PDA

View Full Version : Nanny state run amok



ron ll
04-20-2010, 11:09 AM
The City of Seattle has begun construction on a nine foot high "suicide fence" on the Aurora Bridge. It will cost about five million dollars and, besides destroying the original aesthetic of the bridge design, it will block the great view of Mt. Rainier from the bridge. I guess what I find most amazing is that so many people think this is the right thing to do.

http://www.fremontuniverse.com/2010/04/19/construction-on-aurora-bridge-fence-begins-today/

Oh. And because construction is expected to be noisy, the Department of Transportation is offering free "industrial-strength" earplugs to residents in the area who request it.

B_B
04-20-2010, 11:44 AM
http://www.fremontuniverse.com/images/aurora_barrier1.jpg
Does this really "block the great view of Mt.Rainier from the bridge"?


It is also expected to provide safety, and less trauma, to those who live, work and move about beneath the towering structure. (http://www.fremontuniverse.com/2009/08/26/construction-begins-soon-on-bridge-barrier/)

ron ll
04-20-2010, 11:51 AM
Do you really think this is the best way to stop people from committing suicide?

ron ll
04-20-2010, 11:53 AM
http://www.fremontuniverse.com/images/aurora_barrier1.jpg
Does this really "block the great view of Mt.Rainier from the bridge"?



At the angle at which you see the mountain, yes.

atmartin
04-20-2010, 11:53 AM
They are planning to build a suicide fence (net?) on the Golden Gate as well. Something to the tune of $40 million, but I don't think the funding has materialized yet.

Joe (SoCal)
04-20-2010, 11:57 AM
Do you really think this is the best way to stop people from committing suicide?

From that bridge, yup

Bob Adams
04-20-2010, 11:59 AM
Won't prevent a single suicide. There are tons of other ways. Folks who want to off themselfs don't NEED a bridge.

atmartin
04-20-2010, 12:02 PM
ergonomic engineer

Holy crap that's awesome.

I didn't know such a thing existed until now, but google tells all.

They should come up with another acronym though. EE is kinda already taken.

B_B
04-20-2010, 12:02 PM
At the angle at which you see the mountain, yes.
What part obstructs?

All the stuff to waist height is already there - the fence being added is the part on top of that - there's no way that fence obstructs views unless you're six inches or less from one of the posts and not moving.

mmd
04-20-2010, 12:02 PM
If'n ya put up the fence, it's a 'nanny-state' foolishness; if'n ya don't an' somebody jumps and lands on someone else or their house or their car or their boat, it's gross negligence by the designer/builder/city/state for not providing a safety fence...

Cain't please nobody, no how.

B_B
04-20-2010, 12:06 PM
It will prevent them from committing suicide on the bridge.
no it don't, it reduces suicides OFF OF the bridge, one can still easily commit suicide ON the bridge :p :D

ron ll
04-20-2010, 12:06 PM
I'm not an ergonomic engineer.... I'm not sure you are, either... but a well-designed fence undoubtedly make it a lot tougher.



So would padded cells for everyone.

But a couple of clarifications: Okay, I'll admit my headline may have been a poor choice of words and I'll retract that. Also, the issue certainly isn't one of me wanting a view of Mt Rainier while I'm driving versus letting someone commit suicide. I'll live without the view if it saves a couple of lives. But I really don't think it will. Just seems like there must be better ways to solve the problem.

htom
04-20-2010, 12:10 PM
The article isn't clear; are they putting the high fence on both sides of the bridge, or only on the sidewalk side?

atmartin
04-20-2010, 12:10 PM
Won't prevent a single suicide. There are tons of other ways. Folks who want to off themselfs don't NEED a bridge.

I'm not too sharp with the feelie-stuff, but at least some suicidal folks (such as Kevin Hines, who jumped off Golden Gate and lived) don't really want to die. They want attention or someone to care or some other needy stuff.

So, putting up a barrier makes it harder and maybe discourages them or gives people time to go "don't do it!" or something like that.

At the very least, as others have mentioned, it might convince them to just do it at home all nice, quiet and peaceful, rather than splattering all over your yacht's topsides.

I hate it when people do that!

Uncle Duke
04-20-2010, 12:14 PM
I'll live without the view if it saves a couple of lives. But I really don't think it will.
I wouldn't be so sure that it won't. Most suicides are spur of the moment actions. The person may have been contemplating it for a long time, and may have toyed with plans ("ideation") or even stockpiled whatever is necessary (like sleeping pills) but the actual act is usually a snap decision. Not always, of course.
If the fence forces people to keep walking, then it reduces the likelihood that they will kill themselves, at least for that night.

ron ll
04-20-2010, 12:16 PM
I have no doubt that the folks who promoted the project gave it considerable thought.

See, that's the part where I start to get real skeptical. :D

ron ll
04-20-2010, 12:18 PM
I'm sure that a body crashing and splattering onto the street below would have enormous psychological effect on the people living there.

It probably does. But the bridge, the jumpers, and the knowledge that there are jumpers, were all there before the people chose to live under it.

atmartin
04-20-2010, 12:24 PM
It probably does. But the bridge, the jumpers, and the knowledge that there are jumpers, were all there before the people chose to live under it.

Are you suggesting that the people who chose to live under the bridge enjoy street pizza?

It seems to me that it would be a slight negative:

"Well, there's a parking space provided and a the rent is reasonable, but there are the jumpers..."

ljb5
04-20-2010, 01:07 PM
Seattle must be a really nice place if the worst thing people have to argue about is the exact height of a guardrail.

Captain Blight
04-20-2010, 01:10 PM
It's one of the reasons I'm planning to move there. That, and to spread my message of good will through boats, bikes, good music, great beer, good food and good coffee. I do understand that I'll not exactly be a pioneer in the field there.

BETTY-B
04-20-2010, 01:24 PM
Are you suggesting that the people who chose to live under the bridge enjoy street pizza?

It seems to me that it would be a slight negative:

"Well, there's a parking space provided and a the rent is reasonable, but there are the jumpers..."

Having recently lost my best friend on one of Seattle s other bridges, this continuing attempt at macabre humor is really starting to piss me off. But, it's my rigth to be pissed and yours to not be funny. Carry on.

DAN

Oh, I lost another friend on that bridge because they still don't have a center divider. The death toll there must certainly be higher than suicide. Point being it's not about saving lives as much as it is protecting people and property below.

BETTY-B
04-20-2010, 01:28 PM
Sorry for the termination of your thread, Ron. Hehe.

DAN

LeeG
04-20-2010, 01:31 PM
At the angle at which you see the mountain, yes.

isn't the purpose of a bridge to convey people across the water and not be a viewing platform? If you want the view walk across, people driving should be looking at the road.

atmartin
04-20-2010, 01:40 PM
Having recently lost my best friend on one of Seattle s other bridges, this continuing attempt at macabre humor is really starting to piss me off. But, it's my rigth to be pissed and yours to not be funny. Carry on.

I appreciate that. Just because something hits close to home doesn't mean it should be censored. Back in university, I happened to see the aftermath of a jumper at the parking structure (UCSD: Undergraduates Commit Suicide Daily). Didn't know the person, but it was weird. A friend had seen them get into the elevator going up apparently.

But in all seriousness, I'm aware of the problem. From what I've read from 'experts' and given the steps already taken at the Golden Gate, these sorts of things might actually save a few lives, rather than simply protect property.

BrianY
04-20-2010, 01:50 PM
Do you really think this is the best way to stop people from committing suicide?

You're right, it's not the best way. The best way would be to put armed guards on the bridge 24/7 with orders to shoot on sight anyone who appears to be considering suicide. That would totally eliminate suicide by jumping off of the bridge.

Assuming, however, that this option is not viable, a fence seem to be a reasonable alternative.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
04-20-2010, 01:51 PM
....

Cain't please nobody, no how.

Course you can...

Provide ropes of appropriate length with pre-tied nooses - this provides little visual intrusion above the bridge deck and eliminates the hazard of unwanted falling debris.

Fishpot
04-23-2010, 10:57 AM
If you want to avoid real trauma just fix it so that the US Marshalls can't seize your person or the IRS seize your property if you don't pay your taxes. Then you can avoid "real" trauma.

paladin
04-23-2010, 11:27 AM
Much, much cheaper to put a large sign on the pilings approach at the bottom either side of the prime "jumping off location"...said sign could read "Please navigate right or left in case someone decides to jump off the bridge in this area"....
Much cheaper, and then when they jump..let them be fish food or relatives pay for the body recovery if they want it.

Nicholas Carey
04-24-2010, 11:56 PM
It will prevent them from committing suicide on the bridge.

Such an event isn't without consequence. Police are called, and investigation is launched, boats have to be launched to recover the body, etc.... someone has to pay for all that. The fence eliminates those risks, which are risks to the taxpayer. Does it make economic sense? I don't know... what does a suicide investigation cost? What do the traffic delays cost?
There's also houseboats under the Aurora Bridge...there's real risks to those below. A friend of mine was in a sea kayak underneath this bridge when someone did a one-and-a-half gainer off the bridge and hit the water about 10 feet away from him. He did manage to drag her half on to the deck of the kayak and get her to shore...not sure if she survived. He was a bit traumatized, though.

That being said, I think the fence is ugly, a waste of taxpayer dollars, and it will spoil the view off the bridge. Never mind Rainier...the view of the Olympic Range at dawn and at sunset beats Rainier any day.

There've been 230 jumpers since the bridge opened in 1932 -- which works out to about 3 per year. My bet is that prospective jumpers will either move to the I-5 bridge on the other side of the lake...or jump off a ferry in the dark of night.

donald branscom
04-25-2010, 12:03 AM
The Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier is a net and is not visible from the drivers view.

If a barrier or net saved your son or daughter, would you be bitch'n about it? NO
They would get another chance to live.
Other than Leo's most of us may have thought about it. (just kidding)

I truly believe that many that jump, jump from the Golden Gate Bridge because it is so popular that if they survive the jump or attempted jump someone will see them or rescue them and listen to them or help them. At a unknown or unpopular area they know there will be no rescue.

Lew Barrett
04-25-2010, 12:42 AM
I'm with you Ron. A ridiculous way to spend the money. If they really want to
help end suicides, they should put that money into the gutted social services programs that were all canceled for lack of funding.

I'm surprised at some of the knee jerk responses you got, but maybe it helps if you live here and can see this at first hand.

The irony is that they are building a fence instead of dealing with the root of the problems. Social services and support here in Seattle are virtually non-existent. What an ass-backwards way to deal with it.

elf
04-25-2010, 05:59 AM
Wow. There's a lot of really ugly stuff on this thread. I think I'll stay away from it.

McMike
04-25-2010, 06:27 AM
We've spent huge sums of money and countless lives on defending our right to Middle Eastern oil so some of us can drive to work in a SUV and live in a 6000+ SqFt home and you think this expense is ridiculous? I say your priorities are F'ed up. Try complaining about things that are truly wrong.

Bob Adams
04-25-2010, 07:30 AM
If you want to avoid real trauma just fix it so that the US Marshalls can't seize your person or the IRS seize your property if you don't pay your taxes. Then you can avoid "real" trauma.

Nah, that only keeps disgruntled pilots from flying into IRS offices.

Dumah
04-25-2010, 09:08 AM
In the last year the "suicide barrier" on the Macdonald bridge has been extended the entire length of the structure. The original fence covered HMC Dockyard as the Navy was getting tired of cleaning up the ness and paying civvies for time off for "stress" caused by such occurances. I must agree that the money would have been better spent on social programmes to alieviate some of the problems that tend to cause suicide, but it does seem to have cut, by a conciderable margin, the jumpers on the bridge. These incidents are not published, assuming the authorities don't wish to encourage attempts, but I have a 10th floor apartment with a fantastic view of both the harbour and the Macdonald bridge. Before the extension I witnessed an average of 2 attempts per week, this has been reduced to one every couple of months. Having worked with the "financially challenged" I'm very aware that without serious change in attitude on the part of the general public, these people will continue to be marginalised and ignored by the very people who could help. Life is precious, handle with care.
Cheers, Dumah,
Halifax, NS

Lew Barrett
04-25-2010, 11:44 AM
We've spent huge sums of money and countless lives on defending our right to Middle Eastern oil so some of us can drive to work in a SUV and live in a 6000+ SqFt home and you think this expense is ridiculous? I say your priorities are F'ed up. Try complaining about things that are truly wrong.

Ron can speak for himself, but I'll suggest to you that he is not without
thoughts on the matters you have raised. The topic here is the efficacy of trying to stop people from committing suicide by building a fence in one particular spot. It's worthy of discussion as whatever it is that turns your crank and regardless if you agree with his or my view of this, the notion that the only things worth spouting about are what you perceive to be larger issues is of no relevance whatsoever to the discussion at hand.

I'll say it again: the social services in this city are gutted. There are almost no CDCs in a town rife with addiction issues. The fence tries to treat a symptom, but is no cure for the problem. You have any idea how much counseling you can buy with 4 or 5 million bucks?

Garret
04-25-2010, 11:59 AM
Ron can speak for himself, but I'll suggest to you that he is not without
thoughts on the matters you have raised. The topic here is the efficacy of trying to stop people from committing suicide by building a fence in one particular spot. It's worthy of discussion as whatever it is that turns your crank and regardless if you agree with his or my view of this, the notion that the only things worth spouting about are what you perceive to be larger issues is of no relevance whatsoever to the discussion at hand.

I'll say it again: the social services in this city are gutted. There are almost no CDCs in a town rife with addiction issues. The fence tries to treat a symptom, but is no cure for the problem. You have any idea how much counseling you can buy with 4 or 5 million bucks?

But Lew, you're 1) assuming the city fathers actually studied the concept & 2) don't prefer something visible: "We put up a fence to help save lives" vs. hearing "They're wasting more money on those hopeless deadbeat dregs of society".

Wow, that sounded cynical, didn't it? Too much time around politicians I guess...:(

Paul Girouard
04-25-2010, 12:00 PM
I'll say it again: the social services in this city are gutted. There are almost no CDCs in a town rife with addiction issues. The fence tries to treat a symptom, but is no cure for the problem. You have any idea how much counseling you can buy with 4 or 5 million bucks?



The issue become HOW to get people to seek said council , even IF it's free?

And of course the other issue is people , that are determined , will find a way, to do what ever they are determined to do. Be that buy a boat , or jump to thier death.

You can insert just about any thing in where boat is , car , to big a house , etc.

Some might even build a slick out of a old leaf spring, if they get desperate enought:D

Captain Blight
04-25-2010, 12:10 PM
The issue become HOW to get people to seek said council , even IF it's free?

A big part of that would be to not place a social stigma on the people who do seek this free couseling, and not call them 'parasites' or 'losers.'

ron ll
04-25-2010, 12:23 PM
Thanks for your support, Lew. I too was surprised by the reaction here, but perhaps I simply didn't state my thoughts clearly at the outset.

As an architect with a nearly fifty year career in commercial building design behind me, I have had plenty of time and reason to study the fallacy of solving social problems with the built environment. What this thread has taught me is simply that this isn't the proper place to discuss it.

Oh, and I also learned that I am not an "ergonomic engineer" :D

Garret
04-25-2010, 12:36 PM
Thanks for your support, Lew. I too was surprised by the reaction here, but perhaps I simply didn't state my thoughts clearly at the outset.

As an architect with a nearly fifty year career in commercial building design behind me, I have had plenty of time and reason to study the fallacy of solving social problems with the built environment. What this thread has taught me is simply that this isn't the proper place to discuss it.

Oh, and I also learned that I am not an "ergonomic engineer" :D

Ergo, you won't bring this sort of thing up? :D Sorry - 'twas there.

I think this is a classic case of people looking for the easy fix. Much simpler to put up a fence than it is to deal with the real problem. That way city councilors (or whatever Seattle has) can brag that they helped prevent suicides, without having to put real work/thought into it.

Not that this bears any similarity to the "Let's build a fence along the Mexican border to solve the illegal immigration problem" concept.... Oops, probably shoulda left the lid on that one!

Lew Barrett
04-25-2010, 01:09 PM
Actually Ron, I was interested to see the topic. My wife and I have been discussing the very issue for the last week or so ever since they announced the decision. I am also surprised to see people with relatively little local information on the topic discussing it in knee jerk fashion as if we were Social Darwinists for raising it. Certainly there is room for disagreement on this but my very first thoughts were the same as yours; they want to look like they are doing something (constructive) or they don't want the bodies falling exactly where they are falling, or whatever; as if it's the biggest social issue facing this city.

I even had another rather dark thought: the people who live under the bridges probably comprise a large portion of the population that would elect to jump from them!

Paul: It's never a problem getting people not to take services that aren't offered. Until there are some services, we'll never know.

For every person who is not interested in feeling better, there are some number who are but do not have the ways or means to know where to start. There are no available facilities for de-tox in this city; no beds. There is not a single program for the mentally ill that is hiring now to my knowledge. It is a disgrace.

Captain Blight
04-25-2010, 01:13 PM
For every person who is not interested in feeling better, there are some number who are but do not have the ways or means to know where to start. There are no available facilities for de-tox in this city; no beds. There is not a single program for the mentally ill that is hiring now to my knowledge. It is a disgrace.
You darn tootin', Lew.

Mental illness is not a weakness and not a crime. We as a society need to, need to quit blaming people for things that aren't their fault; absent that, we certainly shouldn't be penalizing them through a collective callousness of spirit and heart.

Paul Girouard
04-25-2010, 02:23 PM
Didn't we close all the "nut houses" for lack of a better term a few years back? Isn't that where most or at least some of the "new" homeless used to recieve treatment, where they liked it or not?

Should those facilities be re-opened?

The fence is not the , or a answer. But it does help with politicians thinking they are "fixing / getting" some thing for thier/ our dollar.

Lew Barrett
04-25-2010, 02:52 PM
Paul, we agree on this. Hallelujah!

I would prefer you didn't call them nut houses, but yeah. Reagan's administration was particularly active in shutting down sources of funding for mental health hospitals, but it's disingenuous to blame it all on him. A tough issue.

http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/166/4/398

Treatment for the most afflicted serves a lot of purposes, including getting the worst cases off the streets and out of harm's way; theirs and ours. And a more enlightened approach to mental illness in general, in all it's forms, would, I suspect, speak well of the quality of our culture.

The fence that discourages the bodies from landing in inconvenient places seems to me to be a cheap, cynical response to the problem.

And it ruins the view.....

Paul Girouard
04-25-2010, 02:57 PM
Paul, we agree on this. Hallelujah!

I would prefer you didn't call them nut houses, but yeah


mental health hospitals,

A tough issue.



The fence that discourages the bodies from landing in inconvenient places seems to me to be a cheap, cynical response to the problem.

And it ruins the view.....



Well a first! :D

Yes, your term is much nicer, but then I'm not very PC. And I did say for lack of a better term. I didn't think of M-H-F , but sure thats a better way to put it.

There's lot of tough issues and fewer and fewer dollars to apply to them.

Ya the fence is a lose / lose IMO.

But when has that ever counted?

pcford
04-25-2010, 03:10 PM
Course you can...

Provide ropes of appropriate length with pre-tied nooses - this provides little visual intrusion above the bridge deck and eliminates the hazard of unwanted falling debris.


You, sir, are a waste of carbon.

Lew Barrett
04-25-2010, 03:11 PM
Ya the fence is a lose / lose IMO.

But when has that ever counted?

For me, it counts now! I will discount your opinion another time when we disagree!

seafox
04-25-2010, 03:46 PM
You're right, it's not the best way. The best way would be to put armed guards on the bridge 24/7 with orders to shoot on sight anyone who appears to be considering suicide. That would totally eliminate suicide by jumping off of the bridge.

Assuming, however, that this option is not viable, a fence seem to be a reasonable alternative.

the reasonable alternative would be to not spend tax money taken from the mass of people to benifit a tiny minority . the proper role of government is to promote the GENERAL welfare not individual welfare.

locally they spent a huge amount of money redoing a road over the mountian and failed to devide the road so their answer is to keep a lower speed limit. the extra time wasted it takes to cross the mountian is far greater than the time lost from the few lives of the people killed each year

this is exactly what is ment by nanny state run amuck

seafox
04-25-2010, 03:55 PM
For you Norm.
the difference is when they rebuilt the road it benifitted the entire mass of people that used it. when they keep the speed lower the infringe on the entire mass to benifit a tiny incriment of those would have been killed ( ie say the 2 additional to the 12 that that die each year on that streach of road way anyway)

in the case of the bridge you ask what is the cost of investigating the suisides? well are we going to be able to get rid of some government employees? do with a couple less cops? or are those guys just going to be out on the street giving tickits because some freedom loving american didn't buckle his seat belt?


Incase you didn't understand that example points out the money isn " saved" but insteed used to steal more money from the people.

seafox
04-25-2010, 03:58 PM
If you want to avoid real trauma just fix it so that the US Marshalls can't seize your person or the IRS seize your property if you don't pay your taxes. Then you can avoid "real" trauma.

at least some one with a good smaller government idea