The Fort Hood Murders/Suicide and the Taboo Question: What Brain-Altering Psych Drugs Was Fort Hood Shooter Ivan Lopez Taking?

Gary G. Kohls, MD

Most of us have been aware of the round-the-clock press coverage of the latest mass shooting incident at Fort Hood, Texas. Seemingly all the possible contributing causes of such a horrific act of violence have been raised and discussed.  However, there is the usual elephant in the room that was only hinted at in the corporate media on the first uncensored day of reporting, just like the day one revelations on 9/11/01 when many eyewitness reporters realized – and then actually reported, on camera - that the three WTC towers 1, 2 and 7 appeared to have come down because of controlled demolitions. On day two, and ever since then, the complicit media have been reporting the approved talking points that fooled most of the people and established as pseudofact the absurd and provably untrue White House conspiracy theories (see for details).

These elephants in the room (both 9/11 and the mass shootings) are something that should be obvious to any free-thinking person of intelligence who has been paying the least bit of attention. Our uniquely American mass shooting pandemic (especially in the schools) did not start until the 1960s, soon after the pharmaceutical industry and the compliant psychiatric industry began the cavalier drugging of Americans. 

More recently, military psychiatry has been massively drugging American active-duty soldiers and veterans, so no one should be surprised about the number of soldier and veteran suicides and related acts of gun violence that are occurring at record levels. (For a partial list of school shooters and their psych drugs, see my 2013 Duty to Warn column “Guns and Drugs Don’t Mix” at And for a list of 5000-plus instances of irrational violent acts, just from SSRI drugs, see

 We all should be outraged at the failure of most of our so-called journalists (and the editors of the admittedly corporate-controlled media) to thoroughly inquire about the strong connections between brain-altering drugs and gun violence, as they are seen to miss every opportunity to probe for real answers to the gun violence epidemic that plagues America. Their failures are certainly appreciated by the psychiatric, medical and pharmaceutical industries who obviously don’t want questions raised about the potential lethality and brain-damaging nature of the psych drug cocktails they seem to hand out like candy. All the groups mentioned above seem to be studiously avoiding that major factor that would help to de-mystify the “senseless” acts of homicidality, suicidality, and other seriously aberrant behaviors exemplified at the latest Fort Hood shooting. 

Why Can’t we Overcome Taboo Subjects Like Drug-induced Violence?

It is an established fact that brain-altering psych drug cocktails can, just by themselves, cause the extinction of empathy and of impulse control, and thus also increase the likelihood of impulsive acts of violence, suicidality, and psychopathic personality trait development. Exposing those facts is a big threat to the previously honorable professions of psychiatry and medicine. And it is an existential threat to the too-big-to-fail multinational pharmaceutical companies (that, by the way, qualify for the diagnosis of sociopathic personality disorder; see All three of these entities are somehow regarded as not just too big to fail, but also as too important to criticize. 

 It must be emphasized that in order to really heal a sick nation of its frailties, traumas and criminalities, it is essential that thorough and unfettered searches for inconvenient truths be made, no matter where the search leads. No exceptions should be tolerated, even if the stock prices of Astra-Zeneca, Eli Lilly, Glaxo, Novartis and Pfizer will be adversely affected and the American Psychiatric Association has to apologize and change its ways.  

The Elephant in the Room: Psych Drugs as a Tipping Point to Overt Acts of Violence

Let me say again: the elephant in the room—the taboo subject that has kept us as a nation from comprehending the epidemic of mass (and individual) shootings—is, in so many cases, the intimate connection between gun violence and the overuse of brain-altering and addictive psych drugs, especially among young children and adolescents of military age whose brains haven’t been hard-wired yet (and are thus more vulnerable to brain-altering drugs). 

 It will take some political will to overcome our nation’s cognitive dissonance and the tendency to reflexively deny and blindly ignore unwelcome new truths while simultaneously rejecting old, increasingly discredited belief systems that have claimed that psych drugs are safe when used long-term. SSRIs, for example, were only tested in human trials for 4 to 8 weeks before being released on the market to patient victims who were going to be told to take them for the rest of their lives. Not only that, but no psych drugs have ever been thoroughly tested long-term—even in the rat lab—in combinations of two or more drugs. Yikes! That approach has already failed our children and our soldiers and has only made our uniquely American epidemic of gun violence worse.

 The most frequent common denominator in so many of these “senseless” acts of gun violence (whether in the sobering numbers of school shootings or active-duty military homicides or soldier/veteran suicides) is the ingestion (or withdrawal from) brain– and behavior-altering psychiatric drugs. But that unwelcome truth is, as was pointed out above, a taboo subject in the corporate media that just refuses to risk damaging the highly profitable drug industry or the prestige of the psychiatric and medical industries. And it seems that the U.S. military refuses to admit they have made a mistake in allowing (or even encouraging) the drugging of gun-toting, sleep-deprived, alcohol-abusing, stressed-out, malnourished, combat-traumatized, and often brain-injured soldiers.

 These popular, aggressively marketed, highly profitable drugs are well known to cause any number of serious adverse effects that include rage, hostility, suicidality, sleep deprivation, depression, memory loss, mania, sexual dysfunction, and even hallucinations or other psychotic symptoms. 

The popular “sleeping aid” and hypnotic Ambien—the only drug that was accidentally mentioned on day one by name as being taken by Lopez—is notorious for causing sleep-walking, sleep-eating and sleep-driving with total amnesia after awakening! The mass shooter Robert Bales, who massacred a total of 16 innocent civilian members of two Afghanistan villages two years ago, had been prescribed Ambien (as well as Lariam, which can cause anger and psychotic episodes). Active-duty soldiers say that Ambien is handed out like candy on the battlefield and is shared widely. 

Other important adverse drug effects of psychoactive drugs include an indifference to the suffering of others (and themselves), delusions, and impulsiveness. Such drugs can easily cause new symptoms that are commonly misdiagnosed as a “new” mental illness or personality disorder, including the potentially lethal “I don’t give a damn” attitude so common among adolescent users of antidepressant drugs.  

 Most Americans, including prescribing physicians, are tragically unaware that the vast majority of the infamous “school shooters,” from Columbine shooter Eric Harris to Red Lake shooter Jeff Wiese to Virginia Tech shooter Cho to Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza, were taking (or withdrawing from) prescription “antidepressant” drugs like Luvox, Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil. (See for more than 5,000 other examples of similar stories about antidepressant drug-induced irrational behaviors.)

But antidepressants aren’t the only culprits, and school shooters aren’t the only category of violent victims of psychiatric drugs, and aberrant behaviors aren’t the only risk for people who are taking them long-term. 

Drug-induced Brain Disorders: A Perfect Crime 

Practicing psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin ( has been writing and lecturing for decades about the dangers of psychotropic drugs and the phenomena of drug-induced mental ill health and drug-induced brain damage. His well-written, well-researched and well-documented books include “Toxic Psychiatry,” “Your Drug May Be Your Problem,” “Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry,” “The Antidepressant Fact Book,” “Talking Back to Prozac,” “Talking Back to Ritalin,” and the book most pertinent to the current issue of drug-induced violence, “Medication Madness: A Psychiatrist Exposes the Dangers of Mood-Altering Medications.”

Dr. Breggin wrote the following after the 2009 Fort Hood massacre, perpetrated by psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan: 

“Modern psychiatry is not about counseling and empowering people. It’s about controlling and suppressing them, and that’s a dismal affair for patients and doctors alike. The armed forces have been taken in by the false claims of modern psychiatry. 

“By contrast, it’s not depressing to do psychotherapy or counseling. As therapists, it’s inspiring when people entrust their feelings and their life stories to us. There is no burnout when therapists feel concern and empathy for their patients and help them to find the strength and direction to reclaim their lives. 

“But being an ordinary [that is, a psychiatric drug dispensing] psychiatrist is deadly depressing. Psychiatrists routinely commit spiritual murder by disregarding and suppressing their patients’ feelings and even their cognitive functions, making it impossible for them to conquer their emotional struggles. It’s no wonder my colleagues have such high suicide and drug addiction rates. 

“The most recent data show that soldiers are being snowed under not only with antidepressants and tranquilizers, but increasingly with antipsychotic drugs like Risperdal, Zyprexa, Geodon and Seroquel. To cover up their own therapeutic impotence, psychiatrists chemically suppress our troops and push them back onto the front lines. That’s the kind of poisonous psychiatry that Major Hasan was practicing…” 

“Dr. Bart Billings is the founder and director of the premier International Combat Stress Conference. He agrees that it’s criminal to prescribe psychiatric drugs to active duty soldiers, increasing the risk that they will break under stress and lose their self-control. 

“It’s time for the army to reject the false promises and damaging effects of modern psychiatry, and to focus on psychological, educational and moral approaches that genuinely help soldiers to prepare for and to overcome the effects of combat stress.” 

The Case of Ivan Lopez is a Good Example of a Murder Suicide 

Potential killers who might be on brain-altering psychoactive drugs are not thinking rationally (though they may not realize it), but they may be aware that they are not likely to get away with the murderous acts without getting killed themselves. The phenomenon is known as “suicide by cop,” and it has been true of many mass shootings, including the 2009 Fort Hood case of Major Hasan. 

It is easy to imagine how drug-intoxicated, angry, hopeless or suicidal soldiers (who know every which way to kill perceived enemies) decide that they want revenge against the person in the bar who dissed them—or perhaps against the girlfriend or wife who wrote the “Dear John” letter—or perhaps when their human rights were denied as in the case of Ivan Lopez. 

Sometimes the act of revenge will be planned ahead of time so that the perpetrator will go out in a “blaze of glory,” by taking out their perceived enemies in a glorious shoot-out. Ending their hopeless and despairing lives in such a dramatic fashion will ensure that they will be remembered as someone who wasn’t just an invisible nobody but was indeed someone deserving of respect and not scorn (even if it is only because of the size of the gun they wielded).

Powerful forces, including the military psychiatrists who “treated” Ivan Lopez by prescribing brain-disabling drugs for him, have been and will continue to be operating behind the scenes at Fort Hood. Secrecy will prevail. Important information about the suicide-inducing and violence-inducing drugs that were prescribed will be censored out. Lopez’s critically important medical records will be sealed, claiming doctor-patient confidentiality (when the real reason is probably the avoidance of malpractice suits), as was true in the cases of Columbine co-shooter Dylan Klebold, Batman shooter James Holmes, Virginia Tech shooter Cho, and Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza. Suicide notes will be carefully hidden away from public view, and thus we will be distracted from the facts concerning the role of the drugs. And of course the promises about “getting to the bottom of this” from the Fort Hood commanding officer to President Obama will go nowhere. 

But if there is to be any healing of America, a thorough, transparent investigation of all factors needs to be done, even if the toes of those who prefer continuing the cover-up are stepped on. The victims and the grieving families of the school shootings, the military murders/suicides, and 9/11/01—victims past, current or future—have the right to know the unvarnished truth, if for no other reason than for our society to be able to understand what has been going on and to plan effective preventive strategies for the future. 


Dr Kohls is a medical physician who practiced holistic (non-drug) mental health care in Duluth, MN until his retirement in 2008. He writes about war, peace, justice, mental health and nutrition and feels it is his professional duty to warn about some of the censored-out and taboo issues relating to America’s epidemic of violence.