Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Justice for Kirby Brown, Liz Neuman, and James Shore?*

As you probably know by now, James Arthur "Death" Ray has been found guilty on three counts of negligent homicide (and not guilty on three counts of reckless manslaughter) for the deaths of Kirby Brown, Liz Neuman, and James Shore.

Here's a link to the CNN story.

A statement by Kirby Brown's family can be found on her cousin Tom McFeeley's Web site.

The story isn't over, of course. The case will continue this coming Tuesday, June 28, when the jury will reconvene to reach a decision about aggravating circumstances. Among the witnesses will be family members of James Shore, Liz, and Kirby, so the jury should get a good sense of victim impact.

Meanwhile, the conversation continues over at Salty Droid's blog. (Here's his post about the verdict.)

* Unfortunately, this trial could not deliver justice for Colleen Conaway, who died at a James Ray event in San Diego a couple of months before Death Lodge, and whose death was apparently covered up by Ray and his top minions so the event could continue and the participants could party on. But the people who have been following these stories from the beginning will not let Colleen's story be forgotten.

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Blogger kyra said...

I think this whole situation is really something that only someone who has awesome knowledge of the secrets of the universe can understand. Maybe he just got tired of attracting things he wanted and decided to attract something that no one in the world would want. Truly this is just an example of what an awesome creator he really is. And maybe if I keep telling myself that, I'll start to believe it!

Thursday, June 23, 2011 12:38:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

LOL, Kyra. Unfortunately, there are probably a few die-hards who believe that very thing about Ray. In any case I wouldn't count James Ray out just yet. Even if he does prison time he'll still have followers and defenders. He can always play the martyr card too; that tactic has worked out great for Kevin True-dough. (And as I've noted elsewhere, I realize True-dough wasn't convicted in any deaths, and Ray was, but for some people that doesn't make any difference.)

I do think that the convictions will put a bit of a damper on Ray's activities for a while, anyway, and almost certainly the Transformational Leadership Cartel doesn't have any plans to let him back into their Seekrit Club.

But heck, I could be wrong about that too.

The important point, and the one that concerns me the most, is that the public has a short memory, and even now there are many folks who have very little or no awareness of the Death Lodge case. And even throughout the trial Ray's marketing and social media machine was still hard at work, with clueless people continuing to re-tweet him.

The story isn't over yet.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous disillusioned said...

You'd think that a convicted record of killing your customers would have some effect but it seems some of his followers are still blinded by his awesome light.
There's no accounting for tastes.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 4:58:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Agreed, Dis.

I just went to JAR's Twitter page and saw these bits of wisdumb:

"Things may come and go, but you remain eternal - Practical Spirituality pg 19"

"The great paradox is that while you are starring in your own story, you are also the extra in a grander production - maybe even acting a..."

And the clueless continue to re-tweet.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 6:15:00 PM  
Anonymous disillusioned said...

Well, he's certainly had a taste of being an extra in a grander production, probably for the first time in his narcissistic life. Lets hope it continues that way for a good few years yet.
I can't see his brand of bullsh*t going down too well amongst the gen pop of Arizona crims.

Friday, June 24, 2011 8:52:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

I wouldn't underestimate JAR's abilities to adopt his B.S. for that population -- if that's even necessary. After all, he might get special treatment; if he's sentenced to prison he might not have to be in with the general population. And he still has many supporters on the outside, too. We'll see what happens...

Friday, June 24, 2011 1:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a bit of trivia for those snark aficionados. Tony Robbins came up with this gig to strip a person's identity and turn them loos on the world to fend for themselves. Who knows maybe he ripped it off of some other guru. TR stopped doing it cause he got sued by the Texas AG for it, maybe someone got hurt.


Friday, June 24, 2011 4:08:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks, Anon. I've heard that TR and several other gurus have, at various times, offered versions of the "homeless" exercise that JAR featured at the San Diego event where Colleen Conaway died. Actually, very little that James Ray did was original, and it's no secret that he tried to model himself after TR.

Even absent the death of a participant, I would think that there would be a lot of liability with such an exercise, despite the waivers that participants had to sign. I only hope there is justice for Colleen some day.

Friday, June 24, 2011 5:14:00 PM  
Anonymous mojo said...

Frankly, these spend-the-afternoon-wandering-the-streets-in-crappy-clothes exercises are particularly irksome to me, since (I think I blabbed on and on about this on Ron's blog some time ago) I once worked with (and am still friends with) a fairly well-known social activist who was one of the earlier promoters, among other things, of the notion of a "street retreat".

Much as sweat lodges have been co-opted and bastardized by, well, bastards, an actual street retreat isn't about YOU at all. (I will pause here so you can recover from the shock of this pronouncement.) It's about bearing witness to some of the pain and suffering in the world--not solving it, or pretending you have all the answers, or marveling about how wonderful and blessed *your* life is in comparison. It's intended as a simple acknowledgement of human suffering, instead of looking the other way and pretending "negative" things don't exist. It's not for a couple of hours--you're out there for a whole WEEK, talking and listening to real, honest-to-gosh stinky unwashed homeless people. You don't "become" a homeless person--that would be horrifically disrespectful and trivializing. And you certainly don't waltz in all mighty-whitey claiming you *know* what they've been through and how *you* possess the secret knowledge to fix their lives if they'll let you.

My activist friend hosts similarly-themed retreats at Auschwitz-Birkenau, bringing together the children of survivors AND perpetrators to engage in a week-long reflection, meditation and discussion of all that transpired there. I've yet to go--it's on my to-do list--but a very dear coworker/friend went, back in the days of our mutual employment. The impressions she spoke of and ultimately wrote about haunt me to this day:


Whenever I think of her experience and the experiences of the many actual street retreaters I have talked to, and I compare these to the pathetic "me me me" exercises hyped by these con artists, I have a very small insight as to how angry Native Americans must feel whenever JAR's sacrilegious Frankenstein is called a "sweat lodge".

Friday, June 24, 2011 9:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heads up Snarkinators lol here comes a knock off wave of the secret

http://discoverthegift.com/ they have dredged up mail order Doc Di Angilis


Saturday, June 25, 2011 2:40:00 PM  
Blogger mirele said...

I still remember when I first sent you an e-mail the morning after the death lodge occurred to let you know. I guess the thing that surprises me the most about it is that the trial is over and not even two years has elapsed. I guess I expect justice to take longer than that these days.

I love Sedona, it's one of my most very favorite places in the world to go. There's nothing like driving through this otherwise unremarkable scrubland, then coming going around a curve and seeing these red rocks...amazing. While there's quite a bit of woo up there, the drive for money is much stronger. But it has to compete with the sight of those fabulous red rocks. (The geology of the rocks is pretty amazing, too.)

Saturday, June 25, 2011 8:03:00 PM  
Anonymous LindaEm said...

I guess KT is another sociopath. He has all the answers, doesn't he? And he's running for office when he is not even aware of the truth of history regarding Mexicans in the United States. Does he not know about the Bracero program where Mexicans were lured here and worked themselves to death with little of the promised recompense? And I can't believe he blames the media for convicting James Ray just because he was trying to help people better themselves? Almost everyone in the self-help industry is smart enough to say nothing until much of this blows over. This guy is uneducated and paranoid. And scary.

Sunday, June 26, 2011 9:32:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Okay, I'm finally getting back to commenting on some of the comments...

Mojo, thank you for your remarks about the difference between the all-about-me "homeless" exercises perpetrated by the goo-roos, and the retreats that genuinely try to get people to empathize with the suffering of others.

I too would like to someday experience one of the Holocaust retreats, since that lamentable part of history has long been of deep interest to me (don't get me started on the Holocaust deniers). I read your friend's haunting account and was very moved by it.

And I too think I have some insight into why Native Americans are beyond angry at Death Ray's desecration of one of their sacred traditions (present criticisms about me notwithstanding).

New-Wage gurus' appropriation of indigenous traditions, as well as their superficial nods to real social problems, have made a mockery both of the sufferers and those who are making a genuine effort to alleviate that suffering.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 1:44:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anon Saturday, June 25, 2011 2:40:00 PM: Thanks for the link. Looks like just another in a long string of hustledork moviemercials. Eye-rolling.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 1:45:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Mirele: The moment I saw your name on the comment I recognized you as the person who first informed me about the Sedona tragedy. And I thank you for that.

I too am surprised that the trial happened so soon, but I'm also glad.

Sedona does indeed look like a gorgeous place and I hope to visit it one day. I will hold on tight to my wallet, though.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 1:50:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

LindaEm: Thank you for your comment. It came in to this post so I published it here, but I also cross-posted on my True-dough post and responded there.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 1:51:00 PM  

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