From the Seattle Times:
Eleven gay bars in Seattle were sent letters Tuesday threatening ricin attacks — in what some are describing as a hate crime.
The anonymous letters say, “I have in my possession approximately 67 grams of ricin with which I will indiscriminately target at least five of your clients. … I expect them to die painfully while in hospital.”
A 12th letter was sent to the alternative weekly The Stranger, according to its Web site. That letter says the paper should be “prepared to announce the deaths of approximately 55 individuals.”
The letter lists the bars as: The Elite, Neighbours, The Wildrose Bar, The Cuff, Purr, The Seattle Eagle, R Place, Re-bar, C.C.Attle’s, Madison Pub and The Crescent. The letter implies the attacks will take place one Saturday this month.
In a statement, the Seattle Police Department said it takes the threat seriously. It has seized the letters and is processing them and is coordinating efforts with the FBI and other federal agencies.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans that can be deadly if purified and then ingested or inhaled.
Via PortlyDyke at Shakesville, who commented:
See, it doesn’t matter who sent the letters — this is terrorism, pure and simple — and it is terrorism targeted at a specific oppressed population, which is, by definition, a fucking hate crime.
…I was trying to imagine, though, what the response would have been if the same letter were received by, say, eleven churches of a specific denomination. I’m guessing the members of that community would not be saying things like: “Well, we get a death threat a day”, or “well, whatever”, and I’m guessing that next Sunday, there would be a strong police presence in the neighborhood of each of those churches.
I wonder how Changes managed to escape the hit list. Oh crap, I just tipped off the poisoner! But for real, all the bars are clustered on Capitol Hill, so it appears our poisoner hopes to just make some quick rounds all in one night? Zie appears to be acting alone, so perhaps that is why zie has a geographically-restricted hit list, and Changes may be safe because it is in a whole different part of town. Just idle speculation.
As a former resident of Seattle, I have personally patronized a number of the threatened establishments, as do my friends who still live there. Good to know we have no reason to stop watching our backs in 2009, because we frequent(ed) business that cater to LGBT customers. Oh, for our sins I am so ashamed! Thanks to Jesus that this would-be murderer has helped me to see the light! For being queer and associating with other queers in public I must die, and rightly so- it is better that I continue no longer to lead my sinful and purposeless life.
What crap. 2009, you had better shape up fast! Reactions from others?