RIP, Missouri Terrorist, er, "Minuteman"
|Rick's Custom Squirrels|
DePugh's literary medium was the sticker stuck to the walls of public places, like phone booths (remember those?) and bathrooms -- an unusual choice, but one perfectly equipped to serve his purposes: planting the seeds of conspiracy theories in the minds of his fellow Americans.
See that old man at the corner where you buy your papers? He may have a silencer equipped pistol under his coat. That fountain pen in the pocket of the insurance salesman that calls on you might be a cyanide gas gun. What about your milkman? Arsenic works slow but sure. ... Traitors, beware! Even now the crosshairs are on the back of your necks.Superimposed on this was a picture of crosshairs.
|More of DePugh's work.|
Norborne, alas, became much more famous for being the headquarters of the Minutemen, DePugh's vigilante group. There DePugh manufactured his stickers, produced a monthly magazine called (what else?) On Target and horded a cache of guns and explosives. He published a list of "Communists", like Humphrey Bogart and Lucille Ball, and the names of 20 congressmen he wanted dead.
Writes Greaney, "His themes of self-reliance, ultra-patriotism and paranoid anti-communism struck a chord with people on the fringes." According to a Norborner named Eric Beckemeier, "He saw himself as the Paul Revere of the 20th century, that he was going to save the United States from Communism."
(No mention here of whether DePugh ever took a midnight ride, but maybe Beckemeier discusses the matter in his 2007 book about the Minutemen, a self-published work called Traitors Beware.)
And then it all went terribly, terribly wrong.