It is our responsibility as cogent human beings to ban all handguns. We’ve felt the massacre at Virginia Tech. We know the horror of the gangland killings in Newark. We live with the regret of eight dead in Omaha. We’re still freshly frozen from the  aftermath of last week’s multiple Northern Illinois University assassinations:


Why do we crave to kill each other?
Are you in any way offended that the same online gun dealer sold implements of death to both the Virgina Tech shooter and the Northern Illinois assassin?

Eric Thompson said his Web site, TopGlock.com, sold two
empty 9 mm Glock magazines and a Glock holster to Steven Kazmierczak on
Feb. 4, just 10 days before the 27-year-old opened fire in a classroom
and killed five before committing suicide.

Another Web site run by Thompson’s company, TheGunStore.com, also sold
a Walther .22-caliber handgun to Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 people in
April on the Virginia Tech campus before killing himself.
“I’m still blown away by the coincidences,” Thompson said Friday. “I’m
shaking. I can’t believe somebody would order from us again and do
this.”

There is no such thing as a coincidence.
The
Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights International makes this case
against shooting rampages and the dangerous dependence on psychotropic
drugs to maintain chemical parity between mind and madness:

  1. International drug regulatory warnings on psychiatric and other drugs causing violence/suicide/mania.
  2. A list of 11 recent school/teen shooters who were on or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs in chronological order, resulting in 48 dead and 89 wounded.
  3. Psychiatric
    drugs also have severe withdrawal effects, including aggression and
    anxiety, verified by numerous medical studies including a study from Professors C. Heather Ashton and Allan H Young, University of Newcastle.
  4. ABC Interview
    with Harvard Psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Glenmullen: “The symptoms of
    antidepressant withdrawal can include suicidality, impulsivity,
    aggression, anxiety, depression, crying spells, insomnia, dizziness,
    vertigo, nausea, vomiting, headaches, tremors, and electric ‘zap’
    sensations in the brain. When patients stop antidepressants cold turkey
    the symptoms can be so severe that they are debilitating: the patients
    cannot get out of bed or work.”

Do psychotropic drugs keep us sane by arresting dark impulses?
Or do “brain drugs” merely temporarily preclude us from picking up a gun and shooting someone?

20 Comments

  1. Something has to be done about anonymous internet sales, arin. If you want to buy, or enhance, an implement of death like a handgun, you should be required to do it in person, with fingerprinting and palm printing and turn over a vial of your blood, too.

  2. This is frightening, David! And I agree. No coincidence at all that he bought from the same internet vendor. In fact this internet gun seller must have a booming business since Virginia Tech!
    It’s time that we stopped talking about gun control! And certainly not to discriminate against the mentally ill. But anyone diagnosed with severe mental illness such as bipolar, schizophrenia, major depressive disorder should not be permitted to buy a gun!! For their own safety and everyone else’s! I don’t know how you would screen for this. But certainly there needs to be some national screening tool.
    We screen people’s credit for godsake!!
    The other issue here I believe is the care of the mentally ill in this country. Doctors write scripts for anti-depressant medications and then there is no follow-up or therapy or coordination of care among doctors. Look at poor Heath Ledger. He should not have had possession of all those medications. If someone had taken the time to reconcile his meds and even did some phone follow-up it may have prevented a tragedy.
    I hope we can learn more about this perpetrator and what role the meds played in all of this. And where the system went wrong, so we can work on prevention strategies. There’s no way that there weren’t any other red flags here!! Someone’s not telling us something . . .

  3. dmtessi —
    You make excellent points!
    We need to have some way to do an international ID/license check for the purchase of internet weaponry. There are obvious loopholes in the system where one killer can follow in the steps of another to gain the necessities of death.
    The use of drugs in treating mental illness is a concern. When Prozac was the wonder-drug for a few years — you always knew who was on it because they could not stop smiling — and then, only later, we found out that Prozac and its aftereffects were leading some people to suicide. What a terrible irony!
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2005/08/12/most-of-my-friends-are-medicated/
    For many people, once you’re on mood-stabilizing drugs, it can be extremely dangerous to “get off them” without the direct and ongoing help of an MD. Some people even have to “rehab” out of it to get off the long-term effects on their brains.
    The trouble with Heath’s death was that he was rich and famous and had money and could pay his own way. I would find it hard to believe if he were a “regular” person with a managed prescription plan that he would’ve had all those simultaneous meds without warnings and interventions from his pharmacy. The rich and powerful get around those ordinary protections by visiting individual MDs as new clients and getting new prescriptions — and the MDs don’t know about the other MDs.

  4. Oh, and dmtessi, the butcher knife death of a Manhattan psychologist is leaving ripples of concern in the mental health community because the guy who did the killing had been mentally ill for many years and there was no coordinated effort to keep him in the system. He was always discharged home over the last 20 years to his family who said they had no way to take care of his severe needs:
    http://iht.nytimes.com/bin/printfriendly.php?id=10033323

  5. This is a huge problem, David. And one a dear friend of mine is going through right now.
    Her twenty year old son has finally been diagnosed with bipolar after years of failed diagnoses and treatment and no facility will keep him long enough for long-term treatment. And as you cite in the previous example, the family can no longer handle him without sacrificing the well being of the other children in the family (who incidentally are doing fantastically). The boy has no awareness of his mental illness, has turned to street drugs, and will not stay on his lithium. The boy is either going to kill himself or someone else. It’s just a matter of time. My friend tried to get him committed yesterday, got the magistrate to sign committment papers, but the local ER/hospital he was staying at released him to a drug treatment center rather than committing him to a mental institution.
    He left the drug treatment facility via cab this AM and it’s going downhill as we speak. Police involvement etc. etc. etc.
    As I said, it is a tragedy waiting to happen . . .
    So this is where we are after deinstitutionalization. A continuous cycle of discharge planning and no long-term planning for the mentally ill.

  6. dmtessi —
    What a terrible story! I feel for your friend. They are absolutely doing the right thing in playing legal hardball with him and now they have to play just as tough with the system.
    Why do we have a trouble effectively treating mental illness today? Is there too much risk in officially committing someone?
    I’ve never understood how a person that is required to stay on medication can be allowed to go off it if the end result is danger to self or others. How can that be policed? Once a person is cogent and feeling better they certainly don’t think they need the medication any longer… and so it becomes a dangerous loop of expectation, illness and clarity-of-medicated-mind.

  7. David,
    A lot of these folks are uninsured. So no one wants to care for them for “free.” The mental facilities that do take the uninsureds are at capacity and so they are forced to take those who are at immediate danger of hurting self or others or who have actually attempted suicide or are exhibiting violent/psychotic behavior.
    So someone who simply states he is “going to kill himself” and is off his meds and is tormenting his family may not be considered high lethality by the attending psychiatrist.
    Since deinstitutionalization and the breakdown of many mental health systems around the country, we are really in a state of emergency.
    What it comes down to is that government does not want to fund a fully functioning mental health center and system. Ours here in Guilford County is staffed by too few psychiatrists and nurses and they are doing no case management or therapy any longer.
    They see patients once a month for medication mgmt and that is it.
    I believe what we are seeing now with increased violence from the mentally ill is a direct effect of these budget and program cuts.
    I’m not sure if folks who aren’t involved in health and mental health care are aware of these major budget cuts that have literally dismantled our mental health system.
    Likely one more reason to vote Democrat this time around! And if you don’t do it for the mentally ill, you might want to think about your own safety and security!

  8. You very cogently describe a rotten condition, dmtessi. What a mess!
    So as the mental institutions kick people to the street, the criminal courts have to step in and arrest them because they cannot care for their own welfare, thus “criminalizing” mentally ill behavior in order to keep them behind bars and away from the harm they can do to others and to themselves.

  9. It’s rather frightening, really. It sort of reminds me of seeing The Goonies yesterday – the one character was physically and mentally different and everyone either treated him differently or unkindly and all it took was one person to look at him as a friend to make everything better. Too bad we can’t live life like in the movies. 🙂

  10. Fortunately no it wasn’t the first time – our local $5 theater was showing it for $3 on Sunday so a whole bunch of us went. 🙂
    Things would be a lot more pleasant if people looked up for inspiration instead of constantly looking down to make themselves feel better about what they are above.

  11. Hi David,
    What do you do with a person who needs these drugs to remain calm?
    I understand psycopathic durgs are like a habit and the whole thing is like riding on a tiger – one can’t just afford to get down or he will be eaten alive.
    What do you do then?

  12. Hi Katha —
    Well, that’s the Catch-22. Lots of people MUST HAVE medication in order to lead an average life… but if they ever have to leave their medication… by their ill-informed choice or economic circumstance… the results from withdrawal can be terrifying and deadly.
    Some claim these brain drugs permanently change the very structure of the brain’s chemistry in a bad way that makes these people addicts to “legitimate” medication — we’re creating a whole new “brand name” generation of junkies.