Pubdate: Sun, 22 Feb 2015
Source: Mail on Sunday, The (UK)
Copyright: 2015 Associated Newspapers Ltd.
Author: Peter Hitchens


CAN you put two and two together? Have a try. The authorities, and 
most of the media, cannot. Did you know that the Copenhagen killer, 
Omar El-Hussein, had twice been arrested (and twice let off) for 
cannabis possession? Probably not.

It was reported in Denmark but not prominently mentioned amid the 
usual swirling speculation about 'links' between El-Hussein and 
'Islamic State', for which there is no evidence at all.

El-Hussein, a promising school student, mysteriously became so 
violent and ill-tempered that his own gang of petty criminals, The 
Brothers, actually expelled him.

Something similar happened in the lives of Lee Rigby's killers, who 
underwent violent personality changes in their teens after becoming 
cannabis users. The recent Paris killers were also known users of 
cannabis. So were the chaotic drifters who killed soldiers in Canada 
last year. So is the chief suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings of 
April 2013.

I might add that though these are all Muslims, who for rather obvious 
reasons are to be found among the marginalised in Europe and North 
America, it is not confined to them.

Jared Loughner, who killed six people and severely injured 
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona in 2011, was also a 
confirmed heavy cannabis user. When I searched newspaper archives for 
instances of violent crimes in this country in which culprits were 
said to be cannabis users, I found many.

One notable example was the pointless killing of Sheffield church 
organist Alan Greaves, randomly beaten to death by two laughing 
youths on Christmas Eve 2012. Both were cannabis smokers.

By itself, the link is interesting. I wonder how many other violent 
criminals would turn out to be heavy cannabis users, if only anyone ever asked.

But put it together with The Mail on Sunday's exclusive story last 
week, showing a strong link between cannabis use and episodes of 
mental illness.

And then combine it with the confessions of two prominent British 
Left-wing figures, the former Tory MP and BBC favourite Matthew 
Parris, and Channel 4 news presenter Jon Snow, who both tried 'skunk' 
cannabis (by far the most commonly available type in the Western 
world) for a TV documentary. Mr Parris wrote: 'The effect was 
stunning and not (for me) in a good way. Short-term memory went 
walkabout. I would forget what I was talking about even while 
talking. I became shaky. Time went haywire.'

But immediate effects are one thing. What about longterm use? Mr 
Parris recounted that he had 'too many friends' for whom cannabis had 
seemed destructive. He quoted one as saying: 'I think it changed me 
permanently as a person.'

He said his mainly socially liberal friends, including health 
workers, generally agreed that 'heavy use of cannabis, particularly 
skunk, can be associated with big changes in behaviour'.

JON SNOW said simply: 'By the time I was completely stoned, I felt 
utterly bereft. I felt as if my soul had been wrenched from my body. 
There was no one in my world. I was frightened, paranoid, and felt 
physically and mentally wrapped in a dense blanket of fog. I've 
worked in war zones, but I've never been as overwhelmingly frightened 
as I was when I was in the MRI scanner after taking skunk. I would 
never do it again.'

This is not some mild 'soft' thing. It is a potent, frightening 
mindbender. If it does this to men in late middle age who are 
educated, prosperous, successful and self-disciplined, what do you 
think it is doing to all those 13-year-olds who  thanks to its 
virtual decriminalisation  can buy it at a school near you, while the 
police do nothing?

And yet it is still fashionable in our elite to believe that cannabis 
should be even easier to get than it already is. It is hard to think 
of a social evil so urgently in need of action to curb it. Why is 
nothing done? Need you ask?
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom