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Is it Drugs Not Guns that Cause Violence?

Gun pillDr. Hyla Cass

A common thread amongst the most horrific school shootings of the past 25 years is that the majority of the shooters were taking a psychiatric medication. With the media fixated on guns and violent video games, Connecticut's chief medical examiner says he's seeking genetic clues to help explain why a shooter killed twenty children and six adults in a Newtown elementary school. 60 Minutes reported that Adam Lanza was taking prescribed medication, but the mainstream media failed to follow up on this.

Sure, guns are rampant, too easy to get, and should clearly not fall into the hands of mentally disordered people, and violent video games are priming the pump - - all issues that I deem important to address, but I will leave that to all the others who have done it justice to date.

As a psychiatrist who is all too familiar with this issue, I am dismayed at this oversight, and believe that these tragedies should also contain some lessons going forward - both for the public and for prescribing doctors.

These drugs do not always cause violent behavior, of course, and in many cases, they are used to treat it. However, certain medications, such as Prozac, have been linked to increase risk for violent, and even homicidal behavior. Several of the most tragic cases of violent murder by prescription takers should be noted.

Many legal cases, with closed books due to settlement, document cases of suicides and homicides in individuals who had not been violent prior to taking medication, and often they were newly prescribed or on an increased dose.

Below are some of the mass-murderer statistics (thanks to Deborah Merlin and her book, Victory Over ADHD ):

The Virginia Tech shooter murdered thirty-two. Cho was prescribed the antidepressant drug Prozac prior to his rampage.

Jeffrey Weiss went on a shooting rampage on March 21, 2005, at Red Lake High School that left ten dead, including him. Earlier that day, Weiss had killed his grandfather and his grandfather's girlfriend. He was on Prozac and the dosage had recently been increased.

Eric Harris, one of the killers at Columbine High School, was on the antidepressant drug Luvox. Court records show that the prescription for Harris had been filled ten times between April 1998 and March 1999.Three and a half months before the shooting, the dosage had been increased. The Physician's Desk Reference records show that during controlled clinical trials of Luvox, manic reactions developed in 4 percent of the children given the drug.

In Houston, Texas, Andrea Yates drowned her five children while taking Effexor and Remeron.

Christopher Pittman shot and killed his grandparents at age twelve. He claimed a voice inside his head told him to kill his grandparents on November 28, 2001. Christopher had recently started to take Zoloft to treat mild depression.

A more complete list can be found here.

Is It the Illness or the Drug? 
A recent study of reports to the FDA of drug-induced violence has demonstrated that antidepressant users have an 840% increased rate of violence. See also Robert Whitakers' article on the subject.

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reports the rate of antidepressant use in this country among teens and adults increased by almost 400% between 1988-1994 and 2005-2008.

Despite international drug regulators warning that these drugs can cause mania, psychosis, hallucinations, suicide and homicidal ideation, Congress has yet to investigate the role of psychiatric drugs in the vast majority of school shootings. Could this be due to the enormous influence of the pharmaceutical industry on the media? Has there been a purposeful media black-out here?

A 2011 article in TIME magazine notes that "when one particular drug in a class of non-addictive drugs used to treat the same problem stands out, that suggests caution: unless the drug is being used to treat radically different groups of people, that drug may actually be the problem." 
The article cites 10 drugs from a study by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices which is derived from data from the FDA's Adverse Event Reporting System which identified 31 drugs that are disproportionately linked with reports of violent behavior towards others. Two common ones are:

Fluoxetine (Prozac) The first well-known SSRI antidepressant, Prozac is 10.9 times more likely to be linked with violence in comparison with other medications.
This next one is particularly scary, since it's for smoking cessation-- a seemingly good trade-off until you read the stats: The anti-smoking medication Varenicline (Chantix), affects the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, which helps reduce craving for smoking. Unfortunately, it's 18 times more likely to be linked with violence compared to other drugs -- by comparison, that number for Xyban is 3.9 and just 1.9 for nicotine replacement.

Where to From Here? 
While I am trained and licensed to prescribe these medications, I prefer to avoid them whenever possible, instead prescribing the natural precursors to the brain chemicals needed to restore balance. Believe it or not, they can be as effective as medication if not more so, and without the dire side effects. Doesn't it make sense to put back what is needed rather than cover up symptoms with strong chemicals that can cause harm? I have all too often seen that when a patient complains of side effects, the doctor increases the dose, with ensuing negative effects. There are excellent studies in peer-reviewed journals, covering vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs for psychiatric purposes. A good summary with 107 peer-reviewed citations can be found here.

If one is going to be scientific about the use of these powerful drugs, there are tests that can be performed to fine-tune the diagnosis and choice of medication, and help determine if there is likely to be an adverse effect: ElectroencephalogramsSPECT scans, and genetic testing that all help select the more appropriate drug for the individual. 

My own bias is to test regardless, but then to treat as naturally as possible, working with the body's own chemistry to optimize brain function. And for those either considering medication or for prescribing physicians, I urge you to consider the possibly tragic downsides first.

Warning: Never discontinue taking stimulants or antidepressants without first consulting your health care professional. The withdrawal symptoms can be more severe than the adverse reactions to these medications; therefore, the process must be closely monitored by a physician or someone licensed to prescribe medications. In my own practice, I have found the use of specific supplements in the process can be especially useful in countering the withdrawal effects and shortening the overall process.

See also Dr. Peter Breggin's related post here.
Thanks to Deborah Merlin whose private FB post, excerpted from Victory Over ADHD prompted me to write this, and provided some of the material.

Hyla Cass, M.D.

Nationally acclaimed innovator and expert in the fields of integrative medicine, psychiatry, and addiction recovery, Dr. Hyla Cass appears often as a guest on national radio and television, including The Dr. Oz Show, E! Entertainment, and The View, and in national print media. She has been quoted in many national magazines, blogs for the Huffington Post, and is the author of several best-selling books including: Natural Highs, 8 Weeks to Vibrant Health, Supplement your Prescription: What Your Doctor Doesn't Know About Nutrition, and The Addicted Brain and How to Break Free. She has created her own line of innovative nutritional supplements, which along with information on natural ways to enhance mind, mood and energy, are available on her website, www.cassmd.com


Speak the truth

Some of the groups and individuals most harmed by mass shooters (under the influence of prescription drugs) need to get this information and the truth. Congresswoman Gaby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly have started a non-profit aimed at stopping this kind of violence as has a group in Newtown, Connecticut. Letting them know the truth and offering the support of all the families here might give some solidarity to the effort.

Clearly, BigPharma buys layers of complicity and silence in Washington and elsewhere, including the media - advertising budgets benefit greatly from the direct-to-consumer prescription drug ads permitted only here and in New Zealand.

As for sharing this information with the NRA, up to you whether you want to dance with that particular devil IMO.

Mark Struthers

H.L. Mencken said,

“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”

I read 'cia parker' prattle on about a resentful Andrea Yates ... and I feel like giving in to H.L. Mencken's temptation ... or doing some I.V. crack and heroin.


Cia Parker,
Andrea Yates was psychotic and she was on anti-psychotic drugs. No one denied that she was severely mentally ill. She had a long history. Prior to the murders her husband was trying to get help for her and he was worried. She heard voices. When she looked at her children, she saw something else. I don't know how she is now, but back when she killed her children, she was a tormented soul.

cia parker

They still haven't found any evidence (that they've released, anyway) that Adam Lanza was taking drugs. I don't think it's fair to assume he was, nor that the drugs were totally to blame for the massacre he carried out. I think Andrea Yates let her resentment of the demands her children made of her get the better of her: I'm sure she had talked to herself for years about how her children and her family didn't appreciate her or pay attention to her, that she wasn't getting the appreciation she was entitled to her, and finally decided that she'd show them! Was it proven that she was taking drugs? Again, they would have lowered the boundary around the transgression of murder, but the drugs would not have been what started her resentment in the first place. Someone who had not stoked their resentment at not getting their due would not have had a boundary around murder to transgress, it would have simply remained as obscene, repulsive, and unthinkable as it is for most of us.

Mark Struthers

Confucius said,

“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves. For revenge is a two sided sword. It destroys all, and spares none.”

cia parker

I agree that the important thing is what's in the hearts and minds of the perpetrators, but I don't think there's anything society can do to heal their souls. The 9/11 jihadists were avenging the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War, even though the government permitted us to be there to defend Kuwait from the Iraqi invaders. It was a religious thing, that non-Muslim feet should have trod upon their holy land. The revenge because of U.S. support of Israel explanation came later. But it was young men who felt aggrieved and saw an opportunity to make a really resounding statement about their grievance.

The young men involved in mass murders are similar, but much more self-involved. It's not a religious or political cause that motivates them, it's feeling like no one appreciates their intelligence and capacities, their cleverness, their personality. They walk the hallways of their schools alone, unfriended, isolated, and nurse and stoke an anger at all those people chatting, happy, active, around them, who leave them out. In my opinion, it's a spiritual illness born of the sins of pride, envy, and avarice, a sickness of self-hatred linked to the hatred of all those indifferent to or wary of them. Drugs may lower the boundaries that had kept them from murder in all their life up until that moment, but I think many of them will arrive at that moment just from continually feeding their smoldering resentment of the world, playing violent video games that give them a sense of power which they don't feel away from the computer, at least until the moment comes when they strike down the happy, laughing, indifferent people and wipe the smiles off their faces forever. I think the vaccines damage their brains so that they are not able to relate to other people normally: they want to, but they can't. (And I say this as a woman with Asperger's with an autistic daughter, we know.) So yeah, let's ban automatic weapons, make all weapons harder for people to get, tighten up on the prescription of psychotropic drugs, but above all, stop the vaccine madness.

cia parker

Iran supported the terrorist group Hizbullah in attacking Israel in the war on Israel in 2006. Even though my best friend for over thirty years is Iranian, I think Iran is a frightening country intent on achieving hegemony in the middle East, and elsewhere, if they can. They don't need to develop nuclear energy, they flare off the natural gas from their oil production which could easily be used to meet their energy requirements. They want a nuclear bomb for the power and prestige it would give them, and they have enough mean, unstable men in powerful positions, that I would not discount the possiblity of their developing it and dropping it on Israel as their first order of business. Wow, would that set them up as number one in the pecking order in the Middle East!

I agree with President Obama that Israel must be protected and defended, and I agree that the sanctions must be continued until Iran allows full inspections to eliminate them as a nuclear player. No one in the Sunni Middle East trusts them, and he who trusts them does so at his peril.


I'm not saying the drugs, or the WRONG DRUGS are not an issue. they are a HUGE issue, as my own experience with Prozac recently brought home to me in a very real way.
I had a bad reaction to Prozac and didn't even realize initially that it was THE PROZAC that was causing a worsening of my anxiety.
But I think we are missing at least part of the issue here.
My son is an adult with Autism so I know A LOT of other parents. I also work in the Autism field. I have spent SO MUCH time talking to parent's whose kids/teens/adults are on the spectrum and who also often have other children with issues as well. The over-riding issue I hear time and again is doctors who are NOT psychiatrists prescribing psychiatric medications!!
I've talked to mothers whose little kids were prescribed risperdal by a pediatrician because they didn't sleep well a night.
I've talked to others whose kids were prescribed a variety of heavy duty psychiatric meds by neurologists or a primary care doctor.
I've also talked to so many parents who desperately tried to find a psychiatrist who would see their child (teen/adult)but couldn't because their son or daughter is on medicaid or they didn't have insurance or even if they had excellent insurance the psychiatrists had 6 months to a year waiting lists.
Wrong medications and over medication isn't the only issue. There is a severe lack of Doctors and medical professionals who understand these recent generations of messed up teens and adults and who know how to treat them properly and not just dope them up with no or little follow up.
It's not only scary but tragic.

Dyanne Bresler

Expecting psychiatrists to stop writing prescriptions for poisonous drugs is the same as saying to them, "You just need to give up your $2.3 million house, your expensive lifestyle
and start TALKING to patients about the causes of their depression instead of giving them

It isn't gonna happen until some of them start going to jail for causing harm to millions of people who now suffer life-threatening side effects from psychiatric drugs that cause diabetes, cardiac problems, blood dyscrasia, movement disorders like tics and parkinsonism,
irritability, aggression, sexual dysfunction, drooling, gastrointestinal problems, brain atrophy, anergia, sleep disorders, seizures, and more.


"It has been said that anyone with amalgam filling should not brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste. Sorry if I am going too far afield."

No you are NOT. It is only by looking at the ENGINEERED toxic environment that has been created for our children and us to live in that we find the ROOTS of many of our problems.

90% of the crap in our supermarkets CANNOT be eaten if you care for your health. I see young mothers checking out junk I would not feed my worst enemy because I understand what the crap will do to his body. These are nothing but slow kill weapons; yes it may take 30 years to kill you SO WHAT. Our children of 10 years of age are now getting Sugar Diabetes from over 25% of their diet consisting of SUGAR and simple carbs. The average person only lives 30 years max after becoming diabetic; with the last 10 or 20 years being hell on earth. Please tell me the CDC does not understand all this? They DO understand. Why do they not say anything?

You go to your average doctor and receive a TOXIC drug for a CHRONIC condition. This "drug" will not cure, it will at best relieve some symptoms. You "need" the drug because your food supply consists of slow kill weapons. The more "drugs" you will take the sooner you will die. Tell me the CDC does not understand this process!

The CDC urges our seniors to get shot up with 100 billion atoms of mercury in the guise of a totally worthless "flu shot" knowing full well this is the MAJOR cause of Alzheimer's.

It goes on and on and on. We all understand what increasingly FORCED "vaccination" is doing to our kids and society.

All this is not some bizarre "co-incidence", like the school shootings it is part of a long running plan to destroy the USA.

Mark Struthers

H.L.Mencken has long been my favourite curmudgeon. He also said,

"Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance"

UK citizens are collectively denied the choice: the fact that the US still entertains the death penalty is often thought to be a sign of the strength of American democracy. Herewith a factsheet antidote to ignorance,


Mark Struthers

As Dr Cass has made clear, it's not just about guns and gun control, because it's not guns that do the killing, but aggrieved, mentally disordered people, with access to weapons of mass destruction. If we want to deter, prevent, reduce the extent of such killing, then we have to understand why these dreadful things happen, and correct the underlying cause where possible. And such mass destruction doesn't just come out of a clear blue sky: there are likely many complex human reasons, with psychotropic drugs, prescribed or otherwise, as one important interweaving thread.

Why did 9/11 happen? What was in the hearts and minds of the perpetrators? What was their grievance? To my mind, violent, state sanctioned retribution, will not keep us safe from a similar atrocity in the future. The death penalty simply does not deter.

As H.L. Mencken said,

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong".

However, as the following link indicates, Mencken was right about the effectiveness of capital punishment as an answer to the problem of violent human behaviour and its complex causes in the modern world.


The State of Michigan has not had the death penalty for 158 years. A Michigan lawmaker was recently quoted as saying,

"The death penalty's not a deterrent. In fact, the figures would suggest it's just the opposite."

Raymond Gallup

Drugs win hands down without a doubt causing violence!!!!!

I have seen it happen first hand with our son and other families.


It seems that the concern
Is it Drugs Not Guns that Cause Violence?
is NOT going to get attention / remedy needed, possibly because too many are making big money off of it.

Maybe it would help to get articles like this letter by Dr. Hyla Cass, and other supporting documentation/research to groups / persons who have a vested interest in exploring the concern..
NRA - National Rifle Association
Celebrities who support Right to Arms




@cia parker: I think the point is, Andrea Yates and Adam Lanza were given medications that literally MADE them insane enough to kill.

How different is it from giving a child vaccinations that make them autistic?


Interesting stats shared via Dr Ann Blake-Tracy
... From the World Health Organization:
The latest Murder Statistics for the world

Murders per 100,000 citizens

Honduras 91.6 El Salvador 69.2 Cote d'lvoire 56.9
Jamaica 52.2 Venezuela 45.1 Belize 41.4
US Virgin Islands 39.2 Guatemala 38.5
Saint Kits and Nevis 38.2 Zambia 38.0 Uganda 36.3
Malawi 36.0 Lesotho 35.2 Trinidad and Tobago 35.2
Colombia 33.4 South Africa 31.8 Congo 30.8
Central African Republic 29.3 Bahamas 27.4 Puerto Rico 26.2 Saint Lucia 25.2 Dominican Republic 25.0 Tanzania 24.5 Sudan 24.2 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 22.9
Ethiopia 22.5 Guinea 22.5 Dominica 22.1 Burundi 21.7 Democratic Republic of the Congo 21.7 Panama 21.6
Brazil 21.0 Equatorial Guinea 20.7 Guinea-Bissau 20.2
Kenya 20.1 Kyrgyzstan 20.1 Cameroon 19.7 Montserrat 19.7 Greenland 19.2 Angola 19.0 Guyana 18.6 Burkina Faso 18.0 Eritrea 17.8 Namibia 17.2 Rwanda 17.1 Mexico 16.9 Chad 15.8 Ghana 15.7 Ecuador 15.2 North Korea 15.2 Benin 15.1
Sierra Leone 14.9 Mauritania 14.7 Botswana 14.5
Zimbabwe 14.3 Gabon 13.8 Nicaragua 13.6 French Guiana 13.3 Papua New Guinea 13.0 Swaziland 12.9 Bermuda 12.3
Comoros 12.2 Nigeria 12.2 Cape Verde 11.6 Grenada 11.5 Paraguay 11.5 Barbados 11.3 Togo 10.9 Gambia 10.8 Peru 10.8 Myanmar 10.2 Russia 10.2 Liberia 10.1 Costa Rica 10.0
Nauru 9.8 Bolivia 8.9 Mozambique 8.8 Kazakhstan 8.8 Senegal 8.7 Turks and Caicos Islands 8.7 Mongolia 8.7
British Virgin Islands 8.6 Cayman Islands 8.4 Seychelles 8.3 Madagascar 8.1 Indonesia 8.1 Mali 8.0 Pakistan 7.8 Moldova 7.5Kiribati 7.3 Guadeloupe 7.0 Haiti 6.9 Timor-Leste 6.9 Anguilla 6.8 Antigua and Barbuda 6.8 Lithuania 6.6 Uruguay 5.9 Philippines 5.4 Ukraine 5.2 Estonia 5.2 Cuba 5.0 Belarus 4.9 Thailand 4.8 Suriname 4.6 Laos 4.6 Georgia 4.3 Martinique 4.2 And United States 4.2

"ALL the countries except United States have 100% gun bans or are close to it."


To answer the title question - YES.
Dr Tracy is interviewed by Secret Truth radio
Deadly Prescription SSRI - 3 of 8
A study in 2009 said SSRI stories.com. was the most valid data available on SSRI- induced murder / suicide. School shootings, family shootings, are increasing at an alarming rate.
SSRIs disrupt REM sleep and lead to REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder. [86% with REM Sleep Disorder are on antidepressants.] REM sleep will then happen while awake, but in a ‘dream state’. Increased Serotonin can create horrifying nightmares. This leads to these nightmare scenarios being enacted for real while in a ‘dream state’.


Suicide and death can lurk in each SSRI pill.
[Jeff Rense interviews Ann Blake Tracy]

The aftermath off SSRIs and other serotonergic drugs.
[More from Jeff Rense / Ann Blake Tracy]



Also Natural News - top ten violence inducing drugs -

And a ramdom quote from a Scottish psychiatrist in minutes of a cross party ref group meeting [Scot parliament] No longer avaliable online - been deleted!!
Agenda Item 10: Criminal and forensic issues and ASD - Brief introduction - Dr Iain McClure
10.2 It is vital that people are not misdiagnosed. A significant number of people may be being criminalised (i.e. their ASD is not picked up in criminal investigations of aberrant behaviour) and / or possibly admitted to forensic psychiatry units such as Carstairs and medicated for possible 'false positive' diagnoses e.g. for schizophrenia (which has many symptoms and signs on mental state examination that overlap with ASD) when they are in fact undiagnosed autism. Such scenarios may lead to possible miscarriages of justice, as well as inappropriate clinical management approaches.

Hyla Cass M.D

Thanks for all your thoughtful comments! Yes, mercury is one of the serious toxins affecting mental (and physical) health. The term "mad as a hatter" refers to hatters of old, driven insane by the mercury load they were exposed to while making hats. Now it's the mercury-using dentists, whose rate of depression and suicide is quite high. Plus, the epidemic of over-prescribed medication continues. The pharmaceutical industry appears to rule here -- and over-rule good sense, good science, and good clinical observation. Our loss.


Lets speak of violence.

Every death which results from an illegal war is murder. Somewhere between one and two MILLION deaths resulted from the illegal USA war on and occupation of Iraq.

A fish rots from the head down. Our beloved country is rotting. Our "president" orders some men with joysticks to direct hellfire missiles, designed to incinerate 64 ton Soviet tanks, into the homes of children, women and men. Some of those men are supposed to be "terrorists"; in other words enemies of the state. Everyone in these homes, and often adjoining homes, is incinerated. Conservatively 19 innocent souls are incinerated for every "terrorist" incinerated. After the initial strike when rescuers are on the scene digging out the bodies, often a second hellfire missile is sent into the debris pile and rescuers, killing rescuers.

In order to save the Libyan people from their "evil dictator", who had instituted a socialist paradise in Libya, the US launched 50,000 sorties of far worse munitions than hellfire missiles, into Libya; killing many tens of thousands of Libyan people. Now in place of pure socialism we have "Al Quada" ruling Libya.

Now US power is destabilizing Syria by helping to bring foreign fighters and arms into Syria. Our ambassador was killed in Benghazi because he was arranging an arms shipment from newly conquered Libya into soon to be conquered Syria.

After Syria the target is Iran. A nation that has not warred on a neighbor for over 100 years. Do you have any idea how many times the USA has instigated a war in the last 100 years? Please check. The Iranian people are as beautiful and peacefully a people as this poor war ravaged world could want.

The US is unleashing our 25 Trillion military monster on the women and children of this good earth.

Perhaps if we want to "do something" about violence we should start there. IMO the same violence killing women and children in Pakistan is killing children in Newtown.


Dr. Cass,
Thank you for your informative article. Heard today on the news that there are those pushing for legislation that would mandate "treatment" for anyone considered to be at risk for becoming violent. So here we go. In response to the latest mass shooting, the gun lobby is calling for more guns while the pharmaceutical industry, speaking through medical and governmental authorities, is calling for more drugs - as expected.

While I am very appreciative of your input here, what you really need to do, is try to find some like minded physicians, hopefully including a few psychiatrists, and you need to confront the medical community. They are blatantly and obviously doing harm. No doubt. They need to be called on it and you need to very publicly break ranks with those who are not practicing ethically. In addition, you and your honest, responsible colleagues all need to come forward and demand that the press report the truth.

Birgit Calhoun

An added question is why people, and especially children, are much more likely plied with all those drugs. The answer always comes back to environmental toxins. And what is the most toxic substance known to man? It's mercury. Mercury causes symptoms too numerous to mention including death.

So here is someone who goes to the psychiatrist stating that he is depressed. The doctors goes for his prescription pad and hands out your favorite fluoride-containing anti-depressant. Both Paxil and Prozac contain fluoride. More fluoride comes through the water. By the way fluoride is also quite toxic. A Darjeeling tea drinker gets quite a bit more than the allowable limit of FL when you add the amount coming from fluoridated water. Then you add the Paxil and Prozac and you get even more.

Yes, and then you have a mouthful of amalgam-filled cavities and you get all your flu shots with Thimerosal, and then untold reactions may occur. Just simple mercurous fluoride (Hg2F2) is actually quite toxic. In an acidic environment that type of reaction can occur.

It has been said that anyone with amalgam filling should not brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste. Sorry if I am going too far afield. But the combination of mercury toxicity and antidepressants has a potential for making depression much worse. Could that combination cause certain psychotic disorders? I think it's entirely possible.


I know what psychosis is,
and so I am with Mark Struthers


I posted comments on news stories about Newtown shootings about the psychiatric med link to violence and to my surprise many others outside our community were asking exact the same question. To what extent did the medication Adam Lanza was taking influence his violent behavior? There have been over 30 mass shootings in the US since the late 1980's and many of those shooters were taking or withdrawing from medications. People react to gun violence but pharma has flown for too long under the radar after these shootings.

cia parker

I think it would serve the cause of justice to have executed Andrea Yates, the woman who chased down her children to haul them back and hold them down kicking and screaming until they drowned in the bathtub. Except for the baby, she didn't put up any fight when she was drowned by her mother. So now Andrea Yates gets to watch TV and get free food and medical care for the rest of her bisbegotten life.

Execution does not perpetuate violence. It might or might not serve as a deterrent to relatively rational people, but it does not in itself perpetuate violence. Easy access to guns does, violent video games do, and, above all, the brain damage done by vaccines and prescription medication do.

The UK does not have the amount of horrendous, mindless violence we do here, although of course you have your share: I remember the massacre of schoolchildren in Scotland, and feeling so sad when I saw the photos of all of the children, just as I felt devastated when I saw photos of the precious children murdered by Adam Lanza (may he burn in hell).

How would abolishing the death penalty avoid serial killings? I don't understand the reasoning behind that at all. The serial killers usually kill themselves at the end of their rampage, so the death penalty rarely comes into play at all.

Bob Moffitt

"...Congress has yet to investigate the role of psychiatric drugs in the vast majority of school shootings. Could this be due to the enormous influence of the pharmaceutical industry on the media? Has there been a purposeful media black-out here?"

Trying not to be crass here .. but .. a comparable question would be: Does a bear .... in the woods?

Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry not only exercises unhealthy influence over the media and Congress .. it also serves to corrupt the "scientific" methods and research employed to gain approval by the FDA.

In a 2000 editorial titled: "Is Academic Medicine for Sale"

"The ties between clinical researchers and industry include not only grant support, but also a host of other financial arrangements. Researchers also serve as consultants to companies whose products they are studying, join advisory boardsand speakers' bureaus, enter into patent and royalty agrrangements, agree to be the listed authors of articles ghostwritten by interested companies, promote drugs and devices at company-sponsored symposiums, and allow themselves to be plied with expensive gifts and trips to luxurious settings. Many also have equity interest in the companies"

Unfortunately .. we live in a world gone completely MAD.

Mark Struthers

Thank you for an important and useful article.

I'm a prison doctor in the UK and have never forgotten that the prosecution sought the death penalty at the Texas trial of the mentally ill woman who had drowned her five young children in the bath tub. What would the execution of Andrea Yates have achieved? In my view, executing people brutalises society and perpetuates violence. The US would do well to abolish the death penalty as part of a solution to these tragic serial killings - in my opinion.

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