Yesterday at the Fort Hood Army base in Killeen, Texas, Ivan lopez opened fire with a .45-cal handgun, killing 3 and wounding 16 before taking his own life. Gun grabbers like Piers Morgan are already waiving the bloody shirt, blaming the gun and calling for further restrictions. Gun rights supporters put the onus on the fact that the base, like most locations of mass shootings, was a gun free zone and the victims had no chance to protect themselves.
I agree that places that ban guns make attractive targets for madmen, but there is another thing we should look at. Army officials admitted that Ivan was being treated for depression and taking psychiatric drugs. It turns out that nearly all of the recent high-profile spree killers were on mood-altering prescription drugs. Before we go blaming the gun, maybe we ought to consider the pills.
Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications have a long history of inciting violence. Here’s a list of killers with connections to psychiatric drug use:
10. Erik Harris – Columbine Shooting: Along with Dylan Klebold, Harris killed 13 and wounded 23 before killing themselves at their Littleton, CO highschool in 1999. Harris was on Zoloff and Luvox. Klebold’s medical records have never been made public.
9. Jeff Weise – Red Lake Shooting: Weise shot his grandfather and a friend before taking a gun to his Minnesota high school. His 2005 rampage killed 9 and wounded 12 before turning the gun on himself. Weise was 16, but was prescribed an adult dosage of Prozak.
8. Kip Kinkel – Oregon School Shooting: In 1998 the 15-year old shot his parents while the slept. He then went to his school in Springfield, OR and killed 2 classmates, injuring another 22. Kinkle was on both Ritalin and Prozak.
7. Michael Carneal – Kentucky School Shooting: In 1997 this 14-year old opened fire on students at a prayer meeting in West Paducah, KY, killing two, wounding 5. Carneal was on Ritalin.
6. Andrew Golden and Richard Mitchell Johnson – Arkansas Massacre: Responsible for a 1998 middle-school shooting near Jonesboro, AR that killed four students, one teacher, and wounded 10 others. Both of the boys were taking Ritalin.
5. Bufford O. Furrow Jr. – Jewish School Shooting: Opened fire on a Los Angeles Jewsish Community Center in 1999. Five children were wounded. Later in the day, Furrow killed a mail carrier. Furrow was under court order to take Prozac.
4. Steven Kazmierczak – Northern Illinois University Shooting: Kazmierczak shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium in 2008. Prior to the shooting he had been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amounts of Xanax in his system.
3. James Holmes – Movie Theater Shooting: Shot and killed twelve people and wounded another 70 in an Aurora, CO movie theater in 2013. Holmes was being treated for depression and was prescribed the anti-anxiety drug clonazepam and the antidepressant sertraline, the generic version of the antidepressant Zoloft.
2. Aaron Alexis – Navy Yard Shooting: The Washington DC Navy Yard shooting took the lives of 12 people and wounded 3 more in 2013. Alexis was under the influence of the antidepressant Trazodone.
1. Cho Seung-Hui – VA Tech Shooting: Killed 32 and wounded 17 before committing suicide on the Virginia Tech campus in 2007. Seung-Hui was being treated for depression and had at various times in his life been prescribed Zoloft, Paxil, and Prozak. The New York Times reported that he took a pill just prior to the shooting.
Adam Lanza – Sandy Hook Shooting: Killed his mother, then shot and killed 26 at an elementary school in Newton, CT in 2012. Lanza was diagnosed with asperger Syndrome and OCD. He was at one point on the antidepressant Celexa. The secrecy around him and his medical records keeps us from knowing if he was on any medication at the time of the shooting.
Jared Lee Laughner – Gabrielle Giffords Shooting: Killed 6 and wounded 13 others including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords at a shopping center in Tuscon, AZ in 2011. Laughner had a long history of drug abuse and depression. It has been reported that he was being treated for depression and may have been taking a prescription medication, but like Lanza, there is secrecy in his medical history.
The old saying that “guns don’t kill people; people kill people” should be changed to “guns don’t kill people; prescription drugs kill people.” 100,000 people die every year from prescription medications and that doesn’t include the thousands of suicides and murders attributed to antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs.
Before we go infringing upon the 2nd Amendment rights of honest people, maybe we should take a look at the drug-fueled insanity behind these terrible massacres.