They Wended Their Way to Texas
Other Peoples' Indians; or Why the Soviets Loved James Fenimore Cooper for All the Wrong Reasons

The German Press Edits Out Another Inconvenient Truth

As might be expected, German news sources have been all over the shooting of Terence Crutcher, a 40-year-old unarmed black male who was shot by police near Tulsa, Oklahoma a few days ago. The German TV channel RTL even calls him a "pastor", which is guaranteed to awaken false associations in Germans, who are unaware that this title is meaningless in the USA. (Ministers of the established German Protestant Church are staid, well-educated civil servants.) The Bild-Zeitung, Germany's highest-circulation tabloid, confidently announced (g): "These pictures leave hardly any questions." Another story suggests it's murder.

The police officer who fired the fatal shot claims Crutcher had repeatedly refused to follow instructions, was behaving erratically, and reached into his car. She claims she thought he was going for a weapon.

None of the many reports I've seen in the German press mentions a fact that is in almost every US news report: Police found PCP in Crutcher's car. There's no evidence yet whether he was actually under the influence of the drug at the time of his shooting, but officers at the scene claim he was acting in a bizarre manner which they thought looked like intoxication with some strong hallucinogen (and this was before they had searched his car).

What is PCP intoxication like? Let's turn to

A moderate amount of PCP often causes users to feel detached, distant, and estranged from their surroundings. Numbness of the extremities, slurred speech, and loss of coordination may be accompanied by a sense of strength and invulnerability. A blank stare, rapid and involuntary eye movements, and an exaggerated gait are among the more observable effects. Auditory hallucinations, image distortion, severe mood disorders, and amnesia may also occur. In some users, PCP may cause acute anxiety and a feeling of impending doom; in others, paranoia and violent hostility, and in some, it may produce a psychoses indistinguishable from schizophrenia. Many believe PCP to be one of the most dangerous drugs of abuse....

At high doses of PCP, there is a drop in blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiration. This may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, flicking up and down of the eyes, drooling, loss of balance, and dizziness. High doses of PCP can also cause seizures, coma, and death (though death more often results from accidental injury or suicide during PCP intoxication). Psychological effects at high doses include illusions and hallucinations.

People on PCP can display unusual strength owing to the adrenaline rushes caused by terrifying hallucinations. I worked for a while at a public mental hospital in Texas when I was younger. Every couple of weeks, we would get a new admission of someone who had done PCP and then been found in public screaming and/or naked and/or covered in feces and/or wandering in traffic, or some combination of the above. Often, they'd injured themselves or attacked people. The cops brought them to the mental hospital, where we had to deal with them. Usually the effects had worn off somewhat by the time they were delivered to us, but their behavior was still unpredictable. One of them, while locked in an isolation cell because of his violent outbursts, chewed his own thumb off and ate it.

PCP isn't 'just another drug'. It's incredibly dangerous, and everyone knows this. Anyone who would try it even once has serious psychological problems simply for wanting to try it. Here is a video of people under the influence of PCP, which is definitely not for the faint of heart:

Obviously, there should be a full investigation, mere drug possession or intoxication doesn't justify an unwarranted killing, etc. This could still turn out to be an unjustified shooting, in which case the officers should be punished and reforms introduced.

Nevertheless, evidence Crutcher possessed this drug and that officers believed he was under its influence is relevant to understanding the context of the video. But alas, the purpose of German news reporting on American is almost always to reinforce prejudices, not to foster understanding.