The Badly Needed Emetic

By James Strauss


Most people don’t know that Ipecac can’t be purchased over the counter in the United States anymore. That syrup was plentiful for most of my life, as it was used as something that was ingested, usually by a child, that required vomiting back up in as immediate a timespan as could be accomplished.  Ingesting a poison easily found around residences, like antifreeze, gasoline, or even household cleaners like ammonia and bleach, can kill a human long before they can get to an emergency room to get a stomach pumped out.  Today, charcoal is often suggested to be kept on hand for such an emergency use but it’s not nearly as effective as Ipecac.  What else might be on hand and readily available?  How tough are you?  How badly do you want to potentially save someone who has ingested poison orally?

The most effective emetic, outside of Ipecac, is human blood.  Yes, amazingly, and despite vampire movies and the like, if humans ingest human blood in almost any quantity, they will immediately vomit that blood back up.  It’s a messy operation and one that involves a lot of potentially violent disbelief from others who may be around the poison incident.  Putting up with or accommodating such behavior, if others are around, is an easy part of applying the potentially life-saving solution.  The hard part is acquiring the blood.  It would be likely that the ‘donor’ would have to be the person who not only knew about what I’m writing here or knew and was willing to become the donor.  If such an informed and willing decision was made, then having a sharp knife on hand would suffice to open a vein in the wrist or fingers to allow for the fairly rapid escape of the half a cup of blood that the procedure would take.

Nobody reading this is likely to ever be in such a survival situation, or at least that is so hoped by the author.  If found in that situation it’s also likely that no reader would make the necessary moves to apply this solution to the potentially fatal problem.

I am writing this ‘solution’ to a problem that is only imagined.  The real problem is that the American culture has tilted and is leaning perilously close to heading toward some sort of growing mass expression, or series of expressions of physical violence.  I commanded and lost more Marines in open combat during the Vietnam War than one-fifth of those who died in the nation’s longest war in Afghanistan.  I served for 17 more years as a field agent in the CIA, where more blood flowed, for the supposedly best of patriotic reasons again, intermittently but almost constantly.   Wet work, or blood work, is not an old friend of mine but it has bitten deep into my entire psychology of life on this planet.

No diplomacy, no arguments, and no reworking of belief structures is at all likely to head this country off from heading into a time of physical violence that will run right through the culture like water pouring onto a dry rug, first in a rush and then in a long sort of seepage.  Blood is a bit thicker, with more complicated actions affecting its spread and flow, but you get the comparative drift I’m heading toward.  Only an emetic may head all this off.  The nation must, and it will take enforcement to do this, taste and then ingest a good dosage of blood to vomit out what has driven the culture to this point and then assure that such poisoning will not be welcomed for ingestion any time soon.

911 was nothing, as was Pearl Harbor, the school shootings, or deaths from falling bridges or other accidents. With a population of almost 350 million, the size of humanity occupying the geographic space known as the United States is simply too large to truly realize that the entire body of it is being poisoned and that the emetic will have to be substantial in volume to give everyone such an awful vomiting dose that they never want to experience it again.

The kids I lost in Vietnam.  3.7 million served during that war.  Of 3.7 million only 375 thousand saw actual combat, the rest were there to support the effort of the 375 thousand.  Of the 375 thousand in combat, 362 thousand men were killed or wounded.  Look all that up on the Internet.  Combat is not only awful, heart-rendingly, and physically painful, it’s extremely dangerous and those involved are, if closely exposed, never come home again as they were before they went into it.

The American public does not internalize any of that.  The anthropoid males of the culture, so many of them, and I meet a lot of them on a regular daily basis, say they want, yearn, to fight in combat.  They don’t know that there’s no real fighting in combat.  You can’t ‘fight’ artillery or bombing.  You can only crouch, cringe, and wait to be torn asunder or die.  There’s no manliness in the process.  Combat is a form of deadly and very immediate poison.  The way to survive it is to not go into it, not be around it, or even be exposed to it at a distance.  Today Ukraine is not being conquered, its population is being destroyed, as is happening in the Gaza Strip.  The people that live, by and large, will be like me and my few combat friends, waiting to die.

When I went to war I went with flags flying, wearing a wonderfully attractive uniform, driven by songs and drums of patriotic fervor.  Torn and tattered and cut in so many ways, I came home.  I came home to a nation that had no clue and would not believe the things about the reality of combat I had to say.  The Marine Corps would not let me stay and teach.  The publishers in New York would not publish my books about it.  I can only write in vignettes here and there and then wait.

Either the nation, as it heads toward the effects of the poison it’s accepted into its stomach, is forced to drink a sufficiency of blood, a huge sufficiency, then there’s going to be an extinction event that will kill what we all know the United States to currently be.

In the Nam, down in that damned A Shau Valley, we called the new guys flown in daily to replace the dead and wounded, F…ing New Guys or FNGs.  They would not stay alive long enough to train them down there in how to stay alive and the Marines who’d somehow learned didn’t have the time,e to make the effort.  I sent the FNG’s out on the point, to lead our movements and to set off the booby traps.  I had no choice.  They had no choice.

America has become FNGs as the veterans of WWII have died out, the Korean vets aged to the max, and Vietnam vets getting too old to say if they can or will, what really happens in combat.  The nation of the United States of America has become a nation of FNGs most of them struggling to get into emetic combat, never to know that if they do then they will see body parts literally flying around them, and just before they die, identify those parts as their own.

The USA needs the painful and awful Emetic and it needs it NOW!