Callous disregard for life

Apparently, the body count from last week's terrorist bombings isn't high enough to satisfy the blood lust of some of the 50 or so people who gathered on a sidewalk in downtown Reno on Tuesday to goad a California man into jumping to his death.

They succeeded.

Eugene Nunn, 61, of Citrus Heights, Calif., smoked a cigarette, emptied his pockets and jumped from a 50-foot support column over the Harrah's Plaza stage on North Virginia Street, according to a report in the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Among the last words he heard were four or five people in the crowd below chanting, "Jump, jump."

The negotiator who tried to talk Nunn out of his final decision told police the shouts of the crowd made it difficult to hear what the man was saying. Finally, police broke up the onlookers and continued negotiations. Officers spent about 30 minutes trying to get Nunn to change his mind.

Wasn't it just a week ago that we all watched in disbelief as the horror unfolded in Washington, D.C., New York City and a field in Pennsylvania. Weren't 5,400 deaths in an hour enough?

No one can say for sure that Nunn might have changed his mind, but here was a chance to save a life, a precious commodity every day but especially this past week.

Apparently the people who encouraged Nunn to jump were immune to the grief-stricken faces of the thousands of New Yorkers looking for their loved ones. Maybe they have missed the accounts of the exhausted rescue workers who won't give up the hope of finding just one person alive in the rubble of the Pentagon or the World Trade Center.

No, this subspecies of the human race was too busy on North Virginia Street on Tuesday night screaming for blood. And they got their wish. Try explaining that insanity to a dead paramedic's family in New York, the volunteer firefighters at the Minden airport who responded to a chemical blast that critically burned five people on Monday, or the negotiator whose best efforts to save Eugene Nunn's life failed to the cheers of a crowd.


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