Lead Poisoning Risks to the Brains of Rifle Range Shooters Such as Adam Lanza

Gary G. Kohls, MD

Last week’s Duty to Warn column consisted of a poem that I titled “Who Killed Nancy Lanza?” Anybody who read it could accurately conclude that I am not much of a poet, but in my defense, it was actually only the second poem I ever wrote. Another excuse for any amateurish quality was that I was on deadline.

After that experience, I have much more appreciation for all poets (and songwriters), especially for Calvin Trillin, the “deadline poet” of The Nation magazine, who writes short, insightful, and very satirical poems on current issues. And what always impresses me is that his poems also manage to rhyme!

In writing about the multitude of contributing social, psychological, child-rearing, nutritional, spiritual, neurological, neurotoxic chemical exposure, and brain-altering drug factors that go into mass shootings (such as the ones occurring at Sandy Hook, Aurora, Tucson, Virginia Tech, and Columbine), I realized that poetry is an inadequate vehicle to use (compared to a long essay) if one wants to make convincing points to readers.

For instance, the “Who Killed Nancy Lanza?” poem contained several verses that tried to make important points that could help explain what could have motivated Adam Lanza (or any of the other notorious school shooters) to do what he did. But because of the limitations of short-verse rhyming poetry, my attempts may have been inadequate.

Therefore, this week’s column will try to enlarge on a couple of the points I tried to make in two of the verses from the poem. One verse made reference to the potential for lead poisoning of Lanza’s brain from lead-contaminated rifle ranges—a widely under-appreciated reality among shooting sports enthusiasts. (Check out http://www.gun-tests.com/performance/feb97lead.html.)

Another verse refers to the potentially neurotoxic baby shots that most American children of Lanza’s age received during the 1990s, before the dangerous preservative mercury (Thimerosal) was quietly removed from most of the baby shots because of the strikingly close temporal relationship between the massively increasing number of mercury-containing vaccines given to children and the massively increasing incidence of autism and Asperger’s disease during the 1990s. The two verses needing amplification went like this:

Who Killed Nancy Lanza?


“Not us” say the rifle ranges with lead fumes in the air
Slowly poisoning shooters – no one seems to care.
We didn’t know brains were harmed by lead,
So how could we know it could make them dead?
Rifle ranges are here to stay.
It’s just the old American way.
It wasn’t us that made the Lanzas fall,
So you can’t be blaming us at all.”

“Not us” say the vaccine corporate big shots
Offering neurotoxins to babies when they’re only tots.
“We thought that mercury was good for the brain
And we hoped all those shots wouldn’t cause brain drain.
The CDC and the AAP call the baby shot game
So they’re the ones who should shoulder the blame.
It wasn’t us that made Adam’s brain fall
So you shouldn’t be blaming us at all.”

The reality of lead and mercury poisoning of the brain has been, for generations, widely ignored or deceptively reported on in the corporate and BigPharma-friendly media as well as in mainstream medical journals that are, incidentally, heavily subsidized by BigPharma and the vaccine makers.

Industrial Dead Zones in
our Bodies and Brains

Lead and mercury are highly toxic heavy metals that are fairly prevalent in the environment. Heavy metals are notorious for causing multiple neuro-degenerative diseases that commonly afflict workers who have jobs in mining, refining, and/or manufacturing. Heavy metal poisonings are often occupational health hazards that also sicken workers’ families and other people who live in areas near mines, refineries, or processing plants whose technological capabilities make it difficult to avoid polluting the air, soil, water and, ultimately, the plants, fish, and the animals.

The mining and refining of heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, nickel, uranium, and arsenic create “dead zones” (often permanent) in the downwind or downstream environments similar to the “dead zones” around the Fukushima, Chernobyl, New Mexico (atomic bomb test sites) or Pacific Ocean’s U.S. nuclear disasters, Love Canal, the Gulf of Mexico after British Petroleum’s oil spill disaster, the Mississippi Delta dead zone, the Agent Orange dead zone in Vietnam and U.S. vets, etc.

Our beloved St. Louis
River is already a
carcinogenic sick zone

Of course, the lower reaches of our own St. Louis River are already a carcinogen– and mercury-polluted sick zone where the river bottom in many places is covered by yards-thick layers of poisonous industrial waste that seems to have been determined to be an unsolvable problem. One needn’t scratch one’s head and wonder why St. Louis River fish aren’t safe to eat. It is because of the polluting industrial toxic chemicals that were pumped into the water by various unregulated industries, including, to name just two, West Duluth’s U.S. Steel plant and Cloquet’s paper mill (that dumped into the river carcinogenic chlorocarbon bleach waste and other waste matter for decades). The St. Louis may never recover the pristine condition it was in before the white man came to northern Minnesota.  

Of course, in addition to mercury-contaminated fish, mercury thermometers, and the mercury in the air from coal-fired electrical plants upwind—three things usually mentioned in the media when warnings about mercury are discussed—one can’t forget the mercury in the flu shots or the “silver” (actually 50 percent mercury) fillings in our teeth that are fully capable of poisoning our bodies.

We also need to wonder if the jobs, jobs, jobs of past decades were worth the current costs of our massive and unaffordable ill health epidemic. Was the trade-off worth it? What about the huge numbers of neurologically impaired and disabled children that are epidemic? What about the epidemic of psychiatric drug-induced dementia and the unaffordable monetary costs that came from drug– and chemical-induced brain disorders, cancers, vascular diseases, degenerative disorders, infectious diseases, hypothyroidism, mitochondrial disorders, and immune deficiency disorders?

Dead, dying, and disappearing fish aren’t simply the canary in the mine anymore, for we sickened humans are succumbing to the same toxins that are accumulating in our very similar central nervous systems.

It needs to be understood that there are no safe tissue levels for any of the heavy metals listed above, nor are there safe tissue levels for any of the tens of thousands of untested toxic synthetic chemicals that Big Business has so cavalierly released into the environment and into our bodies. No matter what the CDC, EPA, FDA, or any of the hundreds of industry-sponsored trade associations say when they try to soothe us with their well-crafted pronouncements about the newest “acceptable levels” of environmental poisons, THERE ARE NO SAFE TISSUE LEVELS!

Lead/Heavy Metal
Poisoning of the Brain
(and Body)

After the Sandy Hook massacre, people who knew the Lanza family well frequently commented that mother and son spent a lot of time together “bonding” while practicing their shooting skills at (lead-contaminated) rifle ranges.

Anybody’s brain can be poisoned by lead, mercury, or the other heavy metals, but the poisoning of the central nervous system in children is particularly problematic. The heavy metal-poisoned brain are more difficult than diseases of other body organs to diagnose and treat, for human brains are never biopsied pre-mortem and treatment trials for brain disorders are likewise very difficult to assess. Thus neurological symptoms are commonly mis-diagnosed as “mental illnesses of unknown cause” and therefore prone to mis-treatment.

When I was in medical school over 40 years ago, we received one lecture about lead poisoning in children, but my class didn’t have any practical experience with such cases. We were taught that affected babies and toddlers were being sickened by eating paint chips from old lead-based paint that was peeling off the walls in their older, often dilapidated homes. That theory was subsequently altered to a more believable one: invisible lead paint dust from old, crumbling lead paint gets on the unwashed fingers of children and can be accidentally ingested or inhaled. But I don’t recall learning anything about the neurological or mental health consequences of lead poisoning.

I now wonder if lead-poisoned kids of 40 years ago struggled with school. How did they fit in? Did they, like Adam Lanza, have under-developed social skills, or were they teased or bullied because they were neurologically or intellectually different? Were those neurologically damaged kids doomed, like Lanza was, to be poorly understood, neglected, friendless, or shamed?

But I think it can be safely said that even lead-poisoned kids of 40-plus years ago were not psychiatrically drugged with brain-altering, violence-inducing, suicide-inducing, “I don’t give a damn” antidepressant drugs or addictive cocaine-like psycho-stimulants like Ritalin.  And back then, they weren’t eating so much preservative-laced, crappy fast food. They didn’t have easy access to rapid fire weapons with large-capacity clips, nor were there any brain-depleting, first-person shooter video games that Lanza and many of the other school shooters were addicted to.

There are questions we all need to ask. What happens to brain-toxified, brain-altered, brain-malnourished, brain-depleted, and sleep-deprived kids who are feeling sad, lonely, loveless, hopeless, and invisible? What happens to them when their neglectful culture bullies them and treats them like they don’t exist? What happens to them when they are injected with large amounts of mercury-containing, aluminum-containing, formaldehyde-containing, and therefore neurotoxic baby shots? And what happens to them when they are made to ingest untested combinations of dependency-inducing neurotoxic drugs?

Do such kids grow up yearning for revenge? Do they dream of perpetrating violence against their perceived tormenters in their schools, families, workplaces, or neighborhoods? Do such kids think about ending their tormented lives and going out in a blaze of glory? The answers to those questions should be obvious.

Lanza, feeling hopeless in a world that treated him as if he were invisible or subhuman, was a victim of many if not all of these experiences and feelings. Some of those feelings will be revealed in the journals that are yet to be released.

This column is written in order to warn folks who engage in shooting sports, especially those whose brains are not yet fully developed, to be more aware of some of the dangers of lead exposure. Those folks may be at risk of developing any of the heavy metal exposure symptoms listed below and be slightly more inclined to act out violently, especially if they have been cursed by some of the other risk factors mentioned above.

I recommend the thought-provoking article “Massive Lead Contamination at 8000 American Shooting Ranges is Causing Lead Poisoning Among Shooters.” It can be accessed online at http://www.naturalnews.com/022329_lead_poisoning_contamination.html#ixzz2PQ0EaItX00.

Some additional research into the medical literature resulted in this list of symptoms that could be signs of lead (or mercury) poisoning.

Lead poisoning/
lead exposure symptoms

Central nervous system
Violence (especially with children), reduced IQ, ADHD symptoms, school failure, loss of previous developmental skills (in young children), permanent mental retardation,  insanity, brain deterioration, brain damage, psychoses, delirium, dementia, stupor, slurred speech, insomnia, loss of memory (especially short-term memory), sudden behavioral changes, irritability, difficulty concentrating, difficulty with impulse control, fatigue, depression, disorientation, convulsions, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, coordination problems, confusion, coma, headaches
Peripheral nervous system
Limb paralysis (foot drop, wrist drop), paresthesias (numbness, tingling or other abnormal sensations), muscle weakness, deafness

Abdominal pain, cramping, constipation, digestive problems, vomiting, liver damage, sore gums, bleeding gums, loss of appetite, metallic taste in mouth

Menstrual irregularity, decreased fertility, impotence, reduced sperm count, abnormal sperm, premature ejaculation, sterility, stillbirth, miscarriage, kidney damage

Anemia, hemolysis (rupture) of red blood cells, hemoglobinuria (hemoglobin in the urine)

Malaise, slow body growth, high blood pressure, muscle spasms, joint pains, elevated blood pressure, death