Thirteen years after he leapt off the Golden Gate Bridge, a memoirist still battles his demons.
Since the Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937, thousands of people have tried to kill themselves by leaping off. Only 34 have lived.
Kevin Hines is one of them. On September 24, 2000, the paranoid and hallucinating nineteen-year-old flung himself off the bridge in a suicide attempt. He fell 220 feet straight down into the bay, shattering his T12, L1, and L2 vertebrae and lacerating his lower organs. A Coast Guard boat pulled Hines from the frigid waters, and brought him to San Francisco General Hospital.
Thanks to an experimental surgery, the plunge into the water left almost no physical evidence on Hines' body. He has a few scars, but otherwise his body is whole again. Currently, he lives in San Francisco with his wife and dog. He's a comic book guy -- he has an original Uncanny X-Men signed by Jack Kirby. He loves to watch indie films. He exercises every day. He now works as a mental-health advocate, traveling the world to share his story in the hopes of preventing suicide. His first book, Cracked, Not Broken, a memoir of his life before and after his suicide attempt, has just been released.
Hines has experienced a lot of notoriety as a bridge-jump survivor. He was in the documentary film The Bridge. He sat across the interview table from Larry King on CNN. Every newspaper in town has written about him. He has spoken to audiences of school kids, corporate executives, and even members of the military -- 350,000 people have heard him speak in the last decade. But even though he has toured the world to share his story, Hines does not define himself as The Bridge Guy...