Any speculations that the United States is becoming a more violent and heartless country were confirmed, at least in Seattle, on Tuesday.

For three hours, police tried to coax a 28 year old woman from jumping to her death. Facing competition from angry drivers, the police couldn’t win. With insults and negative encouragement for the woman to jump, she did. As of this writing, she is in critical condition with head and chest injuries.

Seattle puts up a front that it’s some kind of progressive city until they hold the World Trade Organization conference or someone is incredibly depressed. This magazine doesn’t condone holding up traffic because of depression but neither does it condone suggesting death to someone who might actually agree.

Suicide, as a political act, is perfectly ok. Unfortunately, suicide is also a selfish act. Clearly, the woman wasn’t thinking about how her actions would affect thousands of people trying to get on with their lives but that’s the sad aspect of depression. Suicidal people aren’t thinking very clearly.

Since this woman didn’t read a Marxist manifesto or excerpts from Orwell or Huxley, it’s safe to assume that her suicide had nothing to do with ideology. She was threatening to make a permanent solution to her temporary problem and she heard the whole world essentially say, “the faster, the better.”

So who shouted out from their cars with encouragement of death?

Most likely everyone from the environmentalists to fundamentalists. Maybe if she were something completely irrelevant and utterly useless like a tree or a fetus, she would have come out of the situation unharmed.

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