This week saw two more mass shootings in the U.S. They seem to have become so commonplace that, though we are horrified at the loss of innocent life, we are to a point inured to the emotional devastation.
The citizens in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio are mourning loved ones who never came home. Unfortunately, there is the typical knee-jerk response to blame guns and the gun culture in the U.S. Worse still were those who called the National Rifle Association murderers. To my knowledge no member of the N.R.A has ever been involved in any mass murder event.
I should also point out that the weapons used in both of these events were acquired legally. In all fifty states to purchase a weapon from a Federal Firearm Licensed dealer you must undergo a background check. This is federal law.
The problem is the background check looks at only criminal record checks. Anyone with a felony on their record cannot legally purchase a gun. Issues of domestic violence or stalking also preclude anyone from legally obtaining a weapon.
Canada’s laws are much more restrictive that those in the U.S. But we still see mass shootings in this country. On the surface of things that would seem to neutralize the gun control debate as it is relative to mass shootings.
But there’s much more to this.
A few years ago, in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut I was speaking with a federal law enforcement friend in the States. He sent me some information that was enlightening.
This chart looks at school shootings in the U.S. over a 20 year period.
|School Shooting||Prozac WITHDRAWAL||2008-02-15||Illinois|
|School Shooting||Prozac Antidepressant||2005-03-24||Minnesota|
|School Shooting||Paxil [Seroxat] Antidepressant||2001-03-10||Pennsylvania|
|School Shooting||Zoloft Antidepressant & ADHD Med||2011-07-11||Alabama|
|School Shooting||Zoloft Antidepressant||1995-10-12||South Carolina|
|School Shooting||Med For Depression||2009-03-13||Germany|
|School Hostage Situation||Med For Depression||2010-12-15||France|
|School Shooting Plot||Med For Depression WITHDRAWAL||2008-08-28||Texas|
|School Shooting||Anafranil Antidepressant||1988-05-20||Illinois|
|School Shooting||Luvox/Zoloft Antidepressants||1999-04-20||Colorado|
|School Shooting||Antidepressant WITHDRAWAL||1998-05-21||Oregon|
|School Stabbing||Med For Depression||2011-10-25||Washington|
|School Machete Attack||Med for Depression||2001-09-26||Pennsylvania|
|School Shooting Related||Luvox||1993-07-23||Florida|
|School Hostage Situation||Antidepressant WITHDRAWAL||2009-11-09||New York|
|School Shooting Threat||Med for Depression*||2004-10-19||New Jersey|
|School Shooting||Prozac Antidepressant||1992-01-30||Michigan|
|School Shooting Threats||Celexa Antidepressant||2010-01-25||Virginia|
|School Violence/Murder||Antidepressants*||1998-05-04||New York|
|School Knifing/Murder||Meds For Depression & ADHD||2010-04-28||Massachusetts|
|School Suspension||Lexapro Antidepressant||2007-07-28||Arkansas|
|School Shooting||Antidepressant WITHDRAWAL||2007-11-07||Finland|
|School Shooting||Paxil [Seroxat] Antidepressant||2004-02-09||New York|
|School Threat||Prozac Antidepressant||2008-01-25||Washington|
|School Shooting Plot||Med For Depression||1998-12-01||Wisconsin|
|School Shooting Threat||Antidepressant||1999-04-16||Idaho|
|School Hostage Situation||Paxil & Effexor Antidepressants||2001-04-15||Washington|
|School Hostage Situation||Antidepressant WITHDRAWAL||2006-11-28||North Carolina|
|School Knife Attack||Med for Depression||2006-12-06||Indiana|
|School Massacre Plot||Prozac Withdrawal||2011-02-23||Virginia|
|School Shooting||Celexa & Effexor Antidepressants||2001-04-19||California|
|School Shooting||Celexa Antidepressant||2006-08-30||North Carolina|
|School Shooting||Meds For Depression & ADHD||2011-03-18||South Carolina|
|School Shooting Threat||Antidepressant||2003-05-31||Michigan|
|School Stand-Off||Zoloft Antidepressant||1998-04-13||Idaho|
|School Shooting||Antidepressant WITHDRAWAL||2007-10-12||Ohio|
When, in every case you have the suspect being on some form of psychotropic medication it’s fair to say that may be the problem.
Now, I don’t know whether the El Paso shooter or the Dayton, Ohio shooter were on some form of psychotropic meds, but given what I’ve read about both of them, I’d say it’s a good bet.
Society is too quick these days to allow our kids to be given psychotropic meds for all manner of behavioural issues like ADHD and the like. It’s too easy to blame some condition or other to explain why little Johnny isn’t doing well at school and the medical community has over the course of time been too complacent and go along.
When I was in school, lo those many years ago, if you weren’t paying attention in class you were as likely to get a cuff across the back of the head and told to sit straight and pay attention.
I am not saying we need to return to corporal punishment in our schools. I am saying that the proliferation of prescribing psychotropic meds to our kids is wrong and we, as a society, need to do a better job and not rely on lazy or quick answers to problems that have always existed.