It appears that I haven't written anything since February 2000, with my "Hello & Goodbye" when I told y'all about my cancer diagnosis. Time flies when you're having fun, eh? (laugh)
Somewhere back there, I know I promised to give you an update, so this is it. Plus I want to make some last, final, parting comments about ARS and the cult.
You'll notice a slight change of address but I am cc-ing my old account, just for verification. I wanted to use this one because the other is a shell account and I can bold the sub-heads here. (Vanity, thy name is RVY!)
SO WHO IS HE?
I've learned that "cybertime" is quite accelerated, compared to calendar or ordinary time. Being gone from ARS for 18 or so months is somewhat like 40-50 years. Generations have come and gone and talking about my role is like talking about the First World War.
If any one really wants to find out who I am, I've found that a lot of my posts are archived at http://www.holysmoke.org/rvy/rvy.htm and my initial "coming out" (an article I wrote) is at http://www.entheta.net/entheta/go/quill.html
Nuff ancient history.
SO HERE'S THE UPDATE
Although I was diagnosed with terminal cancer on 11/23/99, I'm still alive and well past what is called "median mortality" for my condition (meaning I should have died some months ago) which I know irritates David Miscavige to no end. Sorry, David. I never was too good following orders, was I?
Since I "retired" from my post-cult lifestyle 18 months ago, I've been devoting myself to cancer education, as I said I would. Most of it is through a Web site that I put on line somewhere around June 2000 that is now up to 1200 pages. Although it's all about prostate cancer, the full site is occasionally downloaded by someone. Gee, I wonder who? Nothing like a little perl script/search to just make sure that RVY isn't doing something else there. Oh, the paranoia of it all. (laugh) I'll try to give you the URL later as it is certainly no secret.
Basically, I'm doing better than I should. I've already been told that I'm beating the odds and I kind of like that. Maybe my experience with one cancer helped me to fight another. (smile)
It is taking all of my time. No, I don't keep up with ARS. More on that later. My time is spent helping men who have been diagnosed (and their companions) and it really is a wonderful life. I may have sounded flippant saying one cancer helped me with another but there is a truth to it. In some strange way, everything I've done to this point has really enabled me to take on this new task and I can say proudly that I really have made a difference in a lot of lives and THAT is quite rewarding.
AN IMPORTANT POINT
This may not make sense to many people but I am having the best time of my life.
I went through hell for about 10 months. Cancer and the treatments can do that to a person. But then - by whatever dint of fate or luck or sheer stubbornness - I came through it and found a wonderful life that I wouldn't trade for anything.
There are people with terminal illnesses who manage to gain this perspective and it is something that can only be shared amongst us, so I won't try to explain it here. Just leave it to say, that I am incredibly happy and whatever the cancer bodes for me is not a crisis or a worry. To the contrary, it has become incredibly liberating. Living on the edge of death can provide a clarity not afforded at any other time and, as I said, is known only to those who can accept it.
I say this merely to assuage any concern for me or worry. No, please. I am having more fun than I ever have, and that includes my OT sections. (a little humor there.)
CAN YOU REACH ME?
As before, I'll say that I am not responding to email. I know that is a bit one-sided, but please grant me at least one irregularity. (smile) When I said that I was "retiring" from this lifestyle, I meant it. I don't advise, give interviews, talk to media or take OSA/RTC/PI email baits. I simply don't respond to email about the cult.
I don't do it for fear of the cult. Good grief! I lived in their gun sights for years. I just want to get on with my other work. One cancer at a time. (smile)
JUST TO BE CLEAR
First, let me say that when I say "the cult" (I prefer to avoid the S word), I am referring to OSA/RTC. Although my language may have slipped in some posts, I also tried to make it VERY clear that I was never against "Scientologists." The focus of my remarks was always intended to be the OSA/RTC, which is where the moral corruption - unbeknownst to nearly all Scientologists - resides.
This distinction drew the ire of some on ARS, which I will take up shortly. I really don't care if it is popular. Nor do I care to hear the arguments against it, and you can throw that in with the rest of your complaints. This is my nickel (as we used to say before it was 35 cents) and so I get to talk.
THE CULT & THE NET
Several years ago, I made the remark (picked up by WIRED mag, I think) that the Internet would prove to be to the cult what Viet Nam was to the US.
I was wrong.
The early tactics of OSA/RTC against ARS were as stupid as they come. (I am sure there are some around who remember Kobrin's attempt to rm/close the NG, as if that can be done.) RTC/OSA demonstrated as they usually do a complete failure to grok the situation as they tried one stupid pet trick after another. (Oh, the good ole days.) They killed posts. They spammed like mad. They treated it like someone who had never heard of the Net, making fools of themselves time and again.
And then it began to change.
I didn't notice it at first. In fact, it took me quite awhile to appreciate it. But the cult was adapting, something that I had said they couldn't do. They were learning (and I have to give Miscavige credit for this one - catch that one, DM? - since nothing transpires without his approval and direction) by disregarding what didn't work and trying something else.
HIRING PROS: step 1
LRH is very clear about not hiring "outside professionals" which I always thought was a stupid rule and Miscavige apparently took the same view.
It started with attorneys but PIs were the turning point. Rather than rely on the "Information Bureau" (gag) Miscavige was running PIs (private investigators - sorry) under "contract" to attorneys rather than the Info Bureau. We saw this very early on. Hell, it was happening while I was in the organization.
PIs under an attorney had (at least in theory as I don't think it has been legally tested) the protection of "attorney-client work." A contract would be signed but DM ran the PIs, who reported to him. Gene Ingram was the first one.
The idea was that if they get subpoenaed, they could claim "attorney-client privilege" even though the attorney wasn't running them. To prove that would require more than any adversary could manage.
It really was brilliant. It was undertaken to avoid the mistake that led to the 1977 FBI raid and the conviction of a host of cult leaders. The Info Bureau was left to be in support of the PIs but when it came to actual "dirty work," they went to DM directly and did it verbally, a really brilliant maneuver.
HIRING PROS: step 2
I didn't see it but there were some rumors years ago that some professional geeks were being hired for the Net. Rumor also had it that they were used in the assault on penet.fi (how's that for an oldie but goodie?) that closed that ISP.
But it really started to appear later on ARS.
David Miscavige has one clear talent: he will find what works, regardless of "policy." I have to hand him that. He may quote LRH to the faithful, but when push comes to shove, ain't nothing like some good Wog tech!
It started actually with the attorneys. LRH said to not hire outside attorneys but he went for them in 1982 and that began to turn things around.
Right behind that were the PIs and Ingram was the first.
Originally, Ingram operated from a really tacky office on Western Avenue, about a half-mile from the complex. But Ingram saw the potential. DM wanted results and was willing to pay for them. Ingram had the connections and the bond was made. Ingram subsequently had better access to DM than his staff. When LRH died, guess who went with us to the ranch? Ingram. That was what he meant to DM.
The hiring of some techno-geeks wasn't done while I was there but the fingerprints of the organization are quite clear.
DM had learned that the only way to really succeed in the "real world" was to forgo LRH policy and hire pros at any expense.
Can you say, DC lobbyists-attorneys? (laugh)
But I digress. (smile)
HIRING PROS: Techno-Geeks
The techno-geeks were the next big step. When Kobrin's childish attempt at an RM (a command given to delete a newsgroup) was a complete bust the techno-geeks were called in. (Can you imagine anyone who knew the Net recommending to RM a newsgroup?)
I think it was back in the "Miss Bloody-Butt" era (way before most here - laugh) that some names started to be tossed around, names of techno-geeks who knew how to work the Net. Hackers, to be blunt.
One of the main reasons - besides ARS - was Lawrence Wollersheim, another name from the 18th century. Wollersheim had decided to use the Web and that was something OSA/RTC had NO knowledge of, hence Kobrin.
Knowing how the organization works, it is easy to know that FACTNet was a target not only for legal assault but hacking. DM would not have stood by and left it to the attorneys. This is where I give him the credit. Someone would have briefed him what FACTNet meant (as far as technology) and DM would have asked for someone to tell him more. That's where he excels. He learned that with the attorneys and then the PIs, to teach him what he needs to know, since LRH policy was clearly lacking.
Enter the techno-geek as a hired gun.
It was somewhere in the FACTNet/penet.fi/Erlich era that the change occurred.
Dennis Erlich used the Net but only as email. He didn't have a Web site. If you will recall, he was raided for copyright violations. Same with Lerma.
HIRING PROS: ARS
The raids on Erlich and Lerma didn't work. They were effective in tying up those people (and grabbing some hard drives) but they didn't handle the larger picture. That required more skill.
Welcome to ARS!
ARS, of course, was the "meeting ground" of these commie, faggot, drug-selling, baby-killing SPs. Erlich, Wollersheim, Lerma etc were using ARS so it had to be killed. Kobrin's childish RM maneuver was as effective as wiping your ass with waxed paper but DM now had some resources.
He turned them onto ARS!
One can well imagine the problem: how do you stop a newsgroup (NG)?
I am sure a few techno-geeks laughed at Kobrin's RM move but to make their pay, they had to do more than laugh. (DM doesn't have much humor.) They had to advise how to shut down the NG.
Those who are old enough to remember (meaning more than 3 calendar years) will recall the various attempts, from spamming to canceled messages. Each came and went and came back and along the way some mags like WIRED took note about their assault on the Net.
Now that is not good. It isn't good to get publicity to be positioned as a group that raids people for posting to the Net.
So it was back to the drawing boards to find another way to stop ARS.
HIRING PROS: the agent provocateur & 3P
LRH has a policy (one of the few that is followed, by those who grasp it) that says to learn what the "enemy" does that is successful and do that but "do it better."
For DECADES, the cult has studied the agent provocateur. We even published booklets on it. Omar Garrison wrote about it. It was originally out of defense because it was thought the FBI/CIA were running them into the organization. There were PILES of documents about their use by government agencies against the organization.
An agent provocateur is, in effect, a double agent. He/she is sent in to befriend the organization and then create upset.
And now we come to one of the most important policies LRH wrote: The Third Party Law.
Basically it says that for an upset to exist in a group, there has to be a "third party" (3P) who is creating the argument between the others.
Until the 1980s, it was used internally to find people creating conflict, but it was always minor, like in marriage counseling. DM brought it to another level. He realized that it could be used not merely to find and resolve conflicts, but TO CREATE THEM.
HIRING AMATUERS: the agent provocateur (AP)
The beauty of the agent provocateur is that you don't need to send one of your own agents in to do the work. You can tap into existing resources.
And let me remind you, that agent provocateurs were HEAVILY studied when the organization was trying to find them in the organization. And APs were heavily used against what were called "squirrel groups." These were/are groups of people who use or rely on Hubbard's methods but outside the "authority" of the organization. They are to be, per the Fair Game law, destroyed.
David Mayo was perhaps the most notable. He set up an organization in Santa Barbara in the 1980s that became a heavy target for agent provocateurs. It wasn't difficult. The "Information Bureau" would simply recruit and send in a person who had the technical skills. That person would pretend to be disaffected with the organization and would seek to join Mayo's group. If taken in, they would settle in and become not only a spy (reporting back) but would seek to create dissension by joining in and fanning the flames of any disagreements.
That didn't replace legal actions, per the "never sue to win but to harass." It was used to supplement the pressure.
USING A CUT OUT
DM realized that he could apply the policy to "do what the enemy does but do it better."
All you really need for the perfect AP is someone who is already disaffected. Just approach them as an "understanding friend" and tap into it. The safest way requires a "cut out."
An example of a cut out: Person A wants to give some money to person C and don't want to be connected to the transfer. Person A gives the money to person B who gives it to person C. So person B is the CUT OUT. It is standard in intelligence, meaning spy work.
If I want to "recruit" Bill, who works for ABC Corp because I want to sabotage ABC Corp (and this is actually done without Bill's knowledge), I get Bill to talk to Joe. Bill hears the gripes. (It is called "natter" in the cult.) Bill is sympathetic and he decides to help Joe, since Joe has a grudge. How it is done depends on what Joe can do. Maybe Bill will feed Joe information. Maybe he will give him money. It is all very flexible.
The point is that if anyone tags Joe, all they find is someone with a "real gripe." They won't find anyone hired to do the dirty work.
ON TO ARS!
Somewhere along the line, the AP's began to appear in ARS. Some were clearly being directed by OSA/RTC/PIs. But a number were also being clearly recruited to cause upset, having no idea they were being so used.
It doesn't take much to find someone on ARS who is upset. (laugh) In fact, it is one of the best recruitment areas I can think of since opinions fly around easily. All I would have to do is contact them by email and strike up a friendship. It might take a month but it is worth the investment. All I have to do is agree with their upset (at whomever) and then flame it.
I remember some time back when people on ARS were trying to decide if a particular person was really a Scientologist. It was so funny that one of the main criteria was if they would use the "Xenu" word. If the person did, they were considered okay, which was about as clueless or as naive as they come. So if the person said, "This Xenu idea is really stupid but not as stupid as Arnie Lerma," then the person couldn't be working for the organization, and that is how the "critics" could be infiltrated with agent provocateurs pretending to be one of them.
And I remember very well the plight of "Magoo" (Tory) who endured the worst possible assault one can imagine from "critics' who challenged her left and right with some of the most abusive language I have seen. I don't remember who said exactly what but it was the sort of assault that I would expect from agent provocateurs, making her an example to ensure that NO one does that again.
Unfortunately, a lot of others joined in the blood fest. To Tory's credit, she hung in there. Few would.
Is she REALLY working for OSA/RTC? You know what, folks? I don't give a shit.
In the "old west" there was a rule that you never asked a man where he was from and you accepted his story of who he was until he proves otherwise. There should be more of that, if you ever expect or hope that another Scientologist will leave. It is the agent provocateur who wants to make defection feared.
FINDING THE WHO
Until Minton's appearance (or until they found his presence), the main targets were people like me, Stacy, Lerma, Wollersheim, etc. It had the appearance of a random group of dissidents. But Minton changed the game. This was not a guy who just posted to ARS. He was SUPPORTING people who posted to ARS.
I wrote about this once before, how Minton became the WHO. http://www.entheta.net/entheta/1stpersn/rvy/1997-048.html http://www.skeptictank.org/gen2/gen00073.htm
You have to know cult-think to really appreciate what a WHO means. But to keep it brief, it means if you can remove the WHO, you remove everything. As LRH said, the skies open, the birds sing and all is well. In short, everything reverses from Hell on Earth to Heaven on Earth.
With Minton, OSA/RTC had their WHO. It "explained" to them why there was a Lerma, an RVY, blah blah blah.
One of Minton's prime resources was ARS. That clearly brought it all together. OSA/RTC had been unable to handle ARS and now they had their reason: The WHO. If they could remove Minton (and the LMT), they could neutralize ARS and all of the main critics.
THE EARLIER SIMILAR
Hubbard's methods rely not only on the WHO but also in a belief of tight-knit conspiracies. He constructed them for decades. It ranged from the World Federation of Mental Health to the FBI and then finally he brought them together under the umbrella of Interpol. That was when he created the Snow White program, where I worked until raided by the FBI in 1977.
The organization works by these models set by Hubbard. Interpol became the model in 1972. It was close to the central core. But Interpol was merely the conduit, he said. There was still another conspiracy that was funding them and it was a pro-psych unit. They were behind not only Interpol but also all crime on the planet, right down to rock and roll. (Yeah, even rock and roll which was a psychiatric conspiracy brought to Earth from a galactic empire. Hubbard was the master of a Unified Field of Conspiracies.)
He used to call this invisible cabal SMERSH, from the James Bond novels. SMERSH could be found only by finding its outlets. By infiltrating these outlets, one can trace the influence back to find the actual SMERSH headquarters, the WHO.
Minton and the LMT was clearly the best chance they had to find SMERSH since he was connected to so many dissidents. The rest of us - me, Lerma, Wollersheim etc - would be seen as people who had been recruited by Minton so by tracing his connections, they would find SMERSH.
THE BEAUTY OF ARS
The great thing about ARS is that one doesn't have to be exposed. Walking into David Mayo's place gave a face. It made the agent vulnerable as he could be followed when he left. But ARS allowed anonymity. All one had to do was use the Xenu password, offer some criticism of the organization and one was in. Then just with some private emails, strike up some friendships.
One could even have multiple personalities through multiple accounts, an agent provocateur's dream. Personality X could then support and verify Personality Y and Z who would all be the same person. They could then all be in touch with ARS Critic Sally. If she needed verification, they would refer to each other.
And with the massive computer facilities that the organization has, it is nothing but a touch of the button to bring up all of Sally's posts. Then they just call on their little drones to do summaries, giving Sally's buttons, as to what she praised and what she criticized. And if Sally posts a lot, chances are she plain ole forgot a lot of the little facts but the APs have them on a list and it is no contest.
So with a little, "Hi, Sally, I see you like to collect sea shells when you are not on ARS. Well, guess what? I like them too." blah blah blah
Some people don't appreciate how APs work. They can take their time. They can chat with you about anything for months as they build the friendship. They aren't exactly "sleepers" but that technology is well known inside the organization. A "sleeper" is an agent who establishes residence and work and does nothing for years but just becomes a member of the community. Later, the "sleeper" is activated.
But in cybertime, a "sleeper" only needs a month, maybe only weeks of idle chit chat to convince a critic that they really are okay, that they really don't work for the organization and so they can be trusted. It is very simple.
AN INTERESTING STATISTIC
At one time when Deja News was on line, I happened to do a search. I found that when Minton was made their target, there were more messages about Minton than Hubbard.
At the time, I really didn't realize the import of this. Yes, I thought it a bit odd that a newsgroup that was about Scientology would be talking about Minton more than Hubbard but I hadn't pieced it together as to why the change.
Until then, the talk was mainly about the organization, its tactics, Hubbard and the bantering was pretty harmless, with some disagreements but the focus stayed on the topic of ARS. But Minton's arrival soon changed that and more "critics" began to appear who were suddenly talking about Minton.
Yeah, you say, that's because Minton is such a ...and you can fill in the blank.
Exactly my point, darling. Exactly my point.
The topic of ARS began to switch from Hubbard, Scientology, OSA/RTC etc., to the CRITICS. Some - like Diane Richardson - really led the way. No, I'm not saying she is an AP. Diane can make keen observations and she was able to pick apart a lot of people. But she - joined by several others - began to make the critics the topic. Of course, the actual critics didn't like it so they took on Diane. Supporters of Diane came in to defend her and attack her critics. Threads ensued that seemed to go on forever and there is no doubt that Miscavige and Company had a ball. All they had to do was run THEIR statistics to see the balance sheet and it began to run in their favor. Hubbard and they were dropping out of the picture and Minton and the critics began to move into the picture as the subject matter of ARS.
Meanwhile, the usual spam occurred, although what OSA/RTC did would wax and wane. Sometimes it was pro-organization. Sometimes it was anti-psych. Sometimes it was just plain ole spam.
The point was to merely dilute ARS and to turn it AWAY from the topic of ARS: alt.religion.scientology.
BACK TO MY POINT
I started this by saying how I had once remarked that the Net would prove to be to the organization what Viet Nam was to the US. The US, of course, became completely lost in Viet Nam and had to withdraw. I had actually believed that it would happen to the organization, that their ineptness with the Net would be as bad as the US strategy in Viet Nam.
I was wrong and the preceding points address that.
Miscavige and Company were able to adjust and IMHO they have succeeded. ARS used to be a forum where one could exchange ideas and information or go to for information. It was where media went to learn about the organization. But it long ago changed. It became a forum not where Scientology was discussed but where Scientology critics were discussed.
Before I retired, I was finding myself in that group. It was very cleverly done, under the guise of doing a "chronology" and analyzing the influences in the organization. Certainly sounds like a worthwhile enterprise and certainly not anything a pro-organization person would do.
And there I was, this mysterious person who moved in mysterious ways, always in the right place etc. I was expecting at any moment to find that I was on the Grassy Knoll. (laugh)
Actually, I thought it was quite skillfully done since any "refutation" of the material would require more time and words. But that, of course, would take me away from the actual topics that I wanted to discuss. So I really didn't take the bait. (Which proves that I really was a double agent, of course.)
But others jumped on these presentations and there were analyses of analyses and questions as to who was working for whom and ARS became this big forum for the discovery of The Truth About Critics. Who was who?
It wasn't until much later did I realize how wrong I had been that the organization wouldn't be capable of adjusting to the Net. They not only adjusted, they succeeded.
For that, I give David Miscavige a tip of the hat, a gesture he was never capable of doing regarding others. (I remember so well after my first TV encounter with Boston attorney Michael Flynn - what's with Boston? I tried to tell DM that Flynn was quite skilled in a TV encounter and he went over the edge, screaming it was impossible for an SP to have any skills. Oh well.)
LEARNING FROM HISTORY
If there are agent provocateurs everywhere, what does one do? The first temptation is to compound the problem by going looking for them and on ARS that would just play into Miscavige's hands. But I am sure the accusations and such will continue. Besides, who am I to say otherwise?
But there is no better way to tear an area apart than to go looking for the traitors and ARS is so ripe for that.
My best experience in the subject was back in the civil rights and anti-war movement. We didn't know until years later how much we had been infiltrated. The FBI's COINTELPRO program was directed at us. (COINTELPRO is another subject well studied in good ole Department 20, no matter what you call the department.)
There is a difference in that that we didn't have a clue we were so infiltrated and that government agencies were working to sabotage the movements, to the point of manufacturing evidence against people. It's all part of history now but, as Santayana said, those who don't remember history will be forced to relive it.
Those movements finally succeeded because the amount of attention put on the abuses we sought to rectify far outweighed any internal strife or finger pointing. The agent provocateurs (and some well-meaning people) would argue about the effectiveness of Joe or Tom or Sally and sometimes they even tried to get us to do illegal actions, which came out later as mere setups to get people arrested so the movements could be discredited. (Hi, Jesse!) We each had to simply decide what to do and we kept focused on the abuses we protested against.
Frankly, I think that the old COINTELPRO boys would have been impressed with what RTC/OSA has been able to do. I know after the FBI raid of 1977, one of the Assistant Directors said he was thoroughly impressed with the spy network that Dept 20 had established, infiltrating government offices and the like. He compared it to the some of the best spy bureaus of national governments.
Meanwhile, I've had double-agents run in on me and as much as I pride myself on knowing how it works, I was stung a couple of times. It is properly humbling. Only later did I realize the signs were there but I didn't pay attention.
What sort of signs? Nope, sorry. If the double agents each wore red hats and I were to say this, they would change. I used to think they couldn't do it that well and I've been proven wrong. It's a good lesson. I like it.
SO WHAT DOES ONE DO?
There's no easy solution. Only the cult thinks there are easy solutions.
All I can say is what I did in my years on ARS. Mainly I never bought into the off-line gossip. I don't think you will find one criticism I offered against any of the "critics," no matter what I privately thought of them. I kept my attention on the cult and tried to advise people how it worked. I'm not sure how good that worked, given the advances the cult has made into ARS, but it was as good as I could offer.
But it wasn't unlike ye olde anti-war/civil rights days. Back then, some of us didn't take well to certain tactics but we didn't make it a cause of them either. The liberals didn't like the ones who felt we should merely write letters to Congress. The conservatives in our ranks didn't like the mass protests, just to cite the more temperate examples.
In the end, it was the combination of expressions that did it. It wasn't important how a person protested the abuse but that he/she protested. That attitude caused a lot of criticism for we were then blamed for not stopping people who went over the line, like breaking into a draft office and pouring blood on records. It was only years later that we could begin to sort which were actually inspired and implemented by agent provocateurs so the movement could be blamed. That's why it is not easy.
The best rule was merely to stay focused on the abuse one wants to change and that every minute or hour spent on something else was time not spent on the abuse.
That's how ARS used to be, back when Hubbard was the topic of research and discussion. Yes, there was research into him back then. Now the research is into who is doing what at the LMT, as it was FACTNet a bit earlier and me a bit later.
For me, I'm glad I've retired from all of this. And more than ever, I am SOOOO glad that I don't have the responsibility of defending the cult as I did for decades. I see some of the stuff that goes down - like the Battlefield Earth fiasco - and try to imagine what the poor PRs are going through and I think, there but for the grace of SMERSH, go I. (little joke there, folks)
Speaking of their bad PR, I suppose some others caught that remark on HBO's now top rated show "Six Feet Under." A girl was with a counselor and when he asked her what she did for "fun" she said sometimes she goes on the Net and pretends "to be some whacko, like a Scientologist." Ouch. A lot of millions heard that line. Good luck to their PRs on getting THAT corrected. I am sure they are now looking for the psych connections to creator Alan Ball. Maybe he is in the pay of Minton! Yes!
It never ends. Fortunately, they are their own greatest enemy and THAT is something they will never be able to understand.
SO WHY DID I WRITE THIS?
If I'm out of all of this, why did I write this? As I said, after I retired to take on my own personal cancer, I dropped back in and what I saw nagged at me and I wanted to write about it but (1) my own condition and work was taking my time and (2) it seemed like a useless exercise.
But then recently, it nagged me again and I finally decided to do it for MY sake. Living with a terminal disease changes one's perspectives in major and small ways. One of them (for me) is that I don't like things to just be left hanging any more, especially something I really need to say to some friends. I feel better when I "get it off my chest." I also see that with other cancer patients and so we serve that function with each other, listening to a guy or gal who just has to "get it off their chest." We know what it means.
So this ain't advice. It was written as such because that was the way I had to say it. Maybe it is the last tiny vestiges/remnants that I had to "clean out" before I could go back to my new lifestyle, sort of some personal therapy. I didn't like what ARS had become and I never had a chance to express it all. Well, now I have.
And now I can get back to my real work.
HELLOS & GOODBYE (again)
There are friends out there who shared some times with me. I know you and wish you well. There are some that can't wait for the cancer to take its toll. That's fine. Doesn't bother me. I'm just sorry one has to have such an attitude. I hope you are free of the disease and never have to see what it means.
There are people who haven't a clue who I am but they won't get down this far. (Laugh - who will?) But I wish them well too.
There is no one in the cult who knew me who would DARE to express anything but disdain because I am this Big Bad SP who kills babies for fun. Having been in there for 21 years, I know that feeling. I hope they get a chance to know what it is like to be truly free.
So goodbye again. I might show up in another 18 months. If I am the equivalent of a WWI vet now, that will make me from the US Civil War. My, how time flies when you are having fun.
I wish you all well in this debate. There seems to be a new, growing social awareness in your people that we haven't seen around for a few decades. I've always had a faith in the next generations. May they accomplish what we only dreamed.