In the wake of current events that have shaken this time of year usually filled with joy and cheer, we ask how to stem the rising tide of mass violence. Restricting access to extreme armament is one topic. Corralling people targeted as “mentally ill” and forcing treatment on them is another. That response is particularly chilling in view of the role those very psychiatric drugs play in violence.
Drugs that go by names like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Ritalin, Xanax, Luvox and others are connected to violent side effects. Warnings on many psychiatric drugs say they may cause things like suicidal thoughts, homicidal inclinations, hallucinations, mayhem, aggression and other violent acts, in short, the very things they are supposed to treat.
The Columbine and the Virginia Tech killers were on psych meds. The Aurora “Batman” shooter was under direct psychiatric care and on psych drugs. The local horror at the Westroads in 2007 had links to common psych drugs. Mass murderers are almost always on prescription drugs to treat diagnosed mental conditions and the association goes underreported. Prescription-drug-induced violence is what one psychiatrist has called, “…medicine's best kept secret.”
Implicated in nearly every recent mass shooting, medical records are sealed and we hear little about it. It’s time to investigate the true link between psych drugs and deadly shootings like Newtown.
First see then do. Humans learn by seeing. At the earliest age we learn to walk by watching how other humans do it. No one ever taught a toddler to toddle by verbal instruction or in a classroom. Like any other animal on the planet, we watch; we see; we learn.
Regarding gun violence, we should learn in the same way humans have always learned. We should look to see which countries are doing it right. And compared to us, there are quite a few.
My first time in Japan, I learned it might be the safest place we could visit. The murder rate was extremely low and only four people in the entire country had been shot the previous year. Since then, I’ve learned that most countries in the world that are of similar economic stature as the United States have much lower homicide rates and especially lower gun violence than we do stateside.
No country is immune to mass violence. In Japan, terrorists used nerve gas to kill 13 in a choreographed attack in 1995. Still, numbers are compelling. The United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Japan — even South Korea — have much lower incidence of gun violence and homicide. In fact, there are only ten countries that have a higher firearm-related death rate than the U.S. and they’re places you may not want to live: Mexico, Columbia, El Salvador and Swaziland, for example. Wouldn’t it be wise to look and learn from countries that have far less gun violence? You cannot waltz into a sports store in the U.K., France or Japan and buy anything that resembles what is too often used in the U.S. to shoot people.
WhatWouldDubyahDo? George Bush went after Saddam Hussein and his mythical Weapons of Mass Destruction based on rumor. It’s not rumor but fact that nearly anyone can buy a WMD at sporting goods stores in America. But fighting WMDs with WMDs is not a good answer.
The store-bought Bushmaster .223 used at Newtown can fire 60 rounds per minute. The fully automatic military version fires 900 rpm. Using an assault weapon, one can dispatch hundreds of lives before police arrive. How is that not a Weapon of Mass Destruction?
We outlaw possession of hand grenades, machine guns, rockets and bombs. How is an assault rifle or semi-automatic handgun so different? Who argues that the weapon used at Newtown didn’t create mass destruction?
Guns are Big Money. That keeps weapons like assault rifles on shelves. But there was Big Money wrapped up in Big Tobacco, too, and social efforts, laws, lawsuits (hate to write that,) minimized its effect. The Humane Society won’t adopt a large dog to a home with small children. Why should gun dealers be allowed to sell a gun to a home with children on prescription drugs?
Be the change. Our President says he’ll lead change. What he can change is the violence-endorsing political philosophy that our country has exhibited since World War Two. Violent, overreaching, military-style action is so similar to what happens in a mass murder, it has to be considered.
It is safe to change. Change is natural. It’s odd that humans resist and fear change when the only things that don’t change in this world are dead things. When a violent act dominates the news we ask how we can change. No matter what action is taken, at the core we must look in the mirror and change how we think.
We know we have to alter consciousness to create real change. But, as a wise man once said, “Knowing and not doing is the same as not knowing.”
Heartland Healing is a New Age polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. It is not an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or The Reader. Visit HeartlandHealing.com for past articles.