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Marijuana is the Common Web Between So Many Mass Killers

A toxicology report on Devin Patrick Kelley, who shot and killed 26 at a church in Texas on November 5, revealed marijuana.

As Senator Chuck Schumer moves to decriminalize marijuana, he should scrutinize why marijuana plays a role in  so many mass killings.  The toxicology screen of mass killer Devin Patrick Kelley revealed marijuana in his system when he killed 26 people at a Texas church last November.  A week after the killings in Texas,  California “pot farmer” Kevin Neal murdered five people and injured eleven others.  Marijuana, or heavy use of marijuana at a young age, is a common web between many mass killers.

Diagnosed with cannabis-induced psychosis, Satoshi Uematsu killed 19 handicapped people in Japan and injured many others.

Although Devin Kelley had an anti-church bias, other marijuana-using killers express different ideological bents. Satoshi Uematsu, hated handicapped people whom he considered a burden on society.  The Japanese man who stabbed and killed 19 disabled people in 2016 frequently advocated for marijuana legalization.  Just weeks before his attack, Uematsu had been diagnosed with cannabis-induced psychosis and paranoia.  

In 2013, President Obama’s director of drug policy, Gil Kerlikowske released a study which cited marijuana as the drug most commonly linked to crimes.  The links between marijuana and violent behavior transcend national, religious and racial divides.  (Read the two most recent cases of religious violence.)

Jared Loughner, killed six and injured many  in Tucson, AZ, 2011.

Heavy or very heavy use of marijuana at a young age links several gunmen and terrorists with or without ideologies:  Planned Parenthood shooter Robert DearAurora shooter James Holmes; Tucson shooter Jared Loughner, and the Chattanooga shooter Mohammed Abdulazeez.

Marijuana was intricately tied to the Boston bombers, the Oklahoma City bomber and the Bastille Day terrorist in Nice. Brahim and Salah Abdeslem, who planned killing 130 at a Paris night club, and Cherif Kouachi, of the Charlie Hebdo killings, also belonged to the complicated web of heavy, chronic marijuana users.  The perpetrators of bombings in London and Manchester were known to be heavy marijuana users.

When Marijuana Use Leads to Acute or Chronic Psychosis

Robert Dear, Planned Parenthood shooter, November 27, 2015

While around 50% of American adults have tried marijuana, only 10-13 % of adults smoke pot on any regular basis.  Pot-using mass killers often stand out because of the chronic and obsessive nature  of their marijuana habit.   Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Dear appears to have moved from North Carolina to Colorado, fixated on his desire to be high.

A significant chunk of marijuana users experience psychotic symptoms.  Psychotic killers with mental illness may appear different from political and religious killers, but they often share the trait of persistent, early marijuana use.

Noah Harpham, was in mania when he shot three people in Colorado Springs  in 2015.

Noah Harpham, who shot three people in Colorado Springs weeks before the Planned Parenthood shootings,  experienced early pot addiction and tried to recover.    When he used marijuana again after Colorado legalized it, he immediately went into psychosis.   Shortly before he went on a shooting rampage, he had been trying to get mental health treatment.

Aurora, Colorado theater shooter, James Holmes, was a heavy marijuana user.  A neighbor reported regularly seeing him smoking weed behind his apartment, but never talked to him.

James Holmes, Aurora shooter used to smoke weed behind the apartment.

The Chattanooga shooter suffered mainly from depression and/or bipolar disorder, and may not have been driven as much by  ideology as the other mass shooters.  Heavy marijuana use was an essential part of his life, and it had prevented him from getting a job.

The Teen Brain

The Boston bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,  had been heavy, persistent teenage marijuana users.  A study from the University of Pittsburgh shows strong changes may affect the adolescent user years later, even after stopping the use of marijuana.

Nice terrorist Mohammed Bouhlel smoked very strong weed in high school, and had his first psychotic break at 19.

The Nice terrorist, Mohammed Bouhlel, plowed into the crowd with a truck on Bastille Day two years ago, killing 86 people.  Bouhlel had a history of smoking strong cannabis as a teen.  He had an early psychotic break at age 19, a few years before the move to France.  His psychosis predated his interest in jihad, which had begun only a few months before the Bastille Day attack. Bouhlel also took steroids and pharmaceutical drugs years later, but started his drug use with weed.

In 2014, Washington State high school student Jaylen Fryberg shot five friends whom he had invited to eat lunch with him.  On Twitter he revealed the need to smoke a ton of pot because of a breakup.  The girl who had broken up with him said on Twitter that smoking pot made him stupid.   He was only 15 at the time, but Washington State started selling commercialized pot about four months earlier.

Marijuana strongly alters the teen brain, and  a recent study from Montreal pinpointed that any user under age 25 can become of victim of psychotic symptoms.

Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh killed 168 in 1996

Another pair of high school shooters, the Columbine shooters, chose to do their rampage on 4/20, a symbolic date for junkies.  Timothy McVeigh also chose this day for the Oklahoma City bombing.

Were the DC Snipers, John Allen Muhammed and Lee Boyd Malvo,   pot users?  They fit into a pattern of an older man using marijuana to control a teenager.  Before ending up in the DC area, they moved between places  known for marijuana: Jamaica, Antigua, Bellingham,  Tacoma.

When Marijuana Psychosis Leads to Violence: Aurora, Arizona

Some the most notorious recent murderers who were marijuana users fell victim to psychosis and delusion: Aurora shooter Holmes, Tucson shooter Loughner, Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Dear and Eddie Routh.  Routh shot “American Sniper” Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield because of his paranoia.  He smoked marijuana the day of the murders.  Suffering from PTSD, he thought the other men would hurt him.

Eddie Routh, veteran with PTSD, smoked pot the morning before he killed Chris Kyle Chad Littlefield.
The Planned Parenthood shooter in Colorado Springs, Robert Dear,  appears to have been both ideologically fanatic and psychotic.  Eric Rudolph, another infamous anti-abortion terrorist, also had a marijuana history –the reason for his discharge from the Army.
The 15% or so of marijuana users who experience psychotic symptoms from marijuana or go into permanent psychosis (schizophrenia) are 9x more likely to become violent than schizophrenics whose illness has nothing to do with drugs. *

Marijuana often creates a cat-and-mouse chase with depression, bipolar, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia, and it makes these conditions worse. 

Educating about the connection between drug use and violence with an eye on drug prevention could alleviate much violent crime.

Solution to Cutting Down Mass Violence

Americans argue over the most effective means to stop mass killers.

Discussions often leave out one of the most important components of violence……compulsive drug use, especially marijuana.  Let’s consider that the root of violence goes much deeper than a person’s religion, gun laws or innate mental illness.  Let’s stop legalizing drugs.
A Secret Service report on mass attacks in public places, 2017, connected 54% of attackers to illicit drugs or substance abuse.
Manchester terrorist Salmon Abedi

We acknowledge that not everyone who uses marijuana becomes mentally ill or psychotic.  However, cannabis use, especially in young users can cause extraordinary changes to the brain.   Read how Salman Abedi changed from a cannabis smoking teen to an Isis terrorist. 

Robert Durst, who allegedly murdered several people throughout the United States depended upon his “beloved marijuana.”
Readers should check out the many excellent sources describing links between marijuana, mental illness and violence, including:

*Fazel S, Långström N, Hjern A, Grann M, Lichtenstein P. Schizophrenia, substance abuse, and violent crime. JAMA. 2009 May 20;301(19):2016-23.

Miller, Norman S Miller and Thersilla Oberbarnscheidt.  Marijuana Violence and Law. Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy, January 17,  2017

Harris AW, Large MM, Redoblado-Hodge A, Nielssen O, Anderson J, Brennan J. Clinical and cognitive associations with aggression in the first episode of psychosis. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2010 Jan;44(1):85-93..……

opioid

Big Marijuana moves to exploit the Opioid Epidemic

Remarks prepared by Drug Free America Foundation, March 2018. Get a downloadable copy here.

Marijuana use is associated with an increased risk of prescription opioid use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse analyzed data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions and found respondents who reported past-year marijuana use in their initial interview had 2.2 times higher odds than nonusers for having a prescription opioid use disorder and 2.6 times greater odds of abusing prescription opioids.[i]

Marijuana use seems to strengthen the relationship between pain and depression and anxiety, not ease it. A recent study that surveyed 150 adults receiving MAT examined whether marijuana use diminishes the relationships between pain, depression, and anxiety and whether self-efficacy influences these interactions. The study concluded that marijuana use strengthens the connection between feelings of pain and emotional distress. Marijuana use was also associated with a low sense of self-efficacy, making it harder for them to manage their symptoms.[ii] Continue reading

summer-dangers-children

More child abuse deaths related to marijuana

At least two more child abuse deaths related to marijuana use occurred in May.   In Florida, Charles Lee left a baby, aged one,  alone.  He went into the front yard to smoke pot with a 15-year-old and the baby drowned in a backyard pool.  It is not clear what Charles Lee’s relationship is to the parents, but they had entrusted him with the child at the time.

In Salt Lake City, a father smoked pot and fell asleep on the floor.  He left out a loaded gun and his two year-old shot himself.    Both these incidents reflect the irresponsibility, forgetfulness and selfishness that surround using pot.  Unfortunately, the victims are so young.

Parents Opposed to Pot has found 11 incidences of children drowning in pools, five of them in Florida and two in California. Continue reading

suicide

Talent Riddled with Tragedy: Suicide, Mental Health and Drugs

Anthony Bourdain. Kate Spade. You know their names and you know the unfortunate circumstances surrounding their untimely passing. Bourdain, 61, and Spade, 55, took their lives in suicides by hanging. Their deaths marked an immediate response from mental health advocates while pushing mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety to the forefront of the news cycle.

Prior to their deaths the CDC’s (Center for Disease Control), Vital Signs report found that suicide rates have been rising in nearly every state. In 2016, nearly 45,000 Americans age ten or older died by suicide. Even more alarming, suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death and is one of three leading causes that are on the rise. But what does this mean for states where drug use runs rampant? Colorado saw a 34.1 percent increase in suicides while Washington and Oregon saw increases by 18.8 percent and 28.2 percent. Take into consideration that these states have legalized marijuana for recreational and/or medicinal use and it’s clear that mind-altering drugs can aggravate those with and without mental health conditions.

suicide

Bourdain was a long time pot smoker and made countless marijuana jokes, often alluding to smoking weed in the restaurants he visited. The “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” Twitter account once tweeted an elaborate illustration detailing “how to roll a joint.”

Did copious amounts of THC play a part in Bourdain’s death? At this point we don’t know for sure, but we do know that his weed addiction began in his younger years right before the publication of his best-selling book, “Kitchen Confidential,” in 2000. “Weed was a major expense. Before I reached the point where weed made me paranoid and agoraphobic, it was costing me a few hundred dollars a week,” the chef recalled. Fast forward to becoming a successful star, and Bourdain was using cocaine to offset the effects of weed. It’s important to note that cannabis is playing a role in many suicides by causing mental health disorders, including depression and psychosis. One has to wonder if a cocktail of drugs played a part in his untimely death.

Kate Spade suffered from mental illnesses for several years. She was seeking help during the last five years, “seeing a doctor on a regular basis and taking medication for both depression and anxiety,” widower Andy Spade said in a statement. It’s worth nothing that we don’t know if any drug use triggered her problems. The CDC’s Vital Signs report found many factors contributing to the various suicide cases across the country. It’s eye-opening that more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death.

What a shame it is that thousands of Americans are advocating to legalize a drug with the potential to severely damage the brain? There’s absolutely no sense in burdening our country with a mental health crisis.

Cannabis is know to cause mood disorders, and mood disorders are a leading cause of suicide.

MomsStrong.org is  a website started by two parents who lost their sons to marijuana-related suicide. Read Shane’s story, and Andy’s story. PopPot.org is also sounding the alarm about the cannabis-suicide risk. See our many articles on suicide related to cannabis use.

To learn more about the CDC report and the rising suicide rate across the United States click here: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/p0607-suicide-prevention.html