Tag: school shootings
Nearly all perpetrators of mass violence have had some contact with psychiatry or related mental health services. The idea of giving more power and money to psychiatry to prevent violence is a great political talking point but it is disastrous for public health and safety. Psychiatry seems averse to recognizing violent patients but eager to give them violence-inducing drugs.
Teenage boys and young men tell me they have no hope that school shootings will decrease because all they hear in the news are authorities’ ideas about how better to control them. They are angered by compulsory mental health screenings and are certain that the effect on kids with greater potential for violence could be disastrous.
The media is now reporting details about the 18-year-old who shot and killed nine and wounded many others before killing himself on July 22 in Munich. My clinical and forensic experience leads to a distinction among people who murder under the influence of psychiatric drugs. Those who kill only one or two people, or close family members, often have little or no history of mental disturbance and violent tendencies. The drug itself seems like the sole cause of the violent outburst. On the other hand, most of those who commit mass violence while taking psychiatric drugs often have a long history of mental disturbance and sometimes violence. For these people, the mental health system seems to have provoked increasing violence without recognizing the danger.
A total of one hundred and fifty-eight school-related shootings since Columbine, carried out by one hundred and ninety-nine shooters, have resulted in two hundred and twenty-four deaths and two hundred and eighty-eight injuries; a rate of one shooting a month during that almost sixteen year period. Eighty-five of these shootings have occurred since Newtown, i.e; in little less than three years, doubling the rate of shootings to one every two weeks. A ritualized public and political response to the shootings has evolved, particularly in the wake of the mass murders, which always attract the most media attention: shock, outrage and a demand for action to prevent a recurrence. Who are these teenagers who are doing the shootings and why? How are they getting their hands on the powerful weapons they’re using? Where are the stricter gun controls needed to deny the shooters access to these weapons?
A screenshot of the Facebook of the Oregon shooter, taken by a colleague of mine before the site was taken down, has the following comment from the shooter: “Chris Harper Mercer, August 16: I have a pill bottle with like five types of pills mixed in. I don’t know which ones are the sleep aids, so I just took four of each.” Once again, we have a shooter who has been through the “mental health” system and has probably been taking drugs.