Those were the days, my friends…
It was more than 34 years ago that a crime occurred that shocked the nation to its very core. On November 18, 1978, Reverend Jim Jones commanded his followers to commit suicide by drinking kool-aid laced with cyanide, a drug that Jones had apparently been stockpiling even before moving his flock to Jonestown from San Francisco. As a result, 909 men, women, and children laid down and died on the grounds of the Jonestown compound in Guyana.
The good reverend had been a respected preacher and leader of a San Franciso church called the People’s Temple. He was known to have done quite a lot to help the poor in the community. But when he moved his followers to Guyana, reports began to filter back to the U.S. that members who wanted to leave Jonestown were being abused and threatened. When congressman Leo Ryan flew down to investigate and to possibly bring back some members, he was murdered as he prepared to fly back home. After the murder, Jones ordered hundreds of men, women, and children to kill themselves. Some members tried to escape, but were shot down as they ran into the jungle. Jones himself was shot to death by an aide, apparently not willing to die in the same way as his victims.
Even decades later, it still makes one heartsick to recall those events. How could such a thing happen? How could so many people be taken in by such an evil and sick man?
The video above is a riveting documentary called “Jonestown – The Life and Death of People’s Temple.”