Mindy Got a Gun: Celebrity Death Trap or Rehab?

I woke to the sad news this morning that Mindy McCready — mother of two young children, country music singer, and star of Dr. Drew Pinsky’s “Celebrity Rehab” — was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Those of us who watched Celebrity Rehab could see this end bearing down on Mindy from afar, and the question was always not if she’d be run over by life, but when.  As of yesterday, we have our answer, and now the mourning for her children must begin.

Country star Mindy McCready died of an apparent suicide on Sunday night, CNN reports. The singer was 37 and left behind two young children.

According to the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office, McCready was found dead in Heber Springs, Arkansas of a single, apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. She was found on the same porch where her boyfriend, David Wilson, the father of her younger son, was discovered after another apparent suicide in January.

The first thing I want to know is how did Mindy get a gun with her public history of court-mandated mental health and alcohol problems?  We also cannot escape the fact that Dr. Drew created a Magic Golem with that horrible Celebrity Rehab show that will haunt him until the day he dies.

In addition to Mindy, here’s the current “Celebrity Rehab” Death by Addiction List:  Mike Starr died in March 2011 and in May of the same year, so too, did Jeff Conaway. Rodney King died in June of last year and Joey Kovar in August. What a legacy of dead bodies for Dr. Drew Pinksy’s Rehab program for celebrities!

Here’s what I wrote about the death of Mike Starr in 2011:

I find Celebrity Rehab and Sober House to be depressive and memeingless.  The toxic relationships are difficult to tender and impossible to abide.  Should rehab and therapy and healing be done in private and away from the public square or shown weekly on VH1?  I can’t imagine anyone who is addicted ever wanting to attend a rehab program after watching those Pinsky train wreck soap operas.

I am most disappointed in Drew Pinsky, who appears to be a good man, but his direct involvement in the exploitation of celebrity addiction is stunning because he is trained to know better.  Drew Pinsky must know those people need privacy and ongoing, deep, therapy away from the very lights and microphones that likely helped push them down the path to their addiction in the first place.

Instead of facilitating addicted celebrities with the cover of a respected privacy, I believe Dr. Drew is doing them full, foul, harm for the world to see, and he is peddling tickets to the slaughterhouse so we can vicariously watch a melting bloodbath as many of those celebrities lose their minds, and sometimes — like Mike Starr — their lives.

Five months later, I wrote this article — Why We Were Right All Along about the Wrong of Celebrity Rehab — agreeing with Celebrity Rehab co-creator and producer, Bob Forrest, who regretted ever doing the show:

If I had to do it all over again I don’t think I’d walk into the office and say we should do this show,” Forrest said of “Celebrity Rehab.” “I don’t like the editing of it. I don’t like that they show the same thing over and over again. I don’t like what it’s become technically.

Bob is still right, and Dr. Drew is still wrong for not outright condemning his hallmark show.  The whole idea of Celebrity Rehab as television reality was terrible from the start because there’s no everlasting winning over a limited process; and now Dr. Drew and Bob will have to deal with the increasing mound of addicted dead bodies surrounding them.

Unfortunately, that leaves Dr. Drew in the uncomfortable position of hoping for death-by-natural-causes for his forever co-stars, because any other horrible, addicted, end will find fingers pointing back at him for not doing enough and for not saving them from their own demons that he identified and treated on television.

Is it Dr. Drew’s job to continue to serve the stars he used on his show for the rest of their lives?  No, but that doesn’t dim the notion that  he is somehow morally responsible for ongoing interaction and aftercare for all his Celebrity Rehab patients, if only because the show was memorialized, by his own choice, on television and will live on forever in reruns.

“Celebrity Rehab” will outlive Drew Pinsky and Bob Forrest — and I don’t think that sort of infamous immortality is good for them, or for the rehab process.  Sure, addiction is awful, and must be tended to every day, but for Dr. Drew to keep his good name, he must continue to try to save the lives of those he exposed on his reality television show, even if they reject his wants and habits — because he owes that daily devotion not only to them, but to us, who so hopefully believed in Dr. Drew and his process that he could actually help those lonely, desperate, people in need  –who just happened to be famous enough to get a star slot on his show.

Dr. Drew asked for their lives on television, and now he owns those rights in perpetuity.