Target: Edwin M. Lee, Mayor of San Francisco
Goal: Advocate the construction of a barrier to prevent suicides on the Golden Gate Bridge
A now sixty year debate might move forward in light of recent alarming statistics at the nation’s most popular spot for suicide. Suicides at the Golden Gate Bridge are at a record high, with almost one suicide attempt every other day in 2013. Although many expect a quick death after jumping the 220 feet off San Francisco’s iconic landmark, local coroners say this myth of being killed upon impact is a fallacy. In fact, those committing suicide actually first suffer the collapse of their ribs, lungs or internal organs, often dying of internal bleeding or drowning. Worst still, increasingly younger persons attempt suicide at the bridge, the largest group now comprising twenty to thirty-year-olds. Despite scientific evidence that a physical barrier interrupts what are most often transient suicidal thoughts, many locals remain seriously misinformed about the life-saving benefits of a suicide barrier.
Pursuing a different strategy, the board of directors in charge of the bridge is looking to toll money in lieu of federal and state funds to construct a stainless-steel net system twenty feet below the bridge sidewalk. At $66 million, the high cost of the barrier’s construction along with concerns that a barrier would ruin the bridge’s aesthetic has prevented plans from moving forward.
With this new funding strategy in place, the time is now to raise your voice and ensure no more lives are sacrificed for the sake of preserving the look of a landmark. Comparable landmarks such as the Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge all have suicide barriers. The time has come for the city of San Francisco to prioritize the protection of its people.
Dear Mayor Lee,
I am writing in order to bring your attention to the recent spike in suicide rates at the Golden Gate Bridge. A popular spot for suicide both nationally and world-wide, the Golden Gate still lacks a physical suicide barrier, unlike similar landmarks such as the Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Meanwhile, one person almost every other day attempted suicide off the Golden Gate Bridge, breaking records in 2013. The increasingly younger demographic of those committing suicide, with the largest group between twenty and thirty years old, makes this crisis all the more serious.
The board of directors for the Golden Gate Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, are looking to toll money in lieu of federal and state funds to construct the stainless-steel net system and would-be barrier. We must take this opportunity to bring this sixty-year debate to conclusion. Your leadership is essential to ensuring no more lives are sacrificed for the sake of preserving the look of a landmark.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: David Ball via Wikimedia Commons