14 October 1999
Roy Beavers (the guru) is very much a product of the "middle" of the United States, geographically, demographically and socially. His birthplace (in 1930) was Joplin, Missouri, about 200 miles west of the population center of America and about 200 miles south southeast of the geographic center. His family background was in the middle of what is often called the "middle class," and his 12 years of grammar and high schooling along with his youthful experiences in a typical Andy Hardy "middle class" town, were the same.
When he graduated from Joplin High School in 1948 he had been Captain of the football team and President of the Student Body. His other activities included debate, public speaking, dramatics, baseball and girls. He was not terribly successful with the latter, but -- as in all things -- he never quit trying.
He entered the University of Missouri in the fall of 1948 (with a football scholarship) thinking he was headed for a law degree. Upon graduation in the spring of 1952, with a Bachelors Degree in Business and Public Administration, he was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy and was soon on his way to the Korean War. For the next twenty years he served as an officer in the United States Navy, always in the Pacific theater or in Washington, D.C. It was not that he forgot about becoming a lawyer, rather, it was that he was having too much fun in the Navy. He actually did enjoy his twenty years of military service.
His navy career included considerable time in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, on all types of combatant ships -- destroyers, cruisers, and carriers. He qualified for command at sea. He also attended military intelligence post graduate schooling and training in "special weapons" (nuclear weapons). At various moments in his career, he found himself as: Officer in Charge of a nuclear weapons detachment, an Assistant Naval Attache in Tokyo, an estimator of "National Intelligence Estimates" in Washington, D.C., and he concluded his third tour of duty in Washington (1970-72) assigned to the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, as a staff military intelligence/political affairs officer working on the SALT I, Strategic Arms Treaty, that was signed in Moscow in May of 1972 with the Soviet Union.
During his various tours of duty in Washington, he also managed to earn a Master of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Maryland; and he published extensively, writing articles, essays and editorials for Washington newspapers, military publications and the United States Navy Institute, which has awarded him its Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for his skills as an essayist. He has continued to write essays, articles and editorials prolifically throughout his civilian professional life as well.
Perhaps he would not have ended his Navy career after 20 such satisfying years, but for the fact that he had become acquainted with a number of key political figures in Washington, who suggested to him that a political future beckoned. He retired from the Navy and the very next day became the Chief Staff officer on the Committee to Re-elect President Nixon in Virginia. After the election, he, like many others, soon became a casualty of the unfolding drama of the Nixon Administration demise following the Watergate affair.
In the fall of 1973, he returned to Missouri with his family -- a British wife (Valerie) he had married in Tokyo in 1964 -- one young daughter and a son on the way. They established their residence in Lebanon, Missouri (south-central part of the state) and started over.
Roy's first significant civilian position was with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) as their representative in three states of the middle part of the country. NRECA is the national association of all the rural electric power cooperatives that provide electricity to rural and small town America -- by and large in those territories where the big, profit-making, power companies did not want to serve.
He didn't know it at the time, but he had entered into a phase of his life that would profoundly influence his future. It was with NRECA that he began to learn "the power business" as it is pursued in the United States. In 1984, he left NRECA to take a position as Manager of Member and Public Relations with KAMO Power, a medium sized utility that generated and transmitted power to the local cooperatives in portions of two states, Missouri and Oklahoma. There, his duties also evolved to include the role of lobbyist for the power "G and T" cooperative. This meant that, to some degree, he was back into politics, and working three capitals, Oklahoma City (OK), Jefferson City (MO) and Washington, D.C.
It wasn't very long after joining KAMO before he began to "hear" about a curious and, for him, a reminiscent, phenomenon -- called EMF. He thought he knew something about what EMF was all about, because he had -- many years before -- encountered it in his navy and nuclear weapons experience.
He knew, for example that EMF (or EMP as it was called) was one of the effects of a nuclear weapons blast. He also knew that electromagnetic radiation was a common source of interference in the shipboard environment. He knew that EMF could affect his electronic equipment, but he did not know that it could affect humans. Why that had not occurred to him is pretty hard to explain -- because he also knew of the use by the Soviet Union of EMF signals against the Americans in the Moscow Embassy during the 1960s-70s. That was during part of the time he had been on duty as an Assistant Naval Attache at the American Embassy in Tokyo.
So, EMF had entered his life. But it did not immediately "consume" him as it later would. At first, he accepted what he was being told by the many electric industry briefers who appeared repeatedly at the many NRECA and electric industry meetings he attended. Industry lawyers, engineers, lobbyists -- all had the same message: "This 'EMF stuff' is nonsense." There is not and cannot be "anything to it," they said. "The physicists have proved that it is not even possible for non-ionizing radiation (EMF) to impact human cells in such a way as to result in biological effects!"
Then one day (about 1989), a piece of paper crossed Roy's (the guru's) desk. It reported about a court case in Texas which had just been reviewed by the Texas Supreme Court. The Klein School District vs. Houston Light and Power case had actually been tried in 1985. But the review by the Texas supreme court was not out until 1989. During all of that time (1985-1989) -- though Roy, busy with other matters, was hardly aware of the possible "EMF hazards" issue -- the "inner circle" of the electrical utility industry had been very much aware of it.
As soon as the Texas Supreme Court review of the Klein case was published, the electrical industry (including NRECA) went to "general quarters" (a Navy term meaning: all hands man your battle stations) to inform their employee staffs and the electrical industry management about this case and how "incorrect" it was.
For the next half dozen years or so, no meeting or convention of the industry failed to discuss the "EMF issue." Lawyers and engineers (and a few insurance people) conducted numerous briefings which, frankly, "propagandized" on the issue. One of the authorities most often quoted was the Electrical Power Research Institute (EPRI), a California research organization that had been created, funded and was fully controlled by the electrical utility industry.
The outcome of the Klein case was that the Houston power company was found to have failed in its duty to observe prudent health and safety procedures by having built its power lines too close to the school, thus exposing the school children to EMF hazards, and the company was made to relocate the power lines.
This was too much for the electrical industry to stomach. The very idea that the location of their "harmless" lines would have to be placed somewhere else -- dictated by public health considerations -- was in their minds a serious threat to the industry's profitability as well as its operating freedom, which had been engendered during nearly 100 years of the industry's existence. They argued that if this precedent were allowed to stand, "the cost of electricity would go up for everybody" and that, therefore, it was actually "they," the industry, who were "on the side of the public interest."
The industry presentations were virtually devoid of any references to scientific evidence other than that generated by EPRI, and other than the contention of the U.S. physics community that "what was being asserted about possible EMF harm to health was physically impossible."
By 1993, Roy had reached the point of retirement from his "second career," the electrical industry -- and he retired from KAMO to his country home in Lebanon, Missouri, to engage himself more fully with the EMF issue..... His EMF-L Discussion List was first launched in October of 1995. By that time, he had begun to make it a practice to attend as many of the EMF scientific meetings as he could afford. He attended all but one of the EMF RAPID meetings, plus every one of the annual U.S. Government "Contractor" meetings from 1993 onward.
At the time of his retirement from KAMO, he had already been listed by the Marquis publishers in their editions of Who's Who: Who's Who in the South and Southwest (1993). Beginning in 1995 and thereafter, he has been listed in all subsequent issues of Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, and Who's Who in Industry and Finance.