and have contacted numerous representatives. For me, it is not really only about the viewshed, but about suicide prevention. If Caltrans wants to do something about suicide (instead of its perceived liability), it would use the millions to invest in suicide prevention or mental health services. I don't think that the bridge is a magnet, per se as an opportunity for some, just like any other bad decision. I believe that mental health and support services is where the energy and economic resources should invested and would be more effective.