I originally sent this to Jim Rome earlier last week
and now am posting this as more or less an "open
letter." A lot of people are going to get turned
off within a few sentences, but I request they read
all the way through it before they flame. What is
presented below is a combination of common public
knowledge and my opinions.
Because of the content, I decided not to originally
send or now post this in an easily traceable manner
(I did this from a public portal) and because
of the inconvenience factor, and despite the
entertainment potential :-), I don't plan to check
private responses, either.
I am a long-time skydiver from Chicago. You
undoubtedly have been getting an onslaught of hate
email about your bashing of Roger Nelson. This
is not one of those emails. Roger getting himself
killed is poetic justice. Too bad he died a martyr.
Too bad Todd Fey will be remembered as the murderer
of Roger Nelson of SDC. The acronym "SDC" is how
jumpers refer to "Skydive Chicago" but to me it is
"Sex, Drugs, and Casualties."
From what people have been posting on the internet
in discussing what you said about Roger, they are
taking everything you said and twisting it around to
make you look clueless. Even though on some
technicalities you can be considered incorrect, in
essence you have hit the nail right on the head!
Myself, along with dozens of my closest skydving
buddies won't jump there due to safety concerns.
Roger Nelson has always bragged about how he has
the bestest, safest, etc., drop zone in the world,
so why are there two other drop zones within 20
miles? Me and all my buddies need someplace to jump!
For starters, the 14 fatalities number is incorrect.
It is, I think, 38. Why so large? He had a drop
zone in Sandwich, IL prior to his going to jail in
'87, and he also briefly ran the drop zone in Lake
Wales FL where he incurred two of those fatalities.
Also, if anyone calls the drop zone and asks
specifically how many people have died or if there
have been any deaths, they always lie and say "none."
This has been tested in the past by other drop zones
and is a running joke with everybody. Go ahead and
have somebody call there pretending to be a
prospective student and see what happens! Although
now, they might say "1" fatality :-)
In reality, the other competing drop zones don't
advertise how they are safer. They don't want to
stoop down to Roger's level. Besides, Roger already
advertises he is the safest drop zone in the world!
...and that is typical Roger behavior: work to cover
So, why are there still people skydiving there?
First of all, the facility has all the best that drug
money can buy (Roger went to jail before the seizure
laws went into effect and had lots of other money
stashed away). People love the toys and bling-bling,
regardless if it came from "dirty" money.
Next, Roger was one of the most charismatic people I
have ever met. If he could've bottled and sold it,
he'd have made more money than he ever did running
drugs. Unfortunately, he used this charisma to
convince his students they are capable of skydiving
acts that are beyond their experience. [ed note
for rec. posting: and had the same effect on
everyone else there from staff to visiting jumpers]
Skydiving is a sport that can't be learned out of a
textbook and then "just go do it." Experience has
to be built up before taking on bigger and bigger
feats. Roger was out to prove to the world he could
train his students faster and better than anyone
else, and the result was death and injury, all of
which was kept very quiet by his loyal disciples,
until the death numbers got so high, people began
to take notice. Still, it is hard for the
authorities to find a way to shut him down because
of the intangible quality to the factors that led to
what has been happening there.
"Disciples?" Yes... using that charisma, Roger bred
a cult-like atmosphere at his drop zone. Lots of
people don't call that place "the compound" for
The main reason there isn't a lot of Roger-bashing out
there is because most people are scared of reprisal
from the disciples, because these people are so messed
up that they would be convinced they were acting in
the name of their Lord. Hence why you've gotten this
from me anonymously. There is one guy who has the
balls to publicly expose Roger and that is Terry
Murray. If you want to contact him for more details
(he was on the inside of that organization for years
until he decided to get out): tandm...@aol.com
What basis is there for this? First of all, one of
the things about Roger that pisses me off more than
anything is that he is a false Christian. His
philosophy is that he can sin all he wants and as
long as afterwards he begs forgiveness, he's back on
the list for Upstairs. He just doesn't get it.
Roger is very good at hiding his bad side. The
people defending Roger are those that either had
limited dealings with him, are newer jumpers, or
have a financial interest in the drop zone. Roger
first discovered God right before he was arrested
for his 1980's drug smuggling. Gee whiz. The closer
he got to being convicted, the more religious he got.
Now, in recent years, rumor had it the feds again were
taking notice of how big Roger had gotten and
wondering where the money was coming from, and Roger
has gotten increasingly religious over these past few
years. He knew the feds were close to taking him down
Last year, Roger's son complained to daddy that
another jumper "cut him off" while they were under
their parachutes preparing to land. This other
jumper was part of the staff. Roger, without
checking into things, went ballistic, made a huge
scene, and threatened the guy's life if he ever did
that again. Yup, sounds like a good Christian to
me! Not! That jumper now works at a different drop
zone. This pattern repeats itself over and over.
Then there is Roger and women. A few years ago
while the family was on vacation in Florida, Roger
stole his son's girlfriend. This also led to his
divorce. Yup, what a good Christian.
Getting back to safety, even though in the last year
he's been doing better because of the microscope he's
had on his operation, historically, he was putting
out students in any kind of weather conditions.
There is an old saying: "What do experienced jumpers
do at Ottawa when it is too windy to jump? Have a
beer and watch the students."
Now, about this particular accident. As quoted
indirectly in the Chicago Tribune, Roger's attorney
and partner, Fred Morrelli (and supported by
Chris Needels) left out a few facts. Fred said
Roger was low man and Chris said Roger had
right-of-way and thus it was the other jumper's
fault. According to numerous first-hand accounts
I've heard, what they didn't say is that Roger was
low man for about a split-second prior to collision,
and that Roger was doing his usual: trying to
"thread the needle" as he comes in for a high
performance landing while flying around the other
parachutes. Roger kept preaching safety and is a
classic example of "do what I say, not as I do"
which, of course, never works. This kind of
behavior trickles from the top down and is the
primary contributing factor to many of the fatalities
and is why, in this case, statistics don't lie! There
really is a safety issue here and it all comes from
the way people are treating the sport at Skydive
Chicago. Again, too bad Todd Fey has been tagged
by the flock and will be remembered as the murderer
of Roger Nelson.
Maybe now with Roger gone, the new powers-that-be
may finally have a chance to think about things on
their own and will listen to everybody and not just
the "thought police" who will try to carry on the
legacy, and fundamentally change the way they think
about the sport. I would love it if I would no
longer have to think of the initials "SDC" as "Sex,
Drugs, and Casualties."
> I am a long-time skydiver from Chicago. You
> undoubtedly have been getting an onslaught of hate
> email about your bashing of Roger Nelson. This
> is not one of those emails. Roger getting himself
> killed is poetic justice.
Whatever Roger did on this earth, calling his death justice is on the other
side of extreme.
> Roger Nelson has always bragged about how he has
> the bestest, safest, etc., drop zone in the world,
> so why are there two other drop zones within 20
Some left due to safety concerns. Others left because the didn't like Roger
or his style and methods of running a DZ. Whatever one says about Roger, if
you jumped at his place, you pretty much did things his way. Some found that
> Me and all my buddies need someplace to jump!
> For starters, the 14 fatalities number is incorrect.
> It is, I think, 38. Why so large? He had a drop
> zone in Sandwich, IL prior to his going to jail in
> '87, and he also briefly ran the drop zone in Lake
> Wales FL where he incurred two of those fatalities.
For decades, Roger pushed past the edge of the skydiving envelope. Most of
the changes he pushed for were good. There was however a different attitude
there that was hard to understand by those of us not from there.
> So, why are there still people skydiving there?
> First of all, the facility has all the best that drug
> money can buy (Roger went to jail before the seizure
> laws went into effect and had lots of other money
> stashed away). People love the toys and bling-bling,
> regardless if it came from "dirty" money.
If you have problems riding in aircraft that were somehow funded by drug
money or other felonies, a large number of DZ's and aircraft would be off
limits to you. I don't excuse or support that, but it is much broader than
> Skydiving is a sport that can't be learned out of a
> textbook and then "just go do it." Experience has
> to be built up before taking on bigger and bigger
> feats. Roger was out to prove to the world he could
> train his students faster and better than anyone
> else, and the result was death and injury, all of
> which was kept very quiet by his loyal disciples,
> until the death numbers got so high, people began
> to take notice.
This is an honest question. How many of the fatalities were students or
Most that I recall were experienced skydivers. But I don't know the numbers.
> The main reason there isn't a lot of Roger-bashing out
> there is because most people are scared of reprisal
> from the disciples, because these people are so messed
> up that they would be convinced they were acting in
> the name of their Lord.
I have been pretty open about my views of SDC, good and bad. I have not seen
any black helicopters hovering over my house, or camouflaged hit men behind
> What basis is there for this? First of all, one of
> the things about Roger that pisses me off more than
> anything is that he is a false Christian. His
> philosophy is that he can sin all he wants and as
> long as afterwards he begs forgiveness, he's back on
> the list for Upstairs.
You just defined the general view of half the Catholics I know, and more
than a few evangelists protestants.
> He just doesn't get it.
> Roger is very good at hiding his bad side. The
> people defending Roger are those that either had
> limited dealings with him, are newer jumpers, or
> have a financial interest in the drop zone. Roger
> first discovered God right before he was arrested
> for his 1980's drug smuggling. Gee whiz. The closer
> he got to being convicted, the more religious he got.
I knew a lot of people that looked to God at times when they were in trouble
or ill. It is not a rare thing.
> Getting back to safety, even though in the last year
> he's been doing better because of the microscope he's
> had on his operation, historically, he was putting
> out students in any kind of weather conditions.
> There is an old saying: "What do experienced jumpers
> do at Ottawa when it is too windy to jump? Have a
> beer and watch the students."
I don't begin to excuse it, but I have seen that at several DZ's.
> Roger was doing his usual: trying to
> "thread the needle" as he comes in for a high
> performance landing while flying around the other
> parachutes. Roger kept preaching safety and is a
> classic example of "do what I say, not as I do"
> which, of course, never works. This kind of
> behavior trickles from the top down and is the
> primary contributing factor to many of the fatalities
> and is why, in this case, statistics don't lie!
I absolutely agree, but again it is a broad problem. The number of people
dying from high speed landings under working, and fully deployed canopies is
unacceptable. At SDC and anywhere else.
So Roger was Roger - what else is new? Whether he was a charismatic
visionary or a conniving huckster, a saint or the spawn of hell kind of
depends on who you ask.
He was creative in his approach to amassing wealth. Big deal - lots seed
money has been raised by marketing contraband, and he was a bit tougher to
nail than, say, John DeLorean.
However, credible reports that he sold out other jumpers to soften his fall
are beyond the pale as far as I'm concerned, and I'm actually impressed that
he didn't get whacked as a result.
As far as his religiosity is concerned, who cares? The whole planet is full
of people who adhere to The Truth - a commodity that varies drastically from
person to person. So far as I can tell it's all a lot of malarkey, so it
doesn't matter whether I'm right or wrong. My guess is that Roger's
religion was no more or less full of shit than most, and he never had the
bad manners to try to inflict it on me. Similarly, when I gave him a hard
time it was always about other issues.
When people for whom I have no respect die I try to withhold comment, and
seek to neither eulogize nor vilify them - in public, at least. The people
that know the bad news about them are already in the loop, and those who are
unaware are likely to assume that an factual account is exaggerated and
Thus, Terry's diatribes railing against Roger were to nobody's benefit, and
this posting falls into the same category. Given that all your accusations
have some basis in truth - what's your point?
>Thus, Terry's diatribes railing against Roger
I guess its time for me to start again?
what good is it going to do?
Roger is gone, what ever he did is in the past, and not going to get changed
Your opinion of Roger and your view of the facts are whatever they are. You
are entitled to them and I have no desire to debate with you. Why, however,
do you choose to vent skydiving issues to a wuffo piece of shit like Jim
Rome? Trying for some free Bull's tickets?
nuff said,,, but im on yer kill file, who de LLL are yew
oh NOOo its not,,, you promised another skydiver,,, MEEEEEE--
you didnt swear,, you PROMISED.
No, Terry, you have had your say for now. Let it be for now. No need for
more salt. Time now, to continute to exercise the restraint that you have
been exercising. You know me and you know I mean that. Take care, bro, and
It's a good thing we are reading this and not listening to an audio
tape of you, because we would not be able to undersatnd you with that
big wad of cotton in your mouth!
Yes, I am calling you a pussy!!! If you are going to put your opinion
and what you presume as facts out there, put your name on it as well.
I will just assume at this point that you are nothing more than an
uneducated asshole friend of Jim Rome's and not really a skydiver at
Thank you Amy!
Gawd! What an arrogant, self-serving, misguided and wholly insensitive
missive. What an a-- h---!
I feel really sorry for you, "notfromsdc"--IF THAT IS YOUR REAL NAME. And I
am glad to, for now at least, disown you from any of my "family" that Roger
and all of SDC had welcomed me into.
I am nobody. But I am sure that my sentiments are echoed.
But soft landings and safe home anyway, to you, however hypocritical that
might sound at this point.
not sure why all the ax grinding?
what's the point?
what's in it for you? ... and others with a dull ax?
get on with your life ... if you have one.....
I will sign my name.
"notfrom sdc" <sdcn...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
I pretty much ignored the rest of your post but I take great exception with
this statement. Todd is not a murderer. He's a skydiver. He's one of us.
And no one, but no one is going to touch him. He was sitting with us Sunday
night even in the Baglander area. (That's the oldtimers for those that don't
know.) He met with Roger's sister. The family does not view Todd as a
murderer or anything else. Roger's sister stated that again during Roger's
memorial. I sat next to Todd while Carlene spoke. I support Todd in his
efforts to recover from his injuries and to return to the sport. Todd is a
No one had better lay a finger on Todd or they will have me to answer to. Put
that in your pipe and smoke it you anonymous piece of crud.
Chris, I'll back you up 100% on this one and I'm sure the rest of the
skydiving community will also (with the exception of this lowlife).
NNFS #3 FB #1091
"Diverdriver9" <diverd...@cs.com> wrote in message
What "class" does it take if Todd legitimately did "nothing wrong"?
Serious question here, and I am NOT disparaging or "flaming" ANYONE.
On one hand we hear that Todd did nothing wrong, and further is a
member of our "family", yet somehow it took some herculean stretch of
class to have invited him to the services. This, to me indicates that
sentiment is in reality, otherwise.
Which is it? (again, seriously)... Can't mature, reasonably THINKING
adults reasonably debate FACTS without degenerating into either vieled
-or even direct threats? Who said anybody was gonna "touch" anybody
else? I think the 1st thing we all need to know is FACTUALLY what has
happened here (so that maybe others -for better or worse) can maybe
LEARN from it, so that we can maybe (hopefully) prevent even just one
more of our brothers or sisters from going in, in such fashion. Or am
I just too "poly-anna" here?
Laying the finger of "blame", or physical assault for that matter,
serves no purpose at all to ANY of us, IMHO. No matter which side of
the coin you fall upon. ---Just an "opinion" from (this) one outside
Fuck with Todd and I will deal with you.
I give you my word.
"Diverdriver9" <diverd...@cs.com> wrote in message
tell toddy, he is not alone... anybody that has been in this sport very long
understands that accidents happens.-- We may be quiet,, we may be in the back
ground, but ,,, after 10 years, toddy will understand... that WE understand.
Accidents happen in this sport... sucks dont it.
smile,, i'll bring the PIPE-- you bring the "something"
>No one had better lay a finger on Todd or they will have me to answer to.
Chris, why don't you post your version of what happened? Not everybody had a
chance to read dz.com before they locked the thread. Please, only the facts!
BTW, I personally in no way believe think Todd is a murderer.
Sorry about the long link. Not too swift on the wreck these days.
"Orange Splat" <wgspu...@worldnet.att.net> wrote in message
The whole point being, now that Roger Nelson is gone, maybe his
international drug operations will disappear? Not likely....About as
likely as the USPA (United States Pushers Association) getting rid of
their top drug users from the board.
It's a God Dam shame that non drug using instructors have to pay annual
fees to an organization whose board is infested with people like Roger
Nelson, in order to maintain a rating.
Just look at USPA's director, Chris...All the old timers known that the
USPA board of directors falls into the same catagory as Roger Nelson...
Big time drug users!
YEE HAWWW,, i'm with you buddy,, HIGH FIVE... i shroe as hell hope the
international drug operations dont disappear.
However lets be real. Rook is a bit young and quite frankly i dont thnk he can
step into the old mans shoes with this one... and yes, messy is a cute one,,
but,,, nawww,,Mullins could pull it off, but i hear he is retired, and since he
flies for a living, he cant drink much anymore... AND I dont trust anybody that
cant drink as much as me on a saturday night.
Heap big indian,, you know as well as i do,,, WE need new blood. . I"m
thinking--Perhaps, if we real nice,, maybe we can talk Tantrum terry into IT,,
i mean, think about it,, he already has experience in hiding and finding
opps,,, i wasnt going to say the terry word, but maybe he can find humor here
SAYYY WHAT you an instructor and you dont use drugs JEESEEEE,, hey Buzz,, i
bet he likes your cypress rule too.. You need to hire this guy... Do us a favor
and send him an application, and find out who he is. heheheeheheheh
WELLLNOWWWW,, i'm pissed,,
THEY ARE BOGARTS-- they hiding their stash from meeeee
If you are going to take God's name in vain, the least you could do is spell
Whars my hinny
even dat pussy windsor is holding out on me
WINDSOR,, YOU BOGART
Now that one threw me. I first met Chris Needles at Raeford in 1970. He was the
commander of the USAPT. "Big time drug user" doesn't fit my first impression or
Ron Schott, Founder/Administrator
CHRISTIAN SKYDIVERS ASSOCIATION
D 1120, POPS 1868, ACA L1869, CSA 1, FOB 316, DDW 872, CCA AN03-881