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In November 1978, I was a boy of 10, riding in the back seat of my father's
 

Summary: In November 1978, I was a boy of 10,
riding in the back seat of my father's
car on a bright fall day in Boston and
looking at a Newsweek article about the
deaths of more than 900 Americans in
what was called a "mass suicide" by
members of a "cult" commune called
Jonestown, in Guyana. (The actual na-
ture of these deaths is still in dispute, but
they undoubtedly were a mix of suicide
and murder.) These deaths at the com-
mune had almost immediately followed
the murders nearby of United States
Congressman Leo Ryan and three other
people who had been part of a delega-
tion to visit on a fact-finding mission.
This was the first major news story
that impressed itself on my imagination.
Now, I am revisiting the story of Jon-
estown on its 25th anniversary, co-pro-

  

Source: Akhmedov, Azer - Department of Mathematics, University of California at Santa Barbara

 

Collections: Mathematics