Guns And Home Invasion

Well, since guns have been in the news a lot lately, I thought I’d discuss my experience with guns. I grew up on a cattle ranch, and just about every boy I knew got a deer rifle when they were twelve years old. We were all taught gun safety by fathers, uncles, and in my case, my mom and my grandma. And it was taken very seriously.

On my twelveth birthday, I got a 30-30. That’s a powerful rifle with a powerful kick. I never shot anyone, nor did any of the kids that I knew. During deer season, many of the pickup trucks in the high school parking lot had a gun in the gun rack. So clearly, at that time, a 12-year-old boy was indeed mature enough to own, strip, clean, fire, and care for a gun.

The rules were clear. A gun is not a toy. Never play with it. Always treat your gun like it is loaded. Never point a gun at anyone. Take out all the bullets and check the chamber before you bring it in the house. Check it again before you clean it to make sure it’s entirely unloaded. Clean it every time you use it.

And we followed the rules, every time.

Nowadays, of course, we have young adults of eighteen telling us that they are far too immature to own guns … but somehow they think that they are easily mature enough to tell us what our gun laws should be.

All I can say is, what happened to the planet I grew up on?

I suspect that one of the problems is that it is no longer OK to be a boy. Boys are restless, foot tapping, jumping out of their skin, hating to sit at a dang desk all day long … but nowadays, those are all symptoms of mental illness. Attention Deficit Disorder, ADD. Hyperactivity Disorder, HD. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD. Impulse Control Disorder, ICD. Intermittent Explosive Disorder, IED … sadly sharing the same initials with the Improvised Explosive Device. There are plenty of other diagnoses available. Show me the boy, I’ll give you the initials …

I had three brothers in grade school with me. All of us were hyperactive, as most boys are, and today, all of us would be diagnosed as such. Here are the official signs of this dangerous sickness, from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV):


  • often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
  • often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
  • often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)
  • often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
  • is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”
  • often talks excessively
  • Impulsivity
  • often blurts out answers before questions have been completed

Yep. That was me and my brothers to a T. We did every one of those things, all the time. My mom would say “Boys will be boys”.

But now, boys can’t be boys. A boy that does those things is told that he is one sick puppy, and he is given drugs … lots of drugs. Ritalin. Prozac. Zoloft. Adderal. Vyvanse. Strattera. Focalin. Kapvay (clonidine). Provigil (modafinil). Desoxyn (methamphetamine).

And if you look at the kids who are killing other kids, guess what you’ll find.

Boys full of drugs. Lots of drugs. Ritalin, Prozac, Zoloft, Adderal, and all of their chemical cousins. The overwhelming majority of the school shooters have been told that they are mentally ill, stuffed full of drugs, and then expected to act adult and mature.

Sadly, we are infantilizing our boys—telling them that they are ill, that the things they do are not their fault, saying that they are not responsible, assuring them it’s a mental disorder, packing them full of drugs … and then we’re surprised when they act irresponsibly.

Grrr … but enough of my thoughts on drugged out boys shooting other kids, that’s just angrifying my blood, and I set out to talk about my own experience with guns.

Now I’ve written a lot of stories about the sea, and at some point the ocean rolls in and out of many of my tales like a slightly demented uncle that lives upstairs who you only see occasionally. And I’ve dealt with guns at sea as well. But since I’ve written a previous autobiographical piece about tropical crime and punishment and guns on land, I thought I’d continue the theme of crime and guns on land and retell my story of home invasion.

I live in a kind of isolated location in Northern California, with houses on one side of our property and none on the other side, where there is just redwood forest. And thirty years ago, it was somewhat wilder. Before the kid was born, my gorgeous ex-fiancee and I used to keep a shotgun by the side of our bed up in the sleeping loft. It was kept loaded, but never a shell in the chamber of course. It was just for home protection.


Figure 1. The Beagle Boys, canine career criminals, prepared for a break-in.

I only ever picked that shotgun up in self-defense one time. For some reason I was alone that night, my gorgeous ex-fiancee was off somewhere. There was moonlight, but the redwoods are thick, so it was patchy. The house was quiet. I went to bed and read for a while, then turned off the light and was drifting off.

After a while, I’d gotten to the point where Morpheus the God of Sleep and I were just exchanging business cards. His card was made of black onyx with black lettering, and I was admiring it when a soft rapping on the door made me sit straight up.

“Hello?” I shouted. “Who’s there?”

There was no answer. I listened for a while. Nothing. I figured I’d heard branches on the roof or something. I settled back in bed and started sliding downhill into sleep again, when the rapping started up again, more insistent than before.

“Who’s there?”, I yelled. No answer. Again silence.

So I grabbed the shotgun from the side of the bed there in the sleeping loft, and I went quickly down the stairs, “naked as a jaybird” as my beloved grandma used to say. I grabbed the flashlight from where it was stored. I noticed that my hands were unsteady. The pounding had stopped completely. I had no clue what was happening. I imagined and rejected a host of possibilities. The silence continued. I jacked a shell into the chamber of the shotgun.

The familiar snick-snack of the shotgun action was flat, foreboding, metallic. I waited. And waited. Finally, the pounding came again. I flung open the front door and shined the flashlight out through the door from inside the house. “Come out right now!”, I shouted, “Don’t mess with me, I’ve got a gun!”.

Silence. Nothing. Well, not nothing. The cold night wind blew in on my privates. I was freezing. But other than the wind, silence.

Silence. I thought about stepping outside. Silence. I thought about my privates. Silence.

“Perhaps I should reconsider my options”, I thought, and I closed the door against the cold wind and any possible intruders, and I reconsidered. I reconsidered my explanations for the pounding. I had none. I reconsidered my options. I didn’t see that I had too many of those either, unless hiding in my house with a shotgun counted as an option, and for me that didn’t cut it … the silence dragged on. I decided the next time, if there was a next time, I was gonna make my move, yes sirree, that’s what I’d do.

Suddenly, the pounding started again, and this time it was more urgent yet, slamming and thumping. I gritted my teeth, flung open the door and jumped through the door to the landing outside, my heart slamming against my ribs in fear. I looked ahead. Nothing. I turned the beam of my flashlight and the barrel of my shotgun to the right. Nothing. I spun around to the left, shotgun and flashlight moving as one. Nothing.


Nothing? How could there be nothing? I looked wildly around, to the front, to the right, to the left, up, around, nothing. What had been pounding on my door scant seconds before? My mind leapt to the wildest possibilities …

It was only when I looked down near my feet, just to the left of the door, that I finally saw the two opossums. I hadn’t noticed them because they were both “playing possum”, unmoving, pretending to be dead as opossums do when startled … but unless opossum passion is a big feature of the opossum afterlife, the intertwined nature and disposition of their “corpses” left little doubt that they had been rudely and cruelly interrupted at what was clearly a critical time for the survival of the opossum ospecies …

Now, there have been occasions when I have felt extremely foolish in my life. No one goes for seventy years without committing some monumental blunders, and I am assuredly no exception to that rule.

But this one was bizarrely crazy, because to my astonishment, I found that I felt exactly like in those dreams that I sometimes used to have as a kid. You might have had them too, the dream where you are involved in some kind of everyday public activity, maybe speaking to a crowd, when suddenly you look down and you realize to your extreme embarrassment that you forgot to put your pants or your dress on. You are completely nude, and everyone is looking at you, and they start pointing and laughing, and you are completely humiliated and ashamed? You know that dream?

That’s exactly how I felt. I felt totally embarrassed and ashamed that the possums could see me naked, even though those opossums looked like some stuffed museum exhibit designed to give the simplified explanation of opossum sex for the kids.

And it was like the dream most especially because even though their beady little opossum eyes were closed tight, I could feel those little buggers looking at me anyway—they have their sneaky methods. They were neither dead nor sleeping, they were vibrantly awake, with all senses cranked out to the limit. They knew exactly where I was, they would know if I stepped towards or away from them. Eyes closed or not, they were wired to me, they could see my every move, and I was embarrassed that they could see my nakedness. I could hear the silent cackling of their demented interior opossum laughter. I could tell they were pointing at my exposed (and frightfully shriveled) manhood and snickering. I melted under their unseen censure, just as in the dream.

And that all went through my head in an instant, and I was frozen in shock, just as happens in dreams sometimes, where you want to run and your feet are stuck, or you want to scream but your tongue is glued to the roof of your mouth and you can’t catch your breath, and I wanted to move, but I didn’t want to disturb them, and I wanted to melt through the porch in total embarrassment, and I wanted to scream and run, I couldn’t think, the gears were jammed, the lines were crossed, all the fuses were blown.

I stood frozen.

The cold wind was more insistent. I could see it twitching and pulling at the hairs on the possums, and it was definitely freezing my johnson because just like in the dream I was I was indeed completely starkers …

… and to my utter amazement, I found myself mumbling incoherent apologies to the opossums, about how I didn’t know it was them. I was babbling that I was sorry about scaring them with the shotgun … the wind blew over my shoulders and through my legs, a nagging, insistent wind that was stripping the heat from my body. I remember saying I hoped they wouldn’t hold it against me but I’d understand if they did, wild words, meaningless incantations of apology and regret …

Finally, the spell snapped and I realized the madness was broken, and I could move again. I snapped off the flashlight without another sound and ran back inside and closed the door and thrust the shotgun into the corner by the stove still loaded, still one in the chamber, and fled back up the stairs to my bed and dived under the covers, shivering.

And there, for the next while, I tried really really hard not to think about the colossally, stupendously embarrassing mental image, the picture in my mind that a pint of eyebleach would hardly touch, the “god’s-eye-view” from above and to the side of a stark naked fully grown idiot with a loaded shotgun in his hand, shell in the chamber and finger on the trigger, shivering outdoors in the moonlight at midnight with a frigid wind blowing on his albondigas, and babbling profuse apologies to a couple of unmoving opossums frozen solid right in the hottest, sweetest, and least optimal option of maximal opassion …

… after I lay there a while trying to convince the mental eraser to function just this once, the pounding started up again and got louder and louder. I decided the part I had said about them holding it against me, that that was anthropomorphism, they couldn’t care less. Heck, I might have just upped their passion levels, danger does that. Ask any adrenaline junkie like myself, for example, we’ll tell you it’s a rush. In the end, I went to sleep contented, knowing the opossum ospecies was going to survive.

And as you can tell from this story … the eyebleach never did work.

My best to you all, treat your guns with respect, stay safe, hug your loved ones, life is far too short …


PS—For the record:

• Eric Harris age 17 (first on Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold aged 18 (Columbine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado), killed 12 students and 1 teacher, and wounded 23 others, before killing themselves. Klebold’s medical records have never been made available to the public.

• Jeff Weise, age 16, had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac (three times the average starting dose for adults!) when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather’s girlfriend and many fellow students at Red Lake, Minnesota. He then shot himself. 10 dead, 12 wounded.

• Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, Wahluke (Washington state) High School, was on Paxil (which caused him to have hallucinations) when he took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates hostage. He has no memory of the event.

• Chris Fetters, age 13, killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.

• Christopher Pittman, age 12, murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.

• Mathew Miller, age 13, hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for 6 days.

• Kip Kinkel, age 15, (on Prozac and Ritalin) shot his parents while they slept then went to school and opened fire killing 2 classmates and injuring 22 shortly after beginning Prozac treatment.

• Luke Woodham, age 16 (Prozac) killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others.

• A boy in Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) in 1998 had a Zoloft-induced seizure that caused an armed stand off at his school.

• Michael Carneal (Ritalin), age 14, opened fire on students at a high school prayer meeting in West Paducah, Kentucky. Three teenagers were killed, five others were wounded..

• A young man in Huntsville, Alabama (Ritalin) went psychotic chopping up his parents with an ax and also killing one sibling and almost murdering another.

• Andrew Golden, age 11, (Ritalin) and Mitchell Johnson, aged 14, (Ritalin) shot 15 people, killing four students, one teacher, and wounding 10 others.

• TJ Solomon, age 15, (Ritalin) high school student in Conyers, Georgia opened fire on and wounded six of his class mates.

• Rod Mathews, age 14, (Ritalin) beat a classmate to death with a bat.

• James Wilson, age 19, (various psychiatric drugs) from Breenwood, South Carolina, took a .22 caliber revolver into an elementary school killing two young girls, and wounding seven other children and two teachers.

• Elizabeth Bush, age 13, (Paxil) was responsible for a school shooting in Pennsylvania

• Jason Hoffman (Effexor and Celexa) – school shooting in El Cajon, California

• Jarred Viktor, age 15, (Paxil), after five days on Paxil he stabbed his grandmother 61 times.

• Chris Shanahan, age 15 (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman.

• Jeff Franklin (Prozac and Ritalin), Huntsville, AL, killed his parents as they came home from work using a sledge hammer, hatchet, butcher knife and mechanic’s file, then attacked his younger brothers and sister.

• Neal Furrow (Prozac) in LA Jewish school shooting reported to have been court-ordered to be on Prozac along with several other medications.

• Kevin Rider, age 14, was withdrawing from Prozac when he died from a gunshot wound to his head. Initially it was ruled a suicide, but two years later, the investigation into his death was opened as a possible homicide. The prime suspect, also age 14, had been taking Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants.

• Alex Kim, age 13, hung himself shortly after his Lexapro prescription had been doubled.

• Diane Routhier was prescribed Welbutrin for gallstone problems. Six days later, after suffering many adverse effects of the drug, she shot herself.

• Billy Willkomm, an accomplished wrestler and a University of Florida student, was prescribed Prozac at the age of 17. His family found him dead of suicide – hanging from a tall ladder at the family’s Gulf Shore Boulevard home in July 2002.

• Kara Jaye Anne Fuller-Otter, age 12, was on Paxil when she hung herself from a hook in her closet. Kara’s parents said “…. the damn doctor wouldn’t take her off it and I asked him to when we went in on the second visit. I told him I thought she was having some sort of reaction to Paxil…”)

• Gareth Christian, Vancouver, age 18, was on Paxil when he committed suicide in 2002, (Gareth’s father could not accept his son’s death and killed himself.)

• Julie Woodward, age 17, was on Zoloft when she hung herself in her family’s detached garage.

• Matthew Miller was 13 when he saw a psychiatrist because he was having difficulty at school. The psychiatrist gave him samples of Zoloft. Seven days later his mother found him dead, hanging by a belt from a laundry hook in his closet.

• Kurt Danysh, age 18, and on Prozac, killed his father with a shotgun. He is now behind prison bars, and writes letters, trying to warn the world that SSRI drugs can kill.

• Woody __, age 37, committed suicide while in his 5th week of taking Zoloft. Shortly before his death his physician suggested doubling the dose of the drug. He had seen his physician only for insomnia. He had never been depressed, nor did he have any history of any mental illness symptoms.

• A boy from Houston, age 10, shot and killed his father after his Prozac dosage was increased.

• Hammad Memon, age 15, shot and killed a fellow middle school student. He had been diagnosed with ADHD and depression and was taking Zoloft and “other drugs for the conditions.”

• Matti Saari, a 22-year-old culinary student, shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine.

• Steven Kazmierczak, age 27, shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amounts of Xanax in his system.

• Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen, age 18, had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School – then he committed suicide.

• Asa Coon from Cleveland, age 14, shot and wounded four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon was on Trazodone.

• Jon Romano, age 16, on medication for depression, fired a shotgun at a teacher in his New York high school.

48 thoughts on “Guns And Home Invasion

  1. Thank you, Willis, for an excellent post.

    Regarding your upbringing with guns; the only way you could have surprised me is if you had written about a lack of exposure to them and that guns were forbidden on the ranch. Except for the ranch part, my upbringing was quite similar.

    A quick ‘possum story. In the ’60s, we lived out in the country in a brick house that was originally a two-room schoolhouse before conversion to a single-family home. The cellar was dug out as part of the conversion and had an outside entrance with steps covered by a large, side-hinged door to keep rain water and snow out of the stairwell.

    One year, after our region’s regular January thaw, we heard banging coming from the basement, most likely from the basement entry door. We thought someone was trying to get into the cellar or was in the cellar. Dad, armed with his .45 service pistol, and I went to investigate.

    Spoiler: yes, it was a ‘possum in the stairwell that was seeking shelter. He woke up during the thaw and got caught out when the cold returned. The cover door was counter-weighted, so he was able to get down into the stairwell, but the entry door had him stymied. We put him up for a few nights in an old wooden packing crate, The weather turned warm again for a few days and we took him out to let him find his way back to his hibernation spot.

    As small as they are, those little suckers can sure make a racket at one’s door.

    Regarding ADHD; I probably would have been prescribed elephant tranquilizer if they drugged boys back in my school days. I was really hyper compared to most of the other boys. The adults in my life just made sure I was kept busy. My teachers would give me chores in the classroom in lieu of trying to keep me glued to my seat. Who in the heck ever thought it was a good idea to drug kids?!?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I probably would have been prescribed elephant tranquilizer

      LoL. They might have done that to my step daughter since she was very sharp and used to finish before everyone else. They did the same for her by giving her chores to do.


  2. Maybe the opossums were just shocked by your naked body. LoL.

    I was gobsmacked by your list of drugged young men who became killers. In fact, I couldn’t finish reading it. Too horrible. I’m sure the authorities who drugged these kids would say that they did the right thing regardless of the actual outcomes. Funny how we never saw these kinds of problems before the introduction of these drugs.

    I do find it ironic that we can induct 18 yr olds into the army and give them high powered weapons but they can’t buy a weapon for themselves.

    My father made sure that I went through a gun safety course (NRA) and I shot NRA junior marksman for a number of years. My father actually became an NRA instructor and one of the things I remember is the NRA magazine, American Rifleman, having a column listing a page of newspaper articles where guns were used in self defense.

    Given that I had one kid I grew up with blow his leg off and another die from an infection after he was accidentally shot by his brother, I firmly believe in pounding gun safety into kids before they’re allowed to touch a gun. It’s too much of a magical object if you don’t and kids don’t seem to be able to differentiate between their video first person shooters and reality.


  3. The best home defense is, and will always be, a dog. Any dog. Although the bigger, the better. One of the funniest things I have ever seen was a picture of two Rottweilers attached to a fence. The caption read:

    Meet Jake and Nancy. They can make it from the house to the fence in six seconds, can you?


  4. Being from Canada I am more concerned about your use of “boy” than the other issues you have described.. Our dear leader Trudeau, 2.0 has decreed we are all gender neutral and that is the biggest issue in his world.


  5. Good one! I had to shoot a opossum in the back half of our kitchen one night, it came in through the cat door and was very aggressive and erratic. Had Fish&Game check it and yes, it was rabid. Amazing how loud a 9mm is inside a house!

    As for the WoBs, yep. My son got tangled up in that sh*t, first thing school nurse wanted to do was get him medicated, gave a stack of paper, the gist of which was he could not come back to school until he had been to a “counselor”, and a long list of symptoms ending with multiple drug recommendations. Did not take him to her listed “counselor” we made appointment with an actual child psychologist. After an hour alone with Boy he told us there was not a single thing wrong with him and strongly advised against medication, except something over the counter for his allergies. He gave us the letter for him to return to school. I asked for several copies because I thought we would most likely have to fight that b*tch, he agreed, he knew her and was aware of her fetish for getting boys medicated. Bottom line? He is 22 and just fine. Several boys he was in school with went the medicated route, 2 are hardcore drug addicts, one is an alcoholic who is in and out of trouble and rehab, the others got off the crap and are doing fine.


  6. “Nowadays, of course, we have young adults of eighteen telling us that they are far too immature to own guns … but somehow they think that they are easily mature enough to tell us what our gun laws should be.”


    I have given much thought over the past several years with regards to the voting age. A very strong argument could be made to raising the voting age to 21. Given that most states (I presume) have ‘motor voter’ laws that encourage and register potential voters before they have any interest or knowledge of laws, lawmaking, and long term implications of what those laws would really do if passed.

    Social activists easily influence these young and immature 18 year olds to go vote for the most appealing candidate to the immature mind or fad at the moment. Just vote for the candidate that offers free college, no testing for knowledge learned, no homework, unlimited parties, and of course a high paying job after the party’s over. There would be a higher graduation rate but no engineers or doctors that could be useful. Vote for the picture on the cover of “Teen Magazine”. No responsibility required.

    At least with gun ownership, it comes with responsibility of it’s use. Purchasing a gun legally requires an active effort and financial cost and likely some tutorial direction on its use. Use it wrong and pay a serious penalty in terms of incarceration or other loss of freedoms and/or rights. Use it correctly and it is a valuable tool that could save your life or feed your family.

    Voting should be held to the same standards of responsibility as gun ownership. It is as important if not more so. Any political party that tries to stack the voting rolls with those least capable of logical reasoning should be viewed with serious concern.


  7. I grew up just north of you in Point Arena in the 1950s. All the ranchers and loggers had deer rifles in rear-window racks of their pickups. My younger brother Ron and I got Remington bolt action .22’s on my 12th birthday. Everyone was well armed, and no one shot anyone. People from 8 to 80 blasted clay pigeons on the Rod & Gun Club grounds where I loaded trap during the long summer months. Crime was nonexistent. The house we built in 1954 had a lock on the front door we never used – we didn’t even know where we put the key, but it made no difference. There was no lock on the back door.


  8. The list of kids on drugs is damning and troubling. There is no way that this represents a real epidemic and you’re absolutely right that normal boy behavior is regarded as a problem. This is a failure of parents and doctors.
    On a related subject it is interesting to see the really ratbag kids grow up to become left wing activists:
    “A study of 16,000 British people in their 30s found those with troubled childhoods were more likely to favour radical socialist policies.”


  9. “All I can say is, what happened to the planet I grew up on?”
    We think in pictures and can create what we see..
    Didn’t have access to violent video games and violent movies when I was a kid . The first thing I shot aged 7 or 8 was a bird (starling) with a slug gun , made me feel bad for it’s death.
    One thing that changed our attitude back in the day was a good floggen ,at school or at home. If I got in trouble at school the last thing I did was go home and tell Mum because her reply was “wait till your father gets home.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, j. While I agree about video games et al., I disagree about corporal punishment. My point of view is that if I can’t outwit, outsmart, out-cozen, out-convince, or outmaneuver a six- or a twelve-year-old to the point where I have to hit them, then I have failed in my job as an adult.

      I also disagree with corporal punishment because it has a strong subliminal message, which is “If someone does something you don’t like, hit them!” … and that is absolutely NOT something I wanted my kid to learn.

      And as always … ymmv …



      Liked by 1 person

    • you may not have had video games, but you had cap pistols, played cowboys and indians (and cops and robbers) and did lots of other things that are being shut down as being ‘too violent’

      you also didn’t punish the kid who was picked on by the playground bully equal with the bully ‘because both were fighting’


  10. When I was building my house my framing contractor was lax about installing an exterior door. The bank sent an inspector to check progress before releasing part of the loan money and he apparently didn’t notice a pile of grey rags in one corner of a room. Luckily, enough progress had been made that it passed inspection. Only later did I discover the “rags” were a sleeping opossum who greatly disliked (I could tell by the hissing and snarling) being awakened and prodded out of the house with a 2×4. Gotta like living next to the forest.


  11. Re drugged up kids

    I just heard the Austin bomber blew himself up a few hours ago. I wonder whether he had been drugged as a kid and if that may have primed him.


    • Just commenting now to promote andrewsjp’s question.
      “Where did you get the list of kids and drugs?”
      I had the same question.
      It’s not very compelling for us to cite “Some guy on the Internet”, regardless of how much we might admire you.

      Another point of course is to note that the data can be construed in the exact opposite fashion, vis: “The system works. These kids were nutso, and were getting treatment. Sadly, not enough.”
      How would we distinguish between these two interpretations? The one thing we must NOT do is choose the interpretation we’d prefer to hear.


  12. Back around 1980 we had a neighbor who wanted the kids to be diagnosed with ADHD and such because it meant they got extra bennies in school, such as special tutoring. So at least then there was a perceived benefit to both parent and child. Today boys are drugged strictly for the comfort of the school staff.

    Summer camps in the 50’s and 60’s had shooting, often with BB guns, sometimes .22’s. The Carnival had a skill shooting booth, usually moving duck figures, and used .22 shorts and pump action Winchesters. The rifles were cabled to the counter.

    Sears, Monkey Wards, Penney’s and the corner store sold guns and ammo. That is why some of us think ATF ought to be a convenience store. Pickup gun racks for the back window were popular, and we did not lock the truck.. Even if we did, Chevy had maybe 6 key patterns, so you could open a lot of doors if so inclined.

    At one time streakers were all the rage and got a lot of TV time. Then it dawned on the TV people that they were just rewarding bad behavior, so they quit showing it and streaking declined. Duh, anyone home?

    I disagree with your aversion to corporal punishment. Encouragement and rewards work really well but the occasional correction is still required. Bad behavior should have consequences. Eliminating it in school leads to the expectation that they can do whatever they want and get away with it. That does not fly in the world beyond school. It also accounts for a large portion of the current behavior problems in the schools.


  13. Hi Willis

    It seems to be the very definition of a drugs problem and not a guns problem. Very impressive story and listing and is it even possible to reverse this devastating trend.


  14. Yes, it may be that the “drugs is what don’ it” although in a broader sense, adolescence is a time of turbulence, mostly of the mind. Mind drugs have come on the scene, and, by this I mean the psycho-active drugs like those you mentioned to enforce a uniform code of conduct in the learning environment. What is troubling is that boys in the 4th grade are expected to behave similar to girls when they are substantially behaviorally apart and the gulf will only widen as they age. Sitting still, paying attention, focusing upon the instructions are all socialization skills progressively infiltrating down to younger and younger age groups such that there is now “pre-kindergarten” teaching these behaviors, kids being graded on their acquisition and only after achieving an acceptable level of behavior, recommended to go onto kindergarten, etc. In fairness, there are many children who have early on challenges because of mothers who do drugs/smoke cigarettes/drink many times self-medicating their anxiety and depression, oblivious that their behavior has its impact on the developing fetus and early childhood development. Believe me, there are a lot of such challenged children. So drugs, acting on the mind have become prevalent to address challenged children with spillover into controlling normal childhood behavior that when present during educational times, is deemed, not socially acceptable: why can’t you be like your sister!

    As for guns? my first was a Daisy Air Rifle which I still have and a .22 cal Savage bolt action I got as a present from my mother when I was 15. My shotgun was my grandfathers. So far, my kill was that of a porcupine (before they were an endangered species) chewing on our house (plywood) and the insulation for the electric wiring.

    Maybe because the current mind drugs weren’t around is why I didn’t shoot up the place when things in my life went horribly wrong. Just a guess.


  15. I was waiting for the part of the story where you sleeping restlessly, woke up and went down to remove the shell from the chamber, then returned to a blissful night’s sleep.


  16. ‘possums can be fun! In my younger days I had knowledge of a couple placed in someones car. Funny how quick a drunk can get out of their car and sober up with anger. Then there was the one at the restroom of the fast food joint. And the always complaining neighbor who opened the door for his newspaper and had one inside the storm door. Further south, armadillos are just a ‘possum on a half shell. Problem with them is when you pick em up by the tail they spin around and break off their tail, (bobadillo?). Not much fun to play with.

    Oh yea, once there was a ‘possum in a discarded purse at the school bus stop. But the best was the 6’ black snake in a purse left on the hood of a car. A car stopped and someone grabbed it but seemed the occupants stopped a short distance away and performed a ‘chinese fire drill’. That was funny! By the way, black snakes are your friend and that fish net pest/bird fencing is their worst enemy. They will get tangled up in it. Never ever use that unless you have an issue with only copperheads and other undesirable species. Then the .22 LR bird shot makes for safe disposal. 3 – 4′ from the barrel and you are a winner.

    Anyway now I’m older and more considerate. The dogs stretch em when they catch em in the garden or I use a .22 elsewhere. I no longer joke around with a ‘possum just for a laugh.

    I once got suspended from school for three days for hissing. Thought it would be funny to hiss but the school bus driver didn’t see the humor the rest of us kids did. She thought I was letting the air out of the tires. Even today I think it was funny especially since the tire was in front of the door and I was behind it! Live and learn, but in today’s world I would have probably been legally drugged.


  17. Very interesting that you wrote this, Willis, on the very day that i saw this is the National post in canada:

    Angry men are a big concern in Norway, a rich country now ruled by women

    The article is a report of an interview with three senior Norwegian politicians (all women, as per the title) saying how worried they are that boys are falling behind girls in all measure of education and that they are therefore going to be angry unemployed young men.

    They also point out that although politics in Norway is “equal” (a feature of mandated 50:50 candidate lists and a voting system that uses parties rather than names), in business, most senior executives are men sand this shows that “there is still some way to go for full integration”.

    As a side note, although young Trudeau is an embarrassment to Canada, they also have Jordan Peterson, a psychology professor who is actually restoring (some) faith in the profession. He has a been in the press recently because he refused to use gender-neutral pronouns, but his writing provides the antidote to some of the problems you have raised here.


  18. Willis,
    The list of those who have committed violent acts while on antidepressants is very long.

    I want to pass along a link to the Walsh Research Institute:
    Dr. Walsh did extensive biochemical testing of thousands of patients coming through his clinic, and discovered 5 underlying patterns to depression. Only two types benefit from antidepressant treatment. One type can be triggered to violence when antidepressants are used. He has started a training program for psychiatrists so that they can identify in advance which patients are likely to respond well to antidepressants and which ones should stay far away from them. There are some videos on YouTube that explain the findings, and he goes into them in detail in his book.

    I hope that getting this information out there could help someone.


    • While Dr Walsh may well be doing some valuable research. I find the website unfortunately follows the pattern of a lot questionable “health” sites, for marketing for his book, which personally I find almost instantly off-putting. For those who don’t want to search, I think the information Kira is mentioning is at: (along with a plug for buying the book which tells you all about it, sigh).

      It would be interesting if anyone knows of any other research that might corroborate this proposed chemical test for applicability of treatments… as far as I know, there have never been any medical tests for the suitability of these drugs, other than some verbal test of behavior/feeling/symptoms. (Which if you ask me is also plainly wrong… how are you sure the drug is required…. and how are you sure it worked?)


  19. I grew up a military brat, amongst other military brats. My 12 year bday present was a 0.22LR Marlin Microgrove, with scope. Many small game have since lived (not) to regret that present. The lessons about firearms you recite were drilled into me as well, with military rigor.
    My oldest grandson will be inheriting that rifle on his 12th Bday. My daughter and her husband are both outdoorsy and excellent shots. They carry on the family traditions.
    My first hunt was at age 8, with my father and grandfather at the Slovak Sokol he helped start (a 120 acre farm outside Cleveland bought by the Slovak community [around the GM plant on Cleveland’s west side] during the depression as a Slovakmoutdoors retreat, the barn tirned into a dance hall). He carried a Stevens 20 gauge side by side now in my possession. We bagged one rabbit, which I got to carry home in triumph. We got home, grandpa taught me how to skin and gut rabbits like he learned in the old country as a boy ( he immigrated thru Ellis Island in 1911, name on the wall there),then grandma, also a Slovak immigrant, made hasenpfeffer for dinner. Turned me into an ardent outdoors person, hunter, and fisherman on the spot that has lasted a lifetime. My grandson will be our fifth generation carrying on the firearms, firearms safety, and hunting tradition you so ably recite.


  20. Willis, I deeply, sincerely apologize to you for your sadness on listing these, if it was my SSRI post in one of your earlier articles that launched you into this research – it must have been a miserable job.

    However desperately it needed saying… 😦


    • The solution being pushed in Allegheny County/Pittsburgh area is cutting length of school day. Classes start at 10:00 and end at 14:30. Yea, that will improve the educational situation.


    • Hi Willis,

      somewhat like you when I was a child I needed plenty of exercise – without it I reached a stage where it was almost impossible to sit still in class.

      From 3 until the age of eight I was taught by Nuns and we had little or nothing in the way of PE – but they understood the problem that I and a couple of other boys had with insufficient physical activity and would send us out into the playground to run for 10 minutes and then return to the class room. It worked fine.

      Later at primary school in the latter part of the 1950s we had at least 30 minutes of PE every morning as well as active break times and 3 days a week some form of sport for half an hour or more in the afternoon. We also had regular nature walks and spent time weeding and planting in the school garden. Again there was No Pupil that suffered from any form of ADHD or ADD as we all had sufficient exercise – and being a rural area the majority walked a mile or two or more every day too and from school.

      Currently we have a real problem in the UK with knife crime and now, for the first time, more murders in London than in New York. I want to try and get some of the media to look into the knife crime and see if there is any relationship between that and mind-altering prescription drugs prescribed for ADD / ADHD etc.

      Do you have an attributable source for the list you provided above ? as I would like to use that to try and get people thinking and talking about it.

      thanks and best regards


      • Roger, just from reading news articles I get the distinct impression the rise in knife attacks is most likely connected to the rise in Middle Eastern and African “immigrants”. The names of accused listed certainly don’t sound like sons and daughters of Herefordshire or County Cork, to say the least.


        • Mass immigration has certainly imported criminal gangs as well as boy soldiers from parts of Africa. Coupled with that is the violence associated with drug dealing, and that is out of control – probably because so many politicians have been soft on drugs for so many years. So in many ways I agree with you.

          But the sheer levels of knife crime make me wonder if there are other reasons involved, such as mind altering prescription drugs – but so far as I know this has never been mentioned or looked at and I think it should. And not least because, as you will have gathered, I don’t personally believe there is a medical condition such as ADHD / ADD that is any thing other than a lack of physical exercise – maybe questioning the side effects of the drugs prescribed for these ‘conditions’ will kick-start a wider debate on this..

          All the best


          • Lack of physical activity AND lack of discipline.

            It is really sad the amount of critical information that is left out of “news” articles in this wondrous Age Of Information. As Willis can attest, the amount of time and effort needed to get basic information and details from publicly available sources can be quite staggering. No wonder so many people are so utterly, woefully un-informed.

            I put 12 hours into trying to wade through our omnibus spending bill, far more time than anyone in either wing of Congress spent, and finally dumped it. So many omissions of basic details in just the first 200 pages it was useless, not to mention the “word salad” effect which was clearly intended to make it completely incomprehensible to anyone at all. And the press here distorted the whole thing totally. Just as well, Trump and his staff appear to be ignoring the whole thing and simply doing what he wants to fiscally. May be the best tactic for draining the swamp hit on so far!


  21. Willis, shared this article on my Facebook page. Had a question from a Twin Cities cousin. What was your source of info on the drugs the shooters were taking since medical records are normally sealed?


    • Gary, the info is from here.

      I see news reports saying that the autopsy of the Las Vegas shooter showed mood-altering drugs, so I assume that the information may have come from that source. The same is true for our knowledge of drug use by the Columbine shooters.

      In addition, interviews with the parents/friends of the shooters often contain such details.

      There’s another list with more individual details here.



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