Henry Rollins Criticizes Robin Williams for Committing Suicide
Anyone who has even a passing familiarity with Henry Rollins‘ work knows he’s capable of working up a head of righteous indignation when the mood strikes — but few of us ever expected to see Robin Williams serve as the focus of Rollins’ ire.
That all changed after Williams committed suicide on Aug. 11, inspiring Rollins to dedicate one of his weekly editorials for the L.A. Weekly to a rant against what he views as an unforgivably selfish act. Titled ‘F— Suicide,’ it finds Rollins making an impassioned argument against taking one’s own life — and taking Williams to task for leaving his children behind to deal with the damage wrought by his death.
Opening his essay by lauding Williams’ talent and looking back on some of the brighter spots in his filmography, Rollins shared how, on more than one occasion, he’d play USO benefit dates shortly after Williams had been through the same area. “That’s all I needed to know about him,” he recalled. “As far as I was concerned, he was a good man.”
Now that he’s killed himself, however, Rollins is “off the train.” As he put it: “How in the hell could you possibly do that to your children? 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.”
While professing to understand clinical depression (“When you are severely depressed, it can be more isolating than anything else you have ever experienced”), Rollins drew the line at suicide, explaining, “When someone negates their existence, they cancel themselves out in my mind. I have many records, books and films featuring people who have taken their own lives, and I regard them all with a bit of disdain.
“Almost 40,000 people a year kill themselves in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — In my opinion, that is 40,000 people who blew it,” he added, and concluded by referencing the 1991 shooting death of his friend Joe Cole, arguing that “life isn’t anything but what you make it” and adding, “For all the people who walked from the grocery store back to their house, only to be met by a robber who shot them in the head for nothing — you gotta hang in there.”