Drugs and crazy?

What’s the cause of the relative recent increase in mass killings?

So far I’ve seen people name likely causes such as inequality, riot dynamics, guns, media, killings by cops and so forth.

I haven’t yet seen mention of prescription meds and reduction of mental institutions.

I believe I just saw on 60 Minutes last night that prescriptions for opioid-based medication has increased from several million in 1990 to over 200 million now. 200 million! 2/3rds of the country? Really?

I’d like to see some stats on crazy people. Seems like they used to get extended stays in mental institutions at a higher rate in the old days, but for lots of reasons (like mistreatment, funding and believing that crazy can get less crazy) that doesn’t happen as much anymore.

If you look at the mass killers, it does seem as though they are not of sound mind and I don’t find it plausible that inequality (or any of the other factors mentioned) caused them to lose their marbles.

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6 thoughts on “Drugs and crazy?

  1. i dont think many of them have had oxy habits, either. i would agree with your supposition that there is a _lot_ less institutional care for the mentally ill.
    what do you think about requiring an insurance policy to operate a firearm like one is required to operate an even more deadly instrument – a motor vehicle.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if they had some prescription meds in their childhood, maybe not opioids, but prescription meds. I hadn’t thought of the insurance policy for gun owners before. I’d need to chew on that for a bit.

  2. i think the rates of this kind of stuff are probably pretty consistent. perhaps what were observing is a media trend (and the required technology) to make a top story out of these kinds of events no matter where/when they occur. fifty years ago, you would be unlikely to find out about a mass killing in san francisco if you lived in houston.

    • According to the link to Professor Turchin’s work and inequality hypothesis in the Marginal Revolution post, mass killings have increased ’14 fold’ from some base year (if I remember, going from 0.5 to 7/yr). But, of course, we can always find a base year that was low and start from there. We forget how brutal humanity was prior to the modern era, so even 7 mass killings a year — I’m guessing pales in comparison to the types of things that went on a couple hundred years ago. But, that’s not to say that it’s okay.

  3. OK, I think I’ve mentioned my theory on this before – and it did include the reduction in mental institutions as well as the rise of political correctness making it more difficult for friends, neighbors, employers and co-workers to speak up and identify these nuts before they act. Simultaneously, our feel good, “everyone’s a winner” progressives have made it politically incorrect to demand or expect that children face hardships and disappointment (we probably discussed this in relation to sports). As a result, kids don’t learn how to deal appropriately with kid level disappointments and problems. Is it any wonder then that they have difficulty responding appropriately with adult problems and disappointments?

    • I agree. What astounds me that the professor in the link is so into the overarching factors and doesn’t want to look at the individual cases to see if he can learn anything.

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