Prison Time For Self Help Guru. Will It Do Any Good?

In October 2009, a self help guru named James Arthur Ray held a sweat lodge ceremony in which 3 men died because of excessive heat. Ray was recently sentenced, and received two years in prison for negligent homicide.

“This doesn’t bring Kirby back. This doesn’t bring back James or Liz,” said Brown’s mother, Virginia. “But certainly time in prison is a deterrent and will serve as a warning to the self-help industry.”

Unfortunately, time in prison is not a deterrent. How could it be? What would it have stopped him from doing? Ray was blissfully unaware of any danger. People with no medical training are, by definition, acting outside of their competencies all the time when acting in any sort of a ‘healing’ ceremony.  As long as untrained gurus are allowed to ‘treat’ people with no oversight or regulation, there will be incidences in which they cause more harm than good. The victims in the sweat lodge were showing all the signs of heat stroke. A high school football coach would have had more training in diagnosing the heat stroke than Ray did.

Medical training isn’t a magic bullet. Deaths still do occur on the watch of competent trained people. But, the training they receive does increase their competency, as well as weed out those that just can’t hack it. What confidence could anyone have in a ‘guru’?

Explore posts in the same categories: "Alternative" Medicine

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