The crazed smile that says: It’s the little packets of madness that we really need to fear

Cannabis user: Grinning Jared Loughner just after his arrest

Smugly and with a superior smile, liberal Britain looks down on those trigger-happy Americans and their loudmouth politicians.

What happened in Tucson could never happen here in our nice, civilised, gun-free, peaceful country we assure ourselves.

It isn’t so simple. Nowadays, we suffer plenty of gun massacres and rampages of our own.

Yet back before 1920, when Britain’s gun laws were more relaxed than Arizona’s are today, the only major shooting episodes involved foreign terrorists (as at the famous siege of Sidney Street, 100 years ago).

And harmonious Switzerland is full of powerful guns and ammunition, stored in almost every home, thanks to its sensible military service laws.

If the USA is a more violent country than some (and in parts it still is), this has less to do with the presence of legal guns than it does with the bitter heritage of slavery which will divide and sour that country for centuries to come.

But – without that excuse – we are quietly catching up with America in the violence league. As a people, we are far readier to resort to the fist and the boot – and the knife – than we were 30 years ago.

Our suburbs are much less safe than America’s. And, as guns seep into the bottom edge of our society, our criminals will also be readier to use them.

Hardly any crime is committed in this country with legally held weapons. Lawbreakers use illegally obtained guns, not legally bought ones. And the criminal gangs of our big cities know very well how to get such weapons.

There is another aspect of this case that the smug media seem to be avoiding. Look at the strange picture of the alleged killer Jared Loughner. He has just been arrested for a crime for which he could be put to death, if convicted. And he is smiling. From this, and from many other things we already know about this man, it seems likely that he has lost his reason.

Why and how? The most likely cause is Loughner’s daily cannabis-smoking habit. The link between this drug and serious mental illness grows clearer every day. Wickedly, the dope lobby still tries to deny this and seeks to legalise it.

Loughner has been, for much of his short life, a habitual smoker of this so-called ‘soft’ organic drug. This is not in doubt. Police records, the testimony of U.S. army recruiters who rejected him partly on these grounds, and the accounts of several friends confirm that Loughner is a marijuana victim.

Yes, I know. Not all cannabis-smokers lose their minds. And not all cigarette-smokers get cancer. But in both cases the risk is enough to cause concern.

When police caught him driving a car that stank of marijuana, Loughner was let off,
as he would have been here. So much (as usual) for the non-existent ‘war against drugs’. Cannabis is now effectively legal in Britain and in several parts of the USA, where this dangerous and unpredictable poison is ironically permitted for ‘medical use’.

Arizona voters, fooled by years of cynical and shameful ‘cannabis is harmless’ propaganda, approved just such a stupid law in November.

The town council of liberal Pima (scene of the murders) last week took the first step towards licensing ‘dispensaries’ for dope.

Arizona has always had plenty of guns. America has always had heated political rhetoric. What is new is that it now has legal dope as well.

Those who are seriously interested in public safety should worry less about guns and radio shock jocks, and more about the little packets of madness on sale in every school.

A Tory tribe without principles

The New Liberal Conservative Party has fought – and nearly won – its first by-election. The amazing willingness of Tory voters to turn out and support a Liberal candidate is one of the most significant moments of our times.

This is very bad news for the country. It means that we are now settling into a new political arrangement in which we have a non-choice between Left and Lefter.

Conservative voters have apparently accepted that their views on crime, immigration, education, taxation, national independence and the rest will henceforth be ignored by the party they believe is their own. They have shown they care more about having their tribal chiefs in office than they care about actual policies.

On the other side of the line, decent Labour voters are also drifting back to their old loyalties in spite of the contemptuous way in which their fears, needs and aspirations are ignored by the metropolitan bohemians who long ago seized control of their party.
Westminster can now happily settle back into misgoverning the country, safe from any real danger of punishment or dismissal. 

Until her tribunal case came up, I had no idea what Miriam O'Reilly looked like, and didn't care - but I had heard and thought highly of her radio reports

We're all missing the point of the case of Miriam O’Reilly, dumped from TV for developing wrinkles.

The problem is that TV concentrates entirely on the superficial, which is why we shouldn’t watch it and should all listen to the radio instead.

Until her tribunal case came up, I had no idea what Miriam O’Reilly looked like, and didn’t care – but I had heard and thought highly of her radio reports.

I remember many years ago urging a rather beautiful and very intelligent radio reporter not to go into TV, as it was obsessed with looks.

She ignored my advice (people usually do), did superbly to begin with, and was then cruelly dumped because she was no longer young.

It may, alas, have been worth it. The wretched truth is that you don’t exist in public life unless you are on TV. But that is only because so many of us have lazy imaginations, and won’t make the effort to read or listen.

How unforgivably foolish of the police to accept the loan of a 168mph Lotus to ‘patrol’ the motorways of the Midlands.

A spokesmoron commented: ‘The Lotus
is a visually stunning machine which offers us the opportunity to engage with the public and reinforce the life-saving messages of road safety.’

No it’s not. It’s a silly toy for immature show-offs worried about their masculinity, the dream vehicle of the tailgating cretins who make driving even more miserable than it needs to be.

The police shouldn’t be giving it free advertising, or endorsing the daft idea that they’re employed to mount dangerous and futile high-speed chases. Everyone involved should be given a pair of boots
and put on foot patrol.

The USA wouldn’t exist if the French (assisted by a few rebels) hadn’t beaten us and our German mercenaries at Yorktown. So it’s perfectly reasonable for Barack Obama to nuzzle up to President Sarkozy and say that America has ‘no greater friend’ than France.

But what really matters about it is this: France doesn’t suck up to Washington. France often refuses to do what Washington tells it to do. As a result, France has a perfectly good relationship with Washington. We could do the same, and would be a lot better off if we did.

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