Freakonomics Poll: Would You Stop Someone From Jumping Off a Bridge?
In the last Freakonomics Radio episode “The Suicide Paradox” (you can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or read the transcript here), we talked to a San Francisco cabbie with a long name who said something that caught our attention:
One night I picked up a guy, I think down nearby Tenderloin and he want to go Golden Gate Bridge. Must be 11 o’clock at night. And I said “okay,” so I drove on Franklin Street. He said, “You want to ask me why I go to Golden Gate Bridge this late?” I said, “No, but if you want to tell me I guess I will listen to it.”
And he said “I’m going to go and jump off the Golden Gate Bridge” and I said, “Okay.” He said, “You’re not going to stop me?” I said, “No, why should I?”
The cabbie doesn’t know what happened to his passenger, but he did call the Coast Guard immediately afterwards. Suicide isn’t illegal in the U.S., and as a citizen of a country that prides itself on individual rights – what would you do?