What do School Shooters Have in Common?
by Gracelyn Guyol
Debate following the Newtown school shootings has focused primarily on outlawing automatic weapons and turning schools into fortresses with guards. Yet many crucial questions remain unasked. The most obvious is what do all school shooters have in common?
A list of teens committing school violence in the U.S. from 1988-2006 (below), according to Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights, reveals most were currently using or recently taken off psychiatric prescriptions, primarily antidepressants.
- 1988 James Wilson, age 19, on Xanax, killed 2 eight-year-olds, wounded 9 others in South Carolina.
- 1997 Luke Woodham, age 16, on Prozac, killed his mother and 2 students, wounded 7 others in Mississippi.
- 1997 Michael Carneal, age 14, on Ritalin, killed 3 teens, wounded 5 others in Kentucky.
- 1998 Andrew Golden, age 11, and Mitchell Johnson, age 13, on Ritalin, killed 4 students and a teacher, wounded 10 others in Arkansas.
- 1998 Kip Kinkel, age 15, coming off Prozac and an amphetamine, murdered his parents and 2 students, wounded 22 others in Oregon.
- 1998 Unnamed minor, age 14, on Zoloft, held 5 classmates hostage with gun but surrendered peacefully in Idaho.
- 1999 Shawn Cooper, age 15, on SSRI antidepressant and Ritalin, fired 2 shotgun rounds at school but missed students in Idaho.
- 1999 Eric Harris, age 18, ringleader in Columbine massacre was taking Luvox. He and co-shooter, Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and wounded 23 others in Colorado.
- 1999 T. J. Solomon, age 15, on Ritalin, wounded six classmates in Georgia.
- 2000 Elizabeth Bush, age 14, on Prozac, shot at students, wounding 1 in Pennsylvania.
- 2001 Jason Hoffman, age 18, on Celexa and Effexor, wounded three students and 2 teachers in California.
- 2001 Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, was on Effexor when he took 23 classmates and a teacher hostage with a rifle before “waking up” and surrendering to authorities in Washington state.
- 2003 Ryan Furlough, age 19, on Effexor, killed classmate by spiking soda with cyanide in Maryland.
- 2004 Jon Romano, age 16, on medication for depression, opened fire with shotgun, hitting one teacher in the leg in New York state.
- 2005 Jeff Weise, age 16, on Prozac, killed his grandparents, 8 students, and 1 teacher, wounding 7 others before killing himself in Minnesota.
- 2006 Alvaro Castillo, age 19, treated at state psychiatric hospital with drugs, killed his father and wounded 2 students at school in North Carolina.
- 2006 Tyrell Glover, age 19, on Prozac, went to school with air rifle, planning to take students hostage and be gunned down by police in North Carolina.
Psychiatric drugs are well known to cause mania, psychosis, hostility, aggression, and homicidal thoughts. Antidepressants have received 99 drug regulatory agency warnings from ten countries and the European Union. Since August 2004, US labels for all antidepressants caution against these and other dangerous side effects.
What else did the teens have in common? All except one were boys. Nearly all used firearms, which raises the question, how do minors obtain lethal weapons so easily?
What Makes School Tragedies Predictable Yet Continuous?
David Healy is an internationally respected Professor of Psychiatry at Wales’ Cardiff University, researcher, and author of 150-peer-reviewed articles and 20 books. His 2006 study, “Antidepressants and Violence: Problems at the Interface of Medicine and Law,” notes the rapid behavioral deterioration triggered by antidepressant use. Using information from pharmacological data and nine criminal trials of violent assaults between 1990 and 2005, the study concludes SSRIs use is directly connected with violence.
Given such strong, international warnings, why are doctors quick to put kids on a drug, or several, or take them off without close supervision? Healy’s latest book, Pharmageddon, is the riveting story of how pharmaceutical companies have hijacked healthcare in America, how greed has trumped children’s safety and long-term health. But calls for change by mental health professionals are becoming urgent and more frequent.
One highly respected researcher, Nancy Andreasen, editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Psychiatry from 1993 to 2005, began a long term study of schizophrenic patients in 1991 that periodically measured brain volumes using magnetic resonance scans. Her 2003 and 2005 published results noted brain volume reductions but attributed such losses to the disease. Andreasen latest study, published in February 2011 Archives of General Psychiatry, drew vastly different conclusions that rocked the mental health community. Based on MRI scans of 211 schizophrenic patients monitored from 7 to 14 years, she concluded long-term use of antipsychotics and clozapine were definitely associated with brain shrinkage, that these changes were not caused by the disease, and severity was directly related to dose and length of use.
Industry awareness was further heightened when a trio of books from highly credible authors was released around the same time, also documenting serious health risks from taking psychiatric drugs.
Marcia Angell, MD, former Editor in Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine,critiqued the three books in June 2011 New York Review of Books. Award-winning author Robert Whitaker’s Anatomy of an Epidemic, psychologist Irving Kirsch’s The Emperor’s New Drugs, and psychiatrist Daniel Carlat’s Unhinged, The Trouble With Psychiatry, all represent different perspectives. Yet they agreed on the ineffectiveness and physical damage caused by psychoactive prescriptions.
Citing fifteen years of research and meta-analysis of numerous studies, Kirsch reveals psychiatric drugs to be only slightly more effective than placebos. Carlat unveils the collusion between psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies and outlines how the profession should be reformed. Whitaker questions why the number of disabled mentally ill in the United States has tripled over the past two decades, in spite of presumed “improved” treatment with psychiatric medications. He details the harm drugs cause and charts how the incidence of mental illness has risen in tandem with their use.
Yet none of the three propose what might replace psychiatric drug treatment. Although effective holistic protocols have been used for over 50 years, they are not taught in medical schools or covered by insurance.
How Troubled Children Might be Safely Treated
During his 30-year career directing a research facility, a mental health clinic, and working with over 30,000 patients, William J. Walsh, PhD, developed effective, drug-free, biochemical protocols for treating patients with behavioral disorders, ADHD, autism, depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Walsh’s methods evolved from his research and long collaboration with two other pioneers credited with developing effective drug-free treatment for schizophrenia patients in the 1970s and 1980s: Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD, FRCP(C), and Carl C. Pfeiffer, MD, PhD. In a new book aimed at medical practitioners, Nutrient Power, Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your Brain, Walsh offers an overview of effective biochemical processes for unraveling and resolving the causes of any mental disorder currently in use.
Author Gracelyn Guyol, ended personal bipolar symptoms in 2002 using Walsh’s approach. Her first book, written for patients, Healing Depression & Bipolar Disorder Without Drugs, lead to her delivering 7-hour continuing education seminars for medical practitioners. In 2010, she wrote a simple, concise consumer guide, Who’s Crazy Here?,featuring non-drug steps to recovery for nine mental disorders. In 2012, Guyol produced a series of 13 educational 55-minute DVDs, “Restoring Health Holistically,” six of which discuss various holistic options for treating mental disorders.
A free e-book for consumers, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Treatments in Psychiatry, covers the most common causes of mental disorders and drug-free solutions. Authored by alternative mental health doctors, researchers, and leaders, it is available online from Flying Publisher.