Category Archives: Violence

The “War on Drugs” has Become a “War for Drugs”

One of the arguments to legalize marijuana use is that the “War on Drugs” failed.  The term “War on Drugs” was adopted by President Nixon nearly 50 years ago, but it was officially dropped in 2009.  Like “War on Poverty,” “War on AIDs,” it represents a concerted effort to get rid of something.  However, it really is a just a euphemism which means different things to different people.

Today we have a “War for Drugs,” in which states think they can legalize marijuana for tax money without considering the other social costs.  These costs include car crashes, suicides, mental illness and crime.  Furthermore, gangs and cartels moved aggressively into the heroin trade after Colorado and Washington legalized pot.   Some states with legalized pot have attracted foreigners who come into areas and buy up properties for illegal marijuana growing.

Anyone who argues that US policy causes the violence of drug gangs and cartels lacks an of understanding of the nature of drugs.

 

“War on Drugs” Rhetoric

The idea that the “war on drugs” is a war on black and Hispanic communities is a simplistic way to explain a complex situation.   The ACLU, which has had an important stake in legalization efforts in Maine, Vermont and Washington uses these arguments to press legalization of marijuana.

Wealthy white drug dealers can often afford more expensive lawyers than minority drug dealers, leading to disparate sentencing.  Black males have been disproportionately jailed for violating drug laws.  Michelle Alexander, who wrote The New Jim Crow, supports legalization of all drugs.  However, she is laments the fact that legalization has benefited the white males who are now making all the profits.

The drug policy – violence theory also demonstrates a poor understanding of the nature of humanity.  Gangs and cartels are money-making paths that bring profits quickly.  Anyone can be lured into the profit motive without thinking of the harm, particularly when young and risky behaviors seem exciting.  There is a certain “high” that comes from evading the law.

Benicio del Toro in the 2012 film Savages
Benicio del Toro in the 2012 film Savages. Top photo is also Benicio del Toro

Criminal businesses will be always be attractive to both the rich and the poor.  Some cartel leaders are well-educated and even rich.  If it were only about income inequality, many would get out of the drug trade sooner.  We need to foster opportunities for the poor, so they don’t see drug dealing as a route out of poverty.  Regardless of circumstances, drug dealers are hungry for power.  They would find other ways to maintain power over people, if legalizing pot truly kept all the profits for government.  Experience has shown that they branch out into other crimes, such as human trafficking and selling heroin and fetanyl.

 When Drug Wars Occur

Drug wars happen when growers and cartels compete to have the strongest, most potent strains of marijuana.   High-THC plants bring higher profits.  The marijuana industry pretends that government is to blame for the greedy, violent wars between drug cartels.

We can see the violence that comes with the competition in the drug trade in the book and movie, Savages of 2012, with Benicio del Toro.  An earlier movie  Blow, in which Johnny Depp played notorious drug dealer George Jung, tries to illicit sympathy for the criminal who was instrumental in bringing the Columbian cocaine trade to the USA.  It is clear that greed and adventure motivated Jung, without concern about the harmful consequences to others.

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow

Marijuana advocates who say “drug wars don’t work,”  play into current anti-government sentiments.  They say anti-pot groups take money from pharmaceutical companies, police unions or the alcohol industry.   These claims are without merit.  In their twisted logic, they say the US has created cartel violence in Mexico. Violence of course has many causes including poverty.   On the other hand, there ‘s evidence that the legalization of pot moved the cartels into other countries of Central America.  The legalization of pot made the cartels promote heroin which is killing people in record numbers today.

The cause of racial problems of the United States and drug violence in Central America shouldn’t be seen as one-dimensional issues.  Opinions about the “War on Drugs” are irrelevant.  The “War for Drugs”  is about getting a higher, more potent version of marijuana and making a big profits.  It’s a cruel trick the ACLU and Drug Policy Alliance play on the public and a bad deal for minorities, because pot is very harmful.

Two Most Recent Incidences of Religious Violence

The Common Web in Ideological Killings

Two cases of religious violence are dominating the news, and marijuana allegedly played a strong role in the lives of both attackers.  Jeremy Christian’s rants on Muslim women in Portland, Oregon resulted in the stabbing death of two men who defended the women. The Daily Mail reports about Jeremy Joseph Christian:

“Christian’s Facebook site paints disturbing a picture of the suspect, and he describes himself by saying: ‘I’m an Ex-Con. I Like Comix, Cannabis and Metal-In Any Combination. If you are an Employer, F*** Off.’ ”  The suspect has been in jail previously for a string of charges including robbery, kidnapping and unlawful use of a weapon, and he brags about being an ex-con on his Facebook page.  Whenever there are erratic rants with psychotic overtones, we should suspect marijuana use.

Salman Abedi, Manchester terrorist

Salman Abedi, the perpetrator of the Manchester bombing last week was also an early marijuana smoker and drinker.  Friends remember him as a good footballer, a keen supporter of Manchester United and a user of cannabis.  An article The Independent, questions how he turned from a cannabis-smoking dropout to a Isis bomber.   The paper concludes that his path to radicalization echoes those of Islamist terrorists throughout Europe.  However, his victims were disproportionately young, and overwhelmingly female–another fact that can’t be ignored.

British journalists have been publishing a good deal about the connection between heavy pot use and jihadist terrorism.  It seems  cannabis obsession turns up frequently with ideological or religious violence when the killers have no relationship with their victims.

Rising Pot Use, Rising Violence

Scholars from Michigan recently published a summary of incidences of the past few years linking violence and aggression with marijuana use. They reveal little-known facts, including information about how marijuana affected Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Osama bin Laden.

As pot use rises, we can expect a corresponding increase in violence.   (In Chicago, known for a high murder rate,  58% of violent criminals tested + for recent marijuana use.  Humboldt County, marijuana capital of California, has higher rates for suicide and homicide than most counties in the state. )

Frequent pot use eventually causes major brain changes that affect a chunk of marijuana users.  (Studies show that even a small amount of pot use changes the brain.)  Critical parts of the brain that influence emotion, happiness, empathy and conscience are involved, even if not entirely understood.  Pot users are vulnerable to paranoia, unusual or rigid thought patterns, anxiety and/or depression.

Dylann Roof killed 9 African-American at a church in SC. His parents sought outside help to stop his marijuana use when he was 14.

When continued marijuana leads to ideological or religious violence, the usual pattern is that heavy marijuana comes first, the ideology follows and drug use continues.  Dylann Roof killed 9 African-American at a church in South Carolina.  Recent documents revealed that his parents struggled to get him to stop using marijuana at age 14.   Other ideological killers and pot users included Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Dear, Eric Rudolph, an abortion clinic bomber, and Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber.

Is Marijuana Always a Factor?

It  also is not necessary to blame marijuana for each and every person who becomes radicalized and fanatic.  Orlando shooter Omar Mateen carried danger and rage that dated back years and would appear to be far more complex.  In 3rd grade, instead of singing a school song “mariposa, mariposa,” he sang “marijuana, marijuana.”

It’s  possible the radicalization of the San Bernardino terrorists, Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook,  did not involve marijuana use.  Other drugs were found in their home, benzodiazapines and amphetamines, according to British journalist Peter Hitchens.  However, Enrique Marquez, Syed Farook’s friend who bought the guns, posted on Facebook, November 5, 2015:  ‘No one really knows me. I lead multiple lives and I’m wondering when its all going to collapse on M[e].’  He referred to being ‘Involved in terrorist plots, drugs, antisocial behavior, marriage, might go to prison for fraud etc.

Two of the most successful young shooters,  Adam Lanza and Seung-Hui Cho, Virginia Tech shooter, appear to have not used pot.  For the most part, Lanza’s mother rejected psychiatric pills as a solution to his problems.  Cho was prescribed Prozac, but there’s no evidence he used it.  Neither Lanza nor Cho were ideological killers.
Radicalization comes easier to a brain that has been primed by marijuana or other drugs.  It’s not just for religious violence, but all kinds of ideological killers.  Mind control from  political groups comes more easily to the drugged brain.  Marijuana lobbying groups use terms like “Marijuana Majority,”  “inevitable,” “racism,” expecting people to be good sheep who follow.

Robert Dear, shooter at Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.  A heavy marijuana user, he moved to Colorado for the pot.

We Can’t Ignore Correlation

Cutting out all marijuana use would not eliminate all murder and mass violence by any means.   However, as a society, we cannot ignore when these correlations occur:

  1. a shooter’s psychosis and or mental illness is triggered by marijuana use – (James Holmes, Jared Loughner, Eddie Routh and possibly Robert Dear are clear examples)
  2.  marijuana use numbs feelings so that shooters feel no empathy  (Robert Durst, Dylann Roof)  As marijuana manipulates the brain, it appears aid in the formation of psychopathology.
  3. Victims of PTSD turn to marijuana and it turns deadly for them and others.  Cascade Mall shooter Arcan Cetin was an early marijuana user who suffered from PTSD.  He killed five people at a Macy’s in Washington.  Stephen Bourgoin who recently killed five teens in a wrong way crash also suffered from PTSD.  If we offered better ways to identify and treat early PTSD, we’d have a less violent society.

A chorus of marijuana activists will say: “Correlation doesn’t equal causation.”  That’s what their leaders say, too.  For further study, please read Part 2, as well as these studies:

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

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

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..……

Marijuana Legalization Policy Prioritizes Profit over Human Life

Callous Disregard for Human Life in Pursuit of Profit and Getting Stoned

In California, a mother will soon go on trial for the drunk driving crash that killed her daughter and daughter’s friend.  The girls were skateboarding on a rural road in Humboldt County when a vehicle hit them.  Toxicology reports revealed that the 14-year-old girls had THC in their blood.  Marci Kitchen allegedly fled the scene of the accident on July 12, 2016 and tried to get rid of the pot in the car.  A judge has called for a jury to decide if she’s guilty of drunk driving and homicide.

In Washington, a man high on marijuana killed  policeman Jake Gutierrez. He was holding his 6-year-old daughter while in a standoff with multiple police that lasted 10 hours.  The perpetrator claimed  to be a sheriff named “Zeus.”   Bruce Randall Johnson, 38, had been unraveling for weeks before police fired the shots that killed him.   “A regular marijuana user, he’d been smoking more lately,” according to KIRO 7. The autopsy revealed:  “Johnson’s body weighed in at a spindly 104 pounds. He had no drugs in his system, apart from high concentrations of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Left to right–Marijuana Victims Brandon Powell (Oregon), Kiya Kitchen and Faith Tsarnas (California) and Jake Gutierrez (Washington)

In March, Brandon Powell, an 18-year-old, went psychotic after smoking marijuana “dabs ” in Estacada, Oregon.  He left home barefoot in pajama bottoms and went missing until found dead in a river earlier this month.  Also in Estacada last weekend, a man carried a severed head into a convenience store and stabbed a store clerk.  The incident happened after a woman was reported dead in her home.  She was the mother of 36-year-old Joshua Lee Webb who has been connected to the crime.   He allegedly killed his mother first.  Nothing in reports links the killing to marijuana.

West Coast Problem Becoming a National Problem

States that legalize pot promote a substance which can trigger or exacerbate mental health problems.  Most of these hideous, vicious stories occurred on the West Coast of Weed.

It might be easy to pass judgment on people like Marci Kitchen and Bruce Johnson, but what about state policy that normalizes marijuana use?  Kitchen grew pot beside her garage, but she lives in a county where everyone does it.

Marijuana madness is spreading throughout the country.  In Massachusetts, two teens smoked marijuana together before one murdered and decapitated his  classmate.  In Texas,  Davie Dauzat murdered his wife after they had smoked marijuana together last August.  He said it was in a “battle between good and evil.”

Murders under the influence of marijuana often happen because the perpetrators become psychotic and hallucinate.

In Wisconsin recently, a mother murdered her toddler after smoking pot.   In West Virginia, the “Pretty Little Killers” planned and killed a friend under the influence of marijuana.    It is easy to judge and condemn the perpetrators of violent crimes, but what of the culture that promotes marijuana?  What of the culture that tells 14-year-olds it’s ok to get stoned and go skateboarding?

Profit Before People Drives the Legalization Ballots

Marijuana-induced insanity is recognized in every part of the world except North America.  It appears that the United States and Canada prioritize profit over mental health, safety and human life.   Voters pass these ballots even though there is no definitive, reliable test to detect stoned drivers, as there is for drunk drivers.

Legislative analysis for California Proposition 64 was written to emphasize that the state could earn 1 billion dollars annually.

The California government obviously thinks the tax money the state can earn from intoxication and addiction is the highest priority.  The opening statement on the ballot to legalize marijuana used profit as motivating reason to legalize. That’s government motivated by preying on its own people. The press is guilty of the same mentality that emphasizes profits over human costs.

Press Ignored Child Abuse Deaths in Colorado; Will Cover-up Continue?

When marijuana stores opened in Colorado in January 2014,  a toddler died in a fire while his parents smoked pot in another room.  The mother was a medical marijuana cardholder, and the press should have covered the incident.  During the same month another mother  who smoked pot while her two sons died of carbon monoxide poisoning went on trial.  These stories were in the local Press, but did not make national news.

According to NBC News, the driver who rammed into crowds in Times Square yesterday admitted to smoking marijuana before driving.  He killed an 18-year-old girl and injured 22 others.  Condolences to the heart-broken family of Alyssa Elsman.  Other news services reported “he smoked something” or  “mind-altering drug” or “synthetic marijuana.”  Are they covering up behalf of the pot industry?   Like the New York Times, do they want to legalize marijuana and try to downplay the bad news about pot?

In Oregon last fall, a driver smoked pot, went psychotic and deliberately killed a construction worker.  

When stoners argue in favor of legalization, they use the deaths caused by alcohol to promote their cause.  The truth is that neither drunk driving nor stoned driving should be tolerated.  But marijuana has more of a propensity to cause madness and psychosis.  National policy which refuses to warn the public, along with states that promote a dangerous drug industry,  share the blame for deaths.

No state successfully regulates to keep potent marijuana extracts — as used by Brandon Powell — away from teens.  Those who value  profit and tax money over people claim legalization is  successful.    Sadly, profit over human life is becoming the American way.

date-rape

USC Athlete Rape Incident is a Warning Against Marijuana Edibles

Marijuana Cookie Used in Alleged Rape Crime

Osa Masina, a USC football player who was suspended, is going to be tried for an alleged rape.  The trial is set to begin June 25.

The 19-year-old met up with a former classmate last summer, on July 25.   The Salt Lake Tribune describes the incident:

There, a night of partying — Bacardi rum, Mike’s Hard Lemonade and half of a marijuana cookie — left her feeling so intoxicated she says could not get out of a car on her own that night when she went with Masina and a group of his friends to get fast food, and she said she cannot recall how she got back inside the house.

She said the next thing she remembered after passing out was waking up with Masina raping her.

“It hurt. It was very painful,” she said, and though she said she felt “scared and helpless,” she tried to move her legs to stop him.

“Did you consent in any way to the sexual contact you’ve been describing?” the prosecutor asked.

“No,” the woman said.

The woman testified she passed out and awoke several more times throughout the night, each time to a different horror: She awoke to Masina forcing her to engage in oral sex so rough she could not breathe; she awoke unable to move from a couch and unable to reach someone to come help her; she awoke, wearing only a bra and a blanket, on the lawn of a neighboring home where she saw Masina’s car still parked outside and “that fear came over me again because I knew he was still in the house.”

Guys, as well as gals, should consider that marijuana use may lead to unwanted sex

Calling Out the Role of Marijuana is not “Victim Shaming”

The description of the rape is horrible.  The evidence suggests that the football player and the woman were abusing substances before the sexual activity occurred.  The law should not excuse this behavior towards a woman who has passed out.

Nine days earlier, Masina, her high school friend, had invited the victim to Los Angeles for a long weekend.   At that time, Masina, the woman and another football player, Max Hill, partied hard.  The victim took marijuana, two Xanax pills along with alcohol   The woman alleges that both Masina and Don Hill raped her.   Masina and Hill were suspended from the team, but a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles has been dismissed.

Alcohol can produce some pretty outrageous behaviors, but when alcohol mixes with marijuana or other drugs, extremes happen.    This case, the Stanford swimmer’s case and many others exemplify why we need to educate against intoxication.  It is not “victim shaming” to explain that the 19-year-old would not have passed out if she had did not eat half a marijuana cookie.  The effects of marijuana cookies happen about two hours after ingestion.

In 2014, the Vote No on 2 campaign in Florida warned about marijuana cookies and date rape.  This recent rape case involving a college football player should scrutinize the role of the marijuana -laced cookie .

Half of a cookie from Colorado, Washington or California could have as much as 50 milligrams of marijuana.  Levy Thamba jumped off a building to his death after eating a marijuana-laced cookie.  A few weeks later, Richard Kirk shot his wife after eating a marijuana candy and going crazy.

The marijuana industry in Colorado prevented a ballot supported by 80 % of the state which would have capped the strength of edibles.  (Failure to warn of the psychotic effects from these edibles is a disservice to both the victim and the accused.  Both were 19, below the legal age to buy marijuana cookies in any state.)

There is no mention of how and when Masina or the woman obtained the cookies.   Who bought or provided the cookie?  Was interstate drug trafficking involved?  Calling out substance abuse as a factor doesn’t excuse rape, but it warns of the conditions in which rape is most likely to occur.

No on 2 Predicted Correctly

In 2014, the Florida Vote No on 2 Campaign forecast that marijuana would become the new date-rape drug.  Journalists, respectable blogs and the marijuana industry laughed at the idea.  No on 2’s prediction was correct.  Let’s hope the prosecutor explores the role of the pot-laced cookie during the trial.  It should serve as a warning against this type of impairment.

States should pass laws to clarify consent for sexual activity in order to guard against rape and unwanted sex.  Equally important, educators need to inform about the role of substance abuse in domestic violence and rape.  Pedophiles often give marijuana to their victims.

Even groups concerned with violence against women remain in the dark.   Colleges don’t do enough to warn against drugs to avoid unwanted sex.  In fact, the United States is quite backwards compared to other countries in failing to see the connection.  Those who blame alcohol only, and not other drugs, are complicit in the denial.

date-rape
The incident happened off campus during the summer, but the defendant was suspended from his team last fall.  A sophomore, he was slated to be a starting linebacker for USC’s varsity team.