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  Surviving Jonestown
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ContributorIndyGeorgia 
Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Nov 10, 2018 09:26pm
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CategoryHistory
AuthorJackie Speier
News DateSaturday, November 10, 2018 06:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionI was 28, lying on a dusty airplane runway in the Guyanese jungle, and dying.

It was just a matter of time. Five bullets had ripped through me, devastating the right side of my body. Behind the wheel of an airplane, I waited for the shooting to stop and said my Act of Contrition, praying for forgiveness and waiting for the lights to go out.

Somehow, through the encroaching darkness of my final thoughts, I saw my 87-year-old Grandma Emma. All I could think was I am not going to make Grandma live through my funeral. I couldn’t bear the vision of her sitting in front of my casket. Breathing heavily, I pulled myself to my feet, stumbled to the plane’s baggage compartment and took shelter.

I’d come to Guyana as a congressional aide on a fact-finding mission. In the months leading up to the trip, my boss, Congressman Leo Ryan, had been contacted by worried constituents whose loved ones were members of a San Francisco-based religious group called the Peoples Temple, which had fled to South America for the promise of a utopian commune led by their preacher, Jim Jones. They called it Jonestown.
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