The Hidden Link: Big Pharma and Mass Shootings

A couple of friends brought up the topic of what’s really to blame for mass shootings, and it wasn’t guns.

Those who know me, know what I blame for mass shootings and all of America’s problems: Leftists or leftism. And of course I’m right.

Leftists and leftism breed insanity. So their ideas around gun laws are subterfuge for their policies that don’t work.

For example, the lack of “mental institutions”.

A severe shortage of inpatient care for people with mental illness is amounting to a public health crisis, as the number of individuals struggling with a range of psychiatric problems continues to rise.

The revelation that the gunman in the Sutherland Springs, Texas, church shooting escaped from a psychiatric hospital in 2012 is renewing concerns about the state of mental health care in this country. A study published in the journal Psychiatric Services estimates 3.4 percent of Americans — more than 8 million people — suffer from serious psychological problems.

The disappearance of long-term-care facilities and psychiatric beds has escalated over the past decade, sparked by a trend toward deinstitutionalization of psychiatric patients in the 1950s and ’60s, says Dominic Sisti, director of the Scattergood Program for Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health Care at the University of Pennsylvania.

“State hospitals began to realize that individuals who were there probably could do well in the community,” he tells Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson. “It was well-intended, but what I believe happened over the past 50 years is that there’s been such an evaporation of psychiatric therapeutic spaces that now we lack a sufficient number of psychiatric beds.”

A concerted effort to grow community-based care options that were less restrictive grew out of the civil rights movement and a series of scandals due to the lack of oversight in psychiatric care, Sisti says. While those efforts have been successful for many, a significant group of people who require structured inpatient care can’t get it, often because of funding issues.

Funding? A nation with a $4 trillion budget, and funding is our problem to get mentally sick people help?

Would Democrats fund mental institutions if they knew doing so would stop mass shootings? I say no way. Regardless, the underlying causes of mass shootings could be something rarely discussed…drugs.

As USA Today reported,

The drugmaker that produces Prozac, the antidepressant that Joseph Wesbecker’s victims blamed for his deadly shooting rampage 30 years ago at Standard Gravure, secretly paid the victims $20 million to help ensure a verdict exonerating the drug company.

Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly vigorously shielded the payment for more than two decades, defying a Louisville judge who fought to reveal it because he said it swayed the jury’s verdict.

Wesbecker began taking Prozac about a month before his murderous spree that killed eight and wounded 12 in the print shop attached to the Courier Journal. All but one of the victims sued Eli Lilly, the company that manufactured the popular but controversial drug.

How much money has Eli Lilly made from Prozac?

According to the New York Times, in 1998 Eli Lilly received over $491 million in revenue from the drug. So would you pay $20 million to reap $471 million in profits? Or to protect that profit?

And if you’re wondering the impact of pharmaceuticals on mass shooters, examine this article on the profile of such shooters.

Every time there’s a mass shooting in America it understandably starts up another “national conversation” about gun rights because, by definition, there would be no mass shootings without guns.

But since mass shootings are perpetrated by an extremely tiny minority of gun owners, many of whom don’t even own their guns legally, perhaps it’s naïve to think that gun ownership is itself the sole or even primary cause of mass shootings. Countries such as Norway, France, and Switzerland—all of which have stricter gun laws and lower per-capita gun ownership than the United States—have far higher per-capita rates of mass shootings.

When searching for other reasons for mass shootings, people blame things such as one-parent households, video games, loss of religious faith, or simply the vague sense that the nation is falling apart.

Although only 8.6% of American males are on antidepressants at any given time, they seem much better represented as a percentage of mass shooters. Here are 39 mass shooters who were either on antidepressants at the time of their rampage, had abruptly quit taking their medication when they went on their spree, or had been prescribed antidepressants at some point in the past. None of this is to imply that antidepressants make certain people go on mass shootings—just as few people with guns go on shooting sprees, so do few people on antidepressants. But it is an area that is definitely worth researching.

Name: James Eagan Holmes

Age at Time of Shooting: 24
# of Casualties: 12 dead, 70 wounded
Antidepressant: Zoloft (generic)

James Eagan Holmes, AKA the “Batman Movie Killer,” shot up a movie theater in Aurora, CO in July 2012 during a screening of The Dark Knight. In the weeks prior to the shooting, his psychiatrist had increased Holmes’s dosage of Zoloft. In his personal notebook, which he sent to his psychiatrist the day of his murder spree, Holmes said that along with losing his anxiety, he’d lost the fear of reprisal.

According to a psychiatrist who interviewed Holmes after his arrest, “I believe if he hadn’t taken the sertraline [generic name for Zoloft], he wouldn’t have murdered anyone.” In every mug shot ever taken of Holmes, he looks medicated up to his eyeballs.

Name: Eric Harris

Age at Time of Shooting: 17
# of Casualties: 14 dead, 23 wounded
Antidepressant: Zoloft, Luvox

As one-half of the deadly duo known as the “Columbine Killers” who blew away 12 students and a teacher before killing themselves at a high school in Littleton, CO in in 1999, Harris had switched antidepressants from Zoloft to Luvox, which has been known to cause mania and attendant violence. The SSRI was found in his bloodstream during an autopsy.

Name: Patrick Purdy

Age at Time of Shooting: 25
# of Casualties: 5 dead, 30 wounded
Antidepressant: Amitriptyline

Purdy killed five children and wounded 30 others at a schoolyard shooting spree in Stockton, CA in January, 1989, leading to a movement to ban semiautomatic assault weapons. He had been taking the antidepressant Amitriptyline as well as the antipsychotic Thorazine.

Name: Seung-Hui Cho

Age at Time of Shooting: 23
# of Casualties: 32 dead, 23 wounded
Antidepressant: Prozac, Paxil

In one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history, Seung-Hui Cho walked onto the campus of Virginia Tech University on April 16, 2007 and murdered 32 students. He had been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, severe anxiety, and selective mutism. He had been prescribed Prozac and had previously been on Paxil for about a year, but at the time of his shooting he had ceased taking his medication.

Name: Jeff Weise

Age at Time of Shooting: 16
# of Casualties: 10 dead, 12 wounded
Antidepressant: Prozac

Although only 16, Jeff Weise had been prescribed 60MG daily of Prozac, which is triple the average daily dose for adults. He was reportedly prescribed antidepressants after a suicide attempt. One day in 2005, he shot and killed his grandfather, his grandfather’s girlfriend, and then 7 people at a high school in Red Lake, MN before killing himself.

The lesson is clear. Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. And people on drugs are far more likely to kill people, even with those drugs came with a prescription from the family doc.



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