What did Keith Raniere tell his followers in Albany that would explain him running away to Mexico that would not seem like an act of cowardice?
The answer: He told his followers there was a death threat against him. From whom, or where, or when is not clear.
Keith added: He did not want to leave Albany. He was prepared to face the bullet, but supporters urged him – for the sake of the mission – to protect his body.
Keith said he would not run. It might not be ethical to leave at this critical time. Keith wanted to stay, he said, but his supporters begged and were forlorn and paralyzed with grief.
He knew they would blame themselves if anything happened and he realized the most ethical thing to do was to leave Albany. He reluctantly bid farewell to the place he intended never to leave – and went reluctantly – much like the Dalai Lama when he left his beloved Tibet to exile in India.
He did not leave because he was afraid of arrest.
It is not about his body or his safety that he was concerned about. Sometimes, a leader must heed followers to keep them from having broken hearts and destroying the very mission – by martyring. He personally desired to be a martyr. But leaders must sacrifice their cherished desires [in his case to be a martyr] for the sake of a higher mission.
The higher mission is to allow his followers to do their duty in protecting their leader.
If Gandhi’s followers had known he was to be assassinated and did nothing, it would have wreaked havoc on them forever. Gandhi’s assassination came by surprise. But in Keith’s case, it is known there was a death threat. He did not care to name where it came from – but he is known as a truthful man. He did not even care to alert the authorities for they are corrupt and may even be complicit in the plan, as all his followers believe.
Keith’s followers knew about the death threat and they must act to save him and he must acquiesce.
He is still among them in Clifton Park in spirit, he reminded them before he hastily departed on a private plane with Clare Bronfman for Mexico.