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Letters Threaten
Customers of Seattle Gay Bars

Letters Threaten
Customers of Seattle Gay Bars

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Eleven of Seattle's LGBT bars were threatened with ricin attacks in letters sent to them Tuesday, The Seattle Times reports.

Eleven gay bars in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Seattle received letters threatening the lives of their customers on Tuesday.

The anonymous letter says the potential attacker has approximately 67 grams of ricin, which will be used to drug "at lease five of your clients ... I expect them to die painfully while in hospital."

The Seattle Police Department has seized the letters and is working with the FBI and other federal agencies to investigate them, according to The Seattle Times. The Seattle Joint Terrorism Task Force has not been called to deal with the case, however, because authorities consider the letters to simply be a threat, since no physical evidence of ricin has been found, KING TV reports.

The letter, which was also sent to local weekly newspaper The Stranger, warns that the publication should be prepared to report the deaths of about 55 people following a random Saturday this month, when the attacks are allegedly planned to be carried out. "I could take this moment to launch into a diatribe about my indignation towards the gay community, however I think the deaths will speak for themselves," he letter to The Stranger read.

The bars targeted include the Elite, Neighbours, the Wildrose Bar, the Cuff, Purr, the Seattle Eagle, R Place, Re-bar, C.C.Attle's, Madison Pub, and the Crescent.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ricin occurs naturally in castor beans but, if purified, can be deadly when ingested or inhaled.

Kay Hansen, manager of the Elite, told the Times that staff members have been warning customers to watch their drinks. "On the one hand, you don't want to overreact, but on the other hand, you want to make sure your staff and clients are safe," she said.

Eagle manager Keith Christensen told The Stranger's blog, The Slog, that while the threat may not be serious, it still must be acted upon.

"It's probably nothing, but the economy is really screwing all the bars right now, and the last thing we need is something ramping up the not-go-out mode people seem to be in right now," he said. "It's really freaky that someone would do something like this at a time like this."

One person who is taking the situation with a grain of salt is Stranger editorial director Dan Savage, who writes a sex column. "I get a death threat a day with Savage Love," he said.

As investigators work on the case, Seattle residents are planning a massive pub crawl to threatened businesses on Friday night, according to KIRO AM. (Advocate.com)

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