A few months ago, a death-row inmate from Nevada sent our music editor, Kelly McClure, a fan letter. His name is Scott Dozier, and he seems like a nice guy on paper—on the other hand, he did steal $12,000 from a dude who had brought the cash to buy stuff to make meth, then shot him, hacked the body into two pieces, and put it into a suitcase. He also killed another man in 2002, and they never found that guy’s head or arms. So just keep that in mind when you read the excerpt from his fan letter below.
Dear Ms. McClure,
You are hilarious and awesome and I love you, not, however, like you’d reasonably (and correctly the vast majority of the time) presume someone on death row means when they say they “love” you.
You’ve made it plain you’re a lesbian—which is terrific, but again, not like you’d reasonably presume when someone on death row says, “Gee… I think it’s terrific you’re a lesbian.” (I guess I can reasonably presume you’re not the same Kelly McClure from Boulder City, NV, who shared her virginity with me in the shower at Jeff Yinger’s house in the summer of ’85 for two reasons: I) I can’t imagine you’re old enough. II) you’re a lesbian… although she did play softball…)
If you’ve ever had even the most remote personal or journalistic interest about life on death row, living as a “condemned to die” individual, associations or dynamics therein from someone who is not a creep… I’m your guy.
I’ve written the magazine before to no avail, and will likely continue to until the government-sanctioned murder of my corporeal being (and maybe my “soul” too, guess we’ll see ϑ), as I’ve got a surplus of time on my hands and a catastrophic dearth of intelligence, hilarity, and awesomeness. I can only draw and work out so much.
If you’re interested you can check out my “fit for public consumption” pastels at/on my Facebook page/wall (whatever the frick it’s called). No (in the event you’re wondering), I do not have FB/computer access, it’s managed by my sister and a friend.
My most sincere thanks for the little taste I get monthly, the mag rocks way hard ass, I love it (and yes I’d marry it). I read it cover to cover at least three times and wait with bated breath for the next issue to arrive.
Be nice to yourself, all my very, very best
Sincerely, S.R. Dozier AKA Skoti
Bring a box of tissues and read more from our Hopelessness Issue:
Grave robbing—or tomb raiding, or pot hunting, or fucking around with archaeological sites—occupies a strange corner of our culture. Part Tomb Raider, part cartoon horror punk, traditionally it’s been the territory of savvy locals who’ve wanted to make a quick, immoral buck selling historical trinkets on the black market. But more recently, digging up dead bodies to steal their shit has attracted a different breed of asshole, as keyed-up meth-heads have been lured out into the sticks to spend nights on end searching for ancient loot they can flog to fund their habits.
To get more of an insight into the kind of people who dig up the graves of the deceased and rifle through their stuff, I spoke to the archaeologist Delfin Weis, who has worked on digs across the country.
VICE: Hi Delfin. It seems like grave robbing goes on quite a lot. When did it start up? Delfin Weis: General grave robbing has been happening forever, but meth-fuelled looting started in the late 1990s and got really big in the early 2000s. Archaeologists started noticing it in the field around then.
How would they notice that? They’d show up at a dig and see it had been looted? Yeah, either that, or they’d see tweakers at the site, or find that tweakers were following them to the site. Of course, on meth, you have to do something, so these guys have nearly limitless energy and time, giving them the ability to dig holes all through the day and night. They can also keep surveying the site until they find something worth taking. They have the time, they have the energy, and they have a drug addiction that they need to fund.
So the meth gives them the energy to fund their habit? Yeah. There are areas where pot hunting goes on without meth, but this is just another dimension. Meth addicts who grow up near burial grounds and other archaeological sites know the area and know they can make money from it.
The Strangely Uplifting Tale of the Cam-Girl with No Vagina
I was raised on the same diet of girl-on-girl coprophilia, animal torture, and 24-hour Arabic news channels that every child of generation WWW was, so the internet has to work pretty hard to shock me. But when a friend of mine linked me to this (very NSFW) photo-set at Efukt.com, I was actually taken aback by what I saw.
The girl in the photos calls herself “DamageDolly” and works as a webcam stripper, or “cam-girl.” As I scrolled down the page, not only was a colostomy bag visible, but the model had severe scarring from her navel down to what appeared to be absent genitalia. Farther down the page, a photo showed her with two fresh mastectomy wounds.
Intrigued as to how she’d summoned the confidence to disrobe in front of the cruel, cruel internet, I decided to track her down and find out her story. Her name is Sally and her story is hard to swallow, but it’s kinda logical when you think about it. I guess it’s just not the kind of logic you have to think about very often.
VICE: Hi Sally. Can you tell me more about your condition? Sally: I suffer from Crohn’s disease and I was 14 when it first started. It’s a digestive disorder and it can affect you anywhere from your nose and mouth to your vagina or anus, and it’s usually something that gives you problems when going to the bathroom and absorbing things into your body. Like nutrients and stuff.
What was your first procedure? I had the first procedure done in 2006. That was a colostomy. They put it in with the hopes of it being temporary, but we all knew it was going to be permanent.
How did it affect your sex life? My sex life was already greatly impacted because of what I was going through down there. I had my first signs of it when I was a teenager, but when I hit 18, it was just awful.
In what way? You know where your pelvic bone is? My vagina hung down about that far and it was just like a mass of… I don’t even know. It was like elephantitis of the vagina. It was horrible. It turned out it was Crohn’s and chronic inflammation together. I had to have it all removed.
When was that? That was 2007. I had it done in two stages. First, I had the colostomy, then the full vulvectomy. Then, in 2008, I had to have a total of six surgeries—two while I was pregnant and four more after.
You have a child? Yes, he’ll be four in December. I haven’t seen him since March, though. He lives with his father, who was really abusive during our entire relationship. He was a horrible, evil, mean person. We had a kid and we were both on drugs, although I quit when I found out I was pregnant. We were doing a lot of methamphetamine, but I decided that I didn’t want to be sick anymore, so I was trying to stop doing it. I was in the hospital a lot while I was pregnant and I confided in nurses when I was messed up on my pain medicine, and eventually they reported us for domestic violence.
Has it been difficult for you to see your son since then? Yes. At first I had primary custody, but then due to some mental health issues of my own and then later a relapse, he now has primary custody.
Meth Heads I’d Like to See on Breaking Bad This Season
If you aren’t sure how television shows go from an idea to your screen, all you need to know is that most start with a pitch meeting. Pitch meetings are attended by agents, writers, executives, and other powerful people who are usually white. The creative team tells the money people why a show should be made, who is going to write and direct it, and why it’s viable. The people with the money then change it, usually make it shittier, and then a bunch of boring stuff happens until they have a pilot or some episodes in the can.
Breaking Bad’sfifth season is premiering tonight on AMC. The premise of the show, if you’re unfamiliar, is simple: A white school teacher named Walter White gets cancer and due to the cost of medical care starts making meth amphetamine with a tattooed wigger that he used to teach. The reason this show made it out of a pitch meeting is a no-brainer, as it’s basically a liberal’s wet dream. It’s a screaming endorsement for affordable, comprehensive health care that Obamacare lovers can use to debate morality and blog about weekly.
Breaking Bad appeals to people, not just white people, in the way the movie Falling Down and other classic “pushed-too-far” narratives work. The writing, acting, and cinematography are all phenomenal, but if the show were about a black teacher who turns to drug-dealing to pay the bills you can be fairly sure the guy in front of you taking too long to put soy milk in his Stumptown coffee wouldn’t be as compelled by it. Now you can see how Breaking Bad made it out of the pitch meeting and why BET was started, right?
Walter White and Breaking Bad return after a dramatic finale where Walt poisoned a child and used an old guy to suicide bomb his nemesis, Gus. The last episode was so good that no one really cared how shitty it looked when Gus was standing there all blown up like the Terminator before fixing his tie and falling dead. Knowing that the show will be ending in 18 episodes is getting fans as anxious as they were when they realized the Sopranos was actually kind of boring, everyone in the Wire was fucked up, and the shitheads who wrote Lost had no clue what the fuck they were doing. Media is driven by shows with finales so they can have an opinion about them, drive traffic, report to their advertisers, and compete to be the one voice that understands the parallels between art and real life.
I’m not overly concerned with the plot lines, resolution, or social commentary Breaking Bad’s last episodes will undoubtedly cause. In fact, I’m more curious who’s possibly making a cameo this season. Breaking Badcreator Vince Gilligan’s inclusion of Bob Odenkirk as slippery lawyer Saul Goodman (get that? white person named GOODman) was a masterstroke that not only spoke to a Mr. Show-loving demographic, it enhanced the show’s inherent humor.
I hear Tina Fey will make an appearance sometime this season, which is as exciting as listening to someone talk about where the food you are about to eat was sourced. It’d be far superior to include people who’ve had some sort of history with meth, or at least seem like they could. Here’s who I’d like to see onBreaking Bad this season:
Eddie Van Halen
Missing part of his tongue but none of his chops, Eddie could be a convincing washed-up meth head, posted up in a dirty apartment fumbling through a solo on a guitar he refuses to pawn. Maybe he doesn’t even have any actual lines and just responds to everyone in riff.
“You wanna answer the door, man?”
Eddie grabs guitar and rips a hot lick.
“Fine, I’LL get it!”
A backup role could just be casting him as Walter Jr.’s guitar teacher, which would be worth it just to hear him say, “Hey dad, wanna hear me play ‘Smoke On The Water’ later, I know the whole thing,” only to be snubbed by a preoccupied Walt.
CRYSTAL METH ADDICTS KEEP SETTING THEMSELVES ON FIRE
Crystal meth, the cheap, life-wrecking, libido-inflaming drug beloved of actor Tom Sizemore, Fergie, and many other unfortunate people has now found a way to make itself even more readily available, dangerous, and undignified. Unless, y’know, having third-degree burns covering 90 percent of your body and a bunch of teeth missing is a look that you’re into.
Over the last few years, the “shake and bake” method has overtaken the lengthy, complicated production technique that required an out of the way location, sophisticated glassware and patience (something meth tweakers tend to be in short supply of). The newfangled way retains the majority of crystal meth’s traditional ingredients (pseudoephedrine, lithium, Coleman fuel, hydrochloric acid, etc), but instead of using glassware and an open flame, they’re mixed by shaking them all together in a regular plastic bottle with water.
The shaking process takes 15 minutes to produce meth, it’s so easy that you can do it in Walmart without anyone really noticing and the batch is stronger—sounds perfect, right? Well yes, if it wasn’t for the one major downside: a massive risk that the whole thing will blow up in your face.
The problem shakers and bakers are having is that the reaction is much less stable when you’re rattling it around in a bottle of Faygo than when you’re in lab conditions. The lithium can react with the water—or the air, if the bottle cap is released too early—and can explode, consuming the meth cook in a ball of flame. Victims of these explosions are flooding into burns units all over the US, forcing some to close as the mostly insurance-free addicts strip hospitals of their resources.
I wanted to learn a bit more about the shake and bake method (for purely journalistic reasons ;) of course), so I got in touch with Tommy Farmer, a detective at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and director of the state meth and pharmaceuticals task force.
VICE: Hey Tommy. How do these shake bottles explode, what goes wrong? Tommy: A combination of things really, but basically it’s a false sense of security on the part of the meth cook. We tell them it’s a matter of when not if, because the speed of the reaction and the combination of the chemicals makes it very explosive. The ingredients consist of ammonia nitrate, sodium hydroxide, pseudoephedrine and ether, and with water, that’s a very reactive combination.
So a bit of chemistry knowledge may keep you safe? Well yes and no, the problem with it is you’re using improvised devices and when you do that, these things happen. When you create an endothermic reaction in a plastic bottle, you can’t prepare for all the equations and outcomes. Even the experiments we’ve done in our lab where we’re trying to learn about this technique and its risks have been failures, and we’ve had some dangerous reactions. The difference between us and them is that we were wearing fire protective suits, but meth cooks don’t have $1200 for one of those and so end up in one of the local burn units, which are currently one-third full across the US.