And it's real. And happening in my neighborhood.
The Stranger's Dan Savage posted the note along with accompanying police information on the SLOG yesterday evening. Other than the fact that the eleven letters were picked up from the clubs involved, details are scarce at the moment. As would be expected, the Seattle Police Department and the FBI are involved and it is likely Homeland Security will aid in the investigation as well.
From The Stranger's SLOG:
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."
That is perhaps the most chilling thing I have ever read.
It is unfathomable to think how a person could be so vile and hateful-regardless of whether or not he intends to follow through on this threat. Although I haven't been going out a whole lot lately, it's hard to think about doing so now in the face of this threat. I am even more inclined now to have dinner parties and game nights at home instead of having a drink at any of those establishments-most of which I have visited with some regularity. What it comes down to though is the fact that this is terrorism, pure and simple. The question we have to ask ourselves here in Seattle is whether or not we let it be successful. Of course, the community of Capitol Hill and Seattle at large will continue to support its members, but these happenings are tremendously frightening nonetheless.
To those in Seattle, please be careful and stick together.
UPDATE: From the Seattle PI; According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, ricin – the poison the writer was said to have 67 grahams of – can be in the form of a powder, a mist, or a pellet, or it can be dissolved in water or weak acid.
If made into a partially purified material or refined into a terrorist or warfare agent, ricin could be used to expose people through the air, food, or water, according to the CDC.
So does this mean that simply breathing at a bar could be potentially dangerous?
UPDATE 2: Dan Savage hypothesizes the letters were written by an embittered gay man.