The Month in PCP: The Guy Who Allegedly Had the Drug in His Sock and Asked Cops, “Am I…

Crime
A blog about murder, theft, and other wickedness.
July 1 2013 5:24 PM

The Month in PCP: The Guy Who Allegedly Had the Drug in His Sock and Asked Cops, “Am I Dead?”

130329_CRIME_PCPtrain
Something you might do while on PCP

Photo by Getty Images/iStockphoto

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At the end of every month, I scour the LexisNexis and Factiva news databases for stories about the criminal exploits of people who are allegedly high on the dissociative drug phencyclidine, or PCP. Urban legend maintains that a dose of PCP—also known as angel dust—can give you superstrength, or make you hunger for human flesh. These are exaggerations. That said, PCP can lower a user’s inhibitions in newsworthy fashion. To wit:

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Shot or not? In the above blurb, I noted that PCP is a “dissociative drug,” which is basically just a fancy way of saying that, sometimes, a PCP user will find himself unable to tell whether he was shot or just punched really hard. On June 27 the New Haven Register reported that “a city man is having a hard time remembering whether he was shot or pistol-whipped after he allegedly smoked angel dust before being assaulted, according to police.” Evidence in the “he was probably pistol-whipped” category: The police found no shell casings, and an examination revealed no bullets. On the other hand, maybe it was an invisible bullet.

We’re No. 1! We’re No. 1! Washington, D.C., celebrated a dubious accomplishment this June, as the Office of National Drug Control policy reported that D.C. leads the nation in PCP arrests. Why is PCP so popular in Washington? For one thing, the drug is cheap, and many D.C. residents are poor; according to a local social worker, the drug’s popularity is “one of the downsides of the effects of the economic conditions in the district.” For another thing, as certain Internet discussion forums tell us, D.C. is controlled by Illuminati cabalists who are secretly putting phencyclidine in the water supply in order to quell civic unrest. OPEN YOUR EYES, AMERICA.

Nakedness is still trending. If I’ve learned one thing over the course of doing this feature, it’s that PCP usage correlates strongly with inappropriate nudity. This month’s naked story comes from the Associated Press, which reports that, in mid-June, a man who was allegedly high on PCP “ran naked through a southeastern Pennsylvania town last weekend, allegedly chasing women and punching men.” This actually sounds like the plot to some lost Sam Peckinpah Western, starring Warren Oates as the naked, combative antihero who is high on dangerous drugs. So, basically, a biopic.

A self-fulfilling prophecy. In early June a Stamford, Conn., woman was startled when a “disheveled, hysterical man approached her residence,” begging her to call the police because “someone was trying to kill him.” The cops soon arrived and zapped the man twice with a Taser before cuffing him and bringing him to the hospital. This also sounds like the plot to some lost Warren Oates movie.

PCP Story of the Month. On the morning of Wednesday, June 19, a car crashed into a bodega on the corner of 2nd Avenue and East 4th Street in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, hitting three employees, a fire hydrant, a parking meter, a tree, and a man riding a CitiBike. As the dust cleared, out of the wreckage crawled 32-year-old Shaun Martin, a man with a previous drunken-driving conviction and, allegedly, a bag of PCP in his sock. Though Martin wasn’t seriously hurt, he was disoriented; in the criminal complaint ultimately filed against him, police reported that Martin had “bloodshot eyes, was unsteady on his feet, [and] kept repeating 'Am I dead?' "—which, really, is one of those questions that you shouldn’t have to ask. If you see a little white light and are surrounded by a feeling of cosmic gratitude, then you’re dead. If you’re surrounded by debris and several angry police officers, then you’re probably facing jail time after crashing into a bodega with PCP in your sock.

Justin Peters is a writer for Slate. He is working on a book about Aaron Swartz, copyright, and the rise of “free culture.” Email him at justintrevett@fastmail.fm.

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