The net will probably save a few lives, at least for a few years, but I suspect far fewer the author claims. The bridge does have a huge allure and it would fade for most were there to be fewer suicides off of it. I say get people before a jump, or attempt to jump. Put all resources possible into helping potentially suicidal people whether or not the GG Bridge is their means of choice, and gestures and deaths would be more likely to dramatically decrease.
Now, whatever is done or not done, there will always be suicides. If someone is determined to die, they will find a way. The author claims most are fixated on one method and if it the GG Bridge a barrier will stop them. I say for sure a few for some years, and then likely nobody. Some personal notes: This book did pack a punch. Their names appear in the list of known dead in this book. I also met a survivor, met for the first time hours before her attempt and again a couple years later. Years ago I walked across it on a regular basis, mostly on the east side but occasionally on the west side too.
It irked me that the GG Bridge suicides got ALL the attention in this book, as they also tend to get locally in general. I want resources to go to all mental and physical health issues. Most people who live near the bridge and who are suicidal, choose other methods. They use guns, pills, hanging, drowning, jumping from other high sites, including other bridges, buildings, and cliffs, they put themselves on train tracks or in front of other moving vehicles, use carbon monoxide poisoning, and resort to many other methods.
A barrier will not help any of them. Not a single one. And, just as I was finishing up this book, I heard on the news, that while other countries have earthquake warning systems that give notice a couple seconds to a full minute prior to an earthquake, there is no money to do that locally. And one argument made in the book, that funding for mental health programs can be taken away unfortunately true but the net is there to stay is a faulty argument. There are two vehicles involved in retrieving people from the net a process that will take at least an hour and a half, ack!
In , the date the bridge opened, first to walkers, my mother lived in the city and she was 21 years old. Sorry for the long ramble. ETA: There is a lot of interesting history, studies, stories of those whose loved ones have committed suicide and those who've died or lived after jumps.
And there are helpful resources in the back of the book. But re the resources for those readers who might be suicidal or who know people who might be, given that the author doesn't think they'll often be helpful, I find it interesting that they're there. Of course, it would have been unforgivable for them not to be provided in a book with this subject matter. View all 45 comments. Aug 02, Andrea Mullarkey rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction. Call it morbid but I am fascinated by Golden Gate bridge suicides.
As a local icon there is hardly a more recognizable spot in my area. It is undeniably a beautiful structure, a tourist magnet, a source of pride for locals. But many of the things that make it attractive to locals and travelers also make it attractive to people with suicidal thoughts: it is accessible, historic and a mythic. For someone contemplating suicide the bridge is easy to get to, presents no physical barriers and leaves l Call it morbid but I am fascinated by Golden Gate bridge suicides.
For someone contemplating suicide the bridge is easy to get to, presents no physical barriers and leaves little mess for loved ones to find. Given these things it is somewhat unsurprising that upwards of 30 people jump to their death every year. This book by the director of a local crisis intervention and suicide prevention center aims to tell the full story about Golden Gate Bridge suicides and advocate for a barrier.
And he does a really good job of both. The book covers many aspects from history to design, mental health to policy in addition to telling the riveting personal stories of people who have jumped. The small pieces are amazing like how more than one small child has been thrown over the railing by their parent who then jumped and the insights shared by survivors, family members, and mental health professionals are both gut wrenching and illuminating. And while these stories of despair are really hard to read, the most difficult parts of the book in some ways were the parts that dealt with objections to a suicide barrier.
I simply can not understand the total lack of political will to build a barrier that would save lives. Admittedly Bateson goes on maybe a bit too long about this, and his arguments about it are repeated so often that I started to get restless. But there is no denying that his arguments and the book itself are compelling. Apr 06, Meaghan rated it it was amazing Shelves: read-in , suicide. The book is basically a page argument for the erection of an anti-suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge.
I had known the bridge was a suicide hotspot and a few dozen people listed on my missing persons website are thought to have died there, but I didn't realize the toll was so high: more than 1, confirmed deaths and probably the true number is closer to 2, In the first book ever written on the subject of GGB suicides, Bateson interviewed the families of jumpers, the very few who The book is basically a page argument for the erection of an anti-suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge.
In the first book ever written on the subject of GGB suicides, Bateson interviewed the families of jumpers, the very few who have survived, the coroners, Coast Guard officials and other professionals who have to pick up the bodies, and other people affected by this long and continuing string of deaths. I am appalled that, to this day, the majority of San Franciscans oppose the idea of putting up a barrier, and the Board of Directors in charge of the bridge have done practically nothing to stop the suicides and indeed have tried to cover up the problem.
Recently the Board did vote in favor of a barrier, but didn't vote to allocate funds toward its construction, so what is the difference? The arguments -- that it would be expensive, that it would ruin the view, that people would just go kill themselves elsewhere -- have been proven time and time again to be specious and false. People either don't know that a barrier would save lives, or more likely, they just don't care. Books like this make me lose my faith in humanity.
John Bateson - The Final Leap: Suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge
But someone has to know these things. I applaud the author for writing this and exposing the problem. Now I'm off to watch the documentary The Bridge. View all 19 comments. Aug 06, Christiane rated it liked it. Since the Golden Gate Bridge opened in there have been more than confirmed suicides, making it one of the top suicide sites in the world.
As Bateson explains at great length It does not have one and as of this writing may never have one; despite the fact that the Bridge District board members voted in October in favor of a barrier net, they have raised no money and made no effor Since the Golden Gate Bridge opened in there have been more than confirmed suicides, making it one of the top suicide sites in the world.
It does not have one and as of this writing may never have one; despite the fact that the Bridge District board members voted in October in favor of a barrier net, they have raised no money and made no effort to build it. One of the people Bateson interviews, Eve Meyer executive director of San Francisco Suicide Prevention points out that people often are more sympathetic to the plight of animals than they are of people.
Since the bridge opened in there have been suicides. After a great deal of public controversy, the Aurora Bridge installed a suicide barrier in February In a quick web search, I turned up no suicides from the bridge since then. The most interesting, and of course saddest, parts of the book are where he talks to the families of the suicides. This book is well worth reading for throwing light on a subject most of us would rather not think about. Jun 10, Jan rated it it was ok Shelves: non-fiction. This book was so frustrating.
There's a really good book in there. I think the editor just forgot to find it. It felt more like a series of essays that were cobbled together rather than a cohesive book, and that led to a lot of things being said repeatedly. Seriously, the book used the words "bridge jumpers" and "the Golden Gate Bridge" so many times, I wondered if the author had a word count to meet and wasn't sure how else to fulfill it. The book is titled "The Final Leap: Suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge"; I'm pretty sure you can just say "jumpers" or "the bridge" and I'll know what you're referring to.
Also, it felt like a book-long rant about the need for a suicide barrier. It's not that I think the author is wrong; it just got tiresome, and since there's a whole chapter dedicated to the barrier, I felt like talking about it could have largely been confined to that chapter. It's frustrating because beyond all of that, there was a lot of good information there to be found.
In fact, that's the only reason I persevered. I learned a lot about the psychology of suicide, the history of suicides on the bridge, and the process of what happens after someone jumps from it.
The fatal grandeur of the Golden Gate Bridge.
I just wish that information had come in a more refined package. May 28, Bill Larsen rated it it was ok. An interesting book — containing some surprising facts and thoughtful stories — and not badly written. It's very one sided and he's relentless. He could have accomplished this in many less pages without continually restating his opinion or he could have balanced it with other perspectives. I suggest the author hires an editor before releasing his next effort. Although some parts were interesting and some of the facts disturbingly eye-opening, I cannot recommend this book.
View all 3 comments. Mar 22, Jean rated it it was amazing. Well researched, thoughtful, easy to understand and informative. I'll never look at the GG Bridge the same way again. It's the site of the most suicides in the world.
The Final Leap by John Bateson - Hardcover - University of California Press
It's time a barrier is added, people!!! May 04, Liralen rated it liked it Shelves: z , nonfiction , reviewed.
If it takes you a week to read this book, and the Golden Gate Bridge still doesn't have a suicide deterrent, odds are that another tortured soul will have jumped before you finish. For a tough topic, it's actually a pretty smooth read—lots of statistics I love statistics and personal stories and comparison points. But Bateson comes in with an agenda.
I'm not arguing that he shouldn't, actually, and nor am I arguing If it takes you a week to read this book, and the Golden Gate Bridge still doesn't have a suicide deterrent, odds are that another tortured soul will have jumped before you finish. I'm not arguing that he shouldn't, actually, and nor am I arguing against a barrier actually, as of last month, nets are being installed to catch would-be jumpers. It speaks to the way suicide is treated in the U. As odd as it sounds, the reason why this barrier was erected wasn't to protect bicyclists.
After all, no bicyclist had ever been killed on the bridge No, the reason why the bike barrier was approved was because it protected the Bridge District. Bicyclists, you see, were using the bridge for the purpose it was designed, and if a bicyclist was hurt or killed because the bridge lacked a safety barrier, then the district would be liable.
This is the standard for all crisis centers that operate nationally certified suicide hotlines. By comparison, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and other mental health professionals aren't required to take any training in suicide prevention to attain or retain professional licenses. Training in child abuse and domestic violence is mandatory, but training in suicide is optional despite the fact that most practicing clinicians have at least one suicidal patient in their caseload.
Something broader, perhaps, about the response to suicidal individuals in the States? It seems to me that this book will lose relevance the second the net under the Golden Gate Bridge is completed, if it didn't do so the second the net was begun. With a broader focus, maybe that wouldn't be so. Is there a case for not putting up a barrier? I don't know. If there is, it certainly isn't to be found here. That in itself is sort of a pity, because I'm sure there are people who can make more compelling arguments than The Final Leap suggests, and I'd be curious to hear what those arguments are.
I hope the net currently being built makes a difference, but I'll leave it at that. Jun 09, Judith rated it it was amazing. I had to write a paper for a class - research paper on a current movement in our culture. Being me, I chose the movement for a suicide barrier on the golden gate bridge. Living in the bay area with a lifetime of depression, the golden gate has always been a double-edged sword in the background.
I was appalled to discover that between have leapt to their deaths there and that 4 small children have been murdered by their fathers thrown from the deck there - and that this is easily x I had to write a paper for a class - research paper on a current movement in our culture. I was appalled to discover that between have leapt to their deaths there and that 4 small children have been murdered by their fathers thrown from the deck there - and that this is easily x the number at any other "suicide magnet" on the planet before barriers have been constructed. I did a ton of research then happy came across John Bateson's newest book on the subject.
Batesman was the executive director of a crisis center in the bay area county I live in for 17 years. Unlike me, when he was hired into his position two decades ago, he had no idea about the death toll of the infamous bridge. This book is totally readable, very accessible - its organization and presentation walk the reader through the history, the personal, the political. It clarifies any questions you might have, and serves as a more than fair indictment of the small group of individuals who, as the bridge district, have ignored need for a suicide barrier for 75 years.
Whether you are pro-barrier or anti-barrier, the history is rich and incredible and Bateson offers it in an accessible tour of the many decades, the many, many unnecessary deaths. View all 5 comments. Jan 28, Kathy Disanto rated it it was amazing. Not for the faint-hearted, and the subject matter won't appeal to many, but this is an important book nonetheless.
What price do you put on a single human life? How about more than 1, of them? Bateson does a marvelous job of drawing you in He debunks the myth that the final leap offers a clean, Not for the faint-hearted, and the subject matter won't appeal to many, but this is an important book nonetheless. He debunks the myth that the final leap offers a clean, painless death. He shines a light on the political machinations that have blocked attempts to shut down the problem. He offers resources and encouragement to those who are suffering now. If you have ever looked into the abyss, this book will speak to directly to that wound in your soul.
If you haven't Jul 17, Shawna rated it liked it Shelves: books-i-read-in See details. See all 2 new other listings. Buy It Now. Add to cart. Sold by thrift. Be the first to write a review About this product. New other : lowest price. About this product Synopsis The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most beautiful and most photographed structures in the world. It's also the most deadly. Since it opened in , more than 1, people have died jumping off the bridge, making it the top suicide site on earth.
It's also the only international landmark without a suicide barrier. As a result, the deaths continue. Weaving drama, tragedy, and politics against the backdrop of a world-famous city, The Final Leap is the first book ever written about Golden Gate Bridge suicides. John Bateson leads us on a fascinating journey that uncovers the reasons for the design decision that led to so many deaths, provides insight into the phenomenon of suicide, and examines arguments for and against a suicide barrier.
He tells the stories of those who have died, the few who have survived, and those who have been affected--from loving families to the Coast Guard, from the coroner to suicide prevention advocates. No one who reads this book will look at the world's largest Art Deco sculpture--the Golden Gate Bridge--the same way again. Three of his vertebrae were shattered, lacerating his lower internal organs. A United States Coast Guard vessel rescued him, and he was transported to a hospital in San Francisco where he received emergency surgery.
Following further, experimental surgery, any physical evidence of his experience is almost non-existent, and Hines has full mobility. Regarding his thoughts after the jump, Hines stated, "There was a millisecond of free fall. In that instant, I thought, what have I just done? I don't want to die. God, please save me. Additionally, he wrote a book about his experience before and after his suicide attempt, Cracked, Not Broken , and became a mental health advocate as well as a proponent for a bridge suicide barrier or net to prevent such incidents.
On March 10, , year-old Luhe "Otter" Vilagomez from Windsor High School in Windsor, California , survived a jump from the bridge, breaking his coccyx and puncturing one lung, though he said his attempt was for "fun" and not suicide. The teen was helped to shore by Frederic Lecouturier, 55, who was surfing under the bridge when he saw Vilagomez jump. Various methods have been tried to reduce the number of suicides. The bridge is fitted with suicide-hotline telephones and staff patrol the bridge in carts, looking for people who appear to be planning to jump.
The bridge is now closed to pedestrians at night. Cyclists are still permitted across at night, but can buzz themselves in and out through the remotely controlled security gates. Despite these concerns, on June 27, , California approved a funding plan to install a suicide barrier. During every major holiday and while off duty, Munayer mobilizes hundreds of volunteers to patrol the bridge looking for anyone who may be contemplating suicide.
Before embarking on their morning or afternoon shifts, Bridgewatch Angels volunteers receive training on the warning signs of someone in crisis, indirect and direct ways to engage with people walking alone on the bridge, and safety protocol when interacting with a suicidal person requiring police intervention. Each Bridgewatch event is dedicated to the memory of a person who jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge and their family joins the Bridgewatch Angels as they walk together to honor the memory of their loved one.
The Bridgewatch Angels are credited with making dozens of interventions each year. In addition to Golden Gate bridge patrol, law enforcement, and emergency medical personnel, there are Golden Gate Bridge ironworkers who volunteer their time to prevent suicides by talking to or wrestling down suicidal people. Called "Cowboys of the Sky", they have the equipment and knowledge of the bridge, as well as the experience working at extreme heights, giving them the qualifications to go over the rail and assist those in need.
While the experience of the volunteers minimize the danger of falling, there are still risks encountered. Ironworkers have reported knives being pulled on them, seeing loaded guns on would-be jumpers, and having been bitten. When a police psychologist is on scene, they will coach the volunteer rescuers by radio and the ironworkers are provided seminars on suicide prevention. As of , Hopper reported having rescued 30 suicidal individuals and losing two. After Hopper spotted waterfront joggers touching the fence at the sidewalk dead-end near Fort Point before turning back, he asked the bridge's sign painter to create a sign with two hand print silhouettes on it.
The signs are now at both ends of the bridge. Strong appeals for a suicide barrier, fence, or other preventive measures were raised again by a well-organized vocal minority of psychiatry professionals, suicide barrier consultants, and families of jumpers beginning in January These efforts were given momentum by two films dealing with the topic of suicide and the Golden Gate Bridge.
The day before, on January 19, , the Chronicle broke the news that filmmaker Eric Steel had been shooting suicide leaps from the bridge during for his film The Bridge , which would be released in A week later, The Joy of Life world-premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and video copies of the film were circulated to members of the Bridge District board of directors with the help of the Psychiatric Foundation of Northern California.
In the fall of the San Francisco Chronicle published a seven-part series of articles, titled "Lethal Beauty", focusing on the problem of suicide and the Golden Gate Bridge and emphasizing that a solution was not just possible, but even desirable. California Highway patrolman Kevin Briggs , is credited with saving hundreds of lives of would-be jumpers by talking to them before they can take the plunge.
On October 10, the Golden Gate Bridge and Transportation District Board of Directors voted 15 to 1 for the preferred option of installing a plastic-covered stainless-steel net below the bridge as a suicide deterrent. The lack of funding for the project continued to delay the schedule of completion. Initially, the bill didn't divert funding automatically. However, advocates of the barrier, such as 'Bridge Rail Foundation', were eventually successful in securing support for the project in The proposed suicide barrier will consist of stainless steel netting stretching 20 feet 6.
Funding for building this barrier was unanimously approved by the Golden Gate Bridge Board of Directors on June 27, Fabrication of the stainless-steel netting and structural pieces began offsite in May after years of debate and installation of the netting on-site began in August The film captured a number of suicides, and featured interviews with family and friends of some of the identified people who had thrown themselves from the bridge that year.
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In his article for The New Yorker , Friend wrote, "Survivors often regret their decision in midair, if not before". This observation is supported by survivor Ken Baldwin, who explained, "I instantly realized that everything in my life that I'd thought was unfixable was totally fixable—except for having just jumped. The release of The Bridge exerted additional pressure on the Bridge District and created continued public awareness.
The film also documented interviews with surviving family members of those who jumped, with witnesses, and with a survivor. The Joy of Life , released in , is an American documentary film that recounts the chronological history of suicide at the Golden Gate Bridge. The film discusses key design changes made to the bridge by architect Irving Morrow, notably the lowering of the pedestrian railing.
It also explores the public discussions of the problem of suicide prevention over the decades, with a focus on notable local news coverage. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: The Bridge documentary film. Main article: The Joy of Life. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 18, Retrieved November 23, Time Inc.
Retrieved March 15, In , 46 people committed suicide by jumping off the bridge, while another were talked down. Modern Luxury. Retrieved July 18, San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 10, On Being. Archived from the original on July 12, CS1 maint: Unfit url link "Depth to span ratio of truss is The fourth in a seven-part series on the Golden Gate Bridge barrier debate". Retrieved June 3, Retrieved October 14, The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved October 16, Big Think.
Desert News. Associated Press. July 11, Retrieved October 20, The New York Times. Retrieved May 8, Retrieved February 26, Retrieved October 21, Japan Times.