Lately, news outlets have been inundated with bizarre stories regarding people displaying extremely aggressive and violent behavior, some of which ends in cannibalistic tendencies. Since the story that started it all--Rudy Eugene's face-eating attack on homeless man Ronald Poppo in Miami--several more incidents have been documented, several of which involve the synthetic drug "bath salts", but by no means all. In fact, the scariest part of these incidents is that they don't seem to have a common denominator; nothing to tie them all together. Eugene, who was widely believed to be high on bath salts when he chewed up 75% of Poppo's face, tested positive for nothing more than marijuana. And a more recent attack on a woman in China gave initial reports that the attacker, a bus driver who pulled the woman from her car and began chewing on her face, was simply inebriated.
A new story out of Arizona seems to have several parallels to many of the other stories, although police aren't speculating on what caused his erratic behavior at this time. 45-year old John Brigham rammed his car into the back of a Porsche on Friday, which caused a chain-reaction and sent the Porsche flying into the back of another car. Brigham exited his vehicle, took off all his clothes--just like Eugene-- jumped onto the roof of a nearby car and began screaming gibberish and ranting. He quickly hijacked another car from a pregnant woman--who was almost full term and suffered two broken legs in the accident he'd caused--and sped off down the highway the wrong way, where he hit several more cars before coming to a violent stop in a ditch. He was actually ejected from the car but it didn't seem to affect him, as he jumped up and immediately began looking for another car to commandeer. Police arrived at that point and were able to take him into custody, however. In all, his spree injured six people, including one man who was ejected from his vehicle and was in serious condition.
Pregnant victim's car. Images courtesy of ABC15.com.
While no one has speculated yet on what might have caused this violent and insane behavior--including police, who haven't released information on what Brigham might have ingested beforehand--there are so many similarities to other stories around the country that I can't help but draw on them for clues. Aside from Eugene, whose toxicology report makes him an enigma--there have now been at least five other cases where people have inexplicably stripped down before exhibiting violent behavior, and many of them include a mention of bath salts.
Luckily for the victims involved, Brigham's behavior didn't evolve to cannibalism. As it is, several were hospitalized and will likely require weeks, or even months, to heal.