It isn't guns that kill people; it is people who kill people.
The US has a long history of such outrages. And is pretty much alone as a country to suffer in this way, despite the fact that guns are carried, legally, in other countries - whose citizens don't go around on killing sprees.
So, instead of blaming the weapons, wouldn't it be more profitable to research the cause? To ask why some people feel the need to go kill a bunch of others and then (usually) themselves?
In the 1990s I was researching fluoridation of water supplies. But as I did my research, I came across examples of the harm that fluoridated drugs could do. Just like the killings in last two weeks, there have been examples of children going on a killing sprees and shooting their parents, school friends, teachers, other people and then themselves for decades.
I don't know whether the recent perpetrators of these outrages were on drugs but back in the last century, I found that many, if not all, of them appeared to be taking the SSRI drug, Prozac.
Below is an extract from my book, Fluoride: Drinking ourselves to death? I wrote this in 1999; it is still relevant today. Searching PubMed today, I could find no medical research that addresses the problem. Perhaps it is about time there was some!
Fluoride drugs and violent deaths
Many antidepressive drugs contain fluoride because of its profound effect on mood. Fluanxol, Motipress, Motival, Parstelin and the biggest seller, Prozac, are all highly fluorinated. Hypothyroidism, which they produce, can induce almost any psychiatric symptom or syndrome, including rage, fear ranging from mild anxiety to frank paranoia, mood swings and aggression.
Recently the USA has seen an alarming rise in apparently motiveless killings where individuals - usually men, but also children - have taken a gun and shot several people before shooting themselves.
The number of people, including preschool children, prescribed antidepressants and stimulants rose in the mid-1990s despite limited knowledge about the effects of such drugs on young children. The reasons for prescribing such medications in young children include pain relief, anxiety associated with medical, pre-surgery and dental procedures, bed wetting and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children aged three years and older. Yet, 'Unresolved questions involve the long-term safety of psychotropic medications, particularly in light of earlier ages of initiation and longer durations of treatment'.1
In an early case, a young defendant was found not guilty because he committed a murder 'in the course of a hypothyroid psychosis'. . . 'He was later judged to be not guilty by reason of insanity, although he was clearly sane at the time of his trial.'2
The University of Maryland looked at 200,000 patients in three areas of the country. It found that use of stimulants and antidepressants rose in all the areas between 1991 and 1995. Julie Zito, principal author of the study, said that some of the drugs' uses are not included in warnings on drug packages. While this is not uncommon with some drugs for adults, there is no information on how these psychotropic drugs work for children.
In a recent rampage that has become frighteningly familiar in the USA, a fifteen-year-old Springfield, Oregon, student, Kip Kinkel, dressed in a trench coat, ran through a crowded school cafeteria firing his rifle from the hip. He killed a classmate and critically wounding several others. The Associated Press headline read:
OREGON SHOOTING: YET ANOTHER WARNING OF THE DANGERS OF PROZAC AND ITS CLONES.3
This was frighteningly similar to a violent episode which took place in Louisville, Kentucky in 1989. Joseph Wesbecker stepped out of an elevator at work firing an AK47 semiautomatic assault rifle. Twelve people were wounded and eight killed before Joseph Wesbecker took his own life. One victim described him as 'totally devoid of human element and human soul.'
Kip Kinkel was restrained before he could take his life, but begged others to shoot him when they tackled him. Both men were taking Prozac at the time.
Prozac's manufacturer, Eli Lilly has repeatedly claimed that Prozac is safe. The International Coalition For Drug Awareness (ICFDA), a non profit group that warns of potential serious adverse reactions to prescription medications, reports that there is abundant evidence in medical literature showing a link between Prozac and violence, as well as suicide.
Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, director of ICFDA, and author of Prozac: Panacea Or Pandora?, has testified as an expert witness since 1992 in Prozac and other antidepressant related criminal cases. Dr. Tracy poses the question, 'How many patients have ever been warned that even something as simple as mixing most major cough syrups with their use of these medications can produce PCP (Angel Dust) like reactions?' 'We are sitting in the middle of this nation's most dangerous drug problem and have not yet awakened to the seriousness of this situation.'
Wesbecker and Kinkel are only two of a growing number of violent cases committed by people taking Prozac or one of its clones:
- A mother on Prozac in San Francisco smothered her three small daughters by wrapping their hands and faces with duct tape and attempted to take her own life
- A man in Los Angeles on Prozac committed suicide in front of TV cameras.
- A lottery employee taking Luvox (a Prozac clone) in Connecticut shot and killed four fellow workers before taking his own life
- A man in Wyoming taking Paxil (another Prozac clone) shot and killed his wife, daughter and baby grand-daughter before he took his own life.
Now four more are dead and Kinkel is facing a life without his parents and several classmates. He also faces spending the rest of his life in prison while he slowly comes to a realization of what he did in this drug-induced stupor.
According to internal company documents made public in court cases filed against Eli Lilly, in 1990 they attempted to protect their 'golden goose' (Prozac was bringing in over $6 million a day). Dr Leigh Thompson went 'against the advice of his staff' and told the board of directors that suicide and hostile acts committed by Prozac users were, in all probability, caused by the patients' underlying disorders rather than Prozac. On 7 November 1990 he asked, 'What are our priorities?'
Of course priority number one for Eli Lilly was to protect Prozac.
In December 1993 the world heard that Prozac had been found 'not guilty' in the murderous rampage and suicide of Joseph Wesbecker. But, in fact, Eli Lilly had paid millions of dollars to settle out of court. The judge was so upset about the secrecy and deception surrounding the case that he called for an additional hearing to force Lilly to admit this publicly. He succeeded, and Lilly and the plaintiffs were forced to admit that this was indeed a settlement and not a 'not guilty' verdict for Prozac.
In another Prozac case against Lilly (Forsyth v. Lilly) currently being tried in Federal District Court in Hawaii, Judge Alan C. Kay ruled:
- 'Lilly falsified reports of side effects of suicide attempts by reporting them as overdoses.'
- 'material issues of fact exist as to whether Lilly deliberately suppressed adverse studies.'
- 'The Court finds that Plaintiffs have presented sufficient evidence to show that Lilly may have acted wantonly, oppressively, or with such malice as implies a spirit of mischief or criminal indifference.'
1. Julie Magno Zito; Daniel J. Safer; Susan dosReis; James F. Gardner; Myde Boles; Frances Lynch. Trends in the Prescribing of Psychotropic Medications to Preschoolers. JAMA. 2000;283:1025-1030.
2. Easson WM. Myxedema psychosis – insanity defense in homicide. J Clin Psychiatry 1980; 41: 316-8.
3. http://www.drugawareness.org/oregon.html. Accessed 15 April 2000