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Yesterday was the 35th anniversary of the largest mass murder of Americans in our nation’s history.
This was done overseas in Guyana, by order of the late Jim Jones. He committed suicide after ordering and leading in the murder of more than 900 of his followers.
On Sunday, Oct. 27, an email was sent to me that somehow went astray, so I didn’t receive it until Nov. 12.
This letter was emailed by Jim Jones’ son, Stephan Jones, and was as follows:
“Dear Mr. Kinsolving:
“I’m truly sorry it’s taken me this long to express what I’ve felt about your investigation of my father from the first moment I heard of it.
“By the time you came after Dad, I was clear that the people that angered him most were usually onto something, and when I heard gossip about your gutsy, ‘irreverent’ approach and the questions you were asking, it brought a smile to my face even as it made me nervous about what Dad would do in response.
“And then, when I heard about how you calmly – sometimes warmly, sometimes teasingly – walked among the protesters that had been sent to intimidate you and those who called the shots at the [San Francisco] Examiner, you had my admiration.
“That admiration only grew once I was free of the temple mind and learned more of how you conducted yourself during your investigation and even after others were intimidated into watering down your exposé. You showed what it is to be a free-thinker, and your courage is the kind that I aspire to.
“So, I truly hope that it’s better late than never for me to say a very heartfelt thank you.
“This world needs more folks like you, Sir. Wishing you all the best. God bless.
I’m grateful beyond words for this letter.
It stands as an invaluable contrast to the editors and religion columnists of the more than 30 major newspapers whom I contacted in hopes they would expose this Jones cult.
But neither they nor any of the newspapers that syndicated my column would publish this news. Nor was the San Francisco Examiner – where I worked and whom 150 of Jones’ followers picketed – willing to expose Jim Jones.
Instead, he became an accepted government leader in San Francisco. And he even had one of the assistant city editors of the San Francisco Chronicle as one of his disciples.
One of the political leaders in San Francisco who tolerated – rather than investigated – Jim Jones was the present governor of California, Jerry Brown – in what should have been his everlasting disgrace.
Only California’s Santa Rosa Press-Democrat was willing to report the major news of Jim Jones, who took more than 900 of his followers with him when he died on Nov. 18, 1978.