First we had Willis from Diff’rent Strokes waiting all of seventeen seconds after the news broke to pat himself on the back for turning to God when facing adversity rather than taking the “selfish” way out. And now, blogger Matt Walsh was weighed in:
The death of Robin Williams is significant not because he was famous, but because he was human, and not just because he left this world, but particularly because he apparently chose to leave it. . . . It’s a tragic choice, truly, but it is a choice, and we have to remember that. Your suicide doesn’t happen to you; it doesn’t attack you like cancer or descend upon you like a tornado. It is a decision made by an individual. A bad decision. Always a bad decision.
Hmm, where to begin? “No $h!t, Sherlock” certainly comes to mind.
I mean, do we really need someone to stand up and point out that the suicide virus doesn’t just blow through a room and infect then kill people in a manner in which the victim is completely passive? Do we really need to be reminded that it was Williams himself that slashed his wrists and, when that didn’t work, hung himself with his belt?
And honestly, do we need to be told that this was “a bad decision”?
The response to Matt’s post, even from his fans, seems to be that he should stick to subject he understands (and that clinical depression isn’t one of them). Since I am not an expert on depression either, I would rather avoid that issue and reiterate what I said yesterday: Can’t we just grieve with a bit of class and compassion? What possible good can it serve to stand up, wave one’s arms for attention, and then insist that Robin Williams is selfish and uncaring, and what happened is all his fault?
Even if these points are all true (which I don’t think they are), is it really necessary to say them out loud, now, while the body is still practically warm?
I have suggested in the past that if there is a least-compassionate response to a given situation, leave it to a Christian to find it and trumpet it from the housetops. This theory seems sound when it comes to issues like immigration, war, healthcare, and economics, and now it seems like it’s holding up with respect to suicide as well.
The predictability of this would be comical if it weren’t so sad: High-profile guy kills himself; broader culture mourns and expresses sadness and support; Christian pundits seize the opportunity to point out that suicide is cowardly and depression is just sinfulness in disguise.
Meanwhile, God’s up in heaven facepalming and asking Jesus and Howard Zinn what’s up with how lame people are. . . .