I think Bill O’Reilly is correct that Whitney Houston is perhaps not the best example to deploy if you want to make the case that legalizing narcotics would decrease violence related to the drug trade and make it easier for addicts to get help (I happen to agree with at least a limited version of that case). But the rest of this statement doesn’t exactly count as brave truth-telling. Watch it:
There’s nothing bold, counterintuitive, or perhaps more importantly, compassionate about saying cruel things about addicts like: “Whitney Houston wanted to kill herself. Nobody takes drugs for that long if they want to stay on the planet.” I’ve been fortunate enough not to be touched directly by addiction, but it’s my understanding that the compulsion to use has little to do with a specific suicidal ideation. And of course, you can have an addiction and still love life and depending on the level of use, contribute to society. Whitney Houston’s fans know she’d struggled for years with a disease—not failed morals. Whitney’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, who O’Reilly mentioned had been hospitalized in the wake of her mother’s sudden death, is probably more aware of anyone else on the planet of what it’s like to live with her mother’s particular failed fight against addiction.
Nobody Bill O’Reilly to remind them that Houston’s addiction robbed her of many productive years of her career and was painful, embarrassing, and detrimental to her. And there’s nothing brave about blaming addicts for the societal consequences of their addictions.