Murder by mail: An anthrax primer for LE

For someone committed to implementing a biological attack, the process is simple and the organisms obtainable, despite stringent government regulations


By Denene Lofland, PhD
P1 Contributor

An envelope arrives in the mail. When opened, a mysterious "white substance" wafts into the air and then...panic. The recent delivery of such letters addressed to Prince Harry in London, Donald Trump Jr., and former President Obama was not only disturbing, but also a reminder of the anthrax letters sent to two senators and several news organizations in 2001, which resulted in 22 cases of anthrax and five deaths.

In the grand scheme of murder, knives and guns pale in comparison to the instruments of death that are nearly invisible to the human eye. Long before humans shaped the first stone into a weapon, viruses and bacteria silently killed both man and beast.

Nowadays, the threat of bioterrorists and biological warfare looms over our heads. A minute particle of one of these microbes can be grown and multiplied many times over. For someone committed to implementing an attack, the process is simple and the organisms obtainable, despite stringent government regulations.

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