By Curtis Price
Posted April 4, 2021
He lay splayed out on the concrete behind my car trunk, legs spread and crumpled, like a limp doll that had been tossed out a fifth-floor window. A neighbor and the apartment complex manager hovered over him. The manager dialed 911 and pacing frantically, shouted, “Where is the ambulance? Why aren’t they here?” The man – a young, black male in his late 20s-early 30s – breathed in short, rapid clips. His eyes rolled up in his head, exposing just the whites. I took his pulse – normal and regular rhythm – and gave him a sternum rub, to no response. To me, his skin felt like a salamander’s, cool and clammy. He sweated like a pig. It was the tell-tale sign of an opioid overdose. But there were no fresh needle marks on his arms so perhaps he had swallowed the dose that was slowly killing him.
His so-called “friends” – a multinational gaggle of one young white young male, one young black male, and a white woman in her mid-40s, a perfect demonstration of the values of diversity and inclusion so prized in these modern times of ours, jumped around agitated. The white guy, in his 20s, was stoned out of his gourd and maybe on the way to his own oblivion as he staggered around glassy-eyed and dumb-founded. The black guy, just like the mute body on the pavement, was café-au-lait complexion, wiry and gaunt, his hair also worn natural and disheveled. Were they brothers or was it just a coincidence that they looked so similar? This second man, the driver, was jittery and mumbling, but more alert than the other two.
But when he heard the sirens, the driver jumped back in the car and revved up and out of the parking lot. The white woman had disappeared in the confusion. Someone said they saw her heading to the homeless shelter down the street.
The sprawled man’s “friends” were rightly looking out for their self-interest because under Alabama law, anyone who supplies drugs known to have killed someone becomes legally liable for their death. No doubt, they were “running dirty” themselves and couldn’t risk a car search. The car sped up and disappeared over the horizon. Only later did I find out the black driver had pushed the white guy out of the car at the other end of the complex, where he was found staggering and wide-eyed and then arrested for “public intoxication.”
I don’t know if the sprawled man, Rashid Evans – for that was his name – survived. If he had taken Fentanyl, a shot of Narcan may have been enough to bring him around. Maybe he had ingested Tianaa, known in the South as “gas station dope” because, until a couple weeks ago. Tianaa was legally sold at gas stations and vape shops throughout Alabama as a “dietary supplement.” Tianaa, widely used in Eastern Europe as an anti-depressant, has never been FDA-approved in the U.S. When taken in large doses, it produces a heroin-type euphoria, making it a popular street drug. And, until recently, legal too, because through a regulatory loophole, the Tianaa ingredients were allowed to be imported.
It’s hard to see how this deep alienation, the desire to obliterate consciousness, among many parts of the working-class – young people of all races and middle-aged whites without a college degree especially – will end. Contrary to what the Left assumes, if tens of thousands of $25 dollar an hour factory jobs suddenly dropped out of the sky, I don’t believe it would put a dent in this state of affairs. Such is the contemporary situation in the United States, that “laboratory of human suffering as vast and terrible as that in which Dickens and Dostoevsky wrote” Nelson Algren so aptly wrote himself over fifty years ago.