The incoming president of the National Rifle Association has a new diagnosis for the cause of America’s gun violence: Ritalin.
Two days after a student armed with a Remington 870 shotgun and a .38 calibre pistol shot dead 10 people at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, Oliver North told Fox News Sunday that gun control was not the solution to America’s epidemic of school shootings.
“The problem that we got is we are trying like the dickens to treat the symptom without treating the disease,” he said.
“The disease in this case isn’t the Second Amendment. The disease is youngsters who are steeped in a culture of violence.
“They have been drugged in many cases. Nearly all of these perpetrators are male, and they are young teenagers in most cases. And they’ve come through a culture where violence is commonplace. All we need to do is turn on a TV, go to a movie.”
North singled out the ADHD medication Ritalin as another source of the problem.
“If you look at what’s happened to the young people, many of these young boys have been on Ritalin since they were in kindergarten,” he said.
No evidence has yet emerged that Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the 17-year-old charged with killing eight fellow students and two teachers and wounding 13 others in the rampage in Santa Fe, was on the medication.
According to an affidavit released by the Galveston County District Attorney's Office, Pagourtzis, who abandoned a plan to kill himself at the end of his rampage and surrendered to police, has admitted "to shooting multiple people,” and told police he spared certain students he liked "so he could have his story told.”
Sadie Rodriguez, the mother of one of his victims, 16-year-old Shana Fisher, said she believed her daughter was targeted because she had repeatedly rebuffed Pagourtzis’ attempts to date her.
North, a retired Marine who became a household name in the 1980s through his central role in the Iran-Contra scandal, appears on shaky ground in pointing the finger of blame at a culture of violence: He worked as a consultant for the popular shoot-‘em-up game Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and even appeared in advertising for the game.
Critics have rubbished the NRA’s argument in the wake of the latest shooting, the fourth deadliest at a U.S. school in modern history, and the deadliest since 17 were killed in Parkland, Florida, in February.
“Europe has: people with mental health conditions, kids who take ADHD meds, boys who’ve been rejected by girls, schools with doors, video games, movies, music,” tweeted Andrew Stroehlein, European media director for Human Rights Watch.
“Europe doesn’t have: weekly school shootings. #ItsTheGunsStupid.”
Cover image: Oliver North, political commentator and former United States Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel, speaks at the 2017 Values Voter Summit, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Friday, October 13, 2017. (Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)