We’re going to take a brief interruption from our tours of Prague to talk about the alcohol poisoning case that has been going on for some 3 weeks.
Fear ran rampant in this high alcoholic drink consuming nation when reports came in that several people had died and investigators suspected some bottles had been tampered with. Here’s the latest report from 4 days ago:
Police in the Czech Republic say charges are being brought against two people suspected of being responsible for a wave of alcohol poisoning which has claimed at least 25 lives. Officers believe 15 000 litres of alcohol were diluted with methanol and sold for profit.
That answers the why here, but there has been no answer for the Tylenol poisonings.
This brief note didn’t have room to say that the methanol was deliberately introduced into liquor bottles with fake Czech labels. Everyone in Czechia was following the story closely, even two “students-for-a-day” who were taking an English lesson from me.
Coincidentally, we were studying news media and their final assignment was to write a news story. Both the young man and high school girl picked that story. Originally, shy and reluctant to even be in the class, by the time we got to that assignment, they were raring to go and probably wrote words they didn’t even know they knew.
Here’s what they wrote with my very few corrections:
Killer in the Czech Republic
“Killing people and stealing one of the human senses – methyl alcohol is that killer, which causes this bad thing. Every pub, restaurant, and shop has stopped…” selling liquor until the crime is solved, wrote the girl.
Death in Czechia
“Two weeks ago people started dying in Czechia. All these people drank some non-legal alcohol and were poisoned. After a few days the government started a prohibition on all strong alcohol,” the young man wrote.
We talked about the case after class. Their eyes were big – such a shocking thing! They said people of all ages and both men and women had died in all parts of Czechia.
Funny that just as this case seems to be coming to an end, the news that the 30th anniversary of the Tylenol poisonings is today. “Only” seven people died, but it scared the bejeezus out of everybody in Chicago, where the deaths occurred.
Wikipedia says: The capsules had been laced with potassium cyanide. The case remains unsolved and no suspects have been charged. A $100,000 reward, offered by Johnson & Johnson for the capture and conviction of the “Tylenol Killer,” has never been claimed.
A friend of mine speculated that a good novel could have been constructed around this idea, with the solution being the mass killings were to mask a single victim’s death. “My wife died, too!”
Meanwhile, back in Czechia, the bars selling alcohol are still lonely places, but the Czechs never stopped drinking their favorite beers!