Terror in America?


Sometimes, things get so insane that you actually hope the guilty party is one of your allies. That statement, of course, will require some explanation. Let’s start with the story out of Seattle; Dan Savage posted today at Slog:

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 ….

…. A letter also arrived in The Stranger’s offices, 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.”

The Re-bar letterQuite obviously, stay tuned. Perhaps suspects or bodies will start turning up in the near future. To the other, we can only hope that Roland, who manages the Madison Pub, is correct when he says, “I don’t think it’s anything to worry about.”

That is not to say the threatened establishments are not taking precautions. At the Eagle, a sign has been posted advising customers to remain vigilant. But nobody’s going to close their doors over this, and local promoters and DJs are discussing a pub crawl as a show of solidarity with the bars.Customers at the Eagle are warned to be vigilant.

Meanwhile, the Seattle Times reports that Savage told them the lack of religious references makes him wonder whether the author is an embittered homosexual. And, indeed, we come back to the point made at the outset.

I would, in fact, prefer that this is the outcome. Or maybe even a cynical ploy by bar owners or employees to increase business during a period of reduced custom by rallying the community around a political cause. This I can better deal with. Hell, I’d take a disaffected teenager with a warped sense of humor. The thought that the letters are genuine? I would hate to believe the situation has really come to this.

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