Perhaps this should be a guide for future behavior…
By Fred Mills
Although former Black Flag/Rollins Band frontman Henry Rollins offered some much-needed clarity-amidst-the-politically-correct-fog earlier this week when he penned his “Fuck Suicide” editorial for the LA Weekly about Robin Williams’ death, he subsequently took a huge amount of grief, both on-line and off-, for his statements, which definitely did not sympathize with the depression/suicide crowd.
Today, then, he posted a statement on his own website apologizing for the hurt, aggravation and animosity he stirred up—clearly, the public response gave him pause, and his own personal response reflects the mind of a person who cares very deeply about his fellow humans. We’ll withhold taking sides in any of this, other than to say – it’s all a huge grey area for most of us, and there’s probably no ultimate right or wrong here. But the way Rollins handled this is admirable, and we think the whole world would run a lot better if more people would take ownership of their actions, words, and even thoughts rather than just put “stuff” out there without regard to their fellow citizens.
Below, read what Rollins has been saying.
Rollins’ original LA Weekly editorial (partial; see link for full content above) read: “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.”
Rollins’ later website posting read: “For the last 9+ hours, I have been answering letters from people from all over the world. The anger is off the scale and in my opinion, well placed. 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. I wrote something for the LA Weekly that they will post on Monday. I wanted to get this out at this moment. I am deeply sorry. Down to my marrow. I can’t think that means anything to you, but I am. Completely sorry. It is not of my interest to hurt anyone but I know I did. Thank you for reading this. Henry”
UPDATE 8/25: Today in the LA Weekly Rollins wrote a followup essay that expands upon his apology.