May 31, 2012

Ronald Poppo, the cannibal's victim, the faceless man.

Video shows 3 bicyclists pedal past the naked cannibal attack. The attack goes on for 18 minutes.

I don't blame the bicyclists for not stopping to help. It would be heroic to stop, but getting away and calling 911 is all that is morally required. Do you disagree? I would not even stop long enough to figure out who was the one that needed help. Now, if the bicyclists casually observed the scene and moved on, that would be wrong.

There's also now an answer to the question I had: Why was the victim naked? The attacker, Rudy Eugene "pulls Poppo from the shade, strips off his pants and pummels him. He hunches over Poppo and appears to lie on top of him."

And here's an article about Poppo, whose sister thought he'd died years ago.
“I tried to reach him, and I just thought he killed himself,” she said. "We really thought he was no longer on this Earth."
So here was this poor, lost man. Before the attack, the word "faceless" could have been used figuratively to describe him. Now, having literally lost his face, he is famous. His face, in old photographs, is on the front page of the newspapers. What strange paradoxes. Lying in the street, with no one to care about him, he was suddenly "pull[ed]... from the shade" and into the bright light. He suffered a horrible attack, but before the attack, no one cared about him or gave him any thought at all. Now, everyone cares intensely about him. We want to know how he came to be lying there that day, how he suffered, whether he can be saved. The doctors and the nurses will lavish medical care upon him.

He lost nearly 80% of his face on Saturday when Rudy Eugene, 31, chomped away at his nose, eyes and face. He also lost one eye when it was gouged out, police said.

“He had his face eaten down to his goatee,” said Sgt. Armando Aguilar, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police. “The forehead was just bone. No nose, no mouth.”
The beard was not eaten. The crazed cannibal maintained possession of the sane person's distaste for hair? Perhaps when Poppo wandered the streets, that beard marked him as a homeless man, and outsider. And then the beard preserved a part of his face.
Antoinette remembered her sibling as “a very intelligent boy.”

“My mother always sent him to private schools, and I really don’t understand what happened,” Antoinette said....

He was remembered as a “nice guy” by his fellow classmates at Stuyvesant High School, a prestigious city school from which he graduated in 1964.
Stuyvesant isn't a private school, so it's hard to make sense of what the sister said. Maybe just that the place was exclusive. You have to do well on a difficult test to get in.
“The sad reality is there are many brilliant people who become schizophrenic and end up on the streets,” said a Stuyvesant classmate, Felix Freshwater, who became a pioneering plastic surgeon in Miami.

Now 65, Poppo used to sleep on a cardboard box across the street from the crime scene, often listening to a small radio, a homeless man named Andrew told the Daily News.

“He didn’t mess with anyone, and he seemed like a very educated man,” Andrew said.
Very sad.  I hope it's some consolation to the poor man that, after all these years, people do care about him. Here are some more details about medical treatment. The injuries are not life threatening, but the human mouth is full of germs, so the worst danger is infection:
[R]ebuilding of Poppo's face would happen in stages after doctors try to keep his wounds clean, salvage viable tissue and determine a plan for skin grafts. Protecting his remaining eye and maintaining an airway are priorities.

To keep the wounds clean, doctors use grafts of the patient's skin, cadaver skin or synthetic skin to cover the exposed bone or cartilage, said Dr. Blane Shatkin, a plastic surgeon and director of the wound healing center at Memorial Hospital Pembroke in South Florida....

"You would not just take this guy to the OR for a face transplant — you really have to go in a staged fashion. You save what you can and use what you have available first, don't burn any bridges and move forward slowly," Shatkin said. "And you have to see what he wants."

Psychological care is important to the recovery, and patients need to participate in the decision-making process, said Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He performed a facial transplant on a Connecticut woman who was mauled by a friend's pet chimpanzee in 2009.

"I think the patient has to be able to cope with the injury and the trauma and needs to figure out what has happened. It often takes them weeks to understand what has happened," Pomahac said.
They have a man who hasn't coped with ordinary life, but he had his survival-level life on the streets for 30 years. In that, he's not much like the chimpanzee victim, abruptly thrown from ordinary life into abnormal life.

61 comments:

ndspinelli said...

I would definitely stop and help if I were in my car because I always carry a Louisville Slugger[wood]. I like to think I would stop if I didn't have a bat or gun, but I don't know. It would be a Blink[by Malcolm Gladwell available on amazon] decision.

Matthew Sablan said...

"It would be heroic to stop, but getting away and calling 911 is all that is morally required. Do you disagree?"

-- I agree; the people don't know precisely what's going on, if the attacker is armed, or if there are other attackers they can't see. Rushing in to save the day *may* work, or it may just mean the police have more bodies to sift through when they get there. Before you cowboy in to a situation, you need to know everything. Calling the police is what they need to do; if they could do more, great. But, I'm not going to say it is required of them.

This is actually a pretty sad story. Hopefully, he'll be able to reunite with his family and recover.

jimspice said...

They could have at least yelled "police, police!"

MadisonMan said...

I always have my cell, so I could stop and call 911.

I also have my u-lock hanging from the handlebars. Maybe that would come in handy.

Blink is a great book.

BarrySanders20 said...

In this situation, you would have had to have been prepared not just to stop and intervene and seek a reasoned end to the attack, but to kill. Knowing that, how many would intervene here?

EDH said...

“He had his face eaten down to his goatee,” said Sgt. Armando Aguilar, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police. “The forehead was just bone. No nose, no mouth.”

The beard was not eaten. The crazed cannibal maintained possession of the sane person's distaste for hair? Perhaps when Poppo wandered the streets, that beard marked him as a homeless man, and outsider. And then the beard preserved a part of his face.


A goatee would imply a level of pre-attack grooming by Poppo that's inconsistent with his picture and lifestyle.

Or it might mean the attacker ate away that part of Poppo's face beside his chin where his beard was less thick, thereby giving him a goatee the hard way.

William said...

I intervened in several muggings and assaults. It's a pleasant feeling afterwards to know that you acted in such a way when it would have been just as easy to act in another way. There were also several times when my nerve failed me. Your soul kind of curdles when you think about it later, and you're a diminished person. But you're still alive.......Maybe this man's mental illness will give him some degree of immunity from the craziness that was inflicted on him.

Pogo said...

It was an inhuman act, quite literally. A biting attack on the face is associated with predatory animals.

One hopes that only some neurological disease or chemical abuse would turn a man into a violent beast.

If not, God help us.

Titus said...

I saw a pic of the attacker naked. Looked like he had a nice bod.

I would of done him.

Too bad he's dead.

tits.

Lyle said...

I think the bicyclist who notified police did the right thing. Expecting people to just stop and start attacking someone is not required of anyone.

The police officer also had a gun and didn't have to go near the guy.

Titus said...

I would be interested in knowing if the attacker had a hard on while doing this.

tits.

rhhardin said...

On the caring paradox, it's caring entertainment.

Wally Kalbacken said...

Concealed carry permits in FL number about 250,000. Wouldn't have helped the victim, since he was buck nekkid and couldn't conceal, but also was crazier than a shithouse rat himself, so wouldn't be issued a permit in the first place.

But, if you take 250K, make assumption for those who have a permit but never carry, etc., you would have to think that someone who was in the vicinity, driving by with an opportunity to notice was carrying. That's what it would have taken to mitigate this horror, someone with the ability and willingness to shoot the perpetrator, arriving on the scene before the police.

edutcher said...

Somewhere, Kitty Genovese is crying.

But, if you have the cell, call.

As for intervening physically, not everybody is built like a linebacker or knows martial arts or has a suitable weapon at hand.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Maybe this is inappropriate thought but I wonder if the Trayvon Martin situation makes it more likely someone will become involved in a situation.

Also I don't think I would get involved if I saw two naked men fighting. One time I tried to stop a man from beating a woman. My only thanks was the man and woman both threatening me.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Oops. Sorry what a crappy sentence. I was trying to say, can the Martin situation make so that average people will not intervene.

Synova said...

I wonder how close someone would look. And if they'd realize that it was an attack and not something else.

Synova said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

Bill, your points are good ones.

traditionalguy said...

Courage is where you find it.

PatCA said...

I agree, call 911. And these days, we are taught that homeless lifestyles are just alternative, not wrong or dangerous, and that we should live in harmony with them.

A homeless man threw something metal at me once, I ducked and it missed, but when it clanked to the ground a couple of people looked up, saw I was uninjured, gave me a look like "what did you do to provoke him" and moved on without stopping or saying a word.

caplight45 said...

I keep a K Bar knife accessible in my car. Would I have stopped? If in a car you have a place to retreat to. On a bike you would be pretty vulnerable if he turned on you. Not sure me and my K Bar would be up to the task of taking down a crazed man.

Petunia said...

First rule of EMS: protect yourself. You can't help the patient if you're injured and you don't want to add to the patient count.

If you, the bystander, feel you can safely intervene, then IMHO you have an ethical/moral obligation to do so. If you do not feel that you can safely intervene, or you simply don't wish to, you still have an obligation to call 911.

If I'd been cycling by, and it looked like two injured people, I would have stopped to see if I could help. Once I realized what was going on, though, I'd have been getting out of there as fast as I could.

Free@Last said...

Does this Poppo guy have health insurance? I doubt it. Why are we (through the government) going to be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on this guy who is not a productive member of society? It is to bad that he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, but it is his own damn fault that he did not provide for himself in terms of heathcare insurance. It is not anyone elses resposibilty. Some do-gooder private non-profit should take him in and let him face his fate without being a sponge on taxpayers wallets.

Matthew Sablan said...

"First rule of EMS: protect yourself."

-- Red Cross taught us: "Check yourself, then your buddy. You can't help your buddy if you're hurt."

Made sense. Good advice.

Tim said...

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

"Oops. Sorry what a crappy sentence. I was trying to say, can the Martin situation make so that average people will not intervene."

After the Trayvon Martin situation, any non-Black man intervening in any violent crime being committed by a Black man, in which force may be required, would be a fool.

Best to just call 911 and walk away. Let those with sovereign immunity deal with it.

Free@Last said...

Is it not a sign of how crazy big our government has become that it would even consider spending even five hundred bucks on this wasted individual much less hundreds of thousands of dollars? Let nature take its course and let him pass on.

BarrySanders20 said...

Free,

I'm pretty sure that getting your face eaten off by a zombie was covered even before Obamacare regardless of whether Poppo duly paid his premiums.

Tim said...

The last thing any good Samaritan wants to hear is, "...if I (Obama) had a son/brother/cousin, he'd look like Rudy Eugene."

Alex said...

I would have swiftly dealt with the cannibal by using my Jackie Chan kung-fu. Easy peasy.

Alex said...

Imagine if the government required all adults to carry a loaded firearm when out and about. What a safer society we'd be right?

Alex said...

So no more Trayvon porn?

Free@Last said...

Barry, what I am saying is that this dude was literally living under a tree. Sometimes in the jungle another ape eats your face off. It is not the responsibility of government to correct every misfortune. Spending taxpayers money on this uninsured non-productive dude makes no rational sense. Do you disagree?

BarrySanders20 said...

Free,

Of course I disagree. If you get your face eaten off by a zombie, then the taxpayers should pay for your ER care and for a plastic surgeon to make you a new one.

Poppo has now become productive because he has warned us of the dangers of zombies.

Free@Last said...

Barry, it is always interesting in seeing how the mind of a liberal works.

What if he was hit by a car driven by a zombie? Should the government pay for that? What if the zombie knocked out his tooth? Should the government pay for that? What if the zombie burned down his cardboard shanty? Should the government pay for that?

Where does your heart stop bleeding?

ricpic said...

This was a black on black attack, right? My assumption is the cyclists were white. Derbyshire's rule - do not, if you are white, intrude in a black v. black physical confrontation - applies. And before you go all holier than thou on me, there are a ton of examples of whites who interfered and payed the ultimate price.

Free@Last said...

The world is filled with zombies. That is why people should be productive and provide for themselves good health innsurance.

BarrySanders20 said...

Free,

Don't be ridiculous. Zombies do not have the fine motor coordination to manipulate vehicles or heavy machinery. They do not have the skills to control or direct fire or other incendiary devices. Your hypotheticals about other causes of other losses are unrealistic. Don't change the subject.

We're talking about faces eaten off by zombies. Covered.

Free@Last said...

Also, in a world filled with zombies it is also smart to do concealed carry. This Poppo guy seems like he was not only unlucky but also just plain dumb.

bagoh20 said...

The reason, we feel for this homeless man suddenly is that this attack was not due to his own lack of ambition. In other words it was not his fault.

You can say if wasn't homeless he would not have been there, but if there was no homeless person available, the crazed zombie was not going to peacefully collect flowers instead. He likely would have attacked someone not homeless - maybe you on your bicycle riding by.

I think this is why some of us care about him now. He is a victim of extremely bad misfortune, not sloth, which usually allows us to dismiss the homeless.

Lem said...

When I saw the word "faceless", I thought the professor was going to tie it to Obama's autobiography.

Free@Last said...

Bagoh wrote "The reason, we feel for this homeless man suddenly is that this attack was not due to his own lack of ambition. In other words it was not his fault."

What if he was attacked from a zombie within (cancer)? Should we give a shit then? I don't either way.

Look dying of cancer or being attacked by a zombie are both pretty horrific. Poopy face should have got off his ass and provide himself with some good health insurance. He is not my problem.

BarrySanders20 said...

Free,

If it makes you feel better, I think troll attacks are covered, too.

bagoh20 said...

"He is not my problem."

I am 100% against government provided health insurance, but I would still choose it over a society with that general principle about it's less fortunate and less able members.

Even with a private system, we need a safety net to provide for such people, otherwise we are just intelligent animals - beasts like hyenas, or wild dogs.

I would prefer that a charity provide for his medical care, but to let him simply die because none of us care about him because he had no job is inexcusable.

Any of us could have been born with his life circumstances. Even our ambition, drive and character are accidents of birth that none of us picked for ourselves. We did not choose our DNA, nor the environment we were raised in. It's all luck.

David said...

"Now, everyone cares intensely about him."

That's the nicer view. Certainly some people care about him. But mostly he's selling newspapers and news bytes.

Saint Croix said...

how many would intervene here?

If by "intervene" you mean grab him by the ankles and kick him in the balls, yes. Yes I would.

bagoh20 said...

"how many would intervene here?"

I would take a couple Vicodin and offer him my man boobs. I can be quite alluring, and I need a little work done cheap.

Freeman Hunt said...

There is where concealed carry would come in handy.

Freeman Hunt said...

In this situation, you would have had to have been prepared not just to stop and intervene and seek a reasoned end to the attack, but to kill. Knowing that, how many would intervene here?

This might make women more likely to intervene. I can't restrain someone, but I'm a decent shot.

bagoh20 said...

But would it be fair to shoot the assailant and not the victim. Seems to me that the zombie got the better outcome.

Ann Althouse said...

"When I saw the word "faceless", I thought the professor was going to tie it to Obama's autobiography."

That came up in the conversation between me and Meade, but I didn't use it in the post.

We were talking about a whole lot of aspects of "face."

Saving face.

Facing somebody. Face to face.

Facebook.

"We had faces then."

"Greta Garbo gave great face."

It's a fascinating topic, faces.

All the photographs and paintings of faces.

The idea that it's superficial just to look at someone's face, but how much feeling and expression emanates from the face... that is, how deep the face really is.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The idea that it's superficial just to look at someone's face, but how much feeling and expression emanates from the face... that is, how deep the face really is.

There are many with Aspergers who lack the ability to look at the face and figure out what the person is feeling or thinking. This is why those with Aspergers come of as being strange, uncaring or awkward in social settings.

If you are looking at someone and you can't tell if they are bored, happy, entertained or annoyed, the Aspy is just guessing. Like trying to communicate with another species and interpret clues that you can't relate to.

Some who are homeless are just mentally ill. They need help and cannot help themselves. To ignore them and leave them on the street like unwanted trash is inhumane. Unfortunately, doing the right thing, restraining their movements and making them get help is not allowed. Infringing on their freedom. As a result we have horrible things like this and other abuses of homeless who are ill.

BarrySanders20 said...

Hockey has face-offs. Very appropriate for the Poppo story.

The Who released an album called "Face Dances" in the early 80's.

The album's original title was simply The Who. Face Dances was a last minute substitution. Pete Townshend: "There was a girl that I knew and she was sitting looking in the mirror and she had a match between her teeth [which she was moving to a beat] while she was doing her eyes. I said to her 'face dances' and she just laughed. It was only later that someone pointed out to me that in the Dune trilogy there are a group of characters called 'face dancers,' sort of like chameleons; they can change completely for special purposes. That must have stuck in my head because I really loved the first one."

Free@Last said...

Bagoh you are a good example of the liberal mind set. You hear a sob story (and this guy has a dozy) and then you believe government should be used to try to make it better.

Every person who is in a health crisis but did not get private health insurance, is a sob story waiting for you to hear it.

No doubt the government will spend hundreds of thousands of dollar on this parasite, but that will further put it in people's minds that they don't really need to be self sufficient individuals who go out and get private health innsurance because they know that big daddy government will do it for them. This is because people like you can't draw a line and say NO!

lemondog said...

Who was videotaping?

William said...

I don't think we should politicize the issue of zombie face eating. I think all Americans of good will should be opposed to this practice.

bagoh20 said...

"Bagoh you are a good example of the liberal mind set."

I know, but I'm tired of always being right about stuff and never getting laid.

chickelit said...

bagoh2o wrote: We did not choose our DNA, nor the environment we were raised in. It's all luck.

Don't kid yourself completely. We make our own luck to a great extent too.

roadgeek said...

So who's going to be paying for Poppo's rehab/rebuild? Which taxpayers/producers? The productive taxpayers of Florida or all of the productive taxpayers?

bagoh20 said...

" We make our own luck to a great extent too."

We can improve the possiblities, but even that ability, or the starting opportunity to even consider it, was placed in our lap by happenstance. Most everything we have and are is due primarily to the fact of where and to whom we were born.

Although, I think I would have chosen to be born into a hard-working American family, nobody every ask me to choose it in the womb. I would also have chosen an intact and fully functional mind and body, but again, I was not consulted, so whoever did choose those options, I would like to thank them.

Anybody that thinks they are all that should ask themselves what they would be doing right now if they were born in Somalia or anywhere with a severe birth defect, or even slightly low intelligence or to parents who were.

It's humbling to realize how much we take credit for that, in fact, we mostly just fell into.

lemondog said...

It's humbling to realize how much we take credit for that, in fact, we mostly just fell into.

Whether you shall be born and into what circumstance, more and more becomes less chance and more choice.