Is Suicide Cowardly? Selfish? Both? or Neither?
Chester Bennington, frontman of the alternative rock band, Linkin Park was found dead this past Thursday from an apparent suicide. It should be noted that Chester had suffered from alcohol and drug abuse problems as well as depression. He left behind a wife and six children. His death sent massive shockwaves that are still being felt by the music industry and fans of Linkin Park as well as those who too suffer from depression. Linkin Park were one of the first rock bands I got into and, “The Hybrid Theory,” was one of the first cds I ever bought and Chester’s vocal style was a huge part of what drew me to their music and ultimately rock music. This made his death feel like a personal loss to me. In the hours following the news of his death, I saw many comments by people on social media who called Chester’s act of suicide either cowardly, selfish, or both leading me to consider own thoughts on the subject. Is suicide cowardly? Is it selfish? Is it both? Or is it neither?
To say that suicide is a cowardly act is to say that a person who commits suicide is a coward. And to say that a person who commits suicide is a coward is to say that every person who commits suicide is a coward. So Chester Bennington, 41, is a coward for committing the cowardly act of suicide than so are Brandy Vela, 18, and Isaiah Gonzalez, 15, for doing the same. For this reason, I don’t think suicide is cowardly because that would mean I think everyone who commits suicide is a coward regardless of their age and the circumstances surrounding their suicide which I don’t. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents meaning those who do say those who suicide is cowardly are referring to teenagers far more than they are to lead singers of rock bands.
As I mentioned before, Chester suffered from depression and many felt that him committing suicide meant he wasn’t brave enough to face his life which grants the right to call him a coward. This justification I don’t understand for a couple of reasons. For one who are we to determine for another person what is too much for them to handle? Especially those that suffer from mental illness. Also by saying a person who’s killed themselves wasn’t brave enough is nothing but a stroke of one’s ego. It’s saying look at me my life is tough but I’m brave because I didn’t kill myself. I don’t want to use someone’s death as an opportunity to show how brave or tough I am. I also am uncomfortable determining what causes of suicide are cowardly. Brandy Velez was cyber bullied so bad that she shot herself in front of her family. Is commuting suicide because of cyber bullying cowardly? Isaiah Gonzalez killed himself playing the suicide game known as the Blue Whale game. Is not being able to say no to a suicide game you’ve gotten too involved in cowardly? I say no. And I say the same for suicide due to depression. I’d say suicide is a misguided effort to find peace.
Chester, also was a husband and father of six and adored by countless fans. Something those who called his act cowardly made sure to point out. But they also called his act selfish and that I completely agree with. In relieving his own pain he caused an unfathomable amount of pain to his wife and children. In ending his life, he forever damaged theirs. I don’t believe he never considered how devastating an effect his suicide would have on his family before ultimately deciding to go through with it. But regardless, his decision to commit suicide was undeniably a selfish act. And while I agree suicide is a selfish act, I don’t agree with stating it in the wake of someone committing the act. First because doing so doesn’t do anything for those affected by a family member or friend’s suicide. And secondly because if I’m going to go out of my way to call someone’s act of suicide selfish because they have a wife six children and fans then I need to go out of my way and say the same about the acts of teenagers such as Brandy Vela and Isaiah Gonzalez who have done the same. Brandy and Isaiah may have not had spouses children or fans but they still committed the selfish act of suicide. But you didn’t see twitter flooded with people calling their act selfish. Why? Because doing so wouldn’t bring them back and doing so wouldn’t do anything for their grieving family and friends. So why is it ok to say it about someone who was married, had children, and fans? It doesn’t bring them back or do anything for those grieving them either.
Whether you agree with me or not I know one thing we can all agree on is that suicide is a problem that we must solve. We must work together to make suicide no longer an option that people consider when life becomes too much for them to handle. One thing we all can do to make suicide no longer an option people consider is to be willing to listen. Too many of us aren’t willing to listen to those around us because we either can’t be bothered or are afraid of not having the perfect thing to say. However, those who are contemplating suicide aren’t looking for a magical phrase they are looking to be listened to and if the people around can’t be bothered to listen it will reinforce the lie they believe of not mattering to anyone. Obviously, there’s a lot more that has to be done if we want to make the suicide rate go down, but being willing to listen is a great place to start.