Jonestown, Guyana, 18 November 1978

Blogger Cynthia Yockey reminded us of this terrible anniversary and how a beloved childhood drink mix has come to be synonymous with mass suicide for those of us old enough to remember Jonestown.

Wikipedia gives a compelling and complete account of the events which lead people from their homes in California to their deaths in Africa.


“…A total of 909 Temple members died in Jonestown, all but two from apparent cyanide poisoning, in an event termed “revolutionary suicide” by Jones and some members on an audio tape of the event and in prior discussions. The poisonings in Jonestown followed the murder of five others by Temple members at a nearby Port Kaituma airstrip. The victims included Congressman Leo Ryan, the first and only Congressman murdered in the line of duty in the history of the United States. Four other Temple members died in Georgetown at Jones’ command.

To the extent the actions in Jonestown were viewed as a mass suicide, it is the largest such event in modern history and resulted in the largest single loss of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster until the events of September 11, 2001…”

The photo is also from Wikipedia. In the foreground you see a vat which contained a Kool-Aid-like drink and the cyanide. We urge you to acquaint yourselves with the story of Jonestown.

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