It would appear zombie mania has captured the American consciousness not to mention headlines around the world. No longer resigned to movie screens (most notably the films ‘Dawn of the Dead,’ ‘Night of the Living Dead,’ and the television show ‘The Walking Dead’) Halloween or one’s imagination, this spectre has incredibly become a reality. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) found it necessary to take to the airwaves and claim there is no ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ happening.
One can understand the public’s concern and distaste for the subject matter. The gruesome cannibal attack in my hometown Miami on May 26, 2012 not only brought the subject to light but it also unleashed the media to other similar lesser known attacks across the country. It may be time to jump ship and move to another state. Not because of this particular incident but because Florida has been getting a bad rap for years. Hanging chads, corrupt government; comedienne Kathy Griffin thanked her audience last week at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood Florida for giving her such wonderful material. I doubt music legend and shock rocker Alice Cooper had something like this in mind when he wrote and recorded “I’ll Bite Your Face Off.” The song appeared on his CD “Welcome To My Nightmare 2,” which was released in 2011. Of course Cooper’s take is balls-to-the wall rock and has nothing to do with actual cannibalism; who would have guessed? Yep, Florida definitely has a crazy mystic to it these days; there’s no way around it. This was no Jeffrey Dahmer, Hannibal Lecter or Ed Gein (a real serial killer whom the movie ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ as well as the Lecter character was loosely based) encounter. In regards to the Miami incident (in case you missed the non-stop television coverage which is still continuing as I write this) Rudy Eugene, 31, was the man identified as the cannibal attacker whom stripped naked in broad daylight on the MacArthur causeway and brutally began eating the face of a homeless man (also naked) Ronald Poppo, 61. The latest report is Poppo lost 75% of his face. Photos of Poppo have surfaced on the internet, post attack. It is an unbelievable sight, truly terrifying and hard to believe a man could do that to another. Eugene was said to be on a LSD-like drug called “bath salts.” Police were unable to stop the attack and shot Eugene dead. According to the National Institute On Drug Abuse, the synthetic powder is sold legally online and in drug paraphernalia stores (and in some states in neighborhood convenient stores) under a variety of names such Cloud Nine, Cloud Ten, Ivory Wave, Bliss, Vanilla Sky, Hurricane Charlie, Charge, White Knight, White Lightning, Scarface, Ivory Wave, and Plant Food.
Other attacks now in the headlines include Alexander Kinyua in Joppa, Maryland. A 21 year -old Engineering student whom killed is roommate, Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie, 37, then proceeded to eat his brain and heart. Kinyua allegedly confessed after Agyei-Kodie’s brother told their father he found human hands and a head in a metal tin above the washing machine. Police in Canada are on the manhunt searching for porn actor (and male escort called “Angel”) Luka Rocco Magnotta. His crime is allegedly killing his former lover with an ice pick, dismembering his body, raping the corpse and then eating the flesh from the body. It has been reported that Magnotta video taped the entire incident. Magnotta was arrested as he read articles about himself on the internet from a café in Berlin. He surrendered without a struggle. He is currently awaiting extradition back to Canada.
Other cases include a Maine woman who thought her teeth were filled with ticks and tried to cut them out with a knife. A 21 year-old Louisiana man cut his own throat then shot and killed himself after being seen and treated by doctors. A mother in Texas was accused of killer her newborn, biting off three of his toes and eating part of his brain. In New Jersey a man with a history of psychiatric problems barricaded himself inside his Hackensack, N.J., home and stabbed himself over 50 times with a 12-inch knife and threw bits of his intestines at police. He was pepper sprayed not but easily subdued. He is still in critical condition. It is uncertain if ‘bath salts’ were involved in any of the above cases. The Miami attack has become the catalyst which brought this sort of crime to the forefront making it headline news. As with all sensational stories (I don’t mean that in a good way) others are soon to follow as if they are coming out of the woodwork in droves.
Violence is our society has always been; it is an undisputable and sad commentary on the world we live in. However it’s nothing new. Back in prehistoric time this was how the race of man survived, as did the animal kingdom. We killed with our bare hands or whatever weapon was at our disposal. What does set these attacks apart is the immense brutality. The old adage is true: never bring a knife to a gun fight. These are no longer weapons of choice. How can we as a people defend ourselves against a savage human attack, beatings, teeth and all, when we don’t see it coming? It is not always clear to recognize when someone is on drugs unless they display the signs. A man ripping off his clothes and growling in broad daylight: that’s a pretty good indication that something is a miss. I wonder if we have turned so far to the left that we ourselves have once again joined our brothers and sisters and returned to our animalistic ways. It is not my intention to sit hear and shout from my soapbox how our world has gone to hell in a hand basket. I think that’s pretty obvious. I myself am trying to gain my own perspective on what the hell went wrong and if there’s a solution to fix the problem. I refuse to point my finger (as most commentators do) at the Entertainment field and blame the escalation of violence on movies and television. In these particular cases, for me anyway, the argument doesn’t hold water. We have yet to be diminished as a people by a biological plague, though that scenario is more plausible than we realize. And as far as I can tell brain eating zombies have not surrounded our local malls in search of a fresh and live human meal (reference ‘The Dawn Of The Dead’ movies and their partner sequels).
Cannibalism is not a new concept. In some areas of the world it is still practiced today and has gone on for thousands of years. The question now becomes: With these hallucinogenic drugs so readily available to everyone how many more cases will come to light before something is done? According to Emergency physicians who have treated patients on this particular synthetic drug the symptoms appear similar to Meth and Cocaine. Hallucinations, paranoid rages, the feeling that your insides are burning through the skin (the reason many have removed their clothing), delusions of super human strength, elevated heart rate, hypertension, irritability, suicide, aggressive and violent behavior, and in these cases, as we’ve seen, murder. Unlike Cocaine, Meth or heroin, bath salts are synthetic stimulants that contain various chemical compounds. However, “Bath Salts,” do contain Mephedrone and MDPV (Methylenedioxypyrovalerone). Say that three times fast. MDPV and Mephedrone act much like cocaine and Methamphetamine, but add the effect of hallucinations. Those that take this drug can snort it, shoot it, and mix it with food and drink.
I have no answers for this phenomenon. Obviously banning the sale of such drugs is the way to go. But we also have to be ‘real’ about it. If someone wants something bad enough there is always a way to get it. Cocaine, heroin and meth are all illegal substances but can be found in every city of every state. I don’t buy into the ‘Zombie Apocalypse,’ though I do enjoy watching the movies. They’re fun, scary, ridiculous, and the images disappear once the lights go on. That being said, if things continue to go where they seem to be headed, I may just become a believer after all. And wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants.
As I am going to press with this editorial the Huffington Post is reporting another cannibal attack has occurred in Louisiana. Louisiana man Carl Jacquneaux, 43, allegedly attacked his neighbor, Todd Credeur, in Lafayette Parish over an undefined domestic issue. According to published reports Jacqueneaux was under the influence of ‘bath salts’ when he allegedly bit off a piece of Credeur’s face. Credeur defended himself by spraying wasp poison in Jacquneaux face. Credeur is out of the hospital and recovering at home. Jacquneaux has bee charged with aggravated burglary, battery, violation of probation, and violation of protective orders. He is being held on a $312,500 bond.
Someone get George Romero on the line. I smell another series of films coming our way next summer.