The column is rather indelicately titled "Fuck Suicide." In it, Rollins offered no shortage of praise for Williams' work as an actor, describing his Good Will Hunting performance as "unimpeachable" and "brave and excellent work." He further added that he thought of Williams as a "good man" for his involvement in United Service Organizations tours.
But he also denounced Williams' suicide on the grounds that he is a parent. Rollins wrote, "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."
He further opined that suicide reduced his enjoyment of an actor or artist's work. He wrote, "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."
Rollins aded that there are about 40,000 reported suicides a year, and that, "In my opinion, that is 40,000 people who blew it."
Read the full piece here.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of people have taken exception to Rollins' words. Many commenters have posted dissenting remarks on Twitter, and some samples can be read below.
This isn't the first time Rollins has condemned suicide; at the bottom of this page, see a video from one of his spoken word performances in which he takes a similar stance. In light of Williams' recent death, however, it's not too surprising that he has raised some hackles.
So disappointing to read Henry Rollins' thoughts on suicide. A dark reminder on how many people think suicide is a choice, not a condition.— Vanessa Costa (@TheDuchess__) August 21, 2014
Absolutely shocked that Henry Rollins delivered a less than nuanced op-ed on suicide and mental health.— aaron (@theyshootactors) August 21, 2014
cool stance on suicide, henry rollins, how badass of you to assume you understand other people's thoughts and motivations— Pixie Casey (@pixie_casey) August 21, 2014
What a bummer. @henryrollins man, what a terrible, narrow minded view on suicide & depression. Rely on facts and not your anger & grief...— Renee Asher Pickup (@RAsherPick) August 21, 2014
Don't you love it when someone you respect turns out to be an asshole? http://t.co/oWuRbEZuwO— Todd Johnson (@_toddjohnson) August 21, 2014
Henry Rollins article about suicide is shockingly unsophisticated. I hope he's open to hearing the answer to his uninformed question.— Jen Kirkman (@JenKirkman) August 21, 2014