As the gun grabbers jerk knees over the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, one topic of discussion is strangely missing from the accounts in the mainstream media: the drug factor.
Shooter Adam Lanza was notably and noticeably “different.” News reports have former classmates and teachers describing him as a ghost, an autistic genius, deeply disturbed, withdrawn and shy. During Lanza’s freshman year of high school, Newtown school officials were so concerned about him that they assigned him a permanent psychologist and flagged him to the school’s security chief. Lanza was described by school officials as one “very much in need of watching” — not because they saw in him a potential to harm others, but to harm himself.
Lanza’s older brother, Ryan, who had not seen Adam in at least two years, told authorities his brother had Asperger’s syndrome. Asperger’s is described as a milder variant of autism. In Asperger’s Disorder, affected individuals are characterized by social isolation and eccentric behavior in childhood. There are impairments in two-sided social interaction and non-verbal communication. Though grammatical, their speech may sound peculiar due to abnormalities of inflection and a repetitive pattern. Clumsiness may be prominent both in their articulation and gross motor behavior. They usually have a circumscribed area of interest which often leaves no room for more age-appropriate, common interests. Some examples are cars, trains, French literature, door knobs and hinges, cappuccino, meteorology, astronomy or history.
Pharmacological treatment options include psychostimulants, antidepressants, mood stabilizers and beta blockers.
And therein may lie the problem. Investigative journalist Jon Rappoport wrote a series of columns over the weekend as he dug into the background of the mass murder. He has written extensively — including this white paper in 1999, following the Columbine, Colo., shootings — on the role that prescribed medications play in mass shootings.
It’s clear that drugs like Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft scramble the brain and cause or contribute to violence and suicides. Examples include:
- Eric Harris, one of the shooters at Columbine, was on at least one drug (Luvox).
- Kip Kinkel had been a user of Prozac. (Kinkel was the shooter in the May 21, 1998, Springfield, Ore., school massacre.)
- Teenager Julie Marie Meade from Maryland was shot to death by the police when they found her waving a gun at them.
- Ben Garris, a 16-year old in Baltimore, stabbed his counselor to death.
- Kristina Fetters, a 14-year old from Des Moines, Iowa, stabbed her favorite great aunt in a rage that landed her a life sentence.
Rather than indict the tool the shooters used to commit their crimes, an investigation into the effects the drugs they were taking had on their brains needs to be the starting point if we are to get to the root of the problem.