In a recent previous blog post that I wrote titled, “Moving To Nowhere”, I explained that after graduating from college and working in Tampa for seven years, I just couldn’t stand it anymore. Though I lived in Tampa and worked in Tampa, it was a one hour drive to work in traffic in the morning, and a one hour drive home from work in traffic in the evening. That’s ten hours each week of nearly getting in a car wreck, or stopped at a standstill on I-75.
I didn’t want to live like this anymore, so I put most of my belongings in storage, and I headed to the western U.S. in my truck. I didn’t care what I would do for a living, or what kind of house, building, apartment, or trailer I would be living in. If I ended up living in a trailer in the desert with nothing but tumble weeds, that would be fine with me because there wouldn’t be any noise, traffic, or asshole people.
I wasn’t inspired by anyone to move away from everything, nor was I searching for anything. There was just so much that I wanted to get away from. In Tampa, people were pushy, aggressive, and fighting in order to have the chance to buy a car that they could not afford, buy a house that they could not afford, and have a job that they could not keep up with. All these people thought that they were getting ahead, when really they were ruining their life in every way.
I have had fifteen years of a different kind of life now. Much more time to think, rest, relax, appreciate my surroundings, talk to people, and learn. This to me, is the life that I should be living, and the life that I want to have.
It wasn’t until recently that I was thinking about and considering the lives of other people who did the same thing that I did, move away from everything. I wrote about Chris McCandless whose journal was used to make the book and the movie “Into The Wild”. I also wanted to write about two AM Radio late night talk show hosts who moved out into the desert, Art Bell and William Cooper.
As I am thinking about Art Bell and William Cooper right now, I am laughing to myself, because I know exactly how they felt when they moved out into the desert when they became middle aged. Both Art Bell and William Cooper were born into families where their parents were on active duty in the military. They lived in many different places and in foreign countries when they were kids, and also later when they themselves served in the military. They had seen everything, been everywhere, and met all different kinds of people.
Perhaps if they had millions of dollars, they would have chosen to live on the beach in Malibu or northern California, I might have also. The view, the weather, the peace, the lifestyle, the interesting and intelligent people. However, like me, if you don’t have millions of dollars, you take the money that you do have, and try to see what you can buy out in the desert away from people.
I am taking it for granted that everyone knows what I am talking about. Instead of living in a neighborhood on a 100’x100’ lot, with a curb, sidewalk, driveway, lawn, landscaping, and a neighbor on either side of you, in front of and behind you, there is none of that. Your lot may be 300’x500’, or much larger, with no neighbor within 1,000’ of you, or further. The road in front of your house may or may not be paved, but certainly there is no curb and sidewalk. The yard that you own has no grass, but it has some mesquite trees, some cedar trees, juniper bushes, and cactus. As a practical matter, your yard actually stretches for miles and miles, as far as you can see, because there is hardly anyone else where you live.
In the middle of nowhere, out in the desert, there is no “keeping up appearances”, “keeping up with the Jones’s”, peer pressure, or very many rules. The people who live out in the desert generally have very modest incomes, spend as little money as possible, and try to live plainly and cheaply. In order to maintain the peace, neighbors are civil to each other, but they try to keep to themselves and mind their own business.
William Cooper bought a modest home on a very large lot in Eager, Arizona, population 5,000. Art Bell bought a more modest home but on more acreage in Pahrump, Nevada, population 36,000. Then, at about the same time, both of them started broadcasting their late night AM talk radio programs. William Cooper’s radio program was called “The Hour of The Time”, and Art Bell’s radio program was called “Coast To Coast AM”.
I remember listening to Art Bell’s late night AM talk radio program that he broadcast from his house in Pahrump, Nevada during the early and mid 1990s, and I believe that this was probably the happiest time of his life. He was there in his home with his wife Ramona, their son, and their several cats. His radio program was becoming a commercial success, he was doing what he loved, and he was very proud and contented.
Probably because of Art Bell’s growing popularity, audience, and financial success, coupled with his bringing attention to controversial subjects and guests, caused him to be attacked on many fronts. His teenage son was abducted and molested. Art Bell was wrongfully and baselessly sued for libel. Art Bell was baselessly accused of involvement with child pornography. Then, his wife Ramona died. Although Art Bell made it through all of this, he was never the same.
William Cooper was probably also the happiest he had ever been when he began broadcasting his late night AM talk radio program from Eager, Arizona. He was doing what he loved, getting his message out, and he was happy with his life, with his wife and daughter. William Cooper was much more concerned with getting his message out, than with financial or commercial success. He was desperately trying to disclose to as many people as possible, what he had learned while reviewing Top Secret Classified documents as a U.S. Navy intelligence briefing officer.
William Cooper was fairly certain that he would be killed before long. He was so sure that he would be killed, that he made hundreds of copies, of hundreds of documents in a short period of time, and then he mailed them off to people in the U.S. and around the world at a cost of $27,000. His associates said that he spent all of the money that he had in savings to do this. He sent his wife and his daughter away.
In June of 2001, three months before the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center, William Cooper on his two hour radio program “The Hour Of The Time”, discussed at length that even though the United States was claiming that Osama Bin Laden was their most sought after terrorist, that CNN had just found him easily, and had filmed an interview with him. William Cooper went on to describe that the U.S. government was setting Osama Bin Laden up to take the blame for an attack on the U.S.
Within one month following the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center that was blamed on Osama Bin Laden, William Cooper was gunned down in his front yard by Law Enforcement. Law Enforcement positioned multiple unmarked vehicles down the hill from William Cooper’s house. One unmarked vehicle was sent up the hill and down the street from William Cooper’s house, to begin blasting the car stereo and causing a disturbance. William Cooper got in his truck to drive down there, expecting to find teenagers. Instead, when he realized that it was a car load of armed agents waiting to kill him, he raced back to his house.
William Cooper was intercepted and forced off the road by a second car and a third car full of armed agents, as he tried to make it back to his house. William Cooper got out of his truck and tried to run to his front door with his prosthetic leg. Law Enforcement shot him multiple times until he fell to the ground. No ambulance was ever called, to make sure that he would just lay there and die.