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Death by mail

Unpleasant as the subject is, let’s talk about death.

Not death in the streets of Boston, or deaths caused by firearms. Could we concentrate, for just a moment, on death by mail.

Of course, you know by now that a number of U.S. officials have been sent letters said to have contained the deadly poison ricin. How deadly? Spill a few grains of table salt. That’s enough ricin to kill a good size adult human being.

You may have some in your garden. Ricin comes from castor beans. It’s in the stuff that’s left over from manufacturing castor oil and if you remember how nasty that was when you were a kid, ricin is a lot nastier. If you’re exposed, you may only have a week to live. There’s no antidote.

So, if you’re not the president or a senator, why should you care?

Well, who doesn’t like you? Who have you made angry, deranged enough to want to kill you? Who have I upset with these commentaries that would want to murder me by mail? Upsetting to think about? You bet. But these are the days when we all have to fear “going postal.”

I’m Pat McMahon.