Blowing up in their faces: Now we know why Dr. Norm Resnick, the manic voice of the Colorado-based USA Patriot Network, called Mark Koernke "a legend"--the FBI has been investigating whether Koernke, known to talk-radio kooks as the disembodied voice of doom "Mark from Michigan," was a mentor to Oklahoma City bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh and alleged material witnesses Terry and James Nichols. For the past few years Koernke has bombarded listeners around the world with a staccato blast of paranoia about the federal government and the New World Order. He's no stranger to Colorado, either: He drew 300 people to a speech in Northglenn on February 19. And he owes some of his popularity to Dr. Norm, who, before a falling-out, beamed Koernke over international shortwave from the studios of KHNC-AM, fifty miles north of Denver in tiny Johnstown.
"Mark really knows how to stir 'em up," Dr. Norm enthused to Westword just before dialing Koernke's number for a KHNC appearance in April 1994. After the station ran one of its many gun-shop ads--"Don't forget to mention that you heard Shooters on KHNC!"--Mark from Michigan got busy. He told Dr. Norm's audience that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was setting up detention camps in which to enslave God-fearing, gun-toting Americans. (Of course, these days the agency is preoccupied with trying to dig bodies out of the rubble in Oklahoma City.) "There are many good Americans," Koernke intoned, "who are patriots who will stand and they will firmly resist, and they do have the weapons and they do have the technology and they do have the know-how, and some of them are listening right now...It is a life-or-death struggle for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. That torch, if extinguished, will be very expensive to try and relight."
But he had no problem lighting others' fuses. Caller "Terry from Oklahoma" was itching to know: "Do you think that the government is halting the sale of ammunition and reloading components? Are they trying to manipulate this?" Yes, Koernke responded, but the government's plan had backfired. "In reality," he told Terry, "anybody with any gray matter between their ears bought vast amounts of equipment just in the last few months. I will say this with confidence: We have seen now the greatest vast re-arming of the American people ever in its history. And what happened, they were hoping to give us just enough to get us killed but not enough to win. And now what's happened is just the reverse. Instead of the stuff being stockpiled in central areas, the equipment, the armaments are spread throughout the people. They can't just go out and pick one stockpile up. The arms are everywhere. Not only that, but we're concentrating on manufacturing, reloading, how to make weapons, how to make heavy equipment. You need to go out there and start purchasing machinery, not just the weapons, but we're going to have to be able to have an industrial base. Many of our friends in many parts of the states understand that the chair is against the wall. They can't stop it all. We're going to have to, as a friend of mine said, `termite their butt.'"
"Yeah!" said Terry.
Dr. Norm later mused to Westword, "Who'd ever believe that in Johnstown, Colorado, we're hitting the world?"
Or, at least, Oklahoma City?
Compared with the state's self-styled patriots, Boulder's Colonel Robert Brown, longtime publisher of Soldier of Fortune, the journal of "professional adventurers," looked downright mainstream when he appeared on Sunday's Meet the Press to talk about the rise of citizens' militias (featured on the current SOF cover)--which even he termed "spooky.
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