Pubdate: Tue, 11 Feb 2014
Source: Philadelphia Daily News (PA)
Copyright: 2014 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.
Author: Dave Lipshutz


CHRISTINE Flowers' column calling Philip Seymour Hoffman "selfish" 
because he overdosed and died was odd.

Ms. Flowers acknowledged that addiction specialists believe that some 
addicts are too weak biologically and/or psychologically to overcome 
their addictions and therefore succumb. Ms. Flowers' response is, "I 
don't believe that." I awaited her evidence that would refute all the 
trained addiction specialists, but all she offered was the trite "the 
human spirit is strong." Well, I'm glad that's settled.

Ms. Flowers criticized Hoffman for returning to drugs after two 
decades of staying clean. She stated that "two decades should be 
enough to immunize you against turning back to drugs." Again, I 
awaited her evidence that would refute all the scientific findings 
that once an addict, always an addict.

Ms. Flowers offered nothing. I guess she just decided that "two 
decades should be enough," so now that's settled, too.

Ms. Flowers also decided that Hoffman was "selfish" for returning to 
drugs because he had three children.

She contrasted him with her own father, who died of lung cancer, 
because her father had searched for a cure for his illness (which 
means, I assume, that Ms. Flowers has inside knowledge that Hoffman did not).

I'm curious as to whether her father smoked cigarettes, and, if so, 
whether that would make him "selfish."

I'm curious as to whether Ms. Flowers finds any parent who smokes 
cigarettes to be "selfish." I'm curious as to whether she finds any 
parent who doesn't exercise, or who eats fatty foods, or who is 
overweight, or who doesn't get regular physicals, or who doesn't wear 
a seat belt, to be "selfish." Are all parents who died of heart 
attacks "selfish" like Hoffman because they didn't take proper care 
of themselves? (And are people who want to deny millions of parents 
health care "selfish," too?)

Philip Seymour Hoffman was a fine actor. More importantly, he was a 
human being. He had a terrible condition that resulted from a foolish 
voluntary act when he was young. His death was not voluntary, or 
selfish, but tragic. No one, especially someone who claims that he or 
she is "pro-life," should dismiss a fellow human being's death so 
casually and smugly.

Dave Lipshutz Voorhees, N.J.
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