Within days, federal agents were swooping through Kingman, Mesa and even tiny Oatman, Arizona, in search of evidence and co-conspirators and anything else connected to bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of reporters followed.
Soon, Arizona was the target of national coverage that focused on militia members, who were generally portrayed as armed, dangerous extremists.
Of course, the national media did not know, and did not learn, and therefore could not report the real story of the states' rights debate in Arizona. In search of drama, they missed the context--the intellectual consistency and the commitment to common sense--that has made the constitutionalist movement such a genuine challenge to federal control.
To commemorate the leadership Arizona has brought to the fight against federal power, in this Independence Week issue, New Times proudly offers four profiles of leading Patriots:
* Shortwave radio talk show host, constitution party chairman and longtime UFO expert, William Cooper.
* Former Arizona governor, newspaper magnate and current chairman of the Constitutionalist Networking Center, Evan Mecham.
* National award-winning defender of the right to own guns and renowned author, Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack.
* And the state's most trusted fed-battler, Governor J. Fife Symington III.
These four men are the most visible and effective leaders in Arizona's fight against federal power. It is their competence, their reason, their honesty that will--or will not--be sufficient to guide a Second Revolution.
Let the facts about them--and only the facts--be submitted to a candid world!
The Clever Ruse of Ambassador Krlll
When Arizona patriots want to air their love of freedom and democracy, they call the bastion of liberty and free speech in Arizona: William Cooper of St. Johns.
Cooper hosts a nightly shortwave radio show broadcast from a decrepit former drugstore that abuts a thriving militia supply outlet on St. Johns' run-down and half-abandoned East Commercial Street.
From here, Cooper beams explanations to those who wonder why their lives are miserable and downtrodden.
Cooper's "Hour of the Time" shortwave broadcast includes a mix of fare that emphasizes the activities of treasonous elected officials, America's debased paper currency and the New World Order takeover, combined with information about the occult, secret societies (particularly Freemasonry) and the JFK assassination.
Former governor Evan Mecham and Sheriff Richard Mack have appeared as guests on his call-in broadcasts.
Last year, Cooper helped co-found the constitutionalist party and now serves as its chairman. The party appears to follow basic Libertarian tenets; personal freedoms get heavy emphasis. The party is working closely with Mecham's Constitutionalist Networking Center to nominate a single presidential "Constitutionalist" candidate.
"We believe it is time again to make the government accountable to us--the American people--and to restore our personal freedoms which have been slowly but systematically taken from us," party literature states.
Of course, there is a flip side to that sort of hope. The literature also issues a dire warning: "We believe that if we as people fail to act, the course on which the ship of state is currently set is clear: an accelerating bankrupt socialist police state."
To counter the impending police state, Cooper is encouraging the creation of citizen militias "as the people's last and only protection against subversive government." This encouragement is offered in an open letter to the people of St. Johns, published in Cooper's newspaper, Veritas.
Cooper conducts militia seminars sponsored by another group he runs, Citizens Agency for Joint Intelligence, or CAJI. Last year, a weeklong miniconvention held in St. Johns attracted some of the biggest names in the militia movement, including gun-toting Linda Thompson, an Indianapolis lawyer who, among other things, has called for and then canceled an armed militia march on Washington, D.C., and produced a video on the Waco assault that no one but true militia members believe is true.
Cooper's 1994 seminar also included these topics: "Camo, Terrain, Escape & Evasion, Tracking" and "Long Range Rifle, What's Right for You." The conference ended with a campout that included a weapons-safety course followed by five hours of live shooting.
Unfortunately, a New Times request to attend another seminar, held in May, did not receive an enthusiastic response, despite an offer to pay a $350 registration fee.
"You're not welcome. You're not invited. You will not be allowed. If you come, we will call the sheriff and have you arrested and taken away," Cooper said.
An Air Force and Navy veteran who served in Vietnam and collected a bevy of medals, Cooper cut his teeth on complex conspiracies by diving headlong into the UFO issue. He claims he saw his first flying saucer in 1966 while aboard the submarine USS Tiru.