We here at Z-ROCK 107-7 have been absolutely stunned over the sudden news that Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington has taken his life at the age of 41 today. It came out of nowhere, and it’s an unfortunate reminder of how layered and fragile every individual human being on this Earth really is. It doesn’t matter if it’s a loved one, a friend, a coworker, a celebrity, or a complete stranger who passes by you at the grocery store; we’re all going through something as we face the world in different ways every single day. Someone’s outward appearance and personality is just the tip of the iceberg. You just don’t know. How people see me is probably a lot different than how I see myself. People are complicated, and it’s easy to forget that.

I feel bad. When Linkin Park released their latest album, One More Light, it was poppy and unlike any of their previous work. For many fans, especially those like myself who absolutely adored Hybrid Theory, it felt like an unnecessary evolution at best and a betrayal at worst. When Chester lashed out at the more vocal fans on Twitter, I rolled my eyes and dismissed him as an over-entitled artist who can’t take legitimate criticism. I wrote this snarky article about it. That feels especially wrong on a day like today. I don’t want to speculate over what led him to do what he did – perhaps we’ll never know – but man, it feels pretty awful in retrospect to bring out the pitchforks and pile on another human being just because you don’t like their song or opinion.

All of this is a reminder to me that it can be impossible to know how even the smallest things can have an effect on someone. I’m not saying that we have to constantly walk on eggshells with people, but I do think that every interaction we have with one another should come from a basic foundation of respect and love. That’s what I’m hoping we can all walk away with today.

Anyway, apologies for the stream-of-consciousness rambling there. I want to end this by providing links to local resources that are available to help out those struggling with their own personal battles. No matter how low you're feeling, there's always someone who is wiling to help you through it. There's always someone out there who cares. I promise you that with all sincerity.

There’s the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), who has a local Southeast Minnesota chapter here in Rochester.

There’s also the Zumbro Valley Health Center.

And finally, there’s the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.