Readings — From the May 2014 issue

Poisoner’s Dilemma

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From transcripts of conversations on September 17, 2011, recorded by FBI informant Joe Sims, among members of a Georgia militia arrested the following month on various charges. Dan Roberts was sentenced in 2012 to five years in prison for crimes that included conspiring to acquire unregistered explosives; Ray Adams and Samuel Crump were found guilty of possessing a biological toxin for use as a weapon, namely castor beans, which contain ricin.

dan roberts: Over in Vietnam, I went to piss one morning . . . [Laughing] Boy, I never felt anything like that before.

samuel crump: That’s worse than goddamn barbed wire coming down the tube.

roberts: Not quite bad as a kidney stone, but it was pretty damn bad.

joe sims: I ain’t never had nuttin’ an aspirin couldn’t get rid of.

roberts: Penicillin got rid of it pretty good.

crump: Back then they’d give you a double dose.

roberts: Yeah, but now penicillin, ampicillin, then biocillin.

sims: Just all kind of cillin. The strongest one I know of is that Cipro. I got spider-bit in the face, and they gave me that. It was a black widow or a recluse, I don’t know which.

roberts: That recluse is nasty.

sims: Yeah. It’ll eat your skin off you. It did to my dad. It ate like a big old dent out of his finger. It’s still that way.

roberts: I saw a guy in the doctor’s office that came in, and he was showing one of the nurses where he got bit, and he said, “This is gross, but I want to show you.”

sims: He said it was gross, you got to see it.

roberts: Deteriorated and ate the flesh, man. This guy was in bad shape.

sims: Man, I watched, what was that, Criminal Minds, about the FBI guys, with that little smart one, young guy, some kind of teacher or something. He went to this park, and he had this little vial and sprinkles it in the air. It was anthrax, but a mutant strain. It was killing people in three hours. I’m like, “Jesus!” I ain’t into that kind of crazy crap.

crump: Where can we get some of that?

adams: Africa.

sims: Wasn’t it on sheep? Or goats? They took a little bit and then went and played awhile in some lab to make it nasty.

adams: We got a chemical for nematodes called Nemacur. They’re so tough it takes two years for them to die, but one drop will kill all four of us standing here. One guy put on that damn Nemacur and didn’t plow it in like he was supposed to, and there was like fifteen dead doves, two dead owls, six or eight robins. Whatever landed in there eating them bugs, it was gonna die.

crump: We need somebody to back us with some damn money. So we can make that other shit. That, uh, major poison that can kill thirty million people.

sims: Ebola?

crump: What’s the name of that worse poison, Ray?

adams: Ricin.

crump: No, the other one. Kills about thirty million people at one time. Come from rotten food.

adams: Oh, botulism. That’s some nasty stuff.

sims: Yeah.

adams: Every woman in Hollywood got it planted in her face.

sims: Yeah, in their lips.

adams: Botox. That’s botulism. Paralytic.

sims: Yep. A guy tried to get me to go and have my crow’s feet done, and my sister —

adams: Yeah. They’d just relax out, and you couldn’t move your face.

sims: You’re not allowed to smile or anything for X amount of hours and crap. I’m like, “No.”

adams: ’Cause you do, it’ll spread it somewhere else. It’ll paralyze anything it touches.

sims: Ewwww.

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