Ben Tasker's Blog

A very belated reply to FeMail

This post was originally published to Freedom4All, you can find a copy of the original here in the archive.

OK, in 2007 the Daily Mails’ Sally Emerson wrote a piece slating a Suffolk mother for ensuring that her children had a clean, safe supply of Cannabis. 

Now I know 3 years have passed, but the article is so full of lies, damned lies and statistics that I felt it would be a great opportunity to highlight some of the propaganda used by the Government and the sensationalist media. 

You can read the Mail article here, but I’ll be quoting the relevant bits. 

So let’s begin; 

The piece is ostensibly based around the story of Suffolk woman – Nicole Cooper – who was caught supplying her teenage children with Cannabis to ensure a safe and clean supply. As often seems to be the way in the Fail Mail, the article descends into a tirade against everything the user believes to be wrong. 

Indeed, for anyone who’s actually read factual information on Cannabis, it’s a very very inflammatory piece. 

Did Nicola Cooper have any idea how very stupid she was being? 

Lovely neutral opening there. One thing you’ve got to give the Mail, they don’t try to hide their bias! 

Smoking cannabis more than doubles your risk of psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia. Immense damage can be done to the growing brains of children when they smoke the high strength cannabis available today. 

Lets start with Point 1: Science Daily reports that “The nature of the relationship between psychosis and cannabis use is by no means simple,“. Clearly our Mail Correspondent is so scientifically brilliant that she has been able to simplify this relationship, and without revealing the figures she is using! 

Point 2: Mrs Cooper’s defence was that she was ensuring a clean and safe supply. That would suggest that she was (at least trying) to control the purity and strength of the cannabis her children smoked. So in actual fact, point 2 has no bearing on the argument because Mrs Cooper was preventing them from getting the street weed. 

And if the scientific evidence stacks up and shows, as it does, that cannabis can devastate young lives, why should anyone be open-minded about that? 

Ah, the popular government trick – “There’s scientific evidence backing my opinion, but I’m not going to tell you what it is!” Drug prohibition clearly devastates lives, from criminalising the youth to ensuring that levels of purity decline as the black market seeks to increase it’s profits. I’ve provided you with evidence of this in the past, and a quick google will show numerous studies reporting this. 

As for the argument that she bought the children drugs so they didn’t get mixed up with dangerous dealers, it simply does not stand up. 

On the same basis, you could give your child a gun to prevent them getting mixed up with gun dealers. 

Because drugs are like guns. After all guns aren’t devices designed explicitly for the purpose of firing an projectile at high velocity in order to punch a hole in someone or something. Oh wait – they are. Perhaps its the habit of hot rocks dropping from the end of a joint and burning holes in things that have led to Sally Emerson’s confusion. Or just perhaps, she felt a need to be as sensationalist as possible.  

Anyone who thinks that drugs and guns are even remotely similar has a clear lack of understanding of one or the other. Guns exist primarily to inflict violence, Drugs exist for a plethora of reasons – none of which involve inflicting violence (with the exception of those developed for Capital Punishment). 

The point is that, apart from the damage cannabis can inflict, children do not want their parents to be cool.

 

To me, this reads as “I’ve run out of arguments, so I’ll change tactics”. What the hell has being cool got to do with the right or wrongs of Cannabis? Is something right because it’s cool? Is something wrong because it’s cool? What happens when it stops being cool? 

It’s a completely pointless argument, and one that signifies (to me at least) that the author is unable to objectively justify her stance. The last resort of a factual author in desperation is subjectivity, and our Mail correspondent seems to have hit this point just half way into her piece. 

Nicole Cooper gave a reason for her actions, and it was not so that her kids would think she was cool. 

Three or four cannabis cigarettes a day are equivalent to 20 or more tobacco cigarettes, regarding damage to the lining of the bronchus, while the concentration of carcinogens in cannabis smoke is actually higher than in cigarettes, 

Credit where credit’s due, the author gave the name of her expert. It’s a pity, however, that she didn’t do a little more research: Cannabis is less harmful than tobacco when smoked ( see here, here, here and here). The author also cleverly omits the fact that you can use Cannabis without smoking it. Even if smoking were a concern you could; 

  • Eat it
  • Vaporise It
  • Smoke it without tobacco (i.e. a Bong, pipe etc.)
  • Drink it (Cannabis Oil)  

So even if the sensationalist claims of her expert weren’t fallacious, there are many other ways to consume cannabis without the ‘risk’ of smoking. 

Indeed, one of the main reasons that joints/spliffs are so popular in the UK is because of the Governments Prohibition. Whilst vaporisers, pipes & bongs etc are far safer, they all constitute evidence of drug use. So, in order to try and avoid prosecution most Cannabis users will utilise the method that leaves the least evidence – A joint. 

Of course, cigarettes and alcohol are bad, too, but do you really want to add to the number of addictions, particularly a really dangerous one like this? 

At least the author appears to have enough common sense to recognise the dangers of Alcohol and Tobacco, but then she ruins it by suggesting a Cannabis addiction is ‘really dangerous’. 

Stop for a minute, think about friday night in town. Who exactly is going round looking for fights? Is it stoners or drunks? Who’s more likely to get their head kicked in, someone looking for trouble or someone not? 

No addiction is a good thing, but the dangers of Alcohol abuse far outweigh that of Cannabis. As we’ve seen above, the dangers of Tobacco far outweigh that of Cannabis, so once again Ms Emerson has attempted to bolster her argument with falsehoods and propaganda. 

However, when your own parents break the law and encourage your complicity by giving you drugs, who is then left for you to turn to? 

Quite right, I 100% agree with you. The problem is, the reasons behind our shared belief differ – you see it as the parent being wrong, whilst I view it as wrong that the law criminalises a parent trying to ensure that her kids will at least get a clean, safe supply of cannabis. It’s not the Cannabis that brought this situation about, it’s prohibition. 

We need our parents to provide us with stability, authority, a sense of right and wrong, a respect for the law, a code of conduct, and in doing so give us an emotional strength.

And what, Oh great Oracle, should we do when we believe that the law is wrong? Worse than that, not only is the law wrong, but those with the power to change it are so invested in their own propaganda that they refuse to even consider correcting the error? 

The point in democracy is that statutes are supposed to represent the will of the many, but how can we know if that’s truly the case when neither the Government nor the media will allow an honest, informed debate on the matter. Instead, we are bombarded with the drivel that comprises Ms Emerson’s piece.

We have all seen children who seem lost and confused because they have not been given boundaries. 

They have been allowed to do whatever they like. 

They grow up rude, swearing. 

They grow up without certainties because they don’t respect anyone. 

That is dangerous enough. How much worse to offer children the means to wreck their health, their family and their future. 

What a wonderfully emotive conclusion to the article, quite fitting that the article should end in the way it began – with a lack of objectiveness. At no point has anyone suggested that Nicole Cooper did not give her children boundaries, the boundaries may be different to those you would set, but it’s still not boundary free. 

The author implies that the involvement of Cannabis leads to a lack of respect, an inclination to swear, a failure of health, family and future. 

In some ways she’s right, what could be more destructive to your future, mental health and family than being imprisoned for posession? Whilst in prison, you’d probably develop a tendancy to swear, and a lack of respect for family. Hell, you might even catch AIDS/HIV or Hep C! 

But is this the fault of Cannabis or the fault of a Government willing to criminalise our youth for possessing a natural substance? Personally, I feel it’s the latter. 

 

Conclusion 

Frankly, the FeMail article is what I’ve come to expect from the Daily Mail – biased Drivel. As far as I can see Nicole Cooper recognised that her kids may try experimenting with Cannabis, and took steps to ensure that they would at least be safe if they did so. 

There’s an awful lot of crap on the market as the black market exists to make profit, whatever the cost. 

Yes Mrs Cooper broke the law, but I’d argue that the law is at fault not the person or the substance. Given the harm that can be done by contaminated supplies, I’d image most parents would consider 200hours community service a price worth paying to protect their kids. 

Hopefully, I’ve adequately explained each section so that everyone can see the fallacy in Ms Emerson’s article. 

 

 
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