I didn’t plan on blogging about the Las Vegas shooting. I felt just as bad about it as I did when 9/11 happened. As a matter of fact because of my depression I haven’t been able to blog about two school shootings that took place recently. Then I saw something claimed about the shooter, Stephen Paddock, that made my blood boil and I couldn’t remain silent on this.
Some online political rag, who I won’t link to because they don’t deserve the traffic, used the headline of “Stephen Paddock: Another Mass Shooter on Psychiatric Meds”. The rag linked to another article from the Las Vegas Journal Review, which in my opinion was very irresponsibly written. Basically both articles insinuate that since Paddock was prescribed Valium it led to the shooting. The article claims one of Valium’s side-effects is ‘aggressive behavior’. According to the Mayo Clinic, the side-effect should be more properly referred to as ‘outbursts of anger’ and it’s not that common.
Paddock was believed to have taken the drug at prescribed intervals and didn’t abuse the drug. So you’re going to tell me this so-called aggressive behavior caused by Valium, or diazepam if you will, resulted in Paddock inspecting three different possible locations for his rampage, amassing a stockpile of weapons over a number of years and meticulously planning his crime to include cameras outside of his hotel room? I don’t buy it. Not only that, but it’s bad journalism.
The Las Vegas Review shouldn’t even be trusted as a news source since it was taken over by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Adelson is rumored to have bought the paper so it would no longer criticize his business practices. Adelson was also a large donor to the Trump campaign so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Adelson, through the paper, is trying to turn the debate away from gun control to prescription drugs.
There are a group of people who are so opposed to antidepressants or any medicine used for the treatment of mental healthcare, they almost always attach it to whatever mass shooting may have just occurred. To my recollection this has been going on since at least Columbine, when it was made a big deal that one of the shooters was prescribed Luvox for depression. Never mind that the other shooter was on no such meds. That’s not even mentioning that these people will blame the drug if the shooter was either on or off of the drug they were prescribed.
The worst part is these people are further stigmatizing mental healthcare, something that doesn’t need any further stigmatization in this country. Not everyone on Valium is a potential mass murderer, they’re more likely trying to stave off a crippling anxiety attack. Furthermore, people on antidepressants are more than likely just trying to function normally in society and not plotting the mass execution of dozens.