News / USA

US Navy Yard Shooting Highlights Military's Treatment of Mental Issues

US Navy Yard Shooting Highlights Military's Treatment of Mental Issuesi
X
September 20, 2013 12:26 AM
The emotional state of the gunman in the Navy Yard shooting has emerged as a central element of the investigation, with questions being raised about why Navy contractor Aaron Alexis retained a security clearance despite a background of psychiatric problems. VOA’s Pentagon correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Luis Ramirez
The emotional state of the gunman in the Navy Yard shooting has emerged as a central element of the investigation, with questions being raised about why Navy contractor Aaron Alexis retained a security clearance despite a background of psychiatric problems.

The more investigators learn about Aaron Alexis from police, military, and medical records, the more questions come up about why he retained his security clearance and the badge that allowed him to enter a Naval building in the U.S. Capital and kill 12 people. 
 
Rear Admiral John Kirby, a spokesman for the Navy, said this is among the matters being looked into. 
 
"Investigators are looking at this background very carefully. We in the Navy are also taking a look at his time and service in the Navy to see if there is anything that we missed that maybe we need to have addressed a little bit differently, " said Kirby.
 
Alexis had run-ins with the police, including gun offenses and misconduct while he was in the Navy, and more recent reports of psychiatric problems. He told police recently that he was hearing voices, information that police say they relayed to the Navy.
 
He also sought treatment at a government-run medical facility for veterans.
 
That, before going to gun store and buying a weapon to carry out the shootings.
 
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has announced a broad investigation to see where the system failed.
 
The shooting raises further questions about the military's screening for mental illness.   
 
Last month, former Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, who had been diagnosed with gender identity and anxiety disorders, was sentenced for espionage for the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history.
 
Barbara Van Dahlen, a clinical psychologist, founded an organization that provides mental health services to veterans and believes the problem lies in recognizing the importance of mental health.
 
 “Our country is not very good at recognizing mental health as part of overall health so it's not just a military issue.  We don't often feel comfortable raising our hand and saying, 'gee, I'm depressed or I'm anxious. I need some help.'  Within the military, even more so.  There's an ethos of 'be tough, handle things,'” said Van Dahlen.
 
Alexis was never deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan and there are no indications he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.  But Van Dahlen said reports of hallucinations and his recent visit to a hospital emergency room with complaints of insomnia could have triggered a closer look. 
 
“You know, sleep disturbance often tells us, there's something going on, what is that about?  What is the agitation about?  And so we need to do a better job, and there's a lot of effort under way,” said Van Dahlen.
 
The Defense Department is now taking a hard look at how its screening process can spot warning signs. Secretary Hagel said the Pentagon will be looking for what went wrong and where.
 
“Why they didn't get picked up, why they didn't get incorporated into the clearance process, what he was doing, those are all legitimate questions that we're going to be dealing with,” said Hagel.
 
With Aaron Alexis, none of the problems, taken individually, was enough to revoke his building pass and security clearance.  Now, officials are rethinking the process with the hopes of averting another tragedy.

You May Like

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Dr. Linda Wales from: D.C.
September 21, 2013 7:30 PM
VOA, if you wish to engage in REAL JOURNALISM, you will need to present the FACTS with re to the connection between Merck and Pfizer and ALL OTHER RELATED SHOOTINGS. START DOING SOME TRUTHFUL JOURNALISM. That would be real news minus state-run PROPAGANDA!

by: Whistleblower from: D.C.
September 21, 2013 6:45 PM
In a report that has gone virtually unnoticed in the mainstream press, D.C. police and firefighters who first arrived to assist at the Washington Navy Yard earlier this week say they were frustrated when their radios failed during inspection of the building, adding yet another strange development to the already questionable set of circumstances that took place that day.

Navy Yard building: Emergency responders say radios lost contact inside building.

Navy Yard building: Emergency responders say radios lost contact inside building.
A union representative for the first responders said, “Initially, officers found that their radios were working. But as they ventured deeper into the building where the shooting took place, their equipment stopped functioning,” according to a report from The Hill.

Instead, officers were forced to rely on their cell phones to communicate with one another, a detail the chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police Naval District Washington Labor Committee, Anthony Meely, says was “unnecessary and sad.”

“They had to use their cellphone to just call out and tell them what’s going on,” Meely said.

Meely said he was disgusted by news that the team had to use cell phones, but that faulty radios were “a known issue” on the base, and that they were notorious for not being able to function properly within buildings, in addition to having batteries that could never sustain charge.

“…what could they do if the radios weren’t working?” asked Meely, adding “…that was the only way for them to call and get them some help.”

Additionally, firefighters were having the same problems with their radios. “The incident commander from Naval District Washington was not able to communicate from his position inside the building to fire units outside of the building. He was not able to communicate with his subordinate units outside of the building,” Greg Russell, president of the National Capital Federal Firefighters, said.

Although this may merely have been a technical snafu, it adds an extra layer of mystery to an already convoluted story that has only gotten stranger.

Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that alleged shooter Aaron Alexis believed people were trying to harm him with microwave radiation and had reportedly told Veterans’ Affairs physicians he was hearing voices and being followed.

On Thursday, we learned Alexis was found with firearms carved with messages, including one that read, “My E-L-F Weapon,” a message which the Washington Post wrote generally stands for “extremely low frequency,” which has led many to speculate he may have been a victim of targeted government mind control.

We also reported earlier this week that D.C.’s Containment Emergency Response Team (CERT) was mere minutes away from the shooting when it took place, yet when they arrived they were told by a commanding officer to leave the scene.

The CERT team’s leader has since been replaced and members of the team have not been questioned or debriefed as to why the stand down order was given, despite a source telling the BBC that the CERT team is typically debriefed “right away, at the very least the following day.”

by: Merck from: International
September 21, 2013 5:42 PM
Look no further than Merck and Pfizer. DIRECT CONNECTION!!

by: Dr. Lin from: USA
September 21, 2013 5:16 PM
I smell a coverup between the Pharmaceutical companies and the MEDIA. VOA, any input??????????????

by: Mary from: USA
September 21, 2013 4:55 PM
We know the MEDIA is getting paid off by BIGPHARM to shut up about the shooter being hyped up on BIGPHARM DRUGS. Even the Veterans hospital confirmed he was on TRAZADONE!!!

by: Whistleblower from: USA
September 21, 2013 4:51 PM
Why is the corporate media so disinterested in pursuing this clear connection?

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the pharmaceutical giants who produce drugs like Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil spend around $2.4 billion dollars a year on direct-to-consumer television advertising every year. By running negative stories about prescription drugs, networks risk losing tens of millions of dollars in ad revenue.

While failing to ask questions about what SSRI drugs Aaron Alexis was taking prior to his rampage, the media instead blamed the shooting on assault rifles, even after it had been confirmed that no AR-15 was used by Alexis during the massacre.

FBI assistant director Victoria Parlave stated at a press conference on Tuesday that authorities, “do not have any information at this time that [Alexis] had an AR-15 in his possession.”

Despite there being no evidence that an AR-15 was used, the New York Daily News ran a front page headline yesterday morning entitled, “Same Gun Different Slay,” next to a picture of an assault rifle.

Hours after the FBI stated that no AR-15 had been used, MSNBC’s Alex Wagner, continued to use an animated graphic depicting Alexis carrying an assault rifle during the massacre.

Anti-second amendment crusader Piers Morgan also erroneously blamed the shooting on “a man with a legally purchased AR-15, who just committed the same kind of atrocity as we saw at Sandy Hook, and Aurora,” during his CNN show on Monday.

CNN’s live news coverage also reported that Alexis had “recently purchased (an) AR-15 shotgun,” when in fact that purchase had been denied.

Both the New York Times and the Washington Post also falsely reported that an AR-15 had been found on Alexis after the massacre.

D.C. gun grabbers Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin also regurgitated the false claim that Alexis used an AR-15 during the rampage.

The U.S. press has once again behaved like state media in the aftermath of the Navy Yard shooting by pursuing the assault rifle angle – despite the fact that it was patently false – in order to bolster the White House’s gun control agenda.

In doing so, they have concurrently buried an integral aspect of mass shootings that needs to be highlighted as part of a national conversation – the clear connection between violent outbursts and SSRI drugs.

by: Whistleblower from: USA
September 21, 2013 4:49 PM
Despite every indication that Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis was on SSRI drugs that have been linked to dozens of previous mass shootings, the mainstream media has once again avoided all discussion of the issue, preferring instead to blame the tragedy on a non-existent AR-15 that the gunman didn’t even use.

We now know that Alexis “had been treated since August by the Veterans Administration for his mental problems.”

As Mike Adams points out, “This is proof that Aaron Alexis was on psychiatric drugs, because that’s the only treatment currently being offered by the Veterans Administration for mental problems. Alexis’ family members also confirmed to the press that he was being “treated” for his mental health problems. Across the medical industry, “treatment” is the code word for psychiatric drugging.”

Alexis also suffered from PTSD, blackouts and anger issues – all of which are treated with SSRI drugs. The most common form of treatment for PTSD is Paroxetine, which is listed as the number 3 top violence-causing drug by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP).

The Navy Yard shooter was clearly on some form of psychiatric drug, but the media has shown no interest in discovering its identity.

Despite it being reported that prescription drugs were found in the apartment of ‘Batman’ shooter James Holmes days after the Aurora massacre, it took nine months to find out exactly what those drugs were. Like Columbine killer Eric Harris, Holmes had been taking Zoloft, another SSRI drug linked with violent outbursts.

The length of time it took to find out that Holmes was on Zoloft was partly because the media habitually shows zero interest in pursuing the link between anti-depressants and violence.

As the website SSRI Stories profusely documents, there are literally hundreds of examples of mass shootings, murders and other violent episodes that have been committed by individuals on psychiatric drugs over the past three decades. The number of cases is staggering.

by: Insider from: USA
September 21, 2013 4:40 PM
Several indications suggest that Navy Yard killer Aaron Alexis may have been taking psychiatric drugs, bringing into focus once again the clear connection between anti-depressants and mass shootings.

With the motive behind yesterday’s tragic rampage still unknown, speculation has centered around Alexis’ personal life.

The Associated Press reports that Alexis, “had been treated since August by the Veterans Administration for his mental problems,” which included paranoia, sleep disorder and hearing voices in his head.

According to his father, Alexis suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his harrowing experiences during his involvement in rescue operations on 9/11.

SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) drugs are the most common form of treatment for PTSD, with Paroxetine being one of the most prescribed medications for this purpose. Paroxetine was also listed as the number 3 top violence-causing drug by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP).

The study, which is based on FDA figures, reveals that antidepressants Pristiq (desvenlafaxine), Paxil (paroxetine) and Prozac (fluoxetine), all appear in the list of the top ten violence-causing drugs.

We also know that Alexis “blacked out” during a violent confrontation in 2004 when he shot out the tires of vehicles belonging to construction workers parked next to his home. Black outs are also a common side effect of SSRI drugs.

We’ve also learned that Alexis had “anger management” issues. SSRI drugs including Paroxetine, Prozac and Zoloft are also routinely prescribed to treat anger issues.

These circumstances indicate that Alexis was almost certainly taking SSRI drugs at some point over the last decade, although whether he was on them during yesterday’s deadly shooting remains to be seen.

Anti-depressant drugs, or SSRI’s, have been linked with numerous mass shootings in recent history.

Earlier this year it emerged that Aurora shooter James Holmes was taking “sertraline, a generic version of Zoloft used to treat depression, panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder and Clonazepam, usually prescribed to treat anxiety and panic attacks,” according to the L.A. Times.

Zoloft is the same psychotropic drug that Columbine killer Eric Harris was taking before his rampage.

The connection between Zoloft and violent outbursts is well documented. Countless studies identify Zoloft as being responsible for more than 1,000 suicides and hundreds of episodes of mania and aggression.

As CCHR documents, psychiatric drugs have been involved in at least 31 different school shootings and other massacres over the last 25 years.

America’s addiction to psychotropic drugs is out of control and growing every year.

According to a London Guardian report, “(subscriptions) for benzodiazepines – the class of anti-anxiety drugs including Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin – have gone up 17% since 2006 to 94m annually, New York magazine notes. Generic Xanax, which goes by the name alprazolam, has become 23% more popular in that same timeframe “making it the most prescribed psycho-pharmaceutical drug and the 11th-most prescribed overall, with 46m prescriptions written in 2010.”

Harvard-trained psychiatrist and former full-time consultant at the National Institute of Mental Health Dr. Peter R. Breggin has testified in approximately 100 trials since 1976 about the clear connection between psychiatric drugs and outbursts of violence. Breggin asserts that there is a definite “causal relationship between antidepressant drugs and the production of suicide, violence, mania and other behavioral abnormalities.”

However, in the aftermath of every mass shooting, the establishment media routinely blames the massacre on guns, despite gun-related homicides showing a 49% decrease since 1993, and pays little or no attention to how SSRI drugs are fueling unnecessary violence.

by: Whistleblower from: USA
September 21, 2013 4:36 PM
It has been confirmed that Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis was on the anti-depressant drug Trazodone, providing yet another example of a connection between psychiatric drugs and mass shootings.



In verifying that Alexis was prescribed Trazodone by the Veterans Affairs Office, the Washington Post published a brief article downplaying the danger of the drug, quoting Miami physician Gabriela Cora who stated (almost too eagerly), “Honestly, it’s a very safe drug to use.”

However, the drug has been linked to a number of murders, including one mass shooting.

Trazodone is sold under the brand names Desyrel, Oleptro, Beneficat, Deprax, Desirel, Molipaxin, Thombran, Trazorel, Trialodine, Trittico, and Mesyrel. Although not strictly a member of the SSRI class of antidepressants, it shares many of the same properties and also serves to increase the amount of serotonin in the brain.

Despite the Washington Post’s attempts to portray the drug as being safe, it is linked with a whole host of side-effects including suicidal tendencies, panic attacks, depersonalization and anger. Symptoms of Trazodone withdrawal include aggression and violent behavior.

The drug also carries an, “FDA black box warning for suicide, and is documented to cause mania and violent behavior,” writes Kelly Patricia O’Meara.

Several murder cases over the past few years have been directly connected to Trazodone.

- Eight people were killed and one wounded during a mass shooting at a beauty parlor in Seal Beach, California in 2011. The killer, Scott Evan Dekraai, was on Desyrel, a commercial variant of Trazodone.

- In 2009, Perley Goodrich Jr. beat his mother and then shot his father dead shortly after being injected with Trazodone in a psychiatric hospital. Goodrich had complained that he didn’t want to take the medication because it made him feel violent.

- In 2009, Steven Foster shot a gas station attendant in the head before shooting him a second time. Bottles of Trazodone pills were later found in Foster’s room.

- Marine Lance Cpl. Delano Holmes fatally stabbed an Iraqi soldier to death in 2007 after military doctors prescribed him Trazodone.

- Indiana soldier Pfc. David Lawrence was taking Trazodone in combination with Zoloft when he killed a Taliban commander in a prison cell in 2010. Lawrence was charged with premeditated murder. According to the FDA, taking these drugs in combination can cause “altered consciousness, confusion, hallucinations and coma.”

This is interesting given that Aaron Alexis had also suffered from PTSD, blackouts and anger issues years before he began receiving treatment from the VA. Was he on more than just one anti-depressant drug at the time of the rampage?

As we highlighted yesterday, the establishment media has been loathe to make the connection between Alexis’ rampage and anti-depressants, despite hundreds of other cases of suicides, murders and mass shootings linked to psychiatric drugs.

Presumably keen to protect around $2.4 billion in advertising revenue that comes from pharmaceutical companies every year, the media failed to even address the question of psychiatric drugs and instead blamed the rampage on the AR-15 assault rifle, which authorities confirm Alexis did not even use.

by: Derek from: NY
September 20, 2013 10:05 AM
While Obama, Feinstein & Bloomberg focus on banning guns or restricting 2d Amend. rights to get a quick fix, these politicians fail to focus on the real problem which is lack of mental health facilities & laws in the US. Many homicides involve mentally ill people. We need to revise mental health laws and improve mental health care. If Bloomberg spent his millions on mental health facilities, rather than destroying the 2d Amend, we could prevent some of these tragedies.
Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs