Monday 24 April 2017

A desperate young man teeters on a ledge, onlooker asks 'why is he doing this to us?'

A man balances on the roof of the six-story high Ulster Bank building on Dame
Street. It was four hours before things were brought under control. Photo: Barbara Lindberg
A man balances on the roof of the six-story high Ulster Bank building on Dame Street. It was four hours before things were brought under control. Photo: Barbara Lindberg

Damian Corless

To stand there on Dame Street yesterday, head craned upwards along with a thousand others, was to know what it was like to feel utterly, stupidly, helpless.

High above, teetering on a rooftop ledge, a disturbed young man stripped to the waist was threatening to jump. The authorities had cleared the stretch of street below him, and it was assumed (correctly) that there were people on the roof trying to talk him down, but for now his life was in the balance, and there was nothing anyone could do to help.

So there you are. You've stumbled into a situation. You can't do anything useful, so what's the right thing to do? Is there a right thing to do? Should you stay rubber-necking until there's closure, one way or the other? Or should you walk on by, because it looks like it's not going to end well and who needs that?

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