Is it a surprise people are wary of disclosing adverse psychedelic experiences when the community turns on anyone who might 'harm the movement'
In 1925, Franz Kakfa published a book called The Trial, about a hapless schmuck called Joseph, who is arrested and taken to court for a crime he barely understands. He desperately tries to figure out what’s going on in the surreal nightmare he finds himself in, but nothing makes sense, and he’s finally stabbed ‘like a dog in the street’.
A century later, Joseph Emerson must feel like he’s in Kafka’s novel. The Alaska Airlines pilot tried magic mushrooms, and his life turned into a surreal extended nightmare. He couldn’t sleep for 48 hours, boarded a flight home, thought he was in a dream and pulled the emergency handles. He was arrested and taken to court, where he now faces 83 charges of attempted murder.
The family man from California is now the most hated person in the psychedelic community, which has labelled him a ‘shithead’, ‘moron’, ‘really shitty person’ and ‘psycho freak’ or ‘Ted Bundy’-type who is making a ‘sad attempt to excuse murderous behaviour’.
The industry, as I discussed on Friday, recognizes this is a tricky moment and is very keen to pin the blame for this near-tragedy on anything but mind-altering psychedelic drugs.
So, at the more sympathetic end of the spectrum, you have articles suggesting it wasn’t the drugs’ fault, it was the United States’ poor access to mental health therapies. That’s the view of opinion writer Robin Epley in the Sacramento Bee, who writes:
Psilocybin and psilocin simply aren’t the bogeymen they’re often made out to be, and anyone who says differently is likely unaware of the depth of research that’s been done in recent years. The naturally occurring hallucinogens found in certain mushroom varieties don’t last 48 hours, nor do they typically induce homicidal actions, like trying to kill a plane full of people. Don’t blame this incident on magic mushrooms. Blame it on a backward society that sees severe mental health — and the therapies used to treat it — as something shameful.
The effect of shrooms don’t last 48 hours, she insists – wrongly. They don’t typically last that long, but they certainly can. And saying they don’t typically induce homicidal actions is like saying the US mortgage market doesn’t typically crash and almost take down the entire economy.
But a much more common take from the psychedelic industry and wider psychedelic community is not to blame the shrooms, or American healthcare, but rather to blame Joseph E. Have a look at some of the victim-blaming of the last few days, from Senator Scott Wiener all the way down to the angry folks on Reddit.
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