Frazier Glenn Miller, accused of killing three outside two Jewish Community Centers in Kansas the day before Passover, embodies many features of the extreme gun rights movement--notably its persecution fantasies and insurrectional hatred of the government. Miller, who  founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, "knew enough of the law, enough of American history, enough of the thinking of the founders that he could craft this bastardized notion of liberty and this notion of states’ authority and states’ rights,” Michael L. Williams, Texas commissioner of education who investigated Miller when he was a federal prosecutor, told the New York Times.

 

States' rights like bills to nullify federal gun laws and to arrest and jail federal agents trying to enforce them and a murderous hatred of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive (ATF) are prominent features of the gun rights movement.

Miller has written that the white race is “drowning literally in seas of colored mongrels” a remark that is disturbing close to longtime NRA Board Member Ted Nugent's depiction of President Obama as a "sub-human mongrel." Nugent retracted the remark--kind of.

 

The NRA supported Ronald Reagan when, as California governor, he led new gun laws to keep Black Panthers and other black power activists from having firearms. In promoting the Mulford Act which he signed in 1967, President Regan said “There’s no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.” What a difference a few decades--and the change in color of the carrying citizens--makes. Many say gun laws would change overnight if the "law-abiding citizens standing their ground" were African-Americans and not George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn (the "loud music" killer).

 

This is hardly the first anti-Semitic gun attack in the US. In 1998 former Aryan Nations guard Buford O’Neal Furrow Jr. fired more than 70 rounds from a submachine gun at a Jewish community center in Los Angeles. In 1999, in Skokie and Rogers Park, white supremacist Benjamin Nathaniel Smith went on a racist shooting rampage killing Northwestern University Men's Basketball Coach Ricky Byrdsong and Won-Joon Yoon, a computer science doctoral student. He also wounded nine Orthodox Jews and an African-American minister. Smith was issued a gun owner's ID card despite an order of protection filed by an ex-girlfriend. The hate spree spawned a yearly event called the Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate.

 

Wade Michael Page, who fatally shot six people and wounded four others at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in 2012, was another white supremacist. Page was reportedly a member of the Hammerskins and played in neo-Nazi bands. He founded the band End Apathy in 2005 and played in the band Definite Hate, both considered racist white-power bands by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

 

The Southern Poverty Law Center monitors such hate groups which are some of the nation's biggest gun advocates, preaching insurrection and stockpiling weapons. David Duke, one of the nation's best known Klan members, for example, is a big fan of the NRA. "National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre has a new rallying cry to spotlight the importance of every American’s right to keep and bear arms," he wrote on his website, quoting a LaPierre speech.

 

There is nothing quieter than gun advocates after a mass shooting. After April's Fort Hood and Jewish Community Centers shootings, the normally belligerent gun fanatics turn meek and mute. Their only remarks tend to be that we should not "legislate on top of fresh graves."

 

But of course legislating on top of fresh graves is the NRA's marketing plan! Screaming that Congress would pass restrictions on semiautomatic rifles after Sandy Hook, the NRA induced a profit party for gun makers in 2013 and convinced the Frazier Glenn Millers of the world to acquire yet another weapon.

 

 

 

Was your "ex" violent and possessive? Did he drink too much? Was he emotional, unpredictable and prone to rages and anger management problems? When you tried to end the relationship did he threaten or stalk you? If you tried to date someone else did he intervene? Did you have to notify the authorities?

 

It is no coincidence that violent "exes" are so alike. There is a definite "domestic batterer" personality. The dark behavior begins with possessiveness and extreme suspicion and graduates into violence including violence against their partners' pets. Many domestic batterers say "you're never leaving me alive" and, despite orders of protection, their chilling prediction often comes through. No wonder one woman we know in New Orleans says the "best thing about my marriage was we didn't have children and we didn't have a handgun."

 

And no wonder the Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorius trial is bringing back so many flashbacks to abused women.

 

Pistorius claims he loved Reeva Steenkamp the girlfriend he murdered, but emails presented in his trial do not profess love. They do criticize her for chewing gum and flirting with someone else at a party. Pistorius "loved" Reeva Steenkamp but did not check to see if she was in her bed (or in another safe place) before firing four shots into the bathroom to kill an "intruder" and killing her. Neighbors report hearing female screams before the shooting which Pistorius' defense said was him. Right.

 

Pistorius, reported to be a gun lover by witnesses, also has a lot of contradictions about the murder itself.  He claims to have heard the intruder but the prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, says a loud air treatment system nearby would have baffled the noise. He claims he was afraid of the intruder but ran toward the intruder rather than out of the house when an exit was close by. Nor did he intentionally fire four shots, he says.

 

Pistorius also denies firing a pistol in a restaurant in 2013, months before his girlfriend's murder. "The athlete said he could not explain how the gun went off," reports CNN.

 

Like many gun lovers in the US, Pistorius mentions instances where he "defended" himself against criminals and stopped crimes while admitting that he never reported the incidents to law enforcement officials. Like US cop wannabes, he is such a believer in "good guys" defending themselves that he lets "bad guys" get away to strike again…..Thank you gun lovers.

 

Obviously not all gun lovers are domestic batterers or bullies. But many domestic batterers and bullies are gun lovers as reams of police records reveal. In fact, women are three times as likely to be shot and killed by gun-wielding intimate partners than by strangers. Nonetheless, the NRA works hard for laws that allow such men, accused of domestic violence, to retain their weapons while under orders of protection.

 

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It was a sign on a popular campus hangout that brought the owner such blowback from gun lovers, he was forced to change his phone number and have police open his mail. Gun lovers also attacked his restaurant on Yelp and ruined his ratings.

 

It is a phenomenon familiar to many reporters, bloggers and activists who criticize the "guns-everywhere-all-the-time" agenda. Single-issue gun bullies pile on with Internet attacks on gun critics' careers and personal lives, even publishing their home addresses in some cases. At NGVAC, both a board member and a senior editor have been attacked by such "law-abiding" gun owners, provoking bans from the major social media organizations but not before the damage was done.

 

Gun advocates' wrath, spite and retaliation is instructive for two reasons. First, it is how politicians are coerced into co-signing the gun agenda--they never hear from gun critics with as much emotion, implied reprisals and numbers. Secondly, it is the biggest reason for gun regulation. Gun advocates are the first and last to get violent and get even with those who make them angry. They are the reason road rage incidents result in deaths not dented fenders. They are the reason for the recent Skittles, Popcorn and Loud Music murders. Who can forget gun advocates lying in wait for unarmed anti-gun violence mothers outside of a Texas mall, locked and loaded? What? Should people with hair trigger tempers really be armed?

 

Illinois' recent legalization of Concealed Carry presents the same dilemma to business owners as the pub owner who posted “If you are such a loser that you feel a need to carry a gun with you when you go out, I do not want your business” faces. The majority of the public does not want to be in the same room with a "carrier" who may get angry, drunk, mistake someone's identity, have a accident or decide he is "protecting" us from bad guys like Zimmerman and Dunn. And those are the customers the business wants. (That's why Starbucks "unwelcomed" carriers.)

 

While gun advocates have a loud bark, an attempt by the NRA's Wayne LaPierre to aggregate their buying power and teach ConocoPhillips a lesson for gun regulations by boycotting them proved an embarrassing flop. There are only an estimated one million gun extremists in the US--not enough to hurt ConocoPhillips much less make a restaurant crave their business.

 

Many Illinois businesses don't want carriers in their stores and restaurants but also do not want to post signs banning them as the law now requires. Thanks to the NRA and the Illinois State Rifle Association, guns are now welcome in any building (with a few categories of exceptions) that does not post a guns banned sign. But businesses have not spent huge amounts of money beautifying their exteriors only to have an ugly gun decal on their door! Moreover, the very image of a gun causes mental reactions in people, studies have now shown--none of which are good. The sign could also suggest to potential customers, especially tourists, that they are not as safe as they thought if there are so many guns they need to be banned by a sign. Finally, businesses don't want to invoke the wrath of the gun lunatics who forced the pub owner, mentioned above, to change his phone number.

 

To those of us who have lost loved ones to gun violence or do not want ourselves and our children to be around guns and gun carriers, the new sign law is as backwards as having a specially marked lane on the highway for sober drivers with all other drivers presumed to be drunk. While screaming they are "victims," gun lovers have bullied through such extreme laws, a person without a lethal weapon is now considered an exception!

 

Not all gun owners agree with the "carry everywhere" mentality. Even though chef Sean Brock says he sleeps beside a 9-millimeter handgun every night, he also doesn’t want guns in his restaurants. “It’s a bit strange to me that you think you need to carry a gun when you’re having a cheeseburger,” he says.

 

 

 

 

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Interview with Gayathri Ramprasad, Author of Shadows in the Sun: Healing from Depression and Finding the Light Within 

 

 

The just published memoir, Shadows in the Sun, is a first-of-its-kind, cross-cultural lens to mental illness through the inspiring story of the author's thirty-year battle with depression.

 

Rosenberg: Your book gives vivid images and details of your childhood, growing up in India. It seems like you were never alone, between your immediate family, your extended family and, later, your in-laws. Yet, psychologically you were totally alone.

 

Ramprasad: India is collectivistic culture and the Indian family can either be a fortress or a prison. When the "enemy" is mental illness, it is often a prison. Not because of a lack of love. But, because of a lack of understanding. As a culture, there are many myths and misperceptions about mental illness, and tremendous shame and stigma associated with it.  If I would have been diagnosed with depression as a teenager when my symptoms started, my life would have been over. Perhaps, I would have never finished school or gotten married and I would have brought such shame onto my family, my sister might not have gotten married either. I want to point out, however, that once my family was educated about depression, they became the greatest support system I ever had.

 

Rosenberg: Has mental illness in India lost some of the stigma since then?

 

Ramprasad: Yes and no. There are a few people who are standing up and speaking out about their mental health experiences, but the stonewalls of stigma, shame, and secrecy are still intact. Recently, I met with a group of Indian professionals struggling with mental health issues, while working with ASHA International, the nonprofit organization I founded to promote mental health awareness, hope and holistic wellness. All of them told me they admired how I was speaking out about my struggles with mental illness and breaking the bonds of silence but they could not do the same thing. Medical professionals said they would lose their clients' respect. An engineer said he would lose his job. A stay-at-home mom said it would hurt her children and bring dishonor to her family. When I visited a government hospital in India, fairly recently, there were hundreds of people camped out on the hospital grounds. They had come from miles away on trains and auto rickshaws just for a psychiatric consult and were waiting for days. In India and many parts of the world, the situation is terrible.

 

Rosenberg: Your symptoms of depression began as a teenager and were heightened by your "desperate need to please others" and "perfectionistic attitudes," according to your therapist, who pointed out they were common traits in Indian culture. Later in life you found out that your father had also been diagnosed with depression. Why would he have not been more empathetic to you since he shared the disease? Why was your dad's struggle with mental illness kept a secret from you for so long?

 

Ramprasad: My father, like many men around the world, perceived the expression of emotions as a sign of weakness and suppression of emotions as a strength. He had difficulties accepting his struggles with depression, and, therefore, couldn’t empathize with my pain. Looking back, it was difficult for me to understand how my mother could have considered my father's suicidal behavior—wanting to throw himself under a bus, for example, and other things--"normal." She said they did not tell me because they didn't want me to "worry about it." My parents, like millions of people in many cultures around the world, were imprisoned by ignorance about depression.

 

Rosenberg: Did your dad's depressed behavior start after you left the house?

 

Ramprasad: Growing up in a patriarchal culture where a man’s temper is his prerogative, my father’s flare-ups were a mere fact of life. While my father is a very loving man, to this day, he regards the show of emotions as a weakness.

 

Rosenberg:  Your recovery story includes the Twelve Step principles like surrendering to a higher power and powerlessness. Both self-help recovery and the advice to "snap out of it" that is often given to depressed people rest on individual self-reliance yet they are complete opposites. Can you explain the difference?

 

Ramprasad: I think the one word that captures the difference is "knowledge." When you don't understand what is happening to you, you can't "snap out of it." I finished college, married, emigrated to the US, had a child--I did everything I was supposed to do to snap out of it. But I lacked the knowledge. I did not understand how pregnancy caused my symptoms. I did not understand that I had the genetic predisposition to depression. I certainly did not appreciate how much early experiences had affected me.

 

Rosenberg:  Your first depressive episode began when you failed math even though you were a good student. You discovered that a male student had maneuvered the failure because you had rejected his advances.

 

Ramprasad: Yes! And, as a young woman born and raised within the Indian culture, I felt utterly powerless to confront him, even when he threatened to rape me. Unfortunately, women continue to be victimized in India even today.  And, despite all the media attention on the recent gang rapes across India, we as a culture are striving to ensure that justice is served.

 

Rosenberg:  Was there a moment when your recovery from depression began?

 

Ramprasad: Yes. When I was stripped of all freedom and human dignity in an isolation cell. Until then, I blamed everyone else, God, my parents, my society, my husband, my culture. But in the cell, I realized I was the only one with the key to set myself free. I realized that I was not evil, an ingrate, weak, a drama queen, possessed or being punished--all the names I was called and had internalized. That is when I discovered the light within me – the light of love, wisdom, courage and compassion that has sustained me on my journey to wellness.

 

Rosenberg:  In Shadows in the Sun you also discuss the people who helped you along your journey.

 

Ramprasad: Yes! I had never had a roommate other than my sister. My roommate in the hospital, Sanya, demystified mental illness for me. I could see myself for the first time through her. There were also women I worked with who shared their stories with me and let me know I was not alone or different by having mental illness. There was also a wonderful nurse I write about in the book. Probably the strongest influence was a woman named Aida, the wife of my husband's boss. She was a mother figure and she embodied everything I wanted to be when I grew up. She instilled in me the conviction that I could make it despite the mental illness and made me promise I would not kill myself.

 

Rosenberg: One thing that is remarkable about your story is how even though you were in the United States, it was Indian practices like pranayama and meditation that finally helped you.

 

Ramprasad: Yes--I write in the book that India gave me my roots but the US gave me the wings to fly.

 

Rosenberg: Despite experiencing psychotic post partum depression with your first daughter, you were able to have a second baby through practicing pranayama, transcendental meditation, nutrition, exercise and other factors. You used no drugs!

 

Ramprasad: I am not opposed to medication and they have worked wonders with my brother and sister. But for me, the antidepressants and antipyschotics were anti-life and anti-wellness. They were supposed to abate my symptoms and they exacerbated them. They made me more depressed and more suicidal. Now, we know more about those drugs and they have black box warnings. My husband and family would say to me you have the best doctors, the best health care, the best medication--what is wrong with you? The medications were hurting me. Nearly 50 percent of people are not helped by antidepressants. I was lucky my doctor and family supported me going off drugs. Western medicine focuses too much on treatment, including medication and not wellness.

 

Rosenberg: You have parlayed your journey into ASHA International to help others struggling with mental illness and social stigmas, especially in other countries.

 

Ramprasad:  Yes. I would not wish my experience on anyone else. But those who go through such experiences have an obligation to use them to help others --which is what I am doing. We need to embrace our loved ones who have mental illness and not hide them away as is too often done. 

 

Gayathri Ramprasad is the Founder and President of ASHA International a nonprofit organization promoting personal, organizational and community wellness. She is the author of Shadows in the Sun: Healing from Depression and Finding the Light Within

 

 

 

It took academic, government and military researchers five years to say they don't really know what is causing military suicides but whatever it is--it isn't the psychoactive drugs they are prescribing and pushing. There have been more than 6,500 suicides since the Iraq and Afghanistan wars says Army Times---one every 80 minutes according to a 2012 Veterans Affairs report. Thirty percent of military personnel who kill themselves have never deployed and 60 percent have not seen combat say published reports, leading to the suspicion that the excessive administration of psychoactive drugs in the military is the culprit.

 

Yet, if you're looking for names of the Pharma companies who've created the most drugged up fighting force in history, you'll have to look at the conflicts of interest of the authors of the research, which appeared in JAMA Psychiatry in March. They report at least 15 financial links to Big Pharma including to Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Ortho-McNeil Janssen Scientific Affairs, Pfizer, sanofi-aventis, Shire US and Johnson & Johnson. Reported links of some authors are conspicuously absent.

"Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of PAXIL or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need."

 

That's the "black box" warning on the antidepressant Paxil, which the VA’s Iraq War Clinician Guide says is "clearly effective" for combat veterans suffering with PTSD, even though most are clearly "young adults." Paxil and other SSRI antidepressants, all of which carry suicide warnings, are recommended in the Guide as "first line medications for PTSD pharmacotherapy in men and women with military-related PTSD." Between 2001 and 2009, 73,103 prescriptions for Zoloft,  38,199 for Prozac, 17,830 for Paxil and 12,047 for Cymbalta were dispensed according to Tricare data.

 

Prescriptions for anticonvulsants like Topamax and Neurontin, which also carry suicide warnings, rose 56 percent in the same group, says Navy Times. And the use of antipsychotics like Zyprexa, Seroquel and Risperdal which also carry suicide warnings?  Seroquel leapt by 700 percent in active duty troops from 2001 through 2009 reported the New York Times. Maybe the suicides are caused by the green beans as Dorothy Parker would have said.

 

The authors of the long-awaited papers turned over every stone except the ones that feather their nests. They considered military personnel's gender, race/ethnicity, age, age at enlistment, mental history, deployment history, rank, marital status and even  education. But nowhere do the words "medication," antidepressant" or "prescription" appear in the new research even though "At least one in six service members is on some form of psychiatric drug," according to Military Times. An internal study of all deaths in Warrior Transition Units (WTUs) "found the biggest risk factor may be putting a soldier on numerous drugs simultaneously, a practice known as polypharmacy," wrote Marine Times in 2010.

 

There is money for Pharma in keeping troops and veterans drugged up. And there is money for doctors willing to live with conflicts of interest. One example is Matthew Friedman, MD, executive director of the VA’s National Center for PTSD who admits receiving an AstraZeneca honorarium in an online course, Pharmacological Treatment of PTSD and Comorbid Disorders which--surprise!--promotes psychoactive drugs. AstraZeneca makes Seroquel. Friedman has also served as a Pfizer Visiting Professor. Neither relationship was reported on his section of the military suicide research in JAMA Psychiatry.

 

Friedman is far from the only official working for the government while taking Pharma money. VA administrators unabashedly receive money from Pharma, and even enroll veterans in their Pharma-financed clinical trials, making no effort to hide the dual loyalties. One DOD official cited in Born with a Junk Food Deficiency, recommends off-label use of psychoactive drugs in published reports while attributing military suicides to the availability of firearms and "dear John" letters from the girl back home. Right. She also appears in a Pharma-funded video despite being a government official.

 

While academic, government and military researchers continue to play their game of funding Whac-A-Mole, pretending they don't know the source of many suicides while profiting from them, we may never know the true toll. "The number of military suicide victims who may have been taking antidepressants or anticonvulsants is unclear," says Army Times. "The Army repeatedly has denied a Military Times Freedom of Information Act request for that data."

 

 

 

 

Direct to Consumer Drug Advertising Works So Well, They are Now Selling Radiation Treatment Directly to Consumers

 

Seventeen years after direct-to-consumer (DTC) drug advertising was instituted in the US, 70 percent of adults and 25 percent of children are on at least one prescription drug. Topping the adult pill category for central nervous system drugs is--surprise!--antidepressants which are used by an astounding one in four women between 50 and 64. Topping the pill category for children 12 to 17 is--another surprise!--ADHD meds, though kids increasingly take blood pressure, diabetes and insomnia meds too. (Babies are actually given GERD medicine for spitting up.) Twenty percent of the population is now on five or more prescription medications. Ka-ching.

 

DTC advertising has done two pernicious things. It has created a nation of hypochondriacs with depression, bipolar disorder, GERD, Restless Legs, insomnia, seasonal allergies and assorted pain, mood and "risk" conditions and it has reduced doctors to order takers and gate keepers. Thanks to TV drug ads, patients tell doctors what is wrong with them and what pill they need, coupon in hand. Drug company-funded web sites even give patients talking points to use when they see the doctor, lest they don't ring up a sale.

 

Selling prescription drugs like soap makes a mockery of a medical school education. It has created the need to train doctors in "refusal" skills said Richard Pinckney, MD, Professor at the University of Vermont College of Medicine at a 2010 Chicago conference attended by medical boards, accrediting agencies and representatives from the AMA, FDA, VA and 23 medical centers. Now the same technique is at play with radiation therapy.

 

For at least two years, direct-to-consumer radiation ads have aggressively promoted "proton therapy" to patients, an expensive new kind of radiation treatment for people with prostate and other cancer that is said to limit radiation exposure to surrounding organs. While proton therapy sounds like a "scientific marvel," writes biotech reporter Luke Timmerman, the evidence of its value is limited so far to brain tumors called medulloblastomas and not other cancers for which it is marketed. There is also a "real problem" with the business model, writes Timmerman. Because a proton center costs $152 million to build and operate, it "creates an incentive for doctors within a network to steer their patients to proton therapy," including cancer patients who may not be appropriate and who may "benefit just as much from an existing, lower-cost alternative."

 

How much more expensive is proton therapy? The average Medicare reimbursement for proton treatment for prostate cancer is about $32,428 versus $18,575 for standard radiation. Other estimates place proton therapy at $50,000 for prostate cancer, twice as much as intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) which is also employed to limit radiation exposure to surrounding organs.

 

Is it proton therapy better? Not according to comparative effectiveness studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Patients on the cheaper IMRT therapy had a 34 percent lower risk of gastrointestinal side effects compared to proton therapy. (IMRT was also associated with 22 percent fewer hip fractures and a 19 percent reduced need for further cancer treatment than traditional radiation though there was a greater risk of erectile dysfunction.)

 

Will "Ask Your Doctor" radiation ads sell proton therapy the way they have Lipitor, Nexium, Claritin and Prozac? If patients can be experts on diseases and medication, why can't they be experts on oncology? Or will the medical establishment realize if proton therapy were really superior, ads and patients would not be required to sell it--and pay for the machine.

 

 

 

 

What was he thinking? That's what many are asking about Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott’s choice of gun rights advocate Ted Nugent as a campaign side show while he pursues the Texas governorship. It's not that Nugent called President Obama a "subhuman mongrel” and "a piece of sh-t" who should "suck on my machine gun." It's that Abbott apparently didn't know about Nugent's unbalanced, incendiary rhetoric--not a good sign in someone who wants to be a state's top elected official.

Democrat Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis, also seeking the governorship, said this weekend that Abbott’s "values are not my values" given the "cozy relationship he has with an admitted sexual predator," referring to Nugent who has admitted to having sex with underage girls. Nice.

 

Nugent has directed verbal violence against women, foreigners, immigrants, African-Americans and many elected officials. He was banned from performing at Fort Knox in Kentucky in 2012 for his anti-Obama vitriol. He is a twice-convicted animal poacher (so much for "law-abiding") who has been banned from hunting in Kansas. This will get Abbott in the Governor's mansion?

 

As many question Abbott's judgment in palling around with Nugent and even current Governor Rick Perry disavows Nugent's "mongrel" quips, it is likely that Nugent will disappear from the campaign trail and return to killing animals with machine guns as he recently bragged. Yet Nugent's same portfolio of racist, ethnic and sexist slurs has not dislodged him from his seat on the NRA Board of Directors.

 

Last summer after Nugent's inflammatory remarks about the murder of Trayvon Martin, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, an umbrella group which includes 47 other organizations, asked the NRA to remove Nugent from its board. “The NRA likes to bill itself as the ‘oldest civil rights organization in the United States,’” said its petition. “If they want to wear that mantle it’s time for them to walk the walk and end their relationship with Ted Nugent immediately.”

 

It's easy to see why the NRA wants to retain its racist-in-chief. Nugent has mastered the NRA's perverse combination of bully belligerence and persecuted, "poor-me" victimhood. "I'm like a black Jew in Nuremberg 1938 and the brownshirts can't stand me," Nugent whined on a radio show last summer. "I'm Rosa Parks with a Gibson," he cried last fall.

 

If they become candidates for governor, it's not clear that Greg Abbott can win over the immensely popular Wendy Davis, even if he loses Nugent fast. But already his campaign is trying to spin the Nugent debacle into gun advocacy. Davis only brought up Nugent to "avoid talking about the issues in this race," accuses Abbott spokesman Matt Hirsch, like her support for "restricting the Second Amendment rights of Texans.”

 

 

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Everyone has heard the expression, "if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything will look like a nail."  As self-deputized armed citizens increasingly end up in court, the saying clearly applies to "carriers." Once vigilante-style cop wannabas are armed, anyone from a kid carrying Skittles or playing music too loudly to someone texting his daughter or throwing popcorn at the movie theater looks like a "bad guy" to be shot and killed.

 

Last spring, anti-gun violence author and activist Heidi Yewman explored the psychology of carrying a gun in a widely read online diary called "My Month With a Gun." Yewman, author of Beyond the Bullet, decided to buy and carry a Glock 9mm handgun because she "wondered what would it be like to be that good guy with a gun. What would it be like to get that gun, live with that gun, be out and about with that gun."

 

Procuring a gun was easy. "The whole thing took 7 minutes. As a gratified consumer, I thought, 'Well, that was easy.' Then the terrifying reality hit me, 'Holy hell, that was EASY.'  Too easy. I still knew nothing about firearms," wrote Yewman. Both the gun dealer who sold Yewman her Glock and a policeman she randomly asked for help in ascertaining if there were bullets in the chamber, knew she was walking around with a lethal weapon she knew nothing about. Hey, this is America! She has rights!

 

Soon owning the Glock changed Yewman's actual thinking. "Before I had a gun, I would go to sleep thinking about what I'd make for dinner tomorrow or how to help my son on a project or remind myself to pay a bill I'd forgotten. With a gun, all I thought about were the sounds I heard at night. I would lie awake thinking: 'Is someone breaking in? How fast can I get to the gun? Will they hear me? How much time do I have before they get to my bedroom? What if they go to my son's room first? Will I shoot them in the face or heart or stomach?'"

 

Seeing trouble because you are armed is a new and deadly theme seen in recent gun violence. In the last year, gun owners have killed their own family members, new neighbors, stranded motorists and a wandering Alzheimer victim, thinking them "intruders."

 

Curtis Reeves, a retired police officer accused of killing Chad Oulson and wounding his wife Nicole at a movie theater in Wesley Chapel, Florida apparently thought his life was threatened by another patron texting and throwing popcorn. Defendant Michael Dunn discharged his concealed weapon nine times into a car of youths, allegedly killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis because he felt his "life was threatened." Dunn did not mention seeing a weapon to his fiancée after the shooting, according to court testimony, nor did he even report the shooting to police. Chalk one up to civilian justice!  George Zimmerman, of course, was threatened by murdered teen Trayvon Martin even though it was Zimmerman who had the gun. And almost every week armed road ragers shoot at other motorists because they feel "threatened" when cut off in traffic. In fact, the legions of "carriers" in the US have created a brand new criminal offense that is filling morgues and courtrooms: AWA-- armed while angry.

 

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It was a four-alarm fire requiring more than 50 fire departments and 100 firefighters. But owners of S&R Egg Farm in La Grange, Wisconsin say chemicals and explosives were not involved in the late January fire. Unless, of course, you count the ammonia buildup from 300,000 hens caged over their own manure in the barn that burned down. All the birds burned alive.

 

Whether you care about animals, the environment or the tax dollars used in extinguishing the blaze for which water had to be trucked in, charges should be brought against the owners of S&R Egg Farm. News outlets describe the operation as a "third-generation, family-owned business founded in 1958, producing up to 2 million eggs a year," but no "family farm" produces 2 million eggs a year. Battery egg operations with millions of hens are a blight on farm workers, animals, the environment and the face of US agriculture. Grocery stores, distribution centers, egg wholesalers and food consumers should refuse to buy any products linked to S&R Egg Farm.

 

Fires occur with chilling regularity at factory farms for the same reason they occur in textile shops and in prison--the victims are the least powerful in society and few care. Four years ago 250,000 hens were incinerated at Ohio Fresh Eggs in Harpster, Ohio in a similar and predictable event. It took 225 firefighters and one million gallons of water, some from the Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area reservoir, to extinguish the blaze. Thank you taxpayers. The egg operation had one employee per 250,000 hens. Factory farming brings jobs.

 

The Ohio Department of Agriculture said it was sending the bodies of the burned hens to the pet and animal feed processor G.A. Wintzer & Son Co. in Wapakoneta. Ohio Fresh Eggs said its "Easter egg donation project"  would go forward as planned.

 

Ohio Fresh Eggs, linked to the infamous Teflon chicken don Jack DeCoster, boasts a three decade list of worker and environmental violations. In February of 1987, a fire at its Turner, Maine operation killed 100,000 birds and DeCoster was only charged with polluting groundwater with their carcasses. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich called the Turner operation a "sweatshop" and Cesar Britos, an attorney representing egg workers, said he thought he would faint in the egg barns though he "was only there a few minutes."

 

Thirteen years after Reich and Britos visited, four law enforcement officials involved in a raid at the same operation had to be treated by doctors for lungs burned by the ammonia concentrations in the barns. Six months ago, an employee at the same operation was shot and killed by another employee who was "shooting rodents and stray chickens while clearing a barn." Nice.

 

Nor are the factory farm fires limited to egg operations. 8,700 pigs perished in a 2008 fire at a Netley Hutterite Colony hog farm in Manitoba which had only six full-time employees. Bulldozers could not breach the manure pits, said news reports, making the fire more deadly. Hogs perished in the same barn in Flora, Indiana, owned by Lynn Peters, twice, according to news reports and hog farmers Jan and Nancy Pannekoek of Chilliwack, BC, have three hog farm fires to their name--and counting. Why are charges not brought? Why are "farmers" allowed to repeat this abuse?

 

Fires don't just "happen" as fire science and alarms, sprinkler systems and contingency plans have shown for decades. But Big Ag and local and state regulators believe a few thousand animals burned to death is just the cost of producing a cheap product. And when food consumers embrace these "cheap" products without questioning their origin and production they are guilty, too.

 

 

Learn more about foods to avoid in Martha Rosenberg's award-cited expose, Born with a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp the Public Healtg

 

 

 

 

It's a crime to jolt the most jaded Chicago TV News watchers. Last week, a 14-year-old girl in a Chicago suburb allegedly stabbed her 11-year-old half sister 40 times, killing her. News reports say the 14-year-old was angry over an argument the night before, set her alarm, got a kitchen knife and entered her sister's room. The suspect allegedly uttered that the younger girl was not thankful for what she had done with each stab wound, said police. The older sister's unappreciated services included cooking dinner, doing the 11-year-old's chores for her and keeping the household running, said news reports.

 

The stabbing comes a little over a year after another shocking Chicago area stabbing. Elzbieta Plackowska in the Chicago suburb of Naperville was charged with fatally stabbing her 7-year-old son 100 times and fatally stabbing a 5-year-old girl she was babysitting. Plackowska felt her husband "truly did not appreciate how fine a wife and mother she was," DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said. "She told the detectives that she thought by killing (her son) Justin she would make her husband hurt the way she hurt in their relationship," reporters were told. Plackowska also stabbed the two family dogs to death.

 

Are there two psychiatrists somewhere out there wishing they had not prescribed SSRI antidepressants, linked to such bizarre violence, to the suspects? We will probably never know. But bizarre knife murders--excessive, inexplicable and without clear motive--are increasingly associated with the widely-prescribed drug class which includes Prozac, Luvox, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro and Celexa. Bizarre violent acts are also associated with SNRI antidepressants (which include Effexor and Cymbalta) the antismoking drug Chantix and Lariam, an anti-malaria still in use in the military.

 

“The kind of energy, rage and insanity seen in a lot of crimes today was not seen before SSRIs appeared,” Rosie Meysenburg, founder of the website SSRI Stories told me in an interview shortly before her death. “There are two cases of women on the SSRI Stories site who stab a man close to 200 times and a case of a man who stabs his wife over 100 times and then goes next door to the neighbor’s house and stabbed the neighbor’s furniture about 500 times."

 

"Multiple stab wounds can indicate rage as well as dissociation," University of South Florida criminology professor Kathleen Heide told the Chicago Tribune about the recent sister stabbings in Chicago. "That's why a (risk evaluation) is critical. Is this person aware of what she's doing?"

 

Stabbings are not the only bizarre violence seen under the influences of SSRIs Meysenburg told me. "There are also cases of kleptomania, pyromania and a strange kind of nymphomania in which women school teachers molest their minor male students,” she said. Meysenburg founded the SSRI Stories website after experiencing severe side effects from being prescribed an SSRI herself.

 

The site includes many examples of people setting themselves on fire, biting their victims and elderly offenders not traditionally associated with violent crime. Besides unlikely offenders and weapons, the crime stories recounted on the website often lack a comprehensible motive like the two recent cases in Chicago. A Midwest City, Oklahoma woman accepted a cup of tea from an elderly nurse she’d just met, in one crime report cited, and then strangled her. A 12-year-old boy stayed in his cousin’s car while she shopped at Target and killed her 5-week-old daughter while she gone. All the cases on the site involve people under the influence of SSRIs, as reported by news outlets.

 

Of course lethal stabbings are not a new occurrence in US history. The spectacular 1966 murders of eight nurses in Chicago by Richard Speck were committed with a knife. And who can forget Lizzie Borden who was tried and acquitted of the murders of her father and stepmother in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1892? (Though her "40 wacks" were from an axe not knife.)

 

Still, more than 5,000 murders and bizarre violence have been linked to SSRIs in news reports and often, if the crimes sound too extreme to be true without a medical explanation--they are. Despite the large evidence database, Big Pharma has denied, hidden and downplayed the side effects to get its money's worth. Watch for an admission that the drugs do cause violence when all the patents have run out.

 

 

 

Learn more about dangers of popular prescription drugs by reading Martha Rosenberg's award-cited expose Born with a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flacks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp the Public Health (Random House) Support investigation journalism.

 

http://www.randomhouse.com/book/230995/born-with-a-junk-food-deficiency-...