Photo via Flickr (SuperFantastic).
There are few things in life that can get literally and figuratively under one's skin like a bite. The mere thought of a sentient human being making a conscious decision to rend the flesh of another with his teeth - well, that's just wrong.
Take for instance this Emerson Begolly fellow.
Begolly recently chewed the shit out of a federal agent's arm while being placed under arrest.
Now, just because Emerson has posted pro-jihad jingles and other jocularities online, was apparently under federal watch at the time of contact, had announced a desire for martyrdom, and all roads would otherwise lead to one inescapable conclusion, let's give ol' Emerson the benefit of the doubt: We will not characterize him as a "terrorist" (Heaven forbid).
Instead, let's just deal with this low-down, filthy, vile sick-**** for what he is and his act of attempted mayhem.
As far as I'm concerned, this SOB shouldn't be chewing on anything but Polident, Dentu-Creme, and Gerber's the rest of his pathetic life. Yeah, I sincerely believe that the feds should have knocked his goddamned teeth out.
Of course, they probably were like me the first time I got bitten: Not expecting it.
In the hierarchy of probable assaults against our person, getting bitten probably falls between getting stabbed by a nail file and getting whacked with our own baton: We've all heard of such things happening, but don't really think it's going to happen to us. We're just too busy watching the hands.
And thank goodness the feds were doing as much because whatever else, they did prevent Emerson from retrieving a firearm he was going for.
Still, nowhere in our job description does one find the word "chew toy" and to my addled mind, biting is for sissies, people fighting for their lives, and heavyweight boxers past their prime getting their asses kicked in the ring.
Just about any bite of mammalian origin is gonna hurt, and I wouldn't want to get chomped on by a lion, bear, Nancy Pelosi, or any other predatory animal.
But a human bite?
An article by Don Revis, Consulting Staff, Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Florida College of Medicine, puts it this way: "The bacterial inoculum of human bite wounds is rich in oral flora, as saliva contains as many as 100,000,000 organisms per mL, representing as many as 190 different species. Moreover, most of these injuries occur on the hands, and hand wounds of any cause have a higher infection rate than similar wounds in other anatomic locations."
Translation: "It's some nasty shit."
Among the diseases and infections that can attach themselves with a bite (aside from teeth): Hepatitis B. Herpes. TB. Tetanus. Staph. Syphylis (yes, a chomping clamp can give you the clap).
Perhaps worst of all: Hepatitis C.
Former Blue Mound (Texas) PD Officer Truman Bradshaw can tell you a thing or two about getting bitten. Twenty-four years ago, a drunk deposited his teeth into Bradshaw's forearm as the officer was trying to keep the man from falling down and injuring himself. These days, Bradshaw spends his time hoping for an organ donation to come through as he deals with cirrhosis and Stage 4 liver cancer. Considering he rarely drank and never smoked, this isn't the life the once robust man envisioned for himself.
To his estimable credit, Bradshaw harbors no ill will against the man responsible.
But just as chemical castration for sexual offenders might deter them from similar acts in the future, might depriving society's cannibals of their incisors mitigate the likelihood of their trying to do more of the same?
I like to think so. To that end, it seems the best way to deal with a biter is to remove incisors and molars, en toto. I wouldn't be a stickler for nuance, either. Surgical removal is fine (but I'd have something to say about the extravagant use of pain-killers).
Of course, that's not to say that once the Judicial Tooth Fairy did his thing that these carnivores wouldn't have recourse. They could make like Richard Kiel's "Jaws" in "The Spy Who Loved Me" or get a gold-capped grill like some rappers. I like to think they'd lack the requisite funds or imagination to do so. But if they did, I do like the idea of employing a TASER on their alloyed dentures.
It's been my experience that suspects that bite are capable of anything. And make no mistake about it: That bite may be a precursor to an even more violent assault.
Los Angeles County Deputies Douglas Smith and Lawrence Lavieri were working Carson Station when they contacted Lionel Henry as he sat in a car at a gas station. Henry's behavior led to Smith attempting to remove the keys from Henry's vehicle, at which time Henry bit down so hard on Smith's forearm so viciously that Smith later compared Henry's bite to that of a shark's. An ensuing fight resulted in Henry's shooting both deputies - killing Lavieri and paralyzing Smith.
Biters are often of a sadistic bent - they enjoy the thrill of terrorizing their victims. Well, by God how could we be so parsimonious as to not return the favor? And if we can't get a pound of flesh to compensate for the two ounces missing from our forearm, doesn't it make sense to settle for some enamel, phosphorus, and calcium?
Some might color this as mean-spirited extremism and I'll cop to a certain vindictive nature. But like the chemical castration thing, it's not as though it doesn't have its merits. Anyone who's worked in a custody environment long enough knows that if a bastard bites once he's apt to bite again.
And just as that asshole that killed Dep. Suzanne Hopper should never have had access to another firearm after firing at officers in 2001, neither should these criminal cannibals have a shot at a second serving.
BTW, in researching this rant I found the following info, some of which was enlightening to me:
"- Unlike HIV, hepatitis C can live outside the body for 7 days (although it has also been reported to live up to 6 weeks on a hard surface!)
- There is no vaccination for hepatitis C - you are not immune!
- If you have hepatitis C, you should be vaccinated for hepatitis A and B.
- To get tested annually for all other possible work acquired viruses or at least after exposure to any blood or bodily fluids.
- About the guidelines to officers about work-acquired illnesses. Are they told to have themselves tested, to follow-up (daily) exposures to hazardous situations?"
Accidental contacts are one thing, and it's kind of disingenuous to claim a guy bit you when you knocked a few of his molars out with a punch.
But the whole "malice aforethought" thing is at play anytime someone makes a conscious decision to rend another's flesh.
That's why when it comes to taking a bite out of crime, it may mean taking the bite out of its perpetrators.