October conjures thoughts of crisp, colorful leaves, warm apple cider, Friday night football, and bright jack-o-lanterns. This year, while you’re tossing around the pigskin or battening down for winter, you might consider putting together a first-aid kit and laying in emergency supplies. Why? The zombie apocalypse may be upon us. Consider the following news items.
Flesh-Eating in Florida
Last spring in Miami, Rudy Eugene, 31, stripped off his clothes, launched himself at a 65-year-old homeless man, and began biting his face. The attack, which took place May 26, continued for 18 minutes, as captured on a security camera, until a cop arrived and ordered Eugene to desist. Eugene growled at the officer, who then shot him. When the first bullet failed to have an effect, the officer fired four more times, killing Eugene.
A new drug called “bath salts” may have been responsible for Eugene’s violent psychotic behavior, but an autopsy revealed only marijuana and undigested pills in his stomach.
Ronald Poppo, the victim, arrived at the hospital with 75–80 percent of his face above the beard missing, including an eye. “He had his face eaten down to his goatee. The forehead was just bone. No nose, no mouth,” said police sergeant Armando Aguilar.
Mayhem in Maryland
Around the same time in May, Alexander Kinyua, 21, of Joppatowne, Maryland, admitted to cutting up Kujoe Agyei-Kodie, 37, with a knife and eating his heart and a portion of his brain.
Both Kinyua and Agyei-Kodie were students at Morgan State University. Agyei-Kodie reportedly lived in the house with the Kinyua family for six weeks until his disappearance on May 25, according to CBS Baltimore.
Parts of the victim’s body were found in a dumpster a few blocks away. Police also found a human head and hands inside a metal tin in the house.
Kinyua apparently underwent a drastic personality change after he was dismissed from the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program in January for disciplinary reasons. He has shown no remorse for the attack. Police reported that while he was cooperative and confessed to the crime, he would not reveal why he did it. It is unclear if drugs were involved.
More Fodder from Florida
On June 20, with Florida still reeling from the first “zombie” attack, Charles Baker, 26, banged on the door to his girlfriend’s house in Palmetto, barreled inside, tore off his clothes, and began throwing furniture. Then, in a fit of rage, he bit a chunk off the bicep of Jeffery Blake, another resident of the house, who was trying to restrain him.
When police arrived, Baker faced the deputies, tensed his body, clenched his fists, and screamed, according to WPTV5. A deputy tasered Baker, who pulled the taser prongs out of his skin and continued his rampage. Baker was tasered again and pulled those prongs out as well. More deputies arrived and managed to subdue him and get the cuffs on.
Police said that Baker was under the influence of an unknown substance.
Pandemonium in Pennsylvania
And the weirdness keeps coming. On September 14, Richard Cimino Jr., 20, of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, yanked off his clothes, attacked a woman, and began gnawing on her head.
After breaking into an empty home and ascending to the second floor, Cimino jumped out the second-story window, severely injuring his arms and legs. Covered in his own blood, Cimino approached two women, tackled one of them, and then, screaming “like an animal,” according to state police, proceeded to bite her head.
The women escaped and called police. Police used a stun gun on Cimino, who was acting delusional and confrontational. He continued to act aggressively after getting stunned, even punching an emergency medical technician. Bath salts were once more suspected.
Bath Salts on the Rise
Are these events the first signs of the zombie apocalypse? Too early to tell. Motivation is elusive in each case. Maybe bath salts are to blame, or maybe they are unrelated random acts of violence. However, just to be on the safe side, if someone on the street starts peeling off clothes and looks hungry for human flesh, run like hell.
Bath salts first appeared in the United States in late 2010, but made few headlines at the time. Now the U.S. Department of Justice is calling these inexpensive and readily available drugs an “emerging domestic threat.” The effects of swallowing, smoking, snorting, or injecting bath salts are similar to ecstasy or cocaine. Several side effects have been reported, however, including hallucinations, panic attacks, paranoia, violent behavior, and increased tolerance for pain.
President Obama signed legislation banning several types of synthetic drugs this summer, but many variations are still being sold because every time authorities outlaw one compound, drug makers alter the formula to produce an unregulated drug. Deaths from bath salts are increasing nationwide, with more than 20 people dying in Florida alone, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The white powder is sold under a variety of names, including monkey dust, snow leopard, and scarface.
Words of Wisdom from the CDC
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has weighed in with a helpful guide titled Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse (http://tinyurl.com/66ojena). Nice to know our government officials have a sense of humor about these things . . . or is it prescience? It’s worth a look, in any case, with helpful tips for emergency situations.
In case the bath salts situation gets out of control in your area or some other event sets off the zombie apocalypse, remember to keep plenty of water, food, and medicine on hand. Stock matches, candles, blankets, and a battery-powered radio. Plan your evacuation route. Pick a meeting place to regroup with loved ones. And don’t forget the duct tape.