On Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 6, Dan Savage reported on his blog, The Stranger, that 11 gay bars in Seattle had received anonymous letters from someone threatening to target the clubs and their patrons with ricin, a protein toxin made from the castor bean.

The letters were addressed to “Owner/Manager” and each began: “Your establishment has been targeted. I have in my possession approximately 67 grams of ricin with which I will indiscriminately target at least five of your clients.”

Savage noted that according to the CDC Web site, “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.”

Go here to read Savage’s report.

Go here to see Wikipedia’s list of ricin-related incidents and its use in biological warfare.

And here is a copy of the letter sent to the bars.

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