Category Archives: Violence

Marijuana Use Leads to Domestic Violence Victims

Too many people are still deceived by the image of the laid back pot smoker.  A certain percentage of stoners can become psychotic and violent from using marijuana.   Davie Dauzat, who beheaded his wife on August 25, was certainly having a psychotic break when he killed her.  He told police that it was wrong, but he slayed her because it was a “battle between good and evil.”  He and his wife had smoked pot together before he killed her. 

Domestic Violence Awareness is promoted each year during the month of October.  Educating others about the connection between marijuana and psychosis can stop many irrational cases of unnecessary violence in the home.

Substance abusers cause more than 80 percent of domestic violence, according to estimates.   Some reports say drug and/or alcohol abuse is involved at least 92 percent of the time.  Marijuana, classified as a hallucinogen, can cause fear, anxiety, panic or paranoia. Experiencing any of these symptoms can lead to intimidating, violent or bullying behavior, endangering family, other people and property.

Last month Reveal and Cosmopolitan published riveting stories of sexual violence in marijuana country, the Emerald Triangle. If national policy targets early drug prevention, including marijuana, fewer men and women will become violent.

Domestic Violence and Marijuana Use

In South Carolina, Jesse Osborne recently shot and killed his father before attempting to murder three more people at an elementary school.  The father, Jeffrey Osborne, had convictions for marijuana and domestic abuse and had filed for bankruptcy.   The boy had acted out in previous years and had been forced out of the local school for bringing a hatchet.  Could it be that his violent, marijuana-using father was traumatizing him and he in turn acted out on others?

Marijuana use was a factor in two murder-suicides of young women by their current or former boyfriends last year.  Zachary Ham, 19-year-old boyfriend of Jasmine Hayslett,19, had been using marijuana since he was 13.  Their 20-month-old son survives.

When Rebekah Eldermire’s ex-boyfriend shot her and turned the gun on himself, THC (the psychoactive component of marijuana) was the only drug in his system.

Marijuana users are violent enough to kill their babies, too.  Recently, a man in Pennsylvania, killed his 5-month old daughter while high on marijuana.  Yet marijuana advocates try to tell us that marijuana is harmless.

Why Woman Stay With Partners Who Harm Them or Their Children

A University of Florida study gives insight into women who began using marijuana at a young age.  Frequent marijuana users in adolescence are twice as likely to engage in domestic violence as young adults.  The same study showed this group more than twice as likely to become a victim of domestic violence. (1) They often stay with intimate partners who are violent, even risking the safety of their children.

Consider the case of Wendy Salsbury, a mom whose boyfriend bashed her two-year-old’s head into the toilet and killed him.   The baby had tested + for THC at birth.  States with legal pot often don’t see marijuana as an issue of danger.  The father filed a $2.5 million dollar lawsuit against Oregon’s Department of Human Services.

Los Angeles paid $450,000 to the father of a dead child because the department of Children and Family Services failed to act on signs of child neglect and abuse. The boy died in early 2011. The mother tested positive for marijuana, but, as in other instances, it was a violent boyfriend who killed the two-year-old. 

Preventing girls from using marijuana at a young age may prevent them from hooking up with violent males.  National policy should address this issue and stop pretending that marijuana just makes users passive and lazy.   Highly addicted users, while high on the drug, may behave much like severe alcoholics, or even worse.

For addicted users who run out of the drug, there may be violence. A few weeks ago in Vermont, a 36-year-old man killed five people in a wrong-way driving crash. He had been convicted of domestic violence previously, and an ex-girlfriend said becomes violent when runs out of marijuana.  Earlier on the day of the accident, he had tried to check himself into an emergency medical center.

Solution to Domestic Violence

Studies from around the world have shown that marijuana contributes to psychosis and violence.  Efforts to stop domestic violence need to educate against substance abuse.   Multi-generational substance abuse and violence will continue until we change the way of dealing with these issues.

Much drug abuse comes from trauma.  We need to find solutions to childhood trauma that will circumvent drug use and not fall back on marijuana as a solution for PTSD. (2)    Domestic Shelters need to take a holistic approach that helps the victims get away from drug use and into treatment.  Education is the big equalizer, but the national government continues to neglect the need for drug prevention programs in schools.  If states do not require it, domestic shelters should take up the slack, starting with the children.  Otherwise, the patterns will repeat.  Family courts have made costly mistakes by failing to see marijuana use as a serious issue.

Life is challenging, and substance abuse is not the way to deal with challenge.  If marijuana is promoted as safe and healthy, young people will not understand how marijuana usage interferes with responsible parenting.  Medical marijuana “patients” should reconsider their choice if they want to be in a relationship or continue parenting.  For people with physical handicaps, the law must carefully consider the children when considering their needs.

Fotenotes:

1  A study in The Journal of Interpersonal Violence, consistent marijuana use in adolescence is a strong predictor of intimate partner violence for those who are both victims and perpetrators, independent of alcohol use and other risk factors.  (Reingle, J. et.al., The Relationship Between Marijuana Use and Intimate Partner Violence in a Nationally Representative, Longitudinal Sample J Interpers Violence May 2012 27) These findings are consistent with prior studies, which have found that any marijuana use is predictive of victimization and physical assault by their intimate partners (Moore et al., 2008; Nabors, 2010; Railford et al., 2007).

2   Physically abused children are at special risk to become heavy pot users in adolescence.  See  Characteristics of Child Maltreatment and Adolescent marijuana Use: A Prospective Study, by Howard Dubowitz, Richard Thompson, Amelia M. Arria, Diana English, Richard Metzger and Jonathan Kotch, Child Maltreatment 

Marijuana, Mental Illness and Murder

By Roger Morgan, Take Back America Campaign (www.tbac.us)

 Sachs’s Trial Involves Another Murderer Linked to Marijuana

Pro-pot people like to say “nobody dies of marijuana.”   They are referring to overdose, of course, but overdose isn’t the only cause of death, nor the only adverse outcome.  Credible scientific research has clearly shown that marijuana is a causal factor in schizophrenia and paranoia, which in many cases has lead to violent acts of murder.  The riveting case of Californian Ashton Sachs in the news this week is a terrifying example.

Sachs was 19 years old, living in a condo his parents bought in Seattle.  Originally he attended college there, but dropped out of school in favor of smoking pot and playing video games. Then one day in February 2014 he drove 18 hours to San Juan Capistrano in Southern California and murdered his parents.  He also shot his younger brother in the head, and tried to kill his 17-year-old sister.  The brother is now paralyzed, and he happened to miss his sister because she hid under the sheets.

Then he flew back to Seattle, and arranged for his car to be shipped. He expressed awe and sorrow when being told about the death of his family members.  He even gave a heart-wrenching speech at the funeral.  Ultimately, he confessed and was sentenced on Friday to life in prison without possibility of parole.   He had a wide smile on his face in court, a symbol of his deranged, sociopathic mind.

How Marijuana Played a Role

Fortunately, not everyone who consumes cannabis goes crazy.  According to Dr. Christine Miller, a neuroscientist formerly with John Hopkins University, somewhere between 12 and 15% of users  will develop psychotic symptoms. (This statistic is for low-strength marijuana, while much marijuana today over 15% THC.)   Of those, about 35% develop full psychosis, of whom half become chronically mentally ill. The life-altering circumstances lead to homelessness, crime, public health expense and incredible pain and suffering for entire families. Too often it leads to suicide as well.

Those who use marijuana during adolescence are 7 times more likely to commit suicide.  (Ashton Sachs had already tried to take his own life twice) Heavy users of high-strength marijuana are 5 times more likely to develop schizophrenia at some point in their lives, often earlier rather than later.

In most cases of mass murders in recent history (Cascade Mall shooter, Tucson, Aurora, Colorado Springs, Boston Bombers, Orlando, etc), the murderer was a heavy pot user.  While correlation doesn’t equal causation, there are too many cases involving marijuana to deny marijuana’s impact on the brain as a factor.   It is not like these people were known for their heavy indulgence in sugar, milk or chocolate.

Read a previous article on the subject.

Washington Shooter Had a Marijuana History

Cannabis Use is Always Relevant in Cases of Mental Imbalance

Washington Shooter Arcan Cetin opened fire in the Macy’s at Cascade Mall, killing 5 people on September 23.   Three women and one 16-year-old girl died immediately; the man died later.  It happened in Burlington, about 30 miles north of Seattle.

The Cascade Mall shooter was 20 years old and had graduated from high school the previous year.   He was born in Turkey, but raised on Whidbey Island.  Cetin had a track record of arrests, including three charges of domestic violence, plus drunk driving.  It is clear that the courts were trying to help him.  His family was quite patient.

arcan-cetinphoto-from-kiro-news
Left, Arcan Cetin, 20,  resident of Oak Harbor. Photo: KIRO 7 News.  Top photo is from Seattle Pi

 

Washington Shooter Had Marijuana Trail

The Seattle Times reports that Cetin was homeless at one time during high school. Marty Baldwin and his wife allowed Cetin to live with him.  “Baldwin kicked him out a few months later after learning the younger man was using and selling drugs, he said.”   (Marijuana became legal for adults over 21 in December 2012, although it wasn’t sold in stores until the middle of 2014.)

Kiro News reports of incidents from the past year:  “A prosecutor asked about firearms, and Cetin’s mother said those were removed, according to court records.  As the case continued in 2015, additional counseling was recommended….. That case was tracked with a separate Island County case involving another alleged victim.

“As part of that misdemeanor case, Cetin was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation in August 2015. The evaluation was completed as of March 2016, according to court records.

“There also were questions in the court file about cannabis use. But last April a judge asked how that related to his mental health evaluation, saying it was not a mental health issue….”  This judge did not understand the influence of marijuana on violence and negative mental health outcomes.  Although Cetin was not allowed to own guns, he stole his father’s guns.

Governor Inslee Looks for Answers

Governor Jay Inslee spoke at a Press Conference after the shooting.  He said, “Passivity in the face violence is unacceptable,” and that “I don’t have the answers.”   Getting to the answers includes finding out how this Washington shooter compares with other young shooters and shopping mall shooters.

washingtonshooter
Four women died shortly after a gunman opened fire at Cascade Mall in Burlington Washington on September 23 around 7 p.m. Photo: KIRO 7 News.

 

Jaylen Fryberg, a 15-year-old who shot and killed 5 at his high school in Marysville, Washington, two years ago, left a record of his marijuana habit on Twitter.  It happened after marijuana was legalized in Washington for those 21 and over, but not for teens.

When we track stories that make national news, marijuana use is often a common trait in many young killers.  Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the Columbine shooters were also marijuana users.  Neither Fryberg nor Tsarnaev appeared mentally unstable to their classmates. On the other hand, Arcan Cetin’s high school classmates thought he was disturbed, and he did not fit in.

On September 26, Nathan DeSai shot and injured 9 at a Houston strip mall.  According to neighbors, he had been acting erratically lately.    The police report said, “There were also reports of heavy pot use in DeSai’s apartment,” and that there were numerous complaints about the strong marijuana odor coming from his unit.

Two other mall shooters, the Clackamas Mall shooter in Oregon and the Columbia Mall shooter in Maryland, had both mental illness and histories of marijuana use.

The Marijuana – Mental Illness Links

“The kids who start to use marijuana at a young age are much more likely to experience longer-term mental health problems,”  Dr. Neal McKeganey warned more than a decade ago.   Since teens have many adjustment problems to begin with, parents, schools and communities need to spread this message more firmly.   We can expect children of immigrants to have many challenges–disrupted living experiences, culture shock and even memories of violence.  Whatever trauma a child may have witnessed in the homeland will be carried in memory and could make adjustment difficult.medical-society-positions

Any state that legalizes marijuana must realize at-risk children will be susceptible to marijuana and drug abuse.   Cetin’s drug/marijuana history is reminiscent to that of the Ottawa shooter, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.    It  may have have come before his mental health issues.   (We hope that Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take notice of the mental health warnings.)

Americans ask why we have such a violent society, but fail to acknowledge the widespread drug usage.  Murders would probably be about 30%  less frequent, if marijuana use were completely eliminated. Not all acts of mass violence would go away.   However, mass shootings could be less frequent.  As a society, we cannot ignore these correlations between marijuana and violence when:

  1. a shooter’s psychosis or other mental illness is triggered by marijuana use – (Eddie Routh, football player Aaron Hernandez, Chattanooga shooter, Arcan Cetin, the Ottawa shooter, the Nice terrorist are recent examples)
  2.  marijuana use numbs feelings to such an extent that shooters feel no sympathy for victims (Jaylen Fryberg, Boston terrorists, Dylann Roof, some of the Paris terrorists)

Crimes in Marijuana Country: Exploitation, Rape and Murder

Reveal, the Center for Investigative Reporting records riveting stories about the victims of sexual abuse in the Emerald Triangle.

Reveal has an expose of the abuses and the sexual exploitation of workers who go to the Emerald Triangle to find work.  Among the most horrific stories were:

  • a 12-year-old girl given meth to make her work faster. At age 14 she ran away to a Eureka homeless shelter, “only to discover that pimps were using it as a hunting ground.”
  • Another woman fled a local grow scene on foot after the owner started pressuring her for blow jobs and sex.   (Some people like this end up homeless, having no place else to go.)
  • the rape of 22-year-old by a grower twice her age.  The article recounts the difficulty of prosecuting in a region surrounded by secrecy.   Everyone protects the leaders of the pot industry

We previously published a story about the marijuana and the vulnerable street kids.

No one really knows how deep and wide the sex trafficking is in the Emerald Triangle, but it’s clear that “trimmigrants” go there from around the world and many face exploitation and/or abuse.    Law enforcement is spread thin, and those who are abused don’t feel safe reporting incidences.  Reporting a crime may expose an illegal marijuana grow and jeopardize future job opportunities.

However, Hezekiah Allen, leader of a growers association, wrote a letter to dispute this characterization of the marijuana culture.

Murder Mayhem adds to Crimes

Humboldt County, the sparsely populated county of only 135,000, leads the state in cultivation in marijuana.   It’s murder rate has spiked over the past three years.

In 2014, there were 16 murders.  Last year, 15 people died by homicide.  Two men were gunned down at a marijuana grow over the recent Labor Day weekend.   With the death of another victim on September 5, homicide has claimed the lives of 14 people this year.   The frequency of murder and property crimes may be another reason that police don’t spend as much time on sex crimes.

Those who live in Humboldt County frequently cite drug use and fights over marijuana as the source of this violence.   Marijuana is the drug most often linked to crime.  A study showed that 54% of the criminals arrested in Sacramento tested positive for recent marijuana use.

That idea that legalizing marijuana frees up the police to concentrate on more serious crime is purely bogus.   In fact, it’s marijuana use and marijuana cultivation which make it impossible for the police to keep up with crimes and investigate.

Environmental Damage and Homelessness is also Caused by Marijuana Growers

While these crimes go on, Humboldt County’s marijuana boom is destroying a unique redwood forest and drying up the fishing streams.

California has 21 % of the nation’s homeless, but the problem is particularly strong in Humboldt County.  Homelessness grows when “trimmigrants” come from around the world and try to get into the marijuana industry.  Sometimes they’re stiffed, abused and exploited.

There are nearly 1,300 homeless people in southern Humboldt County and the number may triple with the marijuana harvest each fall.