Join 3,517 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Bucket list.
November 9, 2011 12:16 PM   Subscribe

Elderly men accused of US ricin plot. 'Four elderly men from the US state of Georgia have appeared in court charged with plotting to murder officials using explosives and the lethal toxin ricin. Court documents say the group scoped out federal buildings and asked a contact to produce ricin. The FBI used a confidential informant to record the group's meetings. The men were arrested on Tuesday days after a laboratory test found trace amounts of ricin in their possession, the authorities said.'

'The four were named as Frederick Thomas, Dan Roberts, Ray Adams, and Samuel Crump, all ranging in age from 65 to 73.

The bespectacled accused appeared to have trouble hearing the judge at the federal court in Gainesville, even though she was using a microphone.'

'According to court documents, Mr Thomas told the group he had a "bucket list" of politicians, employees and others he felt needed to be "taken out".

He allegedly told an informant: "There's two schools of thought on this: go for the feds or go for the locals. And I'm inclined to consider both.

"We'd have to blow the whole building like Timothy McVeigh."

Mr Crump and Mr Adams were allegedly assigned to try to obtain or make ricin.

Mr Crump was recorded in September saying he would like to make 10lb (4.5kg) of the toxin.

Charlotte Thomas, Mr Thomas's wife, told the AP the charges against her husband were baseless.

"He spent 30 years in the US Navy. He would not do anything against his country," she said. "He loves his country."'

'After the defendants submitted financial affidavits, U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Cole found each qualified for a court-appointed attorney.

Cole set the preliminary and bond hearings for November 9.

Three of the four men cupped their ears at different times to hear Cole. The judge told Crump that it was important that he hear what she was saying and to raise his hand if he was not hearing her.'
posted by VikingSword (93 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
They should've hidden the ricin in a hollowed out cigarette and waited for the right moment.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:17 PM on November 9, 2011 [26 favorites]


Amateurs. Should've used lily of the valley instead.
posted by lydhre at 12:19 PM on November 9, 2011 [16 favorites]


Ricin beans?
posted by SharkParty at 12:20 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Although, reading up on ricin a bit I'm disappointed that the delivery methods that were plotted in Breaking Bad would probably not have resulted in death as ingestion seems to not be fatal (inhalation or injection would, however).
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:23 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Castor beans.

/humorless
posted by explosion at 12:24 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fox Covers Up Connection Between Terrorism Allegations And Their Expert
Fox News is now actively concealing a link between an Alabama-based blogger repeatedly featured on the network as an expert and allegations of a domestic terrorist plot.

This morning on America's Newsroom, Fox News ran an extensive report on yesterday's arrest of four Georgia men accused of plotting an attack on federal employees and U.S. citizens using explosives, guns, and the biological toxin ricin. At the end of the segment, correspondent Jonathan Serrie pointed out that one of the defendants "allegedly cited the online novel Absolved, which discusses small groups of citizens attacking U.S. officials," with the defendant allegedly "saying that the attacks would be based on events in that novel."

Charging documents indeed state that accused plotter Frederick Thomas repeatedly cited as an inspiration the novel Absolved, in which underground militia fighters declare war on the federal government over gun control laws and same-sex marriage, leading to a second American revolution. But Fox's report neglected to mention the allegedly inspirational novel's author, who is no stranger to Fox viewers.

Indeed, the author, Mike Vanderboegh, has been mainstreamed by the network, which has repeatedly featured him as an expert on the ATF's failed Operation Fast and Furious. Fox has identified Vanderboegh as an "online journalist" and an "authority on the Fast and Furious investigation," and has consistently failed to acknowledge his extremist views, actions, and affiliations.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:24 PM on November 9, 2011 [44 favorites]


White Right-Wing Male Christians, eh?

... will this ethnic group start getting profiled at airports now?
posted by anthill at 12:26 PM on November 9, 2011 [57 favorites]


Old Christian White Guy: "I love my country so much..."

Other Old Christian White Guys: "How much do you love it?"

Old Christian White Guy: "I love my country so much I want to blow it up!"
posted by glaucon at 12:28 PM on November 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Just remember folks, the progressives and the conservatives are just the same, and the left is teeming with just as many lunatics trying to murder large groups of people as the right! You just never hear about it from the liberal side because they're SO SNEAKY THAT THE EVIDENCE NEVER MATERIALIZES.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:30 PM on November 9, 2011 [34 favorites]


Obligatory "ROUND UP ALL THE WHITE CHRISTIANS!"
posted by Ron Thanagar at 12:30 PM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]



Those guys aren't terrorists! These are terrorists.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:33 PM on November 9, 2011


I was just coming in here wondering how fox would cover this. Got my answer a few comments up.
posted by Sir Cholmondeley at 12:33 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it ok to say:
4 black men
4 Jews
4 Catholics
4 Asians

I am elderly and feel I am being discriminated against.
posted by Postroad at 12:36 PM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Amateurs

I love amateur terrorists! Terrorists who blab their master plans in public places. Terrorists who try to set their own underwear on fire and fail. More of that, please. It's good to know that whatever serious, disciplined terrorists are out there must be afraid to recruit for fear of picking up self-sabotaging jokers like these.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:36 PM on November 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


Casting is now under way:

Burt Reynolds
Clint Eastwood
Donald Sutherland
James Coburn (dead, sure, but a great actor shouldn't have a problem with that...)
posted by victors at 12:36 PM on November 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


Where's the right wing outrage that these terrorists are apparently being given a civilian trial?
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:40 PM on November 9, 2011 [40 favorites]


"Mr Vanderboegh told the Associated Press his novel was intended as a 'useful dire warning' about the US government encroaching too far on the rights of armed citizens."

Useful.

Right.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:40 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it just me, or do these guys seem pretty damn old to be seriously plotting a Fed-killing rampage? If it comes out that this is another "terror plot" mostly created by the FBI to entrap some angry, paranoid geezers who otherwise wouldn't get out of their barcaloungers if their house was on fire, it's going to matter. You can do that shit to brown people, but elderly white Christian men? There will be consequences.
posted by [citation needed] at 12:41 PM on November 9, 2011 [12 favorites]


I think the wacko left in the US is more interested in property damage and arson nowadays. There was that guy who killed a policeman and claimed to be a corporation and hence immune from punishment, but that was an outlier.
posted by dragoon at 12:41 PM on November 9, 2011


... will this ethnic group start getting profiled at airports now?

A couple of weeks ago on my honeymoon I was flying from Dallas to Chicago and there was a black man in front of me, he went through the body scanner fine and as I entered the scanner the TSA agent behind me leaned through to the TSA agent on the other side of the scanner

TSA Scanner 1: Hey pull that guy out, he's foreign.

TSA Scanner 2 (quizzically): He doesn't look foreign.

TSA Scanner 1: I know, but he has an accent.

Needless to say they pulled him out and gave him the full work over.

So, to answer your question, all depends on there accent apparently.
posted by holdkris99 at 12:44 PM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


There's two schools of thought on this: go for the feds or go for the locals. And I'm inclined to consider both.

[wicked guitar outro followed by a commercial break]
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:44 PM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why the emphasis on their hearing impairments?
posted by desjardins at 12:45 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ctrl-F "terror"
> No matches found.

I guess they must be white, then?
posted by 0xFCAF at 12:45 PM on November 9, 2011 [29 favorites]


4 old white guys plot to bomb Federal buildings and the words "terrorist" and "terrorism" never appear in the article?

4 young brown Muslim guys plot to blow up synagogues in the Bronx and those terms appear no less than 4 times.
posted by JaredSeth at 12:46 PM on November 9, 2011 [17 favorites]


Dammit, 0xFCAF!
posted by JaredSeth at 12:46 PM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


will this ethnic group start getting profiled at airports now?


White male Christian here, in Georgia no less, and I've been taken aside, searched, delayed, every time I go to the airport, since 911.

I shouldn't have to say this but those guys are nuts. I should not have to say that.
posted by rahnefan at 12:47 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


4 old white guys plot to bomb Federal buildings and the words "terrorist" and "terrorism" never appear in the article?

When white people do it, its called "voting with your bombs."
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:47 PM on November 9, 2011 [27 favorites]


The 4 I mean, not TSA, though it works either way
posted by rahnefan at 12:48 PM on November 9, 2011


Write-up is kind of heavy on the hard of hearing bit. 65 isn't really that old nowadays.
posted by smackfu at 12:48 PM on November 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


So, to answer your question, all depends on there accent apparently.

next time I travel I will bust out the Swedish Chef accent and see how they react.

prolly i will get shot. :/
posted by elizardbits at 12:49 PM on November 9, 2011 [20 favorites]


Yeah, I dunno. I mean, I certainly wouldn't put it past them, but the idea that four old white guys in Georgia who can't even hear the judge could somehow get this far along in a plot of this nature is a bit much.

I'd be interested to hear what "trace amounts of ricin" actually means. If they're actually setting up a lab, then yeah, bad news. But we all know just how little pot can attract the cops' attention.
posted by valkyryn at 12:51 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


next time I travel I will bust out the Swedish Chef accent and see how they react.

prolly i will get shot. :/



Mork! Mork! Mork!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:51 PM on November 9, 2011


FBI entraps old white guys in terror sting, just like it does to young Muslim men: The Justice Department proves its commitment to equality by indicting right-wing Christians for an unlikely plot
posted by homunculus at 12:52 PM on November 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Write-up is kind of heavy on the hard of hearing bit.

They are white, and old, and therefore harmless patriots!

Ha ha! Good joke grandpa. I love the one about the castor beans killing Obama!

If they were aged foreigners we would be reading about their sinister Muslim wrinkles and "communication devices" embedded in their ears.
posted by benzenedream at 12:55 PM on November 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Don't Discount Dangerous Extremists Just Because They're 55 Plus.
posted by ericb at 12:55 PM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ha ha! Good joke grandpa. I love the one about the castor beans killing Obama!


Well, now I'm picturing Grampa Simpson and Jasper sitting in the court room.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:56 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


prolly i will get shot. :/

Your mouth got all crookedy because of the bullets.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:59 PM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


From homunculus's link:

They range in age from 65 to 73. How much of a real threat could they possibly have been?

That is a spectacularly stupid comment. I mean, so stupid that it makes me feel completely uninterested in anything the author may have to say.
posted by yoink at 1:02 PM on November 9, 2011 [16 favorites]


Well, now I'm picturing Grampa Simpson and Jasper sitting in the court room.

"Defendent claimed that President Obama would get a 'paddlin''."
posted by dirigibleman at 1:03 PM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Q: What's funnier than old people?!?!?!

A: Domestic terrorism!!!!!!
posted by shakespeherian at 1:07 PM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


It is just me who is mostly stunned by the idea of having a "bucket list" which includes an item for killing other people? No matter how old they are, these are wicked men.
posted by bearwife at 1:08 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Where's the right wing outrage that these terrorists are apparently being given a civilian trial?

And WHY ARE THESE MEN NOT BEING WATERBOARDED? WHAT IF THEY KNOW SOMETHING THAT MIGHT SAVE AMERICAN LIVES?

Seriously. What if they know about a pending attack? If the accepted American practice with regard to "enemy combatants" is to beat it out of them, then why are these guys not subject to some extraordinary rendition to Libya or Saudi Arabia or Israel for a little "enhanced" interrogation?

Why is Obama going soft on terrorism?
posted by three blind mice at 1:10 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


why are these guys not subject to some extraordinary rendition to Libya or Saudi Arabia or Israel for a little "enhanced" interrogation?

I don't want us to do that anymore.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:11 PM on November 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


And WHY ARE THESE MEN NOT BEING WATERBOARDED? WHAT IF THEY KNOW SOMETHING THAT MIGHT SAVE AMERICAN LIVES?

Is there reason to think they have other accomplices on the loose plotting attacks?

Metafilter: Never happier than when white Christians do bad things.
posted by BobbyVan at 1:14 PM on November 9, 2011


By the way, the BBC article linked in the OP is an outlier in not calling this a "terror" plot. If you look for "ricin plot" in Google news you'll find that the vast majority of US news outlets are calling this "domestic terror" or "bioterror."

Also, the BBC gets the age range wrong, it's 55-73. The 55 year old worked as a lab technician for the Agricultural Research service and was the one actually making the ricin.

Yeah, old people, LOL! What adorable hi-jinks will they get up to next?
posted by yoink at 1:19 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


'The four were named as Frederick Thomas, Dan Roberts, Ray Adams, and Samuel Crump, all ranging in age from 65 to 73..

O!

"Muslims, beware of these old white people and their laws (medicare)!
Hold your babies and qurans a bit tighter tonight...and forevermore.
For the world has changed.
Trustno1.
Neverforget."


Rupert Murdoch creates a new media outlet that caters mostly to scared muslims ("THAT is a huge market"-any marketer), but also other people who are frightened of old white people:

Foxwa
posted by hal_c_on at 1:20 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


The court reporter sketches are just magnificent:
1
2
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:22 PM on November 9, 2011 [14 favorites]


Ctrl-F "terror"
> No matches found.

I guess they must be white, then?
posted by 0xFCAF at 3:45 PM on November 9 [5 favorites +] [!]


I came in to post this very thing. They had RICIN for godsake, you know who else used ricin for assassination purposes? The KGB! So if they're not terrorists, maybe they're COMMUNISTS, right, and that's quite possibly worse, right guys?? Christ.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 1:24 PM on November 9, 2011


From the comments on the salon.com article homunculus posted:

Weird. This isn't the gang of "four elderly [mostly] white guys" including "Thomas, Roberts and others" that I'm afraid of.
posted by TedW at 1:24 PM on November 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


Dear The BBC,

Why is every sentence a new paragraph?

Do you know what paragraphs are?

This makes your stories very difficult to read.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:25 PM on November 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


It's amusing that folks are all "oh, these old white guys couldn't do anything sinister" when there are plenty of sinister old white guys who do godawful things - Henry Kissinger, for example, was in his sixties when he was jetting around to enable the massacre of several hundred thousand East Timorese. If only age prevented evil!
posted by Frowner at 1:26 PM on November 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


Is this anything but the FBI's usual quasi-entrapment style terrorism bust?
posted by jeffburdges at 1:27 PM on November 9, 2011


They range in age from 65 to 73. How much of a real threat could they possibly have been?

From the Forbes article (I posted above):
"The following details were gleaned from FBI Affidavits, the federal indictment, and various public postings made by the defendants in the months leading up to their arrests. Like most right wing extremists, Fred Thomas, Dan Roberts, Sam Crump, and Ray Adams were furious at the current state of the United States.
Frederick W. Thomas, age 73, thirty-year veteran of the US Navy with experience in explosives, also worked as an aerospace engineer with top security clearance. Thomas was an Oathkeeper, a Three Percenter, and an active member of the TeaParty. He was also the ringleader of the group.

Samuel J. Crump, age 68, former contractor with the US Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Ray H. Adams, age 55, former lab tech with the US Department of Agriculture.

Emory Dan Roberts, age 67, retired sign maker and commanding officer of the 440th squad of the Georgia Militia.
.... Does painting these men who plotted to commit mass murder as harmless old geezers make the plot by Americans to kill Americans more palatable? Does pointing out the fact that they held a couple of their planning meetings in a Waffle House somehow make the plot less lethal because they must be nothing more than dumb Southern rednecks?

The men were 55, 65, 68, and 73 and all of them had backgrounds that added to the lethal potential of the plan. Anyone who thinks that a man in the 55-73 year old age group is geriatric, incompetent, or too fragile to push a button detonating a car bomb needs to get out and mingle with the retirement age crowd a bit more. Here’s a good place to start.
Secretary of Defense (retired in 2011) Robert Gates: age 68

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta: age 73

Vice President Joe Biden: age 69

Attorney General Eric Holder: age 60

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: age 64

Former CA Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger: age 64

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus: age 63
By playing up the harmless old kook card, the press is downplaying the seriousness of this extremist plot to kill both government employees and innocent civilians."
posted by ericb at 1:33 PM on November 9, 2011 [53 favorites]


Ricin freaks me out. I think it's because it is so very deadly in such small quantities, and that it's derived from something I could pick up at the supermarket, it's always held a sort of mythic-like weapon awe in my mind.

So with that in mind, I hope they throw the book at these domestic terrorists; because they were plotting to kill innocent people for the purposes of fostering fear. Which is terrorism, regardless of their skin color, religion, or age. (obviously assuming it wasn't, yet another, FBI sting operation gone too far, and the men in question were operating on their own...)

At the same time, I sincerely hope that this does nothing to ratchet up the overall fear rhetoric in our country, because we have enough of that shit already.
posted by quin at 1:37 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


The FBI used a confidential informant to record the group's meetings.

Yes. It was one of the original group of five men.
"According to court documents, five men, all members of an extremist subgroup of the Georgia Militia that called itself the 'Covert Group,' hatched a two-pronged plan. One member, unnamed in the court filings, was facing state felony charges some time prior to March 2011, and wore a wire at the various meetings held by the group, presumably in exchange for a reduced sentence."
posted by ericb at 1:40 PM on November 9, 2011


Interesting how not only are they using a public defense attorney, every one of them previously received a paycheck from the government.
posted by pinothefrog at 1:44 PM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Fox Covers Up Connection Between Terrorism Allegations And Their Expert

Oh, come on. There's no "connection" when somebody claims to be be inspired by a work of fiction to perform bad acts. If that's the low bar we're using, then a whole bunch of deservedly influential and talented authors are in a shitload of Trouble, starting with the obvious example of Nietzsche and including dozens of others. This is Jack Thompson-level polemicism and doesn't speak well of Media Matters' capacity for honest argument.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:46 PM on November 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


Once again, the FBI proves that when it comes to terror plots, why make it a conspiracy when you can go it alone. Or at least they would if any of the wingers buying stingers lately read the goddamn news.
posted by Slackermagee at 1:46 PM on November 9, 2011


By the way, for everyone crying "entrapment" in this thread, here's a brief outline of what entrapment actually means as a legal concept:

In most states, a successful entrapment defense requires the defendant to prove three things:

1/ The idea of committing the crime came from law enforcement officers, rather than the defendant.
2/ The law enforcement officers induced the person to commit the crime. Courts have traditionally maintained a high burden of proof for inducement. Simply affording the defendant the opportunity to commit the crime does not constitute inducement. For inducement to be proved, officers must have used coercive or persuasive tactics.
3/ The defendant was not ready and willing to commit this type of crime before being induced to do so. If an undercover cop bought cocaine from a person carrying a kilogram of the drug, the seller could not plead entrapment, even if coercion were involved in the sale, since his intent to sell was clear. Most courts also allow a defendant's predisposition to be demonstrated through prior conduct or reputation.
Source.

I've seen nothing in the reporting so far to suggest that even one of these holds, let alone all three.
posted by yoink at 1:48 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've seen nothing in the reporting so far to suggest that even one of these holds, let alone all three.

True, but we've only heard the tale from law enforcement thus far. There are a number of cases over the past five years that leave a bad taste in my mouth (like that thing in Portland with the molotovs).
posted by Slackermagee at 1:53 PM on November 9, 2011


Harmless?

Once you have some ricin, you're equally deadly no matter how old you are.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:54 PM on November 9, 2011


The FBI used a confidential informant...

...who is facing charges in an unrelated case himself.
posted by rhizome at 1:58 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


ericb's comment puts it in new perspective for me.

Four Georgia old guys? Not sure I buy it. I went to college in Georgia. A mile south of campus people shoot squirrels off their front porch, and there's an active snake-handling church over on the next ridge. Granted, Gainsville isn't exactly rural, but still.

A retired explosives technician, a retired CDC contractor, and a retired USDA lab tech? Yeah, okay, I don't care where they're from, this is entirely plausible.
posted by valkyryn at 1:59 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, as yoink said, "They range in age from 65 to 73. How much of a real threat could they possibly have been?" is a spectaculary stupid thing to say. My dad is 65 and he's probably in the best shape of his life. He walks miles and miles through the desert carrying 5-gallon buckets filled with rocks and THINKS IT'S FUN.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:59 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah they are not that old and certainly not old enough to be considered harmless. From the headline I was expecting them to be in their 80s and 90s in assisted living or something.
posted by emd3737 at 2:00 PM on November 9, 2011


Harmless? .... Once you have some ricin, you're equally deadly no matter how old you are.

Exactly.

And these guys knew what they were doing.
"Prong 1: Assassinate hand-picked people on their 'Bucket List' with a particular focus on Department of Justice attorneys, federal judges, IRS employees, ATF employees, corporate leaders, and individuals in the press. To carry through on this plot, the defendants owned several guns, were purchasing and planning to steal silencers for those weapons, and had purchased what they thought was a powerful car bomb from what turned out to be an undercover FBI agent. Future plans to kill federal employees included blowing up the IRS building in Atlanta and the ATF building in DeKalb County 'like Timothy McVeigh.' The first assassination was scheduled to take place on November 2, 2011, but they were arrested before it could happen.

Prong 2: Cook up enough of the toxic biological weapon ricin to distribute in five major cities with a goal of killing as many Americans as possible. The targeted cities named were Washington DC, Atlanta, GA, Newark, NJ, Jacksonville, FL, and New Orleans, LA. Adams, a retired lab technician from the Department of Agriculture, would create the ricin with Crump, the retired CDC contractor.

.... These harmless old kooks weren’t just talking trash at the Waffle House, they were ready to roll. Their plan was to use a gun with silencer and/or car bomb on their first target(s) on November 2, 2011 (prong 1 of their plan) and prong 2 wasn’t far behind. According to the affidavits attached to the search warrants, the FBI found the following at the defendants’ homes:
Laptop computer, castor beans, 'white powder in a cup,' books on safety regulations, hazardous materials and emergency response, buckets containing seed pods, toxic plant guides, a container of acetone, castor bean plants, instructions for making ricin, some form of explosives, a machete and at least a dozen guns.
The second part of the plan was only one ingredient away from having what they needed to manufacture a deadly biological weapon, a missing item that can easily be purchased at Amazon.com for $6.99/pound. It is most commonly used in crafting homemade candles.

.... There is no antidote for ricin, and the current defendants were ... qualified professionally (Department of Agriculture lab tech, contractor for the CDC, aerospace engineer, and militia leader) ...."
posted by ericb at 2:06 PM on November 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


Here we go folks: the dementia defense.
posted by cool breeze at 2:06 PM on November 9, 2011


My dad is 65 and he's probably in the best shape of his life. He walks miles and miles through the desert carrying 5-gallon buckets filled with rocks and THINKS IT'S FUN.

My grandpa got a pacemaker a couple of years ago and they doctor had to call him every day and say BOB, FOR GOD'S SAKE STOP GOING ON THOSE TEN-MILE RUNS FOR A LITTLE BIT
posted by shakespeherian at 2:11 PM on November 9, 2011


Newark? Maybe a softer target than New York, I guess?

The Emperor was pretty freakin' old too, young Skywalker.
posted by emjaybee at 2:29 PM on November 9, 2011


When the work is for the Christian god by definition it cannot be terrorism.
posted by maxwelton at 2:31 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


When the work is for the Christian god by definition it cannot be terrorism.

It seems worth mentioning again (since this meme won't die in this thread) that just about every US news agency reporting on this case is calling it terrorism. The BBC link in the OP is the outlier, and I doubt their reasons for not using the word have anything at all to do with the place of Christianity in US political discourse.
posted by yoink at 2:36 PM on November 9, 2011


When the work is for the Christian god by definition it cannot be terrorism.

Sure it can. The Christian god is a non-state actor that uses fear to accomplish ideological goals.
posted by Hoopo at 3:20 PM on November 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


Why the emphasis on their hearing impairments?

The plot was probably uncovered because they talked so loud to each other at their 'planning meeting at the Waffle House', everyone in the next eight tables could hear them.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:22 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


The tea party guy should be told that the country doesn't want to pay their hard-earned money for his defense attorney. That he should pull himself up by his own bootstraps and earn his own attorney.
posted by ctmf at 3:30 PM on November 9, 2011 [11 favorites]


sorry for that derail, yoink. I've since seen that in other coverage as well. I guess the BBC was just being polite.
posted by JaredSeth at 3:52 PM on November 9, 2011


Elderly men seldom make gases when wearing glasses.
posted by srboisvert at 4:05 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


While the typical profile of a threatening person is a young male, those that survive to reach middle age can sometimes be more of a threat. The thing about getting old is that while the aging process slows one down, and reduces reckless behaviour, it also adds experience.

So, I'm really not getting the all this geriatric sneering either. I'm 55 myself, and I guarantfrikkentee you that the post-riot pinheads who that thought it would be a good idea to try to knock an "old man" off his 35-pound downhill mountain-bike after the Canuck's loss last spring will think twice about their assumptions in the future.

All this emphasis on hearing loss is a deliberate attempt to diminish the seriousness of the potential threat here. I'll wait on more information before deciding on the credibility of the real threat here, but would never dismiss it based on a naive assumption that only post-adolescents got game.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:15 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


you know who else used ricin for assassination purposes?

Walter White, and he would have gotten away with it if Jesse hadn't fucked things up.

The targeted cities named were Washington DC, Atlanta, GA, Newark, NJ, Jacksonville, FL, and New Orleans

The whole thing seems more motivated by race than politics.

What exactly was these guys' political platform? More guns for everyone? It's been a while since the ATF slaughtered anyone.

Here is the set of Red State contributions from Frederick Thomas (Ahab).

on quick scan ... yeah, it's still all about Ruby Ridge, Waco, and Janet Napolitano. maybe they're not racists ... but then why Newark, Jacksonville, and New Orleans?
posted by mrgrimm at 4:17 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, it's not about race at all. I mean, you act like he's trying to kill a lot of black people. I'm sure those cities were chosen simply to minimize white losses.

Also: From mrgrimm above.

Could a general rebellion against governmental tyranny begin and expand? I don’t know! Depends upon the circumstances! For example, what do you think would happen if the Supremes ever took up the issue of Obama’s citizenship and he be found not qualified for the office of the president because he isn’t a natural born citizen? He could be declared “not qualified,” and John McCain would become POTUS by default. McCain’s the candidate with the next most votes, you see. You can bank on race riots the likes of which would make the L.A. and Watts riots look like a playground scuffle. Half the country would go up in flames. Or, how about this? Obama takes office in January and THEN it’s determined he was ineligible, a usurper, and no government organization, agency, court, or body of citizens does a thing about it. And then, what if every act he signs and treaty he makes is declared by the political opposition to be invalid? I think it’s possible that political resistance to a usurper would turn this country on it’s head, and into insurrection in short order.

Indeed. What if Obama turned out to be one of those lizardmen from "V." Wouldn't THAT cause an uproar?
posted by absalom at 4:32 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Inspector.Gadget: "Oh, come on. There's no "connection" when somebody claims to be be inspired by a work of fiction to perform bad acts. If that's the low bar we're using, then a whole bunch of deservedly influential and talented authors are in a shitload of Trouble, starting with the obvious example of Nietzsche and including dozens of others."

I disagree. There's a big difference between some schizophrenic kook claiming inspiration from broad, decades-old philosophical works like Nietszche or The Catcher in the Rye and a group of serious, trained militia members planning to re-enact a book written by a self-proclaimed militia member that's all about how interesting it would be if a group of militia members murdered a bunch of federal employees and toppled the US government.

As long as the fringe-right keeps using these violent, militant metaphors to describe political enemies (The War Against Liberals, How The Left Is Plotting To Destroy America, etc.), they're going to share some of the blame when some people take the dire warnings and eliminationist rhetoric to heart. Especially when it's something as straightforwardly literal as Absolved.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:34 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


The court reporter sketches are just magnificent:

They really are. I usually don't even look at the television at the gym because the people during the day love their Faux News, but the court sketches had me entranced.
posted by winna at 4:42 PM on November 9, 2011


The plot was probably uncovered because they talked so loud to each other at their 'planning meeting at the Waffle House', everyone in the next eight tables could hear them.

Eight tables is the Waffle House.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:44 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why the emphasis on their hearing impairments?

In the court, at least, I would think it was to insure that they can't turn around and say 'well, we didn't hear what that uppity woman judge said!' as part of their defense.
posted by mephron at 5:47 PM on November 9, 2011


Newark

Newark had pretty devastating riots in 67. According to wikipedia

The racial makeup of the city as of the 2000 Census was 53.46% African American, 26.52% White, 1.19% Asian, 0.37% Native American, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 14.05% from other races, and 4.36% from two or more races. 29.47% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.[19]

Also has a high profile African American Mayor.

As does Jacksonville.

As did New Orleans until 2010.

So yeah, this is about race.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:52 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


This just in: Ned Beatty has been moved to an undisclosed location.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:10 PM on November 9, 2011


I worked for a summer at a university lab affiliated with an ARS lab next door (working on basically the same project). The ARS guys were old gruff white guys who didn't fit in at all at a university, and constantly grouched about their long hours and low pay.

Race was a definite thing -- basically 100% of the ARS guys were white US-born males, as compared to maybe 25% of the university-employed scientists. There was also a humongous age difference -- the university scientists were in their 30s or 40s, while the ARS guys were seemingly just waiting for retirement.

I wouldn't expect them to commit terrorism, but ... let's just say their group had about the morale of a post office. They made the university-run labs look like Disneyland by comparison.
posted by miyabo at 7:22 PM on November 9, 2011


Recalled dimly: in the 1920s and 1930s individual Japanese generals got to pretty much run the country - sequentially - until they goofed, then they'd get murdered. I fear we are entering a similar situation in the USA now. It is going to get very ugly for politicians and rich folk for the next few years and this is the beginning.
posted by jet_silver at 7:33 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


qualified professionally (Department of Agriculture lab tech, contractor for the CDC, aerospace engineer, and militia leader)

Uh, militia leader? One of these these things is not like the others. Militia Leader, like nightclub flunkie, is not a professional category.
posted by Jahaza at 9:17 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Harmless? .... Once you have some ricin, you're equally deadly no matter how old you are.

Our little A-Team never had ricin, that's why they're charged with attempt to produce and possess.

The FBI affidavit [pdf] makes it sound easy:
The materials needed to manufacture ricin are easy to acquire and the process of extracting it from castor beans requires no technical expertise. Ricin is manufactured using castor beans, acetone and lye. Recipes for making ricin are readily available on the internet and books on unconventional weapons.
Except that it's not really. George Smith, Senior Fellow at GlobalSecurity.Org and Ph.D. chemist, has refuted that myth apart in The Recipe for Ricin, Parts I, II, and III:
Entitled "How to Make Ricin," the recipe may appear slightly convincing to journalists and observers with no prior knowledge of the isolation and purification of fine biochemicals. However, there are no steps in the recipe specific to the purification of ricin.

The recipe includes instructions for the use of acetone and lye -- a non-specific term for any strong base, usually sodium or potassium hydroxide. Both are common chemicals. However, neither powerfully address any unique properties of ricin which would be exploited to differentially separate it from every other complex component in the mash of a castor seed. Indeed, the entire recipe shows no real effort to achieve this end. Even the step by step instructions, as written, can be picked apart for a variety of reasons.
posted by peeedro at 9:35 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


So maybe they would have just ended up with castor oil, which is still terrorism in my book. Castor oil won't kill you, but it will sure make you wish it did.
posted by miyabo at 9:40 PM on November 9, 2011


Castor oil won't kill you, but it will sure make you wish it did.

It's also enough to send you to jail if you try to use it to make ricin, even though it is impossible to do so. It happened to Casey Cutler:
Cutler was subsequently rolled by his [marijuana] suppliers on April 28 of 2005, causing him to hatch a self-defense plan, one in which he would use ricin to poison his tormentors should they return. He would offer it as free drugs.

Cutler downloaded the usual Internet recipe for ricin - it's simply to grind castor seeds and wash the weight in powder with four times the weight in acetone - and found he had no idea how to get the beans. So he went to a store and bought castor oil, which - of course - contains no ricin.

No worries, Cutler boiled down the castor oil "to reduce it and utilized acetone (as indicated by the recipe) to extract the ricin from the mixture," reads the finding of fact in his federal plea agreement with the US. But since castor oil contains no ricin, the federal court document is stuck, finding it awkward to admit that the defendant could not possibly have had the toxin. Instead it reads, "Defendant Casey Cutler did something that was a substantial step toward the production of a biological toxin."

If this bit of biochemical bumbling by Cutler and the court isn't quite absurd enough, there is more, and it stems from how one very ill-thought out plan accidentally activated the federal anti-terror response.
His plea agreement[pdf] had him serving 30 to 60 months.
posted by peeedro at 10:07 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, as yoink said, "They range in age from 65 to 73. How much of a real threat could they possibly have been?" is a spectaculary stupid thing to say. My dad is 65 and he's probably in the best shape of his life.

Ditto. My Dad *started* doing duathalons and Iron Man type events in his late fifties. He's in his sixties and generally the only people finishing in front of him are national-class guys in their 20s.
posted by rodgerd at 12:31 AM on November 10, 2011


peedro, I think your source simply misunderstands the law here. If you have reason to believe that what you are doing will yeild a deadly poison the from the law's point of view it (rightly) doesn't matter a damn if you happen to be wrong. If I administer what I believe to be a fatal poison to you, I'm still guilty of attempted murder even if it turns out that I gave you something harmless.
posted by yoink at 7:41 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


« Older A massive rare 'superstorm' is currently bearing d...  |  With Skyrim coming out soon, w... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments