Psychotic Breaks, Pot and the Gabby Giffords Shooting

You’re laughing, aren’t you? “Reefer Madness” quelled all these fears beneath it’s hilarity seventy-five years ago! What about Cheech and Chong’s “A Child’s Garden of Grass“? Surely, that ended ALL debate. Marijuana and madness? What a hoot. We ALL smoked grass in college. It’s a right of passage. If you can’t roll a joint, you can’t rush a fraternity .

If you’re even grinning, for about ten minutes try believing something other than a Hollywood stereotype. Here are a few facts from the sad story of Jared Loughner’s crazed shooting of United State Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

At sixteen, Jared Loughner was described by Kelsey Hawkes, his girlfriend from 2005, as “gentle” and “kind.” He seemed to Kelsey to really be a normal young man.

Hawkes continues that her ex-boyfriend was “you know a little bit quiet, but altogether a pretty great guy.” What changed this young man to clean cut college student with a sad, far-away look ?

As he began college, even as late as 2007, his friends had begun to describe him as “quirky.” Then he changed even more. What changed Jared into the hooded young man chronically dangling a head phone and flashing the deranged grin? That grin… that look. It’s odd, but that’s your neighbor. We feel bad for that kid we all know, but the truth is we all know what’s going on with our neighbor. Likewise, we know happened to Jared.

He became a stoner. And that’s also plain from the record.

To be certain, the Loughner family’s interaction with police is odd. Still, the key year seems to have been 2007. In September of 2007 Loughner was arrested for possession of a controlled substance (a roach and pipe residue) and drug paraphernalia. Then, in December of 2007, he first attended the “Congress on your Corner” at Pima Community College. There, according to friends, he asked a “typical Jared” question of then State Representative Gabrielle Giffords, one fixated on language with the logic of what Cheech and Chong affectionately called a pothead’s “divine revelation.” Finally, a year later, in December of 2008, Loughner was unable to enlist in the army because he freely admitted using marijuana “hundreds of times.”  Did Loughner complete a drug treatment program in 2008? It sounds like he either made no mention of his rehabilitation or had ignored or avoided the mandatory program.

Certainly Loughner’s rantings sound like those of someone so stoned that he thinks lunacy is genius:

“You don’t allow the government to control your grammar structure, listener? The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar. What’s government if words don’t have meaning?”

While other ravings about a lime green bird sound more like the result of  a hallucinogenic drug (perhaps salvia), much of his disconnected ramblings are described in medical literature, such Web MD, as “magical” or “random thinking” (“Psychological Effects“).

As an alcoholic denies he has a problem, so also many deny that marijuana poses any personal or social issues. This is absolutely incorrect. Studies have shown that there is as much as a five fold (that’s 500%) increase in reports of depression among daily users of cannabis.  In fact, benign as legalization advocates claim marijuana is, it “has long been known to trigger attacks of mental illness, such as bipolar (manic-depressive) psychosis and schizophrenia.” When confronted with such studies, marijuana users will claim, with the authority of anecdotal evidence, that cannabis only brings out such illness in people. Inevitably, they will then follow this first claim with this second one: “They themselves aren’t ‘like that’; therefore, they aren’t at risk.” This is classic substance abuse denial. Indeed, while “over thirty different studies have documented marijuana’s link with symptoms of schizophrenia,” they also demonstrate that cannabis “is an independent risk factor (my emphasis) for schizophrenia.” A study of fifty thousand Swiss soldiers show that heavy users of marijuana at age 18 had a 600% increased of schizophrenia later in life.”

Perhaps because of our ignorance, but just as likely because of our national inclination towards moral relativism, we let people sick with denial, delude themselves and others as they ramble on about health benefits of marijuana.

What ultimately changed Loughner into the personification of evil seen in the mug shot RELEASED by the Phoenix police?

In hindsight Loughner’s tragic rampage was complete with warning signs, including his depraved dependency on illegal and legal mind altering drugs. The dangers of marijuana and hallucinogenic drugs should be the national outcry here, not more relativistic political views replete with the varnish of supposed gun control fewer than 200 miles from the automatic weapons of cartel infested Mexico.

Despite loud denials, every drug addict knows what is happening to him. Even chain smokers know what they are doing to their bodies. Perhaps Loughner wanted to alter his mind. That’s why he used mind-altering drugs. Loughner knew what he was turning into, just like every pothead knows. Perhaps, unlike many people, Loughner simply caved in. He turned his mind over to the abyss, and it became a whorehouse for every evil thought. Perhaps Loughner freely chose to release his inner demons on the world.