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Who’s Matt Walsh And Why Is The World So Mad At Him?

Photo: Eyecandy Images for Thinkstock

Many of you have probably never even heard of Matt Walsh before this week, and maybe you harbor some strong ill will towards him because of his recent blogs on depression and suicide as a choice. I’ve followed his stories for awhile now and feel the need to help him clarify some of his points in his latest polarizing piece. I feel that misunderstanding (a word that I’ve come to loathe) is at the root of backlash he has received, some dissenters even ironically calling for his OWN suicide as a result.

The views expresseed below are the opinion of Keith James and not necessarily those of WODZ/Townsquare Media

 

Admittedly I thought his delivery could’ve used some revision before publishing his post, but Matt has a history of tackling issues surrounding current events and doesn’t type to invite outcry or target people. But, the outcry always seems to follow because he says things that go against the grain of popular opinion. Most recently he has tackled gay rights, abortion and animal rights, all to a reception of anger and now this…

Suicides are committed every day and while Matt’s position isn’t new, his blog just happened to have been triggered by the passing of a beloved actor that we all feel like we know personally. The conversation about suicide was going to be happening all over the world because of it and Matt seized the opportunity to shed light on a topic that he felt needed some revisiting.

He wrote a TON of text, both on the issue and in his own defense and I’ve taken a few of his quotes and put them together into one conclusive thought that helped me figure out where I wanted to stand on this issue…

There is no doubt that suicide, by definition, is a willful act. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be suicide. Suicide is a choice, [albeit] one chosen under great duress. ALL destructive choices are made under these circumstances. ALL. Every single one. The more destructive the choice, the more troubled the mind. If suicide is not a choice, why do we tell people not to do it? If someone is on the ledge about to jump and you cannot get to them in time, would you shout and try to tell them to stop, or would you accept that death is their fate and nothing can be done [similar to that of other potentially terminal diseases]?

There has been so much talk about mental illness and the main thought that just keeps nagging at me is that we’re all mentally ill really to some degree, aren’t we? We even joke about someone we know as being ‘crazy’ when they do something that seems dumb or incomprehensible to us. Another actor’s last words in what would be his final movie come to mind, referencing bringing down a hero…

 

 

Not to imply that Robin was at all ‘mad’ like the Joker means it, but the underlying principle I think applies. Here’s some other ironic words from the aforementioned hero that the Joker referred to before Gotham’s ‘white knight’ literally and figuratively fell to his death, brought on by his ‘push’: the murder of his sweetheart…

 

 

Again not to imply that Robin was a villain at all, but that he was plagued by some pretty harmful thoughts. I believe that we are all capable of doing what Robin did given the right set of circumstances and if we think that’s unfathomable, we’re fooling ourselves. I heard mental illness characterized this week as a virtual ‘cancer of the thoughts’ which seems like a common illness that all of us are afflicted by in different ways. But would you be willing to classify yourself as mentally ill? Me neither, but the ingredients are there and all’s we need is the heat turned up and which starts the cooking, first under the surface and then potentially boiling over. We find ourselves on unfamiliar and shaky ground asking questions and not finding answers which leads to despair and a whole host of other ailments.

So, in closing there’s much more that could be said but maybe we should all take a lesson from Robin’s fate. In the midst of all of the well-earned memorials that we are bestowing on him and his family let’s not forget that we are all human and do our best to protect our minds, because where our thoughts go, our actions aren’t far behind. Today, my thoughts center on what good Robin Williams did in life and my image of him is not tarnished in the slightest given his final decision. I just wish that while he was running around effortlessly drowning out all of our demons, that his own would’ve been silenced before they robbed us of him.

Next: My Tribute To Robin

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