Henry Rollins Criticizes Robin Williams and Denounces Suicide in Scathing Column
Rollins, who said he believed Williams was a “good man” because of his performances for the United Service Organizations, was mostly critical of the late comedian over the effect his suicide will have on his children.
“How in the hell could you possibly do that to your children,” Rollins wrote. “I don’t care how well-adjusted your kid might be — choosing to kill yourself, rather than to be there for that child, is every shade of awful, traumatic and confusing. I think as soon as you have children, you waive your right to take your own life. No matter what mistakes you make in life, it should be your utmost goal not to traumatize your kids. So, you don’t kill yourself.”
Rollins doesn’t question the realities of depression and notes, “Depression is so personal and so unique to each of us that when you’re in its teeth, you think you invented it.” But the former Black Flag and Rollins Band frontman said he can’t respect anyone who makes the decision to take his or her own life.
“I no longer take this person seriously,” he wrote. “I may be able to appreciate what he or she did artistically but it’s impossible to feel bad for them. Their life wasn’t cut short — it was purposely abandoned. It’s hard to feel bad when the person did what they wanted to.”
He also takes it a step further. “When someone negates their existence, they cancel themselves out in my mind,” he wrote. “I have many records, books and films featuring people who have taken their own lives, and I regard them all with a bit of distain [sic]. When someone commits this act, he or she is out of my analog world. I know they existed, yet they have nullified their existence because they willfully removed themselves from life. They were real but now they are not.”
While Rollins’ diatribe has started a larger conversation about suicide, the reaction has largely been negative. Some celebrities have reacted on social media:
Always wanted to like and respect Henry Rollins but right now I'm considering killing myself just so I never existed to him.
— Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) August 21, 2014
Henry Rollins article about suicide is shockingly unsophisticated. I hope he's open to hearing the answer to his uninformed question.
— Jen Kirkman (@JenKirkman) August 21, 2014
Oh weird, did Henry Rollins show a lack of sensitivity?
— Jake Fogelnest (@jakefogelnest) August 22, 2014
In closing his column, Rollins referred to a statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that 40,000 people kill themselves each year. He wrote, “In my opinion, that is 40,000 people who blew it.” Read the entire column here.