Barry Crimmins has died.

If you haven’t seen Bobcat Goldthwaite’s superb documentary, “Call Me Lucky,” stop wasting time and go see it on Netflix, now. For those who don’t listen to my recommendations, Barry Crimmins was a comedian and activist who almost singlehandedly built the alternative comedy scene in 1980s Boston. Outside comedy, he was a tireless campaigner for left wing causes and the rights of sexual abuse victims.

In the early 90s, when most people were unaware of what the internet even was, Crimmins was among the first to realise that pederasts were using online chat rooms as an un-policed clearing house for images of child abuse. He became a thorn in the side of lawmakers and internet service providers, refusing to go away until someone listened to him and took the issue of online child porn seriously. He eventually succeeded in changing the law, saving untold numbers of children.

He was an early advocate for AIDS victims. He was consistently on the right side of history. He made as much time as he possibly could for survivors of sexual trauma. He was a heroic figure, and he died yesterday because he just plain couldn’t afford American healthcare.

Barry’s widow, Helen, herself dealing with cancer, has admitted that Barry did not seek diagnosis for his own early cancer symptoms because he knew the financial pressure of them both being sick would have been too great. So, the world lost one of its rare good men because of the greed of others – the greed of lawmakers and the pharmaceutical companies that buy them off. We lost a smart man because of stupidity – the stupidity of those who think universal healthcare in America is somehow unpatriotic and the short sighted masses who believe them.

America is the richest country in the world. It’s the most powerful. It can afford to give its citizens healthcare. There is no argument to the contrary when almost every other poorer, weaker nation manages to do so.

Unless you listen to the people who make money from the current system. They’re the people who will tell you America can’t afford to take care of its people.

Barry Crimmins would have disagreed, if he were still around. But he’s not. Because maybe the one thing America can’t afford anymore is good people who speak the truth.

 Crimmins spent his life as an example of kindness and morality. His death stands as an example of why America still needs more of both.