Testimony at the Aurora movie shooter trial confirms the shooter was crazy:
CENTENNIAL, Colo. — If all had gone according to James E. Holmes’s plan, someone would have tripped the labyrinthine nest of explosives he had woven around his apartment, luring the police from the Aurora movie theater where he is accused of opening fire last July, an F.B.I. agent testified Tuesday.
During a second day of testimony in a preliminary hearing for Mr. Holmes, who is accused of killing 12 people and wounding more than 50, Special Agent Garrett Gumbinner recounted how Mr. Holmes, a former neuroscience student, detailed to investigators his meticulous plot to blow up his apartment as a diversion.
That is devious (and follows the playbook established by the Norway killer) - blow up the apartment, draw police and fireman there, then attack the theatre.
But only Rube Goldberg could have come up with this ploy for triggering the explosives in Holmes' apartment:
According to testimony on Tuesday, Mr. Holmes told the police he had timed his computer to blare music, hoping to draw someone inside his home, thereby detonating the explosives.
A second triggering device was set up near a trash bin outside his apartment, Mr. Holmes reportedly told the police. As Agent Gumbinner described it, Mr. Holmes explained that he had placed the device in a garbage bag, along with a boom box and a remote-control car.
His plan was for a CD from the boom box to blast music, attracting a passer-by, who would then fidget with the remote-control car and inadvertently set off the triggering mechanism, Agent Gumbinner said.
I haven't given this two minutes thought but I have no doubt that a person as crafty and motivated as this psycho could have devised a more direct triggering mechanism. Just offhand, Matt Damon (as Jason Bourne) used an oscillating fan to distract his pursuers - why not put one one a remote timer and blow debris around the room to set off the motion detector?
Or put something flammable in the microwave and heat it up (on a timer). Just be careful!
On a related note, this very interesting WND article (linked yesterday by Drudge) left me wondering whether it was written by (a) a right-wing gun nut; (b) a left-wing anti Big Pharma nut; or (c) a shrewd observer of the American scene. His gist - although the media is happy to blather on about guns and mass shootings, they go silent on the link between psychiatric medication and mass violence. And why might that be?
Some critics suggest these official omissions are motivated by a desire to protect the drug companies from ruinous product liability claims. Indeed, pharmaceutical manufacturers are nervous about lawsuits over the “rare adverse effects” of their mood-altering medications. To avoid costly settlements and public relations catastrophes – such as when GlaxoSmithKline was ordered to pay $6.4 million to the family of 60-year-old Donald Schnell who murdered his wife, daughter and granddaughter in a fit of rage shortly after starting on Paxil – drug companies’ legal teams have quietly and skillfully settled hundreds of cases out-of-court, shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars to plaintiffs. Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly fought scores of legal claims against Prozac in this way, settling for cash before the complaint could go to court while stipulating that the settlement remain secret – and then claiming it had never lost a Prozac lawsuit.
All of which is, once again, to respectfully but urgently ask the question: When on earth are we going to find out if the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook school massacre, like so many other mass shooters, had been taking psychiatric drugs?
I can't object to Big Pharma conspiracy theories. But a simpler explanation as to why the mainstream media is all guns all the time on this topic is that here in Prozac Nation, big-city reporters know plenty of people on anti-depressants and very few people with guns. In their world, a person with a gun is an outlier, and maybe a bit off; a person on Prozac is normal. Now, that doesn't exactly logically cohere to a tired right-wing mind like mind, but I have never claimed sufficient intelligence and intellectual flexibility to be a liberal.
As to the link between psychiatric drugs and mass violence, here is another link on that topic. Thay have all sorts of links regarding warning labels on medications and other examples of medicated shooters, but... the publisher is a Scientology front group, so their 'facts', even if accurate, are chosen selectively. Distrust but verify. We await the alliance of the NRA with the Church of Scientology in a pushback against gun control. Tom Cruise and Wayne LaPierre, and does it get any better?
Folks interested in swimming back to the mainstream can look to this Psychology Today article:
There has been an enduring controversy over whether psychiatric medications can trigger violent actions toward others. A review of the FDA's Adverse Event Reporting System by Thomas Moore, Joseph Glenmullen and Curt Furberg, which was published by PLoS One on December 15, found that such "adverse events" are indeed associated with antidepressants and several other types of psychotropic medications.
In light of this finding, the many past shootings at school campuses and other public venues should perhaps be investigated anew by government officials, with an eye toward ascertaining whether psychotropic use may have, in the manner of an adverse event, triggered that violence.
Moore and his collaborators concluded: "These data provide new evidence that acts of violence towards others are a genuine and serious adverse drug event that is associated with a relatively small group of drugs. Varenicline, which increases the availability of dopamine, and serotonin reuptake inhibitors were the most strongly and consistently implicated drugs."
I would note that, like alcohol, automobiles and guns, psychotropic drugs can bring enhancement to many and occasional tragedy to some. An obvious difference is that the dangers of alcohol, autos and guns are widely understood.
ANOTHER DOCTOR HEARD FROM: The Huffington Post offers an article by Dr. Peter Breggin describing his book "Medication Madness, the Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime". Let's flip to the Amazon synopsis:
In Medication Madness, psychiatrist Peter R. Breggin, M.D., describes how people taking psychiatric medication can experience abnormal behavioral reactions, including suicide, violence, emotional breakdowns, and criminal acts. Dr. Breggin explains his concept of “medication spellbinding”: individuals taking psychiatric drugs may have no idea whatsoever that their mental conditions are deteriorating and that their actions are no longer under control. He proves his argument by documenting dozens of cases from his practice and his consultations in legal cases. Reading like a thriller, the book also examines how the FDA, the pharmaceutical industry, and the medical establishment continue to oversell the value of these drugs, and he provides information on how to safely stop taking psychiatric medications. Medication Madness is a compelling and frightening read as well as a cautionary tale about our reliance on medicine to fix what ails us.
From an old lurker in the comments we also have this journal article from Dr. Breggin terrifying us about the perils of Prozac. I will say this - if Congress really feels an urge to Do Something following the Newtown shooting, banning high capacity magazines will be an ineffective headline grabber. Congressional hearings delving into these pscychotropic drugs might actually be useful. But I say that not having checked the role of Big Pharma in contributing to campaigns.