Liberalism, Mental Disorders and the Maryland Mall Shooter

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media


If the Maryland mall shooter had lived, he would not have faced the death penalty. That’s because the “progressives” running Maryland have eliminated capital punishment. Maryland also has tough “gun control” laws, but those didn’t stop the murders.

A January 24 Washington Post story said that about two-thirds of Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s recent “State of the State” address was devoted to what he described as “the accomplishments of his tenure, including legalization of same-sex marriage, repeal of the death penalty and passage of one of the toughest gun-control measures in the nation.”

Those “tough” measures had no impact on the mall shooter, Darion Marcus Aguilar, who shot and killed two people and himself at a clothing store at the shopping mall in Columbia, Maryland.

It is not known at this time if the shooter was on drugs. Reports indicate he expressed “general unhappiness with his life,” an indication of depression, perhaps exacerbated by or brought on by drugs. He carried out the murders with a 12-gauge shotgun, had a large amount of ammunition and two homemade explosive devices inside a backpack.

Numerous reports indicate the killer was an animal rights activist. Ellis Cropper, a man who identified himself as a spokesman for the Aguilar family, told The New York Times that the murderer “stopped eating meat after watching a documentary on animal cruelty.”

The Baltimore Sun added some more detail, quoting Cropper as saying, “He became a vegan last year or the year before after he saw a documentary on PBS and he saw how animals were slaughtered.”

So he opposed slaughtering animals but believed in slaughtering humans.

His human victims were Brianna Benlolo, 21, and Tyler Johnson, 25.

But rest assured: the mall shootings will not be portrayed by the media as a blot on the record of Maryland Governor O’Malley, who ran for office on a tough-on-crime platform.

However, some failures by the extreme liberal governor have been impossible to ignore.

Inside The Washington Post, in the 14th paragraph of the story about O’Malley’s “accomplishments” as Maryland governor, the paper informed readers about O’Malley’s health care website debacle. “O’Malley said his administration has learned from the failures of the online health insurance exchange, which crashed on its debut Oct. 1,” it noted.

Post columnist Petula Dvorak asked, “How could this epic bungling have happened in a state that often oozes self-satisfaction with its progressive policies, led by a governor who considers himself a 2016 presidential contender?”

She insisted, “Hubris, vanity and plain incompetence all played a role and have cost tens of thousands of Marylanders health coverage for months. Some of these folks have heart conditions, diabetes or other chronic health problems and need treatment that they can’t afford.”

Perhaps the answer lies in the “progressive policies” that are designed to fail in all aspects of life.

Dvorak added, “O’Malley’s Web site scandal deserves as much scrutiny and derision as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell (R) and his wife, Maureen, got for their sins.”

To the credit of the Post, the paper ran an investigative piece on January 11 noting that “More than a year before Maryland launched its health insurance exchange, senior state officials failed to heed warnings that no one was ultimately accountable for the $170 million project and that the state lacked a plausible plan for how it would be ready by Oct. 1.”

On top of these failures: Maryland State Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller has endorsed the legalization of marijuana.

A local Maryland paper, the Towson Patch, reported last May that Miller supported so-called “medical marijuana,” saying, “I’ve got a fractured nerve in my tooth right now. I wouldn’t mind a toke myself.”

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) has opened a Maryland branch, the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland, to lobby for a bill to legalize marijuana. “More than two dozen legislators have already signed on to co-sponsor this important reform, led by Senator Jamie Raskin, and Delegates Curt Anderson and Sheila Hixson,” it says.

Raskin is the son of Marcus Raskin, co-founder of the Institute for Policy Studies, the far-left think tank.

The results of a long-term study released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that persistent marijuana use reduced IQ by eight points, and that cutting back later in life did not fully eliminate the IQ loss.

NIDA also finds that “A number of studies have linked chronic marijuana use and mental illness. High doses of marijuana can produce a temporary psychotic reaction (involving hallucinations and paranoia) in some users, and using marijuana can worsen the course of illness in patients with schizophrenia.”

Before Senator Miller takes “a toke” for his toothache and recommends it to young people, he may want to consult Dr. Asaf Keller of the University of Maryland, in his home state, whose research finds that marijuana can cause permanent brain damage and trigger mental illness.

Keller, professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, says, “Over the past 20 years, there has been a major controversy about the long-term effects of marijuana, with some evidence that use in adolescence could be damaging. Previous research has shown that children who started using marijuana before the age of 16 are at greater risk of permanent cognitive deficits, and have a significantly higher incidence of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. There likely is a genetic susceptibility, and then you add marijuana during adolescence and it becomes the trigger.”

His new research confirms that “regular marijuana use in adolescence, but not adulthood, may permanently impair brain function and cognition, and may increase the risk of developing serious psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia…”

Senator Miller and his wife Patti currently live in Chesapeake Beach in Southern Maryland and describe themselves as the proud grandparents of 14 grandchildren.

Let’s hope and pray they don’t follow grandpa’s lead on dope.

Other members of the pro-marijuana Maryland coalition include:

  • ACLU of Maryland
  • CASA de Maryland
  • Criminal Justice Policy Foundation
  • Demand Progress
  • Equality Maryland
  • The International Women’s Cannabis Coalition-Maryland Chapter (IWCC)
  • Job Opportunities Task Force
  • Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
  • League of Women Voters of Maryland
  • Marijuana Policy Project
  • Maryland Justice Project
  • Maryland NORML
  • Medical Cannabis Advocates of Maryland
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Maryland State Conference
  • Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.


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