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This one is particulary good, mentioning Wilton Park (where Andrea Barthwell will be speaking)and the UN  
-- Peter Stoker, NDPA.

Lobotomising human conscience

Daily Mail, UK,  February 14 2005

When at the age of 14 Luke Mitchell murdered his girlfriend Jodi Jones, he tied her up, slit her throat and then mutilated her body. After Mitchell, now 16, was convicted at Edinburgh High Court last week the judge, Lord Nimmo Smith, said it was one of the worst cases of murder he had seen for years, and he gave him the longest sentence ever passed on a youth in Scotland.

This horrific crime makes you wonder how any human being could do something so inhuman. The answer is not hard to find.

The court heard that Mitchell was influenced by satanism, the ‘shock rocker’ Marilyn Manson and by a deficiency of emotion. But the final trigger for this act of savagery was something else again. It was Mitchell’s consumption
of cannabis.

As the judge said, cannabis can seriously damage the mental processes of those who habitually take it. And he made a key point when he told Mitchell that cannabis ‘may well have contributed to your being unable to make themdistinction between fantasy and reality, which is essential for normal moral judgments’.

In other words, his cannabis habit meant that when he killed Jodi Jones, Mitchell was simply unable to recognise that what he was doing was truly wicked.

This devastating fact about this so-called ‘soft’ drug has been systematically concealed from the public, with increasingly disastrous consequences. Cannabis is popularly thought to be relatively harmless. In fact — quite apart from the fact that it often leads onto other drug use — it is one of the most toxic and dangerous narcotics around.  It has profound and long-lasting effects on the brain, it can cause people to become psychotic, and in certain circumstances it can promote violence
and even murder.

Most crucially, it destroys the ability to make moral judgments. That is why the claim that legalising cannabis would put a stop to the crime with whichit is associated is so terribly ignorant and stupid. On the contrary, more cannabis means that even more crime is likely.

Yet instead of targeting cannabis as a prime source of dangerous mentalmillness, social breakdown and crime the government has tacitly encouraged its use by downgrading it to the same category as steroids and anti-depressants, on the grounds that the police have better things to do than pursue a relatively harmless recreational drug. The result of this appalling policy is that more young people are using cannabis, causing more addiction and mental illness and undoubtedly fuelling more crime and disorder.

But the case of Luke Mitchell has another highly disturbing feature. Astonishingly, he has achieved cult status among young women. Female fans have been bombarding him in his youth jail with sexually explicit letters. On the steps of the High Court, four giggling girls held up a homemade banner with his photograph and the message: ‘This boy here is a sexy boy!’

How can we have descended to the horrifying state of affairs where a clearly psychotic killer, who sadistically butchered a teenage girl, has become an icon for young women who display the most callous indifference to the slaughter of one of their own – and are even turned on by her murderer?

Much of Mitchell’s fan-mail comes from admirers of his hero Marilyn Manson, the self-proclaimed ‘antichrist superstar’ who topped the charts on a platform of sex, drugs and satanism. Manson, who has acknowledged heavy drug use, depression and self-mutilation, rubs broken glass onto his chest during concerts, spits on the audience and simulates sex acts.

In their letters to Mitchell, some of the schoolgirls refer to the violent lyrics in Manson’s work including his obsession with the slaughter in 1947 of the Hollywood actress Elizabeth Short, known as the ‘Black Dahlia’ murder.

With websites now dedicated to Mitchell, too, there are fears that a disturbed young person might try yet another copy-cat murder. Such fears are hardly groundless. In 1999, the killings in America at Columbine High School in Denver were committed by two young Manson fans.

What we are facing now among a section of our young people is a terrifying breakdown of the bonds not just of socialisation but of civilisation itself. This is the result of a number of ruinous changes in our society -- in which the growing acceptability of drugs is a significant part.

For these young people, the moral obligation to accept the difference between right and wrong has disintegrated. From all sides, they are bombarded by the message that the only thing that matters is their own pleasure and gratification.

Duty, responsibility, shame and stigma have all but evaporated. Difficulty, pain or failure are viewed as assaults on their right to be happy. What trumps everything else is the need to protect their feelings.

Instead of providing boundaries to give young people the security that is vital for emotional health, the adult world has simply abandoned them.

Family disintegration shatters their sense of themselves, schools leave them floundering in their own ignorance and immaturity, and the commercial world exploits and encourages their premature sexualisation.

It is among these rising numbers of confused, unhappy or disturbed children that the ‘Goth rock’ cult of satanism, self-harm and nihilism principally has its lethal appeal. And drugs are absolutely central, with their fatal promise of pleasure and escape which so cruelly and cynically preys on those whose lives are most emptied of meaning and purpose.

In a society where morality has become a dirty word because of the chains it places on the human appetite, the appeal of cannabis and other drugs is precisely what makes them so deadly – that they destroy through chemical action those pathways in the brain that give us our moral sense in the first place.

In short, they effectively lobotomise human conscience. So it is no accident that there is such a determined attempt to pretend that cannabis has no serious ill-effects. For its acceptability is part of the assault under wayon our moral codes and the substitution of an ‘anything goes’ attitude.

This drug liberalisation lobby has got government ministers – along with some senior police officers, no less -- firmly in its clutches, propelling them down the deeply dishonest ‘harm reduction’ road.

Many of these campaigners are themselves drug users -- or the parents of drug users -- and are therefore either unwilling or simply incapable of acknowledging the acute dangers of moral collapse.

The attempt to internationalise this slide is intense and insidious. Across Europe, campaigners are steadily pushing to change the UN’s drug policy from combating drug use to permitting it under the guise of ‘harm reduction’.

Next month, for example, yet another high profile and subtly orchestratedmdrugs policy conference will take place at Wilton Park, an agency of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

For the third year running, this conference will feature, alongside undoubtedly worthy speakers, some of the highest profile campaigners for the legalisation of drugs in the world.

So greatly has public opinion been softened up and confused by talk of ‘harm reduction’ and the official distortion of the truth about cannabis that some participants undoubtedly haven’t a clue about the real agenda for legalisation that drives the conference organisers.

How many more Luke Mitchells will it take before our society wakes up from its lethal, drug-stupefied trance?

Melanie Phillips's Articles can be accessed on Posted by Melanie at February 14, 2005 10:44 AM