I’m sure you heard the news. Another mass shooting. Another at a military base, no less. Another at Fort Hood, specifically.
Ivan Lopez opened fire, killed three people and injured 16 before committing suicide.
Of course, the usual suspects don’t even wait for the bodies to be recovered before they start clamoring for gun control. The shooting spree ended when a woman with a gun stood up to the assailant, but that fact conveniently evades these exploitative clowns.
The rest of us continue to grapple with the age old problem of how best to confront the basic and unavoidable reality that evil people will do evil things, while these imbecilic loudmouths cowardly glaze over the complexities of the issue, in favor of infusing moral significance into an inanimate object — an inanimate object that is quite often the only thing that will stop those evil people once they’ve begun to carry out that evil thing.
Same old story. We’ve had this debate a thousand times. Tragically, we’ll have it a thousand more times.
And, because I often take it upon myself to argue with fools, I can’t help but jump into the fray here.
In light of this shooting, and every other, and even regardless of any particular incident, we all need to consider the following two points:
1) ‘Gun control’ could only hypothetically stop violence if we could figure out a way to eradicate all guns everywhere from everyone, and get rid of other forms of weaponry, and abolish the malice in the hearts of men, and effectively outlaw hate, anger, greed and mental disorders, and require all people to be peaceful, kind and trustworthy. We merely have to make all of humanity family friendly, non-violent, and G-rated.
Then again, some skeptics might raise a couple of objections to this proposal: namely, it sounds expensive. Also, it’s insane.
What we are then left contemplating is how to best equip and protect ourselves from the reality of evil, of which gun violence is only but a symptom. In fact, while we have that conversation, we should also discuss the possibility of at least, to begin with, equipping our military.
Fort Hood, in compliance with DoD regulations, does not allow most of its military personnel to carry weapons on base.
Now, I love this country, I really do. But we’ve got a brand of stupid in this nation that’s hard to find anywhere else on Earth, let alone the galaxy. Back in the Roman days, soldiers were required to be armed at all times, under penalty of death. Yet here we confiscate their personal firearms and tell them to keep their military issued weapons locked away, which leads directly to these sorts of situations.
We trust these people to fight wars, operate battleships, fly jets, drop bombs, use drones, go on Special Forces missions, but we don’t think they’re competent or psychologically stable enough to carry a weapon to work without accidentally shooting each other?
In my innocence, prior to the (first) Fort Hood rampage, I sort of assumed that the military members on a military base would be perpetually locked and loaded every day — because, you know, it’s a military base. It’s a target. It’s a place where everyone ought to be prepared for the worst, because that’s why it exists. It’s a military base. These are trained and disciplined men and women. These people are in the military. Their weapons are tools of their trade. It’s a military base, for God’s sake.
Back when I didn’t know any better, I had an adorably naive confidence that, say, a trained Marine Corps sniper, who assassinates high valued targets from a distance of 800 meters for a living, might be allowed to keep a holstered firearm on his person when he enters an American military installation. But I was wrong.
A military base in the United States should be the last place on the planet where anyone could hope to successfully carry out a mass killing. But here we are. Again.
The feds tell us we are in a permanent state of war, so why is our military in a permanent state of disarmament?
2) Guns are only part of this story — and not the most important part. At some point, as uncomfortable as it may be, we need to seriously talk about psychiatric drugs.
This guy was reportedly on a ‘cocktail’ of drugs, including antidepressants and Ambien.
Please understand, when I say we need to ‘talk about psychiatric drugs,’ I don’t mean it in the same way that many people mean it. They want to talk about strategies to best ensure that we are shoving these pills down as many throats as possible. I, on the other hand, want to guide the conversation in the opposite direction.
The FDA has attached words and phrases like hostility, impulsivity, panic attacks, agitation, homicidal ideation, mania, violent behavior, and psychotic episodes to the list of side effects for numerous psychiatric medications.
Indeed, a thorough review of FDA data confirmed that there is an association between psychotropic pills and these kinds of “adverse events.”
It’s particularly notable that the shooter was evidently taking Ambien, seeing as how Ambien has been especially linked to “violent outbursts.” It’s even been successfully used as a defense in murder trials.
I will admit: I am probably more concerned about side effects than I need to be. My wife will tell you that I’m reluctant to even take Tylenol because I’ve read the warning label on the bottle. But I have to believe that I’m not being paranoid when I question the wisdom of wantonly prescribing substances that could, and have been known to, cause homicidal thoughts and hostile behavior.
It’s one thing for a medication to manifest physical side effects. These, however, are “side effects” that invade your very mind and capture your thoughts. They warp your perceptions and cloud your soul. I don’t even understand how a drug could mess with your conscience in that way, and nobody does. No matter what anyone says, there isn’t a human being on the planet who really, fully understands how our minds can be twisted and controlled by an artificial substance. This is outside the bounds of psychiatry and neuroscience. We’ve ventured into something metaphysical and spiritual.
This is serious business, in other words. I’m not saying that nobody should ever take a psychiatric drug, but I am saying that we should tread in those waters with great caution and discipline. Yet, one in five American adults takes psychotropic meds. Is that caution and discipline? No, that’s a godforsaken smorgasbord.
I’m also saying that mass shooters are frequently on this stuff. How can we so quickly dismiss the potential role that a drug plays in a violent episode, when the drug is known to cause violent episodes?
It doesn’t make any sense.
Well, it does make sense, I guess.
I already solved the mystery of our silence: one in five of us are taking psychiatric drugs. Millions of us have our kids on these medications. Hence, we take the conversation as a personal affront against ourselves and our children, and so we change the subject and stick our heads back into the pill-bottle-littered sand.
Nothing gets better because we’re afraid to honestly inspect the problem.
It’s time to stop the madness.