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"Amen!" shouts McBurney.
"That is Christianity as it has been known for thousands of years!" Enyart goes on. "And that is why we call for the swift, painful and immediate execution of every convicted murderer!"
Another "Amen!" from McBurney. When they untie him, Nellis slumps dramatically to the top of the trailer. But the effect is apparently lost on the TV people. Most of them turn off their cameras and walk away. Several college-age kids looking on are more interested, but mainly because of the ridiculousness of the whole thing; one student yells, "Give him some water, dude!"
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One other bystander -- Judy Shepard, Matthew Shepard's mother -- seems considerably less amused. She watches the skit stoically from the window of the courthouse. Then she turns and walks away.
At the height of his post-spanking notoriety, Enyart moved his TV show, Bob Enyart Live, to LeSea Broadcasting's South Bend, Indiana, base of operations and began to expand; by last year, he was on approximately eighty stations around the country. But his reputation for butt-thrashing could take him only so far, and when some of his primary affiliates began moving the show to the wee hours of the morning, he realized that the overhead could soon drive him into bankruptcy. So he pulled the plug on the national broadcast and, after a brief attempt to go local at KRMT/Channel 41 earlier this year, dropped that as well, deciding instead to try to subsist almost entirely on the Internet. But that presents a little problem: How do you make computer types sufficiently curious to check out your site?
The answer was O.J., and the man who brought the plan of torching some of his keepsakes to fruition was McBurney, a former musician (one of his bands was called the Rents, "because we were due, man!") and drug addict ("I bought the hippies' lies") who wound up on Enyart's payroll in 1997 and now has an Internet talk show of his own -- The Weekly Worldview -- that's archived Fridays on www.shadowgov.com.
On February 15 this year, the day before the O.J. auction that was intended to compensate the families of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman for their wrongful deaths, McBurney arrived in Los Angeles and went to the fire department to get permission for the display. "He said, 'There's no way this is going to happen tomorrow. You need permits; there are environmental concerns.' I was depressed."
But McBurney didn't give up, and he was aided in his quest by a key factor: A good many folks in L.A. law enforcement thought further humiliating O.J. was an excellent idea. A note of support from a judge sliced through acres of red tape, and suddenly what had seemed impossible only hours earlier was going to happen. When they wound up obtaining a jersey, McBurney notes, "Bob was petrified; he said he'd seen protests of people trying to burn things and they wouldn't catch. You'd end up with just a little smoke, and that's it." Worse, they were told they couldn't use accelerants like gasoline. So they taped newspapers inside it, and "it was beautiful," McBurney rhapsodizes. "It was a pyre!"
It was also a public-relations coup for ShadowGov: "People thought we were crazy to spend $25,000 on something just to burn it up, but we got millions of dollars in free advertising for doing it," McBurney says.
Enyart was so revved up by the national coverage the stunt received that he immediately came up with a new, even more ambitious gambit -- to stage hundreds of protests from coast to coast against Bill Clinton in the wake of accusations by Juanita Broaddrick that he had raped her in the late Seventies. Using mailing lists to round up the faithful, Enyart soon had hundreds of people all over the country ready to do his bidding.
A random sampling of the mainly Caucasian, overwhelmingly male participants shows that while some of the demonstrations -- like one in Denver that attracted around 300 people, and Enyart's New Zealand excursion, which generated headlines throughout the region -- had a considerable impact, others left the world thoroughly unshaken.
Along with a couple of friends, Joshua White, a twenty-year-old Honolulu resident, protested every Saturday for two months, but never wound up on local TV or in newspapers ("People aren't very political in Hawaii," he says.) Ken Branvall of Johnson City, New York, protested just once, in the middle of a snowstorm, before raising the white flag. Anchorage, Alaska's Rusty Holmes also saw his two protests negatively impacted by the weather; in the end, he realized that Enyart was employing a limited protest strategy that can't stack up to the one employed by an organization with which he feels more in tune, the John Birch Society.
Greenwood, Indiana's David Oeschle didn't have much more success with his anti-Clinton rally; a smallish item in a community newspaper was the best he and his helpers could manage. But more so than White, Branvall or Holmes, Oeschle illustrates the power Enyart has to inspire loyalty among his followers. Oeschle was openly gay from 1983 to 1995, when he learned from Bob Enyart Live just how sick and twisted he was.