"sniper" and the elephant in the room
Duty to Warn
“Sniper”: Lessons From Harry Chapin’s Classic School Shooter Song
Brain-altering Psych Drugs as a Tipping Point to Overt Acts of Violence
By Gary G. Kohls, MD
I have been involved in the mental ill health industry in various ways since the early 1990s. In the last decade of my medical career I was an independent holistic mental health care practitioner. I found myself frequently feeling obligated to function as a whistle-blower, exposing a psychopharmaceutical drug industry that had enormous numbers of serious, often unrecognized problems, many of them brain-disabling, addicting or even lethal.
Starting with the wake-up call of the Columbine school massacre in 1999, I became acutely aware of the close connections between the epidemic of mass shootings and the widespread use of prescription antidepressants for adolescents (which are illegal, for good reasons, to be prescribed in the under age 18 group in Great Britain). In my study of the problem, I discovered that mass shootings escalated dramatically after Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft hit the market in the decade prior to Eric Harris was started on Zoloft and then was switched to Luvox. (See uch more on the topic of drug-induced violence.).
Ever since I became totally convinced about the serious, well-documented dangers of psychotropic drugs, I knew that it was my duty to warn my fellow medical professionals - as well as the unaware drug-taking public - about the often hidden dangers that had gone unrecognized prior to FDA marketing approval. I was shocked when I learned that the SSRIs, (so-called second-generation “antidepressants”, perhaps more accurately termed “agitation-inducing” drugs) were typically tested in human trials that lasted only 6 – 8 weeks! After the SSRIs came out in a blaze of corporate-generated media hype, many patients were told that they were to take them for the rest of their lives, despite no evidence that those drugs were safe, effective or non-addictive long term.
Through my research and experience, I found out about the multitude of serious adverse effects, even lethal ones (including suicidality and homicidality) and that those adverse effects had often been covered up by the drug industry, over-looked by the FDA and then released on the public with no warnings. Sadly, my science-based, documentable
warnings about the dangers of these drugs have generated more silence and hostility than thoughtful, science-based attempts to refute the assertions.
<<<De-mystifying the mass shootings seems to be a taboo subject>>>
To the average distracted, addicted, brain-washed or drug-benumbed bystander, school shooters like Charles Whitman (see below), Eric Harris, Jeff Weise, Jared Loughner, James Holmes or Adam Lanza were just committing “senseless” acts of violence. But, there are logical explanations for what motivates psychiatric drug-intoxicated American school shooters. One needs to look at all the potential contributing factors without interference from the drug industry, psychiatry, politicians, journalists, the bureaucracy, the family members of perpetrators, gag-ordered teams of investigators and the corporate media, whose publishers or editors might be beholden to powerful pro-drug economic forces.
The contributing factors help to explain what motivates humans to become killers can be understood. But it takes thorough, un-coerced, unbiased, independent thinking, good science, good psychology, truthfulness, honesty and adequate time to put all the data together in a comprehensible fashion. Journalists would recognize those qualities as epitomizing “good journalism”.
Essential lines of inquiry that need to be followed include these: What have been the traumatic events experienced by the school shooters (sexual, psychological, physical or spiritual), developmental deficiencies, humiliations, bullying episodes experienced, societal support systems denied, toxic or malnourishing foods ingested that adversely affect brain function (non-organic, processed, genetically modified or fast foods), toxic exposures to prescription or illicit drugs, vaccine injuries to the brain, access to lethal weapons, violent videos watched, sleep deprivations, head traumas, parental neglect or punitive child-rearing, etc? Any of these events, if they occur at certain critical times in the neurological development of the brain can determine how likely it might be that any adolescent is at risk of becoming a mass murderer. And that partial list of important factors above doesn’t address the thousands of other unknown factors for which it is humanly impossible for any mental health practitioner to thoroughly evaluate and use in meaningful psychotherapy. Certainly it can’t happen in the average 15 minute clinic appointment or med check appointment.
The biggest elephant in the room, the taboo subject that has kept us as a nation from comprehending the increasingly prevalent epidemic of school shootings is the intimate connection between violence and the equally serious epidemic of brain-altering and potentially addictive psych drug usage among young people.
It will take some political will to overcome our nation’s tendency to reflexively deny and blindly ignore new truths and simultaneously reject old, increasingly discredited belief systems about the safety of psych drugs. That approach has already failed our children and has only made our uniquely American epidemic of drug-induced gun violence worse.
<<<The First U.S. School Shooter: the University of Texas “Clock
The fact that most of America’s school shooters were on psych drugs has been treated as a taboo subject ever since August 1, 1966, when ex-Marine sharp-shooter Charles Whitman (who spent a year and a half at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in the early ’60s) became known as the infamous “Clock Tower sniper” at the University of Texas at Austin. Whitman was a patient of a UT campus psychiatrist during his second try at being a college student (he had flunked out after his first attempt and therefore re-joined the Marines until he was court-martialed). I found no easily accessible information about specific psychological traumas or humiliations he might have experienced during his child-rearing years, Marine Corps basic training or during his tour at Gitmo, nor did I find any information about the reasons for his discharge from the Marine Corps. Could he have been physically or sexually abused, (not uncommon realities) while he was in the Corps?
Singer/songwriter Harry Chapin’s powerful song about Whitman, entitled “Sniper”, contains verses about child abuse, child neglect, social isolation, rejection and subsequent rage that have, since 1966, became recognizable common denominators our current epidemic of young male school shooters. What Chapin didn’t know about was the brain-altering, violence-inducing and suicidal effects of Whitman’s highly addicting psych drugs - amphetamines and barbiturates – that he had been prescribed by his unaware and probably well-meaning psychiatrist.
After his second tour of duty with the Marines ended in disgrace, Whitman tried again to make it as a student by re-enrolling at UT Austin. During the summer months before the shooting rampage, he became a patient of a psychiatrist and was on, or withdrawing from, the two drugs. While under the influence of the drugs (or while experiencing crazy-making withdrawal symptoms after stopping or cutting down on them) he killed 14 and wounded 31 during a five-hour shooting spree from the top of the clock tower. Whitman had already stabbed to death his mother and his wife - probably experiencing the now well-understood reality of psychiatric drug-induced remorselessness and rage.
As referred to above, Whitman had been a victim of parental conflict that led to his parent’s divorce. He had suffered physical abuse from his strict father, and he had suffered the humiliation of failing at college. Extracting some revenge, even at the expense of scapegoats, may have seemed logical to his drug-altered brain at the time. And
then, at the last moment of his tragic life, like the ex-military veteran and PTSD-afflicted “madman” Adolf Hitler two decades earlier, he avoided having to face the hangman for his crimes. Whitman didn’t actually kill himself, but rather orchestrated a suicide-by-cop when his position on the observation deck of the tower was stormed by city police officers.
<<<Going out in a “blaze of glory” rather than living in obscurity>>>.
Whitman may have gained some psychological satisfaction in his “control” over the scapegoated victims on the mall below him. He also knew that he was finally getting attention via the intense media attention and that, by impressing the world with his shooting skills, he would get to go out in a “blaze of glory” rather than living in humiliating obscurity. At least he would be famous for something rather than being a “nothing”. Whitman was only an invisible, inconsequential being that, except for the temporary power over others that his guns gave him, would otherwise never have been remembered for anything.
Unlike the Columbine shooter Eric Harris (who realized that he could ratchet up his hostility, hatred and rage by altering the dose of his Prozac-like drug Luvox), Whitman had no way of knowing that his “senseless” behavior was intimately connected to his psychiatric drugs.
Singer/songwriter Harry Chapin immortalized Whitman and his tragic (possibly even preventable?) story in the powerful, haunting, and psychologically accurate song “Sniper.” Here are the lyrics:
By Harry Chapin
It is an early Monday morning.
The sun is becoming bright on the land.
No one is watching as he comes a-walking.
Two bulky suitcases hang from his hands.
He heads towards the tower that stands in the campus.
He goes through the door, he starts up the stairs.
The sound of his footsteps, the sound of his breathing,The sound of the silence when no one was there.
I didn't really know him.
He was kind of strange.
Always sort of sat there,He never seemed to change.
He reached the catwalk. He put down his burden.
The four sided clock began to chime.
Seven AM, the day is beginning.
So much to do and so little time.
He looks at the city where no one had known him.
He looks at the sky where no one looks down.
He looks at his life and what it has shown him.
He looks for his shadow it cannot be found.
He was such a moody child, very hard to touch.
Even as a baby he never smiled too much. No, no. No, no.
You bug me, she said.
You're ugly, she said.
Please hug me, I said.
But she just sat thereWith the same flat stareThat she saves for me aloneWhen I'm home.
When I'm home.
Take me home.
He laid out the rifles, he loaded the shotgun.
He stacked up the cartridges along the wall.
He knew he would need them for his conversation.
If it went as he planned, then he might use them all.
He said Listen you people I've got a questionYou won't pay attention but I'll ask anyhow.
I found a way that will get me an answer.
Been waiting to ask you 'til now.
I am a lover who's never been kissed.
Am I?I am a fighter who's not made a fist.
Am I?If I'm alive then there's so much I've missed.
How do I know I exist?Are you listening to me?Are you listening to me?Am I?
The first words he spoke took the town by surprise.
One got Mrs. Gibbons above her right eye.
It blew her through the window wedged her against the door.
Reality poured from her face, staining the floor.
He was kind of creepy.
Sort of a dunce.
I met him at the corner bar.
I only dated the poor boy once.
That's all. Just once, that was all.
Bill Whedon was questioned as he stepped from his car.
Tom Scott ran across the street but he never got that far.
The police were there in minutes, they set up barricades.
He spoke right on over them in a half-mile circle.
In a dumb struck city his pointed questions were sprayed.
He knocked over Danny Tyson as he ran towards the noise.
Just about then the answers started coming. Sweet, sweet joy.
Thudding in the clock face, whining off the walls.
Reaching up to where he sat, their answering calls.
Thirty-seven people got his message so far.
Yes, he was reaching them right where they are.
They set up an assault team. They asked for volunteers.
They had to go and get him; that much was clear.
And the word spread about him on the radios and TV's.
In appropriately sober tone they asked "Who can it be?"
He was a very dull boy, very taciturn.
Not much of a joiner, he did not want to learn.
No, no. No, no.
They're coming to get me, they don't want to let meStay in the bright light too long.
It's getting on noon now, it's going to be soon now.
But oh, what a wonderful sound!
Mama, won't you nurse me?Rain me down the sweet milk of your kindness.
Mama, it's getting worse for me.
Won't you please make me warm and mindless?
Mama, yes you have cursed me.
I never will forgive you for your blindness.
I hate you!
The wires are all humming for me.
And I can hear them coming for me.
Soon they'll be here, but there's nothing to fear.
Not any more though they've blasted the door.
As the copter dropped the gas he shouted "Who cares?".
They could hear him laughing as they started up the stairs.
As they stormed out on the catwalk, blinking at the sun,With their final fusillade his answer had come.
Am I?There is no way that you can hide me.
Am I?Though you have put your fire inside me.
Am I?You've given me my answer can't you see?I was!I am!and now I will be, I will be, I will be, I will be,
The Evaluation and Management of the Acutely Agitated Elderly Patient DENISE NASSISI, M.D.1, BEATRIZ KORC, M.D.2, SIGRID HAHN, M.D.1, JOHN BRUNS, JR., M.D.1, AND ANDY JAGODA, M.D.1 Abstract Delirium is an organic mental syndrome defined by a global disturbance in consciousness and cognition, which develops abruptlyand often fluctuates over the course of the day. It is precipitated by med
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