High Noon in America’s Outland

One of the most memorable scenes in science fiction cinema was in the 1981 movie Outland. At a mining facility on Jupiter’s moon Io, one of the workers inexplicably rips open his spacesuit while working outside in the near-vacuum, spattering himself all over the airlock window. Federal Marshal William O’Niel, portrayed by Sean Connery, investigates this and other incidents in an epidemic of senseless violence. The cause turns out to be a stimulant drug the mining company gives to its workers. The drug increases workers’ productivity, but there are some nasty side effects. His investigation threatens some powerful people, and the Marshal has to take on a gang of company hit men, in a scene that his been called High Noon in outer space.”

This is picture that came to my mind after the recent Navy Yard tragedy. Although the mainstream media hasn’t given it much attention, deceased shooter Aaron Alexis had recently been treated with psychiatric drugs. In fact, many of the perpetrators of recent mass shootings have had a similar history. It this more than a coincidence, as many in he alternative media claim?

I’m a naturally skeptical person, so when I first heard the news of a possible link between psychiatric drugs and suicide, I was not surprised. After all, many of the people who take these drugs do so because of depression. My question was, did the drugs actually increase the likelihood of suicide, or were they just ineffective at preventing it? Was there a real risk or was it just a disclaimer to protect the manufacturers from lawsuits?

Unfortunately, the problem was much broader than that. Antidepressants are only one type within the broad category of psychiatric drugs. They include drugs like Ritalin, usually prescribed to keep hyperactive children focused in school. Here is a situation in which medication is given, often under extreme pressure from school authorities, to children who aren’t necessarily that troubled. It’s a win-win for the pharmaceutical industry, which makes billions of dollars, and the schools, who can maintain their educational assembly line without being disrupted by inconvenient displays of individualism. The losers, if the allegations are true, are the victims of the resulting senseless violence, as well as our treasured civil liberties, such as the right to bear arms.

Why would these drugs cause violence in some users, when the majority seem to experience no such side effects? I’ve heard many theories, both in the alternative media and from discussions with friends and colleagues. One possibility is withdrawal. Some of the accused shooters had supposedly discontinued their medication suddenly. If the withdrawal symptoms are not debilitating as they would be with heroin, for example, the addict is able to take out his distress on himself or the people around him. Another theory is detachment; the notion that under the drug’s influence the user no longer fears death, or feels remorse at the thought of killing. My own hypothesis, which I haven’t heard from anyone else, is that to the extent that medication replaces therapy, people with severe mental problems are allowed to get worse while remaining functional in society. These people never challenge their own irrational, destructive thought patterns, which eventually cause them to snap.

Though I have no particular expertise or experience in this matter, I did have a close friend who committed suicide while taking psychiatric drugs. He also had a drinking problem, so I’m not sure if the drugs were solely to blame. Despite this tragedy, my opinion is still guided by a pro-freedom, pro-technology philosophy. Psychotropic drugs are a just another tool, which may be useful for people with certain mental illnesses. Furthermore, I’m not inclined to ban anything without an overriding reason. Such bans, no matter how well-intentioned, have their own negative consequences, such as with Alcohol Prohibition and the War on Drugs.

What we really need is transparency, beginning with some serious, independent research. The drug companies, schools, and government “health” agencies such as the Veterans Administration all have an interest in the status quo, so they must not be involved. Nor should the alternative health community do the study, as their well-known anti-pharmacology bias would make any results suspect. Unfortunately, without the approval of the Federal government (which appears to be under the influence of the pharmaceutical lobby) no serious study can happen since these drugs are, conveniently enough, controlled substances.

Even if a link between psychiatric drugs and violence is conclusively proven, it doesn’t necessarily mean they would be the only cause. There may be additional factors which taken in combination can better explain the violent behavior, and hopefully increase our understanding of human psychoses. Though there may be situations where these drugs still prove useful, I suspect that the widespread over-prescription of these drugs would cease, especially for minor ailments such as attention deficit problems. Surely an occasional disruption in the classroom would be preferable to the risk of violence in the future.

Here in the American Outland, we are in dire need of a hero like O’Niel who is willing to face down the powerful forces of government and industry, High Noon style. Otherwise the tragic attacks will continue, and the people may never know the truth.

 

Coming Clean – a Future History

Transcript of speech delivered in front of Chelsea Manning Monument at the International Truth Day celebration, September 11, 2026 in Washington City.

Friends, colleagues, distinguished guests, free people of America (pause for cheering) I stand before you in the company of giants, humbled by the immensity of the sacrifices others have made to restore this land to its former greatness. Though we are no longer one country but several, we are all still part of the same great nation.

Many of you, like me, are old enough to recall that day of infamy, September 11, 2001. Doubtless you remember where you were and what you were doing when the planes hit the Towers, bringing death to over three thousand innocents. Our so-called leaders laid the blame on a terrorist mastermind named Osama bin Laden. We accepted the invasion of Afghanistan, allegedly to capture him and avenge his victims. It would take decades for the lies to unravel and the real culprits to be brought to justice. By that time, the damage to the United States – its prosperity, freedom, and credibility – was nearly irreversible.

Initially, we mocked the minority who questioned the government’s explanation of the events of that day, and accepted that “national security” required permanent secrecy regarding every aspect of the “war on terror.” Yet there were those whose consciences forced them to act. A young soldier, known at that time as Bradley Manning, did his duty to inform the public about war crimes in Iraq, releasing a huge trove of classified information to Wikileaks. This was followed by Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations. Despite the horrific persecution of Manning and the pursuit of Snowden, others followed their example.

When an anonymous intelligence analyst released the 9/11 Files, many of us refused to believe them. There were skeptics even in the Truther community, because their theories about wing pods and nano-thermite were demolished. Yet the files proved that the attacks on the Towers and the Pentagon were orchestrated by a tiny cabal of intelligence insiders, including a former Vice President. How could we have been so small-minded, our imaginations so constrained, that we couldn’t conceive this possibility? Our own spies, unaccountable to any law or authority, had become as corrupt and ruthless as the Soviet KGB.

The Bible says, “The Truth will set you free.” But what is the cost of a lie? Many thousands of brave American service people died, some in battle, others by their own hands upon returning home to a government that refused to care for them. Over a million innocent Muslims were killed, including old men, women and children. We lost our civil liberties and privacy. Countless Americans were imprisoned or “disappeared” for daring to oppose the National Security State.

The revelations ended our complacency. In the beginning they brought not peace, “but a sword,” Riots broke out in all major cities. The President was removed from office – he was facing impeachment anyway – by a military coup. Tens of thousands were dragged from their homes to FEMA camps. It looked like the end of the American republic.

But from every evil there comes some good. In the late twenty-teens our civilian resistance was victorious. This was due in part to the brave men and women who mutinied or deserted their units rather than fire upon their fellow Americans. They had read the illegal leak websites, and no longer believed the lies of their commanders.

This ended the “War of Terror”, and forced the closure of American bases worldwide. So also ended the Apartheid State in Israel. When the crimes of the Mossad (and its political arm AIPAC) were revealed, not even Christian Zionists supported the anti-Palestinian regime. The House of Saud fell to a Shiite rebellion. And the mighty Federal Reserve? When we learned the secrets of the banking cartel, even Democrats agreed to end the Fed.

Gone now are Homeland Security and the alphabet agencies that once oppressed us: IRS, TSA, NSA, DEA and others. Most importantly, we have fulfilled Kennedy’s threat to the agency that killed him; it has been “scattered to the winds.”

Within the CIA archives, we discovered our nation’s true history. These have been published online, with only the personal information of individuals redacted. The revelations of dirty dealings by other governments have caused oppressed populations to rise up around the world. Even our earlier history his been revised. The monument behind me, formerly dedicated to the war criminal Lincoln, has been re-named for the first true hero of the twenty-first Century, Chelsea Manning.

At times I can scarcely believe how far we have come. Yesterday I boarded a plane without being X-rayed or scanned. I crossed international boundaries without undergoing a single search. With no time wasted in needless security, I arrived early enough to visit the Pentagon Peace Mall, where I saw happy children from many nations, riding the merry-go-rounds and roller coasters in the atrium of that former temple of death.

I do not claim that we have achieved utopia. There are a host of problems facing us, including the devastation of our recent civil war, and the flood of refugees from ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere. Tens of millions of baby boomers, myself included, have lost our homes, savings and “social security” to the greed of the financial elite who have fled our nation with their ill-gotten gains. Since their crimes are public knowledge, other nations have begun to send them back, and we reclaim our property, dollar by dollar.

So today we celebrate the Truth and mourn those we have lost – the victims of the attacks 25 years ago, the casualties of the wars – American, Afghan, Libyan, Somali, and others – and the dead and missing from our own coup and rebellion. May the Higher Power, whatever you conceive it to be, bless our people, and may the light of Truth forever shine upon this nation.

(Applause, band plays “God Bless America.”)

Author’s Note: The preceding is fiction, of course, but who knows where the truth will lead us?