Th­ese are real ‘high crimes’

The Saline Courier Weekend - - OPINION - ANN COULTER

Con­trary to the im­age of pot­heads as peace­ful ston­ers, “cannabis-de­pen­dent psy­chotic pa­tients were four times as likely to be vi­o­lent,” ac­cord­ing to a study cited by Alex Beren­son in his mag­nif­i­cent new book, “Tell Your Chil­dren: The Truth About Mar­i­juana, Mental Ill­ness and Vi­o­lence.” “No other fac­tor was nearly as im­por­tant. Al­co­hol use, which was com­mon among the pa­tients, made no dif­fer­ence.”

So where are all the mar­i­jua­nain­duced mur­ders?

As Beren­son says, they’re hiding in plain sight. But un­til you’re told about the cannabis-psy­chosis link, you don’t even no­tice. Crime re­porters don’t want to look un­cool by ask­ing about the perp’s mar­i­juana use, and, inas­much as be­ing high isn’t a le­gal de­fense, nei­ther prose­cu­tors nor de­fense lawyers have an in­cen­tive to re­quest that sus­pects be tested for pot.

At the end of his book, Beren­son runs through a slew of de­praved mur­ders, in­ex­pli­ca­bly grue­some -- un­til you find out the per­pe­tra­tors were high on mar­i­juana. None of th­ese were re­ported as cannabisin­duced homi­cides.

In 2016, 35-year-old comic book artist and screen­writer Blake Leibel scalped his girl­friend, strip­ping her skull to the bone, drained her body of blood, then hid out in their West Hol­ly­wood condo with her des­ic­cated corpse for more than a week. Only after the girl­friend’s mother tricked the po­lice into knock­ing down the door did they dis­cover the grisly scene.

The girl­friend had com­plained to her mother that Blake smoked “huge” amounts of mar­i­juana.

In 2017, Dean Lowe, a 32-year-old cannabis dealer in Corn­wall, Eng­land, beat his girl­friend to death, chopped her body into tiny pieces and made a neck­lace of her teeth. Like Leibel, Lowe lived with her re­mains in their apart­ment for eight days, dis­pos­ing of her body parts, bit by bit, by flush­ing them down the toi­let and leav­ing the rest for the garbage col­lec­tor.

The mur­der was dis­cov­ered months later, after Lowe texted a cousin, saying, “Either I’m get­ting set up or I’ve mur­dered (my girl­friend). I had a blackout, hazy mem­ory and woke up with a body on the floor. I am scared so I just got rid.”

Lowe had long boasted that he was “the big­gest stoner in the world.”

In De­cem­ber 2017, Wil­liam T. Jones Jr. walked up to a com­plete stranger, 21-year-old Jared Plesec, a Sal­va­tion Army vol­un­teer in Cleve­land, and shot him in the head. Jones then hys­ter­i­cally raged for a solid four min­utes -- cap­tured on Facebook Live by a passerby -scream­ing “F*ck Trump!” and “They’re going to kill us all!”

Over the next hour, he ram­paged through Cleve­land, shoot­ing at peo­ple and com­mit­ting several car­jack­ings be­fore fi­nally be­ing cap­tured by the po­lice.

Jones had never been di­ag­nosed with any mental ill­ness. Blood sam­ples taken after his ar­rest showed the pres­ence of only one drug: mar­i­juana.

After read­ing Beren­son’s book, you’ll sud­denly start notic­ing pot-in­duced mur­ders all over.

Just last week in Ven­tura County, Cal­i­for­nia, a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing was held in the case of Bryn Spe­jcher, an em­ployed, well-ed­u­cated 28-year-old with no crim­i­nal record or his­tory of mental ill­ness. She stands ac­cused of stab­bing her boyfriend to death -- after smok­ing pot for the first time.

On May 28, 2018, po­lice ar­rived at Chad O’melia’s apart­ment around 1 a.m. to find Bryn kneel­ing over his life­less body. As soon as Bryn saw the deputies, she took the 8-inch ser­rated knife she was hold­ing and stabbed her­self in the neck.

The coro­ner tes­ti­fied that Chad had been stabbed 108 times, from his head to his knees, cut­ting his tra­chea, jugular vein and carotid artery and per­fo­rat­ing his heart twice. Bryn’s Siberian husky had also been stabbed.

Bryn told po­lice she’d never smoked pot be­fore and wanted to try it, but when she felt noth­ing, Chad said he’d give her some­thing more “in­tense.” After one puff from the bong, she said she felt like she was dy­ing, ran to the bath­room, then back to Chad and be­gan fran­ti­cally stab­bing him be­cause voices were telling her to keep fight­ing to stay alive.

A foren­sic sci­en­tist from the crime lab con­firmed that no drug other than THC was present in Bryn’s blood and no drug other than THC was found in the bong.

The Los An­ge­les Times has yet to men­tion this case.

Last Sun­day’s New York Times magazine fea­tured a story by Wil Hyl­ton about how his cousin tried to mur­der him for ab­so­lutely no rea­son a few years ago. Hyl­ton blamed toxic mas­culin­ity: “the con­ven­tions of male iden­tity were toxic ... Mas­culin­ity is a religion.”

There was a rather more ob­vi­ous ex­pla­na­tion scream­ing out from his story:

-- Hyl­ton’s re­peated men­tions of his cousin’s pot smok­ing, e.g.: “He al­ways wanted to smoke a bowl”;

-- The cousin was ap­par­ently thrown out of the mil­i­tary for sell­ing hashish; and

-- The rea­son his cousin beat Hyl­ton to a bloody pulp in the mid­dle of a child’s birth­day party was that ... he was hear­ing voices no one else could hear.

Times read­ers filled the “Com­ments” page with in­dig­na­tion at toxic mas­culin­ity, but one, a Toronto psy­chi­a­trist, wrote: “The ar­ti­cle doesn’t men­tion that his cousin’s reg­u­lar mar­i­juana use could be one pos­si­ble cause of his para­noid hal­lu­ci­na­tions.”

Fi­nally, you may have seen the story about a quin­tu­ple-homi­cide near Ba­ton Rouge, Louisiana, ear­lier this year. Around 8 a.m. on a Satur­day in Jan­uary, 21-year-old Dakota The­riot is ac­cused of fa­tally shoot­ing his girl­friend, his girl­friend’s fa­ther and brother, then driv­ing to his par­ents’ house, where he killed them, too. (His fa­ther lived long enough to iden­tify his son as the killer.)

Per­haps The­riot is just a run-of-themill schiz­o­phrenic. But I hap­pened to no­tice that his only prior ar­rests were for: pos­ses­sion of drug para­pher­na­lia and pos­ses­sion of mar­i­juana.

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