Friday, October 23, 2009
James Arthur Ray:
He's a self-help spiritual guru. Here's an essay he wrote at the Huffington Post in August: (excerpts, emp add)
Health Care: What Ever Happened to Personal Responsibility?
I don't know about you, but if I make poor financial decisions in my personal life or business, I've never found anyone (much less the government) ready to bail me out. I currently have a pretty hefty tax bill due to the state of California, and I'm pretty sure they're not going to let me off.
And now, we're consumed with sick care. I'm not too excited to pay for a lung cancer case obtained by smoking two packs of Marlboros per day. What part of "smoking has been proven to cause lung cancer" is unclear?
Likewise, I'm not excited to pay for triple bypass for a person who's spent a lifetime eating burritos, Krispy Kreme and Snickers, whose idea of a workout is clicking the remote on their television.
If I sound insensitive, I apologize. Those who know me know I'm very sensitive to the needs of others.
While I care tremendously about the needs of others, I care enough to believe in the age old saying, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."
Further on in the essay he suggests remedies that are congruent with his business operation.
In any event, he's been in the news this month:Spiritual warrior 'cleanses tweets' after fatal ceremony
The organiser of a US spiritual retreat, during which two people [now three] died and another 19 had to be admitted to hospital, has been caught deleting potentially incriminating tweets he published during the event.Criminal investigation launched in Sedona sweat lodge incident
Ray is also an avid tweeter and, even while attendees were falling ill at the retreat, he made several posts to Twitter that were later deleted but not completely removed from the site.
"The Spiritual Warrior has conquered death and therefore has no enemies, and no fear, in this life or the next," he wrote in one.
In another he wrote: "... for anything new to live something first must die. What needs to die in you so that new life can emerge?"
After deleting those tweets Ray published new Twitter messages saying he was "shocked & saddened by the tragedy occurring in Sedona".
About 55 to 65 people were inside the sweat lodge, each paying $10,000 for their seat.
In addition to the two people who died, 19 were taken to hospital suffering from burns, dehydration, respiratory arrest, kidney failure or elevated body temperature.
The "sweat lodge", similar to a sauna, is a Native American purification tradition in which water is poured on heated rocks.
Joseph Bruchac, the author of a book on the subject, told The New York Times that only eight to 12 people were typically present in a lodge, which was not meant to be air tight.
At the Spiritual Warrior retreat up to 60 people were crammed into a lodge measuring between 76 centimetres and 1.3 metres high and covered in plastic and blankets.
“It means that all these people are fighting for the same oxygen,” he said.
The focus of the investigation is on James Arthur Ray, now a "person of interest", and any other whose actions may have played a role in the deaths of two people [now three] at the Angel Valley retreat in Sedona last week. Investigators have determined the deaths were not accidental, which warrants a full criminal investigation.Witness recounts Arizona sweat lodge horrors
The sweat lodge was a temporary construction, with a frame of juniper and oak and covered with layers of tarps, blankets, and comforters. The floor area of the lodge was 415 square feet; 53 inches high in the center, and 30 inches high on the edges. Fifty to 60 people were in the lodge during the ceremony.
In an AP report of a conference call held by Ray regarding the incident, a woman identified as Barb told the callers that a channeler at the retreat last Friday said the deceased had an out-of-body experience during the sweat lodge ceremony and "were having so much fun that they chose not to come back."
UNCONSCIOUS victims were left on the floor and a disoriented man suffered burns crawling over heated rocks, according to the first witness account of a New Age sweat lodge ritual in which three people died.'Sweat Lodge' Survivor Says James Arthur Ray Abandoned Participants
Enticed by an interview that they had seen on The Oprah Winfrey Show, the 50 or so participants in James Arthur Ray's cleansing ritual had each paid $9695 for the opportunity to become "spiritual warriors" at his retreat in the Arizona desert.
After several days of fasting, sleep deprivation, mind-altering breathing exercises and extreme heat, some of the participants began to vomit and lose consciousness. Those who wanted to leave were chided and pleas for medical help were allegedly ignored until it was too late.
Beverley Bunn, 43, from Texas, described how her group had finished a 36-hour ritual that included fasting alone in the desert when participants were told to strip to their bathing suits before being led into a tent known as a sweat lodge.
"There were people throwing up everywhere," said Ms Bunn, an orthodontist.
She claimed that when the participants said they wanted to leave Mr Ray chided them and urged them to continue.
Ms Bunn said that after about 90 minutes someone shouted: "I can't get her to move. I can't get her to wake up."
Mr Ray allegedly responded: "Leave her alone, she'll be dealt with in the next round."
The unresponsive woman was Ms Bunn's friend, Kirby Brown, 38, a painter from New York. She never recovered.
One of the survivors of the Arizona sweat lodge disaster said that as participants lay dying and injured, leader James Arthur Ray simply left the scene.
"James Ray pretty much abandoned all of us. He left us there to figure out what was going on," orthodontist Beverly Bunn told "Good Morning America" today. "After the incident he never came back."
Bunn said Ray, who sat near the only opening of the tent, allowing fresh air in only to accept more heated rocks, didn't seem overly concerned when people became ill, some of them vomiting.
Ray, a frequent guest on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" who helped write the best-selling documentary and book, "The Secret," has refused all interview requests, but in a message on his Web site he told followers that he felt their pain, and that while he was also investigating what went wrong, he is determined to continue with his self-help ministry.
Other participants inside have said they were screaming "We need water," vomiting and fighting to stay alive.
Three counts of negligent homicide, nineteen counts of criminal negligence. I hope he does time for this.
"Those who know me know I'm very sensitive to the needs of others."
James Arthur Ray, James Frey, Rhonda Byrne - where does Oprah find these kooks, anyway?
He's taking personal responsibility--for making sure he's destroyed or altered as much incriminating evidence as possible.