X-Message-Number: 4567
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 1995 22:58:21 -0800
From:  (American Cryonics Society)

This is further follow up to the  American Cryonics
Society-BioPreservation, Inc. (ACS-BPI) contract cancellation, and the new
information and opinions added by Steve Bridge in his Message #4556.

Thanks to Steve for posting the original article "THE ADVANTAGES OF
IN-HOUSE SUSPENSION TEAMS," which appeared in the Alcor in-house
publication *Phoenix*.  While Alcor is kind enough to send us issues of
*Cryonics* Magazine, I don't believe I have ever seen a copy of the
*Phoenix*, which I understand is a newsletter.  A copy of the newsletter
where this article appeared would be appreciated.

While I realize the article was written for Alcor insiders, and in-house
publications serve, partly at least, to assure members that they are "in
good hands," a couple of corrections and statement of diverse opinion is
certainly in order in this forum.

First, I was surprised at Steve's statement that: "Leaders of both CryoCare
and ACS state that they feel it is an advantage to their members if a
cryonics organization contracts solely with outside providers for those
services."  I have not gone back and tried to review all of the things that
ACS leaders have said over the past 26 years, but I'm not aware of ACS
leaders making such statements.  In fact, if we held such beliefs, we would
not have expended the considerable time, money, and energy to make sure we
did not have to depend  solely upon contract providers.  If ACS leaders
ever did hold such opinions, our experience in contracting with service
providers, well before we ever contracted with BPI, certainly disabused us.

The problem of not being able to provide members with the level of
suspension (or other) services desired, because of one occurrence or
another, is not solved simply by having in-house suspension services.
Also, any cryonics society which has been around a long time, like ACS and
Alcor, has times in its history when it was damned lucky a member didn't
pick that time to deanimate.  Our own approach to wider access to
suspension services has been to both contract with others we deemed
competent, and to develop in-house response.

Perhaps of equal importance to in-house capability, and contracts, is
cultivating GOOD WILL among fellow cryonicists.  Contrary to ACS leaders
believing in the strict limitations suggested by Steve, we believe ALL
SUSPENSION RESOURCES OF ALL COMPANIES should be made available whenever
possible to any member of any organization who is in distress.  ACS can be
proud of its record of cooperation and open-handedness.  Last year I
assisted with a stand-by for a CryoCare member, and although we have no
written mutual cooperation agreement with CryoCare, I know many of its
members would reciprocate.  ACS has offered use of any of its suspension
supplies and equipment (ACS volunteers, I know, would also make their own
services available) to Alcor North people.  This is a unilateral
commitment: Alcor has not reciprocated, but that doesn't bother us much.
Cooperation has to start somewhere.  I will add, however, that individual
Alcor members (as well as CryoCare members) have frequently volunteered.

ACS has a contract with the Cryonics Institute (CI) which makes the
resources of CI available to ACS members as specified in the contract.  We
have enjoyed an excellent relationship with CI which has certainly
benefited our members.  Royce Brown, who is a member of ACS and CI (I
believe he is also an Alcor member) has offered to travel anywhere in the
world to help with a suspension or to be on-site to help cut through
red-tape to get a patient shipped to the United States.  Royce also
personally purchased some suspension equipment, and has it on loan to ACS
(it is also available to CI).  Keith Henson, a long-time member of Alcor
who is also an ACS member, has loaned or given ACS considerable equipment
and supplies (of course it is also available for an Alcor suspension).  The
point is that the ACS spirit of willingness to help any cryonicist, any
time, has been rewarded by many people coming forward with offers of their
skills, equipment, and money.  No cryonics society is big enough, rich
enough, or has enough internal resources to be able to assure its members
that they will always get top-flight service.  Even all together we can't
do that, but we can come much closer than we can where a handfull of
flea-sized companies horde their resources and each brags about being the
best, brightest, and most self-sufficient flea on the dog.

While Alcor has suspended many members, and is certainly very committed, it
has "lived in interesting times."  The model on which Alcor was founded was
one of prime dependence on a profit-making partner:  Manrise, Inc.  When
Manrise was merged with Trans Time, Alcor still depended upon a single
provider.  When CryoVeta became the suspension company for Alcor (and ACS)
and Trans Time was the long-term storage provider, (with CryoVeta
contracting its services through Trans Time), Alcor was still dependent.
When CryoVeta broke with Alcor and took its equipment elsewhere Alcor must
have had some uneasy moments.  Alcor was hardly as capable just after the
deanimation of Jerry Leaf, as it was before.  When Mike Darwin, and others
who would form competing companies, broke with Alcor, it can hardly be
argued that Alcor's suspension capability didn't suffer.  When the
Riverside County Coroner raided Alcor and removed most of its suspension
equipment and supplies, and many records, Alcor was damned lucky no member
deanimated.  I could extend this list, but I think you get the picture.
There are many unfortunate happenings which can adversely effect
(temporarily or long-term), any cryonics organization, and Alcor has had
more than its share.  Many of these adverse occurrences will have an even
more devastating effect on a company who is committed to in-house
self-sufficiency than on one which also makes use of contractors.  While it
would be foolish for ACS to be overly dependent on contractors, especially
for immediate response, it is equally unwise to shun the use of contractors
(as a back-up if nothing else).  Ladies and Gentlemen, we are all very
vulnerable to the whims of circumstance, and none of us is big enough, or
good enough, or wise enough, to be proud.

I disagree with both Steve and Mike, somewhat, on their respective
suggested strategies to choose a cryonics organization.  When I first
became interested in cryonics, the movers and shakers were THE CRYONICS
were just barely big enough to be called cryonics societies.  Most people
following the strategy of either Mike or Steve, would have joined one or
the other of the big two.  The Cryonics Society of New York disintegrated,
and if you were unlucky enough to be a client of the Cryonics Society of
California you would have ended up as a statistic in the Chatsworth
disaster.  I'll say it once again: MOST CRYONICISTS LIVE IN A FOOL'S
PARADISE.  You look around, ask lots of hard questions, then you  "pays yer
money an' takes yer chances?"  Therein lies the path to disaster.

The cryonics societies (I include ACS in this criticism, though less-so
than others), lay the foundation for their downfall by encouraging
paternalism.  In order to induce members to part with $150,000 or so
(either at their own deaths, or on behalf of loved-ones) we say: "we can be
trusted; we will take care of you."  If you go to a society and ask: "why
should I trust you?" and the person behind the desk replies: "Well, you
gotta' trust someone," get out of there as fast as your legs will carry
you.  If instead the person replies: "Cripes, man, you shouldn't!  Only a
fool would trust ANY society," that's the club for you; join it and (of
course) never trust it.  There are many risk-management strategies, all
based on the idea that no society should be trusted, which you can
implement.  There are also many which your society itself can, and should,
put into place.  No one is more vulnerable to abuse than a dead guy with
lots of money.  If you take candy from a baby at least the baby will cry.

Finally, if you can afford it, join more than one society (preferably as a
full member, eligible to participate in the suspension program).  Put them
through their paces.  You can weed out one or more (society) as you become
more sophisticated.  When the Cryonics Society of California was first
showing signs of its ultimate failure, the members who were also members of
other cryonics societies saw the problems first, and were saved.  Those who
were, like mushrooms, "kept in the dark and fed bullshit," because their
only information was propaganda generated by their one paternalistic
cryonics society, and were unfortunate enough to die and be frozen by that
organization, are now worm-food.

Long life,

Jim Yount

American Cryonics Society                 (408)734-4200
                   FAX (408)734-4441
P.O. Box 1509
Cupertino, CA 95015

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