Spring is sprung, the grass is riz, here is where da ricin iz

Posted in Bioterrorism, Culture of Lickspittle, Ricin Kooks at 12:24 pm by George Smith

Just before the mailed fist of US anti-terrorism arrived in his dorm.

Through the confluence of the never-ending war on terror, the internet, old American neo-Nazis and stupid new American men and women, we have ricin kooks. During the last two years, they’ve come in clusters.

And today from the wire, continuing the riff from earlier this week, the story of 19-year-old Danny Milzman, much like Nicholas Herman of Hatboro, only with more money, courtesy of well-off parents:

A Georgetown University student who made the deadly chemical ricin in his dorm room was arrested in Washington, D.C. on Friday for illegal possession of a biological toxin, an FBI spokeswoman said.

The student, Daniel Harry Milzman, made the white powder with materials he bought at local stores, including The Home Depot and American Plant Company, according to an affidavit filed in court on Thursday. He found the recipe for making it by doing a search on his iPhone, investigators said.

Wearing goggles and a dust mask for protection, Milzman used Epsom salts and castor beans, among other materials, to make the ricin in his dorm room about a month ago, according to the affidavit …

On Tuesday evening, for reasons that are unclear, Milzman showed some of his ricin to his residential adviser …

From Escape from WhiteManistan, Thursday:

I suspect that in certain cases, not all, there is a juvenile hacker mentality at work, one you see in BitCoin altar boys, the old culture of virus-writers, and some hackers:

Iím going to do it because I must prove to acquaintances, and by extension ó the world, that it can be done! Iíll show everybody!

A little more than twenty years ago I saw the first recipes for ricin in cyberspace, on the nascent internet and also on bulletin board systems run off computers in the bedrooms of young boys and men in America.

In the intervening time a couple things have changed. Now you download them with iJunk, if you like. But the combination of electronic recipes for ricin (all simple castor bean pounding and minor treatments with either a degreasing agent or precipitation after dissolving in water), the mythology on the subject and its dispersal to fingertip retrieval from the net, the rapid reaction force of the US national security apparatus have made a unique American phenomenon: the ricin kook.

Said more succinctly, ricin makes stupid.

Nineteen year-old-boys are no more capable of making weapons of mass destruction from internet recipes and crap bought at local stores than the opossum in your backyard.

Nevertheless, where we are as a nation dictates they must be dealt with.

So dealt with they are because what good is it, how smart and skillful you are in making ricin, with this week’s cases, if you don’t tell someone about it?

And Daniel and Nicholas were apparently just busting to do so.

When this happens a detachment from the American joint anti-terrorism force arrives in your neighborhood or right up close to your dorm in the form of a mailed fist of special agents, SWAT teams in full battle gear and respirators, HAZMAT men, fire trucks and armored cars.

In Georgetown.

Daniel Melzman’s ricin recipe, so handily captured on his iPhone, is descended from an original published by neo-Nazi/survivalist Kurt Saxon in the late Eighties, first in a self-published pamphlet called The Weaponeer, and later in The Poor Man’s James Bond.

You can tell by its description in the Reuters piece.

Make no mistake, ricin boys, men and women are almost purely American. While you sometimes see a couple in England, it’s ours. It could only have happened here.

I was a young man when Kurt Saxon first started publishing his ricin recipes. However, the United States was not peppered every year with a few task force investitures of neighborhoods for the arrest of ricin kooks and their leavings.


A number of reasons, and they all come in the development of the Culture of Lickspittle during the last couple of decades:

No internet, no war on terror, no years of fantastical television stories about the nefarious toxicity of ricin in the hands of bad people, no army of national security experts in all media spinning stories about it, no interest because of the groupthink/idiot’s belief you can make something really dangerous, something you must tell others about …by buying a pack of seeds and twiddling your fingers.

I’ll probably post more this weekend.

Remember, after twenty years of writing in cyberspace, that’s why you read about this stuff here.

Pass the Ricin Kooks link around.

And here’s the misery jar.

From last year, ricin-making machine at 2:11.


  1. Ted Sr. said,

    March 23, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    What did Mr. Orwell write again, something about the future being a boot on a human face.

    Since this is an area you know something about Mr S, would the produced toxin be fatal to a fruit fly or is this homebrew toxin not quite at that level of weaponisation/sophistication?

  2. George Smith said,

    March 24, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Ricin in the castor plant is thought to be there to deter insects. However, there are other components in castor plant sap, an alkaloid, that kills aphids.

    The news yesterday was that the authorities had recovered 0.12 gram of sample. Of that, a much smaller amount is ricin. You can do a rough determination of protein in a sample by redissolving a portion and looking at simple photometric absorbance at an ultraviolet wavelength, but that returns only a gross estimate. And ricin would hardly be the only protein in the sample so it’s impossible to say without a lot more information how relatively toxic it might be. No kid in a dorm with an old electronic copy of Saxon can make much of anything, though, except that which will send him to jail.

    Here’s an abstract on castor seed ingestion in Kansas over ten years.

    84 cases over a decade, 50 cases accidental, 34 cases intentional. Children and the witless probably account for the accidental cases. There may be an attempted poisoning or two in the 34 unintentional, although I’m betting some were attempted suicides and some curious stupidity or belief in wive’s tales about the value of a castor seed as folk medicine. (There is such belief in foreign countries.)

    Also: “One patient developed hematochezia and vomiting after reportedly ingesting and intravenously injecting castor bean seeds.”

    This would apparently seem to be a clear attempt at suicide. Or, more remotely, someone looking for a high.

    No deaths. Unintentional consumption averaged eight and a half seeds per dose. Intentional, ten seeds.

    “No delayed symptoms, serious outcomes, or deaths were reported. Discussion. Due to the presence of ricin, there is concern for serious outcomes after ingestions of the seeds of the castor bean plant. In this study GI symptoms were most commonly reported but serious morbidity or mortality was not present. The true risk of castor bean plant seed ingestions should continue to be re-evaluated.


    This is real science. What the mythology is in America is not. What the national security expert apparatus book on the subject also has little or nothing to do with using the science of a matter to make evaluations. The latter was born out of caution after 9/11, and then exploitation when many realized that there was free money that was going to be flowing to defend against the stuff.

    So when some dumb shit of a kid, or two, “make ricin” and armored cars filled with army men masked by respirators and hazmat men in scuba tanks descend on their neighborhoods you can only be impressed/astonished/horrified/[fill in the blank] at the bizarre affairs. I am surprised such things have not yet been included in sketch comedy on late night television.

    It is a demonstration, too, in this case as to how — on the internet and courtesy of Google — the excrement of “information” rises to the top, crowding out and making useless the rational and considered. No matter what is put on the web, no matter how much refereed science on the matter, what happens is dictated by belief that has been made and twisted from the nature of the war on terror on, absurdly, the media and entertainment industries.

    All the stupid find is the concocted and the fantastic, suitable only for entertainment. Which it has been for a long time, for anyone who watches movies or reads.

    And then there’s DD’s law…

  3. Ted Jr. said,

    March 24, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    >>All the stupid find is the concocted and the fantastic, suitable only for entertainment. Which it has been for a long time, for anyone who watches movies or reads. <<

    Kept intentionally mal/misinformed, with intellectual capacity stunted, the average publican is easily kept fearful, paranoid, and ready to obey whoever projects authority.

    The perfect subject to work with, susceptible to the most insane and illogical propaganda, easily led, xenophobic and with a sense of entitlement due to accident of birth, all this can only end well, don'tcha think?

    I've often seen the brilliance of Orwell in his writings, but the more I see current events unfold, I have to admit he was prophetic to the extreme. Unless of course all he did was write the manual, in which case the prophesies were self-fulfilling.

    Either way, keep the hatches secured as there's a large storm a'coming.