I read this article earlier today, about the father of a slain soldier who is (irrationally) pissed at the governor of New Jersey for lowering state flags in commemoration of Whitney Houston’s passing. I know full well that comment sections on the internet are reserved for the worst human beings on earth to be able to speak the pieces that no one will listen to in real life, but I read anyway. Of course, there were gems like

Yeah and you’re so right that “she was definitely an icon”–she was an icon for pitiful, self-destructive and abusive behavior. I don’t care that she had a great voice and sold a sh-tload of records, she was a pathetically horrible public figure and role model. No flag lowering for such people, clearly. Christie is an absolute idiot for sticking his neck out this way!

It is great to see that some politicians think it admirable to idolize a burned-out drug-sucker.

and

it doesn’t matter what her problems were. Turning to drugs is the coward’s way out. She had enough money to buy anything she wanted, fame, a career, family, etc., but she ended up just another drug-addled celebrity, no better than any bum on the street whom you cross the street to avoid. How does that justify the honor of flags flying at half mast?

among the similarly-styled 17 pages. I know that this amount of vitriolic hate isn’t just because of people’s holier-than-thou attitudes about addiction and drug abuse (yes, I’m getting at what you think I’m getting at, but that’s not what this post is about) but it reminded me of a fleeting thought I wrote down a couple years ago after the death of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett:
…both of them were strung out on drugs when they died. But for her it was acceptable because she had an illness people could see, name and identify with. But palliative care is somehow unacceptable when there’s something terrible going on inside, even when it’s just as debilitating.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about mental and emotional illness in all their forms, and I keep coming back to the question: if we accept that there are some disorders that modern science and the human body cannot cure or heal, could it follow that some mental/emotional disorders carry the same limitations? It’s been proven to some extent that a lot of sexual-based mental illnesses can’t be “cured,” but does it go a step further? Are there some traumas that some minds just can’t deal with? Are there some illnesses that a person is never going to recover from or work through? Can mental conditions be as terminal as physical ones?

And no, I didn’t add a comment to the article asking if it would be acceptable to lower the flag for any of the (upwards of) 30% of veterans dealing with alcohol and drug abuse issues, most as a result of PTSD. The cognitive dissonance might blow minds.

Say sum'n...