Cannabis Culture

New Tragedies, Identical Ways: A Historical past of Huge Media Blaming Hashish for Mass Shootings

CANNABIS CULTURE – *This text incorporates photos and subject material which will disturb some readers.

“Marijuana isn’t going to make you exit and bloodbath college youngsters or abortion suppliers. This occurs as a result of we reside in a rustic that glorifies the god of violence and his sacred warriors.”

The CIA As Organized Crime, Douglas Valentine, Readability Press, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, 2017, p. 173

Left: The horrific aftermath of the My Lai Bloodbath Proper: James Holmes, perpetrator of the Aurora, Colorado theater taking pictures. Makes an attempt have been made to scapegoat hashish use as the reason for these and different tragedies. This text will tear such fallacies aside.



So the New York Submit – infamous for pushing the debunked hashish use harms creating minds” fantasy is at it once more – this time with the outdated “hashish use contributes to mass shootings” fantasy.

Earlier than I destroy their arguments, I want to study a interval of historical past the place these arguments had been first made. For the time being I’m writing a e book in regards to the historical past of reefer insanity. It is going to cowl the final century or so of newspaper (and different media) protection of “cannabis-related psychosis” tales. These tales are completely fabricated and primarily based on zero proof … and have been re-hashed each era. My e book will present how little the arguments have modified over time, and the way every era debunks these arguments, solely to have their debunking fall into an Orwellian reminiscence gap and forgotten.

I’ve been analyzing the assorted reefer insanity myths that every decade offers, and just lately accomplished the 1960s. On the finish of the 1960s and the start of the 1970s, there was a concerted effort in US newspapers responsible US warfare crimes in Vietnam to hashish use – particularly probably the most well-known of all Vietnam mass shootings of civilians – the My Lai bloodbath (well-known as a result of it was recorded in images that the US public acquired to see). Hashish was used extensively by US troopers in Vietnam, and that reality mixed with a number of tales about how potent Vietnamese hashish was and “abracadabra” pot acquired the blame:

“The details surrounding My Lai will undoubtedly come out within the coming investigations and court docket martials, and certain can be given full information protection. That is, after all, appropriately. It might not be too shocking to search out that the potent Vietnamese weed did play a component within the reported incidents – simply because the much less potent drug has reportedly been a think about a few of the violence at residence.”

“Testimony Given on MJ Use By GIs”, Invoice Kennedy, Hawaii Tribune-Herald, Hilo, Hawaii, December 14th, 1969, p. four

We all know now that mass shootings of civilians was brought on – not by marijuana psychosis – however by the army focusing on civilians. These troopers had been following orders. This has been confirmed with large quantities of proof that has come out since 1969 on “free fireplace zones” and “the Phoenix Program“. I do know some individuals will doubt this proof, so right here it’s for all to guage:

Returning veterans, affected civilians and others have mentioned that U.S. Navy Help Command, Vietnam (MACV), primarily based on the idea that each one pleasant forces had been cleared from the world, established a coverage designating “free-fire zones” as areas by which:

  • Anybody unidentified is taken into account an enemy combatant
  • Troopers had been to shoot anybody transferring round after curfew with out first ensuring that they had been hostile.

Round 220,000 civilians killed by US/GVN forces had been counted as “enemy KIA” in battlefield operations stories throughout battles in opposition to VC/NVA, in accordance with Guenter Lewy because of using free-fire zones,.[2] There are not any distinctions between enemy KIA and civilian KIA inadverdently killed within the crossfire or via deployment of heavy artillery, aerial bombardment and so-on.[3][4][5]A part of this stemmed from the doctrine necessities of manufacturing “enemy physique depend” in the course of the Vietnam Battle, which noticed violations and statistical manipulations because of ongoing pressures from MACV on items[5]

These kind of incidents, by which My Lai bloodbath was an ideal instance, occurred regularly in most areas all through South Vietnam. Clearly, the lack of lives amongst non-combatants was huge. In line with a U.S. Senate estimate, civilian casualties from such actions had been 100,000 in 1965 and 300,000 by 1968.

The fee sought to provide the impression that Directive 525-Three had forbidden indiscriminate airstrikes and artillery assaults on populated areas in what had been known as “specified strike zones”—additionally identified inside the US army as “free-fire zones.” It mentioned one of many “important factors” within the directive was that such zones “must be configured to exclude populated areas.” However what Directive 525-Three, which this author obtained from Military historic archives, really mentioned was, “Specified strike zones must be configured to exclude populated areas besides these in accepted VC bases.” [Emphasis added.] The Friends Fee thus exonerated Westmoreland by suppressing the essential a part of the sentence that confirmed precisely the alternative of what it was asserting. The directive really allowed the creation of free-fire zones in hamlets and villages underneath long-term Viet Cong management equivalent to My Lai, by which the civilian inhabitants would don’t have any safety in anyway. Though the official MACV directive didn’t explicitly state that civilians residing in “specified strike zones” had been to not be given any safety, it clearly implied that this was certainly the coverage.

The very best e book that proves that murdering civilians was a results of official US coverage, and never a results of hashish use, was a 2017 e book entitled “The CIA As Arrange Crime” by esteemed tutorial Douglas Valentine. One of many chapters on this e book was in regards to the “Phoenix Program” – the CIA’s coordinated effort to assassinate the Viet Cong, which critics like Valentine argue convincingly that was primarily a coordinated effort to assassinate and intimidate and extort civilians, most of which had little or nothing to do with the Viet Cong.

Valentine writes;

“This system existed in relative secrecy till June 1969, when quite a few South Vietnamese legislators complained in open session about being extorted, jailed and killed, however the complicit American press corps by no means reported it. And within the absence of any objection by the American public, the CIA had no cause to relent. It was not till late 1970, when a handful of anti-war Phoenix veterans uncovered this system’s many abuses, that Congress lastly launched an investigation. However even then, because of skillfully dissembling on the a part of William Colby, the erstwhile Deputy for Civil Operations and Revolutionary Improvement in control of Phoenix, the CIA was in a position to shirk any duty.” p. 59

Valentine offers the context that leads one to suspect that My Lai wasn’t only a results of the “free fireplace zone” coverage, however that it was a CIA “chosen assassination of civilians within the Phoenix Program” coverage as effectively;

“Earlier than the (Phoenix Program) operation, Provincial Reconnaissance Unit (PRU) groups, suggested by US Marines indifferent to the CIA, had been despatched to find and surveil focused Communist cadres, often known as members of the Viet Cong Infrastructure (VCI). Escape routes had been studied for ambush websites and native US Military and Marine items had been conscripted to behave as a ‘blocking power’ to seal off the village, simply as occurred at My Lai on 16 March, 1968. At daybreak on the day of the Phoenix operation in Thuong Xa, US army plane dropped 1000’s of psywar leaflets on the village urging the focused VCI to give up, and providing rewards to defectors and informers. All that occurred at My Lai too.” p. 321

So through the use of hashish as a handy scapegoat, it may disguise the truth that it was coverage, not pot, that resulted in mass civilian casualties.

Realizing that, let’s return to the New York Submit article I discussed above, and have a look at it extra intently:

You possibly can’t stroll via the streets of Manhattan nowadays with out smelling weed. At the same time as proof mounts of the well being issues related to marijuana, New York has insisted on becoming a member of different grasping states scrambling to legalize this deceptively harmful drug. It is unnecessary at a time when American youth is affected by an unprecedented psychological well being disaster.

And, in all honesty, we can’t rule out a connection between growing marijuana use, psychological sickness and the latest spate of mass shootings by disturbed younger males. We don’t but know a lot in regards to the psychological state or drug use of the El Paso or Dayton killers. However a former girlfriend of Dayton killer Connor Betts, 24, has indicated he was mentally sick, and two of his associates interviewed by reporters this week talked about his earlier drug use.

Simply final 12 months, the Mother and father Against Pot foyer group tried to sound the alarm on the hyperlink between marijuana and mass shootings, compiling an inventory of mass killers it claims had been heavy customers of marijuana from a younger age, from Aurora, Colo., shooter James Holmes and Tucson, Ariz., shooter Jared Loughner to Chattanooga, Tenn., shooter Mohammad Abdulazeez.

In the event you look intently at every of those shooters the New York Submit offers as examples of “marijuana-inspired mass murders”, a sure sample emerges:

“Holmes had been prescribed the antidepressant Zoloft (sertraline). David Healy, a psychiatrist and worldwide authority on antidepressants, was employed as an professional witness within the SSRI taking pictures case. In his opinion, the killings wouldn’t have occurred had it not been for the medicine James Holmes had been prescribed.”

Zach Osler, a high-school classmate of Loughner’s and his closest buddy, indicated that Loughner’s life started to unravel after his high-school girlfriend broke up with him. He started to abuse alcohol and different medicine, together with hashish (marijuana), cocainepsychedelic mushroomsLSD, and Salvia divinorum (a hallucinogen authorized in Arizona).[18][19] After fighting medicine for greater than two years, Loughner gave up alcohol, tobacco, and leisure medicine in late 2008 and has not used since, in accordance with considered one of his longtime associates.[20]The U.S. Military confirmed that Loughner had been rejected as “unqualified” for service in 2008.[21][22][23] In line with army sources, Loughner admitted to marijuana use on quite a few events in the course of the software course of.[9] Former classmate Caitie Parker remembers Loughner as a “pot head”.[24]

Abdulazeez had drug and alcohol issues, and his household tried to position him in a rehabilitation program. The New York Instances reported that limits on the household’s medical insurance protection “thwarted their plan to have him go into rehab.” The investigation after the taking pictures revealed that Abdulazeez “had severe psychological issues.”[42] In line with a household consultant, Abdulazeez was abusing sleeping tablets, opioids, painkillers, and marijuana together with alcohol. He had additionally been 1000’s of in debt and was planning to file for chapter.[8] In 2012 or 2013, Abdulazeez started remedy for his drug and alcohol abuse.[43] He had additionally obtained therapy for despair and infrequently stopped taking his medicine.[44] Following the shootings, Abdulazeez’s mother and father claimed that their son had been affected by despair.[45][46]

So – simply to recap – of the three examples of “pot head mass murderers” given by the submit, all three had used medicine apart from pot – medicine which were really linked to aggression. Holmes used Zoloft. Zoloft is an SSRI.

SSRI’s – in accordance with ABC information and a few medical doctors – have an precise reference to aggression:

But, there have been cases previously the place such arguments with regard to the category of antidepressants often known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, have been profitable. In February 2000, 28-year-old Christopher DeAngelo was acquitted of a financial institution theft cost by a Connecticut decide on the grounds that DeAngelo’s judgment was impaired by the antidepressant Prozac and the nervousness medicine Xanax. Whether or not such a protection is scientifically possible continues to be a matter of debate within the medical neighborhood. Whereas the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration has made additions to labeling on SSRIs to warn of the chance of suicidal behaviors in youngsters utilizing the medicine, they haven’t included warnings with regard to different behavioral tendencies, equivalent to aggression. Bernstein argued that Well being Canada — the Canadian counterpart to the FDA — since Might 2004 has required labeling for SSRIs to warn each adults and youngsters of “extreme agitation-type adversarial occasions coupled with self-harm or hurt to others” together with “hostility” and “aggression.” Dr. Stefan Kruszewski, a Harrisburg, Pa., psychiatrist and professional witness for the protection, mentioned he may solely converse usually about SSRIs and never in regards to the Hampson case particularly. “In a case-by-case foundation, all you are able to do is have a look at the proof,” he mentioned. However he mentioned that biologically talking, the concept antidepressants may end in undesirable behavioral modifications, together with violence, is unquestionably believable. “To say that these medicine are incapable of inducing violence is simply foolish to me,” he mentioned.

And the opposite two mass shooters – Loughner and Abdulazeez – each used different medicine, together with alcohol. Alcohol is known for being linked to aggression, from “beer brawls” and “bar fights” to “home abuse”. Actually, William Shakespeare pointed it out again in 1603 in Othello, the place he wrote;

“O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no title to be identified by, allow us to name thee satan! … O God, that males ought to put an enemy of their mouths to steal away their brains! That we must always, with pleasure, pleasance, revel and applause, rework ourselves into beasts! … It hath happy the satan drunkenness to provide place to the satan wrath.”

-William Shakespeare, Othello, the Moor of Venice, Act 2 Scene Three

Shakespeare’s insights match the science:

“This evaluate used quantitative and qualitative strategies to combine the alcohol and aggression literature. The first function of the evaluate was to find out if a causal relation exists between alcohol and aggression. The primary meta-analysis included 30 experimental research that used between-subjects designs, male confederates, and male topics who had been social drinkers. Research utilizing the opposite designs or topic populations had been built-in with meta-analytic procedures when potential and summarized descriptively when not. The outcomes of the evaluate point out that alcohol does certainly trigger aggression.”

Again to the fictional narrative pushed by the New York Submit;

Till we perceive these hyperlinks, it’s nuts to enact lax legal guidelines that encourage extra younger individuals to make use of a drug confirmed to set off psychological sickness.

Let’s cease proper there … “confirmed”? If hashish “triggers” psychological sickness, why is it that psychosis ranges haven’t elevated between the 1970s and the 1990s – when hashish use charges have elevated five-fold? The next data has “disproven” what this creator and newspaper insist have been confirmed, however they ignore the proof:

“Hashish use seems to have elevated considerably amongst younger individuals over the previous 30 years, from round 10% reporting ever use in 1969–70, to round 50% reporting ever use in 2001, in Britain and Sweden. If the relation between use and schizophrenia had been really causal and if the relative danger was round five-fold then the incidence of schizophrenia ought to have greater than doubled since 1970. Nevertheless inhabitants developments in schizophrenia incidence counsel that incidence has both been secure or barely decreased over the related time interval.”

Psychological and social sequelae of hashish and different illicit drug use by younger individuals: a scientific evaluate of longitudinal, normal inhabitants research

John Macleod, Rachel Oakes, Alex Copello, Ilana Crome, Matthias Egger, Mathew Hickman, Thomas Oppenkowski, Helen Stokes-Lampard, George Davey Smith, THE LANCET • Vol 363 • Might 15, 2004 • p. 1585

These findings – no enhance in psychosis despite large enhance in hashish use charges – have been replicated in a half-dozen or so different research:

So now, preserving this in thoughts, let’s return to the New York Submit article:

President Trump was proper to spotlight psychological sickness in his remarks Wednesday on the El Paso and Dayton shootings, not that his unscrupulous critics will pay attention, so decided are they to model him a white supremacist. We all know from a 2018 FBI report that 40% of “energetic shooters” within the US between 2008 and 2013 had been identified with a psychological sickness earlier than the assault and 70% had “psychological well being stressors” or “psychological well being regarding behaviors.”

So for anybody really concerned about stopping future such massacres, the so-called “pink flag” laws Trump is advocating to disclaim individuals with psychological sickness entry to firearms is probably the most logical measure and the one more than likely to be embraced by each side of politics. But it surely additionally ought to apply to marijuana use, seeing as the 2 go hand in hand. You possibly can’t deal with the youth psychological well being disaster with out contemplating the impact of rising teen marijuana use.

Amongst American youngsters, the drug’s “every day use has turn into as, or extra, well-liked than every day cigarette smoking” in accordance with the Nationwide Institute of Well being’s 2017 Monitoring the Future research. We’ve efficiently demonized cigarettes whereas new legal guidelines ship youngsters the message that marijuana is innocent. But we’ve identified for greater than a decade of the hyperlink between marijuana and psychosis, despair and schizophrenia.

In 2007 the distinguished medical journal Lancet recanted its earlier benign view of marijuana, citing research exhibiting “a rise in danger of psychosis of about 40 p.c.” A seminal long-term research of 50,465 Swedish military conscripts discovered those that had tried marijuana by age 18 had 2.four instances the chance of being identified with schizophrenia within the following 15 years than those that had by no means used the drug. Heavy customers had been 6.7 instances extra prone to be admitted to a hospital for schizophrenia.

One other research, of 1,037 individuals in New Zealand, discovered those that used hashish at ages 15 and 18 had greater charges of psychotic signs at age 26 than non-users. A 2011 research within the British Medical Journal of two,000 youngsters discovered those that smoked marijuana had been twice as prone to develop psychosis as those that didn’t. One other BMJ research estimated that “13 p.c of instances of schizophrenia could possibly be averted if all hashish use had been prevented.” That’s greater than 400,000 People who could possibly be saved from a destiny worse than demise. Younger individuals and people with a genetic predisposition are most in danger, significantly throughout adolescence, when the mind is exquisitely susceptible.

The proof of hurt is overwhelming, and it defies logic to assume that legalizing marijuana gained’t enhance the hurt. And but marijuana activists faux there is no such thing as a drawback and baby-boomer lawmakers, maybe recalling their very own youthful toking, ignore the science. To make issues worse, the marijuana bought at authorized dispensaries as we speak is 5 instances stronger than the pot of the 1970s and ’80s, in accordance with a totally researched new e book by former New York Instances reporter Alex Berenson: “Inform Your Youngsters: The Reality About Marijuana, Violence and Psychological Well being.”

Ah sure, the “they solely smoked shake previously” argument. That is complete non-sense. You see, the primary technique of debunking that is to cite the “pot ends in warfare crimes” article in 1969:

“Sen. Dodd mentioned the distinction between home marijuana and Vietnamese marijuana was ‘the distinction between a glass of beer and a half-pint of whisky.’”

“Testimony Given on MJ Use By GIs”, Invoice Kennedy, Hawaii Tribune-Herald, Hilo, Hawaii, December 14th, 1969, p. four

You might most likely make the case for home US hashish being much less potent than hashish imported into the US, given what number of US growers had been novices, and what number of growers from different nations had been at it for generations. Now have a look at any “Trans-Excessive Market Quotations” part at the back of Excessive Instances journal from the 1970s – a lot of the market again then was imports.

This “there was no potent pot again then” fantasy has been debunked by different writers:

“It’s really unclear how a lot efficiency has elevated over time. However even when it has, why would marijuana all of the sudden begin inflicting new power psychotic problems now? Cannabis, which may have a THC content material of greater than 40 p.c, has existed for hundreds of years, and excessive THC marijuana has been out there to these keen to pay for it because the 1970s, if not earlier.”

Again to the New York Submit article:

Berenson stories that the primary 4 states to legalize marijuana, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, have seen “sharp will increase” in violent crime since 2014. If we care about psychological sickness, which has been spiking up at an alarming charge lately amongst younger individuals, particularly teenage boys, we must always care in regards to the convincing proof of marijuana-induced psychosis.

This data is so deceptive. Let’s have a look at all of the details in context:

Loads of states, carried alongside by the nationwide pattern, noticed will increase in violent crime, no matter their pot legal guidelines. And as Kleiman famous, there’s no cause to select 2014 as a 12 months for analyzing the 4 states in query. Whereas Alaska and Oregon did formally legalize marijuana then, Coloradoand Washington did so in 2012. And state pot-law histories are typically extra sophisticated than the dates of full legalization, anyway — in Alaska and Oregon (see the earlier hyperlinks), it’s been a long time since having small to reasonable quantities of marijuana for private use may result in something worse than a small high-quality. The concept that a state flipping over from a really liberal pot coverage to a very liberal pot coverage would result in an instantaneous uptick in violent crime calls for proof that’s absent from Berenson’s column.

Plus, zooming in on a few of these crime stats tells a extra sophisticated story, anyway. Regardless of Berenson’s declare of “sharp will increase in murders and aggravated assaults since 2014” in Oregon, for instance, the FBI reported that the homicide charge there went up a grand complete of p.c from 2015 to 2016, as in comparison with a nationwide uptick of seven.9 p.c, after which dropped by 11.6 p.c between 2016 and 2017, a considerably steeper drop than in the remainder of the nation. If one insists on positing a decent causal relationship between pot legal guidelines and homicide charges, one may simply as simply argue that Oregon’s murder trajectory has been softened by pot legalization in these years, at the least relative to nationwide developments, saving plenty of Oregonians’ lives. And naturally, such a deal with state legal guidelines and crime charges ignores the bigger image: “Hashish consumption, and particularly heavy hashish consumption, has been on the rise since 1992,” mentioned Kleiman in his electronic mail. “Over that interval, nationwide murder charges have fallen greater than 50%.”

See additionally:

In different phrases, there was a latest enhance in violent crime, nevertheless it wasn’t simply in states that legalized, and it didn’t begin in 2012, both.

Again to the New York Submit article:

We didn’t have to attend for 3 mass shootings in two weeks to know that younger males are in disaster. Youth suicide is at an all-time excessive and charges of great psychological sickness on this nation are on the rise, particularly amongst individuals aged 18 to 25, the cohort more than likely to make use of marijuana.

Whereas it is perhaps true that teen suicide charges have elevated, it doesn’t observe that it’s due to hashish.

Suicide charges are greater for LGTB youth despite marijuana use charges being the identical for each LGTB and straight youth:

“College students with same-sex companions solely had considerably greater odds of use of all medicine besides marijuana and inhalants, for which they didn’t considerably differ from college students with opposite-sex companions solely.”

Am J Public Well being. 2014 February; 104(2): 304–310.

Sexual Orientation, Gender, and Racial Variations in Illicit Drug Use in a Pattern of US Excessive Faculty College students

Michael E. Newcomb, PhD,📷 Michelle Birkett, PhD, Heather L. Corliss, PhD, MPH, and Brian Mustanski, PhD

The US – with a combined historical past of treating it’s varied minorities with respect – has a higher-than-average suicide charge, and is 34th highest charge of suicide globally. The Netherlands and Jamaica – two nations well-known for hashish tolerance – have below-average suicide charges, and rank 81st and 179th out of 183 nations, respectively.

Again to the New York Submit Article:

Younger individuals born in 1999, the start 12 months of the El Paso shooter, had been 50% extra seemingly than these born in 1985 to report feeling “severe psychological misery” within the earlier month, in accordance with an alarming research printed this 12 months within the Journal of Irregular Psychology. With all we all know, it’s time to place the brakes on marijuana legalization earlier than it’s too late.

An trustworthy evaluate of the historic proof signifies that hashish is presumably the most cost-effective, most secure and handiest relaxant and anti-depressant on planet earth:


It’s time humanity noticed the New York Submit’s propaganda marketing campaign for what it really is – genocidal scapegoating. The rhetoric of the prohibitionist is an unbroken sequence of lies relating to “hashish psychosis” that has lasted 125 years, barely extra subtle each era, however complete bunk nonetheless. It’s an enormous lie – a deceive justify brutality and enslavement and the vilification of those that are responsible of nothing apart from an clever choice for a natural antidepressant and relaxant – a lie that’s now in dire want of a large, society-wide debunking – loudly, forcefully, non-violently, after all, however in methods that may’t be ignored … in methods that may power everybody to evaluate the above proof, and can make scapegoaters and stigma-foisters assume twice about mendacity sooner or later.


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