Christine Tatum: Anti-pot jihadist's questions about Westword, THC tie to terrorism, murder

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Amendment 64's passage has energized marijuana opponents like Christine Tatum. An ex-journalist and wife of addiction specialist Dr. Christian Thurstone, Tatum recently went after yours truly for, among other things, failing to contact Thurstone for a post featuring one of his critics. Since then, Tatum has not responded to multiple interview requests from Westword -- but here's more about her complaints and rhetoric that drops hints about a possible link between THC consumption and murders at Columbine High School and the Boston Marathon.

First, some background. Last month, we shared an interview with Thurstone in which he expressed fears that marijuana users searching for bigger highs might start injecting THC -- a supposition dismissed by Dr. Bob Melamede in a subsequent post.

Afterward, Thurstone's wife, Tatum, attacked yours truly in an item on Thurstone's website entitled "The One-Way Debate."

At the outset of the piece, which went live May 21, Tatum mentions a December interview with marijuana attorney Sean McAllister, who raised doubts about some of Thurstone's theories in the context of a wide-ranging conversation regarding the Amendment 64 task force; Thurstone was a member of that body. In Tatum's view, Thurstone should have been given a chance to respond. "On the first day of class, journalism students should be able to spot what is wrong with this," she writes.

By the way, here's a blurb about Tatum's journalism background: "Christine Tatum is a former staff writer for the Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post, the (Arlington Heights, Ill.) Daily Herald and the (Greensboro, N.C.) News & Record. In 2006-07, she served as national president of the Society of Professional Journalists, one of the United States' largest and oldest journalism-advocacy organizations."

Next, Tatum talks about the aforementioned Thurstone interview, and while she doesn't suggest that he was misquoted, she finds fault with the offering as well, mainly because it lacked other voices. An excerpt:

Though it was my husband doing all the talking this time, I cringed as I read what amounted to more stenography. It was tempting to react with: "Wow, that's great. You were heard. You're the only one quoted. It's finally your side of the story, uninterrupted," and, "This is the least Mr. Roberts could do to make up for his previously lopsided and unfair work." But I couldn't make myself go there -- and I said so to several people.

"It's still grossly imbalanced," I complained. "Even if it's a 'column' designed to present a view, it's so one-sided."

She was even more unhappy about the follow-up featuring Dr. Melamede. In this segment, Tatum refuted Melamede's assertion that injectable THC fears were "idiotic" with evidence that scientific efforts to develop this technique are underway, including an excerpt from a 2008 BBC video:

In addition, Tatum maintained that Thurstone should have gotten a chance to answer Melamede. Here's the gist of her argument:

Mr. Roberts, and, apparently, his editor, found it acceptable to allow a source to attack the position of someone who was never given a chance to defend himself against those attacks before publication. Dr. T would have -- and easily could have -- addressed the criticism leveled at him, but the journalists at the center of this just didn't find it necessary to give him that chance. In their world (which is heavily subsidized by ads paid for by marijuana causes and businesses), it's all right for people to challenge and criticize Dr. T and his work -- but not to allow Dr. T to challenge and criticize his critics. It's all right for people to debate Dr. T and not even inform Dr. T that he's party to a debate.

Continue for more about Christine Tatum and possible marijuana links to the Columbine killings and the Boston Marathon bombing. Eager to give Tatum the opportunity she believes I denied her husband, I e-mailed interview requests through Thurstone's website and even called him directly, asking that he pass along my interest in speaking with her. Weeks later, I have not received a response.

Tatum is more interactive on her Facebook page, where she shares her takes on a variety of topics and sometimes engaged in exchanges with commenters. Unsurprisingly, though, a couple of marijuana-related items were of the most interest to weed-advocate Russ Belville, also known as Radical Russ. In an April 20 post written while he was in Denver, he highlights two of them. Here's the first, about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston Marathon bomber:

Belville interpreted this post as "blaming marijuana for two young men's destructive lunacy" -- something that he sees as ludicrous on its face. He writes: "Let's see, there are 26.1 million annual tokers, 17 million monthly tokers, and 2 million daily tokers in America. Two of them are alleged terrorists. That's literally, at best, a one-in-a-million risk."

This isn't the only time Tatum has attempted to make such a logical leap, at least by heavy-handed inference. Here's another screen capture shared by Belville; it includes marijuana-centric references to Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes and more.

If and when Tatum gets back to us, we'll happily share her views. In the meantime, the ones above will have to tide you over.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana users searching for bigger highs may start injecting THC, doctor fears."

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.