The entire world has lost its shit after Rudy Eugene, the “Miami Zombie,” stripped naked and ate a homeless man’s face before being shot to death by police. This story has received an incredible amount of attention due to its gruesome nature—and the fact that it involves a real-life, flesh-eating zombie.
Well … Mr. Eugene wasn’t really a zombie; he was most likely high on PCP, which is my opinion. (And I’m sure you will agree if you study the drug’s effects. For instance, a former Texan rapper became convinced that his roommate was the devil and proceeded to eat part of her lung; also, people under the influence of PCP often remove their clothes because their body temperatures soar.) Surprisingly, I haven’t come across any stories that mention the possibility of PCP being involved; instead, everyone keeps talking about “bath salts” (mephedrone). Mephedrone has recently been getting a lot of press, along with so-called “synthetic cannabis” and other similar drugs. The fact is, these drugs have been around for some time—and they’re not nearly as dangerous as many people think. As methamphetamine has become more scarce, some enthusiasts have turned to mephedrone—and neither drug is likely to turn someone into a cannibal, unless they’ve been binging for days (in which case, the actual psychosis would be triggered by lack of sleep rather than the drug itself).
When you get right down to it, it doesn’t make a bit of difference what Rudy Eugene was high on—but I’m willing to bet that it wasn’t a voodoo curse that turned him into a goddamned monster, as his girlfriend has suggested. Eugene’s brother, on the other hand, has said, “I wish they didn’t kill him so he could tell us exactly what happened. This is very uncharacteristic of him.”
I’d say that eating someone’s face is very uncharacteristic of anyone, unless you count fictional characters such as Leatherface and Hannibal Lecter; also, I doubt that Eugene would have been able to say what happened.
Fuck it. Here’s what happened: Rudy Eugene, a known user of marijuana, left his girlfriend’s place at 5:00 a.m. and was on his way to Urban Beach Week, a series of outdoor concerts and parties on Miami Beach. Somewhere along the way, he purchased a joint that was laced with PCP (a common product, also known as a “sherm stick”). Whether he knew his weed was laced or not, the dumb brute smoked the fucking thing, tore off all his clothes, and went looking for lunch. The rest is history.
And then there’s poor old Ronald Poppo, the man who lost his face. Doctors have said that staving off infection and maintaining an open airway are critical at this point. Chances are, a year or two from now, Mr. Poppo will be back in the news, showing off his new visage. They’ve actually gotten quite good at such things, especially after Charla Nash was mauled viciously by her friend’s pet chimpanzee … which makes me wonder why anyone would keep a chimp in the first place. While some may think they’re cute, they’re actually prone to violence and in most cases, will think nothing of ripping your arm off and beating you half-to-death with it.
It turns out that a 44-year-old New Jersey woman, Janice Poppo DiBello, is the victim’s estranged daughter—he abandoned her when she was 2 years old and divorced her mother in 1970. “Nobody ever heard anything from him, so I’ve never met him,” DiBello said. “I didn’t know if he was alive or dead.”
And in related news, officials are baffled and pissed off that photos of the crime scene and Ronald Poppo’s face were leaked and are available online, including in my June 2 column.
Miami Police Det. Frankie Sanchez said, “It is illegal to take pictures of a crime scene; it is the Dale Earnhardt law that it is illegal to solicit payment for photos of a crime scene.”
Huh. Once upon a time, it was standard practice for newspaper reporters to snap gruesome photos for the front page, all with the blessing of their editors and the police. Nowadays, such things are frowned upon—and as a result, when we go looking for “news,” all we get are pictures of the press conference and a yellow line of police tape. If you’re interested in how news used to be reported, when it was actual news, I recommend Strange Days, Dangerous Nights: Photos From the Speed Graphic Era. Some folks have taken exception to websites such as Gawker, who decided to post the photos … but you know what? While this story is tragic, it is still news. And besides, most people have a morbid fascination with such things. As the editor-in-chief of Secret Laboratory, I chose to run the photos and I stand by my decision.
In other, unrelated news, tomorrow is the recall election in Wisconsin for Governor Scott Walker, who is up against Democratic challenger Tom Barrett. Recent polls have shown that Walker has a slight lead over his opponent—and if he wins, it will be a major blow to organized labor and hard-working, thinking people everywhere. But what the hell? We’ll talk more about that tomorrow.
Meanwhile, according to MSNBC: The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco will announce Tuesday whether it will take up a legal challenge to Proposition 8, which amended California’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
It’s about goddamned time.
And finally, in a damning bit of evidence to support the notion that bears are the #1 threat to America (and the rest of the world), a black bear in Canada dragged the corpse of a man out of his car and ate him. The victim, at least, was already dead of unknown causes according to authorities.
Zombies. Bears. Ex-wives. What’s next?
Here’s your wisdom:
John T. Schmitz is the editor & publisher of Secret Laboratory; he is the founder of Maple Hills Press and has also freelanced as a writer and photographer, contributing to various local and international publications. Mr. Schmitz lives in Minnesota with his wife, Megan, and their two children; he is the author of five books.
Email Mr. Schmitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.