Jumping to Conclusions

Letters published June 22, 2005

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Jumping to Conclusions
Bad tone and bad taste:
I was disturbed by the tone of your article ["Suicide Bridge," June 8]. You sensationalized the grisly aspects of these persons' deaths, showing disrespect for the deceased and their families. The point of the story was not apparent, aside from renewing their families' agony.

Reporting the number of fatalities and the fact that these unfortunate victims are landing in backyards, playgrounds, and businesses could have been accomplished in a more sensitive and appropriate manner. These victims are people with families, not merely shattered bodies shamelessly displayed to shock survivors and onlookers.

Lisa Kohler
Summit County Medical Examiner

Unforgettable and unfathomable: Good story. I grew up closer to the high-level bridge, where suicides were also not uncommon. I remember my best friend's mom helplessly watching someone exit his car and plunge. He hit the river, and it took a while to find him. Another time, we couldn't go play under the bridge for a while because a woman jumped and she hit the ground, but her leg was in a tree.

After 30 years, I still wonder why they did it.

Marc Roberts
Oswego, Illlinois

Insensitive and unedifying: Shame on the writer of "Suicide Bridge." Taking one's life shouldn't be handled with this kind of insensitivity. The writer traded an opportunity to educate about this country's third leading cause of death for a chance to glorify gore.

Dan Casseday
Lutz, Florida

Shocking and infuriating: As mental health professionals and facilitators of two Survivors of Suicide groups for those who have lost a loved one to suicide, we feel compelled to respond to "Suicide Bridge." The cover page was shocking, but upon reading the article, our shock quickly turned to rage at the callous and irresponsible nature of Denise Grollmus' reporting. We are saddened and disappointed that Scene played into the pervasive, negative stigma of suicide.

The front-page headline used the tragedy of suicide in a salacious manner to attract readers. The graphic, excessive details and constant mention of a specific suicide method can encourage copycat suicides in vulnerable populations, especially young people in crisis. We are puzzled as to what the point was of the article. Was it to use shock value to victimize the many of us who have lost a loved one to suicide? What is the purpose of identifying those who have died and then providing gruesome descriptions of their deaths? The residents living under the bridge, as well as Scene staff, obviously need some education regarding vicarious trauma, mental-health issues, and suicide.

At the minimum, Ms. Grollmus could have used this as an opportunity to list the warning signs of suicide or list the phone numbers of crisis hotlines (216-623-6888 in Cuyahoga County). We hope that in the future, Scene will treat the topic with more sensitivity and respect for those who are either struggling with depression or have lost a loved one.

Dianne Kirby Medvec and Lori Brady

Professional and factual: I just wanted to compliment you on Denise Grollmus' story on the Y-Bridge. Suicide's always a difficult subject to address, and she did it professionally, factually, and well.

So often we hear about the people left behind, but never those forced to participate against their will. Good story.

Eric Burkett
San Francisco, California

A TV show could help: Wow, what a great story. You should definitely get a national television show interested in doing its own treatment, so the neighborhood can get the help it deserves.

Avram Goldstein
Bethesda, Maryland

The American Way
Strippers, our first line of defense:
While I wouldn't want my husband to frequent gentlemen's clubs on a daily basis, an occasional visit for a drink with buddies or a quick lap dance or two doesn't faze me in the least ["Save Our Strippers!" June 15].

I do not dance, nor would I want to. It's a difficult job, with a huge lack of respect from the clients and the outside world. It may not be the normal dream job, and neighbors may not like the fact that these establishments exist, but we should be free to make choices.

It is said we have freedom, yet there is so much censorship in the entertainment business. When a little flesh is shown, it causes widespread panic! I believe we need to save our strippers and clubs, not because we do or do not like them, but because this is America. If we do not stand up for people who have different beliefs or morals, then what will happen when they decide to limit something that is normal and accepted?

We cannot just stand up for what we as individuals think should be right; we also must stand up for what everyone should have a right to practice or view.

Danielle Fortseras

Higher Powered
Healer's gift comes from the divine:
Thank you for the beautiful article on Dr. Nemeh ["The Divine Mystery," May 18]. I have been to two healing services and am so touched by this humble man through whom God has chosen to use his healing powers. Your article was very open and positive about the healing powers that are available to all.

Tina Ranta

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