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Death in the Tropics
The children were the first to be fed the deadly brew concocted by physician Larry Schact and his team of loyal nurses. Then the mothers who took the young lives of their very own sons and daughters joined them in death. Next it was the many senior citizens who Jones convinced to flee to Guyana that were given their final drink on earth. The rest of the adults soon followed the children, mothers and seniors to complete this horrific ritualistic act of mass murder/suicide.
While Congressman Ryan and his party of concerned family members, news reporters and defectors were riding in a truck toward mayhem and death at the small airstrip of Port Kaitumba, some five miles north of Jonestown, my family and I were driving the five miles or so from Kobe Beach to the Corozal Army housing area.
As the maniacal Rev. Jim Jones was exhorting his flock to commit the final revolutionary act of mass suicide, my wife was feeding my three daughters their supper and I was on my way to pick up the babysitter who would safeguard and protect them while we went to the casino at the Granada Hotel for our bimonthly gambling spree.
As the mothers of Jonestown were dosing their children with a deadly potion and carefully laying them down on the ground to die, in Panama, the mother of my children was lovingly bathing them, putting on their pajamas and tucking them into their beds. I had no idea that by the next morning, I would be forever connected to this group of now deceased Americans 1200 miles away in Guyana and that our activities of November 18 had contrasted so closely with theirs.
We went to the casino that Saturday night just as we had twice monthly since my family had joined me in Panama. We conducted our regular recreational ritual at the same time the residents were practicing a ritual they had rehearsed for well over a year. They were conducting their's for the final time.