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Yelling at Each Other About Robin Williams, Ann Coulter, Death, and God

How far do we take the concept of "uncontrollable urges"?

by
Kathy Shaidle

Bio

August 18, 2014 - 11:50 am
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Inevitably, Robin Williams’ suicide saw the “raising awareness about mental health issues” camp fighting it out online with the “he was a selfish git” crowd.

When the latter reject the “disease model” of addiction and mental illness — people like Theodore Dalrymple — they do so prompted by a laudable instinct:

They think depressed people or addicts use the “disease” model to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.

This is a bit like the New Atheists’ concept of “God,” as “an old man in the sky.” They proudly and loudly reject that concept, seemingly unaware (despite their alleged sophistication and superior education) that so do most actual believers.

Likewise, few addicts who accept the disease model (and not all do) use it as a “get out of jail free” card.

It’s called “How It Works” not “How It Lounges on the Couch Eating Cheetos and Watching Judge Judy.”

“What an order! I can’t go through with it” is right.

“Some of us thought we could find an easier, softer way, but we could not…”

Making amends, taking inventory, doing service and even prayer and meditation are exercises in responsibility and action.

Robin Williams apparently did all those things and stayed clean and sober for 20 years.

Then he “went out” in 2006 and was never the same.

“Cunning, baffling, powerful.”

Or, as Catholics like to say when they can’t explain something: “It’s a mystery…”

(If you say it in a somber enough voice, and include the “…”, it sounds satisfyingly deep.)

Top Rated Comments   
**Robin Williams did a stupid, irresponsible thing by killing himself — actions have consequences — and, possibly, couldn’t help himself 100% because he was not in his right mind.**

Whatever the subjective state of his soul, Williams did an objectively EVIL thing in killing himself. Not a "stupid, irresponsible thing," but an evil thing. The killing in and of itself is an evil act. Equally evil is the example it sets, which history and every study done shows that suicide is contagious - it leads others to do the same. There is a reason that suicide has been a criminal act under the common law for the last several hundred years.
The last thing that Williams did on this earth was to kill. In the end, Robin Williams was a killer. Many, if not most killers have some mental health issues. But that does not excuse the act of killing whether the victim is another person or oneself.
So, no, we do not presume upon the mercies of God and automatically assume that Williams is in heaven. Those who do are doing him no favors. Neither do we consign him to hell. Instead, we should pray that God forgive him this great evil.
If it was just him, that would be one thing. But suicide is never done in a vacuum. It is an intensely social act, with social consequences. Because of this great evil, others will follow. And because of the misguided and false mercy that some engage in to totally excuse any culpability on his part, others will follow.

4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Fail, I think you're an excellent example that there are, indeed, still character flaws.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are no character flaws anymore. Everything's a disease. Self-pity isn't really self-pity and stupid decisions and laziness that naturally lead to not feeling very good about one's self means it's Prozac time. How that different from self-medicating with heroin or drink to avoid facing one's own stupidity is beyond me. One can't learn by assuming one is never at fault.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (44)
All Comments   (44)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Maron is a HARD CORE Lefty... keep that in mind.
8 hours ago
8 hours ago Link To Comment
People don't appreciate what a crappy thing suicide is for those people who love and care for the person who kills themselves. While people in the public can take the 'family's official statement' advice and appreciate his life or whatever, I guarantee that every one of his family and close friends have been wracked with guilt since they found out. Thinking things like "is there something I could have done to stop this?", "did I say something to lead him to this?", "what could I have done to be a better relative/friend/whatever?", "did my behavior enable him to do this?". Don't forget also that someone has to find the suicide's dead body and, in horror and confusion, cut him down or whatever.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
I know Kathy is not over-fond of G.K. Chesterton, but in the circumstances, I think this is one of the best possible counter-commentaries on poor Mr Williams's death. (And no, it would not help someone who is already suicidally depressed, but it might be useful to some on the brink of such a depression):

The gallows in my garden, people say,
Is new and neat and adequately tall;
I tie the noose on in a knowing way
As one that knots his necktie for a ball;
But just as all the neighbours–on the wall–
Are drawing a long breath to shout “Hurray!”
The strangest whim has seized me. . . . After all
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

To-morrow is the time I get my pay–
My uncle’s sword is hanging in the hall–
I see a little cloud all pink and grey–
Perhaps the rector’s mother will *not* call–
I fancy that I heard from Mr. Gall
That mushrooms could be cooked another way–
I never read the works of Juvenal–
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

The world will have another washing-day;
The decadents decay; the pedants pall;
And H.G. Wells has found that children play,
And Bernard Shaw discovered that they squall,
Rationalists are growing rational–
And through thick woods one finds a stream astray
So secret that the very sky seems small–
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

ENVOI

Prince, I can hear the trumpet of Germinal,
The tumbrils toiling up the terrible way;
Even to-day your royal head may fall,
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

p.s. The "Envoi" part of a poem is an old tradition in which the poet addresses a message to his "ruler" - which might be his beloved (in the troubador tradition) or his patron, in the hope of obtaining some benefit. In this case, I think Chesterton is teasingly pointing out that whatever tyranny the speaker of his poem may live under, "even today, your royal head may fall."
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
**Robin Williams did a stupid, irresponsible thing by killing himself — actions have consequences — and, possibly, couldn’t help himself 100% because he was not in his right mind.**

Whatever the subjective state of his soul, Williams did an objectively EVIL thing in killing himself. Not a "stupid, irresponsible thing," but an evil thing. The killing in and of itself is an evil act. Equally evil is the example it sets, which history and every study done shows that suicide is contagious - it leads others to do the same. There is a reason that suicide has been a criminal act under the common law for the last several hundred years.
The last thing that Williams did on this earth was to kill. In the end, Robin Williams was a killer. Many, if not most killers have some mental health issues. But that does not excuse the act of killing whether the victim is another person or oneself.
So, no, we do not presume upon the mercies of God and automatically assume that Williams is in heaven. Those who do are doing him no favors. Neither do we consign him to hell. Instead, we should pray that God forgive him this great evil.
If it was just him, that would be one thing. But suicide is never done in a vacuum. It is an intensely social act, with social consequences. Because of this great evil, others will follow. And because of the misguided and false mercy that some engage in to totally excuse any culpability on his part, others will follow.

4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
All our times have come
Here but now they're gone
Seasons don't fear the reaper
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain..we can be like they are
Come on baby...don't fear the reaper
Baby take my hand...don't fear the reaper
We'll be able to fly...don't fear the reaper
Baby I'm your man...
Valentine is done
Here but now they're gone
Romeo and Juliet
Are together in eternity...Romeo and Juliet
40,000 men and women everyday...Like Romeo and Juliet
40,000 men and women everyday...Redefine happiness
Another 40,000 coming everyday...We can be like they are
Come on baby...don't fear the reaper
Baby take my hand...don't fear the reaper
We'll be able to fly...don't fear the reaper
Baby I'm your man...
Love of two is one
Here but now they're gone
Came the last night of sadness
And it was clear she couldn't go on
Then the door was open and the wind appeared
The candles blew then disappeared
The curtains flew then he appeared...saying don't be afraid
Come on baby...and she had no fear
And she ran to him...then they started to fly
They looked backward and said goodby...she had become like they are
She had taken his hand...she had become like they are
Come on baby...don't fear the reaper

BLUE OYSTER CULT
"(Don't Fear) The Reaper"
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dogshit lyrics and concept. A suicide anthem... follow it, Jackass.
8 hours ago
8 hours ago Link To Comment
As your obviously deep reading has doubtless also taught you, not every objectively or materially evil action is a morally culpable action. In cases like this, we do well to refrain from presumption about the moral culpability of a man harried by both depression AND (widely shared) personal flaws ... and from idle, foolish guesswork about which might have played the greater role. Wisdom and charity are on the same page here.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Many, if not most killers have some mental health issues."

Soldiers. Police officers. Vets who put down animals. Evil?

Care to elaborate?
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
How IS 6th grade?
8 hours ago
8 hours ago Link To Comment
Context.

His meaning was clear.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
So, is suicide okay or not? Good or Bad? Helpful or hurtful? To be encouraged or discouraged?
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes. Why do so many people insist reducing everything to "which is it, A or B?" The world isn't like that. The human mind isn't like that. Even morality isn't like that.

If you want clarity, join a Religion and believe what it tells you to believe. You won't get clarity by observing Reality. All you'll find there is chaos.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ms. Shaidle,

You pile on Catholicism endlessly ( Apparently with your 'Catholic knowledge' and your still-undisclosed Divinity PhD 'Catholics' resort to 'it's a mystery', every Catholic priest is like the non-questionable residents of 'The Prisoner' t.v. series whereas no Patrick McGoohan character exists and to keep the ball rolling to your ridiculous condescension - all us Catholics believe men used to live for 600+ years amongst other things..!)

Your banter is ridiculously sanctimonious and insulting. Much like the Bryan Preston op-ed you'd provided a link to. I HIGHLY recommend you read, perhaps again - the most liked comments from Preston's article. You may find them 'enlightening') providing intellectually dishonest, milquetoast-like Catholic references to suicide.

Your 'Catholic findings' for we 1.5+ billion peoples beliefs: Some milquetoast-like links you KNOW are milquetoast yet sell as being 'thee church's view'.

I'd recommend a few lecturers, speakers I'd listened to and read from U.S. Catholic magazine through the decades but apparently your highlighted, not even 'Cliff Notes' worthy links suffice for your ahem, 'Catholic knowledge'.

FYI, each and every Priest I've known (obviously I'm not alone in that regard) throughout my life here and abroad use the church's code, teachings as more of a guideline.

You know, precisely how EVERY business/ conglomerate/ corporation etc., worldwide operates.

The aforementioned have a myriad of SOP's though ALL company's/ corporations underlings stray from said-SOP because it's either dated, ridiculously blanketed actions for a myriad of differing situations, the supposed resolution cannot be met with that protocol etc.,

I don't and never have claimed to have the answers (poet, philosopher Rumi has a fascinating poem about 'knowing') but to use such shallow, intellectually lacking references for conclusions.. I may as well have been reading Obama's infamous '09 Cairo speech for 'validity'.

You then sum up your ridiculous summation with a 'Kids in the Hall' reference.

Bravo.. / :


(show less)
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry for asking, but what was your point? Were you trying to say you think Kathy is, doctrinally speaking, full of s**t? Or that you don't like the Catholic Church? Or that you don't like the way businesses do business? Was there an idea in there someplace? If so, please identify it.

4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
No problem at all.

I was trying to convey Ms. Shaidle going to great lengths, though lacking in any form of knowledgable content in that regard in her feeling some sort of moral duty to uphold Mr. Williams actions (TBH I couldn't care less how Mr. Williams met his end).

In the process she takes some juvenile, swing-n-miss digs at the church.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wow your reading comprehension skills are exceptionally poor.

So I take back what I said earlier.

You couldn't possibly have gone to Catholic school...
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ahh yes, your other comment regarding the nun & rulers, yet another dig at the expense of the church no less. And in your next response (in which I was responding to another poster..) the stereotyped Catholic school system is better, beyond me.

Wow.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
So what was the name of the nun who hit you with a ruler?

4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ignoramus public school moron. Puke up more of your drivel... you're a prime example of a pre-formed useful idiot.
8 hours ago
8 hours ago Link To Comment
Ah yes, ad hominem to fit your evermore convoluted conjecture.

FYI I'd never attended any form of religious education institution.

This seems to be a go-to for many born-again Conservatives.. MANY can't quite let go of their illiberal smugness.

It's glaringly apparent with many of the PJM writers.

Nonetheless 'thanks' for your emotionally-based screed.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Or, as Catholics like to say when they can’t explain something: “It’s a mystery…”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0yXqU-w9U0
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's a lot I'd like to say about suicide and I won't. Too many relatives and friends chose that path.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't deny that there is a profound chemical imbalance in the brains of people who are depressed, seriously depressed, but that doesn't change my contention that suicide is still one of the most profoundly selfish things you can do. The people around you who love you do so in spite of your depression and illness, and when you take your own life to ease your pain, no matter what you may think, you are not doing them any favors, you are only inflicting your pain on them and widening the misery and suffering outward rather than trying to let in their love and trying to let it help buoy you up and carry you through.

The time in my life when I briefly contemplated suicide, it was my love for family and their love for me that carried me.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dang you, Kathy Shaidle! How dare you bring clarity and contemplative commentary to such volatile issues.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
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