Your First Thought?

Today a “jumper” leapt to his death off a 5-story parking garage across the street from me. He landed on a mini-van hood filled with a family and kids, bounced off and was hit by another car. What is your first thought?

1. A troubled guy who took his life. I feel bad.

2. He could have killed those kids. Jackass.

In many ways I think your answer says something about how we got to the current economic disaster we now face.

20 thoughts on “Your First Thought?

  1. Michael-

    Not to be complicated, but my first reaction was not as basic. Or should I say, my first reaction was not as ‘black or white’. People do things for so many different reasons, all of which can have a completely different meaning to each of us observing from the fringe. I feel badly for humans beings that for whatever reason feel as though their only choice is ending the life given to them. I also feel badly about the negative externalities which come as a result of something like suicide. Its a lose-lose situation in my eyes. In many ways, so is the financial crisis. I don’t feel bad for anyone that lost money, just like I don’t feel badly for anyone that doesn’t understand why they lost money during this economic disaster. I do feel badly, however, for people that were deliberately lied to, or who bought ‘mega-risk’ that was masked as ‘mega-saftey'(Goldman Sachs, AIG clients). The difference here is that we can sit on the sidelines and judge this “jumper”, holding him accountable for whatever damage he has caused by his selfish actions (there is nobody to back him up, or cheerlead his decision), but with Wall Street these days, it’s impossible to find true watch-dog-style judgement and accountability, or should I just say it DOESN’T EXIST. See Maria Bartiromo example you point out when she bailed on the interview. That is what pisses me off. Everyone can point the finger at the “jumper”, but nobody can, will, or does point the finger on Wall Street. Ultimately, you put your money at risk, and therefore it is “at risk”. But the lack of accountability just boggles the mind, not to mention the gross abuse of tax payer funds, buddy-buddy bail outs, and total federal incompetence.


  2. Well, I have a detailed opinion on this and it is here! 🙂

    I am generally on the same page with you, but where did so many people come to believe that institutions built on commission (which is nothing new) were moral or did the right thing? And if Wall Street scamming people is nothing new, what are the options to get ahead? That is one angle, among many, of my film.

  3. From the brief clips I have seen on your site, I think your cinematic work is going to create a lot of healthy discussion, and rightfully so. It is high time that the BS get labeled as BS, and we move forward trying to find solutions to your poignant question: “…If Wall Street scamming people is nothing new, what are the options to get ahead?”. I’m sure Wall Street already has an answer to that, and it’s called “time heals all wounds, out of sight-out of mind”. Something at the very core of Wall Street must change, and I just never see that happening. As for making money in the markets, when my 10 period ema crosses my 5 period ema, I know what do (and so does my computer) : )

  4. Wall Street won’t change, politics won’t change, people’s behaviour won’t change.

    As for the question, i have a mixed feeling. When you think of it you feel sorry and choose answer 1, but when you see how inconsiderate and selfish people can be then i defineteley choose answer 2.

  5. The wierd thing is that the jumper was an optimist. On his way down he was yelling “All right so far”.

  6. It is black or white. It’s a selfish action to take ones life without the consideration of others around you. why do it in public? Do it in the woods. Ultimately its about choice. Now I do believe the kids in the car that was hit by this gentleman will be irreparably damaged for the rest of their lives. The minivan driver/family should sue the estate of the “jumper” for actual damages to the car and counseling for their kids. Nothing more.

    No difference in the financial crisis. Put the perpetrators in jail and let their livelihoods suffer from the loss of wealth etc that they caused. Not one of them should be in their job anymore. Period. That would teach a lesson and may allow others to rethink their actions before proceeding down a path that may cause “time bombs”.

  7. Depression. That was the first thing to come to my mind. Obviously the guy was depressed, I wonder if economics had to do with it.

  8. Why is there “hedging”? 1 or 2. The “hedging” and indecision is what I expected…

  9. The driver of the car who hit him will probably be charged with manslaughter. And yes, I think that does say something about the many financial disasters current playing out.

  10. A troubled guy who took his life. I DO NOT feel bad.

    Everybody has to live or die with their own decisions. HE did what HE thought he had to in order to solve HIS problems. So be it.

  11. I think the only thing we have to realize here is that there is no winning “choice” and why “we” feel uncomfortable leaving something undefined.

    Ask not, which of these 2 thoughts was my first thought. Ask instead why do I feel the way that I feel, and what can get in the way of that?

    Ask, do my emotions cloud my understanding and if I could remove my emotions would there be any real understanding to be had?

    Ask is there really any “base” understanding at all or is there an infinite number of available understandings?

    Ask, it really even possible to “understand”?

    And ask, do I need to understand?

    The markets are created by basic human psychology and are traded by a mind with an infinite capacity to complicate just about any situation.

    Picasso said it took him a lifetime of painting to see with the clarity of a child. I guess the same might apply to trading.

    Our response to the jumper is also created by basic human psychology. If 95% of retail traders lose money in the market, then to really get close to the proper response to the situation above you will have to access the 5% of your psyche that stands apart from the masses, and I’m guessing you will most likely feel a little uncomfortable.

    If I were a speculating man, and I am, I would have to bet that your first thought wasn’t about the jumper…or the children…it was about yourself.

    Thanks for the great website.

    David John Hall

  12. I don’t see that this is a trick question. On the one hand, someone who had been given the great gift of life was driven to the extreme of despair (we don’t know why, financial, drugs, disease, mental illness) and threw away his life. By any measure, this is a tragedy.

    The “option” we are given is to think about some (insurance covered, most likely) property damage to a van and some risk of injury which never occurred. In this option I suppose we are supposed to scold the manic depressed, perhaps give them a booklet on how to commit suicide with the least externalities? “When killing yourself with a gun to the roof of the mouth, check first to make sure something durable is behind and above you which will catch the exiting bullet. If possible, pull the trigger during the busiest time of day so you do not wake any infants or elderly . . . ”

    How this bears on the current economic problems we are in is a complete mystery to me. We are in the current mess because Wall Street money bought off the regulators for at least 2 decades and several institutions had a de facto US taxpayer guarantee: Fannie, Freddie, AIG, Citi, GM, Chrysler, BoA. The taxpayer has also been tapped to pay off GS, MS, Citi, Deutschbank, UBS’s bondholders through the CDS tarp, talf progams. What this has to do with a jumper, a minivan or some unhurt kids is, as I noted, a mystery to me.

  13. I thought to myself:

    1. A troubled guy who took his life. He felt so bad that he cared neither for his own life nor the lives of others.
    I wonder how i might have helped him had i known how bad he felt? What cognitive thought processes led him to this point?

    Life is rarely black and white. Often we are all gulity of simplifying life to make it more palatable. But is an either/or mentality the correct way to view life?

    In my opinion it is not.

    THis is far too complex an issue to write off so simply.

  14. It is black or white, just like economy. Some Wall Streeters did bad? They go to jail. Some people took out dumb loans, they go broke. Why all the analysis? All this “analysis” is akin to fundamental analysis.

  15. If he would have killed the kids, would views be the same? And the only reason kids were not killed was “luck”. I say jackass with capital J.

  16. hmmmm michael.

    I am sorry to see you judge this man so quickly without knowing him or his situation. The fact that he killed himself is terrible. The fact that he potentially could have killed others makes him a man to be pitied, not hated.

    Please don’t embarass yourself by ignoring the wealth of medical evidence that suggests complex emotive and psychologial issues were at play.

    Just calling him a ‘jackass’ is poor form, dude.

  17. No one offers that explanation if THEIR kid was killed by a jumper. Agree to disagree.

  18. I agree with Michael…it is what it is. There are a million variables at play in the jumper’s psyche, his social network, his personal circumstances, his environment, etc. For an outside observer to state emphatically a single reason for the suicide is a joke.

    It IS like fundamental analysis. And if the same government regulators that keep sticking their noses into the economy analyse it, no doubt they’ll blame the shoes he was wearing and implement legislation forbidding vans from parking under parking garages.

    After which, they’ll give a speech about how these two things, shoes and vans, have been eliminated so that tragedies such as this need never happen again. And they’ll say they have increased the hope of a nation so no more people need to die so needlessly. And people will say, “That was a tragedy. Thank God for change!”

    I hope you get the point…

  19. It’s interesting to read the responses here and how most are trying to be politically correct. I’ll try to be more to the point. My answer is #2… and yes, the man IS a jackass. If he decides he wants to “off” himself that’s his right; he just shouldn’t put anyone else in harm’s way because of his decision. It’s bad enough he may be leaving emotionally destroyed family and friends behind.

Comments are closed.