I, like many, watched the various press conferences this morning.
I, like many, was shocked to learn that 28 year-old co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, deliberately flew the aircraft into a mountain.
So, most obvious questions coming from the media frenzy.
"Do you know the religion of the co-pilot?"
"Do you think it was a terrorist attack?"
"What was the mental state of the co-pilot?"
All valid questions that provided negative answers.
So, the most obvious question, to me at least, would have been this...
"Do we know if the co-pilot was on any form of medication?"
Gasp! Oh no, not one of those anti- psych meds nutters asking questions?
Not one single newspaper or TV/Radio journalist posed this question at any of these press conferences. Why is that?
Now, I'm not going to go down some sort of conspiratorial road and suggest that they are not allowed to raise such questions. To be quite frank, reporters will always try to ask the questions that gets them the scoop.
I believe that reporters did not ask this one simple question because they just don't believe that a person taking medication can lose his mind. In any event, even if Andreas Lubitz was on medication it would be pretty hard to prove that his actions were induced by the pharmaceutical product.
In the main, the media tend to shy away from reporting about the medication, opting instead to report on the "illness."
We've seen it time and time again. Joe blogs was depressed and under the care of a psychiatrist, that's why he killed himself.
John Doe had recently split from his girlfriend, that's why he walked into a school and shot his classmates and teacher dead.
Rarely do they report that the "perp" was taking medication. Even if they do, it's pretty vague.
"Joe Blogs was believed to be on antidepressants." or "John Doe, it is reported, had recently started taking medication."
The brand names are, perversely, excluded from the media reports. Wouldn't you like to know the name of a product that made someone crazy?
Now, I'm not suggesting that Andreas Lubitz was on any form of medication but I, for one, would love to know whether or not he was, if only to then ask all the airlines what the protocol was for pilots taking psych meds.
Back in 2010 I received confirmation from the Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] that the antidepressant paroxetine, better known by its brand name of Seroxat [UK and Paxil [US] did not make the "Safe list" of medications to take whilst operating an aircraft. However, the FAA, who at the time were looking at lifting their ban on pilots flying whilst taking medication, had suggested that other SSRi's, namely Fluoxetine [Prozac], Sertraline [Zoloft], Citalopram [Celexa], or Escitalopram [Lexapro] were safe to take whilst operating an aircraft.
Investigative journalist Evelyn Pringle and I corresponded and she wrote a quite brilliant article regarding psychiatric medication and pilots entitled, SSRIs Render Unfriendly Skies.
All the documents I received from the FAA can be viewed online here. They were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
Personally, I think the media have come to accept that SSRi's can induce suicide. Homicide though? They just can't swallow that particular pill.
In other news, Florida Teen Kills Brother, 6, Self After Food Dispute,
"Authorities in Florida are investigating what motivated a 13-year-old boy to apparently fatally shoot his 6-year-old brother, wound his 16-year-old brother, and then turn the gun on himself Wednesday."
No doubt, the anti-psych drugs brigade will have something to say about this. No doubt they will once again be labelled conspiracy theorists.
You know, just because we report on the things that the media won't touch does not make us conspiracy theorists.
Back to retirement.