Out from the fringe

A tangential problem to tragedies like Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon is that it gets a bunch of the nut cases riled up.

Thus we are seeing letters laced with ricin mailed to political leaders and there have been reports of suspicious packages on Capitol Hill. The chances of any of these looney-tune acts being connected to Boston’s events are remote.

Shortly after 9/11, there was a spate of anthrax attacks. According to the National Journal, a total of 22 people were infected by the bioweapon and five died.

There have been other incidents involving ricin – including a 2003 incident of mail addressed to politicians that was intercepted at a processing center – but there have been no deaths attributed to it in the United States.

It is one of the sad facts of society that mass tragedies inspire some on the fringe of society to want to participate in the resulting publicity.

So while the threat of an attack with a bioweapon is a possibility, the acts of the last few days are probably not part of any coordinated effort aimed at the United States. Most likely, as the Boston case is solved – and the moon enters some new phase – the fringies will return to as normal as they ever get and the incidents will stop.

For now, take comfort in the fact that our country has gotten better – not perfect, but a lot better – at stopping serious attacks.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.