Reader Input

Legality/illegality won’t stop suicides

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It was a mystery why Auburn Journal had to editorialize way back in April its need to revise its estimation of the number of suicides that have occurred at the Foresthill Bridge. Understandably, there’s absolutely no way of knowing for sure how many have ended their lives there. But why did AJ even mention the miscalculation? Even just one bridge suicide is one too many. The 80-known deaths there are only the tip of the iceberg.

One of those 80 once had ties here. He left behind an eyesore on the bridge — his ladder. He needed it to climb over the suicide-proof, light lime-colored barrier fence that’s on both sides. It means the bridge isn’t just a Placer County problem, but a Nevada County one as well.

Most people are unaware that suicide is legal in all 50 states. Legalized suicide prevents suicides. Just ask the over 20 veterans who take their own lives daily. Or ask someone who intentionally kills himself every nine minutes in America. They’ll all tell you legalized suicide prevents them from happening. (Oops, they can’t, my mistake.)

On the other hand, making suicide illegal makes just as much sense in preventing suicide. If it was illegal, it would be a crime. And anyone found guilty of a crime is lawfully punished. So, murdering oneself would be a felony. One’s dead self might get the death penalty. Killing oneself would mean jail because the deceased might escape and go out and kill themselves again. And once found guilty of killing oneself, one would spend life (oops, death, my mistake again, sorry) rotting away (flesh-wise) in some prison cell somewhere. So, illegal suicide’s highly effective warning would be: “Do NOT commit suicide! You WILL lawfully be punished if you kill yourself.” It would prevent more suicides from occurring, wouldn’t it?

Undeniably, illegalization won’t prevent suicide just as legalization doesn’t now.

In any event, a bill making the suicide hotline number only three digits cleared the House in late July and is awaiting Trump’s signature. An easy-to-remember three numbers might save lives at the Foresthill Bridge and elsewhere. Trump should sign it soon.

David Briceno, Grass Valley