Better access to treatment for potential violent offenders ["Supporting the mentally ill," News, June 4]? After the Newtown, Conn., murders, President Barack Obama called for a national conversation about mental health, and the National Rifle Association described our mental health system as broken and in a shambles.

But many mass shooters were in treatment before their acts of violence. To name just a few of the shooters and alleged shooters: Thomas Solomon, who shot six students at his Conyers, Ga., school in 1999, was taking prescribed Ritalin at the time of his rampage; Eric Harris, one of the Columbine High School killers in Colorado in 1999, was seeing a psychiatrist and on psychotropic medications; James Holmes, the suspected Colorado theater shooter, was on prescribed medication before the massacre; and Kip Kinkel, who killed his parents and then murdered two students and wounded 25 others at his Oregon high school in 1998, was seeing a therapist, and on Ritalin and then Prozac, before the shootings.

As a forensic psychologist, I have clinically evaluated 30 young murderers, and almost all of them had been in some kind of treatment -- usually short-term and psychoactive drug-oriented -- before and during the homicides. This is despite numerous research reports warning that these prescriptions can spark acts of violence.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Better access to and availability of treatment as an answer to gun violence? Not in my opinion, and certainly not, in terms of how most therapy (short-term, drug focused) is currently practiced.

David Kirschner, Woodbury