28 August 2004 | richard.fuller1
I remember well the newscasts that weekend, showing the man leap out from behind the truck. This clip would be shown over and over and over again.
What was I watching?
We would hear about the congressman, interviews with cameramen and reporters. One media fellow said his arm was hit, and he fell and the blood ran to his head, so they thought he had been shot in the head.
What was I watching?
Then the mass suicide was discovered.
What was going on?
All from cyanide poisoning. Jones and his secretary were found shot. Who shot them?
It would take the movie for me to understand what had occurred. I have not seen this thing in a while, but because I remember the suicides (for some reason this is the only way I look at that moment in November 1978) from back then, I have remembered everything about this movie rather well.
Standouts for me? It was a woman's show; Carol Lynley, Dianne Ladd, Meg Foster, Veronica Cartwright, Madge Sinclair (she fought back, but was stuck with a needle and then stopped resisting), the breaking down of Irene Cara, and I did like Randy Quaid as well.
I often wondered if Meg Foster and Quaid were based on real people and if they could have possibly survived.
The movie doesn't point out there was at least two survivors; I think it was a young girl who had her throat slit survived and a woman was found in the hospital ward.
The movie also doesn't point out who may have shot Jones (I always believed it was LeVar Burton!).
Since then I have seen things such as History Channel programs showing Jim Jones on that fateful final day, and the audio recording of the suicides is even played, which apparently was recreated for the movie.
In the late eighties I would cross paths with a young man who lost his mother to the Guyana tragedy.
Even 20/20 has shown a program of Jones two sons, one an actual son from his marriage to the woman portrayed by Veronica Cartwright (by chance he was out of the country, perhaps in America, when this took place, but he wasn't there) and the other, an adopted Black boy.
When they visited the site of the camp, now a desserted field and found only a piece of a bench was all that was left, the birth son became very upset. He would spend the night out in the woods where they stayed.
It's impossible to judge anyone who followed Jones and made this story true, because there but for the grace of God go I.