I lost my teeth, I lost my hair, I lost my mind, but you don’t care. ~ James Taylor, Valentine’s Day

Or do we?  I keep looking for those progressives who claim to place faith in science, yet who almost never show up when scientific facts slap them in the face. Too busy with emotional stuff, it seems.

Take a look at this research work as you might view a unique photograph or work of art – with an open, objective mind. Try to “take in” the whole picture without judgment as to its merit or point of view — just look at it for what it is and study it without knee-jerk reaction. I believe you will find some truth about our society today. Truth that we are uncomfortable with, or even refuse to face.

Threshold Question: In the aftermath of yet another mass killing at a school, what do the objective facts tell us? Must we shun facts in favor of an agenda?

* * * * *

Mass Killings in America: An Inconvenient Truth

FACTS

Through October 1, 2015, there have been 290 cases of mass killings in the United States of America since January 1, 2006.1 Significantly, 53% of mass killings are family-related.About 57% of victims are said to have known their killer, “even if they weren’t the main target,” and “1 in 4 victims were close family members – children, siblings, spouses, etc.”3   

  • MENTAL ILLNESS IS A COMMON THREAD IN MASS MURDERS.4 Merely looking at the photos of such notorious shooters as Adam Lanza (Sandy Hook), Jared Lee Loughner (Tucson, AZ), James Eagan Holmes (Aurora, CO), Dylann Roof (Charleston, SC) and Jeffrey Franklin (Huntsville, AL) – each alone would tell the viewer that something was seriously wrong with their minds.  See also footnotes 6, 7 and 8 below with extensive details. Adam Lanza’s case in the Sandy Hook Elementary School killings in Newtown, CT, is the most blatant case of serial neglect by many adults and professionals who had opportunity to prevent what happened. Adam’s mental illness was well known and documented – telegraphed to those in immediate touch with him for months or years. Much more on this case follows.
  • In many cases, professional and governmental entities have failed the victims of mass killings.

Safety Net Failure_Capture

See footnote 5.

Why does it always seem that there are good and decent and intelligent people around killers like Dylan Roof [Charleston, SC shootings, July, 2015] who see clear signs of serious trouble, yet do nothing or almost nothing? …

One reason is that people wish to believe they are safer than they are. They exercise denial. No one wants to believe he might be living in a real-life psychological thriller.…

Another reason is that we, as a society, are profoundly ignorant about the real signs of mental illness. It is as if many of us think that mentally ill people froth at the mouth or run around screaming.6

Dylann Roof’s case is only one among many. Consider, e.g., the gruesome case of Adam Lanza and the Sandy Hook/Newtown, CT shootings. His bizarre mental condition was well-known and publicly published.

Perhaps most troubling of all was that this severely mentally ill young man, refusing medication, obsessed with violence and surrounded by automatic weapons, who had cut out almost everyone he cared about, made all these terrifying posts on a public forum.

No one said anything, no one helped him, and no one tried to stop him.

Matthew Lysiak, Why Adam Lanza Killed Those 20 Children,” Newsweek, January 23, 2014.

  • Overwhelming evidence shows that in virtually all of the school shootings, mass killings and many other homicides and suicides, the killers were either taking powerful psychotropic drugs or had been at some point in the immediate past before committing their crimes.8 For more than a decade, multiple scientific studies have shown that SSRI drugs (Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors ) have well-known side effects, including but not limited to suicide and other violent behavior. Moreover, “internal documents from certain pharmaceutical companies that suppressed the information show the same fact.” See, e.g., ssristories.com, a site that documents over 4,500 mainstream media-reported cases from around the world in which aberrant or violent behavior often resulted from taking these powerful drugs.

At least 35 school shootings and/or school-related acts of violence have been committed by those taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs, resulting in 169 wounded and 79 killed  ….” [Note: These numbers were compiled before the October, 2015, college campus shootings in Roseburg, Oregon.] “The most important fact about this list [see end of article for the list] is that these are only cases where the information about their psychiatric drug use was made public.

See http://www.cchrint.org/school-shoot…

As would be expected, the drug companies that manufacture the psychotropic drugs have persisted in arguing that the drugs are not the cause of the violence. But many lawsuits against the companies have resulted in verdicts against the drug companies or undisclosed settlements by the companies – the latter being, almost surely, evidence that they know of the problems, especially where children are prescribed such drugs. Further evidence below points to these facts, and it is only the tip of the iceberg.

  • Twenty-two (22) international drug regulatory agency warnings cite side effects [of SSRI drugs] including mania, violence, psychosis and even homicidal ideation.

Id.

Virginia Tech, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Charleston, SC, and now, Roseburg, OR are names linked with horrific events that spawn challenging questions: “What, why and how can such senseless acts of violence be committed by a human being?”  As experts Chris Grollnek and Chris Magee, observe:  “In almost all cases, political agendas [assert] gun control as the main verdict. It is not hard to see why weapons receive the blame; in the end it is the bullet that left the innocent deceased.” http://cgpgmg.com/active-shooters-and-psychotropic-drugs/

Grollnek and Magee go on to ask a crucial question based on research: “Why the obsession on the tool and not the perpetrator? In almost every case, a crazed, demented individual is pulling the trigger in these tragic and horrific situations.” Id. (bold added).

Demented – adj.: suffering from dementia. Driven to behave irrationally due to anger, distress, or excitement. This is the common mold … of an active shooter and lone wolf. The active shooter or lone wolf possesses a demented mind. They prey on the innocent in order to subdue the feelings they have in their sick minds. This is not a profound discovery or statement and certainly does not forgive their heinous acts. It will also not bring back the loved ones lost. But for once, can we be objective, non-partisan and try to save future victims from the demented mind?

This is easier said than done. In order to be completely objective and non-partisan we will have to drop the mainstream talking points on gun control … [and] focus on the fact that almost all shooters were on heavy-duty psychotropic drugs. These drugs are usually reserved for the most serious psychosis issues. These powerful, mind-altering drugs have been attributed to suicides and obviously other dramatic psychological imparities. Again, it is certainly no defense for the shooter, but can we protect future victims by analyzing the effect of these drugs?

IdSee also “WHY KIDS KILL?  PROZAC AND ALTERNATIVES,” Lawrence Wilson, M.D., The Center for Development, February 2015.

  • Firearms are inanimate objects with no power to kill on their own. Rifles, shotguns, handguns (“weapons” or “firearms”) and even baseball bats, knives, ropes, hammers and hatchets are potential tools for killing.7 Incidentally, so are automobiles. All are manufactured for legitimate purposes. Firearms fire cartridges that propel bullets or pellets at great power and high velocity when activated by an outside force – usually a human being’s mind and finger. Legitimate uses of firearms include law enforcement, legal hunting, self-defense, and use in wartime.

For over two centuries of USA history, firearms have been an integral part of everyday life. Up until the mid-1990s, not many advocated restricting gun rights to control violence; the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment stands in the way: “… the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”  (Adopted December 15, 1791, as part of the Bill of Rights, the Constitution’s first 10 amendments, having been ratified by three-fourths of the states). The Second Amendment was upheld as applied to federal enclaves by the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) and clarified, affirmed and applied to the individual states by the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010).

As one of my friends [anonymous for privacy], a legal immigrant to America, recently described at length, –

We all had guns [in the USA after college]. Some of my friends had a dozen or more. I had half a dozen. We would often gather on someone’s land out in the country (by invitation, of course) and set up rows of guns with targets. We exercised great safety guidelines and had fun trying different guns, enjoying boating, swimming, and a good BBQ. Then there was skeet shooting, duck hunting, deer hunting, and… even squirrels …. What I am saying is, there was never any dissenting dialogue like there is today about gun ownership. So, what is happening so suddenly???  Yes, times are a-changing (meaning, society/people are changing). And this is what we, as a society, must realize and understand. That is not to say we need to overreact. What we need is to look at the problem in the eyes and ask ourselves what brought this about, and what can be DONE. When there is a change, we need to [respond] to it with sensible adjustments. PERIOD! We must think about how, if possible, [we can] rewind ourselves back to normalcy (or at least near normalcy) as it was not so long ago. Is our society responsible for bringing it on … by changing how we bring up and educate our children? Have we stopped monitoring our children, causing them to stray and become what some are today? How do we do that? We look at and identify where the problem started and take it from there. When it gets cold, we put on a sweater and close our windows. We don’t take on the weather. When our loved ones are threatened by our fellow citizens, we can run around with loaded guns, always in the ready position (back to a war zone military style – which may be necessary now that we sat on our haunches so long), or we find more defensive and sensible solutions that can mitigate and eliminate at least a portion of the cause without being forced to make our neighborhoods into military-based [neighborhoods] (this is already a fact in many places). The idea of an advanced and free society is that citizens can enjoy a safe and secure existence. This is done by creating a culture that is respectful of one another. It must start during infancy by good parenting that is passed from one generation to the next, and must be followed by good education. This should include serving the country in one capacity or another, if only for one year. That will [re]enforce nationalism, patriotism, and promote good citizenship….

I, too, grew up like that in the lower Midwest. While there were no guns in my household until I was 16 years old, most of my friends up through high school and in college had guns in their homes. In a high school graduating class of 599, no one was shot or kicked out of school for carrying guns because no one carried guns to school … or church. We knew better. One boy knifed another in our junior high (the victim survived a serious stomach wound), and the aggressor was hauled off to reform school. “But times were different then, Michael!” some say.  No, people were different then. We were drilled daily with the importance of responsibility – for ourselves, respecting others, our family, friends and our community. To God. Those in charge would brook no argument with these standards of behavior.

  • It takes an insane or unbalanced person to wantonly take the life of another or multiple others. Scads of federal and state laws exist against murder, suicide, assault with a deadly weapon, terroristic threatening, etc. Firearms do not plan or initiate violent acts. Human beings do. Perhaps we should outlaw humans?
  • A plethora of federal and state laws already govern the possession, ownership and use of firearms, beginning with the Second Amendment. Numerous other laws control the manufacture, sale, purchase and use of firearms, including but not limited to the National Firearms Act (1934), the Gun Control Act of 1968, the Undetectable Firearms Act (1988), and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 (“Brady Law”) that requires a mandatory background check through NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) for the prospective purchaser of a gun, even at gun shows, which are repeatedly and erroneously said to be exempt from the Brady Law.9 The Brady Law does include, however, a federal exemption for sales between two private, non-FFL residents of the same state, regardless of whether that transaction happens at a gun show or not. The federal exemption makes perfect sense, because there’s no federal nexus for a purely private transaction between two private individuals who reside in the same state. But even then, some states, including OregonColorado, and Illinois, have enacted universal background checks in order to eliminate the exemption for same-state private firearms transactions.

Practical examples of exempt transactions: Next-door neighbor swamps his 20-gauge shotgun for a radial-arm saw; dad sells his 30-year-old son in the same state a vintage German Luger; Jim sells his buddy at work a handgun. Bill inherits his grandfather’s 9mm Glock, and so on. All legal transactions.

Conclusion

We are all concerned – if we are mentally healthy – about security and safety, especially with regard to our children. So, where do our leaders take us on the issue of mass killings?  In various public statements they lament the “tragic and shameful” violence, then hastily fall back on the convenient, too-easy red herring of “greedy gun manufacturers” and the National Rifle Association. As pointed out, the guns (in the case of shootings) and the automobiles (in the case of accidents and vehicular homicides) don’t initiate the killing. It’s the people on the trigger or at the wheel.

We don’t confiscate all the high-powered cars as a result of approximately 35,000 – 50,000 auto-accident deaths a year. Why should we confiscate all the guns, as some leaders want and openly state?  Why not deal with core issues like mental illness, insanity, and the overuse/misuse of psychotropic drugs?

Calls for stronger background checks on gun purchases or a new ban on “assault weapons” have become formulaic. They’re like winding a Victrola: the record resumes spinning but it plays the same old song. Another tune in the gun-control songbook, however, is worth listening to. Not as many sing it, but nonetheless it is instructive as it shows the chorus of the media and gun-control advocates at their laziest and most uncurious, and at their most disingenuous if not dishonest.

V. Mehta, “The Australia Gun Control Fallacy,” June 25, 2015.

After Sandy Hook, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) [who also said, “All vets are mentally ill in some way and government should prevent them from owning firearms”] stated she was considering legislation to institute a mandatory national buyback program. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also expressed an interest in confiscation, at least for assault weapons.

Id.

So those hostile to gun rights continue to demand mandatory confiscation. Earlier this year, the advisory commission appointed by Connecticut Gov. Daniel Malloy after Sandy Hook recommended banning the sale and possession of “any rifle or handgun that accepts a detachable magazine.

Id.

TPM’s [“Talking Points Memo,” a politically-left blog] Josh Marshall finally admitted earlier this week that progressives care a whole lot more about gun confiscation than they do about nibbling around the edges of existing gun laws. “In other words, yes, we really do want to take your guns,” he wrote. “Maybe not all of them. But a lot of them.

7 Gun Control Myths That Just Won’t Die, Sean Davis, Oct. 7, 2015.

He’s not the only one. There’s also E.J. Dionne at the Washington Post, who scolded Republicans for refusing to endorse a nationwide gun confiscation program similar to one instituted in Australia in the mid-1990s. … It’s not just leftist bloggers, though…. Take the president of the United States, for example. After the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, President Barack Obama [urged] that “we should politicize” shootings. He then cited radical gun confiscation laws in Australia and Great Britain as examples that the U.S. should follow, saying:

“We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours — Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it.”

Id.

So, all this mass killing and violence?  Guns and Elizabeth Warren

A recent internet meme featuring a quote attributed to Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) (right) is interesting. [I haven’t fact-checked her numbers for accuracy. Would she stretch the truth?  See her claim concerning her “Native American heritage?]  Why does she conveniently skip right over the mass medical killing of millions of babies every year in the USA through legally condoned abortion? Abortion is legal, yes, but it’s still killing, it’s still violent. If you murder a pregnant woman in the USA, you are deemed guilty of a double homicide. When reduced to its core, the only ultimate difference between abortion and other mass killings is that the U.S. Supreme Court held that abortion is legal. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973). It’s a “woman’s right to choose” under the so-called privacy rights found in the U.S. Constitution by Roe v. Wade that protects legalized mass killing. Semantic gymnastics to attempt to justify a heinous act.

Isn’t that the same mental convenience that allows mass killers to pull the trigger or use the knife – their “choice?” Today alone, approximately 1,350 women in the USA will choose to kill their babies, and without protest from any U.S. Senator.  As of today, approximately 58 million babies have been legally killed since Roe v. Wade. Isn’t it a bit hypocritical to lament losing eight a day? NO, it’s NOT about ‘mere numbers,’ but numbers should not go unnoticed or be dismissed. They are not the point, but they are relevant.

How can this plaintive cry for “our children” on one hand stand up against our national approval for killing unborn children, much less the wanton harvesting of their body parts for resale as recently revealed about the taxpayer-funded Planned Parenthood organization?  Have any of the gun control advocates introduced legislation to end abortions, late-term abortions and/or partial-birth abortions so as to protect “our children”?  Not a single one.

We need to look inward, folks. It’s about character, honesty, reality and finding an honest and reasonable solution. The United States of America is an ailing nation in some respects and is headed by a feckless or callous group of “intellectual” elites who seem to have little connection to reality, especially with regard to how to deal with crime problems. While elite universities condone violence by certain groups like “Black Lives Matter” – whose  leading spokesman openly advocates for looting and violence – we wring our collective hands in despair over mass shootings and demand that the way to solve the problem is to get rid of the guns. Yet our leaders surround themselves with armed bodyguards and automatic weapons?  I understand why. What I don’t understand is why they want seem to want to remove the right of the everyday citizen to defend herself. Why not sensibly and reasonably curtail the freedoms of the mentally-ill and drug-demented minds of a miniscule percentage of our population?

When will our void in responsible national leadership be filled with honest, impartial and reasonable folks who can govern with decorum within the constraints of the U.S. Constitution? When will responsible citizens of the United States awaken and reject the nonsense agenda being pumped out by so-called leaders and the mainstream press?

— END


–INDEX

  • End Notes 1 – 9
  • Appendix 1: List of specific cases – a partial list
  • Appendix 2: More on the horrific case of mentally-ill Adam Peter Lanza, Sandy Hook Elementary School
  • Final thoughts and questions

CAVEAT: The lengthy list of mass killers includes individuals documented to have been under the influence of psychiatric or psychotropic drugs, and includes not only shooters, but killers with knives, swords, ropes, hammers, axes, mechanical files, etc. Warning: Although I’ve removed most of the gory details, the brief descriptions are still gruesome.

___________________________________

End Notes:

1 “BEHIND THE BLOODSHED: The Untold Story of America’s Mass Killings.” USA Today, reporting and analysis by Paul Overberg, Meghan Hoyer, Mark Hannan, Jodi Upton, Barbie Hansen and Erin Durkin; copy editing by Jim Cheng. Interactive online report originally released in 2013 and updated through October 1, 2015.

“Mass killing” is defined by the FBI as four or more victims. According to FBI numbers, they represent only about 1% of all killings – 172 cases between 2006 and 2011. But USA Today alleges that the numbers are understated because Florida does not report homicide numbers to the FBI at all, while Nebraska and the District of Columbia only started reporting in 2009.

2 Id. “Other/unknown” makes up 21%; public killings are 15%; and robbery/burglary incidents are 11%.

3 Id.

4 “Charleston Massacre: Mental Illness Common Thread for Mass Shootings,” by Matthew Lysiak, Newsweek magazine, June 19, 2015. The author states: “Even though violence overall has been trending downward in the U.S., the roll-call of carnage caused by mass shootings continues to escalate. Over the last three decades, the overall national homicide rate has fallen from 10 per 100,000 in 1980 to 4 per 100,000 today, but the number of mass shootings has risen from 4 per year, between 1900 and 1970, to 29 per year since then.

“This rise correlates directly with the closure of the mental health institutions in 1969, according to mental health experts. After they were shuttered, they were supposed to be replaced by community outreach programs. But many of these programs never took root.

“In reaction to abusive people and institutions that exploited patients, many states have crafted their civil commitment laws to protect civil liberties,” says Liza Gold, a forensic psychiatrist in Arlington, Virginia. “In the past, you could just drop a relative off and sign a paper,” she says. “People could be held involuntarily for extended lengths of time, even without receiving treatment, just because they were perceived as ‘crazy.'”

“Now the pendulum has swung too far,” according to Gold, because the law doesn’t allow patients to be protected from themselves. “Now we have countless homeless people dying on the street with severe mental illness,” she says. “The commitment requirement needs to be less strict. Today it currently requires both mental illness and dangerousness to have someone committed. I think we need to focus more on the dangerousness and keep these people from getting guns.”

“Gold also cautions that those suffering from mental illness are more likely to be victims rather than perpetrators of violent crimes. “The relationship between violence and mental illness is complicated. Most people who commit acts of violence don’t exhibit signs of mental illness, and most people who are mentally ill are not violent.”

“Experts in the mental health community aren’t the only ones who believe it should be easier to commit those suffering from severe mental health problems. Two years after his movie theater shooting spree in Aurora, Colorado, James Eagan Holmes told a court-appointed examiner that “I kind of regret that [my doctor] didn’t lock me up so that everything could have been avoided.”

5 Id. See, e.g., the 2011 case of John Moses Ragin who stabbed to death his wife, Army Sgt. Crystal Ragin, and three of her children near Ft. Eustis, Virginia even though they were under a court’s protective order. See also the case of Aaron Alexis in the list below the footnotes. Alexis was the shooter in the Washington Navy Yard killing of 12 people and wounding three others.

6 “Charleston: Why didn’t anyone help Dylann Roof?”  Dr. Keith Ablow, FoxNews.com, June 22, 2015 (emphasis added). Dr. Ablow is a psychiatrist, graduated from Brown University in 1983, magna cum laude, with a B.S. degree in neurosciences; Doctor of Medicine degree, Johns Hopkins Medical School, 1987; completed psychiatry residency at the Tufts-New England Medical Center. Board Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology in psychiatry in 1993 and forensic psychiatry in 1999.

Says Dr. Ablow:

“Dylann Roof, who allegedly shot and killed nine people at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., last week, showed all the signs of severe and worsening mental illness.

“We know, of course, that Roof expressed hateful white supremacist opinion. But we also know that psychiatrically ill people can channel their paranoia or depression or extreme self-loathing into bizarre beliefs that sometimes lead to the destruction of others. Those beliefs can look just like intense hatred — of a particular person or a whole race of people.

“When an isolated 21-year-old has a history of dropping out of high school (in the 10th grade), using drugs (reportedly including benzodiazepines and opiates), withdrawing from friends, starting to sleep in his car and beginning to tell people that he intends to start a race war and then kill himself, one can reasonably conclude that he may not be well.

“Yet no one intervened in any way to prevent Roof from allegedly committing a mass killing. His uncle didn’t — even though he noted that, at 19, Roof was mostly staying in his room and hadn’t even gotten a driver’s license. His roommate didn’t, even though he has been quoted as saying that Roof was ‘planning something like this for six months.’ His black friend didn’t, even though Roof reportedly outlined his murderous plans to him a week before he carried them out. Neither did a white friend who said he was so concerned when Roof went on a drunken rampage recently that he confiscated his gun.”

From a statistical sample of 1,423 mass killing victims compiled by USAToday, 1,068 (75.1%) were killed by guns (nearly 3 out of 4 of which were by handguns); the remaining 355 were by a variety of other methods from stabbing, strangulation/suffocation, blunt force trauma, drowning or smoke inhalation.

About 1/3 of mass killers die at the scene from suicide or shooting by police.

8  See, e.g., www.ssristories.com, a site that has documented over 4,500 mainstream media-reported cases from around the world that show aberrant or violent behavior by those taking these powerful drugs.  See also “Charleston Massacre: Mental Illness Common Thread for Mass Shootings,” by Matthew Lysiak, Newsweek magazine, June 19, 2015, where the author states, “Charleston shooter Dylann Storm Roof was reportedly taking a drug that has been linked with sudden outbursts of violence.” See also “The Silent Death of America’s Children, Citizens Commission of Human Rights International, Los Angeles, CA, 2002; website at http://www.fightforkids.org/silent_death_of_americas_children.pdf

9 Brady Law (Pub.L. 103–159, 107 Stat. 1536. See also, e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_law_in_the_United_States.

____________________________________________

Appendix 1:  A Partial List of Mass Killers, School Shootings and Other Heinous Killings

Adam Peter Lanza, age 20 (shooter in 2012 Newtown, CT Sandy Hook Elementary case) is possibly the most disturbing case for several reasons, not least of which is that he killed 20 small children and 6 adults. Maybe more disturbing is that, “In [his] case, the warning signs of a severe mental health issue were right out in the open for everyone to see.” “Why Adam Lanza Killed Those 20 Children,” by Matthew Lysiak, Newsweek, January 23, 2014. See more on the Lanza case below this list.

Eric Harris age 17 (first on Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold aged 18 (Columbine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado, 1999), killed 12 students and 1 teacher, and wounded 23 others, before killing themselves. Klebold’s medical records have never been made available to the public.

Jeffrey Weise, age 16. 2005. He had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac (three times the average starting dose for adults) when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather’s girlfriend and many fellow students at Red Lake Indian Reservation, Minnesota. He then shot himself. Ten dead, 12 wounded.

Kip Kinkel, age 15. 1998.  On Prozac and Ritalin, he shot his parents while they slept, then went to school in Springfield, OR, and opened fire, killing 2 classmates and injuring 22.

Luke Woodham, age 16 of Pearl, MS, in 1997 killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others. He was on Prozac.

Michael Carneal (Ritalin), age 14. 1997. He opened fire on students at a high school prayer meeting in West Paducah, Kentucky, killing three teenagers and wounding five others.

Andrew Golden, age 11 (Ritalin) and Mitchell Johnson, aged 14 (Ritalin). 1998. They shot 15 people, killing four students, one teacher, and wounding 10 others at Westside Middle School, Craighead County, Arkansas, near Jonesboro.

Anthony “T.J.” Solomon, age 15 (Ritalin). 1999. The Conyers, GA, high school student opened fire on and wounded six of his classmates. He was tried and found “guilty but mentally ill.”

Rod Mathews, age 14 (Ritalin), 1988. He beat a classmate to death with a bat in Dedham, Massachusetts, just to “see what it was like to kill someone.”

James William Wilson, Jr., age 19, South Carolina. 1988. While taking various psychiatric drugs including Xanax, took a .22 caliber revolver into an elementary school, killing two young girls and wounding seven other children and two teachers.

Elizabeth Bush, age 13. 2001. She was on Paxil when she committed a school cafeteria shooting at the Bishop Neumann High School in Williamsport, PA.

Jason Hoffman, 18 (Effexor and Celexa). 2001. High school killing of 5 in El Cajon, CA, perhaps a “copycat” of the Charles Williams attack (see below). He later hanged himself in his jail cell after several unsuccessful attempts.

Charles A. Williams, 2001. At Santana High School in Santee, CA, he killed 2 and wounded 13.

Jarred Viktor, age 15 (Paxil) and girlfriend Danielle Barcheers. 1995. Described as “a troubled kid by any measure,” after five days on Paxil he and his girlfriend stabbed his grandmother 61 times. He was also known to be experimenting with illegal drugs and alcohol.

Christopher Shanahan, age 15 (Paxil). In 1995 in Rigby, ID, out of the blue, killed a woman with the aid of two friends; they were caught in Las Vegas, NV.

Jeffrey Franklin, 17 (Prozac, Ritalin and Klonopin). In 1998 in Huntsville, AL, killed his parents using a sledge hammer, hatchet, butcher knife and mechanic’s file, then attacked and slashed his 2 younger brothers and 1 sister. He had been diagnosed with ADHD and admitted to abusing his prescription meds.

Buford O’Neal Furrow, Jr., 38 (Prozac). 1999. Wounded five in a Los Angeles, CA, Jewish school shooting where he fired 70 shots, then murdered a mail carrier in his escape. Had been treated for mental illness in the state of Washington and court-ordered to be on Prozac along with several other medications.

Kurt Danysh, age 18, and on Prozac, killed his father with a shotgun. He is now behind prison bars, and writes letters trying to warn the world that SSRI drugs can kill.

A boy from Houston, age 10, shot and killed his father after his Prozac dosage was increased.

Hammad Memon, age 15, shot and killed a fellow middle school student. He had been diagnosed with ADHD and depression and was taking Zoloft and “other drugs for the conditions.”

Matti Saari, a 22-year-old culinary student, shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine.

Steven Kazmierczak, age 27, shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself at Northern Illinois University. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amounts of Xanax in his system.

Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen, age 18, had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School – then committed suicide.

Asa Coon from Cleveland, age 14, shot and wounded four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon was on Trazodone.

Jon Romano, age 16, on medication for depression, fired a shotgun at a teacher in his New York high school.

Dylann Storm Roof, 21, 2015. Killed 9 people in their church in Charleston, SC, had recently been arrested for criminal possession of a controlled substance and trespassing. See footnote 6 above, wherein Dr. Kenneth Ablow asked why no one helped Roof with his mental problems even though several people knew or had reason to know he was mentally ill.

Jared Lee Loughner, age 21, in 2011 killed 6 people and injured 13 others with his pistol.  Kylie Smith, a school friend, is quoted as saying, “Loughner had … used a lot of drugs — not just pot, but also hallucinogens like acid.” On September 10, 2010, Loughner was asked to leave Pima Community College in Tucson on mental health grounds – a psychologist who reviewed his journals believes he showed symptoms of schizophrenia. Four months later, Loughner committed the shootings. http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2042358,00.html

James Eagan Holmes, age 24 and a former neuroscience Ph.D. candidate. 2012.  He killed 12 people and injured 70 others in a movie theater in Aurora, CO.  He legally bought the multiple guns he used from three Colorado gun stores. http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/everything-you-need-know-about-the-aurora-theater-shooting-trial

Between March 16th and June 11, 2012, the psychiatrist who treated Holmes, Dr. Lynn Fenton, wrote in her notes that Holmes “may be shifting insidiously into a frank psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia.” On July 20, 2012 Holmes committed his attack.

What drugs was Jacob Tyler Roberts, age 22, on, when he killed 2 and injured 1 in Clackamas, OR, in 2012? It was called a “random act of violence.”

Seung-Hui Cho. 2007. As a child, Cho was diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder and placed under treatment. On December 13, 2005, he was found “mentally ill and in need of hospitalization.” On April 16, 2007, he killed 32 people and wounded 17 others at Virginia Tech University.

Jiverly Wong. 2009. In a letter dated March 18, 2009, Wong expressed his concerns to a local television station that undercover police officers were changing the channels on his television, making the air “unbreathable,” and had figured out a way to play music directly into his ear. On April 3, 2009, Wong walked into the American Civic Association immigration center in Binghamton, New York and killed 13 people, wounding four others.

Maj. Nidal Hasan. 2009. In early 2009, the mental health officials who worked alongside Hasan held a series of meetings where they discussed his bizarre and paranoid behavior. Some openly wondered whether Hasan was psychotic. On November 5, 2009, Hasan opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 people and wounding 30 others.

Aaron Alexis. 2013. On August 4, 2013, naval police were called to Alexis’ hotel at Naval Station Newport and found that he had “taken apart his bed, believing someone was hiding under it, and observed that Alexis had taped a microphone to the ceiling to record the voices of people that were following him.” On September 16, 2013, Alexis fatally shot 12 people and injured three others at the Washington Navy Yard.

Chris Harper-Mercer, 26. October 1, 2015, he killed 9 and wounded 9 before killing himself at Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, OR. ATF investigators found 13 firearms connected to him, including 5 pistols and one rifle at the college where the shooting occurred. His apartment contained 2 pistols, 4 rifles and a shotgun. ALL THE GUNS WERE LEGALLY OBTAINED by the shooter or family members through a FEDERALLY LICENSED FIREARMS DEALER, per reports. His family says he had previously sought help for mental illness. Question: Why did the family [his mother] not remove his access to guns? Why did she not seek help from law enforcement and/or medical people? http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/02/us/oregon-umpqua-community-college-shooting/

His writings show the shooter was a student of past mass shootings. He expressed frustration that other mass killers did not take on police and vowed he would kill police along with others. Friends and classmates described him as “a little odd,” “sensitive to things,” “twitchy” and giving off “a bad vibe.” Id.

He washed out of the US Army in 2008 because he failed “minimum administrative standards,” likely official-speak for mental problems. … The shooter’s writings show racial animus toward black people and general feelings of anger about being isolated and unable to make relationships. The writings also reflect an apparent fascination with the Irish Republican Army. Id.

On August 31, 2015, he blogged: “I have noticed that so many people … are all alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are. … Seems the more people you kill, the more you’re in the limelight.” Id.

Notably, his mother Laurel, an LPN, wrote heavily on social media about guns, as for example this September, 2014, post on her now-deleted Facebook page about her gun collection:

I moved from So. Calif. to Oregon, from Southern Crime-a-mania to open carry. An open carry law won’t work everywhere. And when the mood strikes, and as long as we’re tossing around brand names, I sling an AR, Tek-9 or AK over my shoulder, or holster a Glock 21 (not 22), or one of my other handguns, like the Sig Sauer P226, and walk out the door. I find the shotguns are a little too cumbersome to open carry.

Heavy.com, October 5, 2015.

According to the New York Times, Harper was a prolific poster on the Yahoo Answers message board with the username TweetyBird. Most of her posts were in response to questions about medical issues. She also posted about guns and about the difficult of raising a son with Asperger syndrome. Id.

Other cases of note involving SSRI medications:

Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, Wahluke (Washington state) High School, was on Paxil (which caused him to have hallucinations) when he took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates hostage. He has no memory of the event.

Kristina Joy Fetters, age 14, while taking Prozac, escaped an Iowa mental institution with another girl and the two went to her favorite great-aunt’s home and stabbed her to death.

Christopher Pittman, age 12, murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.

Kevin N. Rider, age 14, was withdrawing from Prozac when he died from a gunshot wound to his head. Initially it was ruled a suicide, but two years later, the investigation into his death was opened as a possible homicide. The prime suspect, also age 14, had been taking Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants. See footnote 8.

Alex Kim, age 13, hanged himself shortly after his Lexapro (SSRI) prescription had been doubled. His parents sued Forest Laboratories for $20 million and Forest settled for an undisclosed amount. “Another Lexapro lawsuit consolidation involves allegations of Forest’s marketing Lexapro and related drug Celexa to pediatric patients even though the FDA had specifically denied approval of the antidepressant for adolescent use.  Forest Laboratories already plead guilty to similar charges brought by the federal government and paid $313 million in criminal and civil penalties related to its marketing and sales practices.” See footnote 8. See also http://injurylawyer-news.com/lexapro/lawsuit/

Diane Routhier was prescribed Welbutrin for gallstone problems by her family doctor. “He handed her a sample package of Wellbutrin and 6 days later she was dead” of a self-inflicted gunshot. See “A Perfect Wife and Mother: The Truth Behind the Suicide on Pleasant Street” by Alison Cintorrino http://www.geocities.ws/borg_aw/casehistories/DianeStory.html

Billy Willkomm, an accomplished wrestler and University of Florida student, was prescribed Prozac at the age of 17. His family found him dead of suicide – hanging from a tall ladder at the family’s Gulf Shore Boulevard home in July 2002.

Kara Jaye Anne Fuller-Otter, age 12, was on Paxil when she hanged herself from a hook in her closet. Kara’s parents said “…. the damn doctor wouldn’t take her off it and I asked him to when we went in on the second visit. I told him I thought she was having some sort of reaction to Paxil…”

Gareth Christian, age 18, Vancouver, was on Paxil when he committed suicide in 2002. Gareth’s father could not accept his son’s death and killed himself.

Julie Woodward, age 17, was on Zoloft when she hanged herself in her family’s detached garage.

Matthew Miller was 13 when he saw a psychiatrist because he was having difficulty at school. The psychiatrist gave him samples of Zoloft. Seven days later his mother found him dead, hanging by a belt from a laundry hook in his closet.

Woody __, age 37, committed suicide while in his 5th week of taking Zoloft. Shortly before his death his physician suggested doubling the dose of the drug. He had seen his physician only for insomnia. He had never been depressed, nor did he have any history of any mental illness symptoms.

________________________

Appendix 2: More on the horrific case of mentally-ill Adam Peter Lanza

  1. From: “Charleston Massacre: Mental Illness Common Thread for Mass Shootings,” by Matthew Lysiak, Newsweek magazine, June 19, 2015.

“Adam, who was diagnosed as a child with Sensory Perception Disorder, a condition that made bright lights, loud sounds and certain textures unbearable, secluded himself in his bedroom for weeks at a time [in his last 2 years]. While left to himself he covered his windows with dark garbage bags to block the light out, and spent his time play[ing] violent video games and studying mass killers, compiling an extensive database that read like a scorecard.

“A Yale psychiatrist who briefly treated Lanza says he “displayed a profound autism spectrum disorder with rigidity, isolation and a lack of comprehension of ordinary social interaction and communications.”

“Lanza never accepted his diagnosis and refused to take medication or undergo further treatment. Since he was over the age of 18, his mother, Nancy Lanza, who was acutely aware of his severe mental health issues, could only hope for the best. [Incidentally, she bought the guns that he used in the killings and provided shooting lessons for him.]

“This severely mentally ill young man, obsessed with violence and surrounded by automatic weapons, who had cut off almost everyone he cared about, made a series of terrifying posts all but telegraphing the future violence on a public mass-killer website.

“In December 2011 he posted. “It goes without saying that an AK-47 and enough ammunition could do more good than a thousand ‘teachers,’ if one is truly interested in reforming the system…[the children] are already dead.”

“On December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, Lanza fatally shot 20 children and 6 adult staff members at Sandy Hook elementary school before taking his own life.

_______________

  1. From: Newtown: An American Tragedy, by Matthew Lysiak. Gallery Books, 2013.

“Adam Lanza made news again last week, more than a year after he shot himself after killing 20 students at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. The tabloid headlines were about a creepy audio recording of Lanza sharing his views on Travis, a chimpanzee who became famous after tearing the face off of a woman in 2009.

“On December 20, 2011, Lanza posted the audio clip on a mass-killer website, Shocked Beyond Belief, devoted in large part to the Columbine shooters. But lost in the public expressions of horrors at hearing the articulate, deliberate voice of the infamous killer for the first time, are his nearly 300 other postings on that site, which, along with that audio recording, provide the clearest answer yet to the question many have been asking since that horrific massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012: Why?

“We all know now that Lanza was twisted with mental illness. In my book, Newtown: an American Tragedy, I document, through almost a decade of his mother’s emails, his downward spiral as he gradually lost his tenuous connection to reality. In 2010, his illness became so severe he broke off relations with almost everyone in his life and secluded himself in his bedroom, where he spent lonely hours playing violent video games and obsessing over mass murderers.

“Lanza ‘displayed a profound autism spectrum disorder with rigidity, isolation and a lack of comprehension of ordinary social interaction and communications,’ a Yale psychiatrist who treated Lanza concluded, according to state police records. However, what remained unknown was the harrowing depth of the despair and paranoia that fueled his delusions.

“Lanza never accepted his diagnosis and refused to take any medications.

“He joined the mass-killer website, Shocked Beyond Belief, creating the screen name ‘Smiggles’ on December 29, 2009. It wasn’t long before he began to express his paranoia, and his belief that society was trying to manipulate him into following an immoral value system that led millions to both mental and physical sickness.

“When Lanza talked about that chimp’s act of violence that nearly killed a woman as an enviable act of self-liberation during his call-in on Anarchist Radio, a counterculture Oregon radio station, on December 20, 2011, less than a year before he walked into Sandy Hook, he also laid out his justification for mass shootings:

“‘Look at what civilization did to [Travis]. It had the same exact effect on him as it has on humans,” Lanza told the host in a steady, machine-like voice. ‘And his attack wasn’t simply because he was a senselessly violent, impulsive chimp, which was how his behavior was universally portrayed. He knew that [his owner] was trying to coax him back into his place of domestication, and he couldn’t handle that, so he attacked her, and anyone else who approached them.’

“Lanza later said society’s pressure to conform to its immoral value system could make any living creature snap, and perhaps commit a mass shooting to express their outrage:

“‘His attack can be seen entirely parallel to the attacks and random acts of violence that you bring up on your show every week, committed by humans, which the mainstream also has no explanation for, and – and, actual humans… I just – just don’t think it would be such a stretch to say that he very well could have been a teenage mall shooter or something like that.’

“Lanza understand, felt, that chimpanzee’s anger and frustration over being forced to conform. Lanza, whose illness made bright lights, loud sounds and certain textures unbearable, never had the opportunity to experience the best of what society had to offer. Instead, he believed the human race was trying to control him, even confessing in one of his posts that his ‘wet dream’ was ‘living in the wild with apes.’

“In another post Lanza writes:

‘[The] entire philosophy behind education: the brutal indoctrination of pristine minds so as to propagate some delusional system of cultural values…. Is it really so ideal to have good and efficient citizens? All they’ll do is be more effective at propagating the system you hate.’

“Lanza’s alienation from himself and all around him was nearly absolute. He hated the sun. He hated holidays, with the exception of Halloween, which he reasoned ‘is the only widely observed holiday with the potential for despair.’ Not even ice cream was immune from his scorn.

On February 26, 2012, Lanza posted this:

I hate how life-apologists say “Life isn’t all suffering. What about the simple pleasures, like eating ice cream?” They always use that example. Even if I didn’t recognize the flaws in their assertion, when I think of ice cream, I can only see a repugnant lump of pus crushed out of cows’ bloody nipples, who spend their entire lives confined in filth, where they’re periodically raped so that they’re incessantly pregnant… I always ride the pessimism train down different tracks until it inevitably leads me to contemplating over 500 million years of animals cannibalizing each other. Excuse me for not being thrilled by the extra jimmies on my ice cream cone.

“He believed that an increasingly controlling and immoral populace was pushing more and more people to commit mass shootings. In another post, he speculated about the increase in mass murders, and hinted at another possible motivation: fame.

If you were trying to measure alienation in a society, what could be a more blatant indication? And it’s glib to dismiss them as not being indicative of anything just because there have been over a thousand of them instead of over a hundred thousand, or however many you think are necessary, because mass murdering is so ridiculously over-the-top of a response that very few people are prone to do it under any circumstances. But just look at how many fans you can find for all different types of mass murderers and beyond these fans are countless more people who can sympathize with them; and beyond these are millions more who never think of relating the circumstances of their lives to anyone else but instead just go through the motions of life incessantly dissatisfied with their environment.

“When Lanza wrote that post, law-enforcement officials believe he had already begun planning his Newtown massacre.

“Was Lanza a Pedophile?

“In his posts on Shocked Beyond Belief, Lanza may have answered the most perplexing question surrounding this tragedy: Why did he target children?

“The conventional wisdom in law enforcement is that he was just trying get the most kills, but his postings suggest another answer. In Lanza’s Matrix-like world, children were indoctrinated from a very young age to become part of a sick machine that was self-perpetuating. They were manipulated to live unhealthy lives. In Lanza’s deranged world view, they were already doomed to live a joyless world that would use and abuse them. By killing them, he’d be saving them from the hell he was enduring.

“On December 7, 2011 in a thread titled “You know what I hate?” he posted this:

Civilization has not been present for 99% of the existence of hominids, and the only way that it’s ever sustained is by indoctrinating each new child for years on end. The “wellness” that you speak of is solely defined by a child’s submission to this process… When civilization exists in a form where all forms of alienation (among many other things) are rampant… new children will end up “not well” in all sorts of ways. You don’t even have to touch a topic as cryptic as mass murder to see an indication of this: you can look at a single symptom as egregious as the proliferation of antidepressants.

“A December 20, 2011 exchange between Smiggles and two other posters have led some to conclude that Lanza’s attack on children may have been his way of acting out a depraved sexual fetish.

“Smiggles: ‘Literature is simply another coping mechanism for children who’ve been mindfucked by culturapists. They’re carried to other worlds in the stream of semen.’

“Gluth: “Doesn’t anybody else notice that Smiggles sometimes sends huge ‘I AM A PEDOPHILE’ signals? … No offense buddy but children in a semen stream? What the hell did you smoke?”

“[Smiggles responds with a smiley face.]

“Ivan: “I like Smiggles, he talks about children in a sexual way and is a cool guy.”

“Inside Lanza’s room investigators found ‘materials regarding the topic of pedophilia and advocating for rights for pedophiles,’ and a ‘screenplay or script’ titled Lovebound ‘describing a relationship between a 10-year-old boy and a 30-year-old man.’

“On December 1, 2011, Lanza posted about a dream in which he tried to kiss a ‘kindergarten-age’ girl, but she rebuked him. Annoyed that she had been ‘brainwashed,’ Lanza wrote that he picked her up and tossed her over a railing.

“There were other dreams he wanted to talk about, to share. ‘Today I dreamt a Columbine reference for the first time. I’ve probably never had one before because I’ve scarcely ever cared about Columbine,’ Lanza wrote, explaining that this former classmate tried to recruit Lanza to ‘go Columbine’ with him, because he, like Lanza, had been bullied.

“Perhaps most troubling of all was that this severely mentally ill young man, refusing medication, obsessed with violence and surrounded by automatic weapons, who had cut out almost everyone he cared about, made all these terrifying posts on a public forum.

“No one said anything, no one helped him, and no one tried to stop him.

“There were so many warning signs that a mass shooting was coming:

‘How about how Mad Bomber has been here for three years and he still hasn’t gone on a rampage? I thought he would’ve been on my catalog of mass murderers by now. (smile icon).’

“And this:

‘I’m still waiting for a mass shooter who eschews 9mm pistols and instead buys an AK-47 pistol, 30 30-round magazines, and 1000 hollow points….’

“Lanza believed mass shooters were sending a message of resistance. They were declaring that they wouldn’t play by society’s sick rules. They were fighting back.

‘It goes without saying that an AK-47 and enough ammunition could do more good than a thousand ‘teachers,’ if one is truly interested in reforming the system…’

“Lanza posted that a year before walking into Sandy Hook Elementary School with a Bushmaster XM 15-E2S assault rifle. And there was this:

‘In short time the children will be brainwashed, pumped full of Xanax and told to conform, until they have been turned into the oppressors.’

‘They (the children) are already dead.’

_______________________________

FINAL THOUGHTS AND QUESTIONS

  • The guns may be a small factor on a much larger playing field. Why aren’t the mainstream media reporting on the issue of psychotropic drugs? Why aren’t they raising appropriate questions about this common thread?
  • Why is there virtually no press coverage of the underlying psychiatric and psychological problems and history of the shooters?
  • While virtually impossible to prove a negative, it seems fairly clear that gun control laws have had no demonstrable effect on the incidence of mass shootings. Many of the shooters have obtained their guns legally and directly, or have accessed guns owned by family members or friends who obtained them legally.
  • In the October, 2015 mass shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, the shooter and/or his mother bought the guns legally from federally licensed firearm dealers, according to investigators.
  • Incidentally, millions of people purchase and drive automobiles in this country and multiple tens of thousands are killed on the highways and streets each year, not to mention those who are maimed for life, and yet virtually NO ONE cries out for banning or eliminating automobiles.
  • Abortion now rivals World War II for causing the most deaths in the history of the world – some 58 million abortions in the USA as of today. Compare 50-75 million killed as a direct result of World War II. And yet, the U.S. Congress just agreed this month to further fund Planned Parenthood from federal tax dollars despite that organization’s heinous killing of babies and marketing of body parts for profit.
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2 thoughts on “Because We Care

  1. Well, Michael, it’s a complex problem that’s not suited to simple solutions. There is an abundance of data out there relating to homicides (defined as death resulting from an injury purposely inflicted by another person thus excluding suicides) going all the way back to 1900. The most reliable data begins in 1933 when record keeping became more uniform. I will leave it to you to verify the numbers, but over half of the homicides committed in the United States since 1950 were by firearms, particularly handguns. 75% of homicides were committed by persons between the ages of 14 and 34. Of those, 88% were committed by males. The average age of the perpetrator is around 28. Blacks are seven times more likely to be both the victim and the perpetrator of homicide. Most perpetrators knew their victims.

    While I accept your premise that the mass killings seem to be perpetrated by the mentally ill, these types of killings make up a small percentage of all homicides. Thus, I agree with you to the extent that you are saying that gun control will not prevent mass killings. At the same time, I’m not sure that the mental health system will ever be able to prevent mass killings either. You can’t just lock up everyone who has mental issues as the vast majority of the mentally ill are not dangerous. I’m unsure about the relationship between psychiatric drugs and homicides. I’ve never seen a definitive study, but it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that there is a correlation.

    You lost me with the abortion argument. I understand your point, but there is no relationship between abortion rates and homicide rates. (I am against both, by the way!)

    Finally, your argument about motor vehicles doesn’t make sense to me. The “instrumentality” argument–i.e. guns don’t kill people, people kill people–is a straw man argument. With regard to motor vehicles in particular, they are heavily regulated. You have to take a test and get a license to drive a car. The license has to be renewed every four years. You have to register your vehicle. If you want to drive a more dangerous vehicle such as a tractor-trailer, you are required to get a specialized license and even more training. You’re required to pass a physical. You are limited in the number of hours per day that you can operate the vehicle. You are required to get insurance for your car so that if you harm someone while using it there is recompense for the victim. If you drive a tractor-trailer you have to get at least $750,000 worth of insurance. If your car isn’t working properly you can get a ticket. If you repeatedly operate your vehicle in an unsafe manner, you lose your license. If you sell your car to someone else, the purchaser has to register the car before it can be operated on the highway. Do all of these regulations prevent motor vehicle deaths? No. But it’s clear that the death rate from motor vehicle accidents has declined as vehicles have been made safer. I wonder if guns can be made safer? I wonder if some types of regulations might make sense? For instance, the technology exists to prevent a firearm from being fired by anyone but its owner.

    Having said all of that, please understand that I own and use guns, mostly for hunting but I do have two that are for protection. I would be interested in hearing from any of your readers who have something to say other than gun laws won’t work. I’ve read and considered most of those arguments and remain unconvinced. There has to be something we can do.

  2. Sincere thanks for your comments, Russell. You may be the “iron that sharpens” me on this topic. We are totally agreed that “it’s a complex problem;” I don’t think I implied otherwise, or that it’s “suited to simple solutions.” Matter of fact, it is your premise that triggered my writing because, as my article fairly plainly states, no “simple” prophylactic solution (e.g., “confiscate the guns,” “register the guns,” “restrict the guns,” etc.) is going to solve the problem, regardless of who says otherwise.

    Regarding your reference to homicide data: Please revisit the subtitle of my piece. It’s “Mass Killings in America: An Inconvenient Truth.” No attempt here to address homicides and suicides in general; the article is limited to recent data (2006 to 2015) as it relates primarily to that pocket of crime, which is always sensationalized by the press. Tackling the whole homicide/suicide-by-firearm set of statistics would be daunting and would require a tome to cover. This article is intentionally limited to address a fairly recent trend.

    We’re in sync with your agreement “that gun control will not prevent mass killings,” and that we’re “not sure that the mental health system will ever be able to prevent mass killings either” and we “can’t just lock up everyone who has mental issues as the vast majority of the mentally ill are not dangerous.” As with you, I haven’t seen a definitive study on the psychiatric drug issue, either. But the pharmaceutical companies defend themselves aggressively, of course, just as do the NRA and the gun manufacturers on the counterbalance. But some of the facts I’ve cited in the article seem fairly convincing even though they represent a small percentage of the total population on psychiatric or psychotropic drugs — especially the SSRI subset.

    You really don’t seem “lost” with the abortion argument. You just disagree. I get it. But there is a “relationship between abortion rates and homicide rates.” It’s simply this: Abortion IS homicide, even though it’s legalized by popular demand, thanks to SCOTUS. It IS a violent taking of life, just with a different instrumentality. One might look at it as a third-tier or last-ditch birth control method: (1) abstinence; (2) pill, diaphragm, gel, condom, etc.; or (3) kill the baby. And the comparative statistics are staggering, with the anguished histrionics about mass killings all out of proportion to the relative acquiescence where abortion is concerned. I cite the abortion statistics for the purpose of comparison/contrast.

    Likewise, I disagree with your conclusion that the comparison to motor vehicle deaths “doesn’t make sense.” The numbers alone stand in stark contrast (1,200/year by guns vs. 35,000-40,000/year by car), yet no one is going to the extreme of yelling “confiscate the cars” like the extremist politicians and media nuts. (A car is more likely to kill someone (falling on, rolling over, spontaneous mechanical/electronic aberration that starts it without human assistance, etc.) than a gun laying on a table. The point: it takes a human triggered by something (hatred, insanity, fear, drug influence, stupidity, etc.) to pull the trigger on a firearm. So if we’re REALLY going to get excited and DO SOMETHING about unnecessary deaths in the USA, perhaps we should FIRST look at abortion and automobiles, highway systems design, manufacturing defects, etc., not to mention road rage, vehicular homicides, etc. It’s JUST A SIMPLE COMPARISON TO MAKE THE POINT THAT WE’RE “STRAINING AT GNATS AND SWALLOWING CAMELS.”

    Agreed again: motor vehicles … are “heavily regulated.” But “you have to take a test and get a license to drive a car” ONLY ONCE IN YOUR LIFE, barring some temporary revocation based on an offense or incapacity. And NOT SO where illegals are concerned. I know this fact — almost got killed in central California by an illegal alien who was a farmworker in the citrus groves, had obtained a legal license without any testing whatsoever, could not speak English at all and was violating three specific laws. Consider, too, the numbers of people who intentionally drive without a valid license for any number of possible reasons. All of your other arguments regarding licensing, CDLs, etc., can be countered by statistics that show the laws are NOT necessarily followed, rendering them useless in those instances as far as harm to innocent others. Significant numbers of drivers routinely fail to maintain insurance, as you know. Some lawyers make a living suing uninsured/under-insured drivers, and insurance companies make large profits selling Un/Under-insured motorist coverage. On and on. But I agree that “it’s clear that the death rate from motor vehicle accidents has declined as vehicles have been made safer.”

    I, too, wonder if guns can be made safer, and whether some other regulations might make sense. But while extant technology also supposedly prevents anyone but me from using my cell phone or laptop, we know there’s a large industry of criminals who regularly disprove that theory and the efficacy of the technology. Does that mean we should stop trying? Abolutely not. But you get my point. And what about the “owner” who decides to use her/his firearm for criminal purposes? Still possible, right?

    We are or have been on common ground concerning gun ownership. And like you, I would be interested in hearing from others on these issues. Note, though, that I don’t say unequivocally that “gun laws won’t work.” I do say that none of the existing laws have successfully prevented mass killings and suicides. By inference, it’s clear from your own statistics that existing laws don’t prevent black-on-black or white-on-black or black-on-white crime.

    Unlike you, I am unconvinced that there “has to be something we can do,” although I’d like to think there is considerable ground short of heavy restriction and/or dismantling the Second Amendment’s provisions. I do not believe we can reasonably eliminate all risks for human life from bullying, irate and insane drivers, criminal minds, drug-crazed or angry people who want to burn, pillage, rape and kill, etc. The nature of life as we know it instructs otherwise. We should try to make life safe within reasonable bounds and expectations, but not a single one of our inventions or machinations is fool-proof against all comers.

    Thanks again, Russell, for your comments.

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