What was going through Salman Abedi’s mind when he made that journey to Manchester Arena on Monday night? How does someone do something so unspeakably evil as to slaughter and grievously injure innocent young children in this way?
Was he a psychopath? Was he evil? I do not know the answer but I do know, as the Mail reports today, that according to his friends Abedi was a frequent and heavy cannabis smoker.
Studies into the personality type of would-be jihadi terrorists have found some recurring themes that make an individual ‘ripe’ for radicalisation. They tend to feel angry, alienated or disenfranchised.
There is also a strong sense of victimhood and that they are fighting for a social injustice.
They have a poor sense of identity and tend to be ‘adolescent’ and petulant. This kind of personality type, combined with cannabis use, surely produces an individual more receptive to the kind of hate-filled rhetoric peddled by radical Islamists.
For too long, we have ignored the terrible toll of this drug. Too many people have dismissed cannabis as harmless — something to help you relax and chill — and that an individual should be free to buy and use as they choose.
Now, more than ever, we need to wake up to a pernicious substance that ruins not just the lives of those that take it, but countless others around them in ways we might never have imagined.