The shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT, were shocking. Everyone feels that viscerally. But the rush to blame guns and the gun culture in the US is, at the very least, only a part of the issue.
In the first place, none of the guns used in this incident were illegal and nothing that President Obama has done with his nearly two dozen Executive Orders would have changed that.
Secondly, there has been precious little discussion about the impact that mental health had in this case. Relatives have said the shooter was on some form of medication for “depression.” So, we can assume some sort of psychotropic prescription pills.
The more we look at other similar events it would seem a pattern emerges. A law enforcement friend sent me the following chart. While I haven’t personally verified all of the information, I did have a look at a sampling and it seems accurate. Regardless, a pattern emerges that bears discussion.
The Sandy Hook shootings have ignited a gun debate that is polarizing America and is causing politicians to do something for no better reason than to be seen as doing something in the midst of the debate. But new legislation or Executive Orders, no matter how well thought out, will only guide the behaviour of the law abiding.
And no matter where you stand in the gun debate, this chart indicates what the real debate should be about. The prolific use of psychotropic meds is a relatively recent phenomena. It goes along with diagnoses of things like ADD and FAS.
I’m no physician, but in my school days ADD was dealt with by a cuff behind the ear not psychotropic meds. If we are going to have a gun debate, that’s fine as long as we talk about all contributing factors. And this chart shows an incredible common denominator that is being ignored.
What Drug Date Where Additional School Shooting Prozac WITHDRAWAL 2008-02-15 Illinois ** 6 Dead: 15 Wounded: Perpetrator Was in Withdrawal from Med & Acting Erratically School Shooting Prozac Antidepressant 2005-03-24 Minnesota **10 Dead: 7 Wounded: Dosage Increased One Week before Rampage School Shooting Paxil [Seroxat] Antidepressant 2001-03-10 Pennsylvania **14 Year Old GIRL Shoots & Wounds Classmate at Catholic School School Shooting Zoloft Antidepressant & ADHD Med 2011-07-11 Alabama **14 Year Old Kills Fellow Middle School Student School Shooting Zoloft Antidepressant 1995-10-12 South Carolina **15 Year Old Shoots Two Teachers, Killing One: Then Kills Himself School Shooting Med For Depression 2009-03-13 Germany **16 Dead Including Shooter: Antidepressant Use: Shooter in Treatment For Depression School Hostage Situation Med For Depression 2010-12-15 France **17 Year Old with Sword Holds 20 Children & Teacher Hostage School Shooting Plot Med For Depression WITHDRAWAL 2008-08-28 Texas **18 Year Old Plots a Columbine School Attack School Shooting Anafranil Antidepressant 1988-05-20 Illinois **29 Year Old WOMAN Kills One Child: Wounds Five: Kills Self School Shooting Luvox/Zoloft Antidepressants 1999-04-20 Colorado **COLUMBINE: 15 Dead: 24 Wounded School Stabbings Antidepressants 2001-06-09 Japan **Eight Dead: 15 Wounded: Assailant Had Taken 10 Times his Normal Dose of Depression Med School Shooting Prozac Antidepressant WITHDRAWAL 1998-05-21 Oregon **Four Dead: Twenty Injured School Stabbing Med For Depression 2011-10-25 Washington **Girl, 15, Stabs Two Girls in School Restroom: 1 Is In Critical Condition School Shooting Antidepressant 2006-09-30 Colorado **Man Assaults Girls: Kills One & Self School Machete Attack Med for Depression 2001-09-26 Pennsylvania **Man Attacks 11 Children & 3 Teachers at Elementary School School Shooting Related Luvox 1993-07-23 Florida **Man Commits Murder During Clinical Trial for Luvox: Same Drug as in COLUMBINE: Never Reported School Hostage Situation Cymbalta Antidepressant WITHDRAWAL 2009-11-09 New York **Man With Gun Inside School Holds Principal Hostage School Shooting Antidepressants 1992-09-20 Texas **Man, Angry Over Daughter’s Report Card, Shoots 14 Rounds inside Elementary School School Shooting SSRI 2010-02-19 Finland **On Sept. 23, 2008 a Finnish Student Shot & Killed 9 Students Before Killing Himself School Shooting Threat Med for Depression* 2004-10-19 New Jersey **Over-Medicated Teen Brings Loaded Handguns to School School Shooting Antidepressant? 2007-04-18 Virginia **Possible SSRI Use: 33 Dead at Virginia Tech School Shooting Antidepressant? 2002-01-17 Virginia **Possible SSRI Withdrawal Mania: 3 Dead at Law School School Incident/Bizarre Zoloft* 2010-08-22 Australia **School Counselor Exhibits Bizarre Behavior: Became Manic On Zoloft School/Assault Antidepressant 2009-11-04 California **School Custodian Assaults Student & Principal: Had Manic Reaction From Depression Med School Shooting Prozac Antidepressant 1992-01-30 Michigan **School Teacher Shoots & Kills His Superintendent at School School Shooting Threats Celexa Antidepressant 2010-01-25 Virginia **Senior in High School Theatens to Kill 4 Classmates: Facebook Involved: Bail Denied School Violence/Murder Antidepressants* 1998-05-04 New York **Sheriff’s Deputy Shoots his Wife in an Elementary School School Knifing/Murder Meds For Depression & ADHD 2010-04-28 Massachusetts **Sixteen Year Old Kills 15 Year Old in High School Bathroom in Sept. 2009 School Stabbing Wellbutrin 2006-12-04 Indiana **Stabbing by 17 Year Old At High School: Charged with Attempted Murder School Threat Antidepressants 2007-04-23 Mississippi **Student Arrested for Making School Threat Over Internet School Suspension Lexapro Antidepressant 2007-07-28 Arkansas **Student Has 11 Incidents with Police During his 16 Months on Lexapro School Shooting Antidepressant WITHDRAWAL 2007-11-07 Finland **Student Kills 8: Wounds 10: Kills Self: High School in Finland School Shooting Paxil [Seroxat] Antidepressant 2004-02-09 New York **Student Shoots Teacher in Leg at School School Threat Prozac Antidepressant 2008-01-25 Washington **Student Takes Loaded Shotgun & 3 Rifles to School Parking Lot: Plans Suicide School Shooting Plot Med For Depression 1998-12-01 Wisconsin **Teen Accused of Plotting to Gun Down Students at School School/Assault Zoloft Antidepressant 2006-02-15 Tennessee **Teen Attacks Teacher at School School Shooting Threat Antidepressant 1999-04-16 Idaho **Teen Fires Gun in School School Hostage Situation Paxil & Effexor Antidepressants 2001-04-15 Washington **Teen Holds Classmates Hostage with a Gun School Hostage Situation Antidepressant WITHDRAWAL 2006-11-28 North Carolina **Teen Holds Teacher & Student Hostage with Gun School Knife Attack Med for Depression 2006-12-06 Indiana **Teen Knife Attacks Fellow Student School Massacre Plot Prozac Withdrawal 2011-02-23 Virginia **Teen Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison For Columbine Style Plot School Shooting Celexa & Effexor Antidepressants 2001-04-19 California **Teen Shoots at Classmates in School School Shooting Celexa Antidepressant 2006-08-30 North Carolina **Teen Shoots at Two Students: Kills his Father: Celexa Found Among his Personal Effects School Shooting Meds For Depression & ADHD 2011-03-18 South Carolina **Teen Shoots School Official: Pipe Bombs Found in Backpack School Shooting Threat Antidepressant 2003-05-31 Michigan **Teen Threatens School Shooting: Charge is Terrorism School Stand-Off Zoloft Antidepressant 1998-04-13 Idaho **Teen [14 Years Old] in School Holds Police At Bay: Fires Shots School Shooting Antidepressant WITHDRAWAL 2007-10-12