It’s full of interesting snippets, like the fact that suicidal people tend to ignore the nearby and equally fatal Bay Bridge in favour of its more famous and more attractive cousin.
It also has quotes from some of the very few people who have ever jumped off the bridge and survived, and describes exactly what impact such a jump has on the body.
The article also touches on the debates over the erection of a suicide barrier on the landmark (it was finally decided in 2008 to put one in place) and the people-based suicide prevention methods.
It also has this lovely snippet about one of the police patrolmen, who has a wonderfully gentle way of talking to suicidal people:
Kevin Briggs, a friendly, sandy-haired motorcycle patrolman, has a knack for spotting jumpers and talking them back from the edge; he has coaxed in more than two hundred potential jumpers without losing one over the side. He won the Highway Patrol’s Marin County Uniformed Employee of the Year Award last year.
Briggs told me that he starts talking to a potential jumper by asking, “How are you feeling today?‚” Then, “What’s your plan for tomorrow?‚” If the person doesn’t have a plan, Briggs says, “Well, let’s make one. If it doesn’t work out, you can always come back here later.”
Apparently the article was the inspiration for the 2006 documentary film The Bridge which covered similar territory.
Link to New Yorker article ‘Jumpers’.