In his infamous 1937 article Assassin of Youth, Harry Anslinger told the following horror story:
"An entire family was murdered by a youthful addict in Florida. When officers arrived at the home they found the youth staggering about in a human slaughterhouse. With an ax he had killed his father, his mother, two brothers, and a sister. He seemed to be in a daze.
Two years later, the Rowells provided a more detailed and lurid account of the same crime:
"Victor Licata, aged nineteen, sat sobbing. He was in jail in Tampa Florida, his home town; and, although he had been there for half a day, his parents had not been near him. He wondered why they had forgotten or were neglecting him . . . He didn't know that his father and mother were dead; that his two brothers and one sister were also dead; in fact, his whole family, except a brother away at the university had been killed . . . And what is more, he didn't know he was the one who killed them. He didn't remember that in the middle of the night, he had arisen, taken an ax, and hacked his mother, father, two brothers, and sister to pieces while they slept . . .
Presumably the authors of this book traveled from city to city in the thirties, couched safely in the guise of respected, published experts on their chosen subject, marihuana. The cloak of authority can be, after all, pretty damn bulletproof. Once comfortably positioned behind a podium in the local auditorium, these bozos could get away with saying anything they pleased, true or not. We imagine locals were unlikely to challenge an "expert," and those who dared could have been pretty easily shut down. As far as we can tell, there was indeed a young man named Victor Licata, who on October 16 or 17, 1933 killed several family members (the number of dead siblings changes from source to source). What Anslinger and the Rowells conveniently leave out of their stories is this:
"The examining psychiatrist, Dr. H. Mason Smith, concluded that Licata's insanity was probably hereditary because his parents were first cousins and a granduncle and two paternal cousins had been committed to insane asylums. Licata's younger brother, one of his victims, had been diagnosed with dementia praecox. Moreover, the police had tried to have Victor Licata himself committed almost a year earlier, but withdrew the petition when the youth's parents insisted they could take better care of him at home.
The above quote by: Duane Grindstaff
(This information is corraborated (in less detail) by two separate non-Schaffer Drug Library sources: HEMP LIFELINE TO THE FUTURE CHRIS CONRAD 1994, CREATIVE XPRESSIONS PUBLICATIONS PAGE 47 andThe Scientific Study of Marihuana, Editor Ernest L. Abel, Nelson Hall,1976)
For more info on Victor Licata and related subjects, check out the following:
Drug Library Essay "Reefer Racism"