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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

30 years

Ironically enough, when I created this blog, I had no idea that the 30th anniversary of the mass-murder/suicide at Jonestown was upon us.

I watched a CNN two-hour special last Thursday night on those who were fortunate to get out. Up until then, I had no idea that there were people who actually lived. I use the word 'fortunate' loosely as tragedy has followed these escapees since leaving Jonestown but I'll get to that later.

In case you didn't already know, Jim Jones was one crazy motherfucker! They showed news footage and had audiotapes of him preaching his bullshit to these poor people. For the first time, they showed photos of people who were gunned down at the airport when they tried to leave. Thankfully, some lived through their injuries to tell their story.

And these stories were all heart-breaking to say the least. People who believed in this fucknut, went to Guyana and the second they saw Jonestown, regretted it. It was leveled jungle, hot and buggy with shit living conditions and barely any food. They had never taken into consideration that jungle wouldn't be decent conditions to actually grow anything but jungle so most of the food they ate was imported instead of home-grown. Oh...let's not forget the huge trunk full of Kool-Aid that Jones showed off to the media during filming!

And he preached. He preached that it was a socialist society where they would all live as equals and in the end, he took it all back and said he was in control, this Hitler in sheep's clothing. From before the time people followed him to Guyana, he was purchasing cyanide. By the time his followers arrived, he had six pounds of cyanide and he wasn't done. Who knows how long he had been planning to kill everyone but he preached once that the road leading to Jonestown didn't lead back out so his intentions were clear from the start.

They put on this big show for those on the outside. A United States Congressman came to visit and left in a body bag after he and two people from the media were assassinated at the airport when they tried to leave. The senator's aid was shot five times but survived. Some of the escapees were shot but also lived. One mother had her head blown off as her daughter sat by and watched.

The day the senator left was the day everyone met their deaths. After hearing the news that Jones' gunmen had killed the Congressman and announcing it to his followers, he told them that more people would be coming to break up their happy society and "If we can't live in peace, let us die in peace.". You can hear loud cheers from his followers in this audio tape.

The next tape you hear are the horrific cries and screams of young children after getting the shot of death. Jim Jones is heard telling everyone not to worry, that the kids were just scared but not hurting. He continued by telling people that if they just calmed down, they would not suffer. As it was explained later on, the Potassium Cyanide used to kill these people cause violent convulsions before death. Death is not sudden and certainly not painless. These people died scared.

For those of you who've never seen the made-for-TV movie about Jim Jones and Jonestown, not everyone was a willing participant in the end. Those who resisted were given shots and autopsies showed, that a number of people had bruising where they were stabbed with hypodermic needles, some even in their necks. And Jim Jones? Died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The coward couldn't even die the way his followers did.

As for those who've escaped...they've been met with drug and alcohol addiction and several ended up committing suicide. Many of them live with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The CNN reporter covering this story journeyed to Guyana with one woman (she was only twelve years old at the time she escaped), who simply returned to the Jonestown site to make sure that Jonestown and Jim Jones were no longer there. Where this compound once stood, now stands jungle regrowth. Natives dismantled the buildings and took everything with them long ago.

One man, who was Jones' right-hand man, talked about how he wanted to kill himself soon after he escaped simply because he knew he would never be able to get the screams and the smells out of his mind. To this day, he says the smell of almonds, which is what cyanide smells like, makes him physically ill.

One man, who is being called the youngest survivor of Jonestown because his mother was pregnant with him at the time of escape, is a cop-killer, in a California prison for the rest of his life. It's doubtful that his violent actions have anything to do with Jonestown, but it's being used as an example that tragedy has followed these people and their families.

If you want to read the whole story, do so here.

I suppose the point of this post is for each of you to treasure what you have in life and don't let anyone ever take that away from you. Don't be a follower, be a leader in your own lives.

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Blogger Attila The Mom said...

I saw that made-for-TV movie when I was a kid. Powers Boothe (who played Jones) skeeved me out for years afterwards. LOL

November 18, 2008 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger Charlie said...

I think your label says it all: crazy fucknuts. Except for the kids, of course, who were all innocent victims.

November 18, 2008 at 8:32 AM  
Blogger Koolio said...

Mom, I've seen that movie several times as well and I concur that Powers Booth must have played Jones very accurately! The whole thing is very creepy.

Charlie, those poor kids didn't have a clue. And who knows what was going through their poor, innocent minds when that bitter shit liquid was shot into their mouths. I would say at least they died in their parents' arms but their parents would dumb assholes for forcing them to be there in the first place!

November 18, 2008 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger Tug said...

Um...holy shit girl - you need to watch some cartoons or something. Happy cartoons, not the shoot 'em up kind. Jetsons or Flintstones or something.


November 18, 2008 at 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Giggle Pixie said...

What an horrific tragedy that was, and what a fucknut lunatic was Jim Jones. I can't believe it's been 30years already. But I imagine for those who escaped it probably still feels like yesterday.

November 18, 2008 at 3:40 PM  
Blogger WavyDavy said...

I watched that cnn thing too. Absolutely horrible. As I watched it I got more and more angry at the stupidity of the people who subjected their families (not to mention themselves) to that bullshit. Why anybody would blindly follow some asshole like Jim Jones is beyond me, but I guess there are many more blind followers out there than I want to think about.

November 18, 2008 at 9:10 PM  
Blogger Avalon said...

I watched it too. And another one on MSNBC. One guy left his 4 year old son there and escaped. The kids mother had died during childbirth. he just LEFT HIM THERE. And then he had the nerve to cry about the "horrible memories" he has had to endure.

No matter how much I have read, seen or remembered about this story ( I was 12 when it happened), I still can't get my head around why ANYONE would take their family, sell all of their possessions and move to the jungle. No matter how devout.

November 19, 2008 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Koolio said...

Tug, I have seen enough Sponge Bob, Phineaus and Ferb and every other stupid cartoon out there, this was a nice change of pace, LMAO!

GP, you're right. They probably can't help to relive it over and over again.

Dave, people like us who are not religious zealots and who are weak enough to choose to follow someone else's word instead of our own, will never understand what drove them to follow Jones.

Avalon, I remember that guy too. One thing I can't understand is the black woman who said that she got out with a few others by saying they were going for a picnic that day and walked 30 miles to the nearest town. She said at first her husband wouldn't let the kid go but in the end, handed him to her and they left. Then, towards the end of the show, the reporter said the kid was left behind. What was up with that?! Did I hear wrong?!

November 19, 2008 at 2:12 PM  

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