Saturday, June 28, 2014

Saturday somnambulations

No, I'm not really sleepwalking, just dusting out idle thoughts and cobwebs from the gray matter.
  • Driving to work this morning, I noted the area where the tow-plane pilot emergency landed his Cessna 188.  All things considered, I think he did a pretty good job under the circumstances.  The local news has cellphone video from a self-proclaimed YouTuber who recorded the landing.
  • The city by the bay is going to add suicide barriers to keep terminally desperate people from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, at a cost of $76M, and to the dismay of people who believe it will detract from the architectural beauty of the structure.  It's claimed that such barriers have prevented 100% of the suicides attempted where they've been installed. Over 1600 people have taken their final plunge since the bridge's construction; 46 last year.  Families of lost loved ones apparently lobbied for the barrier (and probably the engineering and contracting companies that would oblige its construction).  ""The time of healing can only begin when the steady drip-drip-drip of bodies into the raging waters has stopped," said Dana Barks of Napa, whose son, Donovan, jumped to his death in 2008."
  • It's California, but emblematic of the rot that's taken place in critical thinking across the nation.  While I don't think the barrier will enhance the view any, the aesthetic isn't the reason the plan should be nixed.  Nor, on principle, is the cost - though it's a stronger argument.  Simply put, the idea is stupid.  Sure, a silly net may deter or prevent 100% of would be self-murderers from committing the deed by jumping from the GGB.  But what about the Oakland Bay Bridge, jumping in front of one of Tony Bennett's 'little cable cars', leaping into the Grand Canyon, laying on the tracks of the City of New Orleans, jogging in Detroit - or even the mundane: car, gun, knife, pills, noose?  
  • In my life, I'm not unaware, unfamiliar or unaffected by the pain of suicide.
  • It's a slippery slope if we start putting nets around everything that a person could potentially use to effect their own demise.  There's not enough netting, webbing, and chain link in the world to prevent determined people from doing themselves in.  The folks in San Fran would do well to toss this mental jackoff (would it sound more genteel if I said 'masturbation' - just wondering) idea into the bay.
  • HuffPo's 'Divorce' column has an article titled: 3 Signs Your Wife Will Cheat On You.   "Zoie, 24, who began cheating just seven months into her marriage...36-year-old Kate, who cheated on her husband after five years...Bella, 48, began her affair three years into her marriage...Linda, 51, who divorced after 21 years of marriage but started cheating just six years in..."  Couldn't they just condense the list down to: 1) You're married to her - that's what a wife do, Ron Washington style?
  • The book I finished this week that purported to give advice about how to weather the impending global financial meltdown offers this sage advice, describing the New World Order Central Government: "We will need good and fair-minded leaders who place the interests of the many above the interests of the few. These people may be elected or volunteer.  There might be qualifications they must meet and their tenure might be months, years, decades, or life.  I don't know how all that will look.  But one thing I do know: They will be accountable for all their decisions to the people of the planet and they will be rewarded based on their results, not on expectations."   Now, that there is quite the blueprint for a successful OneWorld - those leaders are by gosh going to be accountable, even if there are no qualifications or tenure limitations.  Sounds well-thought out to me...
  • But it gets better: "I believe we will see at least one individual come forward to lead the group.  I think we will see a charismatic, singular global figure who will lead the world.  That person needs to be willing to stand up and step forward. That person lives today."  OK, dude, don't keep me in suspense.  Who is it?
  • Several paragraphs later, it's clear the author doesn't know.  "We have Mother Teresa.  We have Jesus Christ. We have Buddha.  We have Gandhi."  Oh my stars.  Readers of this blog know I am a Christian, but simply tossing Jesus Christ's name into a paragraph of pseudo-spirituality is an insult to Christianity and intelligence.  I wonder why he didn't just include Sting and Bono, as well?
  • A couple of chapters later, on the issue of health care: "...stop believing everything the doctors say.  Get second opinions for any treatment that will change the quality of life for the patients."  Look, I'm skeptical of the medical industry, but am I supposed to get a second opinion from a non-doctor?
  • By the end of the book, I realized I'd written more lucid term papers in high school, and in possibly one or two of my blogposts.  
  • Well, that latter might be a stretch...


el chupacabra said...

Well, I don't have to write my planned post about the suicide barrier. The thing that has to be stressed- the 70 mil price tag is BEFORE construction starts.

I don't like the thought of anybody suiciding but I look forward to the first lawsuit brought by a jumper who survives- with a broken spine caused by impacting the net.

The Donald said...

I'm all about saving other bloggers time and effort - the solution to writer's block.

To me, the price tag is immaterial. Whether the net were $26 thousand or $52 MILLION, the premise is, intrinsically, a dumb-d!ck idea.

I don't make light of the grief that the families/friends of 1600+ souls feel on the loss of their loved/valued ones - it's for real. But it's misguided and feeble minded to believe this will in any way prevent (temporarily stall at best) someone who wants to do themselves in.

The current incidence of suicide is symptomatic of a broken culture and a broken economy. Restoring both of those to health won't 'cure' suicide, but would diminish the rate substantially.

As noted in the post - if we start building fences/barrier around all venues/implements one could use to effect their demise, there'd be no end to it. It would be a grand failure, and, as you point out, fiendishly expensive.

I used to have a boss who cast nearly everything in an "80/20 rule" context. I sometimes make such analogies, but the instant case seems to be one of 'unintended consequences' - people in their sorrow latching on to a quarter-baked idea that won't ease their pain, and would open up a Pandora's box of additional problems.