Yesterday was the 32nd anniversary of the Jonestown Massacre. On November 18th, 1977 909 lives were lost because of a man whose extremism turned into paranoia, drug abuse, and murder.
Two memorial services were held yesterday in succession at evergreen Cemetery- one by Jim Jones Jr. and one by Jyona Norwood, who lost 27 family members that fateful day. While both have different formats, they both involve remembering those lost and hoping for the future that such tragedies do not recur.
But the thing is that they do. Every day people are killed in the name of man-appointed Gods and prophets. Moses, Mohammed, and Jesus all committed atrocities against their fellow man and demanded blind allegiance from their followers, and some people of those faiths are more than happy to oblige today. The Jones movement proved that even atheistic processes can become terribly flawed and monumentally barbaric when they cease to be democratic. Jim Jones gave people hope and then took it away as his own morale vanished into a sea of chemically-induced mental illness.
People are free to believe or not as they wish, but should never do so without analysis. When the word of man exceeds in value that of common decency; when belief is so myopic that it cannot be questioned, the seeds of self-doubt and ultimately terrorism are sown.