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.”