11.3.11

Silence and denial?

I'm sure by now lots of us have heard/read about the kid who jumped from the bridge yesterday and survived. I'm glad he's okay, I'm glad there was news coverage about it. What disturbs me about it is two-fold: the fact that he survived just might inspire others to try, "Hey, if he survived, why can't I?" And second: why is there so much coverage when somebody survives and little or no coverage when somebody dies? Yes, the ABC online story mentioned the fact that at least 1,500 people have died in the past and that there are 20-40 confirmed suicides a year, meaning 1 person every 10-14 days. But there is little coverage otherwise.

When Henry died, the editor of the local paper called the principal of his high school who told him that we did not want anything about Henry's death printed. He wasn't speaking for us (although, at that time, we did not want to go public), I think he was only thinking about covering the school's backside. The editor told him that the paper's policy was/is to print the story if it appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. So, I checked the Chronicle for days - nothing. These suicides are not mentioned in the Chronicle when they happen. I guess the thinking here is: if we don't talk about it, it didn't happen and we don't have to do anything about it. I'm sure the GG Bridge Authority likes it that way.

DH overheard 2 people talking in a bookstore this morning. The topic was the kid who jumped and one of the people (a woman) was very upset, "I had no idea there were so many suicides on that bridge. I've never heard about it. I didn't realize people fly here from all over the world to jump."

I guess the campaign of silence and denial is working very nicely.

2 comments:

mjlayman said...

I certainly hadn't heard of it, although I haven't read the WashPost today and have had the TV on CNN for Japan.

mjlayman said...

Yesterday's (3/12) WashPost had a tiny bit about it, taken from AP.