Could the Miami ‘zombie’ face-eating event simply be a case of Occam’s Razor: that the man had a psychotic breakdown without the use of drugs? Yet, that didn’t stop Armando Aguilar, president for the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, from appearing on CNN and bandying about the theory that it was triggered by LSD. Then, of course, there is the theory that the man had taken bath salts. Police are meant to investigate, not theorize on national television, thereby creating a drug hysteria. It’s proof how that much power the media has in creating hysteria.
“We’ve had… two other instances where the persons have disrobed themselves and become very, very violent. And those two other cases they’ve admitted to taking LSD, and we believe it’s being mixed with some sort of other drugs,” states Aguilar in the CNN interview. “In this particular case we won’t know until the final toxicology report comes in. But, the cases were so similar in nature that they all three took off their clothes, all three became psychotic, all three had superhuman strength and felt no pain.”
“And it’s very concerning to us because it’s just not an act of a crazy person if there is in fact a drug out there that people are taking that is making them psychotic like this,” adds Aguilar. And this is where the irresponsible and hysterical prognostications come in with Aguilar claiming, “We’re going to see more and more of it.”
Take a moment to consider that Aguilar violates one of the great principles of logic: correlation does not imply causation. In other words, even though LSD was allegedly taken by two violent “superhuman” suspects, it does not necessarily mean that LSD or any other drug triggered the violence. Aguilar violates the correlation does not imply causation principle again by suggesting that those other events imply a correlative link to the face-eating incident. Aguilar also fails to state whether the two other suspects had taken LSD the day of their attacks or sometime in their past, which is relevant information.
Cui bono, though? Police get a fresh round of anti-drug publicity with this event, which will likely keep federal drug dollars flowing into their budgets, while the media has a sensational news story for ratings. Any number of publications, including New York magazine, are running with the idea of LSD perhaps being the cause.
New York’s Dan Amira, in what can only be described as a moment of idiocy, writes, “If the recent LSD episode of Mad Men has you thinking of trying the drug for the first time, first consider whether you’re prepared for the possibility that, in addition to (SPOILER!) facilitating a mutual breakup with your significant other, your trip may give you the urge to strip naked and eat a human face.”
If it’s meant as a satirical volley at Miami police and the media, that’s allowed, but the author doesn’t take any time at all to give any background on the effects of LSD or psychedelics, in general. If Amira, or CNN, or the Miami police were being objective and informative at all, they would note that over 60 years LSD has had very positive effects on people, including Steve Jobs and number of other creatives. It’s certainly possible that psychedelics like LSD trigger psychosis in people with latent mental instability. What this tells us is that like any substance, whether it be alcohol or cocaine, people with mental problems (including depression, for instance) should abstain from drug use.
It’s not as if there’s some psychedelic-induced violence epidemic rippling across the U.S., but if one were to believe Miami police and the media, it’s a problem that is escalating. What is actually at play, as always, is misinformation about LSD’s effect being disseminated by power structures. It is propaganda.
Rudy Eugene may have snapped quite naturally, or he may have snapped from a combination of drugs (including LSD, but more likely PCP), but this is no reason to create the sort of drug hysteria infecting the media like a virus. Friends have stated that Eugene was not a drug user, aside from some marijuana use. Maybe he was using other substances privately, but by all indications he was considered a good and relatively sober person.
The reality is that people go crazy all the time. One minute someone is seemingly normal, the next minute they are not. This often disconnected, hyperreal world that we live in doesn’t make it exactly easy to maintain a healthy mental state of mind. Any number of factors could have triggered Eugene, and it’s a shame that police and media are communicating the message that drugs alone are to blame.
It’s important to remind people that there is an extreme beauty in psychedelics and that, like the human psyche itself, there is a dark side, and that this dark side may not have even caused Eugene’s psychotic break.
And remember that Aldous Huxley, one of the 20th century’s greatest minds and most talented writers, exited this world on ”LSD, 100 µg, intramuscular“—a testament to his belief in the positive effects of the drug.