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CONCERNING A CASE OF CIGARILLO MANIA


by Jeff Goldberg


There is only one plausible explanation for the events that took place in Ferguson, Missouri, at noon on August 9, 2014. Forget about the eye witnesses. Whether they say Michael Brown had his hands up in surrender or was charging Darren Wilson like an enraged Rhino doesn't matter much. Eye-witness accounts are woefully unreliable.  Even everyday memories are forgotten, reconstructed, updated, and distorted dozens of times between lunch and dinner. Experts say extreme witness stress at a crime scene can really fuck with recall, especially in the presence of gunfire, a racial disparity between the witness and the suspect, or just having to talk to the cops.

Only two people really know what happened that day—Michael Brown, who's dead, and Darren Wilson, the ex-cop who killed him.

Wilson's story is improbable, to say the least. Being white I may not know fuck all about what it's like to be black, but last I heard, according to the African-American Male Youth's Survival Manuel, when returning home after robbing a convenience store, if a police officer approaches you and asks you to walk on the sidewalk, you do not reply, “Fuck what you say.” When the cop comes back a second time and opens his door to ask you again to walk on the sidewalk, you do not say "What the fuck are you going to do about it," slam the door shut in the cop's face and begin pummeling him inside his patrol car. When he draws his gun, the correct response is not "you are too much of a pussy to shoot me." And when you finally run away, like you should have done in the first place, you do not turn around and come charging back toward the cop through a hail of bullets because you're mad that he's shooting at you.

Even Wilson had trouble believing his story. “I've never seen that much aggression so quickly from a simple request to just walk on the sidewalk,” he told the grand jury. The six-foot-four-inch, two-hundred-ninety-pound Brown, was more raging beast than man:

“He grabs my door and he's coming into my vehicle. I grabbed him,   [but] I felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan. That's how big he felt. He grabs my gun. The gun goes down into my hip. I can feel his fingers try to get inside the trigger guard with my finger and I remember envisioning a bullet going into my leg. I focused on getting the gun out of me. When I did, I pulled the trigger and nothing happens. I pull it again, it just clicked. I pulled it a third time, it goes off. When it went off, it shot through my door panel. He kind of stepped back. And then, he looked up at me and had the most intense aggressive face. The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that's how angry he looked. He comes back towards me again. I just grab the top of my gun, and I rack it, and pulled the trigger again, it goes off. When I look back after that, I see him start to run and there's a cloud of dust behind him. I chased him towards the light pole, past two parked cars. When I passed the second one, he's at that light pole and he stopped running. And then he starts to turn around, I tell him to get on the ground. He turned and looked at me, and made like a grunting sound. He does kind of a stutter step, his left hand goes in a fist at his side, his right one goes under his shirt in his waistband and he starts running at me. I shoot a series of shots. I know I hit him at least once because I saw his body jerk. But he's still coming at me, he hadn't slowed down. At this point I start backpedaling and I tell him get on the ground, but he doesn't. I shoot another round of shots. I know I hit him at least once because he flinched again. At this point it looked like he was bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him mad that I'm shooting at him. He keeps coming at me, coming at me, gets about ten feet away. I'm backing up pretty rapidly, because I know if he reaches me, he'll kill me. And he had started to lean forward as he got that close, like he was going to tackle me, just go right through me.  I looked at my sites and fired, all I see is his head and that's what I shot. I saw the last one go into him. And when it went into him, the demeanor on his face went blank, the aggression was gone, it was gone, I mean, I knew he stopped, the threat was stopped.”

What could account for such supernatural strength, such deranged loss of reason, and total disrespect for authority? A century ago, the root cause of such savage behavior was simple—it was cocaine. In an influential article in the Sunday New York Times Magazine in 1914, “Negro Cocaine ‘Fiends' are a New Southern Menace,” Dr. Edward Huntington Williams' charged that cocaine turned black men into veritable werewolves, consumed with violent homicidal passions and, worst of all, invulnerable to bullets. He illustrated his point with the story of a police chief in Asheville, North Carolina, who was called out to arrest “a hitherto inoffensive negro” who was “running amuk” in a cocaine frenzy: “Knowing that he must kill the man or be killed himself, the Chief drew his revolver, placed the muzzle over the Negro's heart, and fired—‘intending to kill him right quick,' as the officer tells it. But the shot did not even stagger the man. And a second shot that pierced the arm and entered the chest had just as little effect in crippling the Negro or checking his attack. Meanwhile the chief, out of the comer of his eye, saw infuriated Negroes running toward the cabin from all directions. He had only three cartridges remaining in his gun, and he might need these in a minute to stop the mob. So he saved his ammunition and ‘finished the man with his club.'”

In Michael Brown's case, of course, the coroner found no traces of cocaine, yet the Grand Jury testimony in the case points to the possibility of another alarming explanation, hitherto unrecorded in the annals of psychopharmacological, a new and potentially grave form of abuse, dependence, and—as now appears likely, the uncanny power to turn its users into bloodthirsty fiends. And this menace is Cigarillos.   

A quick review of the evidence establishes beyond reasonable doubt that Michael Brown was a Cigarillo addict, whose enslavement to the slim, white tipped cigars drove him to rob the convenience store that morning. And, by the time he was confronted by Wilson, so intoxicated was Brown on the seductive strawberry-flavored nicotine that he made no attempt to conceal the evidence of his crime. In fact, it was with a right fist full of Cigarillos that he struck Wilson repeatedly in the face, before becoming concerned about breaking his favorite fix. “After he hit me, it stopped for a second,” Wilson recalled. “He turns and I see the Cigarillos are in his left hand. He's going like this and he says, ‘Hey man, hold these,' [to his friend]. Then he [took] a full swing all the way back around and hit me.”

Something must be done before other innocent victims suffer Darren Wilson's fate? At very least a Congressional investigation is called for, into the connection between Cigarillos and violent crime. Perhaps, it would not be going too far to ban the stogie dynamite sticks from sale to Black men between the ages of 12 and 72 in order to stop the unholy threat in its tracks.

Because, if Cigarillos are not to blame, there is only one other possible explanation—that throughout the Obama presidency, the decaying residue of racism has been steaming and bubbling beneath the sidewalks, rising up out of the deep well of fear and hatred, until finally it has burst forth from the sewers like the ecoplasmic slime in Ghostbusters in the form of a newly elected congress of Walking Dead Ward Cleavers, intent only on turning America white again and haunted by fearful ghosts of angry black golems risen by dark arts and potions coming at them coming at them out of the darkness that brought the Beast to Darren Wilson, to crush them and rape their dear common-sense wives who dress in pearls for dinner, and turn their sweet obedient Betty and Bud into dope fiends and socialists. And as we all know, that can't be true.

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