Article – Jumper

Jumpers
by Tad Friendnewyorker.com

“The bridge comes into the lives of all Bay Area residents sooner or later, and it often stays. Dr. Jerome Motto, who has been part of two failed suicide barrier coalitions, is now retired and living in San Mateo. When I visited him there, we spent three hours talking about the bridge. Motto had a patient who committed suicide from the Golden Gate in 1963, but the jump that affected him most occurred in the seventies. “I went to this guy’s apartment afterward with the assistant medical examiner,” he told me. “The guy was in his thirties, lived alone, pretty bare apartment. He’d written a note and left it on his bureau. It said, ‘I’m going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.’ ”

Motto sat back in his chair. “That was it,” he said. “It’s so needless, the number of people who are lost.”
As people who work on the bridge know, smiles and gentle words don’t always prevent suicides. A barrier would. But to build one would be to acknowledge that we do not understand each other; to acknowledge that much of life is lived on the chord, on the far side of the railing. Joseph Strauss believed that the Golden Gate would demonstrate man’s control over nature, and so it did. No engineer, however, has discovered a way to control the wildness within.” Click here to read the full article

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