Jelena Monique Taylor has 99 problems, but it seems that getting dressed for an alleged bloody salon rampage in Corvallis, Oreg., wasn’t to be one of them.
Taylor’s alleged destructive melee through the salon soon spread from local news to national headlines. Her sudden fame was due in large part to the name of the establishment she reportedly tore apart: Rage Salon.
According to police, Taylor, who has been charged with second-degree criminal mischief and second-degree burglary, was a former client of the salon and her naked crash course of destruction was meth-inspired.
After being found naked in a closet by police, Lt. Ben Harvey of the Corvallis Police Department told the Corvallis Gazette-Times, that “she was unclothed, and it was apparent she was high on an amphetamine.”
Police Officer Brent Gilder responded to the salon shortly after 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, February 5, 2013.
According to his affidavit, which was filed this past week in court, Gilder discovered wet footprints that led to a broken window on the front door.
Police say that Taylor, 44, knocked out the glass windowpane and while reaching in to unlock the door, cut herself on the glass. It is then alleged that Taylor went on a rampage; various items throughout the salon were smashed and broken.
An alarm panel was ripped from the wall and hidden under a blanket.
Blood was splattered throughout the salon, covering furniture, walls and other equipment.
Salon owner Kayley Kampfer was not impressed with what happened and in an interview with KVAL, described the salon as looking like the scene of a bloody murder.
“I think, she kind of, in her madness, started flailing around and splattered blood everywhere. It looked like to me, she started in the hallway and started grabbing everything she could, started throwing things and there were broken vases, and a broken dryer. … The toilet, the shower, everything was covered in blood. It looked like a murder scene.”
Kampfer, who estimates the total damage to be around $5,000, stated that Jelena Monique Taylor was a former client, but that she had not seen her in years.
Since meth’s rise to popularity in the 1990s, a few other substances, namely bath salts, have briefly taken over as horror-drug of the moment. But meth, with its destructive power, persists, both in use and in public dialogue.
The AMC series Breaking Bad has been praised by many for portraying the “meth world” in an accurate light, which ultimately may influence viewers to stay away from the drug.
Indeed, meth has been behind incidents much deadlier than Taylor’s relatively victimless stunt.
In January 2012, Fresno, Ca., woman Aide Mendez shot and killed her two children and a cousin and critically wounded her boyfriend. She then turned the gun on herself.
Prior to her rampage, she used her iPad to record herself doing meth.
“When you get this type of tragedy, it’s not a surprise that drugs were involved,” said Lt. Mark Salazar, the Fresno Police Department’s homicide commander. “Meth has been a factor in other violent crimes.”
As for Jelena Monique Taylor, hopefully her arrest and subsequent stint in the tabloid spotlight can be a wake up call.
Although salon owner Kayley Kampfer is upset, she has some sympathy for the alleged vandal.
“I suddenly felt sorry for her and I just had this epiphany that her life is in a bad spot. It’s unfortunate that I was the victim, I would just like to see her get some help,” said Kampfer.
While assisting on a book tour last year, I came across many homeless individuals from Seattle to Austin who used hardcore drugs despite their well-known consequences.
While in Portland, I was shocked to see dozens of seemingly strung out people walking throughout the city. I spoke with Liz, a recovering drug addict.
On why she moved to Portland, Liz said, “There’s no jobs there, but it will help me get on my feet. My car was the last thing I had, but I got one ticket, then another, and I couldn’t afford them.”
After I told her I had just moved from Los Angeles – where the price of an average parking ticket is around sixty dollars – she told me the lowest one she received was $65. They doubled and then tripled; she owed more than she could fathom.
“You know, it was my fault, but, close to seventy dollars for one ticket? I pleaded with them to make payment arrangements, but they didn’t budge. We’re a poor state, Oregon, so I guess that helps them get money.”
We talked for a little longer and touched upon her recovery from drugs and how addiction and the homeless population in and around Portland are closely connected.
“It never stops raining here, especially in the winter. People are down on their luck, they become homeless, then live in their car. They lose that, are on the streets, and to numb the pain and sickness, they start using drugs. It’s a sad cycle.”
A cycle, it seems, that continues until death, or in the case of Taylor and others, a freakish outburst spawned by meth and/or other hard drugs.
Last Wednesday, Taylor pleaded not guilty and her bail was set at $20,000.
It’s easy for those unaffected to find humor in an outrageous case such as Taylor’s: maybe she was inspired by the salon’s name, “Rage,” or perhaps she was seeking revenge for a bad haircut. But a conversation with someone like Liz, or a tragedy like that of Mendez, are stark reminders of the morbid reality of drug abuse.
If you are having issues with meth, or any other substance, make sure to reach out to get help. There are many resources available, some 24 / 7, which can serve as a first step to you getting help.
Jeffrey Hartinger is a writer who lives in New York City. You can visit his website at www.thewhygenerationusa.blogspot.com.