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Dr. Tony Beam Christian Blog and Commentary

San Francisco's Solution to "Bridge Assisted Suicide" Shows Falicy of Liberalism

  • Tony Beam
    Dr. Tony Beam's Weblog
  • 2008 Nov 13
  • Comments
     One of San Francisco's most cherished landmarks is about to get a safety net.  The Golden Gate Bridge has attracted millions of tourists to the city since it opened but it has also become a prime place for people who want to commit suicide.  Since the bridge opened, it is estimated (official numbers are kept under wraps because officials fear it would encourage more jumpers) that over thirteen hundred people have committed suicide by jumping off the bridge.  Each year, somewhere around twenty-four people choose to exit this life in dramatic fashion adding their names to the tragic list of those who are lured to the landmark by its reputation as prime site for jumpers.
    After decades of debate the Golden Gate Bridge board of directors voted fourteen to one last week, to install a plastic coated steel mesh net about twenty feet underneath the platform of the bridge.  The net would catch any jumpers and would then collapse around them to prevent them from simply crawling to the edge of the net to complete the jump.  This would hold them in place (sort of like being caught in a spider web) until police and rescue workers could come to the rescue. The estimated cost of the net will be between forty and fifty million dollars.
     Now...you may find it odd that someone who is an advocate for the Christian Worldview would oppose this idea. I want to be clear that I am against suicide whether it be doctor-assisted or bridge-assisted.  I would like to see the number of suicides in this country drop to zero but this is not the way to prevent suicides.  It's like blaming guns and trying to prevent gun violence by outlawing guns when it is people who pull the trigger.  Why not just go ahead and outlaw bridges?
       Dr. Mel Blaustein, President of the Psychiatric Foundation of Northern California claims the net will reduce suicides by making people pause to think before they jump.  That might be true but what is more likely is that they will simply find another way to end their life.  People who are suicidal are not thinking rationally.  I don't think just because they can't jump off the Golden Gate Bridge that they will turn away from committing suicide.  To me, it would make more sense to have police officers patrolling the bridge, looking for jumpers and talking them down.  At least the bridge is a public place where people intent on committing suicide can be seen and perhaps helped before they jump.  If you put a safety net under the bridge it will certainly stop suicides there but will it reduce the number of suicides or just make liberals feel like they are doing something compassionate?  That is the problem with liberal thinking.  Rather than dealing with the bigger issue of the causes of suicide, they would rather put up a safety net so suicide gets pushed off the front page. Then they can pat themselves on the back and say, "look at the difference we made" when actually, all they did was push the problem off on someone else without really caring about the people who are dying.
     Besides, I thought liberals were in favor of suicide.  They just voted in the state of Washington to approve doctor assisted suicide so why would they want to spend fifty million dollars to stop people from committing suicide in San Francisco?  Liberals have long argued that when a person decides they want to die they should be allowed to die with dignity.  If jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge gives them a sense of purpose or notoriety in their death and you have a philosophy, which says suicide is ok, then why rob them of their big moment?
     This points out the fallacy of liberalism.  They want doctor-assisted suicide but not bridge assisted suicide. It makes no sense...if you believe in a person's right to die why would you deprive them of that right at the Golden Gate Bridge? 
     Finally, this demonstrates liberalism's failure from a financial point of view.  San Francisco Comptroller Ben Rosenfield announced just last week that the city's budget shortfall is going to balloon from seventy million to close to one hundred twenty-five million.  The city doesn't have the money for a project that won't really work (it will just appear to work) and yet it is moving ahead because it will make some people feel better.  As long as money is spent, people feel better, and a problem is addressed the major tenants of liberalism have been satisfied. 
     Unfortunately, people who decide to end their lives will continue to do so. They will simply pick another high profile location or they will resort to another method.  The problem goes on while liberalism celebrates another problem solved.