Poison Goes Postal

Sounds like something Saddam would do, huh? (courtesy of http://www.fridayfunfacts)

On Tuesday—only a day after the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon—two letters arrived at Washington postal facilities established after the Anthrax mail scare of 2001. One was addressed to President Obama, the other to Senator Roger Wicker, the conservative Republican from Mississippi.

Preliminary tests on the letter to Wicker indicated the presence of a deadly poison known as Ricin. This natural protein is derived from castor plant seeds and can kill anyone who ingests, inhales or injects it. In fact, an amount the size of a pin head is enough to prove fatal to any exposed person. And to date, there is no known cure.

In other words, if you are exposed to it, then you will probably die. Some patients who ingested the substance made full recoveries—since the poison essentially lodged itself in their digestive tracts and could be treated more effectively—but most are exposed through inhalation and have no chance. I’m sure that’s what the perpetrator of this crime was hoping would happen.

Too bad.

Around the time Wicker’s letter was discovered—which incidentally tested positive for Ricin at a lab in Maryland—mail handlers at the White House noticed a suspicious substance in a letter addressed to President Obama. They immediately sent the letter for testing, but results aren’t expected for a day or two.

We all know what those results will say, though: Ricin!

As if the Boston bombings weren’t enough, it now looks like even more havoc is being wreaked by unknown terrorists, either domestic or international. And it’s hard for me to believe these two acts aren’t connected in some way, which worries me even more. If this is true, then it seems as if the people behind them are “amping things up” in an effort to harm as many people as possible. Could there be even more attacks in the coming days?

God, I hope not.

Processed Ricin in its deadliest form (courtesy of the Associated Press)

This Ricin scare is especially worrisome not because of who was targeted—I’m sure the President and other politicians are threatened all the time—but because it intensifies the fear and doubt already present in our society following the tragedy in Boston. We’re fortunate that these letters were sent to such high-profile people because they were screened more effectively and discovered before they could hurt anyone. Could the same be said for letters sent to regular Americans, though?

I doubt it. And I certainly hope there aren’t any more Ricin-filled envelopes floating around out there. Please take extra care when you go to your own mailbox. And never, under any circumstances, should you open mail from an unknown sender. Better safe than sorry, after all.

Details about the letter sent to President Obama should be released soon, and I know they will confirm the presence of Ricin because let’s face it, whoever sent them was a coward. Instead of taking steps to affect positive change, this individual chose a different, much darker path. And when he, she or they are caught, I know the perfect punishment:

A last meal with a nice, frosty Ricin milkshake to wash everything down. Now that sounds like justice.

Posted on April 17, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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