Let this be a hoax

Seattle Gay Bars Targeted By Anonymous Ricin Poisoning Threat

Looking to enjoy a night out grabbing drinks with friends? Great! Live in Seattle? Not so great. That’s because at least 11 bar owners have received threatening letters saying patrons will be targeted with ricin poisoning. Ingesting ricin generally isn’t fatal (but it can be, especially if inhaled), but the castor bean concoction doesn’t go well with a dirty martini, either.

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.”

“I felt sick when I read it,” said Carla, the owner/manager of Re-bar. “It’s so vile. It’s just hatred. It made me worry for all the other bars, and for my bartenders, and our clientele.”

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.

“I just had the police come pick [the letter] up,” said Keith Christensen, the manager of the Eagle, when reached by phone. Christensen had already heard about the letter from other bar owners and managers, and so he didn’t open it. “It’s probably nothing,” Christensen added, “but the economy is really screwing all the bars right now, and the last thing we need is something ramping up the not-go-out mode people seem to be in right now. It’s really freaky that someone would do something like this at a time like this.”

eagle1-6-09.jpgChristensen says he’s posted signs at the Eagle advising patrons not to leave their drinks unattended.

It gets sicker:

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.” [Slog]

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  • Camokub


    The gay people of the world, and Seattle, aren’t gonna be afraid of this weirdo’s crusade.

    I’d rather die knowing I am who I am and being who I am than cower at home expecting death from some fruitcake like this.

    Bring it on, mofo.

  • Dan

    This twit thinks a little ricin’s gonna scare us from going out?

    Shit, given our community’s history, we’ll find some way to turn it into the newest party drug.

  • Jewelie Williams

    I am a straight woman that has a gay son, a gay nephew and a lesbian daughter, they are my world…. (My nephew frequents one of the listed spots)… , and I promise YOU you sick f**k that if anything is to happen to him from your very twisted, demented, mind and unnecessary hatred…. I will never rest until you are dealt with!!!! It is ok to have an opinion regardless of how messed up it might be…. It is NEVER ok to use your hatred as a weapon against innocent people…

    You are an embarassement to humanity!!!! I would pray for you, but I am sure that would be a prayer in vain…

  • Jewelie Williams

    Oh…. and since I am on the topic…. if you haven’t noticed maybe Seattle isn’t the place for you to live, since we have one of the largest gay populations in the country… and remember for every one gay person there are hundreds of people that love them… so multiply the gay population by hundreds, (from your ignorance, I’m not sure you are intelligent enough to do that math so let me help you…. Lets say there are 200,000. gay people in Seattle, times that by 100 would be Apx. 20 million people! do you REALLY want to go up against those odds dumb ass?…. before you start spewing your bullshit hate, you should really put thought into how ridiculous you are!.

    Having a gay son, I have spent the past 25 years dealing with dipshits like you…. I am not a coward, you see my name I am in Seattle, unlike your pathetic attempt to intimidate people from behind a random letter… if you are so damn bad, let us all know who you are… yea, I thought so….

  • chuck

    This too sick for words.

  • shaun

    Sad thing is… when this sick person is arrested, they will probably use the good ol’ “gay panic” defense and get a slap on the wrist and a “don’t do that again”.

  • TechBear

    Will this be treated as a terrorist threat? Somehow, I doubt it: the targets are gay, after all. Were we anyone else, you know that DHS would be involved and Faux News would be giving this 24/7 coverage with updates every ten minutes.

  • Darth Paul

    @shaun: Unlikely. We’re talking Seattle here, not Mobile. If this person is caught, they will probably be sent down for making such threats.

    But I have to say this is a pretty laughable threat. There are toxic substances far uglier, disguisable, and easier to obtain than freakin ricin. I think this wannabe terrorist is more of a douche with a pathological need for attention (amongst things).

  • Mike M

    I agree with TechBear. This got less coverage on KING news last night than a custody fight over a three year old girl. I don’t care how sick this bastard is or how un-real his mechanisms are, this cannot be tolerated by anyone.

    If these letters had been sent to US Senators instead of local gay bars, you can damn well bet the DHS would be all over it as well as the news media. The simple fact he took time to organize this takes it beyond the severity level of a mere prank.

    I say we all call the Seattle Police Department ((206) 625-5011) and ask what they’re doing to catch this guy. Put some pressure on them.

  • Eminent Victorian

    Well, it made the Seattle headlines in bigger stories this morning, including on KING and on Northwest Cable News (for people outside the area, it’s like a regional CNN).

    So disgusting just knowing people like the letter-sender are out there. If anything, though, the person picked the wrong city–I haven’t been out to the bars here in some time, but because of this I think I may visit each one. You do not piss off the gays of Seattle and think nothing’s going to happen.

    An awful thought, though: I wondered if the letter writer might be gay.

  • leschuck

    We must unite against bio-terrorists and Mormons who assault our freedoms like this. No more! Stand up! Don’t be afraid of those who persecute and terrorize us–defy the terrorists and Mormons by living your life freely and openly!

  • Matthew

    @Eminent Victorian I thought the same thing re: the letter writer being a frustrated homo! It’s interesting that he(?) doesn’t seem to express a conceptual problem with homosexuality, just with its implementation.

    Plus, who writes drama-filled letters? Straight people? Uh-uh.

    Also, spelling and grammar. Ugly stereotypes, sure. I’m just sayin’.

    This sounds like psychopathological ravings as opposed to actual danger. I agree with @Darth Paul that this is not a very pragmatic threat.

    In any case, if I owned a gay bar in Seattle, I would totally make tonight’s drink special the ricin-tini.

  • OnlySlightlyAfraidOfReligiousTerrorists

    I assume we can blame this on Evangelicals and Mormons, right? Since as soon as the Mormons got a package of flour in the mail, we were blamed? This street goes both ways…

  • sdandy

    This is twisted and hopefully someone just looking for attention (without the intention of actually carrying it out). But I hate to say this (admittedly I really was not a fan of Savage while I lived there and he seems to have a sordid past within the community that his current media-whoring image seems to get looked over)…but his quote in the Seattle paper was kind of sick. He is such a drama and media seeker (I don’t think he is stupid enough to do this himself but) he sure is going to take the time to mention his column and *obviously state how influential and important he is* as he claims to get death threats daily. Yawn to him. Lets hope they find whoever did this and no one gets poisoned.

  • Bob Z.

    This is absolutely ridiculous that a “hate crime” classification is even being considered for this threat by mail. What would a similar threat be called if these letters were mailed to cop bars, or celebrity night clubs, or VFW halls, or neighborhood bars?
    The entire premise of “hate crime” legislation is without merit, and the enhanced penalities and additional charges associated with them undermines the premise of ‘equality under the law.’

  • SF Bear

    It will be a matter of time to find him or her. DO you know that every printer leaves a signature on each paper that is not visible to the naked eye?

  • Douglas

    My dearest fellow gays,
    Absolutely Shocking Fulmination being reported for your geography, which is actually not surprising considering our national state of economic conditions. Historic statics prove that when the economy worsens, crime increases; people fucking freak out in unconscionable fashions, and the public’s FEARS become their foremost brain activity.
    My husband is from the Pacific Northwest and consequently this diabolical diatribe is of particular concern…….so allow me to comment, please.
    The “establishment” media only perpetrates people’s fears. You won’t ever convince me that if more people would disregard most everything they see and hear on television, research information for themselves, and then make their opinions based on their cumulative findings, they would most certainly have their OWN opinion.
    Fuck Ann Coulter, fuck the Mormons, fuck the right wing extremists, fuck the general media soundbites, fuck the information outlets that exacerbate and continually perpetrate fear!
    Why do so many folks want to only follow? Why do so many folks want to be told what to think, what to do, and how to manage their beliefs??? Because of FEAR!
    Fears are to be worked through and OVERCOME! Unfortunately, ignorance will always be present in some human consciousnesses.
    Come on, let’s take the reigns that we already own; the ability to control our own lives.
    Be an example, be an educator, expose the invalidity of fear! Empower yourself, broaden your mindset, think for yourself.
    Protect yourself, your loved ones, your homes and businesses with non-lethal devices and hidden cameras.
    Catch the violent and crazed on hidden camera video.
    Defend yourself when you need to with non-lethal devices;
    pepper sprays, maces, stun guns or tasers.
    Personally, I’ve tasered a few unrelenting hassling jackasses and let me tell you, it was quite empowering and pleasurable.
    Don’t fuck with me or mine………or I’ll taser your ass……..and ask anyone whom might know……….IT HURTS!

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