Ricin Is for Poseurs: Real Would-Be Political Assassins Use Death Rays

Matt Berman
National Journal

Up until now, it's been a big year for ricin. The simply-made poison has been used in a series of attempted domestic terrorist attacks and has been front and center in the media and our collective-fear pysche. But now there's a new weapon of mass destruction in town that makes ricin look like nothing. Enter the death ray.

According to the New York Daily News, a self-proclaimed member of the Ku Klux Klan was targeting more than just the previously reported "enemies of Israel" for death with his planned death ray. Glen Crawford, the alleged would-be assassin, was also looking to attack New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. On Friday, the governor opened up on the threat:

How exactly would such a death ray work? Albany's Times Union wrote that the assassination plot would have involved a "radiation weapon that could fit in a small van and be used to silently kill humans." Which for sure sounds like a very scary device. The problem for Crawford and his alleged accomplice, Eric. J. Feight, was that they couldn't get it anywhere near operational.

The FBI had been keeping tabs on the duo over for more than a year. An undercover agent even posed as a supplier of X-ray tubes and other radiation equipment. To make matters worse for the unfortunate pair, the FBI was working with a member of the KKK in the investigation. Crawford and Feight were arrested Tuesday.