Jan Jarboe’s “Wonder Drug on Trial” [ TM, December 1991], on fluoxetine (Prozac), left me disappointed. As an instructor on antidepressant pharmacology for psychiatric residents, I emphasize that antidepressants are neither good nor bad but simply drugs with individual side-effect profiles and efficacies. I am appalled that the article did not mention that Skye’s death was almost certainly from amitryptiline toxicity. Overdose of tricyclic drugs like amitryptiline is probably the most common form of lethal drug ingestion worldwide. Ami-tryptiline and Prozac are roughly equal in efficacy against symptoms of depression but obviously require close monitoring by a physician.
Although we psychiatrists “earn a living by treating misery [we] can’t explain,” I would agree with Ms. Jarboe’s guess that Skye’s illness was not a strictly biochemical problem, and a drug could not be expected to “cure” it. Rather, medication might be used as an adjunct while she worked consistently on a long-term basis with a psychotherapist.
STUART D. CRANE, M.D .
The Menninger Clinic
Reclaiming Texas’ History
DANA RUBIN’S “ PAPER TRAIL” [Texana, TM, December 1991], about the theft and recovery of historical documents from the Texas State Library, is informative, but I must take issue with her conclusion that the state’s habit of quietly seeking recovery of stolen documents is sometimes the best policy. As a rare-book dealer and former state-employed rare-book librarian, I am familiar with the people and procedures that were supposed to protect these priceless records, and I know all of the dealers named in the book Texfake. In the past, the state has rarely sought recovery at all, and when efforts were made, they were always quiet. Texfake has brought about public exposure of the problem, and highly motivated administrators have replaced the good ol’ boys of the past, but until the Legislature, the governor’s office, and the state attorney general get serious about supporting a program in which the State of Texas boldly lays claim to what has been stolen and acts aggressively against those who traffic in such material and against those who resist cooperating, the written records of Texas history will continue to slip away.
KEVIN MAC DONNELL
Mac Donnell Rare Books
The Right to Bear Arms
GREGORY CURTIS’ “A ROUND PER SECOND” [Behind the Lines, TM, December 1991] is a refreshing view of the issue of gun control. His comparison of gun control with speech control is an illuminating analogy. I am sure that our founding fathers did not have thirty-round assault rifles in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment.
WHAT A FAIR PIECE OF WRITING! Mr. Curtis states both sides of the issue and focuses on a plan of action conciliatory to all. Restrict or strictly license automatic weapons before they proliferate. The article motivated me (a transplanted Texan) finally to take a stand.
Coral Gables, Florida
MR. CURTIS STATES THAT HE WENT shooting “because I wanted to sort out what I thought about guns.” He still doesn’t seem to know. In one sentence he declares that no one has any business owning a semiautomatic handgun in his opinion but then admits that owning guns is a constitutional right. Also, he chastises Congressman Charlie Wilson for being “totally opposed to any form of gun control.” Next he states that since Mr. Wilson would obviously not favor allowing ten-year-olds to buy guns, that in itself is a form of gun control, so therefore the congressman didn’t really mean what he said and some gun control must be all right. Not at all. Minors are not supposed to enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as adults. One can rightly forbid the selling of guns to kids (or felons) and still be opposed to all forms of gun control. Later Mr. Curtis writes that a gun in the hands of a madman is death for anyone within range. Not necessarily, if someone within range is legally able to carry his own gun and shoots the madman first.
Mr. Curtis states that a Heckler and Koch MP5 can be purchased “at a gun show where there may be no record whatsoever of the transaction.” At any gun show where that has taken place, both the buyer and the seller have broken enough federal laws to go to prison for a long time. The declaration that traffic in assault weapons is a relatively new phenomenon is untrue if “assault weapons” means military-style semiautomatics. They have been commonly available since World War II. The AR-15 was first listed in the Colt catalog in 1963.
North Texas Arms Rights Coalition