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Are School Shooters Mentally Ill or Insane? Mental Health Medications and Mass Murder

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Peeples is a long-term child abuse survivor who ended up in foster care. Her goal is to inform others about foster care and social issues.

Eric Harris One of the Columbine High School shooters was on anti depressants.

Eric Harris One of the Columbine High School shooters was on anti depressants.

Another School Shooting and Mental Health

Here I sit in sadness watching the news of another school shooting. In a tragic irony, this statement seems to perpetually current and time-sensitive.

I fell asleep last night watching the horrific scenes. Some say that we shouldn't talk about the realities behind these shooting because we shouldn't make it political. I say we shouldn't keep ignoring the problem hoping for a change while our government leads us in the direction they want. I am angry that more children are gone. I am angry that this becomes a discussion about guns instead of a talk about why they chose to use violence to begin with.

Medications seem to be a leading cause to violence in teens and young adults. It is time that the media made a bigger connection to this so that we can make a change. We can not continue to stand back and argue over if it was a gun or not. The people who have these problems are going to end up in bad situations no matter what the laws are. We need to encourage better mental health training for teachers and hold parent's responsible. Yes many of these shooters are mentally ill, and yes medication is sometimes needed, but you can't just throw pills at someone and hope for a change. More is needed.

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Robert A. Hawkins Killed 9  Was on Anti-Anxiety Medication

Robert A. Hawkins Killed 9 Was on Anti-Anxiety Medication

List of School Shooters Taking Anti-Depression and Anti-Anxiety Medications

  • Springfield, Oregon – May 21, 1998 15 year old Kip Kinkel murdered his parents. He then killed two students at his school, and wounded 22. Kinkel was on the medication Prozac.
  • Idaho – April 16, 1999 15 year old Shawn Cooper fired a shotgun in his school though no students were hit. Cooper was taking antidepressant medications.
  • Colorado – April 20, 1999 18 year old Eric Harris was on the antidepressant medication Luvox when he and his friend Dylan Klebold, taking a different antidepressant, killed 12 classmates and a teacher, wounded 23, and then committed suicide,
  • Georgia – May 20, 1999 15 year old T.J. Solomon was being treated with a mix of antidepressant medications when he opened fire in his class and wounded 6 of his classmates.
  • Pennsylvania – March 7, 2000 14 year old Elizabeth Bush was on the antidepressant Prozac when she blasted away at fellow students in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, wounding only one.
  • California – March 22, 2001 18 year old Jason Hoffman was on two antidepressant medications, Effexor and Celexa, when he opened fire at his California high school wounding five students. Hoffman had also undergone an “anger management” program not long before this.
  • New York – February 2004 16 year old Jon Romano walked into his high school in east Greenbush and opened fire with a shotgun. Only one was wounded. Romano had been taking antidepressant medications.
  • Minnesota - March 21, 2005 16 year old Native American Jeff Weise, reportedly taking the antidepressant Prozac, Started shooting at home and then at his school, killing nine people, wounded five others,and committed suicide.
  • Virginia – April 16, 2007 The psychiatric drug history of Seung-Hui Cho in the Virginia Tech Massacre was never made public. Initial reports stated that “depression medication” was found in Cho’s belongings.
  • Ohio – October 10, 2007 14 year old Asa Coon went through his school shooting and wounding four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon had been placed on the antidepressant Trazadone not long before this happened.
  • Finland – November 7, 2007 18 year old Pekka-Eric Auvinen had been taking antidepressants when he killed eight people and wounded 12 more at Jokela High School in southern Finland, before committing suicide.
  • Illinois – February 14, 2008 27 year old Steven Kazmierczak shot and killed five people, wounded 16 others, and killed himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology reports showed that he still had Xanax in his system.
  • Alabama – February 5, 2012 15 year old Hammad Memon shot and killed another Discover Middle School student named Todd Brown. Memon had a history being treated for ADHD and depression. He was taking the antidepressant Zoloft.
14 year old Asa Coon

14 year old Asa Coon

The Problem is NOT Just Guns The Problem is ignoring Mental Health Issues

So to those who want to yell about how we need stricter gun laws, Why not stop the problem instead of using a band aide to fix it. This ranges way outside of school shootings. Children are killing their parents, grand parents, friends, and neighbors all while on or weaning off of Anti-Psychotics. So how can we continue to ignore the mental health issues?

There have been hundreds of studies showing these medications can cause suicidal and homicidal behavior yet these drugs continue to be given to children.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

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