Unfair reporting of drug-related crimes. Case in point: Columbine

by phil on Wednesday Aug 24, 2005 1:40 AM

If someone goes on a murderous rampage and it turns out that person was on marijuana, it would be all over the news and talk shows about how bad marijuana is.

Yet today is the first time I ever heard that Eric Harris, one of the killers in the Columbine massacre was on the anti-depressent Luvox.

During his evaluation by doctors at the program, Harris was prescribed the anti-depressant Luvox. Some analysts have argued that this medication may have contributed to Harris' actions, and claimed that a side-effect of these drugs is a loss of empathy for other human beings, though no evidence was provided to support these claims. A correlation is claimed between "school shooters" whose medical history has been made public and use of or recent discontinuation of such medications. Other researchers have pointed out that such claims are not based upon rigorous scientific testing.

Columbine happened six years ago, and this is the first time I've heard about this. Where was the uproar against manufacturers of anti-depressants? I don't endorse conspiracy theories whole-heartedly, but watch out for Big Medicine. They have a conflict of interest when it comes to our health. They can profit significantly by obscuring information.

On a side note:

I'm really sick of selective skepticism. i.e. such claims are not based upon rigorous scientific testing or no evidence was provided to support these claims. While I absolutely endorse accuracy, especially in statistics, I'm against the individual practice of being selectively skeptical. When people don't want to believe something, they come out with "well, no statistically significant correlation has been found." Don't ever listen to that phrase. Like, I like how on the prescription for claritin, it says there is no correlation between the side effects of this and a placebo. Please. No medicine hits a single symptom exclusively. Believing that is like putting your fingers in your ears and saying "la-la-la-la-la."

On the reverse side, people won't apply the same skepticism to illegal drugs. "Drugs are bad!" "Why?" "Well, there was that one study by that one agency, some years back that indicated something might happen!" Ooooh. Likewise, though, druggies are sometimes too skeptical about studies. I was at a party and someone said, "Well. Heroin, if taken in the right doses is perfectly fine." I wanted to say "doesn't matter you numbskull, you probably won't take the right dose, and is it worth the risk to go around promoting it like that?"

healthy skepticism. The key is healthy. Yes, evolution is just a theory. Yes, global warming is just a theory. But they are pretty solid ones.

Or, more controversially. There is no correlation between race and intelligence? What? Well, perhaps the idea that certain races are dumber than others is a really messed up meme; the pre-judgment based on race has been dangerous 99% of the time. But for me to believe that there aren't semi-closed sub-populations of humans which haven't drifted either positively or negatively in intelligence is absurd.

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