You may not have heard of the person who mailed poisonous ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Mark Glaze, former head of Bloomberg’s anti-gun group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The assassination attempt happened in June 2013 but barely registered in the news. As The Young Turks Cenk Uygur pointed out in 2014, if this act had been carried out by a Muslim, the media coverage most likely would have been sweeping instead of “a tiny little blip on the radar.”
Since the perpetrator was a gun-rights activist, this shocking treasonous act went by almost unnoticed. USA Today reported that minor actress Shannon Guess Richardson was convicted and sentenced to 18 years in prison and ordered to pay $367,000 in restitution as part of a plea bargain after pleading guilty.
Shannon Guess Richardson, of New Boston, Texas, was in prison when she gave birth in July 2013. She was pregnant while making the deadly and incurable ricin and reportedly then tried to set up her husband for the attack, mailing three letters from her home and then driving to a police station in Shreveport, Louisiana to accuse her husband of the crime. He had filed for divorce, triggering this chain of events.
The letter to Obama read:
“What’s in this letter is nothing compared to what I’ve got in store for you Mr President,” read the letter to Obama. “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.”
Her acting career included a role as a zombie on The Walking Dead in 2010 and The Vampire Diaries. We liberals often refer to crazed right-wing extremists as zombies, but this time, a zombie was actually after Obama.
Richardson apologized before U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider before he sentenced her:
“I never intended for anybody to be hurt,” she said. “I’m not a bad person. I don’t have it in me to hurt anyone.”
“I do love my country, and I respect my president,” Richardson added.
Her intentions not to hurt anybody are certainly in doubt considering that the ricin she made herself was the real deal. Her way of showing respect is also beyond dubious, though she told the FBI that she didn’t believe the letters would get past security.
Wahington Journal writer Robert Haffey remarked that he believes right-wing conservative pundits who spread propaganda about Obama taking their guns possibly influenced Richardson.
“Blowhard conservative pundits constantly infected their audience with paranoid disinformation, claiming that Obama wanted to take away everyone’s guns. The truth of the matter was the Obama wanted safer firearm regulations, but he never once suggested taking away all gun rights. Richardson’s actions were as grossly misinformed as they were criminal,” stated Haffey.
For more, see this video by The Young Turks: