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David Moyer: Looking at all avenues?

Other Voices
David Moyer

Looking at all avenues? So spoke an FBI official while discussing the Jan. 6 tragedy in Ft. Lauderdale in which five were killed and eight wounded. What did he mean?

We learn that in November 2016, the shooter voluntarily approaches the FBI in Anchorage and tells them he hears voices instructing him to fight for ISIS. He denies being a threat to anyone, but, in response to the FBI’s abundance of caution, agrees to a voluntary psychiatric hospitalization that lasted four days.

Avenues will be explored, such as how he managed to get a gun given his psychiatric history. However, an avenue that has been sadly neglected is the role of the anthrax vaccine in psychoses, his and others. This vaccine is currently required for all active duty members.



Bruce Ivins, a top scientist at the bioterrorism lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and one of the developers of the vaccine, received about 30 anthrax vaccine shots during his career. According to Tom Hamburger with the Los Angeles Times, from 2000 through 2006, Ivins was prescribed antidepressants, anti psychotics and anti-anxiety medication for his “mental” issues. He was alleged to have homicidal and paranoid tendencies. His behavior was so dangerous that his therapist obtained a court order preventing his having contact with her because she feared for her life. In August of 2008, about to be charged for the anthrax terrorist attacks that killed five and injured dozens after 9/11, he committed suicide. An association between the vaccines and his behavior does not prove causation but it warrants further research.

In 2001, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) panel of experts reviewed data from the Defense Medical Surveillance System Database to determine safety and efficacy of the vaccine. The executive summary concluded: “AVA (the anthrax vaccine) is reasonably safe” and “the available data are limited but show no convincing evidence at this time that personnel who have received AVA have elevated risks of later-onset health events.”



Yet a brief look at the data strongly suggests otherwise. Rates of affective psychosis before the administration of the vaccine were 25 per 100,000. Rates after the vaccine were 124 per 100,000. Dr. Mery Nass testified before the House Health Subcommittee: “Raw data from the military’s Defense Medical Surveillance System in 2001 revealed statistically significant increased rates of hospitalizations after vaccination, compared to pre-vaccination, for heart attacks, psychosis, depression, breast cancer, thyroid cancer, gallbladder and bile duct cancers, uterine cancer, diabetes, blood clots, asthma, multiple sclerosis and abnormal PAP smears in 300,000 soldiers. Yet no focused studies of these relationships have been conducted or made public since.” In a November 22, 2011, in an internet interview with Dr. Mercola, she stated there was a greater risk of Gulf War syndrome the more vaccines, including anthrax, were given.

Each person’s immune system is unique. It is activated differently even from the same antigens from an infection or a vaccine. This would account for multiple symptoms that have been reported by those forced to take the vaccine. We know that activation of the immune system by infections can cause obsessive-compulsive symptoms, even psychosis. These shooters don’t just one day decide to go out and shoot people. They obsess about it.

In my first book, Nutrients Quiet the Unquiet Brain, I suggest that the Timothy McVeighs of the world (Oklahoma City bomber) offer unique opportunities to better understand the biological bases for the kinds of destructive behavior about which we read all too frequently. In the past, “mental” was the best we could do. No longer. Multiple measures of inflammation and disruption of vital brain pathways are now available to health care providers.

Pundits label a shooter like this one as “mental.” Such a label explains everything, and nothing.

A culture that ascribes homicidal ideation and behavior to “mental illness” and then fails to explore the biological avenues that contribute to these behaviors is a culture stuck in the past, incapable of accurately diagnosing and treating those whose brains are broken. This is not to suggest there are easy answers, or even, necessarily that his anthrax vaccinations played a central role. It is to suggest that it could have.

Labeling as “mental” not only lets the vaccine manufacturers off the hook. It also prevents health care professionals from exploring the relevant biological factors that contribute to such destructive behaviors. One of these is excessive activation of the immune system in a vulnerable population via immunizations and/or infections.

David Moyer lives in Lake Wildwood.

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