My father came home one day jokingly reciting a recent statistic; bald men were more likely to develop heart problems. The reason he enjoyed the statistic is because the correlation was irrelevant. Older men tend to be balding so simply discovering that men with heart problems were balding is the same as discovering that men without heart problems were balding.
“It’s difficult to get up every morning facing the truth,” says Dr. Bette J. Dickerson, past chair of American University’s Department of Sociology. She also notes: “Many people stray from challenging lies just to keep the peace.”
Dr. Dickerson further observes: “If we get enough false information, myths and untruths long enough … we will come to believe it because that’s all we know. “
In Osaka, Japan, a man went into a school and began to kill students with a kitchen knife. In the United States, Belgium, England, Finland and France, the same thing has happened, but with a gun.
Each time one of these horrific events occurs, people start to search for the reason it happened. What they hear most frequently is much like the correlation between balding men and heart problems. The people who do these massacres are said to be introverted loners who were bullied in school. The solutions are then determined to be strict anti-bullying policies in schools and better gun control. These solutions are working as well as hair replacement treatment for men to stop heart problems.
Let’s look at the data and see if there is a truth that is hard to face. First, consider the solutions that we all are trying to believe. Bullying happens to everyone, yet until recently no one has had cause to come in shooting in retaliation. Learning to handle bullies is part of life. I have been bullied in the past few years in very nice conference rooms of respected organizations. While the school massacres are recent, bullying has a long history, so it seems unlikely to be the cause of the recent problem.
Guns and knives have also been around for a very long time, as have schools. Yet again, only recently have people used guns and knives in schools. Since knives are used in countries where guns are less available, it would not seem that stricter gun control would solve the problem.
So how do we combine introverted people who have socialization problems, a situation that has also been around for a long time, with guns that have been around for a long time, with schools that have been around for a long time? What has changed in recent history to cause this combination to become volatile?
Dr. Peter Breggin, a former full-time consultant for the National Institute of Mental Health, British Psychiatrist Dr. David Healy, and many others, say that the difference is Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, SSRIs. SSRI brand names include: Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox and Celexa. These drugs are used to treat anxiety and depression along with a host of anti-social disorders. An online database, shows that almost all of the people perpetrating these horrible crimes have been confirmed to have been either using these prescribed drugs or in the process of withdrawing from these drugs. Here is an excerpt from Dr. Breggin’s report “Suicidality, violence and mania caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors," (SSRIs), published in the International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine (2003/2004). The child in this case was in a double-blind study and had been given Fluoxetine, a SSRI.
“The child’s reaction occurred long before any of the well-known school shootings had taken place. Therefore, his reaction was not inspired by the school shootings; it was not a “copycat”:
Thirty-eight days after beginning the protocol, F. experienced a violent nightmare about killing his classmates until he himself was shot. He awakened from it only with difficulty, and the dream continued to feel “very real.” He reported having had several days of increasingly vivid “bad dreams” before this episode; these included images of killing himself and his parents dying. When he was seen later that day he was agitated and anxious, refused to go to school, and reported marked suicidal ideation that made him feel unsafe at home as well.
When the medication was stopped, under supervision in a hospital, the child improved.
So now we have to decide if we want to believe this new concept as a difficult-to-face truth, or if we want to continue to believe that strict anti-bullying policies, and stricter gun control, will solve the problem.