1976 - Vernon Howell Home
A.K.A. David Koresh
When I arrived in Naples in April of 72 I stayed with my parents until I acquired enough resources to get an apartment. I became an electrician's helper for several different local electrical contracting companies and got my journeyman's electrician's license. Back then in Collier County they had no time requirements restricting applicants from taking the master's test and I passed that within six months of starting work. They called me the "master helper." I found a partner who had more experience than me and started an electrical contracting business in Bonita Springs, a town some 10 miles north of Naples.
Throughout the 70s my political beliefs began to move to the right as I experienced the world from the viewpoint of a small businessman. Besides the conversation I had had with Rush in the bus station in southern Illinois, I had several more that started to disabuse me of the notion that the income tax and taxation in general was such a good thing.
In 74 I picked up a book in a 7-11 store entitled "How You Can Profit from the Coming Monetary Devaluation" by Harry Browne. I still had enough of my leftist indoctrination left over from my college education to harbor a negative connotation with the word profit, but I thought I would read it anyway. That book completely turned me around. I had been confused by the rampant inflation that was happening at the time. I didn't understand why it was happening but I knew that something was not right. The left was saying that it was the fault of greedy businessmen and the right was saying it was the fault of unions.
Browne explained how new counterfeit money substitutes were created through the Federal Reserve System and the commercial banking system. I call them counterfeit because there is no such thing as paper money. The paper is only used as a convenience to carry rather than the real money, therefore the paper is not money but a money substitute. But if the paper can no longer be turned in for real money then it is now a counterfeit money substitute.
Once I learned how it robbed those who were not able to benefit from the rising prices caused by the new counterfeit money substitutes and that it was a monopoly enforced by the federal government, I wondered what other negative influences the federal government might be responsible for that I wasn't aware of.
In the book Browne explained the libertarian philosophy of economic and individual freedom and I realized that if I believed in individual freedom then I had to believe in economic freedom. It was the biggest revelation in my life up to that point. I was immediately transformed into an economic conservative. I joined the Libertarian Party and subscribed to the "Conservative Book Club" and began reading more about politics. I had voted for McGovern in 72, but by 76 I wrote in the LP candidate for president and joined the local LP and began attending some meetings.
I began investigating some right wing publications to check them out. One was “The Spotlight” which had a populist, nationalist, pro-white racial tone. Some of it turned me off but I continued to subscribe because I noticed that they were publishing some important information about Israel that the mainstream media was not divulging to the American Public. Eventually this led to a book that implicated Israel in the Kennedy Assassination, a subject that I was very interested in. This would spark my interest in other conspiracy theories in the future.
Sometime in the mid 70s my electrical contracting company had been the low bidder on a state contract to wire some buildings at the Koreshan Historical Site in Estero, a small town a few miles north of Bonita Springs. Estero had been founded by Cyrus Teed in 1894. He had taken on the name Koresh in 1869 claiming divine inspiration. Koresh is the Hebrew name for Cyrus. He proposed a new set of religious ideas he call Koreshanity, including a unique hollow earth theory that said we all lived inside of the earth. Teed died after a beating by the town marshall in 1908. The Koreshans believed in re-incarnation and instead of burying Teed they propped him up in a bath tub. After several days local health officials forced his burial.
While working at the site I met a charming 85 year old lady named Michaels who was one of the early followers of Teed. She had deeded the property to the state in 1961 but still lived on the site.
At the time I would pick up hitchhikers and proselytize for the libertarian philosophy. I drove a 72 Datsun pickup truck which I had plastered with libertarian type political slogans about taxes, the IRS, and the federal government. One afternoon as I went to make a left turn on Old 41 towards Naples I spied a young man and woman hitchhiking and I stopped to pick them up.
My Datsun was only designed to seat two people so it was a little crowded in the cab and the woman was practically sitting on the floor shift which I had to access quite often. I wasn't sure how comfortable the guy was with that, but I was enjoying it. I had virtually given up sex since moving to Florida and she was a nice looking girl.
As soon as he got in I asked him where he was going and he said Naples. I said that was where I was going. I then asked him his name and he said "Verne." But after he said the name Verne his girlfriend turned to him and said “You mean David, don't you?" They laughed and he said "Yeah." I figured it was a private joke so I didn't bother to inquire further about that. I asked where they were coming from and he said they had come over from Miami to visit the Estero Koreshan site and were headed back to Miami. I told him I was familiar with the site and had done some wiring out there and met one of the early followers there and we talked about that for a minute.
I then started to get into the libertarian philosophy of individual and economic freedom. We were in agreement when it came to a lot of that, especially gun control. We were both big fans of the second amendment to the constitution protecting the right of the citizen to be armed. We both agreed about the danger of the centralization of political power in the Federal government.
He brought up religion and I could see that he was trying to proselytize for his faith. By that time I was a confirmed atheist who didn't believe in the resurrection and felt the old testament was not meant to be taken completely literally. I had just read Isaac Asimov's "Guide to the Bible", which attempted to give scientific explanations for many of the 'miracles' in the Bible.
I could see Verne was rather horrified that I was a non-believer and he began to recite all the miracles and prophecies of the Bible. As he did I would try to refute them with material I had just picked up from Asimov's book. In particular I remember rebutting his splitting of the Red Sea miracle with Asimov's answer that it was really called the "Reed Sea" because it was a shallow swamp that dried up certain times of the year and could have been crossed at low tide and that when the tide came in the King's chariots could have been caught in the mud. Lately I have seen the same theory propounded on the history channel.
After some 10 minutes of this Verne became so infuriated that he told me to stop the car. He said he could go no further with a heathen. He told his girlfriend that she could stay if she wanted but he was leaving. I thought about apologizing and trying to talk him into not getting out, but thought screw it.
I had just entered Naples and made a left turn onto Pine Ridge Road so I stopped the car. He jumped out and started walking down the street. The girl hesitated for a moment and I thought about asking her to stay as she was a pretty good looking woman and I sure could have used some female attention. But she apologized for him and thanked me and got out and followed after him. As he walked away I must admit that I was not very happy with him and I had this strange feeling that someone I knew was going to hurt him someday. I just didn't know who.