Tree-Hugging Dirt Worship

July 16, 2012

Naked Face-Chewing Bath Salt Zombie Crime Wave?

Filed under: Soapbox — Tags: , , , , , , — paragardener @ 4:59 pm

Within hours of Rudy Eugene chewing the face off of Ronald Poppo, members of the news media were speculating about imminent zombie apocalypse and blaming the incident on “bath salts,” a marketing term for mephedrone and mixtures thereof. By July 5, David Edwards wrote a piece for Raw Story about a nationwide naked crime wave, in which bath salts are “suspected.” Suspected by who, exactly? This story smells… cooked up.

Some police suspect bath salts behind every sort of deranged behavior. Phoenix Police Sgt. Eric Wyckoff notes that “I wouldn’t approach naked people running around the streets of Phoenix,” which is sad, because I like to approach the naked and deranged and have some fun with them.

“Did you forget something back at the house?” I’ll ask. “Nice cool breeze, don’t you think?”

Sgt. Wyckoff continued, “Generally speaking, if you run into a naked man out here, we found there’s usually some kind of illicit narcotic on board.” This raises questions for me. Weren’t there insane people who wandered about naked before we had today’s great variety of drugs available? If we pulled people off the street at random and drug tested them, wouldn’t we find a great number of otherwise normal people with illicit narcotics on board? I can certainly imagine someone having a psychotic reaction to their drug of choice, and getting publicly naked in the confusion. But I don’t trust that the relationship between illicit drugs and naked crime is all that tight. Could someone show me some numbers?

David Edwards’ piece goes on to link to various naked crime stories. In one case, a Texas mom crashed her car, left it there with three children inside, and wandered to the drug store where she proceeded to strip naked and eat ice cream. The bath salt connection? From Reuters: “Some online commentators are also speculating about the possible use of drugs like bath salts, which can raise a person’s body temperature.”

A Florida woman stood in the intersection, rather forcefully flashing passing drivers with each of her naughty bits until sheriffs arrived to take her in. The bath salt connection? At least David Edwards suspects that she may have been high on bath salts.

Hysterical mugshot.

Broward Sheriff’s Dep’t.

In Georgia, a half-naked man was arrested for disorderly conduct on a golf course. He admitted to being high on bath salts and threatened to eat the faces of the arresting officers. Do bath salts lead directly to the urge to get naked and eat faces? Or did Karl Laventure get himself deranged with the original Miami zombie attack influencing his expectations?

There is no reason to fear that bath salts lead straight to naked face-chewing. We now have toxicology reports from the Miami-Dade medical examiner, who found nothing remarkable in Rudy Eugene’s system. The original naked face-chewing bath salt zombie attack was not caused by bath salts. For some reason, everyone just assumed that it was. “Oh, this is odd. It must be connected to that scary new drug.”

A June 14 story in “Hollywood Life” makes flat and unsupported statements that a woman who attacked her own son and dog on a violent and nude rampage was high on bath salts. Since the story also cited Rudy Eugene as a bath salt user, I see no reason to treat the story as credible. Rampager Pamela McCarthy was tased to death by responding police. How convenient for them if she were a nearly invincible yet mindless zombie attacker, and therefor had to be taken down at any cost.

Connecting bath salts to a naked crime wave is a pretty fine drug scare. It is reminiscent of vintage drug scares like Old South cocaine (making black men into superhuman rapists), or Reefer Madness-era marijuana (giving fine upstanding youths uncontrollable violent impulses). Yet, there is a note of ghetto-terror PCP (its ability to cause utter, violent confusion and immunize one against pain), with even a whiff of the club drug scene from our latest round of being frightened about MDMA. This is the most complex, fullest-bodied drug scare we’ve enjoyed in a long, long time!

You can’t have a drug scare without doctors getting their two cents out. So, addiction specialist Dr. Ravi Chandiramani captures the richness of the bath salt scare in one line: “It’s different than anything else we typically encounter because it’s almost like having cocaine, ecstacy, LSD or acid and amphetamine in one substance.”

Bath salts are a capitalistic, loophole-finding, make-money-first-and-ask-questions-later way to skirt around drug prohibition (don’t sell drugs as drugs. don’t even label them.) You could grouse about corporations being more socially responsible but it’s a little late for that. The other problem is that people need to have better ways of getting drugs! In the meantime, don’t trust what you hear about bath salts and don’t panic about naked zombie attackers.

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