The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Jared Loughner: Reefer Madness?

Posted on | January 18, 2011 | 48 Comments

The Tucson massacre provides arch-Tory Peter Hitchens an excuse to stick his thumb in the eye of libertarians:

The most likely cause is Loughner’s daily cannabis-smoking habit. The link between this drug and serious mental illness grows clearer every day. Wickedly, the dope lobby still tries to deny this and seeks to legalise it.
Loughner has been, for much of his short life, a habitual smoker of this so-called ‘soft’ organic drug. This is not in doubt. Police records, the testimony of U.S. army recruiters who rejected him partly on these grounds, and the accounts of several friends confirm that Loughner is a marijuana victim.
Yes, I know. Not all cannabis-smokers lose their minds. And not all cigarette-smokers get cancer. [Oooh! Taking shot at his brother Christopher? -- RSM] But in both cases the risk is enough to cause concern.
When police caught him driving a car that stank of marijuana, Loughner was let off,
as he would have been here. So much (as usual) for the non-existent ‘war against drugs’.
Cannabis is now effectively legal in Britain and in several parts of the USA, where this dangerous and unpredictable poison is ironically permitted for ‘medical use’.
Arizona voters, fooled by years of cynical and shameful ‘cannabis is harmless’ propaganda, approved just such a stupid law in November.
The town council of liberal Pima (scene of the murders) last week took the first step towards licensing ‘dispensaries’ for dope.
Arizona has always had plenty of guns. America has always had heated political rhetoric. What is new is that it now has legal dope as well.
Those who are seriously interested in public safety should worry less about guns and radio shock jocks, and more about the little packets of madness on sale in every school.

Certainly a controversial opinion, but let me ask you try something. Take five minutes to watch the opening sequence of Zeitgeist and tell me if you don’t see its psychedelic element:

If you have any background in psychology, would you say that young people under the influence of marijuana — or salvia divinorum or cocaine or psilocybin, which were among the drugs Loughner reportedly used — are highly suggestible?

And did you notice what happened in that video from 2:45 to 3:05? A man writes “1+1 = 2.” A Bible is laid down, and a U.S. flag is laid atop it. Then, fading in over the red-and-white stripes of the flag, we see scenes of the jet flying into the World Trade Center on 9/11.

What does it mean? What is being symbolized and suggested by that 20-second sequence? Why do you think the drug-addled Jared Lee Loughner was so obsessed with Zeitgeist? And what ideas did it convey to him?

Understand that it is not necessary, in the case of a schizophrenic, to single out a single factor in his madness. Dan Collins writes with the authority of experience:

As other observers have pointed out, [Loughner's] age when he began gradually to withdraw is consistent with the usual onset of schizophrenia — in the late teens and early twenties. We also know that among those who are genetically inclined towards schizophrenia, the use of marijuana makes it significantly more likely that they will suffer an onset episode. Mercifully, I don’t have to go through a full recitation of the evidence, because Salon . . . has interviewed the psychiatrist author of Surviving Schizophrenia, Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, who lays out the case as elegantly as anyone could. . . .

Dan delves into the difficulty of decoding the typical “word salad” gibberish of the schizophrenic:

Jared Loughner’s ideolect is inflected with bits and pieces of deconstructive linguistic theory. The basic idea is that words only refer to other words, in a closed system of signification. . . . There is no “objective” (at least human) “reality” apart from the signification conferred on it by language. It depends on the definition of what “is” is. . . .

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! You may remember that, on the day after the Tucson shootings, Time magazine’s Joe Klein went on CNN and used what proved to be a very poor choice of words:

“I have used that very word, crap, to describe what appears on Fox News. . . . [T]he conspiracies that Glenn Beck promotes create this notion we’re about to fall off of the abyss, that helps to create a zeitgeist where nuts are empowered.”

You know who else hates Fox News? Yeah: The makers of Zeitgeist.

UPDATE II: Linked by The Lonely Conservative — thanks!

UPDATE III: Linked by Jacob Sullum at Reason‘s Hit & Run blog, where I contributed this comment:

Yeah, dopeheads are giving me hell in the comments on that blog post. This suggests to me that long-term marijuana usage makes people hypersensitive to criticism. I’m thinking about reporting their ISP addresses to the DEA and the FBI just to see the headlines: “ONLINE DRUG RING BUSTED.” Then the SWAT squad will kick in their doors, and Radley Balko will have another one of his cops-run-amok stories.
Crazy? Yeah. But wouldn’t it be fun?

It’s important to play on the paranoid fears of these drug-crazed hippies. Make ‘em sweat, see? Every time they see a clean-cut, thick-necked guy in a dark sedan, they need to be thinking it’s a plainclothes narc doing surveillance, ready to serve an arrest warrant. And, hey, stoner – you see that van parked across the street? How do you know it’s not full of M-16-wielding SWAT cops getting ready to raid your house because they noticed your electric bill’s gone up since you put all those grow-lamps in your basement?

They’re coming to get you, dopehead scum!

You’d better flush your stash down the toilet now, before it’s too late, or else you’ll be handcuffed, locked up and sent to the state penitentiary.


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