DCPolitics

Benko: Resist Urge To Destroy Bill Of Rights

ATROCITIES DO NOT JUSTIFY DESTROYING LIBERTIES By Ralph Benko || The murder of 20 innocent children and 7 adults in Newtown, Connecticut, horrifies all Americans.  President Barack Obama eloquently expressed our collective feelings of “overwhelming grief” and our response to “hug our children a little tighter, and we’ll tell them that…

ATROCITIES DO NOT JUSTIFY DESTROYING LIBERTIES

Ralph Benko

By Ralph Benko || The murder of 20 innocent children and 7 adults in Newtown, Connecticut, horrifies all Americans.  President Barack Obama eloquently expressed our collective feelings of “overwhelming grief” and our response to “hug our children a little tighter, and we’ll tell them that we love them, and we’ll remind each other how deeply we love one another.”

Progressives now are arguing for stricter gun control.  America, however, is founded on the “consent of the governed.”  Americans’ sympathy for gun control, when polled by Pew after the Aurora atrocity, was about equally split between the restrictionists and those favoring the protection of our right to bear arms.

Restrictionist sentiment is down from almost 2-to-1 who favored gun control in 2000.   This isn’t irrational.  Empirically, at 12.1 victims per 100,000 the firearms death rate in ultra-restrictionist Maryland, home of this columnist, is higher than that of gun-friendly Texas (10.9 per 100,000).

Many conservatives have their own unfounded proclivities:  “Lock every felon up and throw away the key” comes to mind.  Yet as noted last summer in The Economist, “America continues to lock up a scandalously large number of its people: around 1 percent of the adult population is behind bars at any time. But … ‘the relationship between the incarceration rate and the violent-crime rate is not very strong.’ New York has not followed the national mania for imprisonment, and yet the decline in its crime has been among the most impressive.”

At base the social consensus against institutionalizing the mentally ill makes it virtually impossible to remove potentially dangerous psychotics from society.  Although it increases the possibility of tragedies such as Newtown, most feel that should not be reversed.   Most psychotics are harmless.

Deinstitutionalization was a reaction to widespread, and egregious, abuses of the mentally ill and of inmates — including hideous violations of civil liberties.  Most oppose, on humanitarian and civil liberties grounds, a return to the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest era.  Newtown may force a change in this consensus as a more intelligent approach than gun control.  If so, this absolutely must be handled with integrity and with impeccable safeguards for the mentally ill.

There is nothing wrong with Progressives making their case for restricting gun rights.  They are passionate about it and, although America’s homicide rate (4.8 per 100,000 in 2010) has plunged by over half since its 1991 peak (9.8 per 100,000) — with no clear correlation with stricter gun control (and some evidence to the contrary) — America still has many more firearm homicides than other developed countries.

It’s a free country. Progressives rightly are free to make their case.  Progressives, however, show shocking recklessness in their willingness to implement their policies by overriding popular will and the letter and spirit of the Constitution.  There is a disconcerting trend in Progressive circles toward a willful disregard of the Declaration of Independence’s axiom that government legitimacy is based on the consent of the governed … and toward a perverse ignoring of key segments of the Bill of Rights.

The essence of the Declaration  — one we were taught in grammar school and, most of us, consigned to the same trashcan as sentence diagrams — may be found here:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it ….”

The original Constitution immediately received ten amendments, commonly known as the Bill of Rights.  These set forth with great specificity what Americans consider their most cherished “unalienable rights.” They were designed to protect against the risk of what Tocqueville called the tyranny of the majority.  In case you haven’t been “read your rights” lately … these , prominently, include:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…

“No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law….”

America, via the Tea Party and Occupiers, if rather inchoately, lately has been attempting to restore itself to a small “l” liberal (enumerated rights so sacrosanct as to be exempt from being taken away even by a majority), small “r” republic (officials elected by the citizens to act according to the consent of the governed).  If America is to be “set to rights” it is crucial that the consent of the governed and the unalienable nature of our Constitutional rights be at the center of our civic discourse and politics.

“The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” is quite unequivocal.  Progressives denigrate this and other rights at our, and their own, peril.  Many Progressives also wish to muzzle the right to advocate political views (masquerading as “campaign finance reform”).  They fall back on arguments such as “corporations aren’t persons.”  The First Amendment doesn’t mention persons.  It simply contains a plenary ban on government interference. 

Progressives consider access to artificial contraception an important right.  That’s a position with which this columnist sympathizes.  Yet a government forcing those whose religion considers it a mortal sin to provide or subsidize this non-enumerated right obnoxiously violates the plenary Constitutional ban on the government’s “prohibiting the free exercise” of religion. Government’s undermining the right of people of faith conscientiously to make a stand for their sexual mores to be reflected in law — such as the federal judge who abused his governmental power to negate California’s Proposition 8 — is a grotesque violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of free exercise of religion.

The majority of Americans (including this columnist) consider personhood to commence before birth.  The Fifth Amendment requires that “No person shall be … deprived of life … without due process of law.” To ignore this Fifth Amendment guarantee undermines liberal republican governance and makes all, pro-choice as well as pro-life, constitutionally poorer.

It appears that many Progressives are determined to abridge guarantees of free speech, free press, and to prohibit the free exercise of religion, eviscerating the guarantees of the First Amendment.  Many propose to infringe the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms and repeal other elements of the Bill of Rights.  There are clear mechanisms for so doing, within the Constitution itself, by amendment if the requisite supermajorities can be persuaded.  It is reprehensible for advocates to do violence to all of our civil liberties by, instead, disregarding unambiguous guarantees of some.

Those who wish to restrict gun rights — or any other right protected by the Constitution — are called upon to seek to amend, rather than disregard, the Constitution.  America is, as Ben Franklin said after the Constitutional Convention, “a republic, if you can keep it.”  If the bone-chilling violence at Newtown triggers violence against the Bill of Rights, safeguards for our vital civil liberties collapse.  Events precipitating illiberalism are not historically unknown.  Reaction must be resisted.

Ralph Benko is the senior advisor, economics, to American Principles In Action, based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter @thewebster.

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37 comments

T-bot 5000 December 18, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Guns don’t kill humans… lasers do.

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? December 18, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Ha! You’re becoming my favorite non-person.

Maybe you should revise that to say “Guns kill people but lasers do a better job.”

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Guero December 18, 2012 at 2:50 pm

For the knuckle-dragging Repugnants here, “…a well regulated militia…” is obviously a Martian language phrase incapable of being translated into Faux News English.

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? December 18, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Is there a point to your statement Guero?

I naturally assumed that you’d be providing a clarified definition of “a well regulated militia” for those in the Fox News crowd.

lol, anyway-you do actually make a good point.

The definition of “militia” as the founders intended it is in the Constitution and implies subservience to gov’t.

Under that notion if you accept a “Constitutional” authority you have to acknowledge that fact and naturally accept the idea that “gov’t” can regulate what you are allowed to carry as per 2nd amendment intent.(if you are genuine about it)

Now, that being said…should it be subject to executive order?(which is unconstitutional though not ruled so)
Hmmm….more importantly though, for those who buy into this notion of gov’t social contract theory the natural course of what you’re allowed to carry(whether it’s a steak knife or dirty bomb) should naturally be left up to congress, right?

I always laugh when people talk about the 2nd amendment being about “protecting yourself from your government”…cause if you read the Constitutional defintion of militia(in the Constitution itself!) and who they are to obey it all becomes quite clear that they were meant to bolster the US gov’t, not subvert it. They were meant nothing more than extra troops to be supplied to various Fed/State gov’t when needed.

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? December 18, 2012 at 2:11 pm

When you come to the realization that the Constitution is a failed document and mostly meaningless this entire article also becomes mostly meaningless.

That’s my happy thought for all of you today.

:)

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Mark December 19, 2012 at 10:33 am

Meaningless, as in most of your babble?

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? December 19, 2012 at 10:40 am

Obviously not meaningless enough for you to not bother commenting on it. My comment had some meaning for you or you’d be a complete dolt to waste your time.

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Godslayer December 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm

When the Second Amendment was written people had muskets and flintlocks. Where does it authorize the right to bear automatic weapons? If it does, then there is no restriction on “arms” that can be “borne” under the Second Amendment; if you can’t outlaw automatic weapons, then you can’t outlaw nuclear weapons, and I have the constitutional right to bear “dirty” bombs.

P.S. Benko has a small penis.

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? December 18, 2012 at 2:36 pm

You are correct. Conversely, the 2nd amendment doesn’t ban knives, cars, bats, & iron maiden’s.

So naturally if you move to ban my dirty bombs I’m moving to get rid your steak knife.

:)

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? December 18, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I should correct my little statement to read: “the 2nd amendment doesn’t authorize knives, cars, etc. etc.”

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toyota kawaski December 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm

glad to see you are still living after all these years. Does your musket still fire?

P.S.S. Godslayer has a small brain

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Jacob December 18, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Regular premeditated mass murders of innocent children by crazy gunmen wielding numerous automatic weapons and thousands of rounds of ammo is a very small price to pay for our rights under the 2nd Amendment.

Ralph Benko, you are THE MAN!!

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njoying it December 19, 2012 at 10:34 am

Yep! Your kid get shot in Newtown? Asshole.

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The Colonel December 20, 2012 at 10:05 pm

For the last year reviewed by the FBI (2009), 340 people were murdered with rifles of all types (assault rifles, single shot hunting rifles, bolt actions) .

More than 3,000 were killed with a combination of fists, knives and clubs.

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colascguy December 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Not one of the killers had an automatic weapon.

Noun 1. automatic weapon – a firearm that reloads itself and keeps firing until the trigger is released

Definition: Semi-automatic guns are those which fire the round in the chamber, extract it, eject it, and load a new round into the chamber (if one is available in the magazine), each time the trigger is pulled. Most semi-autos will also cock the gun at the same time, but some semi-auto pistols do not.

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dirtbogger December 19, 2012 at 8:11 am

Eric Harris age 17 (first on Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold aged 18 (Colombine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado), killed 12 students and 1 teacher, and wounded 23 others, before killing themselves. Klebold’s medical records have never been made available to the public.

Jeff Weise, age 16, had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac (three times the average starting dose for adults!) when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather’s girlfriend and many fellow students at Red Lake, Minnesota. He then shot himself. 10 dead, 12 wounded.

Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, Wahluke (Washington state) High School, was on Paxil (which caused him to have hallucinations) when he took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates hostage. He has no memory of the event.

Chris Fetters, age 13, killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.

Christopher Pittman, age 12, murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.

Mathew Miller, age 13, hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for 6 days.

Jarred Viktor, age 15, stabbed his grandmother 61 times after 5 days on Paxil.

Kip Kinkel, age 15, (on Prozac and Ritalin) shot his parents while they slept then went to school and opened fire killing 2 classmates and injuring 22 shortly after beginning Prozac treatment.

Luke Woodham, age 16 (Prozac) killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others.

A boy in Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) in 1998 had a Zoloft-induced seizure that caused an armed stand off at his school.

Michael Carneal (Ritalin), age 14, opened fire on students at a high school prayer meeting in West Paducah, Kentucky. Three teenagers were killed, five others were wounded..

A young man in Huntsville, Alabama (Ritalin) went psychotic chopping up his parents with an ax and also killing one sibling and almost murdering another.

Andrew Golden, age 11, (Ritalin) and Mitchell Johnson, aged 14, (Ritalin) shot 15 people, killing four students, one teacher, and wounding 10 others.

TJ Solomon, age 15, (Ritalin) high school student in Conyers, Georgia opened fire on and wounded six of his class mates.

Rod Mathews, age 14, (Ritalin) beat a classmate to death with a bat.

James Wilson, age 19, (various psychiatric drugs) from Breenwood, South Carolina, took a .22 caliber revolver into an elementary school killing two young girls, and wounding seven other children and two teachers.

Elizabeth Bush, age 13, (Paxil) was responsible for a school shooting in Pennsylvania

Jason Hoffman (Effexor and Celexa) – school shooting in El Cajon, California

Jarred Viktor, age 15, (Paxil), after five days on Paxil he stabbed his grandmother 61 times.

Chris Shanahan, age 15 (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman.

Jeff Franklin (Prozac and Ritalin), Huntsville, AL, killed his parents as they came home from work using a sledge hammer, hatchet, butcher knife and mechanic’s file, then attacked his younger brothers and sister.

Neal Furrow (Prozac) in LA Jewish school shooting reported to have been court-ordered to be on Prozac along with several other medications.

Kevin Rider, age 14, was withdrawing from Prozac when he died from a gunshot wound to his head.

Initially it was ruled a suicide, but two years later, the investigation into his death was opened as a possible homicide. The prime suspect, also age 14, had been taking Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants.

Alex Kim, age 13, hung himself shortly after his Lexapro prescription had been doubled.

Diane Routhier was prescribed Welbutrin for gallstone problems. Six days later, after suffering many adverse effects of the drug, she shot herself.

Billy Willkomm, an accomplished wrestler and a University of Florida student, was prescribed Prozac at the age of 17. His family found him dead of suicide – hanging from a tall ladder at the family’s Gulf Shore Boulevard home in July 2002.

Kara Jaye Anne Fuller-Otter, age 12, was on Paxil when she hung herself from a hook in her closet.

Kara’s parents said “…. the damn doctor wouldn’t take her off it and I asked him to when we went in on the second visit. I told him I thought she was having some sort of reaction to Paxil…”)

Gareth Christian, Vancouver, age 18, was on Paxil when he committed suicide in 2002,
(Gareth’s father could not accept his son’s death and killed himself.)

Julie Woodward, age 17, was on Zoloft when she hung herself in her family’s detached garage.

Matthew Miller was 13 when he saw a psychiatrist because he was having difficulty at school. The psychiatrist gave him samples of Zoloft. Seven days later his mother found him dead, hanging by a belt from a laundry hook in his closet.

Kurt Danysh, age 18, and on Prozac, killed his father with a shotgun. He is now behind prison bars, and writes letters, trying to warn the world that SSRI drugs can kill.

Woody ____, age 37, committed suicide while in his 5th week of taking Zoloft. Shortly before his death his physician suggested doubling the dose of the drug. He had seen his physician only for insomnia. He had never been depressed, nor did he have any history of any mental illness symptoms.

A boy from Houston, age 10, shot and killed his father after his Prozac dosage was increased.

Hammad Memon, age 15, shot and killed a fellow middle school student. He had been diagnosed with ADHD and depression and was taking Zoloft and “other drugs for the conditions.”

Matti Saari, a 22-year-old culinary student, shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine.

Steven Kazmierczak, age 27, shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amounts of Xanax in his system.

Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen, age 18, had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School – then he committed suicide.

Asa Coon from Cleveland, age 14, shot and wounded four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon was on Trazodone.

Jon Romano, age 16, on medication for depression, fired a shotgun at a teacher in his New York high school.

CALL TO ACTION: The only way Americans are going to halt this latest gun-grabber attack on the Bill of Rights is to force the issue of SSRI-caused violence into the public eye. You, yes YOU need to forward all these articles about SSRIs and violence, and the fact that the Connecticut shooter was on these medications, to all your local media, all your family and friends, every public forum you can find, and especially to flood the offices of members of Congress (who already had hearings into this very problem). Right now that fancy software the government bought to fake thousands of online identities is cranked up into rock-and-roll, full-tilt, afterburner overdrive. Unless We The People match them post for post, fact for myth, the gun-grabbers will win through attrition. The first side to quit loses. PLEASE SPREAD ALL THESE STORIES ABOUT SSRI-VIOLENCE, and demand to know if the Dark Knight Shooter and the shooter at the shopping mall in Portkand were also on these drugs.

I borrowed this from whatreallyhappened.com

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Smirks December 19, 2012 at 8:55 am

Good list. There’s plenty of gun control freaks going crazy right now trying to get reactionary legislation put into place that won’t really stop this kind of madness. There’s also people pointing to the wrong things as causes for this kind of stuff, such as violence in movies and video games, or other equally stupid shit.

These people are outside of their minds when they commit atrocities like this. It is clear they have mental health issues, or are taking medication that can drive them to doing something they otherwise might not do. Lots of people get suicidal tendencies on this kind of medication, or sometimes when they go off their medication, too.

Addressing what makes people snap would go a lot further to stopping these kinds of incidents than gun control necessarily would.

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marty December 20, 2012 at 6:54 am

Good points. Psychiatric drugs are handed out like candy but they are very dangerous.

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CUvinny December 20, 2012 at 10:54 am

Well considering it is easier to get a gun then it is to get mental health care in this country with the killing of state run mental health facilities (bull st) and one of the worse general healthcare systems in the world…

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9" December 19, 2012 at 9:37 am

How long did it take him to slaughter 20 kids?

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9" December 19, 2012 at 9:44 am

And,dirtbogger. Aspartame is as dangerous as any of the drugs you mentioned.Were any of those people Diet Pepsi drinkers?

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dirtbogger December 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm

……………..strawman

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9" December 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm

No,dirtbogger.I know where this disinformation comes from:the cult-religion of Scientology.There’s not much point in arguing w/tabloid journalism.Big Pharma is a huge problem,but not in this case..

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dirtbogger December 19, 2012 at 4:07 pm

and more strawman, you really have nothing….lol

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tomstickler December 19, 2012 at 9:15 pm

You can argue forever about the 2d Amendment, but Article 1, Section 8 — the Commerce Clause — is quite clear that Congress has the right to regulate interstate commerce.

The right to “keep and bear arms” may be protected by the 2d Amendment, but it does not grant the right to “buy and sell” without regulation.

Thus, if anyone in Washington DC did not have their pecker in Wayne LaPierre’s pocket, they could introduce and pass legislation limiting the types of weapons that could be sold, etc.

(Gratuitous LBJ reference, gratis)

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Original Good Old Boy December 20, 2012 at 12:00 pm

The Bill of Rights trumps any legislation passed under the commerce clause (at least it’s supposed to). So while Congress, for example, could enact a law stating that nobody may disparage commercial goods because this affects interestate commerce, such a law would be rightfully invalidated by a court on the basis that it violates the 1st amendment.

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marty December 20, 2012 at 6:52 am

Know and understand the Dick Act of 1903.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militia_Act_of_1903

No elected official can practice ” gun control” without breaking the law. That is like the law really matters.

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? December 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm

See OGOB’s response in regards to the Bill of Rights, it is correct in terms of the “law”.

(not that I think a document gives us our “rights”, but that’s a seperate issue)

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Stephan December 20, 2012 at 10:17 am

““No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law….” – tell that to the twenty families in Newtown that are burying their kids. Then explain to them why the second amendment apparently is far more important than the one listed above.

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Original Good Old Boy December 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm

False dichotomy. The Bill of Rights prevents GOVERNMENT from depriving you of life and liberty without due process. But the school kids were deprived of life, not by the government, but by the shooter, a private citizen.

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? December 20, 2012 at 12:07 pm

You don’t seem to understand that criminals don’t follow or care for the law. (let alone our own politicians)

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Stephan December 20, 2012 at 1:43 pm

You can’t say “oh too bad for them” and then wrap yourself in the 2nd Amendment and cry Bill of Rights. Otherwise, just start selling hand grenades at South of Border so everyone can get them.

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dirtbogger December 21, 2012 at 10:33 am

The gun-grabbers like to portray guns as the cause of violence, but that is like saying pencils are the cause of bad spelling. Lurking in the shadows is the real monster; prescription anti-depressants.

Don;t take my word for it, web search “SSRI violence”, “SSRI suicide”, and “SSRI murder.”

Adam Lanza, the shooter in Connecticut, was on Fanapt, an anti-psychotic medication whose manufacturer admits “frequently” results in increased aggression, panic, and impulse control disorder. In other words, the drug actualy made his mental condition far worse and more prone to violence.

Eric Harris, one of the Columbine shooters, was taking Zoloft and Luvox. The medical records of his co-shooter, Klebold, have not been made public. The same is true of the Dark Knight shooter, although we know he was under treatment for psychological problems.

At least 90% of the perpetrators of mass shootings are on some type of medication, usually SSRIs, which have a well documented history of triggering extreme violence. Over at ssristories.com, there is a list of 66 school violence episodes linked to SSRIs. Yet doctors, urged on by pharmaceutical corporations, prescribe them to slightly over 10% of the public, mostly young people diagnosed with ADHD and depression. It is estimated 30% of those patients do not need medication and are made worse by it. SSRIs are handed out like candy to soldiers in the wars, and may go a long way towards explaining the epidemic of military suicides now exceeding losses from enemy action.

Congress held hearings on SSRI induced violence but chose to do nothing lest they risk losing campaign donations from pharmaceutical corporations. Likewise, corporate media won’t report this story out of fear they will lose those lucrative pharmaceutical ad deals.

It is up to Americans to educate each other that the cause of these inexplicable outburst of violence are dangerous psychotropic drugs reckless prescribed solely because they are hugely profitable. And when guns are not available, SSRI patients can and have resorted to knives, baseball bats, sledgehammers, cars, and whatever else they can find.

Guns are not the problem. Bad medications are.

Spread the word.

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9" December 21, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Where’d you get that one? Ammo Land.Shooting Sports News?

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marty December 22, 2012 at 6:03 am

Compare Oz and Switzerland please then get back to me.

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9" December 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm

ShitFits couldn’t handle that link,obviously…

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Jan December 26, 2012 at 11:17 am

How many of you guys supported the SC Voter ID law making it more difficult for people to exercise their right to vote? That is the thing about you T-Partiers; you want to restrict every-one’s constitutional rights except your own.

You are willing to regulate and restrict the most fundamental constitutional right of every American, the right to vote; just because the Republican Party holds the belief there must be material voter fraud when they lose. I.E. you approve of suppressing the vote of non-Republicans. But a nut with legal access to an assault weapon walks into a school and blows away a bunch of innocent children, and your answer is don’t mess with my constitutional rights. I did nothing wrong. Not one new regulation on gun ownership.

Well you chose to restrict my constitutional right to vote even though I have done noting wrong. You could not keep your hands off my constitutional rights.

I know, I know, its just not the same thing.

Total hypocrites!

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