Saturday, August 20, 2016


The headline read, "No Evident Connection Between Suspect And Victims In Face Eating Attack." I went back and re-read those words. It gave me pause. No connection? I would imagine that the connection of teeth to fleshy bits nose and cheek would count as some sort of connection. A rather intimate one.
Maybe I should back up a step, in case you aren't as prone to as I am to click on those odd and tawdry stories that have this kind of macabre tint to them. A nineteen year old Florida State University sophomore walked three miles into a suburban neighborhood where he found a couple in their garage where he attacked them. When officers arrived on the scene, Michelle Stevens was dead, as was her husband John who had the added complication of a rabid college sophomore on his chest, gnawing on his face.
I'll give you all a moment to decide if you want to continue with this discussion. A chance to digest, if you will.
What made this case even more disturbing, if this was really a frontier that needed to be mined, was that there was a similar occurrence four years ago in Miami: the case of the Causeway Cannibal. Another young man in south Florida who took a break from our collective reality and ended up making a meal of someone else's face. Not that face-gnawing is a practice limited to residents of Dade County. This behavior is linked to the use of "bath salts," or Flakka. In the same way that breakfast every morning is good, Flakka is bad. Like you would benefit from having breakfast every morning. By contrast, you would benefit from having Flakka, oh, let's say never. I am pretty sure that when you go out shopping for a chemical mood enhancer, the mood you're attempting to enhance isn't the hunger for human flesh. If you get stoned, you get an appetite for Cheetos. If you snort, vape, chew or swallow Flakka, you might end up doing your best impersonation of the Donner Party. Or being a walk-on for the road company of "Night of the Living Dead." Or the subject of some awful story people will read on Al Gore's Internet when they really should be doing something responsible like balancing their checkbook. Or writing a friend to encourage them not to rub, sniff, grind or otherwise consume Flakka.
Nobody did that for Austin Haurroff. His course of study at Florida State University will be interrupted. For some time. He currently enjoys our legal system's distinction of being referred to as the "alleged assailant." Not exactly the type of thing that looks good on your transcript. His status as a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity will need to be revisited. But he will always have a connection with John and Michelle Stevens. Forever.

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