Irresponsible (?) ricin responses

Richard C. Graul graul at
Thu Oct 19 23:15:02 EST 1995

<kkaye at> writes:

>Dear Toxicol. fans - 

>	The recent request by 'Scary gary' for information about ricin strikes
>me as the kind of adolescent request for information to which toxicologists
>need not respond. This chap has placed his request in the context of the
>Bulgarian assassination in London some 12 years ago, and if he's that desperate
>to fantasise about killing some but can't be troubled to go to his own local
>library and look at the Merck index then something is awry somewhere. Besides,
>I resent these crackpot posts: as in the case last week of right-wing hate mail
>being posted through this newsgroup, I don't see that 'Scary Gary' deserves the
>dignity of a response.

>Any other views?

I don't see anything wrong about Gary's request.

You seem to be making three points:

1) Gary's request is adolescent.
2) Gary is fantasizing about killing someone.
3) Gary's request is a crackpot post.

Here is the original post by Scary Gary:

>I have read about ricin in asassination literature (Georgi Markov / Radio
>Free Europe / Bulgarian Gvmt. hit / London / 1978) Can anyone deliniate
>on the mechanism of death from this poison?

1) Gary's request is adolescent.

Perhaps Gary is an adolescent.  Regardless, it's pretty obvious that he is
not a toxicologist.  If you think his request is too simplistic, I'm not
sure that this is a license to insult him.  Why not ignore him, or direct
him to the appropriate sources of information?  Why not encourage his
interest in toxicology?

2) Gary is fantasizing about killing someone.

To me, there is nothing in his post to suggest that he is fantasizing about
killing anyone.  Just because he expressed an interest in understanding the
mechanism of a toxin used in a murder, doesn't make him a sicko.  Maybe Gary
is interested in criminalistics or criminology.  Who can say but Gary?

3) Gary's request is a crackpot post.

To me, it seems like a legitimate request for toxicological information.

You seem to be able to infer a lot about Gary from his post.  I'm only
trying to provide an alternative interpretation.

Gary, if you're out there, please tell us, are you a nut, or are you normal?


* Richard C. Graul                        internet: graul at *

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