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Robin Williams’ Apparent Suicide — Ending Misery at Others’ Expense

Richard E. Vatz

     Robin Williams is reported to have committed suicide, and if you want to read a good journalistic report of his life, you cannot do better than /The Baltimore Sun’s/ David Zurawik.

      I, however, had two reactions: first, I wondered if it were certain that he intentionally killed himself.  Second, if he did, it is just indefensible, assuming he was not in intractable pain or suffering from a deteriorating illness.  He has family and is beloved by millions.  Again, if he took his own life and if there is no excruciating physical pain or aging condition as the cause, it is just self-centered and irresponsible.  

     I’m sure he was depressed.  People get depressed, but they are not the only people in the world to be considered in the decision to end one’s life.

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     I shed not a tear for Philip Seymour Hoffman — an extraordinarily talented, self-indulgent actor who put everyone else beneath himself in his concerns.

     Suicide and drug abuse to relieve misery has multiple victims, but not among them is the person who kills himself or herself.

     For one of America’s most compelling role models to communicate to so many who identify with him that suicide is an acceptable life-managing strategy puts a damper on his legacy of humor to say the least and his decency as well.

     When kids ask, “Mommy and Daddy, who was that funny guy, Robin Williams?” the answer will always include a devastating caveat.

Prof. Vatz is the author of The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion (Kendall Hunt, 2013)

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