Assasin of Youth

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.

"I've had a terrible dream," he said. "People tried to hack off my arms!" "Who were they?" an officer asked. "I don't know. Maybe one was my uncle. They slashed me with knives and I saw blood dripping from an ax." He had no recollection of having committed the multiple crime.

"The officers knew him ordinarily as a sane, rather quiet young man; now he was pitifully crazed. They sought the reason. The boy said he had been in the habit of smoking something which youthful friends called "muggles:" a childish name for marijuana."

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 . . .

. . . Victor had smoked some marihuana cigarettes that afternoon. After going to bed that night, he suddenly though, as nightmarish hallucinations raced through his mind, that his mother and father were plotting to cut off his arms and legs as soon as they got up in the morning. This horrible obsession fixed itself in his mind; and so real was this imagined threat to him, that he decided the only thing to do was kill them first, while they slept.

. . . [at the crime scene a few months after the murders], the police confided to us that the father, who had been murdered, was by no means blameless, for he had been making these cigarettes and having his son Victor peddle them to the students at the high school he attended. In time, Victor sampled his own product. Then came the quintuple murder."

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.

Licata's history indicates that the cause of his crimes was a long lasting psychosis. At the Florida State Mental Hospital, he was diagnosed as suffering dementia praecox, dementia praecox with homicidal tendencies and he was observed to be overtly psychotic. Licata killed another patient in the hospital and finally hanged himself."

The above quote by: Duane Grindstaff

Washington HEMP Education Network Activist (since 1994)
Copyright 1996 Washington Hemp Education Network (W.H.E.N.)

(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)

NOTE: In the interest of full disclosure, we got the above Duana Grindstaff rebuttal from the online Schaffer Drug Library, which is a phenomenal resource for anybody interested in the subject of disinformation, particulary as it relates to marijuana. Its contributors are also uniformly critical of Harry Anslinger and his ideological descendants)

For more info on Victor Licata and related subjects, check out the following:

Schaffer Drug Library Essay "Reefer Racism" schaffer/hemp/history/first12000/11.htm

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