Since last month’s horrifying and heartbreaking school massacre in Newtown, Conn., politicians and the press have, as everyone knows, been totally obsessed with firearms.
Indeed, President Obama has vowed to impose strong new gun-control measures on the nation – very soon, with or without Congress.
Other possible factors – from violent video games to the “failure of our mental-health system” to the unintended consequences of making schools “gun-free zones” – have taken a back seat to guns. Within hours of the gruesome mega-crime, the media had provided extensive, round-the-clock coverage of precisely which firearms, manufacturers and calibers the perpetrator had used, how he had obtained them from his mother, where they were originally purchased, and so on.
But where, I’d like to ask my colleagues in the media, is the reporting about the psychiatric medications the perpetrator – who had been under treatment for mental-health problems – may have been taking? After all, Mark and Louise Tambascio, family friends of the shooter and his mother, were interviewed on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” during which Louise Tambascio told correspondent Scott Pelley: “I know he was on medication and everything, but she homeschooled him at home cause he couldn’t deal with the school classes sometimes, so she just homeschooled Adam at home. And that was her life.” And here, Tambascio tells ABC News, “I knew he was on medication, but that’s all I know.”
It has been more than three weeks since the shooting. We know all about the guns he used, but what “medication” may he have used? (One brief mini-hoax emerged when the New York Daily News published a story claiming the shooter, according to his uncle, had been on the controversial antipsychotic drug Fanapt. That story was quickly withdrawn after the “uncle” turned out to be a fraudster with no relation to the murderer.)
So, what is the truth? Where is the journalistic curiosity? Where is the follow-up? Where is the police report, the medical examiner’s report, the interviews with his doctor and others?
But let me back up. Perhaps you’re wondering why this issue of psychiatric medications should be so important.
As I documented in “How Evil Works,” it is simply indisputable that most perpetrators of school shootings and similar mass murders in our modern era were either on – or just recently coming off of – psychiatric medications: