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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Why people believed face-eating man was high on bath salts - even though he hadn't taken any

Why people thought 'bath salts' made Rudy Eugene eat Ronald Poppo's face

From the piece:

In a well-informed and revealing Playboy article, Frank Owen analyzes "a classic drug panic," explaining how and why Rudy Eugene's grisly assault on Ronald Poppo in Miami last May came to beblamed on "bath salts," a group of quasi-legal stimulants that Eugene, a.k.a. the Causeway Cannibal and the Miami Zombie, had not in fact consumed.

Owen fingers some of the same culprits I did in my post-mortem examination of the story—most conspicuously, Armando Aguilar, president of the local police union. Owen says Aguilar, worried that yet another case of a Latino officer (Jose Ramirez) shooting an African American (Eugene) would give critics of the Miami Police Department new ammunition, "decided to bury the racial angle by feeding local reporters an alternative narrative that would prove irresistible: A flesh-eating monster high on a sinister new drug called bath salts devoured a homeless man's face." Those local reporters, who set off a worldwide media frenzy featuring headlines such as "New 'Bath Salts' Zombie-Drug Makes Americans Eat Each Other," swallowed the tall tale eagerly and begged for more:

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