Golden Gate Considers a Fence

As suicides mount, San Francisco considers changes to beloved landmark
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2008 10:00 AM CST
Golden Gate Considers a Fence
Coast Guard seaman apprentice Clayton Hesketh, of San Diego, California, patrols the security zone near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California.   (KRT Photos)

San Francisco may finally be coming to grips with its Golden Gate suicide instrument, from which more than 1,300 people have thrown themselves, reports the Washington Post, making it America’s No. 1 self-annihilation destination. But for years the bridge’s guardians have resisted calls to erect a barrier, believing that thwarted suicides will just kill themselves elsewhere—despite a mountain of scientific evidence to the contrary.

A 1973 study, for example, tracked 515 people who had been prevented from jumping, and found that 94% were still alive. But evidence like that hadn’t moved the agency managing the bridge, until negative publicity began piling up—in 2006, for example, a documentary called “The Bridge” trained its camera on the landmark, and recorded the deaths of dozens. (Read more suicide stories.)

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