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Suicide and Political Correctness

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Here's Lee in Modesto, California.  Great to have you on the program.  Hello.

CALLER:  Good morning, Rush.  How you doing?

RUSH:  Just fine, sir.  Thank you.

CALLER:  What an honor.  I wish I was calling under better circumstances, but about three months ago my brother took his life. He hung himself similar to what Robin Williams did, and he lived in the Bay Area county not too far from where Robin Williams lived. And after the fact my parents and family tried to get information from the authorities, and they were stonewalled.  And through it all they kept asking for reports. The coroner said there was no blood work done, blood was taken, and my brother had been on some medications, half of which we know cause suicidal tendencies.  They've been stonewalled the whole process. 

And I told my mom, I said, "You know, maybe my brother, your son, should have been a movie star," because every time something like this happens, we hear about it immediately. We would have got more information had he been famous.  They've gone and checked with everybody what they could get, and they were told that they can't release the information because they're protecting the identity of the victim.  My mom said, "The victim is dead.  We want to know, as his family, what was in his system? Why did he do it? Did he take too much medication? What went on?" And nobody would give them any answers.  And they're still at that point, trying to get information.  So when I heard about Robin Williams, I called my mom, I said, "Did you hear about Robin Williams?"  And she said, "Yeah," and it started all over for her, and --

RUSH:  Maybe it's different from county to county, but Marin County, they have to release the details.

CALLER:  Well, they said this was a state law to us.

RUSH:  Okay.  Well, Lee, hang on.  I've gotta go.  I'm really out of time here.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Is Lee still with us?  Lee, I ran out of time and I didn't want to just complete the call there on your note.  I wanted to come back to you for just a brief moment here before you had to go.  The circumstance that you were faced with -- did you say that your brother committed suicide?

CALLER:  Yeah, middle-aged, just a few years younger that Robin Williams.

RUSH:  Right.  Right.  And they wouldn't tell you any details, and yet --

CALLER:  No.

RUSH:  -- you saw every detail announced.

CALLER:  I mean, like I said, my parents are in their eighties and it really traumatized them all over again because here they're hearing specifics about how Robin Williams died, you know, the rigor mortis setting in and everything. And my parents had just seen my brother that day, and when they got the call that night, obviously, very traumatic, and to hear and have all these questions about what had happened, what was in his system, what pushed him over the edge because they had just seen him --

RUSH:  Well, wait.  We don't know that about Robin Williams.

CALLER:  I know.  I'm talking about my brother.

RUSH:  Yeah, but --

CALLER:  And then just to hear about Robin Williams being found in that position and all of these kinds of things with cuts on his wrists and all that, my parents are wondering, "Gosh, what did our son go through?  You know, what are the authorities not telling us?"  And that was very frustrating to hear.

RUSH:  That's understandable, because everything I've read says that state law -- and the USA Today report that is filled with disgust that the details were released --

CALLER:  Exactly.

RUSH:  -- makes it plain that it is -- the county, the officials in the county, Marin County, say, "We're required by law to tell you this, so don't get mad at us."

CALLER:  That's what we tried to tell the authorities, and they're like, "No, we're protecting the rights of the victim."  And we said, "The victim is dead.  What's he gonna care?"  He's in heaven now, you know?  Probably looking down at us laughing.

RUSH:  That's not altogether uncommon in a lot of legal circumstances.  Although I understand the conflict that you're going through.  I don't have an answer for you. 

CALLER:  Oh, I know.  I just wanted to share that with you. I mean, and the whole issue of mental health and people questioning why he did it, you know, that one split second when they make that decision to say, "You know what, it's not worth it anymore."  That's one of the issues that I don't think a lot of people take a look at, is the desperation that Mr. Williams may have been going through.  You know, like you said, the money, none of that's worth it in the long run.  We're who we are, and our family had rallied around my brother prior to this, and it's just, when it comes down to it, you're gonna leave this earth the way you came in:  naked and, you know, going back to your creator, if you believe in that.

RUSH:  That's altogether true.  Well, I'm frustrated because I wish I did have an answer for you.  I can understand you'd want to know why.  You'd want to know the tox report. You'd want to have all those details.  I'm stunned that they're not releasing that to the family.  Maybe you'll get it at some point if you keep pressing it.  But I sympathize with you.  I really do.  I checked the e-mail during the break, and none of it is crude, none of it was caustic or any of that, but there was one, "Well, what would you do different?  I mean, you're sitting there and you're ripping the media and all these other people for what they're doing.  What would you do different?" 

I'll tell you what I would try to do different.  I wouldn't say and I wouldn't report, with anybody who committed suicide, that that means the world must be wrong.  I wouldn't do anything that justifies it.  If it were up to me to tell people about this, I would do it with a note of sadness and disappointment and how it's not the answer and a number of other things.  I wouldn't glorify it.  I would not celebrate it.  I would not suggest that, for example, the world has become so negligent that the best and brightest among us have to check out.  I wouldn't do that. 

I would try to take the occasion and make it a teachable or learnable moment for other people in that circumstance.  I certainly wouldn't want to characterize it as something people would want to emulate and copy to get fame or notoriety or what have you.  But I understand why they do it.  Robin Williams was one of their heroes and the left is gonna put every accredited member of their tribe in the best light possible in every circumstance. 

I mean, look at Dan Rather. Dan Rather gets caught making up a news story, making it up, George Bush and the National Guard.  And when it was uncovered that he had made it up and that there were forged documents, what did the left do?  They gave him an award for journalistic excellence in order to protect the news business, to protect the image of journalism, and to save Dan Rather.  They circled the wagons in that regard, no question about it.  (interruption)  Shep Smith said that?  For what?  (interruption)  I hadn't heard that. 

Snerdley is telling me that good old Shep Smith, may be the lone liberal at Fox -- well, other than the analysts and commentators -- he said that Robin Williams took the cowardly way out. He said that yesterday, and he's had to apologize for that?  (interruption)  How did I miss that?  You better not be making this up just to get me in further trouble. (interruption)  Okay.  Okay.  Okay.  I've had three different confirmations.  (laughing)  I didn't turn on Fox yesterday, so I had not heard that. 

By the way, for those of you that are young, or younger, "cowardly way out" used to be the default reaction to suicide.  Just so you know, before political correctness consumed our culture, and before this heightened sensitivity to not offending anyone consumed our society, the default reaction people had to suicide was it was the cowardly way out.  And for those of you who are too young to remember that, let me tell you why it was said that way, or why that was said.  Because there are people that you leave, and maybe you are leaving them with your burdens that you couldn't face, be they financial or whatever. 

It was always said that the act of suicide was taking the easy way out, of facing the burdens that you had to deal with, and leaving the people you loved with all of that to deal with, plus the hurt and pain of them asking why you did it.  That was also part of the default reaction.  There used to be novels written about this. I mean, novels of great suspense and tension written about survivors. A family member committed suicide and the family goes nuts trying to figure out why.  Did they do something, were they responsible for it, could they have stopped it, all of that.  That's torture for family members of suicide, and that's why it was always characterized as a cowardly way out. 

Here's the story. "Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith Apologizes for Calling Robin Williams a 'Coward.'" Hmm.  It's in the New York Daily News.  "The newsman used the word 'coward' to describe Williams' suicide Monday, just hours after the 63-year-old was found dead. Smith apologized Tuesday, saying, 'I would never presume to know anything about his private life.'"

Well, there you go again.  He is not presuming to know anything about his private life.  That's what the media is doing.  The media is trying to give us all the answers here, and they're glorifying it.  That's my whole problem with this.  Look, I've said what I've had to say about it, and I'm just repeating this because I'm the one being taken out of context in all this.  But I've been very clear about this.  Just to reiterate.  It used to be the standard reaction everybody had, that it was a cowardly thing to do because of what you left everybody else to face that you couldn't.  That used to be standard. 

Now, some might say, "Well, that's heartless and mean, and I'm glad we've evolved beyond that," and I wouldn't be surprised if there are a lot of people who feel that way.  'Cause "cowardly," that's a mean word.  "Who are we to judge?" you know, is a common refrain today. "Who are we to judge?  You don't have the right to judge what other people do.  Who do you think you are?" 

That's a common reaction that people have. 

But back before that kind of stuff settled in, this was a common reaction.  Now, Shep is obviously saying that he didn't mean to characterize Williams as "a" coward because he didn't know his private life.  But I think it was describing the act, not the private life.  Anyway, that's that.  Folks, I think everything's a teachable moment, and I do know that there are people that... The left in this country does have a view, an image, a vision of life. 

Let me give you... Here's another illustration that you might consider proof.  Who is it that justifies abortion on the basis, "We wouldn't want to bring a child into that circumstance," be it poverty or something else? "It so bad, why would we want to saddle a child with that?"  Well, it's not your decision to make, and you could cite statistics. 

There all kinds of people who've been born poverty and worse and have triumphed over it, have become immensely successful and have been just tremendous citizens, done great things!  So there are people who justify abortion on the basis that the world's such a nasty place that we have no right to bring people in the world in that circumstance.  These are the people that we're talking about here. 

As I say, you know, pessimism and doom and gloom and negativism, defeatism are easy. We can all do it.  It doesn't take any effort.  Most people are inclined to pessimism. Most people are inclined to say they can't do something.  That's why we all need somebody. We all need a mentor. We all need somebody to show us or to inspire us or do something to tell us that we're all better than we think we are. 

It's just the same old saw, folks.  Why is it that people who write persuasive books on positive thinking are millionaires, and you can't find a book in the library on how to fail? It's because everybody knows how to do that.  But positive thinking and success, these are things that people think take an applied effort, and they'll go out and buy a book to learn how to do it, because it's perceived to be uncommon. 

One of my quests here is to say, "No, it's not that uncommon.  You have it in you! You have it in you to be better than you think you are.  You have it in you to accomplish more than you think you can.  You have it in you to be better than you think you are.  You have it in you to do more than you think you can do."  It's sometimes just that people don't have the ability to tap into that themselves and need somebody else to show them.

By pushing them, pushing them beyond their comfort level or their self-imposed limits.  Remember the story about Merrill Lynch?  I knew a guy that used to be work at Merrill Lynch.  This is back in the 1980s, and he told me that when they were interviewing for job openings, one of the questions they would ask every applicant was the amount of money they hoped to make many. 

If the applicant gave a number, they were very close to being disqualified, even if the number was $10 million. "Well, yeah, someday I want to earn $5 million." No matter what the number, if they gave a number, the likelihood is that they were going to be passed over and the reason why is because they had discovered human nature studies that when that number was reached, the comfort level had arrived and that's when people stopped working. 

So people that knew this about Merrill Lynch were advising future applicants, "Do not ever answer, 'How much money do you hope to earn here?'  Don't answer it.  Just say as much as you can.  Just say, 'The sky's the limit.'  If you give 'em a number, they're gonna think when you reach that number you'll stop working because you've reached your comfort level."

Well, we all have a comfort level, and no matter what it is.

How hard we want to work, how hard we want to play, how many hours a day we want to work, we all have a comfort level, and the idea is to be pushed beyond that.  That's what good teachers do.  But we've gotten to the point now where teachers coddle rather than push, because we think that young kids can't handle being pushed.

"No, no, no, no! Don't be too hard on them." It's wrong. It's back ass-wards.  People, everybody needs to be pushed. Everybody needs to be pushed beyond what they think they can do -- physically, mentally, what have you. It's how you learn how are you doing you are. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  This is Mark in Moran, Pennsylvania.  Great to have you.  Hello.

CALLER:  Hello.  You made comment that one of Williams' friends said he didn't want to go back to having to do a sequel to Mrs. Doubtfire.

RUSH:  Yeah.

CALLER:  Things like that depressed him, and I wasn't... I had no intention of calling today but I'm thinking, "How many people lost their jobs in this country? How many people that maybe work at NASA who really have no future now in front of them, who have mortgage, who were paying for their kids to go to college, who -- in one fell swoop -- that's gone?"  And, you know, and you want to talk about depression?  That's to me would seem more something that would depress you than having to go and do a sequel to a movie that made you millions.

RUSH:  See, this is... Wait. Now, see, this... You are, whether you know it or not, making one of my points here.

CALLER:  Well --

RUSH:  You're...

CALLER:  You're my teacher. 

RUSH: No, no. 

CALLER: You're my teacher.

RUSH:  No.  No, no.  Don't misunderstand.  Your reaction here, I mean, is perfectly natural and understandable, based on the way this story's being covered.  There's almost... Like, nobody knows why he did it.  He didn't leave a note!  Yet all these stories purport to know.  The latest one is in the UK Telegraph, Mark, that's what you heard me say, a friend of his has told a reporter (paraphrased):

"Oh, he's really depressed about having to do Mrs. Doubtfire sequel.  He hated sequels and he didn't want to do one."  So you're out there, you're going through the ups and downs of everyday life, and you hear that a guy didn't want to do a sequel and make however many millions of dollars he was gonna get to do it and decided to kill himself because of it, and you say, "My God, why are we glorifying that?"

And that's totally understandable.  There's almost... There's a justification.  This is the word I've been looking for.  There's almost, as the media reports this story -- as they pretend to tell us the reasons why Williams did it, there's almost -- a justification implied in this reporting.  "Oh, yeah, he didn't want to do Ms. Doubtfire. I can understand that."

CALLER:  Well --

RUSH:    Meanwhile, you're out in the real world saying, "What do you mean you don't want to do Miss Doubtfire?  I can't pay off my kids' college debt. NASA is laying everybody off.  We don't have any future out here! I would love to do Miss Doubtfire."

CALLER:  I'll just end by saying I have to believe every day that there's something there bigger than me, that when I go to my maker -- and if I were to kill myself -- they're gonna look me in the eye and say, "That's not why I gave you your life."

RUSH:  Right.  But let me caution you about one thing.

CALLER:  Okay.

RUSH:  This is just a hearsay story that ended up getting a headline in a major European newspaper.  You don't know if that's accurate.  There are also stories that he was facing bankruptcy and financial troubles.  Well, hello?  Millions do.  So we don't know why he did it.  If there's clinical, medical depression involved, then that is an entirely different thing.  And if there's medication involved, who knows what? You don't know yet.  You don't know why he did it.  This is why I object to the way this coverage is justifying it, glorifying it, all this other stuff because it's out of proportion and it's not based on any reality.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  I'll tell you something else about, quote, unquote, the old days.  Whenever anybody in a local community with local media or a celebrity, when anybody committed suicide, in addition to the default reaction being what a cowardly act, you know what you'd also face or see?  The media would just go nuts urging anybody contemplating the same thing to call the local suicide prevention hotline, get in touch with somebody. "Do not do what you just saw us report happened." 

The media would encourage everybody: sit, talk to your family, talk to your friends, call a professional.  Don't do it.  It's not the thing to do.  And that's missing anymore.  Now it's glorified and now we have people writing pieces saying, "Well, if the world is so screwed up and so backwards that Robin Williams checked out, my God, what about the rest of us?"  Wrong attitude.  It cements pessimism for people, and it justifies negativism, defeatism, and giving up.  And it's not the way this kind of thing should be dealt with. 

We all only get one life.  Most people take it for granted because it's a chore.  You get up, you got things to do. It's filled with ups and downs.  And few people ever stop to think it's the most precious and rare thing that we have.  And there's no second chance; there's no do-over.  There's it.  And it's got a finite length of time to it.  And in that infinite length of time, that's all you've got to make the most of it. 

That's what I think should be emphasized to people, whether they're in good mental shape or bad mental shape.  You've only got one shot here at making the most of it.  There's a whole world out there to go see, to be part of, to do, to conquer, however you want to look at it.  And that's a great gift.  I don't care if you believe in evolution, creation, or a combination of the two, it's really, really special.  And to say that because somebody that made us laugh or we respected checked out, "Well, this world is so bad that not even so-and-so can live in it, oh, what does that say for the rest of us?"  Wrong attitude.  Sorry.  Wrong, wrong attitude.  

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: This is Bruce in Augusta, Georgia, great to have you on the program.  Hi.

CALLER:  Rush, it's absolutely an honor to speak with you.

RUSH:  Thank you.

CALLER:  I agree always with about 99.3% of what you always could say.

RUSH:  Well, you need to call the Sullivan Group 'cause we haven't heard from them in a while on my opinion audit.  I'm beginning to wonder if they're still in business.

CALLER:  I'll do that.  I just wanted to make a quick point.  The first time I heard about Robin Williams and the suicide, the first thing that really stuck with me is I remembered this is the man that stood shoulder to shoulder with Christopher Reeves, right after his accident where he was paralyzed, and he was with him the whole time. He helped raise money for his Christopher Reeve fund, stood with him and his family, was there with him. I mean, I can't even tell you how many pictures, if you just Google it, how many pictures they are side by side with each other. But he was in the presence of true bravery and perseverance, seeing that.  And if he can't get inspiration from that, I'm sorry.

RUSH:  He was probably offering some inspiration and bravery to Christopher Reeve. In addition to just being around it, he was probably offering some.

CALLER:  I'm sure.

RUSH:  Well, just to refresh your memory, there was a story yesterday on the Fox News website.  It was a local, Fox 41. Wherever 41 is in this country, Channel 41, Fox, wherever that is, ran a story. It is on their website, and it said that one of the reasons that Williams committed suicide was he had "survivor's guilt" because his close friends died young and he was guilty that he didn't, and one of them was Christopher Reeve. 

The other was Andy Kaufman, and then John Belushi, and he felt guilty.  So said the story.  He had survivor's guilt.  But here we're back to: Nobody knows.  If he was on medication, have you ever seen some of the warnings and side effects possible with some of these? Zoloft is one. Well, anything.  (interruption) No, the depression medicines, these re-uptake inhibitors, whatever the hell they're called. 

If you look at some of the side effects, "suicide tendencies"? The point is we don't know.  I'll tell you something else.  I'm probably gonna get nailed for throwing this out there, but nobody knows.  He didn't leave a note.  So everybody's just guessing -- and the learned types are guessing depression, associated with his genius.  That's another thing.  You can't be genius and normal.  If you are a genius, you're whacked out somehow. 

That's the only way you can be genius, particularly creative genius.  You've got to have something wrong.  You're so unique, that kind of genius, you gotta be, oh, different.  You just can't be normal. There's no such thing as a normal genius, according to the media today.  But what if...? Have you seen pictures of Robin Williams -- late, recent pictures?  A lot of weight loss there.  Gaunt.  You know, what if there's a physical reason involved? 

Nobody knows.  He didn't leave a note, at least according to the people who were asked if there was a note left.  So all of this is speculation.  That's why media's gotta fill time with it and turn it into as positive a thing as they can for their own political reasons again. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Lee in Phoenix, as we head back to the phones.  I'm really glad you waited.  How are you?

CALLER:  Good morning, sir.  How are you?  Dittos to you.  You always clarify everything, so I was really curious -- and, by the way, thank you for telling it like it is and for the kids' books especially.

RUSH:  Thank you, sir, very much.

CALLER:  The planet is on fire right now, and Obama and Clinton lie to us by opening their mouths.  So I'm trying to understand something: Robin Williams decides of his own volition, a guy living in Tiburon, who's got every... I mean Tiburon! Do you know Tiburon? You know California fairly well.

RUSH:  Very well.   I've been to Tiburon. Absolutely.

CALLER:  Right.  The homes start at seven figures, and the income starts at at least six if you want to be a maid.  So he can't afford the mortgage, he can't afford the lifestyle. His divorces -- of his own volition, obviously, the two of them -- sucked the life out of him. And he makes fun of every conservative on the planet and everybody feels terrible for him and that's all we want to talk about right now.

Lauren Bacall passes away at 89! Last week, the woman was doing voiceovers.  Bogie passed away, what, 40 years now, 50 years ago?  She's put everybody in the ground but Robin Williams is the most important, and he chose to take his own life.  Can you put that and clarify that in perspective for me, sir?

RUSH:  Well, I think I can.

CALLER:  Okay.

RUSH:  Robin Williams was so big. He was so beloved. Even though he was not thought of as a political comedian. He didn't make a whole lot of political jokes, they say.  Actually he did. 

CALLER:  He made fun of people.

RUSH:  He did make a lot of jokes. He did.  But he was he was... Look, he was well --

CALLER:  Like Jon Stewart.

RUSH:  He was well known as one of them.  Exactly.  Exactly right.  So I think all of these people had a personal connection.  He was of their generation.  So Lauren Bacall? A number of them never saw her work. Most of them just think she was there 'cause bogey was there and she was just a... It may be if Lauren Bacall had passed away with no other celebrity deaths nearby, there would have been a little bit more attention paid to it, but I totally understand this. 

CALLER:  Robin Williams is having a tough time. He had to sell his Napa ranch for $30 million.

RUSH:  I don't --

CALLER:  I feel awful for him.

RUSH:  I don't know that he ever sold it.  I know that he had --

CALLER:  No, it was up for sale. He dropped $5 million --

RUSH:  All this stuff on the money is relative. Whether you've got whatever they say his net worth was... What did I say, $150 million or something? Whether you've got $50,000 or $50 million, if you lose it all, it's still gone.  It's still gone, and that's still a pressure-packed situation.

CALLER:  But he made his choice.

RUSH:  You mean the divorces?

CALLER:  The divorces, yes, and to go in the garage or the house or whatever. I mean, I think they're really being ugly about how and where and the belt and whatnot. He made the choice, leave the man alone, that's what he decided to do. But with the planet on fire, I don't mean to be mean. I know the guy was funny and I own several of his movies. I have a tremendous movie collection.

RUSH:  See, to you, the planet on fire is the Middle East, our foreign policy, immigration, the disintegration of the country.  To the pop culture media, the world is on fire because Robin Williams is gone.

CALLER:  They should listen to Levin.  (laughing).

RUSH:  (laughing).

CALLER:  Levin would wake those puppies up.

RUSH:  What are you saying?

CALLER:  You know, between you and Levin, the truth comes out.

RUSH:  They can't handle it.

CALLER:  Mark Levin tells it just like you, a little more legalese, basically, but --

RUSH:  They can't handle it. That's the point.  It's all fantasy world for them.  It's a make believe world that they're concocting, it's what could be, it's what was. It's like Camelot, in a way, and they're just very sad that it's gone.  And to them the world's on fire because -- look, I read the quote to you from Russell Brand.  He's another actor.  His take on this is, if the world is so screwed up that Robin Williams doesn't want to live in it, what does that say for the rest of us?  See, his point is, Robin Williams may be smarter than all of us, 'cause if this world is so messed up that not even Robin Williams wants to live in it...  And that's kind of an indication, I think, of the mind-set. 

Lauren Bacall also, in her day, she was a radical leftist.  But she's 89.  You know, 89-year-olds do die.  And the people you're talking about reporting on that are nowhere near 89.  Somebody 89 passing away is, well, natural causes, it's what happens.  Sad.  But suicide, oh, no.  Oh, God, what did we do?  Oh, no what does it say about, oh, no, oh, no.  And, you know, another genius has left the world, and they feel abandoned in many cases.  Anyway, Lee, I appreciate the call, and so does Levin. 

END TRANSCRIPT

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