Following the recent tragic passing of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, many people who cannot wait to chime in with their opinions of anything & everything decided to speak out on the topic. While I believe any death is tragic regardless of the cause, in our age of twitter & facebook where people can voice their thoughts at a moments notice, I honestly feel as though our sense of empathy is waning. Have we put our feelings towards other people aside in order to get behind a particular side of an argument, even when there shouldn’t be an argument to begin with?
I was disheartened to read so many blog comments, tweets & facebook posts disregarding the loss of this fantastic Actor & artist, and instead focusing on his struggles with drugs. Many people echoed the same sentiment; drug addicts deserve what they have coming their way, and they should be ashamed for putting their families through such turmoil. While I am not denying being accountable for your actions, substance abuse on its own is a sensitive topic, especially for many of our Veterans and civilians who have lived through traumatic experiences. Escape through drugs or alcohol is the easiest & quickest way many people know how to ease their pain, to help them forget.
The view that Mr. Hoffman’s death was cliche, big time Hollywood actor who overdosed, tosses aside the true cause & effect of substance abuse in our society. Do you honestly think that addicts wouldn’t rather be sober? Do you really believe that they care more about their drug of choice than their own families & loved ones? For those of us who have experienced life-altering pain or circumstances, we find ourselves searching for a way to not think about what we had lived through, while drugs & alcohol are not an answer, our options are limited and unfortunately many of us would rather struggle inwardly than outwardly in public.
I did not know Mr. Hoffman, but I do know many Veterans who have witnessed trauma’s that most of us could not fathom. This tragedy could serve as a wake-up call to many of us that getting to the root cause of substance abuse, and offering safe alternatives, could help save so many lives, not just those of Hollywood actors. I do not know what led Mr. Hoffman to use drugs, but I know what led many of our Nation’s bravest down a similar path, distinguishing between the two does not help anyone.