Last Thursday old man Henry Rollins turned his attention to the complex and emotionally-charged issue of mental health and, more specifically, suicide, and approached it with trademark Rollins nuance. The column, entitled “Fuck Suicide“, addressed Robin Williams‘ death and pissed lots of people off with its focus on suicide as a supposedly cowardly act.
All of which is perfectly understandable! It’s unhelpful and untrue to characterise suicide that way. In response to the sizable online backlash, Rollins just posted this apology on his blog:
The article I wrote in the LA Weekly about suicide caused a lot of hurt. This is perhaps one of the bigger understatements of all time. I read all the letters. Some of them were very long and the disappointment, resentment and ringing clarity was jarring.
That I hurt anyone by what I said, and I did hurt many, disgusts me. It was not at all my intent but it most certainly was the result.
I have had a life of depression. Some days are excruciating. Knowing what I know and having been through what I have, I should have known better but I obviously did not. I get so mad when I hear that someone has died this way. Not mad at them, mad at whatever got them there and that no one magically appeared to somehow save them.
I am not asking for a break from the caning, take me to the woodshed as much as you see fit. If what I said has caused you to be done with me, I get it.
It’s the kind of thing he could have easily not responded to, so good on Hank for actually issuing an apology. Hopefully it’s actually made him reconsider what’s an appropriate response to this issue.
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