A “friend for life” has been campaigning for years, along with others, to make a California landmark safer. John Blackstone has her story:
On a theatre in Nashville, songwriter Sarah Lockwood Barr performs songs she’s created that she loves to sing … and one that breaks her heart.
“This is for Casey Brooks, who would have incited 27 this past May,” she announced, before personification “Starting Over”:
All the world’s left to nap tonight.
But you won’t wake.
All the universe cries for you tonight.
But you can’t see.
She and Casey grew up, she says, in a gentle California city just north of San Francisco. “We schooled to float bikes together,” Lockwood Barr said.
Senior year of high school was almost over, and they were prepared to go off to college. But shortly before graduating, in Jan 2008, “Casey jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and finished her life,” Lockwood Barr said.
“And you had no idea?” Blackstone asked.
“Nobody did. She was already supposed into college. She was a really gifted writer. She had a good organisation of friends. There was no reason, as distant as we could tell.
“And it was really easy for her. There’s a parking lot right at the bottom of the bridge. The guardrail’s only 4 feet high. So you can just kind of fake you’re walking opposite the overpass and bound over. And it’s a 220-foot fall. And that’s it.”
Casey’s father, John Brooks, told Blackstone, “Every time we drive over the bridge, every time we demeanour at the people shouting and smiling and holding selfies of themselves and enjoying this, that’s what we used to do. And then, you know, Casey jumped, and it all changed.”
The pleasing landmark at the opening to San Francisco Bay has an nauseous side. Casey Brooks is one of scarcely 1,700 suicides on the overpass given its opening in 1938. Last year, 39 people jumped from the bridge.
But that fee may be coming to an end.
For years Brooks’ parents, John and Erika, and Sarah Lockwood Barr have been essay with others who lost adore ones on the overpass to convince the overpass house to make a net — a self-murder barrier.
“So we really wish that the house puts reserve brazen of inconvenience,” John pronounced at one meeting.
Blackstone said, “A separator on there, you say, would tell people someone cares.”
“Exactly,” pronounced Erika. “We caring adequate about you so that when you’re not looking out for yourself we’re vouchsafing you know we care.”
“That is positively not the only place, by any means, that people can finish their lives. How would a net change things?”
John replied, “What we’ve schooled about self-murder is that in a lot of cases, it can be very impulsive. Yet, if you are prevented from behaving on that impulse, the chances are very, very good that you won’t have a recurrence.”
Kevin Hines is one of the few who jumped and survived. (“I walked back toward the traffic railing, we ran brazen and we catapulted myself over the rail,” he recalled.) He’s also a clever disciple for a net to forestall others from making the same bad decision.
Blackstone asked, “When did you comprehend it was a mistake?”
“The millisecond my hands left the rail and we was in freefall, which we suspicion was too late,” Hines replied.
A study in 1978 of 515 people who attempted self-murder on the Golden Gate Bridge but were stopped found that 90 percent did not die from self-murder later. But for years that wasn’t adequate to convince officials the overpass should get a net.
John Brooks said, “There were people who believed that this overpass can't be touched. It’s an iconic structure. It’s arrange of like the Mona Lisa — you can’t hold the Mona Lisa. So there was an cultured issue.”
When asked about the evidence that millions of dollars would be spent on a net that would “ruin” an icon, Lockwood Barr responded, “How much income would you compensate for your child? What’s the cost tab on your husband or wife?”
In the scarcely 10 years given she assimilated the campaign to build the net, Lockwood Barr has left by times of wish and disappointment. “We had all these arrange of fake-outs,” she said. “Something would pass, and then a bill would come about. And then it would get pulled since there was a new guess on cost. And then someone else would come in with an appeal.
“And you know, we kind of lost wish at a point. Like, it just started feeling like a slap in the face every time, you know, we’d get really vehement something was happening.”
This spring, their dynamic diligence finally paid off. The prolonged onslaught for a net finished with a rite at the overpass imprinting capitulation of plans for a $200 million self-murder barrier, due for execution in 2021.
“It’ll be so healing,” Lockwood Barr said. “Because it also sends a matter to the village and to the universe that life is profitable and life matters. This is us saying, ‘We value your life and your struggle.'”
(If you or someone you know is deliberation suicide, greatfully call a lerned advisor at National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK .)
For some-more info:
- Bridge Rail Foundation
- Golden Gate Bridge Board of Directors
- Sarah Lockwood Barr (Official site)
- The Listening Room Café, Nashville