A Question For You to Consider

Having a fine time in San Diego, thanks for asking — the students and faculty at Thomas Jefferson Law School, which I spoke at, were lovely people, and I’ll no doubt talk about that more when I get back home. But for now I want to throw open to discussion something which came up last night over dinner.

Which is: As you know, there was a mild controversey this last week when Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards said that at some point in the recent past, he had mixed the ashed of his father with some cocaine he was doing and — toot! — snorted his dad. This claim was later retracted– Richards’ handlers claim he was just having a little April Fool’s fun with us all. I suspect Richards did it, because, come on, he’s whacked out of his mind on drugs half the time anyway, but whether it’s true or not it brings up an interesting question:

If you snort human remains, are you engaging in cannibalism?

There were arguments for an against the “snorting remains = cannibalism” claim.

For: Snorting the remains gets the substance of the remains into the bloodstream quickly (this is why one snorts cocaine, for example) and of course from the bloodstream it’s just a hop, skip and a jump into incorporating the elements in the ashes into the body.

Against: Intent is key — one does not snort remains to “ingest” them and anyway introducing material from other people into the bloodstream does not necessarily count as cannibalism, otherwise any time anyone had a blood transfusion, we’d have to declare them cannibals, and we don’t do that.

We argued the point back and forth and didn’t come to any particular resolution, which is why I’m now throwing open the question to you folks. Does snorting human remains equal cannibalism? I crave your input. Hopefully we’ll arrive at a solid legal interpretation regarding whether Keith Richards is a cannibal, or merely a drug-addled freak with a creepy sense of humor. And I think the world will be a better place when we have that sorted out.