INTRODUCTION:

Welcome to BobKat's Lair ®

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A lair is a home; A castle; A burrow; A haven; a place where one should feel safe. To ensure our safety especially in one's lair, we have laws. And some laws cause more harm than good!

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Time for the awakening...

That is what my goal is here... to present topics which highlight the plight of people. Why, 2000 years after Caesar Augustus, are we still a people being hurt? With all our advancements in technology, medicine, communications, why are we a people still being hurt? Human nature hasn't changed much, but that doesn't mean it isn't time now for that to happen, and it is undoubtedly happening - hard to see however. This blog is part of that change and a witness to it.

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March 06, 2010

Part One: MARIJUANA AND PUBLIC SAFETY; OR IS IT - MARIJUANA AND THE PUBLIC GOOD?

I've discovered information that laws enabling marijuana prohibition may be related more towards manipulating "Public Good", rather than "Public Safety". There is a difference, and the difference comes down to the government protecting us or controlling our behavior. In my next two or three posts I will do my best to show the difference between the two, and how laws are enacted to enforce and protect.

I want to begin with recent news of "the Pentagon Shooter", John Patrick Bedell, a 36 year old man with long-term mental challenges; family and doctors allegedly  were concerned that John had serious marijuana addiction problems, in addition to all else going on in his life. The story, from MSNBC is here: PENTAGON SHOOTER - MSNBC

Before being killed by Pentagon security officers, the shooter shot and wounded two other officers, who are expected to recover. He apparently arrived at the Pentagon well dressed, and seemingly harmless. But according to the article noted previously, he have been acting strangely prior to the attack. What I find odd is a traffic stop noted in Amarillo TX, a few days prior, where the suspect was speeding and pulled over by a police officer. The suspect was described as "acting strangely", and the officer allegedly was compelled to call the mother of the 36 year old man on John's cell-phone. The mother allegedly told the officer her son was fine, and the officer is reported to have given John a warning, and let him go on his way.

Other events noted are a time when John P. Bedell was noticed "walking along a dirt road",,, by police, who stopped and questioned him.

Those two incidences are vastly different, and raise some concerns in my mind. In the first instance, why is a police officer using a citizen's cell-phone to call a 36 year old man's mother, to "check-up" on the man in any way? The man was speeding... seems to me the call to the parent was odd and unnecessary.  The speeder wasn't even in his home area when this happened. To me it was the officers responsibility to establish if the suspect had warranted a speeding violation, and if he was a menace to public safety. A call to a mother hardly seems appropriate in established a 36 year old man's psychological state of being. If the officer had doubts, there are professional ways to accomplish this task. If the officer searched the vehicle or the man is not known... so there's no information available as to whether the man had a gun, drugs, or other questionable objects of concern.

With regards to Mr. Bedell being questioned by officers while walking alone along a dirt road... guess I'll think twice about walking alone along a dirt road, which is what I happen to live on. If I am walking along a dirt road, generally it's to get some exercise and enjoy nature. And to think. To be detained by police officers and questioned during such a walk I would be quite annoyed. It is not against the law to walk along the road in such a case, and although officers apparently have the "right" to do so, I find it offensive and inappropriate. So in John Bedell's case, I'd need more information, but given what I've learned, it appears to be information both irrelevant and twisted to serve as a contrived example about how loners are questionable people, and subject to questioning.

As I said before... if I'm walking along a dirt road alone, it would be most intrusive to be stopped by law enforcement and questioned. In such a case, I literally would tell them "arrest me for walking on this road or go away". I have a right to privacy, even walking along a road - common sense, isn't it?

But John Bedell did have problems. And the one problem he allegedly had was an "addiction to marijuana". We'll never know whether marijuana played a part in John's ultimate confrontation at the Pentagon, but no doubt, if it's true John had a "severe addiction to marijuana", it was in his system, and with recent research indicating log-term use of marijuana can cause psychosis", one must question what role marijuana played in the planning and lead up to the shootings.

Mr. Bedell also was convinced of a "conspiracy" by the US government for the 9/11 attack that killed 3000 persons in the twin towers, NYC. It's not an uncommon idea, this conspiracy theory, but as much as I can stretch my imagination to see it, I don't. Makes for great fiction, I suppose, but the problem is the government is not a fixed entity, nor is it omnipotent body with unlimited powers. Sure, it's not perfect, and it most definitely should be smaller in it's scope, and there are scandals and irrational regulations that come out of our governments, but all in all, they are people WE the People elect, and not only do they have current affairs to consider, but also past affairs. Conspiracy theories are to be expected, I think, and some are probably true, but many we have no idea whether they're true or not, like the Kennedy assasinations, both JFK and his brother Bobby.

It's a fact that the Roman Emperor Caesar was murdered as part of a conspiracy; that President Nixon was caught lying and Watergate happened... fact is a conspiracy can involve one person, or many. And our government is composed of many people, so the likelihood of there being "conspiracies" is quite believable.

The question is, should average citizens believe in gov't conspiracies to the point where they take matters into their own hands, and cause potential harm to the government?

No.

Should we voice our opinions online and to others - most definitely. In many recent cases of violence investigators found online activity and posts referring to distrust of the government, conspiracy theories, anger and hostility to other persons or groups. This should not come as a surprise... nor should it deter individuals from expressing themselves and their ideas. If it meant so, then I should remove my blog and move to the North Pole. We do have a right to free speech - to question authority. We have the right to seek out others like ourselves, and to take advantage of the power of numbers. We do not have the moral or legal right to hurt others, however. And that is the boundary between free speech and expression and actions.

Whether or not John Bedell's "addiction" to marijuana played a part in the shootings at the Pentagon, is relatively easy to estimate, given that John crossed the moral line to hurt others, for a cause he felt justified, is, does boil down to his use of force. His use of force in this and many other cases is unjustified. He meant to harm others to push his cause... that is morally wrong.

That marijuana was involved, is mostly one fact, considering a recent news article suggested that 198 million people use or have used marijuana in the past. If that number were correct, and marijuana psychosis related crimes were identified as a primary cause of crimes that directly cause harm to other human beings, that would be a serious issue. But the fact is, very few marijuana related violations relating to human suffering and death are documented. More violent crimes occur under the influence of alcohol. And many preventable deaths occur due to tobacco use.

Marijuana is not a perfect drug, it is not devoid of consequences. But compare to harder drugs, alcohol and tobacco included, or even person's who do not use drugs, the majority of crimes resulting in human suffering and death do not include use of cannabis. Plenty of statistics support this fact - and if you insist I'm provide them.

John  Patrick Bedell did have reported psychological problems... and he most likely would have benefited from therapy, or more intensive care. To suggest the idea that his marijuana use played an important part in his acts, the attack on the Pentagon, is unsubstantiated and if not considered within as only part of the whole picture, inflammatory. That John could have benefited from enhanced psychology, is probably the most apparent factor. But there is a stigma attached to that kind of help... and many avoid it at all cost.

To a person like myself it's not an issue. My parents, naturally believed only "sick people" got counselling, went to a mental health professional. Both my parents would have benefited from the reality that therapy doesn't mean "you're a sick person".

After I was employed by a college, and counselling was a benefit, I walked right in. It was the 70's remember, and many self-help books and new age organizations were popping up all over. Seemed like everyone had a therapist, so it was a big deal using my benefit to talk with the college counselor... ... talking about my issues, and I had plenty - I believe I was around age 20. The experience then and over the years was always the same... it was confidential, it helped me understand myself, and it helped me decide on issues in my life that were causing considerable distress. The ironic part is how I would often go to my therapy sessions believing I was deeply flawed, only to discover once again that, I was okay, that outside events happen all the time; conspiracy theories come and go, that reality is subjective and therefor one needs to understander that one's reality is unique, and self-conceptualized.

John Bedell drove thousands of miles to the Pentagon, open fire on staff for reasons of his own. What influenced him were unlimited past events, use of marijuana being one of those influences.  We will never know what exactly was going on in his mind, what we do know is his reality lacked one basic moral: "Do Not Hurt Others".

It may be that people today are less likely to seek out mental health help. The stigma of those seeking therapy still has it's hooks... and in a conservation era, no one wants hooks. To me, that would be a sad thing. Therapy with a psychologist or psychiatrist is not an admittance of sickness, nor of a crime.  I personally saw a therapist for almost 30 years - different ones, and eventually I learned enough about myself that I was able to understand the reality and myself in a way that i felt I have control of who I am.

As a result I am able to help myself weather the storms, take advantage of the good days, and let the bad days go. I'm able to chose my battles, to understand feelings that may seem unfair, accept my own uniqueness, as well as the uniqueness of others... I have accomplished my goal set many years ago... to be my own agent.

The economy is discouraging, the jobs market more so. Feeling like a victim is easy... but being an agent I realize doing nothing and keeping my current full-time job is the prudent thing to do. It's not easy... but the future will change, and I will change with it.

To get back to the title of this post, "marijuana and public safety..." I read recently there are 198 million marijuana users in the world... that includes one time users and regular users. I have to laugh at that number. Over the years I was fortunate to have jobs in colleges and public schools where I was known as the guy you could trust, and you could. I came to know so many people... four out of 10 used pot every week or every day. Another two of ten used occasionally. Finally, four out of ten may have tried it once, but never again. Of the 6 out of ten that used it more than once, one out of ten would never, ever admit it. There are friends I know that won't follow my blog because I have a simulated marijuana leaf in my introduction. So if we add to the 198 million the people who would never admit it, we have 990,000,000 people who use it around the world.

In my next post, how current prohibition against cannabis is more an effort at enforcing Public Good, rather than Public Safety.

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