Navy Yard Shooter Had Been Treated for Mental Health Problems, But Bought Gun Legally

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A mug of Aaron Alexis, arrested in September, 2010, on suspicion of discharging a firearm in the city limits.
Fort Worth Police Department / AP

A mug of Aaron Alexis, arrested in September, 2010, on suspicion of discharging a firearm in the city limits.

Updated 3:50pm

U.S. officials confirmed Tuesday morning that the gunman in yesterday’s deadly shooting had been treated for various mental health issues, including paranoia and hearing voices.

Aaron Alexis, who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard before he was shot and killed by law enforcement officers, has been treated for his mental problems at the Veterans Association since August, the AP reports. 

The Navy had not declared Alexis mentally unfit, which enabled him to maintain the security clearance he obtained while previously serving in the Navy Reserves. Had he been declared mentally unfit, his security clearance would have been rescinded.

Alexis was also able to legally purchase a shotgun in Lorton, VA last week, according to The Wall Street Journal. His history of mental illness did not prevent him from purchasing a gun. In VA, people with history of mental illness can purchase guns unless a court has declared them mentally unfit or they have been involuntarily committed to a hospital. A mental illness diagnosis or voluntary commitment are not enough to disqualify a potential gun buyer.

Family members also confirmed to investigators that Alexis was struggling with mental health problems.

[AP]

 

12 comments
darcyanarchy
darcyanarchy

Trazodone Side Effects

Psychiatric

Psychiatric side effects have been reported and include mania, paranoia, hypomania (during and following therapy), increased libido, delirium, agitation, psychosis, hallucinations and self- destructive behavior.

RitaCronise
RitaCronise

In Medication Madness, psychiatrist Peter R. Breggin, M.D., describes how people taking psychiatric medication can experience abnormal behavioral reactions, including suicide, violence, emotional breakdowns, and criminal acts. Dr. Breggin explains his concept of “medication spellbinding”: individuals taking psychiatric drugs may have no idea whatsoever that their mental conditions are deteriorating and that their actions are no longer under control. He proves his argument by documenting dozens of cases from his practice and his consultations in legal cases.

People are so quick to blame "mental illness" but few have paid attention to the common factor that all of these shooters have been taking powerful psychiatric medications that have been proven to cause violence and suicide. 

Let's stop assuming people are acting solely out of illness and start looking deeper at the kinds of treatment they are receiving.... 

mhadvocate
mhadvocate

We need a total overhaul of our mental health system - and start treating trauma instead of just forcing drugs  - which just increase the likely hood of violence on people.  Somatic Experiencing is a proven non drug trauma treatment -- a little info about it:

Evolution has provided us with a way to deal with trauma the moment it happens—yet our cultural training overrides our body's natural instinct about what to do. The result is that we often store the energy of trauma in the body leading to unexplained physical problems, emotional issues, and psychological blockages.

 Course objectives:

 Assess when trauma may be the cause of anxiety, insomnia, depression, and unexplained pain.

 Apply nature's lessons on returning to equilibrium and balance.

 Describe the concepts of Somatic Experiencing.

 Demonstrate techniques for preventing trauma.

 Utilize exercises to release past trauma from the body. 

AaronPoscovsky
AaronPoscovsky

We have a government wanting to help the Non-Americans, like all the millions of Mexican living , over help the people that live in as real American.  If this man was from Mexico, he would had all the help he needed before this happen. But, as an American, the government pushes him and millions other Americans to the side, will NON-American get health care, school and food and housing.


stop bring all the Mexicans into this country, SHIP ALL 20 MILLION back!

shira2405
shira2405

Yeah, too bad the AP sent out the "breaking news" that this was happening, only before midnight on 9/15, and 3 news outlets posted it. BEFORE IT HAPPENED. 

MC
MC

We need to modernize our VA.

Openminded1
Openminded1

Please this guy was navy reserve and has never seen combat and his dad is saying he had PTSD, give me a break, where did get this ptsd from living in Texas. This guy love Thailand and was in to there religion and has been linked to muslims. he was torn between Buddha and muslim beliefs. Which is weird that is where he is a mental case. 

ScallywagNYC
ScallywagNYC

As the media go about trying to explain Alexis' motives perhaps one ought to examine the state of affairs that allows such lone gunmen to go on their rampage. Is it a situation of a failure of the social system, mental healthcare being shrugged away, lobby groups diverting discussion from stricter gun laws (is it a coincidence such lenient gun laws lead to an ever cycle of massacres here in the US?), an increase in the use of pharmaelogical drug use to combat stress and mental issues that exacerbates sudden snapping ( a revolving theme in the military and modern day America), veterans feeling used and abused, a society that glorifies violence, that denounces and isolates freaks (is that what Alexis felt of himself?) or how about the notion that we simply live in a violent culture that forces most of us to fend for ourselves until some of us just snap with the passage of time and the untreated symptoms of self destruction and a society that dares not address real issues?

Then again what do you care, you avoided been shot at this time.....right?

http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2013/09/washington-navy-yard-shooting-aaron-alexis-anger-problems-kicked-navy/

darcyanarchy
darcyanarchy

What the medical establishment has failed to notice is they have also been creating mental illness by prescribing drugs to people for depression.

roballen1000
roballen1000

@RitaCronise

Thank you Rita. 

 These drugs are involved with every single one of those school and work place mass killings, even as far back as 1966 when Charles Whitman climbed the bell tower at the University of Texas. And the 10's of thousands of suicides that my otherwise have not take place, tearing families apart, don't even make the news. 

These products are defective and people are dying because of it. And it can NOT be argued that "these people are crazy anyway, it isn't the drugs".  Tthere have always been crazy people, but the frequency of such incidents have risen dramatically coinciding with increase use of these drugs. Big money is allowing the facts to be hidden and it is time to stop this madness.


roballen1000
roballen1000

Look up the Whitman killings, all the way back to 1966:

"At 6:45, Whitman began typing his suicide note, a portion of which read:

I do not quite understand what it is that compels me to type this letter. Perhaps it is to leave some vague reason for the actions I have recently performed. I do not really understand myself these days. I am supposed to be an average reasonable and intelligent young man. However, lately (I cannot recall when it started) I have been a victim of many unusual and irrational thoughts."

"Although Whitman had been prescribed drugs, and was in possession of Dexedrine (which a friend stated he consumed "like popcorn")[52] at the time of his death, no toxicology test was performed because Whitman had been embalmed prior to the autopsy being conducted; therefore, no urine was available to test for traces of any amphetamines having been consumed, however, Dexedrine tablets were found in a vial on his person, after his death."

"DEXEDRINE is a stimulant widely prescribed by physicians for the treatment of ADHD."



BlindorKnot
BlindorKnot

@roballen1000 

Whitman was found to have a small tumor in his brain, located near the Amygdala, a brain structure thought to regulate fear, emotion and to be affected by emotional trauma. It's important to keep in mind that when people go off the rails, they may have some sort of functional derangement of the brain quite apart from suffering bad treatment in life or having a bad attitude. We tend to draw a bright line between the psychological and the neurological, but  when it comes to the brain's function it difficult to distinguish these domains. When someone acts violently it's worth asking: was their brain damaged? 

Others including the above named have made the valid point that violence sometimes emerges in certain people who have been given medications for depression and other mental health problems. That recognized problem is a specific instance of the more general phenomenon of altered brain chemistry, making the point that we are what our brain is doing.

Regrettably, there is as yet little interest to evaluate the brains of people who commit acts of violence, admittedly a daunting task due to complexity. But not looking isn't improve our knowledge of what might be called 'brain health'.