A Special note: This reference was previously published under the “About” tag. It deserves special attention :
The Photo, above with no caption, is of the only Federal “hero,” and that belatedly, of the post Waco fire era. You’ll learn more about him later in the Waco time line. His name is Bill Johnston. His is the story of the man who ‘almost’ did nothing and thereby allowing evil to rule the day. His is a story of redemption, to a degree that allowed the making of our second film, “Waco- A New Revelation.” For that single act of courage, we are grateful. Mr. Johnston paid dearly for that moment of truth, and for that, we respect him.
A little background…and how this all started…
Mike McNulty was borne just as WW II ended to goodly parents in San Francisco , California. Mom and dad were high school sweet hearts and dad worked for the telephone company as a line man.
He was raised in his early years in Lancaster, California and then his family moved to Anaheim California where he spent four years attending a college prep school called Servite High school.
Graduating in 1964, Mike attended college at Fullerton Community College as a pre-med student. After a summer of high adventure charter boat fishing before school started, Mike got a taste of wanderlust and at the end of his first semester, he joined the Navy. He spent a year in a Navy tech school in his home town, San Francisco and then moved on to the Pacific Fleet where he spent three additional years as a Photograper’s mate on board an aircraft carrier, where he developed an abiding love for photography and film making. This experience became a major feature in Michael’s future life.
A series of different career paths then developed after being Honorably discharged from the Navy in 1969. Michael married his wife, Julie Ann Grubb, in December of 1978 and began a career as a commercial insurance broker in Anaheim, California.
Eleven years and a few children later, Michael was deeply impressed by a gross political injustice involving the distortion of the facts by the Media and the California State Legislature regarding a tragic school yard shooting by a deranged young man who was under the care of the State Department of mental health. He was supposed to be taking medications and the people at the Health Services office did not check up on him. In his psychotic state he bought a semi-automatic rifle and shot and killed a number of Vietnamese school children and some of their teachers on the school play ground. This act of insanity became known as the Stockton school yard massacre. In true “Punch and Judy” fashion, some of the politicians decided to “blame” gun owners in the state and banned so called “Assault Weapons”, instead of acknowledging the failure of the State mental Health system and seeking it’s overhaul. This purely political act of blame placing was accomplished with the aid and misdirection of the news media and the people were sold a “bill of Goods” that this act of government confiscation would somehow insure that this kind of insanity would “never happen again.” Well, it did happen again, and again, because the politicians didn’t deal with the real problem – the young man and the thousands like him in a failing state mental health system.
As a result of this compounded tragedy, Michael established a new Citizens Journalism group called the “Citizens Organization for Public Safety” or C.O.P.S.
By February of 1993 COPS had investigated and written reports on a number of public safety issues such as Workmen’s Compensation fraud, and NEST teams, Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams, where members of a residential neighborhood were trained by local Fire, police and emergency services agencies in first responder skills in the event of a natural disaster like an earth quake or wild fire, until the professional first responders could arrive.
In April of 1993 a new tragedy took place at the hands of the Federal government, at a place called Mt. Carmel, near Waco, Texas. The whole world changed that day when almost 100 men, women and children were burned alive in their home. At that moment COPS Productions was born amidst the worst shootout in federal Law enforcement history, and Citizen Journalism became focused like a laser.
Next Time: COPS’ produces it’s first feature length Documentary – “Waco- The Rules of Engagement” and has it’s first encounter with the BATF, FBI and Justice Department.