Fitz’s column on suicide

was brilliant writing

Re: the Aug. 16 column “In memory of those who retreat, irrevocably, from the madness.”

I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with David Fitzsimmons through my past position in a local nonprofit, but on Saturday morning I learned about a more serious side of our local cartoonist.

David’s column on suicide, most likely brought on by the tragic passing of Robin Williams, was compassionate, poignant, heart-wrenching and simply brilliant. This column should be distributed to newspapers across the country. I hope those who have experienced a similar loss, like the Tucson mother he writes of, will find solace in this little piece of amazing insight.

Sally Trattner

Retired, Tucson

People with Parkinson’s

have reason for optimism

The death of Robin Williams touched many people’s lives, but it especially affected people with Parkinson’s disease, especially when they found out that he had learned that he was in the early stages of the disease.

But people with Parkinson’s have more reasons than ever to be optimistic about the outcome of the disease. In the last decade there has been a growing body of basic and clinical science that people have options. That they can live well with Parkinson’s, even slow down the disease. But research shows what people need at diagnosis is hope — through education, empowerment, social support and a vigorous “use it or lose it” exercise program that target aerobics and PD-specific skill training. These are essential arsenals in the battle. If you have Parkinson’s, there is a lot you can do to improve the quality of your life and to get better and stay better. Find a team of Parkinson’s experts, optimize your meds so you can participate in exercise and life with vigor! Start now at

Becky Farley

Neuroscientist/educator, Tucson

Retreat from empathy

is sad indeed

David Fitzsimmons evoked many responses in his thoughtful commentary on the abandonment of hope, the gravitational pull of despair, and the suicide of Robin Williams — and others. Poignant was Fitzsimmons’ counterpoint, that so many people feel too little, have little to no empathy or compassion for the personal tragedy that could be theirs. “He (the boy whose picture he redrew) could have been one of my own boys.”

An article in the same issue just three pages prior to Fitzsimmons’ column ended with an entrepreneur’s statement that “it warmed her heart to see the kids playing the games” at a restaurant, intentionally isolating themselves from social interaction in a social setting.

More regrettable, in my opinion, is the parent who similarly isolates her/himself from children, endorsing withdrawal.

When people are as anonymous as figures in a game console, or on a TV screen, for that matter, retreat from empathy is a mindless step toward madness, as sad as the retreat from madness by those who “self-destruct.”

Eudene Lupino

Career educator, Tucson