Wednesday, April 18

Silent Rage: From Columbine, Virginia Tech to Iraq and Back

Eight years ago while I was a member of a struggling hard rock band in Sacramento called Planet X, I wrote a song called Silent Rage (which can be downloaded from the MySpace Page for my Live365 Radio Station) about the rash of School Shootings which had been occuring at that time.

(Note: You'll have to click the pause botton on the station just above the embedded JFK video so that you can listen to the "Silent Rage" track by itself)
The song was written from the shooters perspective at the moment of his execution after years on death row looking out at the survivors and victims of his rage - which is undimmed - and seeing it reflected back at him, having spread like a demented virus.

Now do you hear me? Now do you care?
Now you hear my voice screaming through the air?

Yeah, I told you - told you this day would come. The killing fields are festering in your mind, this rage has made you blind.

At the time I was making a comment on capital punishment and the cycle of violence, which was likely to continue and grow IMO. But just a few weeks after we had finished recording the song, the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton Colorado occured. I don't know if I can accurately describe what it was like to sing that song during our next gig. Surreal doesn't really cover it, because I had essentially predicted that this violence was going to escalate. In nearly al these cases, the shooters are suicidal, perfoming an elaborate and desperate act so heinous they couldn't possibly be forgiven and either forcing law enforcement to take deadly action, or finally working up the courage to do the deed themselves.

My head was swimming then, but today as I watch coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings - my head is shaking. It seems we've learned just about nothing in the intervening years, but there are some things we should have learned long ago...

From American Free Press 2006

Many of the nightmarish killings of recent memory, especially the bizarre family tragedies which seem to be occurring with increasing frequency, have been scientifically linked to a sleep disorder caused by commonly-used, but dangerous and addictive anti-depressant medications.

Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, executive director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness and author of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? - Our Serotonin Nightmare is an expert consultant in cases like Columbine in which anti-depressant medications are involved. Tracy says the Columbine killers' brains were awash in serotonin, the chemical which causes violence and aggression and triggers a sleep-walking disorder in which a person literally acts out their worst nightmare.

Shortly before the Columbine shooting, Eric Harris had been rejected by Marine Corps recruiters because he was under a doctor's care and had been prescribed an anti-depressant medication. Harris was taking Luvox, an anti-depressant commonly used to treat patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

From CNN:

On May 17th, 2000 the United States House Sub-Committee on Early Childhood, Youth, and Families looked into reported problems with Ritalin. There are problems with over prescribing, giving samples without proper diagnosis, stealing, and selling Ritalin in the school yard! Ritalin is an SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) in the same category as Prozac, Luvox, Zoloft, and Paxil. With just a little investigation there is a definite relation between School Violence and kids taking these drugs!

(Note from comments: Technically Ritalin is not an "SSRI")

And here....

Journal of the American Medical Association shows 50% increase in Prozac with Preschoolers. 2/23/2000

The Journal of the American Medical Association released a study that shows that there is a tremendous increase in prescribing anti-depressants to preschoolers aged 2 to 4 years old! The "Terrible Twos" are just that! If you start throwing these drugs at preschoolers, what are we going to do for them when they hit their teens? There has been a connection between school shootings and the shooters having been on these drugs!

Gun violence in schools has actually gone down since 1992, while violence in general has gone up in schools! If a majority of the school shooters were on (or had abruptly stopped taking) anti-depressants then it stands to reason that most of the other violence in schools may be related to these drugs as well! I have read a lot about the Oregon shootings and how Kip Kinkle had been on prozac. I had heard that, but now a Vermont Outdoors writer has said that "Just about every massacre that occurred anywhere in the U.S. and Canada over the last decade has involved an individual using a prescription drug called Prozac or one of its relatives."

As has already been well reported, the shooter at Virginia Tech had been diagnosed as suicdal and had been taking anti-depressants. He had been interviewed by police twice in the previous two years for apparently harrassing young women on campus, as was referred for a psychiatric evaluation which in turn led to the prescription.

Although Tom Cruise has been almost literal run out of Hollywood on a rail and turned into a laughing stock by Keith Olbermann for his comments against the over dependance of anti-depressants by doctors, it's high time that we stop this runaway train and take a serious look at these kinds of mental health issues, as well as the deadly backlash they seem to be creating.

Many have pointed out how deeply felt this tragedy has become to the people of America, while noting that we seem unable to have a similar outpouring of simpathy for all those American families who've lost children to the Iraq War even when were talking about 100 Times as many people. We're losing as many of our sons and daughters in Iraq as we lost on Tuesday every ten days. The Iraq people are losing that many people Every. Single. Day.

Sometimes more, like today...

CBS News: "A parked car bomb detonated in a crowd of workers at a Shiite marketplace in Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least 82 people, police and hospital officials said. The attack was one of four bombings in Baghdad on Wednesday afternoon, which killed at least 127 people in total, officials said."

That death toll eventually rose to 157.

I understand, as many of us should, that their is a known risk in going into war, the risk of being killed, maimed and permenently injured is well known to our troops and their families - hence they are far better prepared for the worst if it should happen than the Virginia Tech students and families. But there is another risk and danger that is often overlooked, that of becoming mentally injured by the stress that soldiers have to endure. The fact is that repeated deployments and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as the prescription of anti-depressants to active duty soldiers, are leading our troops into record breaking levels of suicide.

Twenty-two U.S. troops committed suicide in Iraq last year, accounting for nearly one in five of all non-combat deaths and the highest suicide rate since the war started, the newspaper said.

Some service members who committed suicide in 2004 and 2005 were kept on duty despite clear signs of mental distress, sometimes after being prescribed antidepressants with little or no mental health counseling or monitoring, the Courant reported. Those findings conflict with regulations adopted last year by the Army that caution against the use of antidepressants for "extended deployments."

"I can't imagine something more irresponsible than putting a soldier suffering from stress on (antidepressants), when you know these drugs can cause people to become suicidal and homicidal," said Vera Sharav, president of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, a New York-based advocacy group. "You're creating chemically activated time bombs."

What's going to happen when these troops finally do come home damaged and drug-addled with Luvox and Proloft? I'm sorry but I for one have to again state what I was screaming back in 1999 which might not seem quite so obvious: What we've just witnessed in Blacksburg is NOT GOING TO BE THE LAST MASSACRE WE'RE GOING TO EXPERIENCE over the next few years.

Watching 10,000 students all shouting "HOKIES!" together was truly moving. Yet, I can't help what might happen if we could put together a similar vigil for those who've needlessly died in Iraq, and for those who've yet to succumb to the sucking chest wound that this pointless and unneccesary War has left on our nation's integrity, common sense, good name and youth.


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