Gun control vs. drug control: Asking not how, but why, 27 people died

Blaming an inanimate object for murder ignores the real problem.

WASHINGTON, December 16, 2012 ― Almost everyone in the world knows by now of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut last week. Twenty-eight people died that day, eight adults (including the shooter) and 20 children ages six and seven, and they will be mourned for many years to come.

Gun-control activists are out in force, with demonstrations across the country and demands for everything from stricter gun laws to the illegalization of private gun ownership.

This predictable knee-jerk reaction is getting really old.

Is anyone going to ask how a man was capable of pointing a gun at a small child and pulling the trigger? Or cutting up 22 children with a knife as a man in China did on the same day?

Not how, but why? Emilie Parker, age 6. Sandy Hook victim.

Emilie Parker, age 6.  Sandy Hook victim.

Emilie Parker, age 6. Sandy Hook victim.

There is a common denominator in most of these tragedies, from Columbine to Newtown, that gun-control activists are unable to perceive.

A diagnosis of anti-social behaviour is often applied to the mass murderer (as if that weren’t obvious), a term we might define as “the antisocial and non-state-sponsored killing of multiple victims during a single episode at one or more closely related locations.”  

Jared Loughner is a diagnosed schizophrenic who “displayed depressive symptoms” long before the shooting in Tucson, according to Dr. Christina Pietz, forensic psychologist.

James Holmes killed 12 people, injuring 58 more at the Century Movie Theater on July 20, 2012. Though a diagnosis has not been made public, he had been a patient of Dr. Lynne Fenton, a psychiatrist and assistant professor at the Univeristy of Colorado specializing in schrizophrenia. An eventual diagnosis of “anti-social” behaviour and schrizophrenia are almost guaranteed.

According to the Communities article Exploring the mind of James Holmes and the tragedy in Colorado:

“The MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study is one of the first comprehensive efforts to look at the correlation between mental health and violence. The results were startling and revealed that 31% of people who had both a substance abuse disorder and a psychiatric disorder (a “dual diagnosis”) committed at least one act of violence in a year, compared with 18% of people with a psychiatric disorder alone.

“Research suggests that several factors may greatly enhance the potential for criminal behavior, including exposure to violence or physical abuse as a child. If this factor combines with mental illness, substance abuse and exposure to extreme stress, the results can be explosive. Schizophrenia has been mentioned as a factor in the case of James Eagen Holmes, and according to Fazel S. et al. Archives of General Psychiatry, September 2010, schizophrenics with a substance abuse disorder are three times more likely to commit a violent crime than the rest of the population.”

Kathy Seifert, Ph.D., D.A.B.P. and contributor to Psychology Today writes:

“A NIMH Epidemiological study found that people with mental illness (16% lifetime prevalence) are slightly more likely to be violent than the average person in the community without a mental illness (7% lifetime prevalence). However, those with both severe mental illness and substance abuse disorders were 7 times more likely to be violent than those without either disorder.”

Another term often bandied about is psychopath. Wikipedia describes psychopathy as “a personality disorder that has been variously characterized by shallow fear, a lack of empathy and stress tolerance, cold heartedness, egocentricity, superficial charm, manipulativeness, impulsivity, criminality, antisocial behavior, lack of remorse, and a parasitic lifestyle.”

These terms all seem to describe each, if not all, the shooters.

Recall the Virginia Tech Massacre, where Seung-Hui Cho took the lives of 32 and wounded 17. The Virgnia Tech massacre has the destinction of being the deadliest shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history. (It is only by the grace of God that Lanza did not kill more at Sandy Hook. It seems, based on the firepower he had, that he may have very well intended to kill every child and adult in the school.)Cho has a diagnosis of severe anxiety disorder, severe depression, and selective mutism. Cho is reported to having received therapy and special education support through middle and high school.

Because of federal privacy laws, Virginia Tech, and the students there, were unaware of Cho’s previous diagnosis. Those same, and similar privacy laws, allowed Cho to purchase a .22-calibur Walther P22 semi-automatic handgun and a 9 mm semi-autmatic Glock 19 handgun.

Columbine killer Eric Harris was presecribed the anti-depressant Zoloft before being switched to Luvox.

A study conducted byThomas J. Moore, Joseph Blenbullen and Curt D. Furger states; “data indicate marked differences between drug classes. All the antidepressants were associated with violence cases, except for two tricyclics, trazodone and amitriptyline, which had a similarly elevated PRR that was statistically significant, but fewer than five required cases to qualify as suspect under our criteria. The PRR for all antidepressants combined was 8.4, higher than for any other class of psychoactive drugs.”

As we reflect on these tragedies, media and anti-gun activists actually blame the tool used to commit these murders, rather than the disagnosis and treatments that may be at the individual’s state of mind that made them capable of committing these heinous acts.

However, big-Pharma America has some very generous PACs, one might presume bigger than the NRA. In addition, HIPAA health privacy laws and “protections” of the rights of the individual keep information about medications and emotional and personality disorders under lock and key until after the act of violence is perpatrated.

Then there are gun-control activists so intent upon their political agenda that they are willing to turn a tragedy into nothing more than a springboard for their political views.

“Why” is always the question whose answer you should be most interested in. The constant obsession with “how” just highlights this country’s moral degradation and lack of truly caring to address the root of the problems we face.

It is evident in nearly every facet of our daily lives. We live in a heavily medicated, heavily indoctrinated culture of violence and selfishness. We live in a culture where state sanctioned murders are old news, where politicians are bought and sold, willing to sell future generations down the road for a vote today.

We live in a soceity that does not foster a respect for religion, or life. Where every child is given a trophy for attending, instead of achieving. We have removed our society’s moral compass but have instilled a sense of entitlement, sprinkled with mood altering drugs and the diagnosis of mental illness.

One must recognize that looking at the young men who committed these acts that they share similar diagnoses, age, socio-economic backgrounds, and family lives. They all come from middle class neighborhoods like Marana, ArizonaNewtown, ConnecticutSan Diego, Portland, Oregon and Columbine, Colorado, and are described as “nice boys.” The reaction of neighbors is either “I never would have known,” or more shockingly “I’m not surprised.” Not surprised, and you said nothing? 

Our society is beyond ill. Big pharma throws out more and more drugs with proven devestating side effects. Most only need to visit their doctor to acquire a prescription that comes with a leaflet of side effects that they routinely dismiss as “rare.”

And, wrong or right, the patient’s right to privacy trumps society’s right to know.

Until we can ask why these young men took such violent turns, and be willing to hear the answer, nothing will change. Guns were the tool of their violence, but it could have also been a truck of fertilzier (Timonthy McVeigh Pendelton, NY) used to blow up a federal building, killing 168 people and injuring over 800.  

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Mike Shortridge

Mike is a former Marine who served in the Middle East. He is disgusted with both the Republican and Democratic parties, seeing them as two heads of the same beast. He writes from the conservative perspective, with a focus on making complex subjects easy to understand.


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