The Red Lake Killings and Prozac
Jeff Weise, the 16 year old who killed seven and then himself this week at his high school, had been taking Prozac. The news will now focus on whether Prozac causes violence and suicide.
David Neiwert at Orcinus has some different thoughts, focusing racial and religious bigotry. Weise was a Native American with neo-Nazi beliefs - a combination, David says, should not be surprising.
After all, it has been known for some time that the Ku Klux Klan has actively attempted to recruit tribal members from the Lakota Sioux and other reservations for years.
...Much of the conventional wisdom coming out of the Red Lake massacre was that Jeff Weise was "deeply troubled." No doubt in coming days and weeks we'll hear how this was an "isolated incident." How "the only person responsible" for what happened was Weise himself. Heaven forfend that anyone should suggest that the kind of hatred of multiculturalism so common on the mainstream right nowadays -- and so significant a factor in Weise's beliefs -- might have played a role in fueling this rampage.
Still another angle to the story is the similarity of Weise to the Columbine killers. Eric Harris had been taking Luvox, a drug similar to Prozac. This doctor says they should not be prescribed for children.
Why were these kids on anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication in the first place? I hope the media coverage won't ignore the culture of intolerance that exists at these schools, and that it is a factor that has existed with most school shootings: the shooters were taunted, ridiculed and made to feel like outsiders and outcasts. Our schools should be developing zero-tolerance policies for students who practice the politics of exclusion.
Here's a letter to the editor (pdf, you may need to zoom in for a clear read) of the Rocky Mountain News from May, 1999, by a parent who describes a Columbine-area school's reaction to her complaints that her child was subjected to harsh and constant anti-semitic taunts by other students. The principal says one thing, the district superintendant another. Are things any better today?
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