Being a Knight of Columbus compels me to speak out on the 55 tragic deaths, by suicide, at Cold Spring Bridge since 1964. One of the essential tenets of the Knights of Columbus is to be of service to those in the community who are most in need. In addition, as a retired recreation management officer for the Los Padres Forest, it distresses me that the forest has become a place where distraught individuals are taking their lives.
The Friends of the Bridge say these individuals will find other methods if suicide barriers are installed. This stance is extremely problematic. Taking the most callous view of it, if individuals attempted to take their lives elsewhere it would certainly minimize the impact on the lives of CHP, Sheriff’s deputies, and Forest Service personnel who have to respond with red lights and sirens to each and every report of a possible suicide attempt at the bridge. In addition, rescue personnel risk their lives as they climb in extremely rough terrain to remove the bodies of those who have gone over the side. It is not a pleasant experience to remove a body that has fallen 154 feet.
Without barriers, suicide prevention at the bridge can only be accomplished with 24-hour surveillance. Recently an 18-year-old girl went there intending to take her life. It was a coincidence of fate that deputy sheriffs were driving by and able to convince her not to take the fatal jump.
It is imperative that the prevention measures be constructed as soon as possible.