While there is no excuse for 20-year-old Adam Lanza's horrific actions yesterday in Connecticut, Americans should consider the sort of subliminal message that U.S. foreign policy and behavior towards people in other nations implant in the consciousness of American society.
Violence begets violence. Peace begets peace.
Political changes overlap with social changes. There is one glaring commonality with at least 14 of the school shooters since 1999. All of them were undergoing treatment for psychological disorders and were taking psychotropic medication.
Adam Lanza was said to have had a "personality disorder" and was undergoing treatment, which usually involves medication. The Columbine shooters were known to be on anti-depressants. Cho Seung Hui, the Virginia Tech murderer, was taking anti-depressants. James Holmes, The Aurora, CO movie theatre shooter was also undergoing treatment and taking prescribed medication, in addition to being affiliated with mind control research that his father pioneered with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA).
Virtually all massacre perpetrators are known to have been taking a psychiatric medication, usually an anti-depressant, including:
- Jared Lee Loughner, the Arizona shooter
- Kip Kinkel
- Ted Kaczinski the "Unabomber"
- Michael McDermott
- John Hinckley, Jr.
- Byran Uyesugi
- Mark David Chapman
- Charles Carl Roberts IV, the Amish school killer
Perhaps some societal changes regarding health care and treatment for mentally ill patients before they get their hands on a gun and pull the trigger are another possible solution.
Many psychiatrists and psychologists in America are too quick to hustle patients in and out of their offices with a prescription in hand because health care is a profit-driven industry. The pharmaceutical companies want it that way and therapists make more money on quantity, not quality of treatment. Real behavioral modification or the time-consuming process of working with a patient through psychotherapy or group therapy has given way to handing out pills to patients like they are Skittles.
Some social changes in terms of the health care system may be in order. Perhaps Medicaid should be expanded to cover everyone with psychological issues. Of course, that entails more government spending, but most would agree that would have been worth preventing the deaths of those 20 children.
A single payer system that cuts out the profit-driven middlemen and gives therapists an incentive to spend more time with their patients, as well as a way of controlling the profits that drug companies reap, may be a part of the solution to keeping the fingers of potential homicidal maniacs off of triggers.
The correlation between a bad economy and an increase in crime is debatable, with many studies showing that crime does not necessarily increase during tough economic times. The caveat in many studies, however, is that while violence and crime does not increase in the short term, there is little data available to examine that in the case of a prolonged recession.
Mark A.R. Kleiman, a professor of public policy at the UCLA School of Public Affairs, told the Las Vegas Sun that while "there's simply no correlation between crime rates and economic indicators such as unemployment"there is a correlation between crime and sustained poverty."
Most of the perpetrators in the wave of mass shootings this year were young and several, including Holmes and Lanza, were described as being highly intelligent. While these are not economically motivated crimes like burglary or robbery, it is quite possible that Americans are starting to see the effects of an economy that gives many young people little hope to improve their lives or attain the same socioeconomic status of their parents despite having the attributes to do so.
The way to move up the economic ladder for young people used to be to earn a college degree. With tuition skyrocketing, student loan debts reaching crisis levels and 53 percent of recent college graduates jobless or underemployed, that is no longer the case. It does not make sense for young people to accrue tens of thousands of dollars of debt and then be forced to work for a wage they could have attained without going to college.
Another long term economic factor to consider is that many cities such as Detroit, Newark, and several in California have been forced to cut law enforcement budgets. If the economy does not improve, many more will follow.