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The Hidden Hand of Violence
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Cover Report

The Hidden Hand of Violence

by Thomas G. Whittle & Mark Stout

Seemingly random scenes in society’s patchwork quilt of senseless violence contain a common thread

n the aftermath of the recent spate of assaults by students upon their classmates and teachers, an appalled nation asked: Why?

That question continues to reverberate in discussions about the tragedy of senseless violence among youth.

Bloodshed in films and on television, brutality in video games and availability of firearms may well be contributing factors in some violent situations. But, as many observers have pointed out, these are not new elements in the mix and do not satisfactorily answer the question. Violence and gore in entertainment media three decades ago never spawned repeated instances of wholesale mayhem, much less murder, in classrooms, even though guns and recipes for homemade explosives were virtually as accessible then as they are today.

Newspaper clippings

Recent assailants Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold of Colorado, T.J. Solomon of Georgia and Shawn Cooper of Idaho are but several in a long line of young people who turned murderously violent. A Freedom investigation shows that the divergent scenes in society’s seemingly random patchwork quilt of senseless youth violence contain a common thread. More significantly, that common thread has been detectable but has been ignored or concealed by those who have a professional responsibility to reveal it to the public.

Warning Signs

A full decade before the Columbine High School tragedy in April, the nation witnessed a series of brutal incursions into its previously sacrosanct schools.

The first came on May 20, 1988, when Laurie Dann, 30, walked into a Winnetka, Illinois, classroom with three handguns and commenced shooting, killing one second-grader and wounding five others before fleeing from the school, shooting a man in a house nearby and then killing herself.

Four months later, on September 26, 1988, 19-year-old James Wilson entered the cafeteria of a Greenwood, South Carolina, school and opened fire with a revolver, wounding a teacher and three students. He then walked into a girls’ restroom, where he shot another teacher, moving next into a third-grade classroom, where he shot several more children. Two students, both 8 years old, died from their wounds.

While both Dann and Wilson had extensive psychiatric histories at the time of their assaults, neither had any record of violence prior to undergoing psychiatric treatment.

What produced such startling change? Based on interviews Freedom conducted with relatives and acquaintances of Dann and Wilson in the aftermath of those tragedies, the fact emerged that both changed sharply after being administered powerful psychiatric drugs.1

Four months after James Wilson’s rampage, on January 17, 1989, another incident exploded onto the national stage when Patrick Purdy, 26, killed five children in a Stockton, California, schoolyard and wounded 29 more children and a teacher before taking his own life. Upon investigation, Freedom learned that Purdy, too, was a psychiatric failure with an extensive psychiatric drug history.2

“An Irresistible Urge”

Such tragedies grow even more disturbing as the age of the perpetrators decreases.

One of the first cases that came to the public’s attention was that of 14-year-old Rod Matthews of Canton, Massachusetts, a high school freshman. Matthews lured classmate Shaun Ouillette, also 14, into the woods on a November afternoon in 1986 on the pretext of building a fort. Matthews carried a baseball bat, which he said he needed to return to someone.

Encouraging the larger boy to walk in front of him down the wooded path, Matthews waited for his opportunity and then smashed Ouillette on the head with the bat. He continued to strike his soon helpless victim, bludgeoning him to death.

While Matthews informed police and his parents that he thought Ouillette had run away from home, he brought two friends, Robbie Peterson and Jonathan Cash, on separate occasions to view the body of the boy the police were searching for in vain. Cash eventually reported the murder to police by means of an unsigned letter. The next morning, three weeks after the murder, police found Ouillette’s body and arrested Matthews.

Matthews, a bright youth with an IQ of 132, had been taking the psychiatric drug Ritalin, known generically as methylphenidate. According to federal law, Ritalin is a Schedule II controlled substance, in the same addictive category as amphetamine, methamphetamine and cocaine, powerful drugs bearing what the National Institute on Drug Abuse terms “a high potential for abuse.”

Recent years have seen an epidemic of violence involving children and adolescents, many of them not involving firearms.

After the murder, it was learned that Matthews had plotted to kill someone since the start of his freshman year — roughly two months before the crime was committed. He had discussed his plans with Peterson and Cash and had even admitted to a teacher in the weeks before the slaying that he had an urge to kill somebody. His teacher simply told him that murder was a felony.

As the police put it, Matthews had developed “an irresistible urge to see what it felt like to kill someone” — an urge that became lethal reality.

Recent years have seen an epidemic of such violence involving children and adolescents, many of them not involving firearms.

In 1995 in Illinois, Brian Pruitt, 16, with a history of psychiatric drugs and treatment, fatally stabbed his grandmother in her bedroom, waited for his grandfather to return home, and murdered him as well.

In 1997 in New Jersey, Sam Manzie, 15, attacked and raped 11-year-old Eddie Werner, who had come to his family’s home selling items door-to-door for the local PTA. After strangling Werner with an electrical cord, and photographing him with the cord still wrapped around his neck, Manzie discarded his victim’s clothes and possessions in a garbage bin by the psychiatric facility where Manzie had been receiving regular treatments including psychiatric drugs. According to Manzie’s mother, Manzie said, “I wasn’t killing that little boy. I was killing [my psychiatrist] because he didn’t listen to me.” Other examples abound.

“Fraudulent” Disorders

In addition to not listening to their patients, many psychiatrists have also evidently chosen not to listen to clinical studies and medical texts which contradict “conventional wisdom” in child psychiatry.

Fred A. Baughman Jr., M.D., a board certified neurologist and child neurologist and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, said that the problem originates within the psychiatric industry itself.

In an interview with Freedom, Baughman charged that “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” (ADHD), “Oppositional Defiant Disorder” (ODD), “Conduct Disorder” (CD) — the three psychiatric diagnoses that allegedly are biological precursors to aggressive and violent behavior — are uniformly fraudulent.

“Not one of the ‘disruptive behavior disorders’ has been validated as a disease, or as anything biological or organic,” he said.

Baughman noted that the Report of the National Institutes of Health’s Consensus Conference on ADHD, November 16 – 18, 1998, confessed that ADHD does not exist: “[W]e do not have an independent, valid test for ADHD, and there are no data to indicate that ADHD is due to brain malfunction.”

Likewise, Baughman pointed out, there is no valid test for ODD or CD — despite the fact that psychiatrists across the country have labeled millions of children with one or more of the three fictitious “disruptive behavior disorders” and have prescribed them destructive, mind-bending drugs.

Each of these “diseases,” Baughman and other experts have charged, is a fraud, and any diagnosis that results in a child being given dangerous drugs is not only fraudulent, but criminal.

The Hidden Hand of Violence continued...
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