Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I SURRENDER: US ricin kook gets three years

In a happier time, Roger Bergendorff did the album art for this LP.

Today, ricin kook Roger Bergendorff was given three years in the Federal pen for possession of the poisonous protein. The original news was summed up by DD here and -- more interestingly here at el Reg.

"It takes a special kind of American to be fascinated by ricin, and last week the latest, Roger Von Bergendorff, was indicted in the District Court of Nevada," DD wrote a few months ago, somewhat coldly. "Bergendorff possibly qualifies for an award in failed Darwinism, being the only person in recent times to have seemingly accidentally poisoned himself with the protein toxin, but not quite effectively enough for the FBI to have nothing to do except attend his funeral."

"Roger Bergendorff said at his sentencing in Las Vegas that he never intended to hurt anyone," informed AP.

"I know it sounds crazy. I made it just to have — and that's why I kept it," Bergendorff told the court.

Bergendorff said he never meant to use ricin and feared God's judgment.

"[Bergendorff's sentencing] ended a dramatic saga that once raised fears Bergendorff had poisoned himself while plotting a biological attack on tourists or unsuspecting gamblers on the Las Vegas Strip," reported AP hyperbolically.

Indigent man poisons himself with ricin. Dramatic -- only if you think terrorists are everywhere. Stupefying, though -- absolutely.

From a happier time, DD was surprised to find evidence of Bergendorff in his record collection. At one time, Bergendorff, a graphic artist, did the album cover for Head East's 1980 album on A&M records, US 1. "Peaked at #137 on Billboard's pop album chart," notes Head East's website here. "I Surrender," a tune written by Russ Ballard, was the catchiest number on the record.

But today...

"You not only proved a material threat to yourself, you proved a material threat to everyone around you when you possessed this stuff," the judge, Robert C. Jones, said in court.

"In interviews with The Associated Press, Bergendorff has admitted distilling the lethal powder from the beans of a backyard castor plant while he lived in San Diego in 1998," reported the wire service. In typical know-nothing reporter fashion, the AP showed it doesn't know anything of ricin.

Ricin is not "distilled" from castor beans. More matter of factly, Bergendorff pounded castor seeds to a powder. The leftover powder contained ricin. Although the mainstream media has long been unable to grasp this point, ricin is not purified in this manner. Rather, it goes from being in the seed of a castor plant, to being in a powder that was formerly the seed.

Despite what you may have read, homeless people -- essentially Bergendorff's status -- cannot purify ricin.

However, you can download a "ricin recipe" from the Internet. Knock yourself out. Another recipe and its criminal history is explained here. Click on the second thumbnail image for original details.

Ignore the write-up from About.com. The only stuff that's correct in it is taken without attribution from my piece at GlobalSecurity.Org here.

To cite something your host wrote at an earlier juncture:
A self-defeating and nihilistic interest exists in [ricin], as if every red-blooded, disappointed and frustrated American kook has a defiant right to possess a recipe on their hard disk and a packet of castor seeds nearby, perhaps next to an unregistered handgun equipped with a silencer made out of a vegetable. This ensures a constant trickle of criminal apprehensions and prosecutions, a process the government handles efficiently, depositing ricin crackpots where they belong. Bergendorff, like everyone else before him, is headed for prison for an indefinite period, a just sentence when considering that, unintentionally or not, the ricin crackpot's major contribution is to frighten the locals when the gendarmes and hazmat teams descend on the neighborhood.

On ricin from the DD archive.


Blogger James K. Polk said...

Thanks for the information. I didn't expect to find out about it in a hard rock blog. Unfortunate that we stopped the presses for such a sad story

I was never able to get high when I was a teenager by eating Morning Glory seeds from the random flower vine that grew outside my window. I am lucky I didn't poison myself trying.

11:14 PM  

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