Have We No Decency?

Matt Sayles/AP

Matt Sayles/AP

Robin Williams, beloved comedian and actor died yesterday. He committed suicide. His untimely death, like all suicides, is tragic and heartbreaking and fans around the world are mourning his loss.

Robin Williams put his all into the characters he played. His improv was incomparable, his wit seemed to roll off the cuff unstoppable.

Although Williams was frank about his life in many ways, including his problems with substance abuse, we know now that there was much we didn’t know about the man who gave us so much joy and laughter, and at times moved us to tears.

James Hamblin said of Williams in The Atlantic today:

The comedian carried insecurity and self-doubt with contagious intensity. He was so grandiose and wild that it would’ve irritated audiences to their cores had his eyes not betrayed an insatiable melancholy, imploring, please, I just want to be liked.

In Robin Williams’ suicide, we see yet again that fame and fortune doesn’t shield anyone from depression. It is a very issue often still coupled with shame and still so misunderstood by so many. I applaud those who have taken to the blogs and media and written about their experiences with depression and losing loved ones to suicide, since the news of Robin Williams’ death. Both of the issues are issues that I have experienced myself as well and the news of Williams’ death simply rocked me to my core.

However, the question that burns in my mind at this time is one directed at the media that saw fit to publicize the details of Williams death in a most graphic manner, as the media is wont to do. For anyone else’s suicide we wouldn’t learn of the details unless family members felt they wanted to share those details with others. Why should Robin Williams’ suicide details not remain private as well?

Have we no decency? Have we no sense of empathy for Robin Williams’ family and friends who are struggling through this most tragic loss?

Shame on the Marin County Sheriff for releasing the details and NBC News, the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, the San Francisco Gate, EOnline, and other media outlets for publicizing the means of Robin Williams’ suicide and keeping those stories on their front page for all to see. On a need to know basis, no one but his family needed that information. I am appalled at how callous our media has become. Most especially, shame Fox News Shepard Smith’s comments on Williams’ suicide which were so hateful and beyond the pale.

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About Pamela Leavey

Pamela Leavey is the Editor in Chief, Owner/Publisher of The Democratic Daily as well as a freelance writer and photographer. Pamela holds a certificate in Contemporary Communications from UMass Lowell, a Journalism Certificate from UMass Amherst and a B.A. in Creative Writing and Digital Age Communications from UMass Amherst UWW.
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