Saturday, January 21, 2006

Distraught Father's Rant is Not News

BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | Out of joint

I usually have great respect for the BBC. This time they give me great pause.

The linked story has been featured on the front of the BBC's top news stories web page. As I type it is featured prominently in the Health section of the BBC News web site. Trouble is, the piece should be in neither place because it is not news and it is not reliable health reporting.

Though this story is compelling and surely heartfelt, it is the mournful rant of a grieving, pissed-off father, and as such it is better suited for an opinion page.

The author's son apparently showed great promise in his father's eyes. Now he is a drug addled basket case. The author found out his son had spent, in one year, £5000 (about US$8,800) on "skunk weed" supposedly far more powerful than anything the hippies used to use, yet he presumes that expert opinions to the effect that his son might have had psychological problems to begin with are total rubbish.

The son, according to the father, started smoking pot when he was just 15 years old. Later on he wound up under psychiatric care, but had compliance issues with his medications. He was sent to the United States, where he wound up taking alcohol and progressing to anger and violence. They wound up committing the son when he barricaded himself in his room, requiring the efforts of 10 riot-equipped policemen to subdue him.
Since then he has not only given up all drugs, but also cigarettes and even alcohol.
That statement is quite revealing. The distinction between alcohol and other drugs is an extremely harmful delusion. That the boy's father harbors this delusion is distressing.

I hope this man's son pulls out of it, and that the father and mother are able to resume some sort of serenity. But I also hope they come to their senses and realize that prohibition does more harm than good by quite a margin, and that it is illogical for him to wish for a reversal of the recent change of status of cannabis in his country.

I hope, also, that the BBC editorial board reconsiders whether they should have published this poor man's sad story as news or in the health sections. I would conclude that the BBC was baldly propagandizing, but I still have a little more respect for the BBC than that.

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