Death Ray hones his comeback shtick, while sister of one of his victims pleas to Oprah to break her silence
Looking a bit chunkier than before, and sporting a scruffy-chic long-haired look, star of The Secret and convicted killer James Arthur "Death" Ray is honing his comeback shtick (previously covered on this Whirled here and here). He is exploiting the hell out of the fact that he served a (much too short) prison sentence for cooking three people to death in a phony sweat lodge at an October 2009 event in Sedona, Arizona. As he has been doing almost since it happened, Ray is still framing the deaths of Kirby Brown, James Shore, and Liz Neuman as HIS tragic story. But now he has turned it into an actual Live Event dog-and-pony show (no offense to dogs or ponies), promoting the whole thing as an inspirational tale of how anyone can successfully battle the slings and arrows and come up smiling (if a little more red-eyed).
Here is a link to the promo clip; nausea advisory in effect.
"Let me tell you...how much labels DON'T mean anything," he says in a croaking, fake-heartfelt voice towards the beginning of the clip. What about labels like "KILLER who served a ridiculously short sentence and is hot on the comeback trail?" This is disgusting, of course, but not unexpected. Once again...
No Neat and Tidy Endings.
Here is another perspective, published yesterday (May 27, 2014) by Jean Brown Allison, the sister of Kirby Brown, one of the three Death Lodge victims. Jean takes Oprah Winfrey -- a big promoter of The Secret and its "stars" -- to task for Oprah's roaring four-and-a-half-year silence about the tragedy in Sedona.
You helped make this sham of a man what he was. In fact, it was after seeing him on your show that my sister, Kirby Brown, read “The Secret” and became a fan of James Ray. I remember, when we were together for my wedding at my parents’ house in July 2009–3 months before she’d die of heat stroke in a plastic tent in Arizona–I remember Kirby telling me that I had to read this book, that it was amazing, that James Ray was amazing, that he’d been on Oprah, that she was looking forward to the Ray event she’d be attending a few months later… That’s right. She mentioned YOU by name.
Why am I getting on this, nearly five years later?
James Ray is out of prison and has quickly jumped right back into the self-help world. He is positioning himself as a man who has seen the greatest heights, and then fallen to the greatest lows, and is now climbing his way back up. He is telling/selling the story of how life has been so hard on him, and how these challenges are what make him the man who can help others. He is selling this story of a tragedy that happened to HIM, just like days after the deaths when he called our house and told my mother that this was the worst thing that had happened to HIM and he was sorry that it had happened.
But it does not appear that he has learned anything. He talks of the deaths of my sister and the other victims in Sedona as an “accident,” saying nothing of his role in what transpired. It’s the same tack he took right after the incident, passing blame to others, or worse, trying to spin the deaths as something that was meant to happen, something that the victims brought upon themselves...
Jean follows by mentioning SEEKSafely.org, the organization founded by Kirby and Jean's parents, Ginny and George Brown. I've written about it a few times, including here. One of the first things Seek Safely did was to create the Seek Safely Promise, a simple document that encouraged self-help leaders to agree to basic principles and practices to ensure the safety and dignity of participants in their events.
As of this writing, 34 have signed the Promise (pretty much all of them are B- and C-listers at best):
And 167 have not signed it (including all of the A-listers who were approached -- and that includes Oprah):
Are you surprised? Me neither.
But I applaud the Browns for their efforts, and I will continue to support and promote those efforts. Apropos of that, the organization will be holding a summit in Sedona on June 6, 2014; click here for more info.
My pal Salty Droid, who has been much too quiet lately, wrote a blog post last week about the word "retarded" and his decision to stop using that word. This is relevant here because, of all the bloggers in the blogosphere (and all the media on the Interwebz, for that matter), Salty has, in my opinion, provided the best James Ray coverage over the past four and a half years. In his May 22 post he mentioned, and linked to, the Seek Safely Promise.
But I’m the one who’s learned the big lesson here :: primarily … that making progress is really … really … really … super duper fucking hard. You think just because you’ve noticed something terribly wrong with the world :: and pointed at it with bells on … that people will care and shit will change. But it ain’t like that at all. People mostly care about themselves … and inertia is a belligerent bitch.
I don’t think eliminating words is the right way to earn #respect for kids with disabilities. Just like I don’t think trying to get cartels of intentionally vicious manipulators to sign the SEEK Safely Promise is the right way to get self-help reform.
But what the hell do I know? Almost nothing. My bright idea was insane-a-tron fake robot asshole … not exactly a catchall solution.
There is no right way to do the impossible :: there’s only trying … and I can sympathize/relate to anyone attempting to accomplish a hard thing against long odds.
Just do :: something … anything.
Yeah, what Salty said. Just do something.... anything. One thing you can do is to keep an eye on James Arthur Ray. Watch for any organizations that book him as a keynote speaker, and/or might be promoting him in any way. And if you see that Ray is being showcased somewhere, say something to the promoters. Call them on it. They might not care, but if they don't, you can publicize that. Write emails, notify the media, stage protests if you're so moved.
Ray may very well try to go it on his own and hold solo events, with no other scammers and psychopaths involved. But no Scamworld guru is an island; there's a lot of cross-promotion in Scamworld. For instance, I've written numerous times on this blog about the promotional relationship between now-jailed serial scammer Kevin Trudeau and James Ray -- here and here, for starters. (I have commemorated it pictorially as well.) If you don't feel like following those links, here's a recap: Trudeau defended Ray on his radio show a few years ago, and later, while Ray was in prison for killing people, his organization was busily promoting Your Wish Is Your Command, the 14-CD upsell for Katie's Global Information Network (GIN).
In addition, for quite a while, some of Ray's products were being sold in the GIN Store. There's a bit of discussion about that here.
And since Ray got out of prison, Trudeau's former marketing guy, Peter Wink, who now has a GIN ripoff of his own (in partnership with one of this Whirled's least favorite lunatics, Mocktor Lenny Coldwell), apparently made overtures to Ray. I've mentioned this before, but it's worth mentioning again. This is from August 3, 2013.
There are no neat and tidy endings in Scamworld, but I believe that building awareness is a good and helpful thing to do.
Just do something.
Addendum, 9 June 2014: Mincing no words, Omri at Glancing Web weighs in re the Death Ray comeback shtick. Go Omri! (Have I told you lately how good it is to see that you're still blogging even after Loony C, mistakenly thinking you were Salty Droid, tried to shut you down?)
Omri lovingly addresses Ray:
… you rapacious swine, you soul plunderer, you misery merchant, you death dealer, you sociopath whose narcissism is only equal to his megalomania, you murderous bastard, you emotionless parasite, you walking ruination, you Orwellian buffoon, you ignominy of a Homo sapiens, you uneducated sham, you hellish nothingness, you cancerous feces and overall a very disagreeable person … please take your newly dyed mane and go f--k (the only person whom you’ve ever really loved) yourself.Couldn't have said it better myself.
And one point really stuck out for me after I saw a June 5, 2014 Facebook post by Connie Joy, author of Tragedy in Sedona: My Life in James Arthur Ray's Inner Circle. (On the first anniversary of the sweat lodge incident, I published a rather lengthy post citing this book.) Connie cited the "live mentoring" events now being advertised on Ray's web site. The point that really got to me was that Ray's Seattle event will be held on July 25, 2014 -- the five-year anniversary of Colleen Conaway's death at a Ray event in San Diego. And that's a death for which he has yet to be held accountable. Somebody in the area needs to organize a protest.