So of course the comments at the SF Chronicle's Web site are all aflame about gun control and immigration control, vis a vis Monday's tragedy at Virginia Tech. But only one news outlet so far has reported that the gunman was on psychiatric medication and had been increasingly erratic the past number of weeks.
Psych drugs are a touchier subject than gun control and immigration combined. I was on one such drug one time in my whole life, after being victimized during a violent crime as an undergraduate. It was an anti-anxiety drug that caused an idiopathic reaction within me. To this day I'm convinced that only my camera saved my life; I could either kill myself, or take some pictures. Twisted pictures… a Barbie doll trying to off herself. A pencil in an electric pencil sharpener, spattered with stage blood and sporting a “Goodbye, Cruel World” sign.
I stopped taking the drugs that morning and found other ways to deal with the insomnia and anxiety. Audiogenic therapy worked great.
As I see it, the biggest problem with psychiatric medications is that everyone's body chemistry is different, and no matter how many people are in the FDA testing groups, they're never going to be able to test one of every person. And it only takes one person to have a bad reaction and cause a horrible tragedy.