ON Friday I commented on the lack of comment about the horrific Alesha MacPhail murder case. In fairness, this excellent piece in yesterday’s Sunday Times summed up rather accurately my feelings on the matter and exposed how a deep cultural rot contributed to this terrible crime.

We also know that cannabis played a major part. ‘As for the killer, Aaron Campbell, he was drinking heavily, smoking dope, hooked on gruesome video games and sexually abusive of young women. His mother hoped that the drug-taking was just a phase and reasoned that it was rife among his peers. He wasn’t completely stoned every weekend, she said.’

In fact, ‘the court heard that MacPhail [Alesha’s father Robert] and McLachlan [the father’s girlfriend Toni] had both dealt cannabis to Campbell. Long-term unemployed, MacPhail was said to have sold the drug to support his own habit. He had other school pupils on his books. Sometimes people came to the house – where Alesha’s grandmother often left the key in the door – to score drugs. Deals often took place in the bus shelter across the road.’ (I had wondered how 16-year-old Campbell managed to kidnap Alesha from her bed. It seems he could enter the flat because the key was left in the door.)

This case illustrates the brutal truth: no pothead is an island. Every sordid habit from pornography use to drug use can have an impact upon someone else.

So the next time you hear some ‘socially liberal’ conservative or libertarian bang on about legalising pot, for example in this outcry against a book warning of its dangers, remember Alesha MacPhail. Remember the six-year-old girl snatched from her bed by a cannabis addict, raped and then murdered. And ask yourself – do you want more of this? Is this a price worth paying so we can have even more non-killing but totally unproductive potheads?

There are many of course who will say yes, this is a price worth paying for ‘liberty’; and how very dare you suggest I could turn into a child-raping murderer.

And it is true, most will not. Some will become psychotic and ruin only their own lives. Others will do something less violent than this case. But the fact remains, what lies behind this libertarian argument, is essentially yes, my right to smoke pot trumps anything else. And if a few little girls get raped and murdered on the road to dope heaven then so be it. It is not only cultural solidarity that is killed by libertarianism; sometimes it is also other people’s kids.

Don’t ever forget the selfishness behind the socially liberal conservatives and libertarians. It runs deep.

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