Feeds

The American way of bioterror - an A-Z of ricin crackpots

Homebrew poison of choice to the hard of thinking

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

So in America there is an odd position, one in which castor plants in the garden and on the stoop are entirely legitimate while the collection and mashing of the seeds of them immediately exposes the typical ricin putterer to a substantial criminal charge. In Bergendorff's case, the ricin crackpot can also bring down family members. It's a crime to know of and not report the production of ricin when the government comes inquiring. It charged Bergendorff's cousin, Thomas Tholen, for not informing authorities what he properly knew of Bergendorff powdering castor in the basement.

A long time ago castor seed agriculture was a noticeable renewable resource in the US. Castor pomace was an organic fertilizer, one used quite a bit until pushed aside by more modern sources of nitrogen from the chemical industry. And in 2008, some have seriously suggested enhancing the cultivation of castor plants for the production of biodiesel.

But the common modern view is one in which castor, outside of intestinal purgative, has no perceived purpose in the United States except as justification for the inspiration of bioterror fear and funding for the development of ricin vaccines nobody thought were necessary prior to 9/11. Paradoxically, poison tinkering Roger Von Bergendorff is the only person in the country who could have benefited from a ricin immunization.

A self-defeating and nihilistic interest exists in the poison, as if every red-blooded, disappointed and frustrated American kook has a defiant right to possess a recipe on their hard disk and a packet of castor seeds nearby, perhaps next to an unregistered handgun equipped with a silencer made out of a vegetable. This ensures a constant trickle of criminal apprehensions and prosecutions, a process the government handles efficiently, depositing ricin crackpots where they belong. Bergendorff, like everyone else before him, is headed for prison for an indefinite period, a just sentence when considering that, unintentionally or not, the ricin crackpot's major contribution is to frighten the locals when the gendarmes and hazmat teams descend on the neighborhood. ®

George Smith is a senior fellow at GlobalSecurity.org, a defense affairs think tank and public information group. At Dick Destiny, he blogs his way through chemical, biological, and nuclear terror hysteria, often by way of the contents of neighbourhood hardware stores.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.