Psychiatric Data Excluded from FBI Report

( –┬áThe Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released a new report detailing common factors in active shooter incidents. The topic is one of great concern as active shooter incidents in the U.S. have been increasing over the years with a 60% rise since 2019.

While identifying aspects of the shooters, their lives and the incidents themselves is helpful, some have pointed out that certain data seems to be missing from the report. While often these violent perpetrators have previously noted psychiatric conditions, the report makes no mention of psychiatric medication they may have been taking.

While the summary of the report references the Investigative Assistance for Violent Crimes Act of 2012, there is nothing in it that prohibits or limits the collection of data related to mental health. The introduction to the report even specifies that it will not include any information regarding drug-related violence. It is unclear if that refers to illegal drugs or prescription medications. Many of these mass shooters have had a recent stint at a psychiatric hospital or another known mental health crisis. Some believe it could be helpful for the public to know if there may be medications they might have in common.

Adam Lanza, the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook tragedy, had a long history of mental health struggles. His psychiatrist, Dr. Paul Fox, was arrested in 2016 for sexual misconduct with a patient. He had also destroyed clinical records. Lanza was prescribed with four different psychiatric medications, three of which have known behavioral or mental side effects. Robert Card who killed 18 people in Maine in 2023 had been hearing voices and had recently spent two weeks in a psychiatric hospital. It is unknown what, if any, medications he may have been taking. There are many who claim that there can be no true reckoning with mass shooters without taking into account factors like psychiatric care and treatments.

The FBI report includes data regarding locations of shooting incidents, the age, sex or gender of the shooters, and what kind of weaponry they used. The FBI website also has extensive resources for prevention, personal safety and preparedness for the community. The data they presented in the report and the helpful information on their site are good, but some say they are still hiding, or just not collecting, vital information. Criticizing established psychiatric care options, including many commonly used medications, can be a third rail. However, open discussion of all possible common factors is the only way to work towards a real solution.

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