The Benefits of Bruce Ivins: Anthrax hoaxes, now up

Posted in Bioterrorism, Extremism, Stumble and Fail at 12:13 pm by George Smith

The government is out of control! I’m heading to the store
for envelopes and baking powder, lads. Bastards will pay!

DD runs a daily search on “anthrax” at the Google news tube. As do many.

And everyone has noticed that minus hits for the heavy metal band named Anthrax, hits on powder hoaxes have ticked up.

The Idaho Statesman, which is in a state with its own anthrax hoaxer, has noticed, too:

Mailing a white powdery substance to scare people can land you in prison – even if the enclosed substance is non-toxic.

Ask Sandy Kevin Lamont Nanney.

The Boise man, who was accused of sending 32 powder-laden letters to hospitals, businesses and government offices in 2003, pleaded guilty to threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison; his next scheduled parole hearing is in 2012.

Spectacular fail, of which there has been much in the past couple years, also flushes the kook powder mailers from the woodwork, notes an FBI man:

“[After Ivins’ mailings is] when it became a cottage industry to scare people. It wasn’t really a tactic used much before that,” said Chris Allen, an FBI spokesman in Washington, D.C.

In 2002, the FBI responded to 2,500 reports of the use or threatened use of anthrax.

Reports nationwide tapered off significantly after 2002 and have been dropping every month – until the past few months, Allen said.

There were about 500 reports in 2008, Bertram said.

Allen said investigators have found there is a flurry of these cases after “key events,” such as the blackout in the Northeast, the Enron scandal and Hurricane Katrina.

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could be another key event, Allen said.

Since government officials are common targets of anthrax hoaxers, the latter which are — by definition — extremists, one wagers if they vote, and are not already in prison, they’re probably predominantly from the party of opposition to everything. Although no definitive polling survey exists.

[DD challenge to readers: Google map anthrax hoaxer points of origin, by state. Red or blue? Secondarily: Active chapter of Tea Party within 50 miles, yes or no.]

In one instance, noted recently, the anthrax hoax was used as a retirement plan. Of sorts.

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