While Miranda Devine begins her marijuana hit piece,”The link between pot and mass shootings may be closer than we think” (https://nypost.com/2019/08/07/the-link-between-pot-and-mass-shootings-may-be-closer-than-we-think/) in the August 7th edition of the New York Post, with the statement “You can’t walk through the streets of Manhattan these days without smelling weed”, she then goes on to assert that marijuana may be a significant factor in mass shootings. On its face, the idea that weed is the culprit behind mass shootings is ludicrous, however, bandying about such notions in a major periodical is not only questionable, but deleterious to society, at large.
Her argumentation falls flat, immediately. If marijuana use is so prevalent, as she rightly states, then why aren’t mass shootings equally prevalent? Logically flawed, it goes without saying that if young people use marijuana so heavily these days, that a percentage of the misled, and mentally ill persons responsible for the spate of recent carnage might have been using marijuana at some point as well. It’s statistically inevitable, based on the author’s own introductory statement in her own article.
Stating that “we cannot rule out a connection between increasing marijuana use, mental illness, and..mass shootings…”, she completely ignores the societal issues involved, the lack of proper psychological help the perpetrators received, as well as the torn social fabric these shooters lived within, often immersing themselves within a violent subculture that values gore and violence, sometimes racism and bias.
For every one of the mass shooters how partook of marijuana, there are literally tens of millions more of America’s youth that smoked or vaped and did not go out and commit heinous acts. The correlation between violent video games and violence is undoubtedly correlated in far more meaningful ways, and likely a far more significant factor in helping to spawn this recent, growing trend of mass destruction by our Nation’s young men.
Shooters James Holmes, Jared Loughner, and Mohammad Abdulazeez, all were marijuana users. But how many of each of these tragically disturbed individuals’ peers were also using the drug? Herein, lies the flaw in such argumentation attempting to pin a correlation where none exists. Marijuana, as the author states, is nearly ubiquitous, among young people today. While this is so, violence and carnage is certainly not. That has to mean something.
True, 2018 FBI report that 40% of “active shooters” were diagnosed as mentally ill. But what were we expecting? It is a seriously troubled mind that would even contemplate such violence, even for a second. The author then goes on to assert, without logic, that President Trump’s idea of “red flagging” gun ownership based on metal illness should apply to those applicants using marijuana. What about alcohol? Are we forgetting, conveniently, all the violence seen every weekend in every hospital Emergency Department across the country, each and every weekend?
Again, more ideas without a basis in logic.
The author’s article then delves into the idea that marijuana causes schizophrenia. True, mind alterants can help exacerbate, and bring to light, underlying mental illness. That is proven fact, not fiction. So here, she is correct. The studies prove this to be so. However, citing the Swedish study that determined that “… those who had tried marijuana by age 18 had 2.4 times the risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia…” only proves that prohibition is flawed, and exposing kids to mind alterants that should be reserved only for those who are of legal age to partake, young people whose sensitive developing nervous systems should not be exposed to alcohol or marijuana.
Imagine a world without legal alcohol; it isn’t quite so difficult, since that failed experiment in the twentieth century is well known. Kids today cannot buy alcohol. Were there illegal “gin pushers” in an unregulated market, do you think for one second that they would have any qualms about selling to children or adolescents? It’s highly doubtful. People trafficking in illegal markets have little regard for the law. Are we expected to believe that keeping a drug illegal, with a flourishing illegal market, protects anyone?
Her logical error here is that once legalized, kids will have increased access to marijuana. Nothing is farther from the truth, as the drug is readily available right now, to people one any age, as long as they have the cash. Miranda Devine’s argumentation actually supports the notion that illegal markets should be abolished by all means necessary to protect our Nation’s youth. Her conclusion makes no sense, in light of fact.
The potency argument is again a widely-touted fantasy. Marijuana strains have always existed with extremely high amounts of THC, especially in the 70s and 80s, when equatorial weed was so common. Those varieties are naturally higher in the mind altering cannabinoids. And dispensary weed is for adults, not kids. It’s tested, and proven to be what it says it is. Street weed is garbage; “blasted” with solvents to remove the potent oil, helping marijuana processors to double their take, selling both the weed, now devoid of most of its potency, as well as the oil derived therefrom.
Additionally, illegal weed is often contaminated with myclobutanil, more commonly known by its brand name of Eagle 20, a fungicide that is extremely dangerous, especially to the developing body of adolescents. And what about fentanyl? A weed processor can strip the oils from cannabis, then buy a bottle of terpenes to re-scent the weed that will treat pounds of flower for only twenty dollars, adding a minuscule dose of fentanyl to bring back its “kick”, all at a ridiculous profit. Unregulated markets encourage sales to children, and exposure to all marijuana consumers to dangerous chemicals and drugs that the buyers aren’t even are of being in the flower.
The conclusion is clear: Full legalization, along with age restriction, is the only intelligent way to go. As far as cannabis and mass shootings, that is a notion immediately discounted by statistics. Kids should not be near alcohol, marijuana,or any mind alterant. Keeping weed illegal only serves to accomplish the twin goals of polluting their growing bodies and minds, and keeping the markets flooded with dangerous adulterated marijuana products.
If we wish to address mass shootings, we have to focus on kids’ mental health, starting at a young age. We have to sit down with our children and see exactly why they’re so depressed, what is is in their lives that are making them feel so alienated. The mass shooters are at the extreme on the continuum of the present sate of adolescent mental health. To simply blame marijuana use,or even alcohol use, for that matter, is to ignore their voices. Racism and bias is clearly part of the equation. And, so is a society where so many kids reach out to others, only to find no one there.