By John Tighe
[John Tighe is a writer who created and edited the blog Saratoga In Decline. He is currently a federal inmate in FMC Devens in Devens, MA.]
For those who wish for me to comment on my present circumstances: This is neither the time nor the forum as I am in the process of seeking early release – and don’t want to do anything that will interfere with that process.
But I can assure you that there will come a day when justice will be restored to my life.
Meantime, sitting in prison, reading about the horrors of Keith Raniere and his devotees, I’m struck by a level of depravity and cruelty I don’t witness even in here.
In prison, there are lots of guys who committed drug crimes and fiscal crimes. We have sex criminals and murderers along with mentally ill inmates.
I’ve learned a lot here about human decency and kindness.
One of the most striking things I’ve found in here is that many people who have done horrible things in life are capable of acts of kindness and compassion – after the mask of drug-fueled mental illness is taken away. Many truly regret the damage they inflicted on their families and their victims.
They feel remorse for not doing more with the life God gave them. Many accept the fact that they belong here and neither feel anger nor bitterness at their incarceration. In other words, they now see themselves with the clarity and lucidity that sobriety or mental health treatment afforded them.
They grew and matured as human beings in prison. Many now are able to live by the Golden Rule or make an effort to find God and forgiveness.
Most of these prisoners came from broken homes, child abuse, extreme poverty, and worse. Many got a raw deal on life since the day they were born. For many, this is the first time they’ve had access to medical treatment or three meals a day. Still, deep inside, most have an innate sense of human decency. I’m not saying their upbringing excuses their criminal behavior but it mitigates it. I’m not saying that there are no unrepentant, dangerous social and sexual deviants here. [I hope some inmates never see the light of day again, but those are exceptions, not the rule.]
This brings me to when self-help becomes de-evolution.
I think about the idle rich and bored who found Raniere and his teachings so exciting. Many of these were trust fund babies, the product of wealth without labor – who were seeking meaning in their lives.
These spoiled, self-entitled ones – the heart of Nxivm – the kind who profit off the backs of those who labor. The ones who search for the latest Hot Yoga studio or that newest lunch spot. The ones who speak of the “latest technology” to cure the disintegration of civilization. The ones who feast at the table of Ayn Rand – and who believe that greed is good and charity is for suckers.
In these empty shells of human existence, I don’t see an elevation of humankind but a de-evolution and a lack of empathy and lack of family ties. These individuals, acting in a group, de-evolved to a primitive state of self-interest. A form of devil worship from a group that was too sophisticated to ever admit they believed in God.
I mean people like the parents of Dani, Mariana and Cami who searched for meaning from one guru to another – eventually sacrificing their own daughters to Raniere. And let’s not forget Nancy Salzman who also cut the heart out of her own daughters and fed it to him – in the name of self-growth.
Then we have all those who profited off this cancer of NXIVM. The lawyers who aided and abetted an ongoing criminal enterprise. The politicians who looked the other way. And law enforcement officials who acted as NXIVM’s private security force and supported Raniere’s efforts to put innocent people in prison.
Are you proud of yourselves? “To Protect and Serve”? Was the money worth it?
Remember, there may not always be justice in this life, but there certainly will be in the next life and the eyes of God are always on you.
One day soon, I will have far more to say about this. For now, I must wait patiently for justice to come. My day will be coming – for my freedom first – and then for the truth and for justice to shine for me and my family.
Truth, a righteous, crusading truth has already lit upon Keith Raniere and his gruesome family of Nxivm.