Seattle’s The Stranger has the scoop on a very disturbing threat:
Eleven gay bars in Seattle received letters today addressed to the “Owner/Manager” from someone claiming to be in the possession of ricin, a deadly poison. “Your establishment has been targeted,” the letter begins. “I have in my possession approximately 67 grams of ricin with which I will indiscriminately target at least five of your clients.”
…According to the CDC’s website, someone who has ingested “a significant amount” will develop vomiting and diarrhea within the first 6-12 hours; other symptoms of ricin poisoning include hallucinations, seizures, and blood in the urine. There is no antidote for ricin but ricin exposure is not invariably fatal.
The Seattle Police Department is taking the the threat seriously. They are running forensic tests on all the letters. Seattle Police are also coordinating their investigation with the FBI and other federal agencies.
While the ricin threat is very disturbing, it appears that actually delivering on the threat without being detected would not be an easy task. Nevertheless, everyone is taking the letters very seriously. At least one bar, the Eagle, is posting signs advising patrons not to leave their drinks unattended.
In addition to the eleven bars, the Seattle Stranger also received a letter addressed to the attention of “Obituaries”:
The letter’s author said the paper should “be prepared to announce the deaths of approximately 55 individuals all of whom were patrons of the following establishments on a Saturday in January.” The listed bars are: the Elite, Neighbours, Wild Rose, the Cuff, Purr, the Eagle, R Place, Re-bar, CC’s, Madison Pub, and the Crescent. “I could take this moment to launch into a diatribe about my indignation towards the gay community,” the letter concludes, “however, I think the deaths will speak for themselves.”
No word on who might be behind the threats or their motivation.