Jackie Speier was a legislative counsel working for a California congressman when she was left for dead on an airport runway in Guyana, South America, in 1978. She was investigating Jim Jones, a charismatic religious leader whose Temple du Peuple had been watched by alarmed parents. to its hold over their young adult children.
Speier has been shot five times by Jones loyalists and played dead to survive. Her boss, Rep. Leo Ryan, was killed, along with two members of an NBC crew in the wake of the story and countless others attempted to leave, including several deserters. It was only part of the massacre. Returning to the commune Jones had established, 909 of his staunch supporters followed him on a murder-suicide pact, downing a cyanide-flavored drink, an act of true belief that has since come to be known as “drinking it.” Kool-Aid ”.
Parents have had some 300 children consume the poison, a behavior that four decades later can only be understood in the context of a cult. It took Speier several surgeries and years to recover. Now, at age 70, she is a seven-term Congressman representing the Bay Area of California. She spoke with The Daily Beast about her thoughts on the Jonestown cult and the parallels she sees in the blind loyalty that supporters of President Trump display on a daily basis.