Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

The Rise and Fall of R.I.S.E.

May 3rd, 2013 · 3 Comments

Pera and Schwander Poison PlotThe two young men above once dreamed of committing a truly dreadful act: poisoning Chicago’s water supply, in order to kill millions and further the ambitions of their revolutionary organization, R.I.S.E. Mainstream press accounts of their failed caper describe them as incompetent fools, but this case study gives them credit for developing some biological agents that at least had the potential to cause grave damage. More important, the case study delves into the specifics of the duo’s motives, which could only have been concocted during a drug-fueled bout of sexual frustration:

R.I.S.E. was apparently founded in mid-November 1971. The precise meaning of the group’s name is unknown, but one police informant indicated that the “R” stood for Reconstruction, the “S” for Society, and the “E” for Extermination (the source could not recall the meaning of the “I”).

Schwandner articulated the group’s ideology in a six-page “manifesto” that he kept in a binder in his apartment…The manifesto started with an assertion that mankind was destroying itself and the planet, and that the only way to preserve the environment was for the human race to be wiped out except for a select group of people who would live in harmony with nature. According to the document, the world would be a better place if it were inhabited only by a small group of like-minded people who agreed on how to address its problems. With the ultimate aim of repopulating the planet, Schwandner planned to recruit people into the group who would select a mate of the opposite sex. He reportedly envisioned that R.I.S.E. would ultimately include sixteen people, comprising eight male-female pairs.

Once their plan was foiled, the pair fled to Cuba, where they suffered through a predictably awful spell in prison. Stephen Pera was the lucky one, in that he eventually got to return to the U.S. and get off with a light punishment. Allen Schwandner does not appear to have been so fortunate; sometimes the wages of youthful idiocy is death.

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • Rafael

    I actually met these guys in Cuba. I am a Cuban, now living in the US since 1980. I met Steve Pera at a friend’s house, It must have been in early 1972. Without knowing anything about him I kept in touch moved by my interest in practicing English with a native speaker. He brought Allen Schwander (Lonny) along with him to my parents apartment in Vedado Havana where I used to live, and we started to hang out. In time, I learned that Pera was a very promiscuous homosexual and Schwander a kleptomaniac and a psychopath, and I distanced myself from them. One day when I no longer had contact with them, the Havana police contacted me concerning Schwander having stolen property in those days but I was unable to offer any help.
    In Jan 1975 I saw Pera again who briefly showed up uninvited at my wedding (signing ceremony) but did not stay, not even for a conversation. I much later heard unconfirmed rumors that Schwander had died a violent death in a Cuban prison cell. In Wikipedia it says that Pera returned to the US in 75 and was put on probation. Pera told me once that he had been hospitalized in Cuba due to pulmonary fibrosis and that his kidneys had failed.
    They both said they had hijacked a Jamaican plain to Cuba though Pera insisted that he simply was a passenger and not a hijacker, Again it is common place for the Cuban government to offer safe harbor to all kinds of troublesome people from everywhere, so there isn’t much filtering one can do with those, at least not for the average Cuban. They appeared to me at first as a couple of teenagers with some cultural extravagances as compared to the average Cuban and also trying to live a bit on the fast lane, but nothing to be scared of .

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