Henry Rollins Slams Robin Williams For Suicide: If You Kill Yourself, You “Blew It”
In an essay for L.A. Weekly, the musician and media personality explains that while he appreciates the late actor’s talent and thought he was a “good man” for performing for troops, “it’s here where I step off the train.”
Rollins writes, “I am sure some will strongly disagree with what I’m about to say. And I also understand that his personal struggles were quite real. I can’t argue with that.”
“But I simply cannot understand how any parent could kill themselves.”
The rocker continues:
“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.”
“I know some people will disagree,” admits Rollins. “And I get that you can’t understand anyone else’s torment. All that ‘I feel your pain’ stuff is bullsh*t and disrespectful. You can appreciate it, listen and support someone as best you can, but you can’t understand it.”
He goes on to say, “Depression is so personal and so unique to each of us that when you’re in its teeth, you think you invented it. You can understand your own, but that’s it. When you are severely depressed, it can be more isolating than anything else you have ever experienced. In trying to make someone understand, you can only speak in approximation. You are truly on your own.”
But even though he once had a housemate whose depression eventually led her to kill herself, Rollins doesn’t understand or forgive the act.
“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 distain. 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.”
“I no longer take this person seriously. 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. It sucks they are gone, of course, but it’s the decision they made. I have to respect it and move on.”
“Almost 40,000 people a year kill themselves in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” says Rollins. “In my opinion, that is 40,000 people who blew it.”
A number of people — starting with the commenters on his own story — took issue with Rollins’ less-than-sensitive approach to the topic.
Some celebrities were also outraged.
“Henry Rollins moronic comments about Robin Williams reveal why most people don’t connect with his work. He’s a fool and a blowhard,” tweeted Judd Apatow.
Tom Arnold added, “Always wanted to like and respect Henry Rollins but right now I’m considering killing myself just so I never existed to him.”
What do you think about what Rollins said?