The Real Causes of Mass Shootings


Article #383

by Bill Nugent

Mass shootings are a major issue in our time. The church must always deal with the important, urgent issues of her time. Most observers agree to the obvious fact that mental illness is involved in virtually all the mass shootings.

Many observers have noticed that mentally ill people who killed other people have been on certain psychotropic drugs, particularly the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). The pharmaceutical companies deny any connection between the shootings and SSRIs. More on that later.

Prozac was the first SSRI. It was introduced in the United States in the mid 1980s. It was not offered initially as a cure for mental depression. Instead it was marketed largely as a “mood lifter.” Prozac raises the level of serotonin in the brain.

There are many SSRIs including, Lexipro, Luvox, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloff and several others.

Serotonin is a valuable and necessary neurotransmitter. There are more than 50 neurotransmitters including dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), endorphins, adrenaline, noradrenaline, glutamate, acetylcholine and dozens of others.

Is Serotonin the “Feel Good” neurotransmitter?

It’s often claimed that serotonin primarily affects mood and it’s the “feel-good” neurotransmitter. It was assumed that if you raise levels of serotonin you brighten a person’s mood. However, it’s not quite that simple. Many studies have been conducted that undermine the claim that serotonin is a feel-good neurotransmitter.

GABA, which has a calming effect, is more likely to be a mood lifter. You can raise GABA levels by supplementation with natural products. No big pharma profits can be made with natural products.

In 1989 Joseph Wesbecker went on a shooting spree and killed eight people and wounded to 12 others. This was one month after Wesbecker started on Prozac. The survivors sued Eli Lilly, the maker of Prozac. Eli Lilly settled out of court to compensate the families of the victims.

In 2001, Andrea Yates drowned all five of her children in a bathtub. She was on Effexor. Effexor is an SNRI which works slightly differently than an SSRI. Effexor is manufactured by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Four years after the Andrea Yates tragedy, Wyeth included the term “homicidal ideation” as a listed side effect of Effexor. That same year over 19 million Effexor prescriptions were filled in the United States and revenue was over 3 billion dollars.

In 2007, Seung-Hui Cho was on Prozac when he shot 32 people dead and wounded 17 at a university in Virginia.

There are many other mass killings carried out by depressed people on SSRIs and other psychotropic drugs in recent years.

The Shootings Have Multiple Causes

Many mainstream doctors, psychiatrists and pharmaceutical company executives strongly resist the contention that SSRIs cause violence. If you do a search on the internet you’ll find many pro-drug websites and news articles downplaying the connection between SSRIs and violence.

They make the claim that the underlying mental illness is the real cause of the violence and the fact that the mental illness is being treated by SSRIs does not mean the SSRIs caused the patient to become violent.

However this claim by the pharmaceutical companies, in their corporate talking-points, is easily debunked. Actions speak louder than words. The pharmaceutical companies themselves, have put a long list of side effects on the labels of their products. They are legally compelled to do this because of the many undeniable side effects of their products revealed in safety studies and patient experiences.

The pharmaceutical companies have put  agitationhostile, mania, thoughts about suicide, aggressive, panic attacks” and many other side effects of SSRIs right there on the label for all the world to see. This essentially means that the drug companies tacitly admit that their products can, in some cases, cause patients to become aggressive, suicidal or violent.

When it comes to violence, the most common is suicide, especially among young people. The killing of others, especially a large number of others, certainly makes the headlines. To be fair, these are rare instances of mass murder.

However, when you consider that there are literally hundreds of millions of prescriptions written for SSRIs in the United States and in countries overseas, I think you can understand that even rare instances would mean thousands of people commit suicide or murder as a result of psychosis enhanced by SSRIs.

Don’t Tinker With the Brain!

When I was a young man I tried to save money by doing mechanical work on my car. I would lift the hood and tinker with the engine and ignition system, etc. Very often I would snap a bolt or break a wire. I’d have to limp my car over to my mechanic. He would just shake his head and say “Bill, you know just enough about cars to get you in trouble!”

I see a parallel with my experience with my car to the way pharmaceutical researchers tinker with the human brain. They know just enough to get themselves, and all of us, in trouble. They throw chemicals into a drug capsule which causes serotonin to rise in the brain. Never mind that this could cause an imbalance of neurotransmitters. What about the level of dopamine? What about other neurotransmitters? Imbalance of neurotransmitters can throw the brain into chaos.

Many foods contain serotonin, It’s ok to eat small amounts of serotonin. However, SSRIs are complex molecules that interfere with brain chemistry to raise serotonin in a dramatic, unnatural way.

Blame the Guns?

The knee-jerk reaction of many pharmaceutical executives and psychiatrists is to blame the violence on the prevalence of guns in America. However this claim that the freedom to keep and bear arms is causing mass shootings is also easily debunked.

As mentioned above, the first SSRI was introduced in the mid-1980s. If you look back before that time, instances of people shooting up schools, restaurants and shopping malls was almost unheard of.

In the 1940s 50s 60s and ’70s, gun laws were much more relaxed than they are today. As late as the 1960s you could walk freely through New York City carrying a long rifle and even travel on the subways in New York City with a long rifle or shotgun. One of my cousins has told me of how he traveled in New York City with his long rifle, on his way to a shooting range.

Not only did we see mass shootings start to rise in the 1980s and ’90s, but the shootings have become much more prevalent since then.

SSRIs are stimulant drugs that act like cocaine or methamphetamine. SSRIs are extremely addictive and people have terrible withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop taking them.

Studies are Revealing the Dangers of SSRIs

In my studies of SSRIs I’ve come across several very helpful articles. One of these articles is titled “Why are Antidepressants so Harmful?” by a Midwestern doctor.

The author of the article refers to himself simply as “a Midwestern doctor.” He doesn’t wish to reveal his name because of the rejection and persecution he would likely experience. This article is a scholarly article citing many studies showing the adverse side effects of SSRIs that far outweigh any benefit SSRIs give to depressed patients.

The article discusses evidence that SSRIs cause mania and cause patients to become bipolar. In the 1950s bipolar was rare. Now it’s commonplace. The article cites a survey in which 60% of bipolar patients said they became bipolar after receiving SSRIs for depression.

Here’s another scholarly article that I found helpful. It’s titled “The Scandalous Truth Behind the Antidepressant Trials” also by the Midwestern doctor.

In this article the Midwestern doctor describes how the SSRIs obtained approval by the FDA because the safety trials were not conducted according to proper medical protocol. Adverse reactions to SSRIs were downplayed.

SSRI drug companies have often been sued by patients or the families of dead patients. In the discovery process, the SSRI safety trial documentation must be revealed to the court. These documents often show that the pharmaceutical companies knew about the side effects, even extreme side effects, but these were downplayed or covered up.

Another article I found helpful is titled “A brief History of Psychotropic Drugs Prescribed to Mass Murderers” by Daren Savage. This article and the articles I referred to above were made available to me by Dr Joseph Mercola and they’re available on his website. You can visit his website at

The article by Daren Savage lists numerous mass shootings and names the SSRIs and other psychotropic drugs the perpetrators were on at the time of their mass shootings.

Treatment of Mental Depression

The World Health Organization has stated that mental depression is the world’s leading cause of ill health.

We need to treat and counsel depressed people with reliance on God. We need to pray for their healing. We also need to get them off SSRIs.

I’ve personally battled depression. One thing that’s frequently mentioned as a treatment for depression, in fact what some would say is the best treatment of depression, is exercise. I walk a mile in the early morning just after breakfast. It’s benefited me a great deal and lifted my mood remarkably. It’s also important to eat the right foods and avoid junk food.

God has given us healing herbs. “He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man” (Psalm 104:14).

As for supplementation, many doctors who rely on a more natural approach recommend you supplement with the precursors to neurotransmitters. In other words give the body the fuel it needs to build the right neurotransmitters in the right proportions and in the right balance.

I take B vitamins, and by B vitamins I mean good quality, bioidentical B vitamins. Taking B vitamins has given me great improvement in mood. B Vitamins are used by the body to produce neuro-transmitters.

I take GABA, which is a calming neurotransmitter and acetyl-l-carnitine which increases energy and lifts mood. There’s also Saint John’s Wort and other herbal products which lift mood. God has given us many blessings in nature.

We Must Prepare to Meet God in the Afterlife

Jesus of Nazareth came in fulfillment of hundreds of Old Testament Bible prophecies. No person in all of world history, other than Jesus of Nazareth, fulfills the Bible’s Messianic prophecies. Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah of Israel.

The prophets foretold that Christ would suffer and die for the sins of the people. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

God sent Christ to die for our sins. “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross” (I Peter 2:24 NASB). “To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood” (Revelation 1:5 NASB).

God has great love for all humanity. The prophets foretold that Christ would rise from the dead to offer forgiveness of sins to all who turn to Him in repentance. I invite you to turn to Christ today to receive forgiveness of sins.

Steps to salvation:

Jesus said “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).

  • 1) Believe that God created you and loves you and sent the Messiah (Messiah is Hebrew for Christ) to redeem you.
  • 2) Believe that Jesus Christ came in fulfillment of over 300 Bible prophecies to die for you, to take upon Himself the penalty of your sins (Isaiah 53:5-6, John 6:29, Romans 4:5, First Peter 3:18).
  • 3) Turn from sin and call on the name of Jesus to receive forgiveness of sins (Romans 10:13).
  • 4) Receive Jesus as Savior and experience the new birth (John 1:12, Acts 2:38).
  • 5) Follow Jesus Christ as Lord (John 14:21).

Prayer to receive salvation:

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

To receive the salvation that Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer:

“Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask for your forgiveness on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!

(C) 2016 William P. Nugent, permission granted to email or republish for Christian outreach.

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