Following the tragedy at the New Life Church in Colorado many will try to make sense of senseless violence without looking at critical similarities and differences between apparently unrelated events. Unless we are willing to examine rationally two sensitive subjects, prescription drugs and guns, the senseless murders will continue.
An increasingly common feature of mass murders in the last 20 years is that the shooters have undergone some kind of "treatment" with Prozac or a derivative. The mainstream media has thoroughly ignored this fact. Prozac or a relative floats like an angel of death over many of the most horrific tragedies this country has ever known.
In no particular order, Robert Hawkins in the Omaha mall, Cho Seung Hui at Virginia Tech, Harris and Kleybold at Columbine High, 15 year-old Kip Kinkel in Oregon, Jeff Weise at Red Lake High School, Charles Carl Roberts IV, the Amish school killer, "Unabomber" Ted Kaczinski, Michael McDermott, John Hinckley, Jr., Byran Uyesugi, and Mark David Chapman all took Prozac or a related SSRI drug.
There are many, many more Prozac moments less dramatic than these but every bit as insanely violent. Google these names for details of their killing sprees, but don’t expect to see much discussion of their drug use.
Ely Lilly, the manufacturer of Prozac, has known there were problems with the drug from the beginning in the 80s. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show there were 27 deaths linked to Prozac during clinical trials alone.
FDA records show Prozac has over 28,000 reports of Adverse Drug Reaction events, 10% of them suicides. The FDA tells us this is between 1% and 10% of actual adverse events. That means that Prozac has caused between 10,000 and 100,000 suicides.
And still SSRI drugs are prescribed to millions every year. Compare that with the FDA’s complete ban of the harmless amino acid L-tryptophan 1989 after an accidentally contaminated batch caused two deaths.
It has been argued that Prozac has helped millions who suffer from depression. I am not unsympathetic to depressed people, but mass murder and suicide is an unacceptable side effect no matter how many people are in a better mood because they take SSRIs.
The second factor common to mass shootings is that they usually occur where the shooter is the only person with a gun. This generally, and inexplicably, creates calls for further gun bans, gun free zones and general victim disarmament, as if guns themselves spawn evil. Similar thinking would blame matches for arson or spoons for obesity.
The shooting in Colorado is different, however, in that it did not occur in a "defenseless victim zone." The outcome there should end the argument about the usefulness of guns in the hands of the public, though I doubt it will.
The murderer, Matthew Murray, had a rifle, a couple handguns, grenades, hundreds of rounds of ammo and a hatred of Christians. Tragically he was able to kill four people before he met what I have referred to in other columns as a GOGWIG. Good Guy With a Gun. In this case, however, it was a good girl. Her name is Jeanne Assam. She made an unshakable case against "defenseless victim zones."
Jeanne was a volunteer guard at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs where Murray yesterday killed four people before Jeanne shot him dead. Eyewitness Larry Bourbonnais told how other armed guards froze at the sight of the shooter firing into the church. Bourbonnais claims to have asked one of the guards for his gun so he could "take out" the shooter. When the guard wouldn’t give up his weapon, Bourbonnais called to Murray to distract him and was shot in the arm.
It was then that Assam came on the scene. She never hesitated, going straight for the killer, firing steadily and shouting "surrender" as she advanced. The gunman got off three shots at her before Jeanne’s fire took him down. He died at the scene.
Bourbonnais, a Viet Nam combat veteran, called it the bravest thing he’d ever seen.
Clearly the problem here was not that there were too many guns at the church. There weren’t enough. There certainly weren’t enough in the right hands. If someone in the parking lot had had a gun Murray might never have killed anyone.
The eyewitness report makes it clear that not everyone with a gun is capable of using it under extreme stress. The solution is more, not fewer guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens.
Terrorist attacks against Israeli schools stopped when Israeli teachers began carrying guns. Any of the many school attacks in recent years could have been ended much sooner and many lives saved if responsible adults had been armed. And since it’s impossible to know how armed adults will react when called upon to defend the defenseless, the more armed adults we have the better.
Jeanne Assam, the heroine of the New Life Church, has years of experience in law enforcement and is licensed to carry a weapon. Training and practice are clearly valuable. While other armed guards hesitated or froze, Jeanne never did. Before the media for the first time Monday she said she "did not think for a minute to run away" when a gunman entered the church and started shooting.
Confirming that God looks out for those who look out for themselves, Assam said "God guided me and protected me." Amen to that. God could have guided and protected Jeanne if she hadn’t had a gun, but she wouldn’t have stopped the killer and saved many, many innocent lives without it.