But he was taking Ambien!

Ft. Hood got shot up again recently.  Crap. Naturally, everyone has a knee jerk reaction and needs to know “Why?”  Can’t it just be that the guy was a douche bag?  This has brought up some interesting conversation points between me and my wife though. It was also brought up on Guns Over Texas Radio this past weekend.  Let me present a scenario for you and let’s see why what medicine person is taking is irrelevant, at least to me.

I’m not a doctor so I don’t know if this is realistic, but play along anyways;
Jack has a prescription for Benadryl. John has a prescription for Prozac. Both of them take it regularly.  One of them has some mental issues. One of them has tinnitus (ears ringing). So which one do you say shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun?  John because he’s on Prozac, right? Well in my example, the active ingredient in Benadryl has a calming effect on our mentally unstable Jack, and the Prozac affects the auditory nerves of John, reducing his tinnitus. So if you based your decision on medicine alone, like people are doing in regards to the recent Ft. Hood shooting, you’re an idiot.  There are thousands of medications that are prescribed “off label” because the doctor is in fact looking for one of the side effects of the medicine, to treat their patient, as opposed to what the medicine was originally intended for.    What medicine a person is on, has no bearing on why they are on the medication.  Why is infinitely more important than what.

And that brings me to my next point.  I don’t think it’s a matter of what medication someone is on, but rather what medication they should have been taking, but weren’t.

We’ll throw out another scenario. Again, I’m not a doctor;
Jane and Jill are both licensed drivers.  Jane was diagnosed with anger issues last week and prescribed medication to treat it. Today while driving down the road, they both got cut off by an inattentive driver. One of the two got arrested for road rage.  Who got arrested?  You said Jane didn’t you? Jill was actually the one that got arrested.  Jane has medication that helps with her issues, and while medicated, is a perfectly well adjusted person. 

To me, I don’t care what medicine you are taking.  If you need medication, and don’t have it, then you concern me.  We have so stigmatized mental health issues, that people are afraid to seek out the treatment that they desperately need, which leads to mentally unstable individuals, who make poor decisions, and injure or kill innocent people.  PTSD is one of the primary ones now for our military.  Does every warfigther get PTSD? No. But that doesn’t mean it is not a serious issue.  Does having PTSD mean that a warfighter is an emotional time bomb? No. We are better at diagnosing, and treating the issue, and continually improving.  Oh by the way, one of the ways we treat it is with medication.  If two soldiers have PTSD and we’ll make a gross over simplification that they both have the “same amount” of PTSD (it’s not something you can measure), I would be much more trusting of the soldier who is being treated, and has the proper medication, than the one who isn’t.

Let’s stop talking about what medicines that the Ft. Hood Squatrocket may or may not have been on, and start the discussion in the right place: “What treatments and medications should he have been receiving?”

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