On the 29th of April, 2014, my beautiful son Cooper Beacom took his own life by jumping off the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. He was 23. My 16 year old son Keaun, Cooper's best friend Bowdy, and I were there trying to rescue him. The three of us witnessed him jump over an inadequate railing. Cooper genuinely loved his family and friends, he was generous and caring, and not the type of person that anyone could have imagined would do this. He was having a bad moment, and the bridge made the momentary thought of ending his life become a horrible reality, because there are not safety barriers and it was too easy to jump. A split second bad decision ended his life. Words cannot explain the pain left behind from this tragedy.
The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is one of America’s highest and most famous bridges, the route 64 crossing of the Rio Grande near Taos, New Mexico was completed in 1965. It is 565 feet from road deck level to the normal surface level of the river. It is a popular scenic destination spot for tourists visiting the area, and unfortunately because the rails on the bridge are so low (only 47 inches high), it sadly has also become a popular destination for suicides. It is unclear exactly how many suicides there have actually been. Firefighters have had enough, and stopped counting. Nothing has been done to make the bridge safer or to deter future suicides since it was built almost 50 years ago.
We have formed the Gorge Bridge Safety Network in Cooper’s memory with hopes that we can make sure that better safety barriers are installed, to prevent more tragedies continuing on into our future. Attempts have been made in the past to get safety barriers added, but unfortunately none have succeeded.
Please help us by signing the petition so that safety barriers can finally be installed on the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.
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