Outspoken punk rock icon Henry Rollins, who writes a weekly column for LA Weekly, has penned a controversial 997-word missive on Robin Williams' recent death in which he said that he "simply cannot understand how any parent could kill themselves."
After beginning the lengthy editorial by recognizing Williams' magnificent career and undisputable talent, Rollins wrote: "It's here where I step off the train. I am sure some will strongly disagree with what I'm about to say. And I also understand that [Williams'] personal struggles were quite real. I can't argue with that."
He continued: "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.
"Many years ago, I lived in Silver Lake with a housemate who suffered from severe bouts of depression. When she wasn't in her small bedroom with the lights off, crying for hours, she was bright and hilarious. Anywhere we went, we laughed our asses off. She fought her depression with everything from bike rides to drugs, prescribed and otherwise. Years after the last time I saw her, I guess she could no longer keep up the battle and killed herself. No one who knew her was surprised. When she was in her deepest misery, she was unrecognizable.
"The hardest part about being around her was you knew there was nothing you could do to help."
Later in the essay, Rollins noted that "When someone negates their existence, they cancel themselves out in my mind." He added: "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. 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. In my opinion, that is 40,000 people who blew it.
"Fuck suicide. Life isn't anything but what you make it. 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."
Read the full essay at LAWeekly.com.