I want to make a few points.
Once law enforcement has satisfied itself that James Holmes acted alone, the case will be pushed along to a disposition: a confession or a trial or a plea. And with minimal fuss, the media will fall into line.
However, independent journalists like Alex and Mike will continue to look at the situation from many sides, because there are unanswered questions, contradictions, and political consequences. Front and center is the question: was the Denver attack in some way staged?
They will get flack for their continuing investigation. As usual, they will be called conspiracy theorists. Mainstream media professionals will express impatience and outrage.
However, realize there is no government agency whose ordinary function is to stand back and look at standard law-enforcement work.
The general public has been conditioned to expect nothing more than an arrest, a trial or a confession, and a verdict. When more is brought to the table by Web journalists or private citizens who aren’t satisfied with the law-enforcement work in the case, it is automatically looked upon as weird, unnecessary, and disruptive.
Particularly when the crime is horrific enough to jump the fence and attract 24/7 coverage for days on end, there is a schedule of events that runs by the book: interviews with the victims’ families, witnesses, and acquaintances of the accused; vigils; funerals; memorials; calls for healing; statements from politicians recommending new gun-control legislation; journalistic “heavyweights” assessing “what it all really means.”
This schedule runs. Outsiders who want people to stop, back up, and listen to unresolved questions about the crime and the case are viewed as rank intruders on the ceremonial march of the Ritual.
Cops and district attorneys don’t do Odd. They don’t consider nagging doubts. They don’t work issues that stand beyond their basic evidence and their confirmed perpetrator. No one in government does. (Although government agents are known to rig, obscure, twist, pervert, and invent cases to suit their designs.)
Who then should examine cases from a wider and more free-ranging perspective? Essentially, the rest of us. You can, for instance, find several brilliant private investigations of the Oklahoma City Bombing: a citizen-group effort led by Representative Charles Key; a 17-year deep probe by Patrick Briley that calls into question covert US foreign policy in the Middle East; a documentary overview by the producers of A Noble Lie; the book, Oklahoma City: Day One, by Michele Marie Moore, an extraordinary accomplishment—beyond what most journalists would dare to attempt.
In my experience, when informal “citizen grand juries” are voluntarily assembled to investigate a crime, they shed crucial light on areas where law-enforcement agents refuse to tread.
So when viewed from a proper perspective, it’s a very good and natural thing that citizens and Web journalists ransack every possibility to solve and resolve a case. Who in his right mind would want to rely on bodies like the Warren Commission and the 9/11 Commission?
I call your attention, as others already have, to the potential psychiatric drug angle in the Batman murders. My white paper, published after the 1999 Columbine killings, “Why Did They Do It,” makes the point that when the psychiatric establishment seeds the society with drugs known to cause violence, like the SSRI antidepressants (e.g., Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox), and ADHD drugs (Ritalin, Adderall), it is setting the stage for murders that come out of nowhere.
That these murders would occur is to be expected. Eric Harris, one of the two boys who committed mass murder at Columbine, had been taking Luvox. The manufacturer, Solvay, removed the drug from the market in 2002. However, by 2007, it was back.
Here is an excerpt from my white paper, Why Did They Do It?
Dr. Peter Breggin, the eminent psychiatrist and author (Toxic Psychiatry, Talking Back to Prozac, Talking Back to Ritalin), told me, “With Luvox there is some evidence of a four-percent rate for mania in adolescents. Mania, for certain individuals, could be a component in grandiose plans to destroy large numbers of other people. Mania can go over the hill to psychosis.”
Dr. Joseph Tarantolo is a psychiatrist in private practice in Washington DC. He is the president of the Washington chapter of the American Society of Psychoanalytic Physicians. Tarantolo states that “all the SSRIs [including Prozac and Luvox] relieve the patient of feeling. He becomes less empathic, as in `I don’t care as much,’ which means `It’s easier for me to harm you.’ If a doctor treats someone who needs a great deal of strength just to think straight, and gives him one of these drugs, that could push him over the edge into violent behavior.”
In Arianna Huffington’s syndicated newspaper column of July 9, 1998, Dr. Breggin states, “I have no doubt that Prozac can cause or contribute to violence and suicide. I’ve seen many cases. In a recent clinical trial, 6 percent of the children became psychotic on Prozac. And manic psychosis can lead to violence.”
Huffington follows up on this: “In addition to the case of Kip Kinkel, who had been a user of Prozac [Kinkel was the shooter in the May 21, 1998, Springfield, Oregon, school massacre], there are much less publicized instances where teenagers on Prozac or similar antidepressants have exploded into murderous rages: teenagers like Julie Marie Meade from Maryland who was shot to death by the police when they found her waving a gun at them. Or Ben Garris, a 16-year old in Baltimore who stabbed his counselor to death. Or Kristina Fetters, a 14-year old from Des Moines, Iowa, who stabbed her favorite great aunt in a rage that landed her a life sentence.”
Dr. Tarantolo has written about Julie Marie Meade. In a column for the ICSPP (International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology) News, “Children and Prozac: First Do No Harm,” Tarantolo describes how Julie Meade, in November of 1996, called 911, “begging the cops to come and shoot her. And if they didn’t do it quickly, she would do it to herself. There was also the threat that she would shoot them as well.”
The police came within a few minutes, “5 of them to be exact, pumping at least 10 bullets into her head and torso.”
Tarantolo remarks that a friend of Julie said Julie “had plans to make the honor roll and go to college. He [the friend] had also observed her taking all those pills.” What pills? Tarantolo called the Baltimore medical examiner, and spoke with Dr. Martin Bullock, who was on a fellowship at that office. Bullock said, “She had been taking Prozac for four years.”
Tarantolo asked Bullock, “Did you know that Prozac has been implicated in impulsive de novo violence and suicidalness?” Bullock said he was not aware of this.
Put the drugs out into society; expect killings.
I’ve observed that, in the years since the Columbine massacre, the press is paying less attention to psychiatric-drug link when bizarre murders occur. This is an important fact. We need to break it down.
First, cops and DAs don’t want to get involved, for reasons stated above. They also don’t want to tangle with psychiatrists, whom they use as expert (friendly) witnesses in prosecuting cases. How would it look if a city attorney, who had been relentlessly making connections between murders and psychiatric drugs, called on a shrink to testify for the prosecution on a wholly unrelated matter? The shrink would view this city attorney as a decidedly unfriendly foe who’d been trashing his profession. In fact, you can assume that such a DA would have already run into trouble from the American Psychiatric Association.
The press frequently uses psychiatrists as sources for stories and doesn’t want to endanger that connection. Of course, the press practically runs on pharmaceutical advertising, and has no intention of biting the hand that feeds it. In other words, the press is biased away from making the murder-drug link.
The drug companies themselves have a huge stake in stories like the Batman murders. They want a blanket thrown over whatever drug connection may exist. And they have resources to make that happen.
We come to the courts. How is it we haven’t seen more law suits leveled at drug companies who make these killer medicines?
|Actually, there have been cases. The following summaries of court cases are offered by David Healy. Healy is a British psycho-pharmacologist and the author of the definitive work on the history of antidepressants. He is also the author of Let Them Eat Prozac.
Fentress et al v Shea Communications et al
Forsyth v Eli Lilly and Company
Tobin v SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals
The most important of these court cases illuminates reasons why there haven’t been more suits brought against drug manufacturers. It is the astonishing Fentress trial. I have a full summary in my white paper.
Essentially, the family of a murdered victim sued Eli Lilly, the maker of Prozac. The killer had been on Prozac. A number of similar cases against Lilly were waiting in the wings. If Lilly could escape a costly judgment and win exoneration, the other cases would go away.
At some point during the Fentress trial, the judge suspected a secret deal had been made. He asked the lawyer for the murdered victim’s family whether he had accepted money to put on a weak case and let Lilly win. (Lilly was, in fact, exonerated.) The judge became convinced that a quid pro quo had taken place. The lawyer had obtained a huge cash “settlement” from Lilly (part of which was paid to his clients) and THEN he put on such a weak attack that Lilly was guaranteed a victory, thus closing the books on those other lawsuits against Lilly waiting in the wings.
The judge kicked the case up to the Kentucky Supreme Court, where a wrangle ensued. The Court sent the case back down the line for further adjudication. The whole mess sat and stewed, and was finally allowed to remain a victory for Lilly.
Will we see a real probe of James Holmes’ medical/psychiatric history in the Batman murders. I wouldn’t hold your breath.
The author of an explosive new collection, THE MATRIX REVEALED, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world.