Suicide and The Golden Gate Bridge: Background information when reading Orientation

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Orientation

And Other Stories

by Daniel Orozco

Orientation by Daniel Orozco
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2011, 176 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2012, 176 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Stacey Brownlie

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Suicide and The Golden Gate Bridge

Print Review

In the story "The Bridge" from Daniel Orozco's collection of short stories Orientation, one man is traumatized when he witnesses a woman commit suicide by jumping from the bridge he's employed to paint. Though the story is fictional, suicide jumping is an all too frequent occurrence in real life. The Golden Gate Bridge, located in San Francisco, California, holds the macabre record for being the world's most popular suicide point, with an estimated 1,550 deaths having occurred at the national landmark. Golden Gate Bridge The pedestrian walkway stands approximately 220 feet above the San Francisco Bay, and, according to an article in The New Yorker (2003), "Jumpers who hit the water do so at about seventy-five miles an hour and with a force of fifteen thousand pounds per square inch. Eighty-five per cent of them suffer broken ribs, which rip inward and tear through the spleen, the lungs, and the heart... Those who survive the impact usually die soon afterward. If they go straight in, they plunge so deeply into the water, which reaches a depth of three hundred and fifty feet, that they drown."

Erecting a preventative barrier on the bridge (above the 4-foot railing currently in place) has been debated since the 1950s and has produced many passionate arguments from people on both sides. While those in favor of the barrier claim that it would save dozens of lives every year, those against it often argue that it would be costly, would diminish the magnificence of the landmark, or that the barrier would not actually prevent suicidal people from hurting themselves, that they would merely find another way to do it.

However, in February 2010, a preferred alternative plan was finally approved: to install a Net System under the bridge to effectively catch suicide jumpers, estimated to cost $45 million. Until the system is put in place, crisis counseling telephones and organized patrols are still available, which, according to the Golden Gate Bridge Physical Suicide Deterrent System Project, have prevented about 70 percent of total attempted suicides.

In 2004, filmmaker Eric Steel made a documentary entitled The Bridge (released in 2006), in which he documents - and in many cases films - each suicide that occurred that year and interviews mental health professionals, witnesses, and the family members left behind. While receiving both praise for its honesty and criticism for its sensationalism, some people such as Celia Kupersmith, CEO of the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, fear that the film will inspire copycat jumpers, an all too common phenomenon. You can watch the trailer for the film below.


If you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Photo by Rich Niewiroski Jr.

Article by Stacey Brownlie

This article was originally published in June 2011, and has been updated for the May 2012 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Before We Sleep
    Before We Sleep
    by Jeffrey Lent
    Katey Snow, aged seventeen, leaves home one night. "There was a void within her and one that could ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Hermit
    by Thomas Rydahl
    If you can be comfortable with Scandinavian noir played out against the sun-drenched backdrop of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Radium Girls
    The Radium Girls
    by Kate Moore
    In 1915, Austrian-born Sabin von Sochocky developed a luminescent paint that used radium to create a...

Win this book!
Win News of the World

News of the World

A brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

Enter

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Gypsy Moth Summer
    by Julia Fierro

    One of the most anticipated books of 2017.
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T's S I Numbers

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.