Guns, Suicide and Prescription Drugs

Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealleytweeted this about the Las Vegas mass shooting:

And all over Facebook and Twitter I see similar messages from Scientologists:

The implication is clear: psychiatric drugs are causing these outbursts of violence. But is it that clear?

To me I don’t see an inherent link. Compare these two timelines:

  • Stephen Paddock had emotional problems
  • Stephen Paddock had been buying guns since 1982
  • Last year Stephen had a deeper emotional incident or breakdown
  • Stephen Paddock bought 33 guns last year
  • This year Stephen Paddock was prescribed Valium, a mild anti-anxiety pill
  • Stephen Paddock went on a vicious killing spree months later, followed by suicide

vs

  • Stephen Paddock had emotional problems
  • Stephen Paddock had been buying guns since 1982
  • Last year Stephen Paddock had a deeper emotional incident or breakdown
  • Stephen Paddock bought 33 guns last year
  • This year Stephen Paddock was not prescribed Valium, a mild anti-anxiety pill
  • Stephen Paddock went on a vicious killing spree days later, followed by suicide

Does the second one seem magical and impossible? To me it doesn’t. What I see is someone with emotional issues which slowly built up until a horrible explosion. It seems entirely possible that he would have done this even sooner without the drugs.

Now take a look at these two hypothetical timelines:

  • Stephen Paddock had emotional problems
  • Stephen Paddock had been buying guns since 1982
  • Last year Stephen had a deeper emotional incident or breakdown
  • Stephen Paddock bought 33 guns last year
  • This year Stephen Paddock was prescribed a strong anti-psychotic
  • Stephen Paddock felt better and there was no incident

vs

  • Stephen Paddock had emotional problems
  • Stephen Paddock had been buying guns since 1982
  • Last year Stephen had a deeper emotional incident or breakdown
  • Stephen Paddock bought 33 guns last year
  • Stephen Paddock felt better and there was no incident

Here, to me, the second timeline seems less likely. It seems to me that if you’re already having a mental breakdown, we have a higher chance of avoiding a total mental breakdown if we use the science we have available to us to try to slow or stop these effects.

In short, I find no evidence that Stephen Paddock taking Valium contributed to his horrible crimes. On a slightly closer look I suggest to you it seems more likely that the drug he was prescribed wasn’t strong enough.

2 thoughts on “Guns, Suicide and Prescription Drugs

  • October 30, 2017 at 6:22 am
    Permalink

    This is interesting about the Las Vegas shooter. I think it’s good to point out that most people with mental illness are not violent towards others and especially don’t kill people. Those that do are usually not taking their medication and or are not seeking other treatment. Probably somebody breaks the rule every once in a while. The last statement is my thought. The rest has been well researched and experience has shown it.

    Also I was thinking that If a medication was the wrong one for a particular person and it did make them worse or violent. The doctor would take the person off of the med and hospitalization can help if necessary. As we know the mental health profession is not what Scientology makes it out to be.

    I hope I am making sense.

    Reply
    • November 10, 2017 at 8:56 am
      Permalink

      Yes, you are making sense!

      I think it’s even more interesting to point out that statistically, people with mental illness are far more likely to be the victims of violent crime themselves.

      Was Stephen Paddock psychotic? I doubt we’ll ever know for certain, because as noted by Police “We have no credible motivation to report to you”. It suits the Media and society at large to assume that a person is literally “crazy” (i.e. psychotic) rather than an angry psychopath with a nasty grudge against those enjoying themselves at a Music Festival because it makes more “sense” to hope that this was the case. Psychosis is treatable, psychopathy isn’t and it’s an uncomfortable truth that about 1 in every 50 people has an Anti-Social Personality Disorder (ASPD) to some degree. It’s another frightening truth that those with ASPD and a high IQ are far better able to hide the fact from those close to them than those with an actual psychosis. Someone suffering from a florid psychosis would frequently be hard-pressed to find a way to leave their own home on a planned trip, assuming they even owned their own home.

      Either way, nearly 60 people were killed and over a hundred injured because one more individual successfully avoided all Psychiatric intervention and was able to stockpile dozens of semi-automatic weapons and remain cogent enough to carry out a horrible, devastating mass shooting. It certainly wasn’t caused by a single prescription of Diazepam which was supposedly filled in July – if anything, the prescription may have prevented the shooting from happening months earlier if the man ever even took any of it. [He had bought tickets for other Music Festivals over the course of the year, so you could infer that he felt some animosity towards people who have friends and enjoy attending Music Festivals. You could also infer that attending Music Festivals was a guaranteed way to find a large, dense crowd of potential targets. I don’t pretend to know what the man was thinking, I’m just pointing out that he was able to plan months in advance.]

      Reply

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