The first response most of us have to news of a suicide is: Why? And certainly the tragic death of Robin Williams was no exception. How could a man who brought so much joy and brightened the day for so many fail to feel the same thing for himself? Robin Williams' talent, his warmth, his energy, his generosity of spirit and his bigheartedness might have been singular, but his sad decision to take how own life was, unfortunately, all too common. And it's a heartbreaking decision that more and more people are making every year. So as we ask "why" about Robin Williams, we should also broaden the question. Why tens of thousands of people? What is happening that so many people make this irrevocable choice? What are we missing in our culture? How can we open up the conversation on this issue to make other choices seem more realistic and appealing?
Instead of turning to entertainment journalists analyzing a publicist's statement about the actor "battling severe depression" to confirm some sick curiosity, we ought to look where Mr. Williams wanted us to look, where he left so many astounding gifts and treasures, where he lived and where he still lives -- in his art.