the luminous veil of safety

Suicide is an illness and it is not something within the person’s control. Anything they can do to prevent suicide is going to save lives, and I think they have a responsibility to do that since the technology exists,” said barrier advocate Lindsay Hill, a lawyer, wife and mother who has personally suffered from mental illness. “Sometimes you walk down to the platform and you hear the silence and you hear the rushing wind, and that calls to you,” she told the commission. – Toronto Star.

As far as I’m aware, suicide is an action.  Depression is a disorder. Bipolarity is a disorder.  Anxiety is a disorder.  Suicide is an action. The point is that suicide is something that can be prevented, but not cured.  Depression can be treated, so can anxiety. Even bipolarity (although controversial) can sometimes be tamed to a liveable degree (arguable, and different for different people).  These are issues with the biological and/or mental functions in people.  Suicide is a way out for those and other people, whether it be a quick “knee-jerk” reaction or a long thought-out process.   Either way, it is something that can usually be prevented, whether those disorders are present or not.  I am of course supportive of preventative measures, but glass walls and crosses on bridges are not going to stop anyone from committing this action.

Spending $10 million per station on “suicide-barriers” for the TTC is not within the city’s $21 billion dollar deficit of a budget, and while that may have little to no bearing regarding people’s lives, it’s something that is there whether we like it or not.  And while, yes, human lives bear no cost, the suicide barriers on the Bloor Viaduct only cost $5.2 million or so.  I’m not here to argue against suicide barriers, except that I’ve seen no proof that they work, so…. maybe I am, more or less. Right now, the only people benefitting from this more than half a billion dollar project is the TTC – the public will have to pony up the money if Daddy’s (see: Harper) money runs short.  So we’re picking up the tab.  Again.  For something that is just going to stop people from killing themselves on TTC TRACKS.  Nearly $700 million. If we had that money, I wouldn’t have a problem.  But we don’t. And 700 million for something that doesn’t even stop people from killing themselves, but just moves them over a couple blocks? Give me a break.

I have not been able to find a statistic or a study that proves that suicides have decreased in Toronto as a result of the erection of the “Luminous Veil” (on Bloor Viaduct).  No study has been commissioned, but since people stopped jumping off that bridge, I guess that keeps people satisfied. As long as they don’t stop traffic, I guess, then they can go die wherever the hell they want to.  This has come to be a more than expected thing from the TTC nowadays – ignoring the issues and planning to spend more money while coming up with a whole bunch of bull to feed the press.

I’d rather we invest the millions and millions of dollars we’re going to spend building glass walls and timed arrivals into mental hospitals and psychological programs.  I’d rather we invest time as a people talking to each other, seeing how everyone actually is feeling in their lives, instead of putting up these barriers.   There’s always going to be things in this world with which we can kill ourselves.  There’s not always going to be a reason for which to kill yourself.

So why don’t we try being that reason to not? Instead of trying to take away all the things that can?

-Arina

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