July 3, 2008 · Updated 10:49 PM
Mr. Montanaro (Letters, June 10) proposes a fence around the Deception Pass Bridge to prevent suicide attempts and Judith Vaughn (Letters, June 14) believes we should just enjoy the bridges natural beauty.
I guess I am somewhere between the two positions. I have long thought the bridge exposed to walkers and sightseers an unnecessary risk. Over the last 20 years I have seen teenagers lean out dangerously over the water and young parents perch their infant children precariously on the railing while admiring the fabulous view. I cringe. My position is that we support construction of some kind of screen under the walkway which would extend outward some 10-feet so that anyone falling would be caught before certain death. This feature could be artfully constructed if open to bid with those requirements. Since it is owned by the state, it would be a formal bidding process.
I have reasons for standing closer to Mr. Montanaros position. For four years I served as one of the countys mental health professionals and have had the unmatched experience of talking down a potential jumper on the bridges ledge. I have talked with dozens of people who have attempted suicide and many more contemplating it. I feel I have even saved a few. Usually these attempts occur when a person is at the end of his rope and can see no other way to solve his problems. If there is an easy opportunity to end it, he might just take it. If he has the opportunity to think reasonably, often with a trained counselor, he will come to see there are various solutions to his problems.
It makes sense to me to prevent potential suicides if we can. I hope you will think about this issue and support an aesthetically pleasing guard of some kind to prevent using this beautiful structure in needless self destruction.
Dave Celio, PhD