This whole Bruce Ivins story of recent days is troubling and puzzling at the same time. Having watched/read one too many Bourne, Clancy et al movies/books, I have to sit back and wonder as I read these reports. Clearly, the LA Times has had some fairly in depth access to the purported players in this adventure. But there are things that are troubling here.
First of all, the whole dying because of an overdose of acetaminophen is troubling in and of itself. How many other suicide stories through history have you ever heard about of people dying from taking too much aspirin? Look at Keith Ledger, he did Ambien, and Vicadin, and a combination of other chemicals to make his way into the darkness. And he did it by accident. I would suppose though that Ivins, being someone who would know how to fiddle with anthrax likely would know how to off himself with aspirin. That just reads like something from a spy novel and fodder for conspiracy theorists everywhere.
Today's LA Times hints at Ivins having make up and a hair piece. Are they hinting at cross dressing or a master of disguises? If so, what was he needing to disguise? Is there a subtle inference here that he was dressing up and trying to blend in so he could follow Kappas? We need some clarification here.
The story today does nothing to address the whole "how did he process the anthrax into the deadly forms that were mailed." For days we've been reading that his friends didn't think he had the capabilities for doing such. Has that position changed?
And then there's the repeating paragraph about how the nation stood still thinking terrorists were infiltrating the nation by sending anthrax. I remember those days and I think as I rethink those days that my thoughts were that this wasn't the work of some foreign fokes, but really someone here in the states, some one fairly well-educated, and with a high-powered lab somewhere.
I never would have imagined it was actually the scientist who the government was asking to help find the criminal(s), but hey, the FBI did what they should have and consulted someone like Ivins. It sounds like he was one of the best people to ask. This whole situation also presents an interesting dilemma for government investigations in the future. If the FBI et al don't have the in-house scientists to keep up with the dealings of mad scientists, and they have to consult mad scientists who work for the government but who also could be the very ones causing the issue, how is the FBI supposed to know that?
And then there is the whole conversation today about how the Army issued new regulations barring access to lethal biological or
chemical agents to anyone aggressive or threatening toward others. Yeah, but what else is anyone going to do with these things?
Another troubling point is that we're now seeing that Ivin's colleagues thought he was off his nut even back in 2001 and yet up until recently, they were still working with him. Huh? How many people do you work with who you know are certifiable and you keep working with them without either leaving to go work with someone sane, or they get committed? Don't these scientists have an obligation or a board inside the shop that says, "Uh, Dr. Nutso, we need to talk. Unless this, this and this happens, you're access is going to be denied?" Now I'm sure all of them are a little bit off–there was a chemistry teacher back in college who was a little off, but he was also well regarded because he knew his chemistry, but doesn't it seem a little bit frightening that there isn't a resident doctor whose keeping a closer eye on what's eccentric and what's dangerously psychotic?
And really, isn't it time to stop referring to Ft. Detrick as a top-secret military installation? We all know it's there now. We all know what they're doing there. Time to dial down that node of sensationalism. Please.
The worrisome part now is how many borderline nuts are going to see this stuff about Ivins and get to work in their basement chemistry sets.
In my mind's eye I see some well-dressed, gray-haired government official soon closing a manila folder marked Top Secret and then picking it up and handing it to some other suavely dressed government official in a dark suit and telling them to put the file up, with that smirk of satisfaction that it's over, but dissatisfaction about how much of their life it consumed to find this guy, only for him to step out (willingly or not) before they had enough to get him. Or maybe they're happier that he did take those pills as a trial about all this would have been hard to go through, lots of classified testimony, materials, etc. It would have been a mess and a headache and a half. Hmmmm. And that part right there is where conspiracy theories get their beginnings.