Did Bible study and anti-drug vow cause Miami cannibal attack?

The latest Narco Polo cartoon from Robert Arthur, You Will Die: The Burden of Modern Taboos.


  1. I recall reading a study a few years ago that showed there was a statistically significant increase in agressive tendencies in people going through withdrawal from heavy marijuana use.

    1. My friend and I used to get really angsty when we didn’t have weed.  This was back in the days before the clinics made good bud ubiquitous.
      It’s not the same aggression that comes from cigarette withdrawals.  Cigarettes are more of a panicky fight or flight feeling.  With weed it was a feeling of childish frustration.  Not unlike a four year old who has had his iPad taken away.

  2. In the Brain of Robert Arthur:

    Ambition: “Hey, you know what will get me lots of hits on the internet? Pointlessly dragging religion into this argument through a misleading headline!”

    Anger: “Yeah!”

    Pride:  “Yeah!”

    Rational thought: “But don’t you state in your cartoon that the media are wrong for presenting false links between things and drawing their own conclusions?”

    All: “NO! Internet! GO!” 

    1. It’s hardly pointless, the cartoonist makes the link very directly: 1/ the guy was a heavy marijuana user, 2/ marijuana reduces aggressive tendencies, 3/ he had sworn of marijuana at a Bible study to be a better man of God.

      The reading I get is that there is more of a link between that than other drugs which the cartoonist states there is no evidence he used. Therefore the headline here is as, if not more, valid than most headlines printed on the subject.

        1. You mean below, and I’m still not wrong. Did he attack the guy because of a vow to not take drugs made at a Bible study? (Hence “Bible Study and anti-drug vow”). Who knows? But he went to the Bible study, he made the vow there, and had he been high he may not have attacked the guy. The headline is correct in that it references two things in the guys life that may or may not have been linked.

          I think you’re missing that Arthur seems to be picking at the media’s leading use of “?” to allow them to make any statement they want. Since Robert is here, though, I’ll let him speak for himself.

          1. I agree with Jeremy, no one is assuming that Rocco Luka Magnotta, the gay Canadian porn actor dismembered his friend and most probably had sex with the corpse because he was gay and acted in porn!  Who knows? But he was gay and he acted in porn. It is correct in that it references two things in the guys life that may or may not have been linked.

            It is a stupid article; ironic or not… and not to mention a stupid argument.

          1. But you present your speculation as if it isn’t speculation at all but a genuine alternative theory, with evidence to support it. 

            If your point is to show how easy it is to draw conclusions based on circumstantial evidence, then mission accomplished. This is how conspiracy theories are born. 

          2.  Well which one is it? I’ve enjoyed other cartoons on your blog but this one left a bad taste in my mouth. The comments to your post here condense the issue nicely; is it an ironic poke at the media’s fixation with their headlines before the story is even known, or do you see it as a plausible, alternative explanation?

          3.  Mat, it is both. The title was definitely satire. Do I think it is plausible that a cessation of heavy marijuana smoking could have contributed to the attack? Yes. I admit that is mere speculation but I believe I have more evidence than the news media’s bath salts theory. sincarne explains this stuff better than I do. Thanks for your compliments.

      1. Sure. I have no beef about that, that’s a fully accurate statement of things. Drugs certainly are demonized.

        I’m just pointing out the bare fact that religion has no purpose in that argument, yet is the primary headline. What you’re actually talking about is his kicking pot, but you phrased it as “did Bible Study AND an anti-marijuana vow”, directly stating that the Bible study was actually a cause of the murder, over and above any anti-pot vow.

        Which I guess is the kind of inaccuracy you’re railing against?

        1. “I’m just pointing out the bare fact that religion has no purpose in that argument”

          oh i don’t know about that, depends on what verses they read in their bible study, if you are off your rocker who knows how you would internalize these biblical verses:

          John 6:52-57 – “The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of
          the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.  For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him…so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.”

          1 Corinthians 11:24 – “he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.”

    2. You failed at understanding the whole point of the headline.
      It’s ironic. It’s doing the same thing the media are doing in the most ridiculous way to prove them how wrong they are. I don’t think the author thought it to be even possible that someone, such as you, would take it seriously.

      1. Well this article reads 100% straightforward, reading irony into it isn’t exactly high on the list of accepted interpretations.

        I mean, I could read James Joyce’s Ulysses as if the narrator was an alien from Alpha Centauri, but there’s pretty much 0% evidence of that. Just like there’s 0% evidence for irony here. 

        1. “reading irony into it isn’t exactly high on the list of accepted interpretations.”
          Perhaps you have forgotten that you are reading Boing Boing?

        2. Well this article reads 100% straightforward, reading irony into it isn’t exactly high on the list of accepted interpretations.

          Do you have a link to that list?

          1.  Cute, but there’s a point here to be considered. The majority (i.e. pretty much everything) on the author’s site reads as straightforward and concise: one of the things I appreciate most about him. When a comic of his comes up making an uncommonly poor argument, why are people so quick to defend it with a shield of supposed irony? Based on the previous, similar work on his site, where’s the list that says irony is the interpretation we need to go with?

  3. It’s been a while since the attack occurred. Shouldn’t we have some actual drug results by now instead of all this groundless speculating by police, politicians, and the media? I’m getting kind of tired of all this “bath salts” hysteria without any real evidence that it was involved.

  4. Saying violence is a  predictor isn’t very helpful because folks are looking for a correlation that implies causation.  And answer the question of, why the fuck did this guy eat another mans face!?

  5. This shit pisses me off to no end. They were trying to drum up some “LSD” scare until, of course, they found out it was something different and then try to bill it as “A new LSD.”

    America is regressing into an inescapable darkage where all voices of reason are rendered mute by some hysteric feedback loop screeching “reefer madness.”

    1. Our politicians would be negligent to not take advatage of the latest moral panic in an election year. 

  6. This seems as speculative if not more so than the LSD headlines. I’m no fan of religion, but that being the cause seems as likely as space aliens or a government mind control ray being the cause. If only he had wrapped his head in tinfoil he wouldn’t have gone all cannibal. If you don’t know the answer it’s usually best just to say “I don’t know” and leave it at that. Makes for lousy headlines though.


      1. That’s true, unfortunately I tend to take cartoons more seriously than news these days :)

      2.  Why degrade your work like that? Painting it as a lebowki-esque “it’s just like, your opinion man” rather than the well-researched, alternative ideas that you normally eschew, makes me disappoint.

  7. Like I’ve been telling people ever since I developed a vested personal interest in mental health politics: people with mental illness usually have a more statistically justified fear of you than you have of them.

  8. I heard Eugene went to Publix the morning of the attack:  

    “Did Shopping at Publix cause the Miami Cannibal Attack?”

    Seriously, whether or not you read the Bible, WTF does it have to do with any of this?

    1. I don’t believe Publix ever expressed as company policy the idea that Eugene shouldn’t be smoking pot, nor did Eugene swear to stop smoking pot in order to stay in Publix’ good graces.

      Religion: Drugs are bad, mmmkay? These passages in the big book of holy back me up here. Stop smoking so you don’t go to hell and stuff.

      Crazy man: Okay, I’ll stop smoking, even though I have rage issues and a desire to snack on people’s faces and am just generally a crazy fucking dude who’s been self medicating with pot.

      Religion: Great! I would recommend you get mental health care from actual medical professionals but then I wouldn’t be selling Jesus as a cure for everything, and boy, I really don’t wanna lose any merit badges. Have fun being sober and insane!

      Soon-to-be-Faceless Man: Boy, I sure do love having a face.

  9. On the long list of things that we don’t discuss most of the times we’re discussing drug prohibition is this: some significant (but still un-measured) number of people who “abuse intoxicants” are actually self-medicating for an undiagnosed or untreated medical condition. If it turns out that this guy’s had a serious psychological problem that went undiagnosed, for which either there is no current medically approved treatment or for which he couldn’t afford the treatment or for which he or his doctor (if any) didn’t know the treatment? And if it turns out that he was a heavy toker because he discovered, experientially, that whatever other side effects it had, marijuana was alleviating the symptoms of his underlying problem? He won’t have been the first, and he won’t have been the last.

  10. My  guess is not that reading a bible or not smoking mj or a combination of both was the cause of the awesomly grewsom attack, but that he woke up that morning grouchy.

  11. Wouldn’t out be easier to blame the American medical establishment for their high costs and the general public for punishing people for getting psychological help when they need it. Screw this constant, ”people need marijuana” canard that pops up on the internet all the time. People need to develop actual chipping skill

    1. Improvements on “chipping” skills have been rendered somewhat obsolete since the advent of metal tools sometime around 6000 BCE. However, to this day coping skills are still needed, but I heard weed can help with that.

      1. Improvements on “chipping” skills have been rendered somewhat obsolete since the advent of metal tools sometime around 6000 BCE.

        Maybe a bit more recent, but I could say the same about coping.

  12. I like how he says drug abuse and mental illness are not good predictors of violence and then goes on to say that the top three are being young, male, and with a history of violence.
    Fair enough on the last one but isn’t that akin to saying that you are statistically more likely to commit violence if you are young or male than a drug abuser or mentally ill?
    That doesn’t seem at all sound.

    1. Unless you redefine mental illness as requisite for the commission of violence (which I might do), there aren’t really hordes of raving lunatics attacking people. Most violence is gang-related, rape, robbery, etc.

    2.  That’s exactly what the study said. A mentally ill elderly woman or a drug-abusing elderly man are much less likely to commit violence than a young male.

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