The good news was that a police detective from SPD’s Crisis Intervention Team coaxed a woman from the ledge of her 4th story apartment in Belltown in downtown Seattle after several hours Friday morning.
This morning’s Seattle Times ran an interesting story on the tactics and skills of crisis intervention. What was disturbing was that the article also reported there were hecklers in the street below taunting the woman to jump.
I felt a sickening sense of deja vu. It was reminiscent of the scene in August 2001, when a young woman stood on the edge of the freeway railing over the Seattle ship canal and angry commuters shouted at her to jump. According to the Seattle Times article at the time, “responding officers were ‘shaken up’ by the insensitivity of the commuters.”
“Jump!” “Get it over with!” commuters shouted. “Life’s a bitch!”
Inside a Metro bus, passengers were swearing. “Everybody, including the bus driver, started saying, ‘Just (expletive) jump … and get it over with!’ recalled one passenger, stuck for two hours as officers closed first southbound and then northbound Interstate 5.
Granted, it didn’t rise to that level this time. It’s just disturbing that it even happened. On a positive note, the Seattle PI’s story focused on the positive – the people who cheered when the woman finally went back inside her apartment, the woman who stopped to say a prayer for her.
Hopefully, those and the officer’s will be the voices the woman focuses on as she gets well. I can’t imagine what it would take for life to feel so hopeless you’d be ready to jump off a building. Whatever the problem is, it isn’t worth your life, and things will get better.