Prescription Drugs Cause Mass Shootings? That’s Ridiculous!

Image via msnbc.com

Image via msnbc.com

There’s an article making the rounds talking about prescription psychotropic drugs, and how they are the one thing in common with “nearly” all mass shootings.

That’s your key word; “nearly.”

First of all, it needs to be said the article isn’t entirely wrong. Psychotropic drugs are dangerous when applied incorrectly. Too little or too much of them have negative side effects, and then there’s the matter of drugs affecting every individual in different ways.

The author takes this premise and tries to use it as the reason mass shootings, the majority of them anyway, are committed. But there’s that word “nearly” again. Not all mass shooters were taking these drugs. Not all mass shootings were committed by somebody on these drugs in the first place. So, yes, the drugs may have been a common thread in some of the shootings, but they don’t cover everything.

Know what is the common thread? We’ll touch back on that.

While I don’t doubt the prevalence of psychotropic drugs are a factor, we have to look at why this is so. Severe cuts to mental health treatments and therapies are being made throughout the country. Rhode IslandOklahomaFlorida.  This is nothing new, of course. Mental health care has been slashed and reduced for years now. You can blame the GOP for that, primarily.

So what happens when mental health treatments and therapies get slashed? Band-aids get placed on sucking chest wounds. Drugs are over or under prescribed, and nobody is following up or looking after the affected patients.

It can’t be disagreed that deteriorating mental health care facilities are helping to contribute to the proliferation of psychotropic drugs with dangerous side effects. But this isn’t the common thread to all mass shootings either. Know what it is? We’ll get back to that.

Now, the author of the piece is a fellow by the name of Dan Roberts, and he’s a full on gun nut. From his author bio:

“Dan Roberts is a grassroots supporter of gun rights that has choosen AmmoLand Shooting Sports News as the perfect outlet for his insightful articles on Guns and Gun Owner Rights.

As a resident of the oppressive state of New Jersey he is well placed to be able to discuss the abuses of government against our inalienable rights to keep and bear arms as he writes from deep behind NJ’s Anti-Gun iron curtain.

In addition to AmmoLand Shooting Sports News, Dan is and (sic) active member for the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, and works on the ground to advance gun rights for all his fellow residents of NJ.”

Titles from some of Roberts’ other articles include these winners: “Kids and Guns Don’t Mix? Someone forgot to tell 9-year old Shyanne Roberts;” “Religious Anti-Gun Sympathizers; Heeding God’s Call Or Hubris in God’s Name.” In short, he writes articles promoting every ridiculous gun lobby talking point out there. Many of his pieces rely heavily on the discredited statistics of NRA shill John R. Lott Jr.

So the author’s agenda is pretty clear, divert attention away from guns. Now we get to the common thread, and you had to know this was it. All this article is doing is the same old song and dance about mental health as the reason behind mass shootings. Hilarious, considering those blaming that instead of guns usually oppose doing anything about mental health.

Oh, here’s another piece by Roberts,  where he rails against psychiatrists releasing records of dangerously mentally ill patients. In yet another piece, he complains about gun confiscation from the mentally unstable. Dan Roberts blames the mentally ill for mass shootings, but attacks those looking into just that issue. That’s called hypocrisy, friends.

He did do a decent job of covering his tracks on this one, though. Roberts’ article was picked up and piggybacked on a few other sites of all political stripes. He released this article in April of last year, but it’s found new life lately on several different sites, and has been heavily making the rounds in social media. But when the piece is tracked to it’s original source? It’s a site called “Ammo Land.”

There is no single factor in the plague of gun violence in the USA, and these meds may or may not be one of those. But this article was written by an unabashed gun rights extremist, and he is working hard to present these pills as the sole reason for shootings, trying to divert away from the easy access of guns. He’s also on record protecting the gun rights of the mentally unstable, just for fun.

As for the mentally ill, this article does them no justice. Roberts only demonizes treatments given to those known to have committed mass shootings. No solutions are offered. No specifics are given outside of which individual took which medication. It’s all correlation equalling causation. A smokescreen. Crap.

In 2005, I was suddenly faced with a mentally ill teenager off his meds. He had a knife and had unsuccessfully tried to cut another man’s throat. If he’d had a gun, I would most likely be dead now, along with some of my friends. Instead, everybody was fine, including the poor kid. Was he dangerous? Yes. Was he responsible? No. With a gun, which Dan Roberts wants to make sure he has, he could have killed people. Then Dan Roberts can blame whatever drugs he was prescribed.

The one common factor in mass shootings are guns. No amount of obfuscation can cloud that fact. And if you are more focused on protecting the “gun rights” of the dangerously mentally ill, Dan Roberts, maybe you should shut up about the drugs they’re taking.


Chad R. MacDonald

Chad R. MacDonald has a degree in English Literature from Cape Breton University and subsequently received a full scholarship to AMDA in New York. He is a former security professional, a veteran of the hospitality industry, and experienced in administration and the arts. He loves baseball, hockey, marine photography, science, New York City, and his family.
He lives in Hell's Kitchen with his wife and son and their gigantic cat.
Chad also writes for spoiledNYC.com, quietmike.org, and contributes at politicalmoll.com. You can follow him on Twitter @ChadMac19 and on Facebook as well!

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