18 January 2012

Gruesome, public Center City suicide mostly unreported

I'm not sure why I don't see this news item more prominently on local news sources:
Philadelphia Police are investigating the death of a man who plummeted from a balcony at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Center City onto the Benjamin Franklin Parkway around lunchtime Tuesday.

[...] Witnesses told police of a loud boom or possibly a gunshot around 1 p.m., before the man fell from a top floor of the hotel and landed in front of the T.G.I. Friday's restaurant on the 1700 block of the Parkway.
A friend of mine passed the scene after the man fell and before the police covered up the body. The top of the man's head was blown away and a gaggle of teenagers -- I'd guess Hallahan girls -- witnessed it all. It was pretty gruesome; made for an unprintable photo, outside of rotten.com; and my friend took the rest of the day off.

Could be that the news outlets are reluctant to report it because it was an apparent suicide (PDF), though some organizations are re-thinking that type of policy.

Bonus: a mesmerizing 2003 article from The New Yorker about the Golden Gate Bridge:
Survivors often regret their decision in midair, if not before. Ken Baldwin and Kevin Hines both say they hurdled over the railing, afraid that if they stood on the chord they might lose their courage. Baldwin was twenty-eight and severely depressed on the August day in 1985 when he told his wife not to expect him home till late. "I wanted to disappear," he said. "So the Golden Gate was the spot. I’d heard that the water just sweeps you under." On the bridge, Baldwin counted to ten and stayed frozen. He counted to ten again, then vaulted over. "I still see my hands coming off the railing," he said. As he crossed the chord in flight, Baldwin recalls, "I instantly realized that everything in my life that I’d thought was unfixable was totally fixable—except for having just jumped."
Perhaps yesterday's suicide was trying to make sure he didn't change his mind on his way down from the hotel balcony.

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