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Michele's Memories & William Cooper
By now, everyone nows that Bill Cooper was killed on November 6th. This deserves some commentary from someone who knew him well. And I knew him as well, or better, than most. First I must address some issues publicly stated in error by others, and then I want to talk about the Bill I knew.
"According to the Sheriff's report, several deputies were positioned outside the Cooper residence to serve a warrant for Aggravated Assault and two counts of endangerment."
This relates to the incident in which Cooper allegedly pulled a gun and threatened one Dr. Scott Hamblin or Hamlin (not sure of spelling). The issue was over the doctor's presence on some property near Cooper's home, which Cooper did not own. Bill only owned two lots on that small mountain in Eagar, not the whole mountain itself. The dispute may have been a disagreement about trespassing. The incident occurred some time before the attempt to serve the local arrest warrants.
"No where in the report did it mention that Cooper only had one leg - the other lost in combat long ago."
Cooper did not lose his leg in combat. Bill lost his leg in a motorcycle accident, which he alleged was an act of attempted murder. He has talked about this incident many times... about having his motorcycle forced off the road, about being left there for dead, about seeing someone standing over him to make sure he was dead, about his struggle for recovery, about his near-death experience in the hospital...... Those who have known Bill over the years have heard in great detail what happened. But the loss of his leg was not the result of a combat injury.
Bill has worn a prosthetic leg since the accident, but has never functioned as if disabled. He took walks, easily managed the stairs in his small tri-storied cabin-style home with stairs to two different living areas above the ground floor. I watched Bill and two other helpers unload hundreds of boxes containing the 5,000 copies of my book when they were delivered from the publisher. The boxes were heavy and bulky, but Bill had no difficulty with the hard labor. He may have had a prosthesis, but he was not physically limited by it. The only time I ever saw him limp slightly was after a series of long hard days at a conference, during which no one had had much sleep. Fatigue did take a toll at times. But otherwise, he was never really handicapped by the prosthetic leg. Those who did not know Bill very well would never suspect that he had been injured.
"Most who knew of Cooper all state that he was a hard man to get along with - if at all. His demeanor and attitude was 'unfriendly' at best."
All quite true. He was a man of many moods. A teddy bear one moment, a monster the next. To those whom he felt wasted his time or attempted deception, he was extremely "unfriendly." If he ever considered you an enemy, it was for life. But for all his personality flaws and moodiness, one can never fault the quality of his research. You can dislike the man -- but his work stands up under intense scrutiny. He was definitely a difficult man. But his research carries an integrity which cannot be broken.
"Although state-sponsored media called Cooper a 'national militia leader', no one has yet to come forward who was under his command, nor has anyone to this point come forward to claim his 'militia rank'.
The state-sponsored media have never really understood what Bill was all about... nor have many other people, media or otherwise.
There were two completely different organizations about which he wrote, taught, and spoke. One was the Second Continental Army of the Republic, which was/is a militia arm... very secretive, very underground, very well connected, very well insulated, very well trained, very professional.
About this organization you will never uncover anything. They know who they are, and they're not playing games. This organization has maintained its anonymity for almost ten years, and that is as it should be. To be truly effective in this role, you must be almost invisible. The SCAR has achieved this and I am sure they will maintain it. No one who is a part of that particular militia will EVER publicly admit a militia rank. It's just nobody's business, and such public disclosures would do nothing but negate the effectiveness of the group.
The other organization associated with Bill is the Intelligence Service (originally known as CAJI, Citizens Agency for Joint Intelligence), which was the intel-gathering arm of the SCAR. This was purely info-centered... not a militia organization. There was no war-game training, no survival exercises in the woods. The training was specifically geared to gathering information, acquiring it, understanding it, finding its perspective in relation to other information known, determining the accuracy or bias of the information, determining the dependability of sources, putting it all together and documenting trends and activities. The training for those who worked at it was intensive and comprehensive.
Anyone could apply for membership in the Intelligence Service, but not all who applied were accepted. When applying, you had to present credentials of either experience or education, and a thorough background check was performed on all applicants before they were accepted into service. You were assigned a beginning rank based on your background, accomplishments and capabilities, and, depending on the quality of your performance, you might achieve promotion. I joined this organization in late 1994. Before resigning my commission from the Intelligence Service in April of 1997, I earned the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and coordinated the work of members in four states.
Issues concerning the existence or purpose of the Intelligence Service were never secret -- although some of the information gathered was. Bill talked openly about the Intelligence Service, and asked publicly for participants who could be disciplined thinkers, willing to learn, willing to work, willing to serve. It offered a way for anyone who was accepted to particpate, regardless of their age or physical condition. It was a job we all took very seriously, and those who worked received superb leadership training as well.
HOWEVER -- let me be specific about this:
At NO TIME during my three years of service did I ever have contact with, or receive orders from, or give information directly to, anyone known to be involved in the militia arm of the SCAR. I reported directly to Bill, and never to anyone else. I never met anyone who claimed to be a member of the militia arm of the SCAR. And if anyone had claimed this, I would not have believed them. In fact, I would have had every reason to suspect an endangerment or an entrapment had someone made such a claim to me. The members of SCAR will *never* reveal their association. That's just the way it is. And that is the best way for it to remain.
The militia arm of SCAR and the Intelligence Service were two completely different things. They did not and do not intermingle. Bill always encouraged people to form militias in their own state of residence, and to operate in accordance with the laws of that state. But I *never* saw or heard Bill recruit anyone into the militia arm of SCAR ... EVER. That is a private organization and those who are in it handle their own business in their own way under their own leadership structure.
It is silly to look for them or expect to be contacted by them for some publicity purpose. It just won't happen.
So, now Bill is dead. There will undoubtedly be some shuffling and changing within the leadership structure of the Intelligence Service. Many things will change, especially without the radio show. But in a way, this will all lead to what Bill wanted to happen, and knew needed to happen within the patriot community which surrounded him -- as opposed to other factions of the patriot community who hang more on the fringes. There will be no more spoon-feeding of information. If you want it, you will have to dig into it yourself and work to establish the integrity of the research. There will be no more high-visibility -- (as much as there ever was on shortwave or satellite radio). And there will be no more leeching onto the man instead of standing on your own two feet.
During the last conversation that I had with Bill last year, we talked extensively about the need for the development of the underground resistance... and how difficult that was to do as long as people were seeking to "be somebody," to make a name for themselves, or to recruit followers by flamboyant or sensationalist means.
A high-profile, high-visibility person is a complete endangerment to others in a resistance group. The need to learn how to establish and maintain a low-profile and self-sufficient lifestyle is great. The need to accept the desirability and necessity of quiet and invisible service is great. The need to let others take credit in order to maintain invisibility, to develop skills useful in creating these support communities without drawing any attention to them... these are huge needs in the patriot community today. We talked about how difficult it is to establish quiet, local, small resistance groups when people have fallen into dependence on the least secure form of communication in existence today: the internet -- the form of communication which creates a false sense of community. Patriots have huge online communities, but do not know the name of their next door neighbors.
We talked about the need for lifestyle changes to break the isolation. If one's friends are all on the internet, who is really standing by your side?...... physically, in real life, in time of trouble? If there is no one there, there is no support group. If there is a support group, on what basis have you established your mutual trust? There were many questions we discussed, many strategies proposed, many possibilities for the future.
But now Bill is gone. Without the Big Man at the top -- and he was a big man -- perhaps others will seriously take some thought and action about revamping their concepts of what this whole thing was all about.
Bill had two organizations deliberately. The Intelligence Service members received just about all of the training they would ever need to effectively serve in an underground resistance. The underground resistance serves as support for the militia on the field, providing information, food, clothing, safe houses, medical supplies and care, guidance through their geographic areas, and as couriers of messages -- they are the eyes and ears on the ground...... many, many needed things...... and anyone of any age or physical condition can do this. But they must never call attention to themselves, and their loyalty and trustworthiness must be beyond reproach.
They must seem to be so like everyone else as to be invisible. The kinds of relationships needed among people in such a small group must be solid, and the types of skills developed must be varied and at times specialized.
Bill used to say, "Don't organize with anyone you haven't known your whole life." That was a slight exaggeration, but the point was clear. You don't build a dependable resistance organization -- or a militia, for that matter -- out of patriots that you recruit at a Saturday meeting, none of whom you've ever met before. It must be a much quieter, much more private, invisible operation.
Yet for all of his admonitions and teachings, Bill was such a strong personality that many failed to rise to their full potential or to do their own research. They just figured Bill would do it. Or Bill would tell them. Or Bill would lead them. And this was a source of a lot of Bill's frustration and, at times, anger.
And yet Bill always said that the responsibility for EVERYTHING filtered down to the individual. Some people were intimidated by Bill. Others were pissed off by him. Others worshipped at his shrine. None of those things were what Bill wanted. He wanted leaders to rise up in their own areas of concern to take on the work that needed to be done right where they lived.
He wanted small, organized, invisible pockets of support to form in every community, waiting and preparing for the time when their service would be vital to the existence of our nation.
Has that happened in your family? In your neighborhood? What's the hold up?
Bill and I discussed how very difficult it is to form an effective underground resistance after it is needed. People and skills and supplies and methodologies must be in place long before the need arises. And this calls for great patience, and great discretion by those who are doing it.
We just don't talk about any significant details on the internet -- EVER.
And they are not discussed on the telephone. These are issues that must be discussed face-to-face in a secure area among only those with a need to know.
The joke Bill and I always shared about our private conversations was that we'd meet in the middle of a cow pasture to talk. We never actually chatted amidst the cows, but we did have quite a few one-on-one conversations in the expanse of a desert clearing, or by the side of a highway in the middle of nowhere, or by the side of a lake. We just never got to the cows.
Those days are over. They will never come again. It is useful at a time like this to spend some time reflecting on what was taught, what was learned, what was gained, what can be used to advantage, what can help, what can be taken forward into new developments and growth.
Many people have "Bill memories." He was truly a double-sided man, with more than an average amount of everything. When he was patient and kind, no one was more generous than he with his time, knowledge and compassion. When he was annoyed, no one was more irritating, obnoxious, loud-mouthed or grating. When he was paternal, no one was more loving. When he was angry, no one was more dangerous.
That was Bill. Multi-faceted doesn't quite express it. Whatever he was at any given moment, he was that characteristic to the fullest. There was never anything half-assed about Bill. And that may be why even the people who hated him were drawn to him. Even his enemies respected him.
He left his legacy of many things. Some people will cling to their memories, some will cling to tapes of the radio shows. Some will cling to the image they hold of the courageous patriot. But few will practice what he taught. Bill knew it would be that way. But he never gave up trying to change that situation.
If Bill had his way, he'd want the mental training he offered to become the lifestyle. His most basic and most-often stated admonition was: "Prove it to yourself. Prove it in your own research. And if you cannot duplicate the research, don't repeat it." That was a baseline requirement for all of his training. He wanted people to learn how to think, how to really research, how to get past the mere investigative-journalist mindset, how to understand what true intel is and how to use it, how to separate truth from error, how to prioritize issues, how to see the big picture, how to understand its little pieces and their interconnectivity, and how to determine the best course of action to take in light of the information received.....
These were principles that could be applied to any field of endeavor, to any project, to any process. But it is a tall order.
Bill also stressed the necessity of having one's spiritual life in order. To him, it didn't matter what particular belief system a person espoused. Few agreed with all of Bill's religious views. But whether others agreed with him or not was a non-issue. What was important was that people recognize that regardless of their religious choice, when distress and pressure overtook them, they would need to have some source of inner strength, courage, persistence and moral rightness to inspire their believing and action. Bill knew from experience that those matters had to be settled within the human heart before the moment of turmoil came. He dealt with those issues within the context of his own choices. But he never waivered in his admonition to have one's life settled with the Almighty at every moment, as any moment could be one's last.
He also strongly believed that if a militia was ever to have the support of a grassroots underground resistance movement, that militia must at all times possess and hold the moral high ground. It is not just good enough to be armed, trained, determined and aggressive. The soldiers on the field must have the support -- offered in many different ways -- of noncombattant normal folks. And that requires standing for and representing a cause and a purpose that is morally right and morally defensible. And that moral uprightness must be manifested at all times and in all situations, or the grasp on the high ground is loosened and eventually lost. This is why he would so often lose his temper with high-profile militia groups that did stupid things, or that did questionable things that were blown out of proportion by the media... both of which hurt that cause of liberty a great deal. Perception is everything in this kind of situation. He was unmerciful when it came to militia leaders who threatened the cause for everyone by their ill-considered words or deeds.
And yet at the same time, Bill had his share of ill-considered words and deeds. We all know that. But Bill's failure to live perfectly does not negate the truth of, or the need for, that high moral standard. There are no perfect people. We all just do the best we can. But Bill did more than most, and what he taught about the necessity of mental discipline, spiritual stability and moral righteousness is still true.
Bill was a man of wavering moods, intensities of emotion, cold clear decision-making, with many moments of brilliant insight. He was a historian of incredible depth and scope. He was an analyst of intense logic, and also an intuitive thinker. He was a leader of great strength and motivation. He was fun and full of laughter, and he was also fierce and vitriolic. He could drift off for an hour of reminiscences about the girl he danced with when he was 16, and his fine friends in high school. Or he could launch into tirades of fury against which nothing could stand.
He was a friend and close mentor. And he was a major pain in the butt. He was a loving father and husband, and he was an irritating, dogmatic, demanding horses' ass who drove everybody crazy. He had unshakeable character and integrity. And he had moments of behaving like a spoiled brat..........
He was both the best and the worst of all that we know to be part and parcel of being human.
He was, quite simply, a man. And that is how I will remember him. The mixture of memories I have of Bill make him impossible to pin down as just one thing. For three years we talked on the telephone almost every day. We worked together, bickered and argued, laughed and told jokes, talked at great depth about issues, people, trends, and expectations; and we also talked about trivia and matters of no consequence at all.
Bill was never just one thing. He was a man always in the process of becoming, and he was a man on a mission. Some people will think of Bill as a great hero, and in many ways he was. But whatever Bill was, in all of his good attributes and bad habits, he had in all things the courage of his convictions.
I would not classify Bill as one of the world's great role models. Goodness knows there were things about Bill that were just downright awful. But you have to give him credit for the good things of his life -- the integrity of his work, the thoroughness of the training he provided to others, the courage of his stand, the clarity of his vision, his organizational skills, his persistence over such a long time... these are all admirable traits. And Bill possessed them in as great a measure as any man I have ever known. For all of his human frailty, for all of his human flaws, there is still an example of tenacity and solid adherence to the principles of liberty that set Bill apart from all comers.
These things I will remember.
And as we move into tomorrow, and the next day and the day after that, much work remains. Some will lose heart and fall by the wayside. Some will lose interest without the charismatic personality of Bill at the helm. But some will carry on, quietly and invisibly, organizing, analyzing, assessing, learning, preparing, praying, believing.....
When the time comes, we'll be here. And we'll be both reliable and ready.
What greater thing could Bill leave behind than that?... for the country, for us, for the future. It was the structure he was building and the purpose that he taught. Think about the action that you might take in your own life to secure liberty in that little corner where you live. Pray and believe. Be still and be prepared. Be wise and circumspect. Be pragmatic and clear-headed.
Recognize that the road has turned and tactics must change. .........and in this discussion, by this particular medium of communication, nothing more should be said.
Author, Oklahoma City: Day One
Kirby The Konspiracy Boy Says, "I NEED 2 KONFORM!!!"