James Arthur Ray: Full blood moon
I'm not normally an early riser by choice, but I made an effort to get up early today to see the full blood moon -- the lunar eclipse that turned the moon, if not bloody, at least a rusty reddish-orange. Trees were in the way, so Ron and I drove a little way down the lane towards the back pastures until we were able to get an unobstructed view. Clouds teased us and tried to hide that big red moon, but we did get some tantalizing glimpses, rendered larger by one of Ron's rifle scopes, though no pictures. That's okay; there are plenty of pictures all over the Interwebz. After our brief sky-watching adventure we came back home and I wanted to go back to sleep for a while, but couldn't.
I couldn't sleep because there was another matter that occupied my thoughts: the fact that today, October 8, 2014, is the five-year anniversary of James Arthur Ray's Death Lodge in Sedona, Arizona. This was the grueling "ceremony" in a phony sweat lodge that took the lives of James Shore and Kirby Brown that day, and the life of a third participant, Liz Neuman, nine days later.
And Ray, the sociopathic, egotistical New-Wage guru who skyrocketed to rockstar status in his industry after he was in The Secret, was convicted of three counts of felony negligent homicide for the three deaths in Sedona. He ended up serving less than two years in an Arizona prison. He has been back out for more than a year now, trying to rebuild his scampire, as discussed at various times on this Whirled: e.g., here and here and (more recently) here.
Although many people -- and I'm one of them -- believe that justice has not really been served in these deaths, Ray is whining that he "lost everything," and seems to be trying to build his shtick around his heroic efforts to overcome the losses he suffered. Take a look at the "About Us" page on his web site, and you'll see.
A fourth death, not covered quite as much as those in Sedona, was that of Colleen Conaway during a San Diego James Ray event in July 2009. Colleen fell to her death from a third-story balcony in a San Diego shopping mall, and when Ray found out about it he reportedly made every effort to keep her death from the other participants, and partied on through the night as if nothing had happened. I've recently been informed that there finally was some civil "justice" of sorts for Colleen's death, but that, I believe, is Salty Droid's story to tell and I will let him tell you when he gets a moment. (He's busy these days, and in good ways. He hasn't been blogging too much lately, but I am pretty sure that we haven't heard the last of Jason Michael Jones.)
Every year since Sedona happened I have commemorated the sad anniversary of the event (here is last year's effort), though never with the length and depth of my first anniversary post, which was framed around Connie Joy's disturbing insider's account, Tragedy In Sedona: My Life in James Arthur Ray's Inner Circle. But I know full well that my blog posts, and all of the other hundreds of posts about Ray's atrocities, his trial, his imprisonment, and his activities since his release, haven't made much of a dent in his scampire or indeed in Scamworld at large. Even the exhaustive coverage by Salty Droid, the excellent coverage by alt-media such as The Verge, and the decent coverage by mainstream media such as ABC haven't stopped the big sick machine from rolling on.
Death Ray seems to be a perfect metaphor for the seeming futility of muckraking efforts in this area; after all, he is out and running free, spreading his inspirational wisdumb about living an "epic" life, telling people they should accept that death is but an illusion... and a Facebook buddy of mine says that at the recent Global Information Network (GIN) Family Reunion, James Ray propaganda packets were being passed out to early registrants. Why am I not surprised?
GIN, as you may recall, was founded by now-imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau, long a Whirled favorite, and was recently taken over by a cartel of Kevin's long-time buddies. Some have suggested that Trudeau still actually owns GIN and that the members of his crony cartel are proxies, but whether that's true or not, Kevin continues to benefit from GIN, even from Unca Sam's sleepaway camp in Montgomery.
And Trudeau of course still has his loyal fawning fans. Even James Ray has his loyalists, many of whom just don't seem to care about those inconvenient little deaths. True to Scamworld tradition, Trudeau and Ray have done their share of mutual stroking-off, as noted on this blog several times (such as here). Trudeau has spoken out publicly in defense of Ray, and Ray, even while in prison, promoted Trudeau's Your Wish Is Your Command CD set, which was the upsell for GIN. Trudeau is behind bars and Ray is limping along, but their legacies live on.
And this isn't even to mention the thousands of other scams and scammers of Scamworld; they're all going on without missing a beat, despite occasional half-hearted attempts by the FTC or FDA or some other alphabet agency to fart in their general direction. It doesn't seem to matter in the the long run. The FTC seemed all cool with GIN being sold to Kevin Trudeau's buds in May. Another case in point is the recent news of a former FTC regulator, Pamela Jones Harbour, who was recently hired by scummy scam Herbalife to lead their "compliance team." And Herbalife's stock jumped after the appointment was announced. There's a good discussion about this matter on Salty's August 4 Herbalife post. Wrote a regular SD commenter named Barbara, addressing Ms. Harbour: "How do you sleep at night knowing the Herbalife paycheck you just casedd was money squeezed from the poorest people on the planet?"
It's enough to frustrate any muckraker.
I keep my own frustration level relatively low for the most part by keeping my expectations in line. To begin with, I've never had any particular end in mind with my blog; initially I set out to entertain and occasionally inform, and that's still pretty much my goal. I don't have any lofty goals such as trying to drive a particular scam or scammer out of business, despite the lunatic ranting of the stupidest man in Scamworld, Mocktor Leonard Coldwell, ex-b.f.f. of Trudeau. (Coldwell is making mighty -- and mighty comical -- efforts to bury me (as well as a few other bloggers) with SEO, but the Googles seem to be wise to his tricks for the most part. He can put up a thousand poorly written, repetitive, English-challenged blogs with the tag "sexual predator" (all in an effort to negate the buzz that Leonard Coldwell is a sexual predator)... he can get my content swallowed into irrelevant aggregation machines till the cows come home... and for that matter, he can make up all of the totally insane lies he wants to about me sexually harassing him and killing his dog... but I am not going away. I'll just keep on writing as it suits me. I'll keep my long, detailed posts about him right where they are and I will not even go out of my way to promote them. People do find their way here, it seems.)
One thing we can all do -- particularly where James Arthur "Death" Ray is concerned -- is to make sure that nobody ever forgets what he did. I've said this before and I will no doubt say it again. Do what you can to spread awareness: through social media, through blogging, through peaceful protest at live events. And if you are in the self-help industry, consider signing the pledge offered by SeekSafely, the organization founded by Kirby Brown's family. Very few have signed the pledge so far, and no "big names" have bothered to do so. There's a message there.
The blood moon was a little bit of razzle-dazzle that made us all look up to the sky for a while, but to everyone except the mystics and End-Timers it is old news now; the moon is in its waning phase and goodness knows that there are other, literally bloody things to occupy our attention down on the ground, the Ebola scare and war threats being just a few of them. Some have told me that there are more important things to worry about than a few dead followers of a New-Wage guru who has seen better days. To the loved ones of those followers, though, Death Lodge will never be old news. San Diego will never be old news. It's up to the rest of us to let all of them know that even though the media move on to the next big story, we will never forget. My heart goes out to the families of Kirby, James S., Liz... and Colleen.
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