Submitted by Robert Blevins, author of Into The Blast – The True Story of D.B. Cooper:
ABOVE: The author near Mount Rainier, Washington State, USA.
2020 will go down in history as a bad year, not only for Cooper fans, but for the United States in general. The Covid-19 pandemic, a crash-and-burn economy, along with ongoing riots and national political strife have combined to make THIS year one of the worst in American history.
So why should Cooperland, (my nickname for the general community of D.B. Cooper fans and armchair investigators) be any different? The hard truth is that although Trekkies and Star Wars fans held a steady grip of interest even during trying times…the smaller world of Cooper fans has suffered a general lack of interest from both the public and the media.
Most of this they brought on themselves, however.
Over the last five years or so, serious rifts developed within the Cooper community. Websites were pitted against each other. Hate-based comments were made publicly about others. At the Dropzone thread on Cooper, the single biggest discussion on the case with more than 60,000 postings, spammers began putting up hard core pornography in an effort to get the site shut down. The spammers were supported by other Cooper investigators and fans who thought The D.B. Cooper Forum run by Dave Brown of Florida should be the ONLY active discussion on the case. One of the biggest voices in Cooperland, Bruce Smith of the Mountain News, began allowing hate-based comments at HIS site as well. Good and solid projects that would have helped forward interest by the public and the media regarding the case…ended up on the trash heap…because no one could get along and everyone wanted to be King of Cooperland. There were more incidents than this writer can count, and in the end I gave it all a failing grade.
(Note: This writer did not link any of the forums shown above, because frankly there is no point to it. You can easily find them on your own.)
The staff at Adventure Books of Seattle has been involved publicly with the D.B. Cooper case since about 2008, and we hoped that THIS year would be better. None of this worked out, but not all of it was due to jealousy from others, negativity, or hatred. For example, our planned Cooper Campout for 2020 was canceled due to the pandemic. A real disappointment for both us and the people who wanted to attend, it was to be the biggest one yet.
Another disappointment for us was when we refused to re-sign the movie option for the first-ever dramatic feature film on the Cooper case. There were a number of reasons we decided to bail on participating in this movie, but the biggest one was the script. It was about as close to the truth on the Cooper case as Donald Trump’s latest advice on Covid-19. We bailed. Full details on why are HERE at the Cooper discussion thread at Dropzone dot com, the website for skydivers. Better you read about it there, because as they say…it’s COMPLICATED. I had no regrets deciding to forego the money offered by these film production companies and let the movie project vanish.
As far as our personal involvement in the Cooper case, that is rapidly coming to an end. We’re tired of the personal attacks on others, the lack of cooperation in Cooper-related public events designed to generate continued interest in the case, websites whose main members support negativity and tell lies, and all the other crap that goes on within Cooperland. Several articles here at this WordPress site cover these issues much better than I can in a single post.
Frankly, we have HAD it. We’ve come to the conclusion that no one in the Cooper community will ever cooperate on anything important, or if they do, they will try doing that by excluding other people. It’s a mish-mash mess with no solution. In fact, Cooperland shoots itself in the foot so much with the public and the media, that AB staff are surprised they aren’t shopping for wheelchairs. The heyday of interest in the Cooper case is over. It was biggest in the 70’s, had a strong resurgence after 2005, but ended up in the trash heap. It’s not even fun anymore. The same dozen or so people continue the discussions, but they are disjointed, exclusionary, and ridiculous.
In other words, there is no longer a Cooperland Community. It’s just a few people arguing back and forth and going nowhere. It’s BORING.
Still, we intend to try one last thing before closing down our participation publicly in the case. We’re going to sponsor one final D.B. Cooper Campout next spring if Covid allows. That will be our swan song, our final public event on the case. Only this time it will be different. Formerly, we would make announcements at Cooper-related websites. Instead, we plan to run an Event Ad at Craigslist a month prior and just see who shows up. It will be one hell of a party for sure. (As usual, it will be held at a drive-to spot in the Olympic National Forest in Washington state. (Spider Lake [Google Map HERE] is on the short list.) After that, Adventure Books of Seattle will be pulling up stakes and moving to southern California. Both myself and former CEO Gayla Prociv are finally calling it quits on Washington state and moving to our new home near Oceanside, CA. And despite what some idiotic Cooper folk have said publicly, YES…that IS Gayla in the picture shown below, and it’s fairly recent.
All of us here at AB of Seattle do appreciate the nice messages we’ve received over the years, the support many of you have given, the purchases of our books, (Cooper-related and otherwise) and taking the time to view our occasional videos for YouTube. We sincerely appreciate this and thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Someone asked me once what was the favorite Cooper-related video we ever did. Easy answer. It was the crazy one shown below. It’s totally nuts. Check your speaker volume before you click on it, because it starts with a bang.
Trust me on this.
The 50th anniversary of the only unsolved hijacking in American history arrives on November 24th, 2021…but few people will notice, and even fewer will care. D.B. Cooper is rapidly becoming, in the larger scheme of criminal history, merely a guy who got lucky against the F.B.I. and escaped with a couple of hundred thousand dollars. Maybe he lived to spend the money. Perhaps he didn’t.
But the only thing people will remember is that the case caused little except discord and jealousy, and even the fans and investigators couldn’t work together. All they accomplished in the end was to leave a poor legacy with few answers to show for it.
As far as the sometimes-hateful folks in the Cooperland community, not ALL of them are bad. Some, like researcher Tom Kaye and his Citizen Sleuths team, still do good work and play fair, but their numbers are less than a half-dozen these days.
For the other folks, I will just post a picture.