Things that piss me off

Man Dies Trying to Commit Suicide

June 1, 2011
San Francisco Bay, view from helicopter

Image via Wikipedia

That headline would be a lot more funny if it weren’t true. According to MSNBC a man waded into San Francisco Bay threatening to kill himself. He walked into the water until he was neck deep. Would be rescuers watched for nearly an hour until he died and then someone finally pulled him out of the water. The would be rescuers were firefighters and police who were not permitted to attempt a rescue because of budget cuts which eliminated water rescues. There were about 75 onlookers as well.

What the fuck is wrong with people?

Apparently the man inched out from the shore but kept looking back, presumably to see if anyone was going to try to stop him from taking his own life.

No one did.

I repeat – What the fuck is wrong with people?

It’s unbelievable that fire fighters and police wouldn’t step in, and blaming the incident on budget cuts is deplorable, but I would have thought one of the 75 onlookers would have DONE THE RIGHT THING and walked out and dragged the guy back to shore.

To add insult to injury – a witness to this horrible incident finally did brave the waters, after 54 minutes and the guy was face down in the water for some time, and pulled him back. What, he couldn’t have gone in the water 20 minutes earlier and pulled him back?

I don’t understand people anymore. Not that I ever did really but I always believed that if another human needed help one of us would be there. I know I would. We hear stories of people risking their lives for animals stuck in wells and other peril all the time and yet no one could walk into the water to pull this man out?

I’m not buying the budget cuts excuse. I take that back, I buy it but it pisses me off. We have too many rules and regulations to follow these days and I suppose we can blame the lawyers who sue for things like hot coffee and all that, as well as all the lawmakers who pass these stupid laws. Now they are trying to get a law on the books to prevent this kind of thing.

What happened to compassion and human decency? What happened to helping out your fellow man (or woman) in need? Why do we need laws to tell us to do the right thing?


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  • Reply Jayne June 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    You’ve said it all.  This is just beyond shocking and shameful.   Clearly, a cry for help from a desperate individual who probably didn’t want to die at all.  He maybe just wanted to know someone cared.  And no one did.  What a fucking world.  

  • Reply laughing mom June 1, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    That’s deplorable. If he jumped into the deep end of a pool – would they have just watched that too?

  • Reply Nicky June 1, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    There are laws that oblige people to help (the Good Samaritan law) but they aren’t federal so they don’t apply in every state. I think it’s pretty sad, though, when we have to implement laws to *make* people help a person in distress.

    • Reply Linda Medrano June 1, 2011 at 10:14 pm

      This happened about 10 minutes away from my house in Alameda.  It’s hard to fathom that there are no land/sea rescue facilities on this Island.  They did get the Coast Guard involved too (also based in Alameda), but the water was too shallow for them to bring a boat in.  By the time the Coast Guard got a helicopter up and over, it was too late.

      As I understand it, the man was very large (well over 200 pounds).  The police and fire personnel were hesitant to try and grab a very distraught large person who was trying to kill themselves.  A woman bystander finally swam out and dragged his lifeless body back to shore. 

      The entire Island population here is very upset and disturbed over this tragedy.  Things will change, but it is a shame it took something this dreadful to initiate the changes.

  • Reply 00dozo June 1, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    “We have too many rules and regulations to follow these days and I suppose we can blame the lawyers who sue for things like hot coffee and all that, as well as all the lawmakers who pass these stupid laws.”

    So, here you hit the nail on the head.  If, in the event a would-be rescuer (non-governmental)  saved such suicidal idjit and, in doing so, might have harmed him in any way, the rescuer might be charged with assault by the idjit for assault and/or impeding his right to commit suicide  (if that is a right)  –  or charged with manslaughter by the police for attempting yet failing in such rescue.
    Damned if you do.  Damned if you don’t.  It’s sad that such a litigious society must act this way.

    • Reply redheadranting June 3, 2011 at 5:25 pm

      I’d be willing to take that risk and so should the rescue people. I agree with what you are saying but I still think there are people who would have helped, though few and far between.

  • Reply babs (beetle) June 1, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    I really can’t believe this! I’m sitting with my mouth open. As a policeman or firefighter, faced with that situation I would have risked my job and acted like a human being, in order to save a man who was obviously in great need of help. It took a woman to get him eventually?  What is happening to people?

    • Reply redheadranting June 3, 2011 at 5:24 pm

      It’s the internet. I say that somewhat in jest but the truth is there have been all kinds of events where the internet has watched someone kill themself without calling for help, and even encouraged them to take their own life because they didn’t believe the person would go through with it or because they didn’t think it was true, that it was some act. We’re too cynical and too desensitized. 

      • Reply babs (beetle) June 3, 2011 at 7:03 pm

        I totally agree with the fact that we are becoming desensitised. There is so much death (in a mixture of forms) in movies and on TV that people aren’t shocked by anything anymore. Life has become far less valued.

  • Reply Boom Boom Larew June 1, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    This is the most disheartening story I’ve heard in some time.  That someone’s despair would be met with apathy… I don’t even have the words…

    • Reply redheadranting June 3, 2011 at 5:22 pm

       That the part that gets me too. The apathy. It breaks my heart that this man needed help, to know someone cared about him, and he didn’t get it.

  • Reply Frogsinmyformula June 2, 2011 at 2:27 am

    This reminds me of that story about the woman who was beaten on the street while an apartment building full of people looked on. We’ve become so immersed in reality TV that we’re just a bunch of fucked up onlookers.

    • Reply redheadranting June 3, 2011 at 5:21 pm

       That’s the case study in every psych class I took in college. Thankfully it doesn’t happen all that often and if I remember in that case everyone thought someone else had called the police. That was before 911 and cell phones. Now it wouldn’t happen because the video would be on YouTube before the person was dead.

  • Reply Don E. Chute June 2, 2011 at 8:57 am

    I don’t buy the ‘budget cuts’ and ‘he was too large’ excuses at all.  Those that watched this horrible event have lost their humanity.

    ‘He kept looking back….’  I don’t know about you but if I were one of those cowards, I wouldn’t be able to get that picture out of my brain, forever!

    I pray his poor soul is in a better place than the one he left.

    • Reply cardiogirl June 2, 2011 at 9:48 am

      Hang on, I missed the part that said “he was too large.” That’s harsh.

      • Reply Don E. Chute June 2, 2011 at 11:35 am

        So sorry, I didn’t clarify that remark.  It was ‘very large’ and it was from Linda Medrano commenting, as she listened to reports of the incident from Alameda, just across the Bay from S.F.  [see Linda below].

  • Reply Erin Pinder June 2, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Between political agendas and people being afraid of being sued I’m not surprised at this story one bit at all.  People are afraid to react nowadays with the fear of being sued.  And also, people just dont care anymore. They rather not get involved or watch and take pictures to post to twitter.  Sad very sad

    • Reply Erin June 2, 2011 at 3:26 pm

      and another thing 

  • Reply If I Were God... June 2, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    I see a lot of people in here with knee-jerk reactions and a lot of playing ‘pile on’.  Since somebody died in a sad sad way I understand the emotions but this was not the cut & dried situation so many in here are assuming it was.  A large man went out there on his own into frigid waters with a possible undertow.  This presents multiple life threats to any rescuer, even if they had cold weather gear and current training.  Worse, if this 200+lb man (suicidal/diswrought/angry/drugged up?) decides to fight or assaults the rescuer then an innocent police officer or firefighter could be lost as well.  Nobody can argue that this guy was in his right mind, therefore he was unpredictable in an already precarious environment.  The officers in charge believed there were too many risks and dangerous unkowns.  That doesn’t make them apathetic, or deplorable or whatever else the name-callers here are throwing out.  At the end of the day it’s still this: a man wanted to kill himself, and he did.  That’s where the primary blame lies.  Sad, but true.

    • Reply Linda Medrano June 2, 2011 at 8:49 pm

       I think that if you end up with dead rescue personnel as well as a suicide, the tragedy is even worse.  I don’t think it’s because nobody cared.  They just didn’t know what to do.  If they had gotten a basket from a helicopter and a couple of rescue swimmers there in time, it might have done the trick.  Or not.  If you see someone on a roof threatening to jump, the police or firefighters really can’t do much about it either.  It’s actually the same thing.  A jumper can drag a rescue worker with them and they really can’t be expected to take the risk. 

      • Reply redheadranting June 3, 2011 at 5:15 pm

        I understand what you are saying but I think if someone had walked out there and tried to talk him back in he probably would have come with them. Maybe not but at least he would have died knowing someone cared enough to walk out and ask him if he wanted some help and showed that they cared. 

    • Reply redheadranting June 3, 2011 at 5:14 pm

      From what I read he kept looking back, as if to see if anyone was going to come out and help him. I think he needed someone to show they cared more than anything. Still, someone went out and dragged his body in after he died. I know he wouldn’t have struggled with them while dead but seems to me someone could have gone out and talked to him at the very least. He might have walked back in with them if that had happened. 

      • Reply kathcom June 8, 2011 at 10:31 pm

        I’ve always heard that a drowning person will pull you under before you can save him. I see it as a reminder that I need to watch out for my own psychological self-preservation when no one else will. Though I’m sure I would have thought of this had I been standing on the shore, I’d like to think I could have enlisted a couple guys to go in with me to help. When you get one person in a group moving, others will follow. But I would do it knowing that my decency might be repaid with a lawsuit.

        The budget cuts are foul and probably cost that man his life. New York City is proposing charging a fee for ambulance service, even if you’re unconscious and bleeding to death. I hope I won’t be bankrupted by an accident. The truth about the loss of social services is ugly and easy to ignore–except when you see something like this.

        It’s easy to write this guy off. It sounds like he didn’t want to die.Even if he did  how could others stand by and do nothing? Did no one yell to him? Did anyone even try to talk him back with a bullhorn or something? Was he, in some way, entertainment for them? How else to explain going in to get him after he died.

        I thought this was a hilarious headline. As you said, it would be if it weren’t true.

  • Reply Margaret (nannygoats) June 3, 2011 at 1:40 am

    How about not letting the guy walk into the water in the first place? Because once he stepped into those frigid waters, I wouldn’t go after him. I’d drown myself or get hyperthermia (or is it hypothermia?) before I even got to him.

    • Reply redheadranting June 3, 2011 at 5:19 pm

      I think its Hypothermia.

      I’ve jumped into Lake Superior in January, had to cut a hole in the ice to do it, so it wouldn’t have been that cold. I would have asked for a pair of waders though. 

  • Reply Ferd June 3, 2011 at 1:48 am

    How could there not have been someone smart enough and brave enough to figure this out!? Could they not have gotten a boat, life preservers, ropes, whatever!! It seems like there was enough time to do it. All those people should have been running around, searching for a way, instead of shamefully standing around watching a human being die! Dumb ass fuck shits. No matter what anybody says!

    • Reply redheadranting June 3, 2011 at 5:17 pm

      I’m with you, I can’t imagine that no one could have figured out something but I also see the other side of this. How’s that for sitting on the fence? I wonder if they didn’t fully describe the situation in the article because the way I read it every one just stood there and watched though I am sure there was all kinds of activity. 

  • Reply Linda Medrano June 3, 2011 at 2:09 am

    Just because more information has come in.  The man was over 300 pounds and 6’3″ tall.  As he was walking out into the water, someone asked if he needed help and he replied that he was fine.  The 54 degree water did him in.  On normal summer days, the water is a lot warmer than that.  They couldn’t get a boat in although the Coast Guard tried.  The rescue swimmers and Helicopter had to go to San Francisco for refueling so it took longer than expected.  This was tragic as all suicides are.  But I really can’t point a finger in blame at anyone.

  • Reply Sandra June 4, 2011 at 12:29 am

    I can totally picture the guy walking out in the water while looking back, waiting, hoping for someone to stop him. Yup, this one was nicely filed under “Things that Piss me Off.”

  • Reply meleahrebeccah June 5, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    What? This is the most horrible story, I’ve ever heard. I am speechless. 

  • Reply Katherine Murray June 6, 2011 at 1:58 am

    Jen, I saw this story and was FLOORED.  Are they fire fighters following orders or are they FREAKING HUMAN!!  And the onlookers… WOW

  • Reply J. Bear Savo June 7, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    It’s all about the lawyers. Were there no lawyers, life would be much simpler.

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