Category Archives: Violence

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.

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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.

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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.

Mass Murders: Is Marijuana a Cause or Just Correlated?

  Correlation or Causation?

marijuana-murders

Pot smokers like to say “correlation does not mean causation.” They are mostly incapable of objectivity, but in their idle moments, perhaps they can explain the correlation between marijuana use and the on-going mass murders caused by those whose brains appear to have been maligned by marijuana. The following are 12 examples of marijuana murders written by Roger Morgan that illustrate our point.

1. On January 2014 Darion Aguilar killed 2 and then himself in the Mall in Columbia, Maryland.

2. In the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, both Tsarnaev brothers were heavy marijuana users.

3. The July 2012 Aurora, Colorado theater shooter, James Holmes, was reported by the NY Post and UK Telegraph to be a marijuana user. Continue reading Mass Murders: Is Marijuana a Cause or Just Correlated?