The Not Jumper

A jumper is somebody who jumps, and she didn’t jump.

On 20 March 2017 at about 17:00 EDT (21:00 UTC) I was driving home from my office, in a traffic jam, when I observed a woman climbing over the railing of the eastbound bridge over the Merrimack River. As the traffic jam progressed, I stopped in mid-lane, activated my flashers and emerged from my motorcar and walked toward her.

I asked her if she needed help climbing back onto the sidewalk, and she ordered, “Don’t touch me!” so I backed off.

I explained that I don’t know what it is, so I cannot offer her any advice about how to fix what is bothering her. Like, if she is having no luck getting a job, I might be able to talk to her about how to find a job. She replied that she doesn’t have her daughter. I asked if the child is in good hands and she replied that her mother has her.

Now, she was urging me to go away so I wouldn’t have to see it. She lamented that the world is better off without her, and I replied that her daughter would miss her. That’s actually taking a chance because for all I know, her daughter might openly hate her.

I hadn’t thought about that problem. Now, there is probably a way to solve the underlying problem, but I didn’t have time to think about what to say. Then I heard the siren. “Oh, no! Now here they come,” I observed.

The patrol car crossed the westbound bridge, then turned around and got onto the eastbound bridge, and stopped. The cop emerged. I may have gained some credibility with the woman when I said to her, “Oh, by the way, this cop doesn’t even have any authority, because this cop is Hudson PD, and you’re still in the City of Nashua on this half of the bridge.”

“Excuse me, do you know her?” the cop asked.

“No, I don’t. I was just trying to talk her down.”

“Yeah, well I appreciate it.”

Of course, the Nashua PD arrived, blocking lanes with their vehicles and then talking to the lady.

I know that cops do get some training on how to talk somebody down, but the sight of them swarming in could easily push somebody over the edge. Ever notice that the New Hampshire registration plates on cop cars don’t say, “Live Free Or Die”? Small wonder. Even so, I reported to an approaching Nashua cop that the woman is upset because they took away her daughter, who is with the woman’s mother. I returned to my car but could not drive away because the lanes were blocked by cop vehicles.

When the lady turned her back to them, two cops rushed in and seized her. Even an orthodox libertarian extremist like me was relived. It is that feeling, that emotion, that affection, that motivates busybodies to use gun-toting goons in bulletproof vests to seize a harmless person and prolong her anguish. Furthermore, if somebody does want to be taken to a hospital, she shouldn’t have to climb over a railing to get that.

It is physically impossible for a government to care about anything. Employees and even volunteers are only doing their jobs. Quite possibly, nobody cared about that lady’s plight until she climbed over the railing. Until then, I wouldn’t have known about her plight, either.

CLINTON GREENWOOD