Oliver north,@NRA president, a retired marine, convicted in the Iran contra scandal, and the man who gave the sultan of Brunei the front bank account number to wire laundered money to, blames the Santa Fe shooting on kids with add and Ritalin pic.twitter.com/d4amAgbTT4— ALT- Immigration ?? (@ALT_uscis) May 20, 2018
The deadly Santa Fe shooting in Texas took the lives of 10 students and teachers. One would think such a horrific tragedy would make people rethink their pro-gun stance.
But, apparently not.
The incoming president of the National Rifle Association, Oliver North, has blamed the pandemic of gun violence on something else entirely: Ritalin.
“Many of these young boys have been on Ritalin since they were in kindergarten,” Oliver North told Fox News. “Now, I’m certainly not a doctor. I’m a Marine, but I can see those kinds of things happening.”
Ritalin is the trade name of methylphenidate, a drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy (uncontrolled sleepiness). It’s a central nervous system stimulant and affects chemicals in the brain and nerves to increase focus, alertness and controlling impulsive actions.
Ritalin, like most psychiatric drugs, has some common side effects like anxiety, weight loss, dizziness and sweating but most of the symptoms are associated with improper dosage or abuse of the drug and can easily be prevented by doctor’s intervention. In fact, according to a report by National Center for Biotechnology Information, the drug is effective in the treatment of aggression in children.
Moreover, the United States has seen a decrease in violent crimes since the use of Ritalin increased over the last few decades, according to Peter Langman, a psychologist and the director of SchoolShooters.info.
Apart from that, as North himself pointed out, he is no doctor and as such does not have any knowledge of whether a psychiatric drug can, or cannot, be blamed for the recent mass shootings, particularly since no research linked to Ritalin exists.
Also, there is no evidence to suggest the Santa Fe school shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis ever used Ritalin or was ever diagnosed with ADHD.
It’s obvious where North’s support for guns is coming from.
The incoming NRA president is a disgraced former deputy director of the National Security Council. In 1989, North was convicted in the Iran-Contra scandal, which involved unlawfully selling U.S. weapons to Iran in violation of an arms embargo. He also formulated a plan to fund the anti-government rebel group in Nicaragua, which was specifically barred under the Boland Amendment.
He did not spend a day in prison for his crimes.
North appeared in some ads for the first-person shooter game “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” and also worked as a consultant for the video game.
Ritalin is a very widely used medication and a large number of children have benefited from its use. Trying to blame it for mass shootings not just contributes zero to the cause of commonsense gun laws but also threatens the lives of those people who depend on the drug to live a normal life.
Not to be surpassed by North, however, is Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
Patrick said the school shootings didn’t happen because of gun issues. In fact, he blamed a number of different causes for the tragedy, which include violent video games, removing religion from schools, unarmed teachers, broken homes, abortion (strangely enough) and even too many entry ways into the school.
"I said this morning on an interview: 'This is not about guns.' ... This is about us, as a culture and a nation. Who are we?" he said.
It’s obvious from these people’s comments that they couldn’t care less about what’s causing the loss of children’s life: guns.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson