Keith Raniere should be proud. For years, he wished for his enemies to land in prison, possibly be sodomized or raped and never see freedom again.
Mainly he wished this on women. His former girlfriends and other friends.
He wished it on some men too – such as Joe O’Hara and myself.
In the end, he wound up just where he wanted all of us to be. He is likely to be there for a long time.
Some might say it shows the mental power of the Vanguard. He pictured us all in prison so vibrantly that he went there himself.
Now, he’s in virtual solitary confinement – 23 hours in his cell, one hour out. His food served cold. Having no choice in his diet, or little choice.
Ironic too, since for years he commanded his women followers, telling them what to eat, demanding they limit their caloric intake to an unhealthy 800 calories per day.
He set up a plan with women that they would never get a full night’s sleep. He told them that sleep showed they were disintegrated and that something was wrong with them spiritually, ethically and intellectually, if they slept the amount of sleep – straight in a row – that humans need for good health.
While he slept 8, 10, or sometimes 12 hours – and was not to be disturbed.
Now, he sleeps to his heart’s content in jail. Indeed, in his lock up, in his tiny cell, he has little else to do but sleep. He can do the sleeping for all the women he deprived of sleep for so many years.
I was always struck by the Nxivm women being both attractive but somehow somewhat grey around the gills. Their auras seemed grey. Maybe it was lack of sleep, lack of nutrition, while the monster was conning them into semi-starvation and sleep deprivation – all the better to make them compliant.
Now, he is compliant. He takes orders every day from guards whose IQ and ethical standards are far lower than his – he would tell you.
In reality, he is a sadist and monster. Even the most sadistic guards might be hard-pressed to be as sadistic as he was. I strongly suspect that even brutal prison guards, had they the lavish lifestyle, the women, the Bronfman money, would have chilled a little and enjoyed a life without causing unnecessary pain.
Keith has time to reflect on this now. Perhaps he is a reflective man. Our sources at MDC say he frequently cries at night. Real tears, real sobbing. This is not for effect. He goes to sleep crying like a baby. He made his bed and now he cries himself to sleep on it.
Meantime, he has no privacy, no dignity. Despite him being innocent until proven guilty, he is detained in a jail that is worse than most prisons. He is stripped searched – including at times his anal cavity – whenever he goes to meet his lawyers or goes to court – both coming and going.
He stripped a lot of women and some girls too – forcibly in some instances – taking away their pride and dignity and right to their own bodies. Now he is searched and inspected naked in front of male guards, some of whom openly mock him. They call him Gushing Guru, Keith Manson and Crybaby Jane.
They make sure he gets the worst food, is served last, and gets the last choice for books brought round on a cart. He has no TV, no music, no place to walk all day. Just a small cell to sit and brood. And cry.
He has made himself uniquely unliked in jail, where it is possible to try to be liked. When he was on the outside, he demanded everyone love him and offer him tribute for the wonderful things he claimed he was doing for them. Now he suffers, as he made others suffer.
How much of this he has realized is anybody’s guess. The cause and inevitable effect of his life. His living conditions are so hellish he may be falling apart. He may have descended into madness. He was always delusional. He was always a vain monster. He used to have an adoring audience and numerous fuck toys. Now, he has only himself to contend with. How much reflection he is engaged in is hard to measure. Physically, he looks like hell. His mental condition may be likewise.
In his day, he walked about his dominion with absolute authority and had his way every day.
In jail, he was in so much fear in the general population that he might be thankful to be in the Special Housing Unit.
Despite his claims of being a judo expert and athlete, he could not defend himself either physically or intellectually among the common rung of men in jail and he was beaten regularly. As a prank, inmates enjoyed taking and breaking his eyeglasses. Sometimes they snatched them right off his face. Helpless, he could do nothing about it but cry and tell the guards and rage to himself.
The guards laughed at the fun.
When two Mexicans – perhaps angry with his treatment of Mexican women – decided to punk him, ultimately leading to his being beaten, kicked and pummeled about the head, as he lay in a fetal position on the ground, defenseless as a child – sobbing and screaming for help – the guards took their own sweet time getting there.
He was in fear of his life in general population – crying and fearful – your Vanguard. He had neither the physical ability nor the brains to live with even prisoner dignity among other pretrial detainees.
I know of another individual who went into MDC with probably not much more physical acumen than Raniere. He had brains and found a way to get along and do well. He did what he had to do to be valuable to other inmates, even writing letters for them and getting rewarded for it. He said, “You don’t have to be the toughest guy in jail to make friends.”
But Raniere could never think beyond himself. He could never think beyond what he wants and needs. He could never see anyone as his equal, never have a friend, for friendship requires exchange, some recognition of the other person as an equal. Some affection. Raniere never had any of this ever. Not on the outside and not in jail. He’s not wired that way. He cannot even imagine recognizing someone as his equal, someone as special or important. His entire view of humanity is what can someone do for him?
He got so good at it, that it became a game. It wasn’t enough to get people to do things for him, he had too many of those people. He had to get them to do good things for him while he did things to destroy them, while making them think he was their benevolent teacher dedicated to helping them.
This, I think, was his greatest, secret pleasure.
Not only hurting his self-declared enemies, but hurting those who trusted him. Destroying their lives slowly while he got the best out of them, out of their loyalty to him, and then discarding them.
If he had the slightest degree of empathy, of camaraderie, he might have made some friends at MDC and he could survive. But it is not in him. He must be adored, regarded highly, given tribute, admired. And he must punish. He has no one to punish at MDC and indeed everyone is punishing him.
This is the laughable irony. Everyone in jail, at MDC, from what I am told, all the guards, the inmates, everyone thinks of him as a loathsome loser.
This is much like on the outside. Were he to walk among society, most people knowing his story would consider him loathsome.
I was struck by something Keith said in his last interview, prior to be arrested. He interviewed with Vanessa Grigoriadis for the New York Times Magazine and said, “I don’t think I’m seen as the person I think I am, and I also want to be the person that I think I am.”
Although it was meant as bullshit profoundis – fake humility, a man pretending to be in search of truth, who is really only attempting a con job on a reporter – it actually had a ring of truth.
He is seen pretty much seen in jail as the person he really is – but not the person he thinks he is.
Yet, I do believe he wants to be the person he thinks he is — the exalted Vanguard. But that is no more, and will never come again.
On the outside, people who hear about him or read about his monstrous nature, think of him as something akin to less than a man. A conscienceless being. A man who brands women with his initials. That’s what they remember.
The fool tried to tell one woman he wanted to brand that if it were Bill Gates’ or Lincoln’s initials, nobody would complain. This show his incredible lack of comprehension of how others think and feel.
Today, Keith Raniere is relegated to a cage. Some of his enemies might be celebrating his suffering. I am not. I am happy, of course, he is in cage, only insofar as that he cannot harm others. I do not wish him to suffer. Yet, he has to suffer. This he cannot avoid for he did cause so much suffering for others. And he simply can’t be freed to roam among innocent humans.
Until I met Keith Raniere, I was naive. I never knew – perhaps I should have – that such evil can exist in a human being – not to speak of one who on the surface can seem charming and have a dedicated group of seemingly intelligent followers swearing to his wonderful, kind nature. But it unfolded before me. I saw what he did to me – how he tried to get me in prison. To destroy my life was one of his goals. I made it my goal to do the same to him. But my effort was not one of vindictiveness or sadistic joy. I was fighting for my life.
I wrote more than 2,000 stories about him because he needed to be stopped, not because I hated him, like he hates all people. In the course of so doing, I found out a lot about him.
I am sorry that people such as Keith Raniere can be born and exist. I would wish that no human would ever descend to the level of Keith Raniere. And I wish there was a cure for him. Some medicine or shock therapy that would make him safe to be among humans. To let him out of his cage. But I doubt there is such a cure. He has to be in a cage.
Maybe some future humanity will find away to cure dangerous mental illness such as Raniere has and make him safe to be around his betters. Until then, people like Raniere have to be caged.
And if he ever sees the light of day, say 20 years from now – as he approaches his 80s, perhaps he will be a harmless old man with plenty of regret, free to once again see adult humans of both genders and free to exchange with them. [Although I believe he should probably never be permitted to be near girls under the age of 17.)
Still, it is an irony. He is the one who had it all – women, sex, adoration, disciples, untold wealth, lovely followers who hung on his every word, the true luxury to do what he wanted every day, people vying to fulfill his every whim – his wish being their command, and he blew it. For only one reason: He had to add hate and vengeance to all his pleasures.
Raniere’s present state is about as abysmal as anyone I know. He has nothing to look forward to, no future. A lifetime of grey despair. He will not be acquitted. After he is convicted, he will spend decades in prison in a high security prison where life is tough and there are few pleasures.
Considering what he has now, compared to what he had just a year ago, and how he blew it, Keith Raniere may just qualify as the stupidest man in the world.