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News of a planned fortified survivalist city in North Idaho started trickling into the mainstream media this month. l is to be a self-contained walled fortress in the back woods of Benewah County near , according to reports gleaned from the Internet. A planned gated community on steroids for liberty-loving militia people, the dream is for Citadel residents to be able to arm themselves all the time and pursue “Jeffersonian-style liberty” while prepping for the end of the world as we know it.
KBOI2 Writer Scott Logan posted an article Jan. 16, 2013, saying he couldn’t find a warm body to interview, so he linked to a Video from NCRenegade.com, with a speech by Jim Miller, one of the project’s proponents. In the video, Miller says the centerpiece of The Citadel will be a firearms factory called III Arms Company, LLC.
“III Arms provides funding for The Citadel. The Citadel provides funding for itself. The more people you move in, the more arms. It’s one large loop.” The company filed its LLC with the Idaho Secretary of State in August of 2012.
Citadel residents age 13 and up will be required to be armed and able to hit what they aim at. It’s one of the qualifications for living there. The reason is not that the inhabitants-to-be are “gun nuts,” but they are firmly convinced that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness can only be ensured when citizens are armed. That’s because history has shown that government officials, altruistic as they may seem, always turn into tyrants if given the chance. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
“Our current government is pushing, pushing and pushing. They’re refusing to listen to common sense and reason, refusing to let us live our lives, refusing us the liberty that God grants us as men,” Miller is quoted as saying in an online interview at guerillamerica.com. “Eventually, the line will be crossed and the only remedy will be to start shooting.”
“Getting the rifles and pistols into the hands of those who will make that stand with us when the time comes, that is our mission: To provide the tools to ensureas well as ensure domestic tranquility.” Miller is the CEO of III Arms Company, LLC.
In the video posted by Logan, Miller indicates that the group’s interests go a little further than self-protection in an uncertain world. When speaking of the development in Benewah County, he refers to the Free State Project, where thousands of people planned to converge in one small state in order to swing the outcome of elections and create a stronghold for libertarian ideals. In the Citadel’s case, those ideas align with those of the, Miller said.
The exact number he expects to converge at The Citadel fluctuates from three thousand people to five thousand families, according to various statements in the video. “The idea behind the Citadel is having a secured location of three to five thousand patriots living in proximity of each other, that if something happens when the world does go to crap — and we all have a pretty good idea it’s going to hit eventually — when that world goes to crap, pull the gate up, you survive in that community, not unlike what castles and citadels used to do. The community lived in that area. The citadel was to protect that community.”
Benewah County’s population numbered 9,287 in July 2011 according to City-Data.com, and Miller appreciates the impact of so many people on a small county.
“Three to five thousand families walking into an area like that makes an impact immediately,” he said. “Walking in, not having to rely on the local community, well see, you can write your own politicians, you can write your own check, you can write your own methods of doing things.”
Hopefully all that writing will include a plan to maintain the dirt road to the property, as well as contingencies for fire, ambulance, and other basic services. Some people living along the road that leads to the Citadel property are unhappy with the specter of crowds and traffic in a remote area they live in because they love their privacy, peace, and quiet. Despite the traffic and never-ending gunfire from target practice, Miller thinks the locals will come to appreciate the Citadel.
“Those folks around you see that community, see people walking around with a gun on their hip and no one getting shot. They see people with jobs in a community that didn’t have jobs. They walk in and they see people enjoying liberty in its true form. That’s what we intend to do at the Citadel.”
He says project proponents were negotiating with county officials in order to seek out tax breaks in exchange for employment opportunities at the arms factory and the increased tax base so many new homes would create. Several times, he alluded to The Idaho Firearms Freedom Act, which promotes the manufacture of guns and ammunition in Idaho.
“Idaho wants to be the gun capital of the. They want manufacturers to come in,” Miller said. “When Idaho said, hey, we want to start building guns, they were going to offer relatively lucrative reasons for coming, like most places do that want a tax base. We’ll bring you in, we’ll nullify your taxes for a couple of years, we’ll give you this, we’ll help you build a company because you’ll be literally funding our coffers at that point.”
Along with the coffer-funding, comes political clout. “When you start funding those coffers, you need to have people there to make sure that money is spent for things that really matter to you. That’s the whole reason for Idaho.”
The Three Percenters believe, like Lysander Spooner, (see Chapter 1, Section II, page 18) that government can only be kept in check by armed people. According to a YouTube video called Armed and Ready: Militia culture in America, Three Percenters made a stand on the banks of the in April 2010 to put the federal government on notice: “attempt to further oppress us at your peril.”
“Americans are beginning to feel increasingly less like free citizens and more like subjects,” David Codrea, Co-founder of Gun Truths and Citizens of America says in the Armed and Ready video, which was uploaded to YouTube Apr 21, 2011. It explains that the Three Percenters is a militia with its own flag, plenty of guns, and a manifesto that says it only takes three percent of gun owners to overthrow the government. “More and more of America’s 84 million gun owners say they’re tired of compromising on their right to bear arms.”
So, are local government officials excited about the prospect of their coffers being filled by the Citadelians and their gun factory?
According to news reports, no Benewah County officials have spoken with Citadel proponents. This despite the fact that in the NCRenegade video, filmed last year, Miller asserts that Sam and Holly Kerodin were in Idaho looking for land and meeting with state and county officials to discuss the project, as well as securing a storefront for a physical address. ”
“They are meeting with them to decide what areas are the best to look. They’ve got, I think, either three or four county seats, county governments that they have set up meetings with to try to decide which county would offer us the best incentive for moving into their county.”
Benewah County Sheriff, Dave Resser, confirmed that the group purchased 20 acres of land in the county, but he hasn’t seen any other activity, according to a report by Jamie Grey of KTVB on Jan. 17, 2013.
The property, located in an area called “The Benewah” by locals, is currently inaccessible by car due to winter weather. The sheriff said neither he nor the county commissioners have been contacted by any group members.
County Commissioner Jack Buell runs the show in Benewah County, so he would be the person to talk to. Second would be Bud McCall. Both have served as Benewah County Commissioners since the mid 70s and you can be assured nothing important gets by them in their neck of the woods. Whether or not they would be forthcoming about any discussions is another matter. Land deals are still conducted within the bowels of the good old boy network in rural North Idaho, with little concern for Open Public Meeting protocols.
Dave Resser, formerly Shoshone County Deputy, recently ran for Benewah County Sheriff on a Constitutionalist platform and won. An article reposted from the St. Maries Gazette Record indicates that Resser had an epiphany about what his oath to uphold the Constitution really means when he attended the Constitutional Sheriffs Convention with 114 other county sheriffs in Las Vegas last year. Constitutional sheriffs are big on the people’s right to bear arms.
“The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) believe that the county sheriff has the legitimate authority to prevent federal agents from entering the county, or has the power to ask them to leave,” according to the Gazette article by Summer Crosby.
The Constitutional Sheriffs movement was started by Sheriff Richard Mack of Arizona. Constitutional Sheriffs Richard Mack and Jay Printz (Ravalli County, Montana) both filed separate lawsuits that challenged provisions in the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act that required police to do background checks on handgun buyers. The sheriffs claimed the provisions were unconstitutional and protested being pressed into federal service. The courts agreed with them.
During his campaign, Resser said he would require all federal agencies to check in with him prior to conducting business in Benewah County. Does that include the BIA? I don’t know if anybody resolved how that Constitutional Sheriff philosophy plays out on the checkerboard jurisdictional reality that characterizes reservation lands in the Western US. The Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s reservation encompasses most of Benewah county, and the proposed Citadel would, incidentally, lie within its exterior boundaries.
Relations between Benewah County officials and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe became strained after the tribe’s ascendency in North Idaho’s financial and political circles during the past two decades. Before that, they were too downtrodden to be perceived as a threat. But the success of the casino has empowered the tribal council to pursue a number of initiatives that impact non-tribal people living in the reservation and frankly, those folks have said they are worried the Indians are trying to “take over,” and “steal their land.” The settlers want to retain enough political power to block whatever moves the tribe might make to assert its authority.
The majority of Americans, including constitutional survivalists, are ignorant about Native history and tribal sovereignty, so they tend to parrot the “why should we give anything to the Indians” rhetoric. Perhaps the influx of 10,000 allies is an attractive possibility for the Benewah County power structure.
Idaho is part of an area considered a safe haven by survivalists and constitutionalists. Dubbed the American Redoubt, the area that encompasses eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, western Montana, and Wyoming is being promoted as a point of retreat when the banks fail, the power grid goes down, and martial law is declared. Redoubt adherents are moving to the area to distance themselves from the “corrupt influences of the Washington DC Beltway” and to set up a defensible area for when society collapses.
An interview published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch with movement founder James Wesley Rawles, a former Army intelligence officer, says the American Redoubt movement is compared to the Puritan exodus from Europe. “They couldn’t fit in and said, ‘We’re going to move to completely virgin territory and start afresh.’…In effect, we’re becoming pistol-packing Amish,” he said. Manifest Destiny, take two?
Luckily, both Rawles and Citadel proponents are outspokenly anti-racist. If that is the case, there is room for a crucial dialogue between this new wave of federal government-hating immigrants to the Northwest, and Indian tribes whose existence is interwoven with the federal system. A dialogue that is particularly relevant when the armed anti-government resistance plays out within the boundaries of Indian reservations.
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