A RUSH TO JUDGEMENT:
HARRY J. ANSLINGER
AND THE BUREAU OF NARCOTICS
Harry J. Anslinger (our nations’ first Drug Czar), head of the DEA (then known as the Bureau of Narcotics).
Young Harry Anslinger
Old Harry Anslinger
2.1 - ENTERS THE D.E.A. AND HARRY J. ANSLINGER
EVIL; although the word is kicked around a lot in today’s verbal usage, it does not mean that the word, nor its meaning, does not exist. AND if ever the word evil ever applied to a person, it surely applies to the personage of Harry J. Anslinger -- (Also Known As) THE CATALYST OF HYSTERIA:
And while there were numerous factors that played some role in the creation of the anti-Medical Marihuana laws, of and by themselves, they probably would have gone no-where, -- WERE it not for the persona of America's first Drug Czar, Harry J. Anslinger. It was he who most historians agree was the Catalyst needed to pull all the needed ingredients together. Had it not been for him, most certainly, there would have been NO anti-Medical Marihuana laws today.
As whole books have been devoted to the biography of our first Drug Czar, I see no need to reiterate what has already been well documented elsewhere. Here, it is enough to say that he was pure Evil. And again, while the word is bandied about a lot of late, if a term ever applied, surely this is one of those cases. Anslinger, who we can prove knew that he was lying about the effects of Medical Marihuana, showed little or no mercy toward his victims.
For example, he was at the trial of Samuel Caldwell, [the first person arrested under the newly passed federal anti-medical marihuana laws] and just stood by as he listened to the Judge uttering the following words:
"I consider marihuana the worst of all narcotics . . . far worse than the use of morphine or cocaine. Under its influence men become beasts . . . Marihuana destroys life itself. I have no sympathy with those who sell this weed." ---Judge J. Foster Symes
Again, Anslinger knew [and I believe knew all along] that it was ALL A BIG LIE. Yet he did nothing while Caldwell and so many others after him, were sent to jail. Thus, to say that he was (only) Evil, may not be enough to do justice to the English language.
Reefer Madness Era Comix, courtesy of Harry Anslinger
“Ok, Ok, you're Evil, I get it”
“Now let’s move on with it”
--- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
However, leaving all that aside for now, Anslinger was quite a fascinating man, and in his own [Fu Manchu] sort of way, a true evil genius. Just look at the almost impossible factors that he was able to overcome.
In the early 1930's, -- just as he was starting the Reefer Madness Campaign:
Thus, the very thought of outlawing such a useful plant (at the time), must have seemed an almost insurmountable task. Yet Anslinger (the Evil genius that he was), succeeded against all odds, --- truly a remarkable man if ever there was one.
- Industrial Hemp was still being grown commercially in many parts of this country.
- Literally hundreds of different Cannabis (Medical Marihuana) medicines could still be found on drug store shelves throughout the country.
- The garment industry was still making heavy-duty use of Industrial Hemp as a fabric.
- Poultry (the bird industry) made extensive use of Hemp seed cakes.
- Industrial Hemp and Hemp oil, was still being used extensively by commercial industries such as paint manufacturers, paper manufacturers, etc.
2.2 - HARRY ANSLINGER'S GORE FILE:
Starting around 1934 the Federal Government (specifically the Federal Bureau of Narcotics) began and then orchestrated a mass hysteria campaign against the Medical Marihuana plant. Complete with what we now term, “bumper sticker” slogans such as, “Marihuana - The Assassin of Youth,” or “Marihuana - The Killer Drug.” Some (now looking back at it) would say that this dis-information campaign could rival any other such lie campaign of the 20th Century.
From an obscure but useful medicine, Cannabis (now termed Marihuana) went into being a killer drug. One mostly used by Mexicans and colored peoples that was now threatening America’s youth. Turning normally sane young men into hideous criminal beasts; sex fiends; the worst kind of cold-blooded murderers, etc.
It would take three or four volumes just to cover this dis-information campaign. Here however, we wish to limit ourselves primarily to the Victor Licata case. Thus, it is enough to know that as part of the campaign, Anslinger ordered his field agents to start looking for and gathering together stories of “Bestial Crimes” committed while under the influence of Marihuana. Collectively these cases have now become known as “Harry Anslinger's’ Gore File.” Case after case, example after example, of the most hideous and depraved sexual and criminal acts imaginable. ALL allegedly committed, while under the evil influence of Medical Marihuana.
Our first Drug Czar would then use them (over and over again), to prove his alleged point, -- that Medical Marihuana was the cause of violent crime and thus HAD TO BE OUTLAWED. Some examples of his gore file cases include:
And on and on. Soon other such cases (real or imaginary) all dealing with the evil effects of medical marihuana were being repeated, over and over again in newspapers and magazine articles throughout the country. And while many of them may seem comical to us today, one must keep in mind that in the 1930’s they were completely believed. After all, would our Federal Drug Police lie to us?
- "A man under the influence of the drug attempted to shoot his wife but killed her grandmother instead and then committed suicide."
- "A man 25 years old, charged with criminally assaulting a 10-year-old girl, entered a plea of not guilty because of insanity (caused by the use of Marihuana). He was convicted and sentenced to death."
- "A young boy who had become addicted to smoking marihuana cigarettes killed his father, mother, two brothers and a sister, wiping out the entire family except himself."
But of all of Harry Anslinger's Gore File cases, none was as prominent as that of Victor Licata. His was the high point of all his cases. While all the others were mentioned at random, his was always prominently placed, close to or near the top.
According to one version of the story:
“A seventeen-year-old boy in a Southern state smoked a marijuana cigarette handed him in a poolroom. When he arrived home, he imagined that his family had been conspiring to dismember him. To forestall this, he hacked his father, mother, sister and two brothers to death with an ax while they slept” --COLLIER’S - June 1949
2.3 - GORE FILE MENTIONS OF THE VICTOR LICATA INCIDENT:
THESE ARE BUT a few of the numerous mentions (referencing) the Victor Licata incident. Note that Marihuana (the Weed of Madness) is always brought into play. Also note that for the most part, these references are printed in reputable journals/publications of their day. So, who was not to believe? Who would challenge the fact that the story was a lie? That Victor DID NOT KILL anyone, and instead had been framed for the crime.
In Florida a 21-year-old boy under the influence of this drug killed his parents and his brothers and sisters. The evidence showed that he had smoked marihuana. -- Mr. Anslinger 1937 Congressional Testimony
AGAIN, these are but some of the mentions of his case that we have been able to find. Note that ALL mentions of the crime made a presumption of guilt. Not one brings out the obvious, -- that the Kid was innocent. He simply didn’t kill anyone.
Relation to Crime. Homicides, suicides and assaults, particularly those upon sex, are among the more gravest indictments of marihuana. Perhaps the most lurid and frequently repeated case is that of a Florida youth, who, while said to have been under the influence, imagined some people were going to cut off his arms and legs; whereupon, in a frenzy, he seized an ax, killed his father and mother, 2 brothers and a sister. -- American Journal of the Medical Sciences - 1938 p351
A teen-age lad awoke in a southern jail and called for his parents. "How do you feel?" an officer asked him.
"Wonderful!" the lad exclaimed. "Like a champion! I could lick Joe Louis."
After he told the officers about a high school party he attended the night before, at which tea was smoked, he heard the story of what happened afterward: "Well, son, after the party, you went home, murdered your father, your mother and your sister with an axe. You set the house afire and when the firemen came you attacked them with an axe. Do you remember that?"
No, he couldn't. All he remembered was a terrible dream, in which he had to protect himself from dreadful monsters. --- Fortnight Newsmagazine Aug 20, 1951
Florida. A young man who had become addicted to smoking Marihuana cigarettes, while under the effects of the drug, imagined that a number of people were trying to cut off his arms and legs, seized an axe and killed his father, mother, two brothers and a sister, wiping out the entire family. --- Finger Print & Identification Magazine March 1938 pp3
A 16-year-old kills his entire family of five in Florida; ---Chicago Tribune Jan 17, 1962 p5 -- “Reefers: A Fast Road Downhill” by Harry J. Anslinger; Will Oursler
1967 - Murdered parents, sister, two brothers with an ax after smoking marijuana; unaware of actions until next day. ---- The Truth about Marijuana - STEPPING STONE to DESTRUCTION June 1967
In Florida some years ago we had the case of a 20-year-old boy who killed his brothers, a sister, and his parents while under the influence of marihuana. --- Mr. Anslinger 1937 Congressional Testimony
Then we have the case of a young boy in Florida. The story runs as follows: "A young boy who had become addicted to smoking marihuana cigarettes in a fit of frenzy because, as he stated while still under the marihuana influence, a number of people were trying to cut off his arms and legs, seized an axe and killed his father, mother, two brothers and a sister, wiping out the entire family except himself." --- Mr. Anslinger 1937 Congressional Testimony
A boy in Tampa, Florida, smoked two cigarettes one afternoon. That night he got an axe and crushed the skulls of his father, mother, sister, and two brothers, as they lay in their beds. When arrested, he explained to the police that his mother and father had been attempting to cut off his arms and legs and he was only defending himself. Incidentally, the father was a peddler and had been using his son to "push" the cigarettes at school. -- True Story (Magazine) -- Dec. 1948
It happened in Florida. A young boy marijuana addict, while still under the influence of marijuana, believed that a number of persons were trying to cut off his arms and legs; so he seized an ax and killed his father, mother, two brothers, and a sister. --- Heath Magazine Oct. 1938
Another in Tampa, Florida (scene of the Wall-Zarate-Gullo case, subject of a chapter to come), murders his mother, father, sister, and two brothers with an ax. --- Narcotic Agent: by Maurice Helbrant (book) 1941
In Florida a young boy who had become addicted to smoking marihuana cigarets seized an ax and killed his father, mother, two brothers and a sister, wiping out his entire family. In a fit of frenzy from the effects of the dope he then ran to the porch of the house shrieking madly that a number of people were trying to cut off his arms and his legs. -- Denver Post – Feb 24, 1935 Sec 3 p2
In Florida another reefer-smoking youth murdered his entire family, including his parents and brothers, and then killed himself. --“Narcotics: America’s Peril” by Will Oursler (1952)
1933 - V. Licata, - Tampa, Fla. - M - Murdered his father, mother, sister and two brothers with an axe, while under influence of marihuana. Didn't know of all this until next morning. - Arrested - -- 6th conference report - INEOA 1965
The one who sets forth with knife or ax---like the Florida boy of seventeen who hacked to death all the five other members of his own family---is of the maniacal type, who has often wished for the physical prowess that would permit mass mayhem, but who always before lacked the courage. -- American Weekly [Sunday supplement] – S.F Examiner - July 28, 1940
Some months ago a boy living in Florida murdered his parents, two brothers and a sister. He explained to the police that he had believed they were going to cut off his arms and his legs. --The Daily Oklahoman Nov. 8, 1938
Murder While Drugged - In Florida, marijuana led a young man to kill his father, mother, sister and two brothers with an axe. --The CHRISTIAN CENTURY - June 29, 1938
TAMPA, FLA. October 1933. Victor Licata, while under the influence of marihuana, murdered his mother, father, sister and two brothers with an axe. -- MARIHUANA; The New Dangerous Drug (pamphlet) by Frederick T. Merrill 1950 version
One of the most atrocious examples of the effects of this age-old drug was the case, cited by Anslinger and others, of the youthful addict in Florida who murdered his entire family. When officers arrived at the home, they found the youth staggering about in a human slaughterhouse. With an axe he had killed his father, his mother, two brothers and a sister. He seemed to be in a daze. - He had no recollection of having committed the multiple crimes. 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," the childish name for marihuana. --- INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL DIGEST – Sep, 1937
In Florida, a marijuana victim butchered with an ax his father, sister, and two brothers. -- FORUM AND CENTURY – Jan. 1939
. . . and a Florida youngster put the ax to his mother and father. ---News Week August 14, 1937
FLORIDA---"'Victor Licata, while under the influence of marihuana, murdered his mother, father, sister and two brothers with an axe.-– Survey Graphic (Magazine) April 1938
It is sad that we Americans often have to be shocked into taking legislative action. In Tampa, Florida a boy killed his father, mother, sister, and brother. When questioned afterward, all he could remember of the experience was that he had been smoking marijuana cigarettes all day. [Marijuana is the name in the western world for the drug derived from Indian hemp. It is identical with the oriental drug, hashish. It is deadly in its narcotic effect.] After the quadruple murder, a shocked Florida pushed the Uniform Narcotic Act through at once. ---GOOD HOUSEKEEPING – Feb. 1935
"A young boy who had become addicted to smoking marihuana cigarettes killed his father, mother, two brothers and a sister, wiping out the entire family except himself." ---SIERRA EDUCATIONAL NEWS – Nov. 1938 (California Teachers Association)
There was an axe murder by a Florida boy who, in butchering his family while crazed by marihuana, brought about the passage of a Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act. --- TAMPA, FLA. October 1933. Victor Licata, while under the influence of marihuana, murdered his mother, father, sister and two brothers with an axe.
…you may wake up sobbing, as did the young boy in Florida, who murdered his entire family. As the officers walked in this young addict was sobbing, "I have had a terrible dream. People tried to hack off my arms. It was my uncle, I believe. He slashed me with a knife." And there stood a youth, in his early teens, under the influence of Marijuana, in a human slaughter house with the ax in his hand. He had killed his father, mother, two brothers and a sister. ---Kiwanis Magazine - Oct. 1938
A Rochester pastor told me of a boy he knew about while pastor in Miami, Fla., who, after smoking two Marijuanas(sic), slaughtered his father, mother, two brothers and a sister, with an axe! --- War with the Underworld (Book) 1946
Article by Harry J. Anslinger
ON TO THE NEXT CHAPTER
VICTOR LICATA - A RUSH TO JUDGEMENT
WANT TO KNOW MORE:
Due to space / download time considerations, only selected materials are
displayed. If you would like to obtain more information, feel
free to contact the museum. All our material is available (at
cost) on CD-Rom format. Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org