Michael Jackson Could Have Used a 'No' Man

The still-mysterious circumstances of Michael Jackson's death, with its attendant implications of celebrity-besotted, sycophantic enablers turning a collective blind eye to prescription drug abuse and other self-destructive behavior, put me in mind of an incident in my police career from some years ago.

I briefly worked on Los Angeles' prosperous Westside, and I was called to a home just a stone's throw from the one now so familiar to anyone who's been near a television set in the past week. A home every bit as large and lavishly appointed as the one Jackson was renting at the time of his death -- in that neighborhood there are few homes that aren't.

The resident and subject of the radio call was a man of some appreciable celebrity. Not rivaling that of Michael Jackson, certainly, but he was nonetheless very well known. He was also -- and remains today -- considered by most to be quite eccentric, that is when compared with nearly anyone other than Michael Jackson.

The call was of a reported drug overdose, and I accompanied fire department paramedics into the home and to the man's bedroom, where we found him lying unconscious and unresponsive atop the bed. There were various security people and other household staff present, and when the question was put to them what might have caused his condition, they merely pointed to the night tables at either side of the man's bed. There were no less than 40 bottles of prescription medications collected there, along with several vials of various injectible medicines. I had a limited but practical knowledge of pharmacology, and I knew that an overdose of almost any of these medicines could be fatal. We knew that emergency room doctors would inquire about the medications the man was taking, so rather than take the time to examine and catalog each bottle and vial, we merely scooped them all into a trash bag which we brought to the hospital and presented to the staff as we delivered the man for treatment.