There have been many mass shootings over the past few decades and some of the most horrific nature took place within the past year. Last summer, James Holmes opened fire in a Colorado movie theater and killed twelve people and injured fifty-eight others. If that wasn’t bad enough, just before Christmas, Adam Lanza killed twenty children under the age of seven and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. A few weeks ago, yet another mass shooting took place. A lone gunman shot and killed his brother and father, then randomly killed three others in Santa Monica, CA. Is anyone wondering when this type of violence is going to end?
The common denominator in mass shootings is psychiatric drugs. Most shooters were on psychiatric medication or withdrawing from it. Sometimes, as in the case of James Holmes and Adam Lanza, there is no available information as to what drug they were on. We do know that Holmes was under psychiatric care, which these days most likely means on psychiatric drugs. Or, the media reports that the shooter had mental problems, which also indicates psychiatric drugs.
Going back to the massacre at Columbine, it is no secret that Eric Harris had Luvox in his system when the shooting took place. His medical records show that his dosage was increased almost three months before the shooting. Eric Harris is not an isolated case but is the norm for mass shooters.
Some people will argue that guns are the problem. They too are a common denominator in these mass shootings, but guns have been around forever and these mass shootings are a more relatively recent phenomenon. Gun regulation is a current hot topic, but the fact of the matter is that a gun lying on a table by itself cannot kill someone. A person has to pick it up and decide to pull the trigger. This prompts the question, why are more young men deciding to pull the trigger?
Some will say that these young men are mentally ill, so it’s the person’s “disease” that is making them shoot. People will say that he didn’t get the help he needed in time. The truth is that people have been depressed and supposedly mentally ill since time immemorial, so where is the explanation for these mass shootings over the past few decades? If the “mental illness” is the cause, then why aren’t there lots of mass shootings by people who aren’t on psychiatric drugs?
The reason is that it is the side effects of the drugs that prompt violence. One of the most common side effects of psychiatric drugs is violent outbursts and suicidal thoughts. There is no question that psychiatric drugs alter the brain. As a result, one loses the awareness of his behavior and then it only follows that one would lose control over it. The drugs numb the ability to have caring emotions, judgment becomes impaired and perhaps one starts to lack a conscience as well. This all adds up to heavy risks for violence without realizing the full extent and significance of their actions.
Another side effect that can contribute to mass shootings is akathisia. This is a neurological condition where one is extremely restless, so much so that a person feels like wanting to jump out of their skin. The resulting behavior is something they can’t control. They are very agitated and experience unbearable rage and delusions. This is an additional prescription for violence.
With these kinds of side effects, is it any surprise that the mind is altered enough that the person decides to engage in mass shootings? If you read the papers, these shootings don’t seem to have any motive other than to kill. There seems to be no agenda, retaliation or revenge. The reason for this is because it’s only the drugs that are making the person think the right thing to do is kill.
With this logic, if we got rid of all the guns, then those on psychiatric drugs would just find another weapon. Guns just happen to be an accessible tool. Anyone can debate what changes need to be made regarding gun control, but the point is, in order to prevent mass shootings, what needs to be addressed is that initial thought to kill. Plain and simple, the side effects of mind-altering psychiatric drugs are the precursor to that thought. If you take away the drugs that alter the mind, then the number of mass shootings would significantly decline.
If this isn’t convincing enough, statistics don’t lie. A scientific review was done of all reports to the FDA of violence and homicidal ideation over a sixty-nine month period. Aggression, hostility and belligerence were excluded. Of four hundred fifty-four prescription drugs, thirty-one drugs had a disproportional rate of violence or homicidal threats. Two thirds of the drugs had no reports of violence at all. The drugs that most clearly cause violence are Chantix (to quit smoking), eleven antidepressants, three drugs to treat ADHD and five hypnotic/sedatives (sleep aids or tranquilizers). All but one are psychiatric drugs.
The researchers that did this study concluded that violence towards others is a genuine and serious adverse drug event associated with a relatively small number of drugs. Unless this information is made known worldwide, mass shootings will continue to occur.
Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon and chief medical correspondent of CNN, publicly asked what medications Adam Lanza was taking before he killed twenty-six people. Tom Ridge, former Secretary of Homeland Security, stated that psychiatric meds probably contributed to one of the Columbine students’ aggressive behavior. This is a step in the right direction, but not enough to prevent more mass shootings.
Pharmaceutical companies need to put profits aside and tell the truth about their psychiatric drugs instead of concealing information or dismissing the fact that they cause violence. There is plenty of evidence that warrants an official investigation. Every time a mass shooting occurs, all medical records need to be reviewed. Until the word is out, we are all in danger of another mass shooting.