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I caught all but the beginning of Jonestown: Paradise Lost on the… - Terrafactive Armageddon

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January 28th, 2007

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07:24 am
I caught all but the beginning of Jonestown: Paradise Lost on the History Channel yesterday.

I remember when it happened - on November 18, 1978 - but I had just turned 12 the month prior, so I was unfamiliar with the context and what were the triggering events. I had always assumed it to be something on the order of millennialism-gone-wrong; an anticipated End Of The World that failed to materialize, an attempt at self-induced Rapture.

I learned that not everyone "drank the kool-aid" voluntarily, for one thing. I also learned that what may have set things off was a visit from Congressman Leo Ryan and a crew of reporters - possibly the investigation itself, or the defection/rescue of a dozen or so People's Temple members who asked the delegation to help them leave. It's hard to say, and it's clear there were a number of additional contributing factors.

Most interesting to me were interviews with a number of survivors, including Jim Jones' son Stephan, and one of the reporters, Tim Reiterman. The show was a combination of re-enactment and the footage shot at the time during Ryan's visit.

Grim, but it was interesting to fill in some of the context. I also found a collection of articles written around the 20th anniversary. As we're coming up on the 30th next year, I imagine there's more to follow those and the History Channel's program.

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[User Picture]
Date:January 29th, 2007 02:55 am (UTC)
I remember that tragedy, but it's forever tied to another horrendously sad event that happened 9 days later, both related to the only other place I've felt at home, San Francisco.

November 27th, 1978 was the day that former city supervisor Dan White shot Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk, the openly gay supervisor. (And to add insult to injury, Dianne Feinstein assumed the mayorship, starting her rise to her current senatorial seat. This is a woman who allegedly had her driver take her to work on a roundabout route so she 'wouldn't have to look at poor people'.)

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