Sunday, March 08, 2015

Cannabis Did Not Kill Chris Kyle: "Wet" Did

"It's DRUGS!", I whispered, to the Erath County D.A.  Alan Nash, the D.A. acted like he had a can of whup-ass in his back pocket as he gave me thirty seconds of his time. 
If guns don't kill people, then I feel pretty sure I can say that "wet" killed Chris Kyle.  "Wet" is cannabis laced with formaldehyde or another organic solvent. 
On day four of the mid-February, 2015 trial, of Eddie Ray Routh, a Marine corporal with an honorable discharge, whom two years ago murdered Chris Kyle of American Sniper  fame and his friend Chad Littlefield, Kyle drove his own killer to a shooting range which Kyle had designed at a local posh resort where rooms go for $1200/ night. 
After Routh's conviction, Nash maintained: "The guy is a doper...We are talking about hard-core cannabis abuse." 
Routh’s mother, an assistant teacher at the grammar school, where Kyle’s children attended school, begged him to help her son whose behavior had become more and more erratic since returning from the Service.  He promised her he would.  Thus, did he come to pick up Eddie Ray Routh during the middle of a Saturday afternoon in February, 2013. He had never met him before.  Assumeably, they shared a diagnosis of PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  However, as it came to be established, without a “T” there is no PTSD.  And Routh’s military records revealed no record of trauma that could have prompted such a mental illness. 
As per his history, Routh was a “doper” and a heavy drinker of alcohol, but what kind of cannabis? Routh admitted to the Texas Ranger who interviewed him after the high-speed chase February, 2, 2013, when Kyle’s stolen black Ford F-350 pick-up apparently ran out of gas, that he had been smoking “wet.” This is cannabis laced with formaldehyde, so named as it is difficult to light even after it has been dried.  It causes psychosis; its effects last for days at a time; it is highly carcinogenic; and, it was used to lace bathtub gin during the American Prohibition in order to give illegal spirits an extra kick.  It is stated that it catapults the smoker to a tremendous high. Smoking it provides a bigger high than drinking it and drinking it can kill you. 
Cannabis does not drive someone to threaten suicide and homicide, something Routh had done several times; sweat profusely, completely soaking your clothes though you are sitting quietly; hide in the laundry room for hours at a time; stare at a wall catatonically, walk aimlessly through the streets shirtless and shoeless; run rabidly out the door hollering at your girlfriend in the waiting car, “Go, go, go!”; hold swords in a rather threatening manner in your girlfriend’s apartment, blocking the exits; experience olfactory hallucinations of feces and men’s cologne just prior to murdering two men; avoid eating meat (Kyle ordered burgers on the way to the shooting range for everyone in the pick-up; Routh remarked: “Are you going to just keep eating this shit?”); think that co-workers at the cabinet shop are going to impale you on a spit and cook you; and, kill people in cold blood.  Adulterated cannabis, laced with formaldehyde or PCP or some other organic solvent compound, easily available substances, can induce such behaviors.  Assumeably, if you cannot get good weed, you spike it. 
During the two week trial, guns were everywhere.  The 100-seat courtroom had at least 15 pistol ready sheriff deputies and Texas Rangers with pressed jeans chewing smokeless tobacco, wearing cowboy boots. On the Friday of the second week of the trial, the judge wryly commented, upon not being able to view the activities of Nash as he plugged in his laptop, that the unusual behavior made him nervous.  

One of the defense’s expert witnesses, Jack Randall Price, PhD, admonished the court that the levels of THC have increased from the 1980’s levels of 5% in marijuana to present day----should you choose such a potency---of 15%.  It’s still marijuana or cannabis.  Smoke a lot and you just go to sleep.  Yes, you can sometimes experience some paranoia but it is the kind that makes you lock your doors and pull the covers over your head.  I speculated that the District Attorney and the expert witness had perhaps never smoked any significant amount of weed.  
As a psychologist, whenever I am not able to discern why someone is not improving in terms of their mental health, inclusive of psychiatric medication follow-up, and if I have been working myself to the point of despair, I have learned to start looking for substance abuse.  It could be alcohol which is determinedly contributing to depression, as it is a depressogenic.  It could be crack that is causing my client to try and bite his girlfriend’s nose off her face.  Maybe its heroin that has become someone’s lover, rather than a spouse.  Heroin is now cheaper than any of the narcotics prescribed by physicians, drugs about which the Drug Enforcement Agency has badgered physicians.  You meet your pusher on your lunch hour, heat up the spoon, draw up the narc, spring back to work, and the only clue to usage is that your pupils don’t dilate when you are in a dark room.  Or maybe your husband spots the blood running down your arm as you exit the shower.  
Routh received no blood test when he was arrested.  He had no psychiatric evaluation though only one week earlier he had been dismissed from the Dallas Veteran’s Administration (VA) psychiatric unit----against the wishes of his mother with whom he lived.  There were no VA psychologists or psychiatrists on the stand during Routh’s trial.  
Astoundingly, Routh was awarded the coveted VA Service Connection after the murder of the two men.  He had attempted to obtain it several times, even checking the symptom of “Erectile Dysfunction” which quite assuredly created the presentation of an exaggerator.  Even the VA could not argue with the lack of mental soundness of a man who would murder two people.  Routh was awarded $30,000 in back-pay related to his appeals as well as approximately $3600/ month which quite probably was picked up by the Erath County Jail.  When the judge, Jason Cashon, heard this fact, he quickly dismissed the jury, and in a quietly withering manner, advised Routh’s mother than the money which she had assumeably used as a down payment on a house was to be paid to her son’s defense team, court appointed.  She indicated that she had protected the money.  Cashon looked exasperated. 
Quite obviously, when the local celebrity, Kyle, who reportedly fought Jessie Ventura, another Navy vet, during a Navy SEAL reunion during which they may have come to blows (Ventura sued Kyle’s estate successfully for $1.8 million; Kyle was dead when the judgment was declared) and told reporter Michael J. Mooney of D Magazine that he had murdered two guys trying to carjack his truck in 2010, he was admired as a patriot, self-less and self-made son of Texas.  His fame was such that for two hundred miles from Stephenville to Austin, where he was buried, people stood by the freeway and fire trucks hung American flags over the interstate as the white hearse passed. 
Quite possibly, Kyle saw himself as invincible.  
Kyle was murdered just after he had emptied his gun of ammo and after Littlefield was shot, a man with no gun, standing vigilant, watching Kyle’s “six”---a matter which they discussed via text as Routh became more and more nervous in the back seat of the pick-up sitting next to five long guns, pistols,and ammo.  Routh had contemplated shooting them as they drove the ninety miles to the shooting range but figured there would be a terrible accident which would have resulted in death or injury to him also. 
The night before, Routh had proposed to his girlfriend, Jen Weed, on bended knee and then the next morning after a night of poor to no sleep and fixing breakfast at 2 am, he told her to get lost, “go eat a peanut” (she was deathly allergic to peanuts).  After he had  murdered the two men, Routh drove Kyle’s pick-up to his sister’s house where he dazedly told her he had traded his soul for a pick-up…that it had been a matter of killing them or he was going to be killed.  
No one in law enforcement in Erath County, Texas, wanted to get anywhere near a psychiatric diagnosis. There is no temporary insanity provision in Texas.  However, there was a famous murder trial of Paretti, a raving mad schizophrenic whom in the early 1990’s, was allowed to represent himself dressed in a cowboy suit.  He has been sitting on death row for two decades associated with appeal after appeal; he was very obviously mentally ill and quite assuredly schizophrenic.  Less than 1% of capital murder trials result in guilty by reason of insanity. There was no way that the Erath County D.A.’s Office was going to let this trial slip through their hands by over-reaching for a possible lunatic to get off by reason of insanity; they went for the most assuredly obtainable verdict: life without parole. 
In the police cruiser on his way to jail after the heinous events, Routh spoke of feeling “paranoid” and “schizophrenic.” Paranoid schizophrenics do not speak of feeling paranoid; they are too paranoid to do this.  Moreover, schizophrenia does not wax and wane, something the defense's expert witness, Mitchell Dunn, MD, tried to argue without success.  Just after killing Kyle and Littlefield, Routh bought something to drink, wolfed down a couple of burritos, and returned to his home to retrieve his dog, Girlie.
A blood sample taken on Routh during an earlier VA psychiatric admission (psychiatric admissions always are screened for substance abuse prior to admission) revealed cannabis and “possible” formaldehyde.  The VA mental health staff had twice rendered the diagnosis Psychotic Disorder NOS (Not Otherwise Specified), a diagnosis which the defense’s expert witness, Dunn maintained was a default diagnosis which is utilized when one does not have the time, inclination, or records to make a more specific psychiatric diagnosis.  Dunn was peppered for an hour and a half by Nash’s compatriot, an Assistant Attorney General, Jane Starnes, who had been bought to Erath County obviously to “get some payback”, a theme 
which is reiterated in Kyle’s book, American Sniper.  
Starnes drove Dunn from his tentative diagnosis of schizophrenia towards the personality disorders and Paranoid Personality Disorder was the diagnosis given by Randall Price, PhD, one of the prosecution's expert witnesses.  The other surmised that Routh had a mood disorder.  Price argued convincingly that Routh’s behaviors, testing results, and review of his history and records, merited two diagnoses: Paranoid Personality Disorder (he suggested it also included Narcissistic Features) and Cannabis Induced Psychosis.  These are diagnoses from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM V). 
Again, cannabis is not associated with behaviors displayed by Routh…not even if you have been drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis. 
Thus, there is a perfidious irony about the tale of a man documented to be the most superior, deadly sniper in American history whom, on that February day, taxied his own assassin, as well as his friend, to a shooting range where they would be gunned down by his own weapons.  Kyle’s self-stated task in Iraq, as a sniper, was to protect other marines. The clarity of his mission allowed him to mete out justice one bullet at a time. The trial of his murderer was something out of Greek tragedy; everyone and everything was shrouded in tragedy.  
One thing seemed certain: Kyle’s F-350 black pick-up sure did carry some kind of special significance as two men were purportedly killed trying to steal it and another man then killed the owner of the same truck.  Some truck.   


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