‘Pro-Gun’ Ricin mailer turns out to be Hollywood anti-gunner

This is the image Shannon Richardson drew of her husband -- inbred, redneck gun owner. Initially, it resonated with the FBI.

This is the image Shannon Richardson drew of her husband — inbred, redneck gun owner. Initially, it resonated with the FBI.

The letters came in the mail, and they bore a chilling message:

You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. Anyone wants to come to my house will get shot in the face. The right to bear arms is my constitutional right and I will excersice [sic] that right til the day I die. whats in the letter is nothing compared to what ive got planned for you.

The first one was addressed to Michael Bloomberg, the most visible face of the anti-gun movement, but it was intercepted at a postal facility that screens mail for New York celebrities. (No one will ever poison one of them, just an expendable postal worker, the new Ruling Class equivalent of Cleopatra’s food taster). Within a few days an identical letter with an identical date and postmark came to Mark Glaze, the guy who does the day-to-day gruntwork of trying to disarm America for his boss, Michael Bloomberg, at his lobbying firm The Raben Group, 1640 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Washington DC. Glaze was not covered by postal special treatment at the time, but the envelope was opened, as all mail to Washington lobbyists is, by an expendable intern.

Those few individuals who seriously study criminal communications, like these letters, can often utter an opinion with some degree of confidence about whether the letter is written by an actual idiot, or by an intelligent and educated person impersonating an idiot. These letters do show deliberate misspellings and usage “errors” of the type used in such an impersonation.

A third letter with slightly variant text, and with a curious absence of spaces after most periods, but with the same Louisiana postmark was sent to the President. It read (bold text is added variation from the Bloomberg/Glaze letters, strikethrough is material deleted that was in those letters):

You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns.Anyone wants to come to my house will get shot in the face.I served in the united states army and because your muslim ass will probly never be able to retire.I will have to work until my last breath.I deserve better and so do my wife and kiddos.I will take care of this myself and make sure you wont be runnin this country in the ground any further.The right to bear arms is my constitutional right and I will excersice [sic] that right til the day I die. What’s in the letter is nothing compared to what ive got plannedin store for you mr president.

All three letters tested positive for ricin, using a somewhat insensitive field test. No one was exposed to lethal levels of the toxin (lethal levels being extremely small), fortunately. But the publicity over the letters wasn’t what the putative sender might have expected. Glaze, Bloomberg, and Obama, and their partisans and the media (but we repeat ourselves!) received the news with something approximating delight. The letters were proof that gun owners were murderous, insurrectionist sickos, fully deserving the IRS audits and whatever other miseries federal authorities could bring down on them. Editorials and “news analyses” (i.e., the New York Times equivalent of the front-page editorial formerly favored by Pravda pre-1992) piled imprecations on the presumed facilitator and enabler of this act of terrorism: the NRA, naturally.

Meanwhile, the actual investigation took another turn.

Postal inspectors have access to some of the coolest new tools in the Patriot Act toolbox. Every piece of mail is imaged, databased, and stored forever (just like the source, destination, duration, and location of every phone call, apparently). The Bloomberg and Obama letters were quickly tracked through a Shreveport postal center, back to a bunch of mail that came in through New Boston and Texarkana, Texas.

She was sure she could outwit the FBI.

She was sure she could outwit the FBI.

At this time, a providential break in the case occurred: a New Boston woman named Shannon Richardson walked in to the FBI in Shreveport, LA, and fingered her husband, Nathaniel, as the mailer. Nathaniel was dangerous. He had lots of guns. He didn’t like the President. He was a combat wounded veteran, and he was employed in the defense industrial base (these are all things the FBI has been directed to consider warning signs). The FBI swarmed him at work.

To their shock and surprise, Nathaniel Richardson was cooperative. He said his marriage was on the rocks, and said anything Shannon told them was probably bullshit. Apparently one of the many stressors in their failed marriage was their disparate attitude towards guns. He consented to a search of his vehicle.

The search found a dozen castor beans in the trunk of his silver Maxima. Castor beans are the essential source of ricin. Still, they didn’t take him into custody. They did tell him not to leave town.

Meanwhile, other agents conducted a limited consent search of the Richardson home, finding and taking with Shannon’s consent numerous electronic gadgets that let them establish that Nathaniel’s computer had indeed been used to order castor beans and items for preparing ricin (lye and syringes). Shannon’s cell phone, which she also permitted them to examine, had nothing suspicious on it.

At this point, the FBI had a pretty good suspicion that the ricin letters originated at the Richardson home, but they had no real proof either spouse was guilty — each fingered the other, and the physical and computer forensics didn’t close the suspicion gap on either one.

This was the pinnacle of Shannon's acting career. She wasn't acting.

This was the pinnacle of Shannon’s acting career. She wasn’t acting.

They chose to reinterview Shannon, and they fluttered her. The polygraph examiner indicated that she was deceptive when denying knowledge of the castor beans or ricin. At this point she changed her story. Now she said she had known that Nathaniel sent the letters, so, wanting him to be apprehended, she took steps to make sure he was caught by spreading some of his castor beans around. (“Modified limited hangout” perhaps?)

Both Richardsons consented to a thorough search of their home, and this time the FBI hit pay dirt: while on their first visit, they’d taken only electronics, this time they found castor beans, syringes with suspicious fluid, and various samples that tested positive for ricin. (Interestingly, the documents released so far do not indicate that the agents found or seized firearms).

Meanwhile, the forensic examination of the Richardsons’ computers bore further fruit. Three files were generated on Shannon’s computer, but printed on Nathaniel’s. They were:

  • obama.docx — three mailing labels: to Bloomberg, Obama and Glaze.
  • Muslimbastard.docx — the letter to President Obama, quoted above.
  • guns.docx — various other quasi-literate letters that served to incriminate Nathaniel.

The printing, the mailing, the ordering of the castor beans and the data searches were all timestamped in the systems of the computers. At each of these times, Nathaniel had the perfect alibi: he was clocked in at work at Red River Army Depot, where his co-workers confirmed that he had been there, and where he had no computer access whatsoever.

SCAR. Check. Swimsuit. Check. Bat Guano Crazy Chick. Double check!

SCAR. Check. Swimsuit. Check. Bat Guano Crazy Chick. Double check!

Shannon Richardson, meanwhile, had emerged as an interesting character. She was pregnant with a child, presumably sired by Nathaniel, but had five other children and several other failed marriages behind her. She was an aging actress (she uses the name Shannon Guess for film work; IMDB says she’s 35 but she looks older) who has struggled to find work in the youth-obsessed industry. Her best-known recent turn was as a zombie in a TV show, not exactly a thespian career milestone. And — oh yeah. She was a bitter opponent of gun rights.

It was time for the FBI to talk to Shannon Richardson again, and on D-Day, June 6th, they interviewed her on neutral ground, in a Mt Pleasant, Texas, hotel. Shown some of the evidence, she made a further confession, if still only a partial one: yes, she’d received the ricin ingredients, yes, she’d printed the mailing labels, and yes, she’d mailed the letters.

And, oh yeah, she had known the letters had ricin in them.

But it was all Nathaniel’s fault! He’d forced her, you see. That was her third, and latest story, and it incriminated her even as she insisted she was an innocent victim all along.

That was enough for the FBI. The next morning, June 7th, SA James Spiropoulos was in front of US Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven, with an affidavit setting out most of the above, and asking for an arrest warrant. Judge Craven signed. The only charge in the arrest affidavit was 18 USC 876(c), a general prohibition on sending threats of kidnapping or injury through the mails. Expect further charges.

Frankly, we could have told the Richardsons long ago that they were not a match: Nathaniel is a MacBook Pro user, and Shannon is PC. Not that she’ll be online for a while.

Meanwhile, when you don’t see retractions or apologies from Bloomberg, Glaze, Obama and about two hundred editorial pages, don’t be shocked. Indeed, expect the media to keep referring to this crime as one committed by pro-gunners, and inspired by the NRA.

And remember that Bloomberg, Glaze, Obama and the media were all excited about the prospect of prison for a man who now appears to be innocent.

Update:

Here’s a copy of the arrest affidavit.

Shannon_Richardson.pdf

And… Nathaniel Richardson filed for divorce on Thursday. No word on whether his grounds are “crazy &$#*%!! tried to get me whacked by an FBI raid or thrown in the jug forever” but that’s a good place for his attorneys to start.

Update II, the morning after:

Magne takk to the Professor for the Instalanche. So that’s where all these first-time commenters came from. Welcome! Sorry we can’t answer your very reasonable question about Shannon’s gun “issues” just yet. Still, if you came for the arrest affidavit, we hope you’ll stay for the review of Chris Kyle’s new book that’s going up at 1100R.

51 thoughts on “‘Pro-Gun’ Ricin mailer turns out to be Hollywood anti-gunner

  1. Giao Nguyen

    That’s not a SCAR in the picture, but an ACR. The stock for the SCAR doesn’t look like that.

  2. DClan

    I am not surprised that an anti-gun hoplophobe has proven to be at the center of this morass. I am also not surprised that those opinionated political factions would continue to lie about the truth, with a smile on their lips. Time and again, it is those anti- second amendment factions which continue to propose and threaten violence against the innocent and law abiding gun owners of this country. Whether it is firing squads, being chained and dragged behind a pick up truck, or simply being shot with our own weapons, the irrationality of the anti’s continually rears its ugly face. It is this type of insanity that we second amendment supporters fear, as it seems to infect even those politicians who rationally take, and seemingly violate, an oath to uphold and protect the constitution. Yet, they call us crazy?

    1. Indiana Mike

      These cases of racial attacks and “anti-muslim” attacks, all seem to be committed by progressives in false flag operations to frame their enemies. If the leftists would just cease these attacks on people, there wouldn’t be any. But then of course, they wouldn’t have anything upon which to base their hate filled treachery against conservatives.

    2. LLinLa

      As Savage once said: “Liberalism is a mental disorder.” How much more proof do we need to turn this “theory” into scientific fact?

  3. Goju

    Who actually did it is not important. What counts is who it can be blamed on. Besides, her husband could have done it….so close enough.

  4. Y.

    Ricin. Yeah.

    The kind of ‘ricin’ which would not even kill someone if they ate it.

    There’s a host of ricin purification ‘recipes’ floating around, but no one has ever seen weapons-grade ricin produced by anyone but a state laboratory.

    Except for the unlucky Bulgarian, ricin hasn’t killed anyone. It’s a joke really. Kind of like red mercury, which was a Ruskie invention to snare wannabe nuclear smugglers/terrorists..

    1. joecrouse

      ummm Y.??? Japanese in a subway say other wise. The dipstick that managed to kill himself in las Vegas a few years ago? yea killed himself.

    2. Hognose Post author

      Apart from Markov, weaponized ricin hasn’t killed anyone that we know of, but yeah, you’re right. Even in that one Cold War murder (Georgi Markov), the ricin was injected into the hapless victim. (Even the KGB was not effective in all its ricin attacks on defectors). Botulinum would be a more effective toxin, the problem’s the initial source — you have to go through a lot of tin cans to find the one that’s bulging.

      Biological agents that are living pathogens are more frightening than toxins, actually. Anthrax can really be weaponized by amateurs. Nerve gas (a la the Aum Shinrykyo cult) can be synthesized inexpensively but needs someone experienced in a chem lab. Grad student will do. The US authorities are keenly aware of that and has some good biosurveillance measures in place. They can always be improved, of course, and a lot of waste is going on with DHS duplicating existing DOD / CDC capabilities, with more and more-wasteful overhead.

      1. Y.

        Not sure about ‘inexpensive’.
        Germans spent a great amount of money and effort synthesizing Tabun in WWII.

        Only the Aum Shirinkyio nuts managed it, and it wasn’t particularily good sarin either. They had numerous people with degrees – kind of weird. People with PhD’s and the like are usually the last people you’d expect to throw in with religious fanatics..
        Japanese are different though ..

        1. Hognose Post author

          The Germans had to invent it. (All the nerve gases resulted, originally, from 1920s pesticide research).

          We’ve observed that people with advanced degrees are usually very prone to various kinds of millenarian fancies. Communism, fascism, the Weather Underground, Ché’s “revolution” in Cuba — none of them advanced without academe in the van. Spend some time with your ears open around a university campus and you won’t hear so much about people’s efforts in, say, their Lutheran congregation, but you’ll get an earful of new age “spiritualism,” every cult of which seems to be one pair of black shoes and a tub of kool-aid away from the news.

          1. Y.

            The thing is, Aum Shirinkyo had people with hard science or engineering degrees.

            I am not aware of many of those kind of people participating in various mass movements. Intellectuals, sure, but scientists or engineers?
            Feel free to point out examples.

            Heh, I imagine I will have better things to do if I am ever visiting the US. Like hunting or hiking :-)

            University I attended, professors openly disparaged leftists and few people in the student body were even willing to admit to voting left-wing.
            Conservative people, retirees, rurals… those demographics are pretty red though. Big cities.. not much.

          1. Hognose Post author

            Sounds exactly like what was taught back when “terrorist” didn’t make everyone think “Moslem”. In blue light/SOT days what we worried about was communist-inspired terrorism. Even the Palestinian terrorists in those days were communist nationalists like Fatah or PFLP. We had to deal with Red Brigades, Baader-Meinhof, etc., and most of them came out of European universities post-68, and were armed by Soviet interests, but at arm’s length, often using a proxy like Libya operated by another proxy like Bulgaria.

            From the study you cite:

            V. J. Hoffman-Ladd, for example, suggests that [terrorist Islamist] fundamentalists are not necessarily ignorant and downtrodden, according to the stereotype, but frequently students and university graduates in the physical sciences

            Ayman al-Zawahiri is a medical doctor, although fortunately, perhaps, does not practice.

            Here’s a guy who never made much news in the US, beyond this one article, but he not only was at least an al-Qaeda sympathizer, he was a particle physicist. (Pause for timing). At CERN. It just doesn’t get more hard-sci than that.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/05/science/cern-scientist-adlene-hicheur-sentenced-to-4-years-in-french-terrorism-case.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

  5. Mike

    I am not at all surprised she played the victim card. First one out of the deck too.

  6. Reader

    What is the source or basis for the statement: “She was a bitter opponent of gun rights”?

    I did not see that information in the arrest affidavit but I may have missed it.

  7. Pat

    I am a writer for Mike Huckabee’s radio shows. I can assure you that the Gov. and those of us on his staff spotted this as phony from minute one. The earliest story we had on it in the Huckabee Report urged listeners to approach it with skepticism. Gov. Huckabee and the people like me who work with him are not coastal elites. We grew up around guns, we are or hang out with NRA members, and we immediately realized that letter didn’t sound like any real gun owner we’ve ever known (most of whom can quote the Constitution better than certain – ahem – “Constitutional scholars” we could name). It sounded to us like the ridiculous and fictitious “Floyd R. Turbo” cartoon version of a dumb, violent gun owner that Hollywood liberals create because they’ve never met an actual gun owner. And lo and behold, it’s as if we were psychic.

    1. Hognose Post author

      The difference is, Pat, people like you, me and the Governor know lots of real gun owners. Only some of them resemble “Floyd R. Turbo” (whoever he is — I suspect there’s some Google ahead on that). Thanks for reading.

      1. Jack Bunce

        IIRC, “Floyd R. Turbo” was a Johnny Carson character who was a caricature of the outdoorsey, gun-loving middle American. Always had a floppy eared hat and a Woolrich ™ looking coat on and spoke with a lifeless affect when giving his opinion as a man in the street.

  8. john gaines

    As much as I’d like to believe she is an anti-gunner, the above blog post does not prove that she is. She clearly framed her hubby, but where is the evidence that she is bitterly opposed to gun rights?

    1. Hognose Post author

      Thanks for reading, John. And for all who make the same point, I think that rather than have a friend hiding out in Hong Kong we’ll all just wait for the trial, yes? I’m expecting to be audited, but don’t care to share that pain.

      Also, not a question you asked, but have you ever heard of an actress without a social media presence before?

      In all honesty it may have been just one of several points of marital discord. Mrs. Richardson/Rogers/Guess has established a track record with respect to marriage, and certainly vets like Mr Richardson (or me and most of our readers) can be a trial to be married to.

  9. Eugene Volokh

    Very interesting post — I’m thinking about posting something on this story (giving proper credit to this blog, of course), but I was wondering where I could see more about Shannon Richardson’s being anti-gun-rights. Could you point me to that, please? (Sorry to post this as a comment; I’d have preferred to e-mail, but I couldn’t find the blogger’s e-mail address.) Thanks,

    Eugene Volokh
    http://volokh.com

    1. Hognose Post author

      Thanks for reading and commenting. It’s one of a couple details that’s not in the affidavit. We’ll probably have to wait for the trial to be underway to see some paper on this, professor. I’m pretty confident of the fact, but can’t provide backup or share my source at this time.

  10. Lorenz Gude

    Kudos to the FBI for not falling for the scam. Of course, I wouldn’t expect that level of competence from other government departments like the ATF or the MSM.

  11. Lee Reynolds

    There is a crucially important lesson to be learned here: be VERY careful whom you marry.

    I’m so glad that my wife is not crazy, vindictive, manipulative, or capricious. In other words, I’m glad she’s not a leftist.

    1. Hognose Post author

      You’re a fortunate man, Lee, but I don’t think those bad character traits you describe are all found on one side of the aisle. Most of your political opponents aren’t evil people, really. A lot of them are one epiphany away from joining you.

  12. Heywood Jablomi

    Dear Weaponsman:

    Thank you for the pic of the chick in the bikini.

    Yours in love with my guns and my religion,

    Heywood.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Hey, if you want her number, it will be available in a while. Her inmate number, that is. Of course, she might not be available for five to ten.

  13. Zach

    Does anyone know if this story (or this part of the story rather) got picked up by mainstream media yet? I was thinking a UK company might have it.

  14. Question

    Do you have a link to the evidence for this? I think you’re right that this incident will be used as an example of a pro-gun threat, when in fact it seems to be the work of a nutty wife who can’t stand her husband. But if we could show that she was actively anti-gun we would be able to make a stronger case.

  15. Question

    “She was a bitter opponent of gun rights.”

    Do you have a link to the evidence for this? I think you’re right that this incident will be used as an example of a pro-gun threat, when in fact it seems to be the work of a nutty wife who can’t stand her husband. But if we could show that she was actively anti-gun we would be able to make a stronger case.

  16. winston smith

    Most complete description of case yet….and all it took was to read the arrest affidavit. Good work. A search of google news shows articles with incomplete and poor descriptions and no retractions of editorials. I came here through instapundit. Cheers WS

  17. winston smith

    Also thanks for the info the USPS mail photography and storage, that was very interesting.

  18. Soldier

    Maybe I missed it but where is the evidence that Shannon was an anti gun nut?

  19. Dave

    Show:

    This part is just flat out wrong:

    “The first one was addressed to Michael Bloomberg, the most visible face of the anti-gun movement, but it was intercepted at a postal facility that screens mail for New York celebrities. (No one will ever poison one of them, just an expendable postal worker, the new Ruling Class equivalent of Cleopatra’s food taster).”

    The letter was opened at 100 Gold St, an office which include the Mayor’s back-office staff. This is where all the mayor’s mail is opened.

    It is not a facility that “screens mail for celebrities”, its a NYC administrative building. It was NOT opened by “an expendable postal worker”. This taints the veracity of the whole article IMO.

    1. Rob Crawford

      Gosh. That one detail “taints” the information you can read in the arrest warrant.

      Give it up, Shannon, your frame failed.

  20. SurferDoc

    Progressives: They not only do stupid things but they just can’t keep their mouths shut.

  21. Dave

    Rob, read more carefully. The photo system was used by USPS after the mail was opened elsewhere. Bloomberg’s mail was opened at 100 Gold St, NYC by a NYC Employee.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Dave — you sound credible on this. I’m still trying to find a good link on 100 Gold St. Perhaps you can suggest one. The facilities that seem to be there are all city offices:
      Housing Preservation & Development
      Citizens Service Center
      a senior center of some kind
      Citywide Event Coordination & management
      Street Activity Permit Office

      New York papers refer to it both as a city office and as a “postal facility” (small P). That suggests to me that you’re right. I don’t suppose even most New Yorkers had ever heard of it. It is absolutely a fact that none of the “targets” of this scare open their own mail — in 2012 (and really, since the anthrax scare of 2001), it’s always an expendable functionary of some kind.

      Those who follow this blog know that we make a few errors, we make a few corrections too.

      This AP report (at NPR) seems to be paraphrasing Ray Kelly when it says:

      The New York letter was opened at the city’s mail facility in Manhattan in a biochemical containment box, which is a part of the screening process for mayor’s office mail.

      It then goes on to quote him directly:

      “In terms of the processes and procedures that are in place now we think they worked,” Kelly said. “This is sort of an effect of the post-9/11 world that we live in that these checks and facilities are in place and the system worked.”

      In any event, since 9/11 the postal mail has not been an effective way for someone to poison a political figure of any kind. It is, however, a way for someone to drop a false flag and try to frame somebody.

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  24. Dave

    Think how disappointed the FBI, Bloomberg & all of the gun grabbing Jews in congress & the media are now that this is a fake.
    Just don’t expect to see any stories on “The electric Jew” (TV) mentioning that this was a scam story.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Wow, Dave. I don’t see where this is about Jews. It’s true (and interesting) that a lot of Jews, especially Jewish public intellectuals, are anti-gun, but some of the most effective pro-gun advocates are just as Jewish as those opponents are. TV, “the electric Jew”? You need to get out and meet real Jews, not the ones in your imagination.

      I love liberty and my position is open to any one of any faith, or none at all, and of any ancestry, known or unknown. I dislike, say, Schumer and Bloomberg because they are opposed to liberty, not because they once had a Bar Mitzvah. That’s their concern, their families’ and their God’s, not mine.

      And the FBI are hardly disappointed. They are happy they solved the crime and have a suspect in custody.

  25. anAmericanByChoice

    AHAHAHAH! Another idiot preaching to the idiots trying to convince them idiots who’s the biggest idiot! Gun owners, the legal ones, the responsible ones, not the criminals, are intelligent people, don’t do stupid s*** like this! But the obummerBots are used to lying, the bloomburgers fatten on fattening lies, so, sure, they will do and believe anything that promotes their agendas! Gotcha! Libtards! Traitors! Patriots don’t use, don’t need poisoned letters! We know that history is unfolding before our eyes, right now!, and history will vindicate us, will show who the traitors and haters of this country are, who the communist lackeys are… we don’t assassinate people; our guns are that we may protect our families, our friends, our country from ALL enemies, foreign and domestic! Poisons, assassination, etc., are the tools of the traitors, the cowards, the minions of the serfs that suck up to the UN, the tyrants, the powers that be… But you shall not prevail! In God we trust!

  26. Greg

    We lock up nut jobs who spew hatred laden nonsense on the basis of gender, race or sexual orientation. Time to start jailing those who spew hatred laden nonsense on the basis of dislike for the second amendment.

    This is a very good start.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Actually, Greg, I’d just as soon let “nut jobs” spew what they spew, and counter them with contrary speech, but lock them up if they act. This gal acted. That metallic clang is the cell door closing. This is a good thing.

      I do think that we need to relook our 1970s decision to institutionalize the truly mentally ill, as opposed to people whose politics or other extreme views makes them cranks. It’s no gift to psychotics to leave them on the street, and APA nonsense and wishful thinking aside, there’s not much medical science can do for these people except keep them in humane custody. We thought we were on the edge of a breakthrough in 1976 or so, but history tells us we weren’t. We just unleashed a tidal wave of human suffering in the name of nutcase rights (and saving money!)

      I don’t think Ms Rogers/Guess/Richardson was clinically mentally ill, although I’m sure her defense will consider that claim as a strategy. I think she was too smart for her own good, and not as smart as she thought she was.

  27. BUSTER

    “Apparently one of the many stressors in their failed marriage was their disparate attitude towards guns.” Writers generally will not print a sentence that starts with “apparently” unless they have pulled it out of their azz, which you have apparently done.

  28. Andy

    Maybe she will try for the insanity defense.I feel for her husband,man I wonder how he scorned her?Or if she is just mean as hell anyway!It’s a shame that pro-gunners always get a bad rap.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

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