This guy was responsible for the death of over 300 children. In the same incident, he killed an US Congressman and four members of the media. 600 other adults died by his influence.
Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to (re)introduce to you the Reverend James Warren “Jim” Jones:
So why don’t we hear more about the Reverend Jim Jones and his atrocious doings? At the time it garnered an incredible amount of press but after a while, it disappeared from the nation’s consciousness. The only thing that remains with us is the expression “Drinking the Kool Aid” which is associate with a large group of people sticking to an idea no matter how stupid or dangerous can be.
The Reverend Jim Jones was a very good cult leader. For a jaded end of the 70s, he was charming and engaging, said the right things and was cunning enough to side with the right Democrat politicians at the time. From California ‘s Governor Jerry Brown (yes, the same guy is now back in charge over there) , Jerry Moscone, Walter Mondale and even the First Lady Rosalyn Carter. The People’s Temple (Jones’ church) had all the right connections that provided him with the cachet and respectability to garner more followers.
Reverend Jones was an avowed leftist to full throttle communist. But he also loved the monies and the women. He was extremely paranoid which led him to prepare a camp in Guyana to survive the “nuclear apocalypse” but ended up as refuge from possible prison as he and his cult was starting to being put under a microscope by some. Before anything could happen, he raised stakes and moved to Jonestown , his heaven on Earth.
On November of 1978, Congressman Leo Ryan and a group of people including media went to Guyana to investigate The People’s Temple and the allegations of grave abuse that had been popping from former cult members. Ryan spoke with several people and on November 18 as he and his party (which now included some cult members wanting to get out) were about to get in a plane to leave, they were shot by a group of Jone’s trustees on the tarmac. Four people including Rep. Ryan were murdered.
Back at the compound, Jim Jones announced that it was time to end it all and commit suicide. Cyanide mixed with a kool-aid-type flavoring was mixed and members began to take their lives. Those who refused or were unable to take the deadly cocktail, were either shot or forced to ingest the poison.
Again, 300 children were murdered by forcing them to take cyanide. The other 600 victims were all adults and even though they were under the “spell” of Jones’ careful mindgames, they are still adults and most did themselves by their own hand, some after killing their own progeny.
The picture below shows a “mixing station”. You will see syringes loaded with the cyanide mixture. They were used to poison the children and the infirm.
The Jonestown massacre is pretty much forgotten as it was an embarrassment for the government and the Democratic Party machine. Jones had suckered some very high people into getting influence and even government positions even when problems with him and his temple were gathering strength. He got one of their congressman killed and 900 Americans alongside so it needed to be forgotten. The fact that the massacre happened outside the USA also helped erase it from the American consciousness.
Today is December 28th. According to the Catholic Calendar, we commemorate the Massacre of the Innocents by orders of Herod. I thought it was a good moment to remind us about the other innocents who died by the hand of crazy people and the stupid.
And when somebody tells you about their version of the “worst massacre of kids” and get ready to cash on political brownie points, you remind them, forcefully that they are not only wrong but sick bastards who deserve to be spit on for callousness, indifference or ignorance.