Longform

OUT OF THE NORM

part 2 of 2
Norm Resnick may relish his combative reputation, but when it comes right down to it, his Dr. Norm routine is often meek.

He usually cuts off callers rather than argue with them. Epperson's conspiracy theory went "beyond my comfort level," he says, and adds that one recent shortwave guest "stunk of racism and anti-Semitism--stunk of it. I tried to pin him down, but he was so elusive." Actually, Resnick acknowledges, he doesn't want guests on either of his shows with whom he violently disagrees.

"I don't do both sides of the issue," he explains. "Do I have guests on who I really disagree with? Yeah, and I'll never schedule them again."

Dr. Norm didn't land on international shortwave because his opinions were fearless but because he sold a lot of gold and silver for Viking International Trading, a precious-metals dealer based in Scottsdale, Arizona, that targets patriots and gun-lovers and advertises on KHNC.

"I was selling a lot of coins for them," says Resnick. "I was selling more coins for them than anybody in the country. And they got excited and they put me on shortwave. I couldn't believe it."

Dr. Norm's ads for Viking are pretty much an extension of his show. After he and his guests warn patriots of imminent danger to their freedom, a prerecorded Dr. Norm comes on and says: "If you don't believe what I'm saying, why don't you go out there right now and invest your money in banks, IRAs, mutual funds or the stock market. And invest your money realizing full well that your hard-earned money is in the camp of the international bankers, and you're actively supporting both your own financial destruction as well as promoting America's move into the New World Order. You need to investigate precious metals. I've done my homework. Viking International is the respected leader in the precious-metals industry...Take the first step in regaining control of your financial life."

Viking president Mike Callahan's own show on WWCR, Protecting Your Wealth, uses the same tactic to make the same argument: Your paper money will be worthless once the New World Order destroys America, so if you're going to survive to fight for your family's freedom, you'd better hoard gold and silver.

Callahan, who declines to reveal his firm's revenue or sales figures, calls this mixture of politics and salesmanship a "happy intersection." Is the world listening? Although no rating service exists to measure shortwave audiences, he says, "One million in this country is high; one million worldwide is low."

Every Tuesday afternoon at 5:30, gun-toting patriots and their families converge on a restaurant in LaSalle, a tiny town just south of Greeley on Highway 85, for a pizza-and-paranoia palaver. One-Minute Pizza is one of Dr. Norm's advertisers, and these are his new friends--some of them, at least.

The entire restaurant is the meeting hall, and it's a family affair: The children of the fifty or so patriots clamber around a plastic castle in the middle of the room while their pistol-packin' parents discuss the issues of the day.

Emcee John Schlosser, the KHNC news director, starts telling the group what's really going on in the United States. His associate on KHNC's morning show, Scott Wheeler, is just back from Arkansas, where he apparently has been gathering information about President Clinton's dirty laundry. Schlosser and Wheeler, among others at the loosely run, wisecrack-filled session, hawk videotapes and announce upcoming events. One patriot brings in an armload of The Spotlight for distribution; the newspaper is published by the stridently anti-Zionist Liberty Lobby. Others hawk Bearcat scanners that can be used to keep track of law officers' whereabouts. (You never can tell when government agents will try to seize a citizen's property.) And they sell a nice little shortwave radio for $55--so patriots can listen to Dr. Norm's show on WWCR.

Schlosser, perhaps the only radio news director in the state who wears a gun on his hip, advises that "those interested in the militia should talk to me afterwards." A guy stylishly attired in green camouflage announces a "survival seminar" and gives out his number, which begins with a 666 exchange. "I had nothing to do with the prefix on my phone number," he says. Someone in the back dryly chips in, "Uh-huh."

The tireless Janet Meisinger, who publishes a patriot newspaper in rural Adams County, strides to the front of the room, her weapon dangling in a nylon holster between her legs, and relates the latest episode in her war with bureaucrats. This week, she complains, she got a "folderol letter" back from the assessor's office. Tris Harkless, frequently heard on Dr. Norm's show and an expert in decoding the cultic symbolism imprinted on dollar bills, reads from data he's compiled about former White House aide Vincent Foster's death. (The patriots know it wasn't a suicide.) Doug Campbell, head of the Colorado Taxpayers Party, appeals for help in his bid to run for secretary of state. The crowd murmurs its approval when Campbell urges people to rescind their marriage licenses because "marriage is an ordination of God, not the state."

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Ward Harkavy
Contact: Ward Harkavy