7,000 Gun-Loving "Patriots" Living in an Walled Citadel Built Around an Arms Factory in Idaho -- What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
They call it III Citadel, and they say they’ve already lined up “hundreds” of extreme-right gun lovers to join them in the walled city they’re planning for a lonely tract in northern Idaho. The end game, they say, is an ideologically pure settlement of 7,000 “Patriots” built around a huge arms factory.
But there’s no sign that the latest fantastic plans from antigovernment extremists will ever come to much. Dave Resser, the sheriff of sparsely populated Benewah County, calls the whole thing a “scam.”
They say they’re not racists and welcome any and all comers, so long as they promise to follow the rules and they’re devoted and well-armed defenders of the Constitution — “liberals, Marxists and blue voters” need not apply.
But in practically the same breath, the man who with others recently purchased the land enthusiastically described how Latinos and Muslims will be “purged” and “culled” by “fed-up Americans” in the not-so distant future.
They say their project is a serious one, not merely the latest windmill-tilting from hard-line extremists seeking to create an independent society divorced from the increasingly multicultural world around them. But outside of the purchase of the Benewah County tract and the pulling of a permit or two, there’s little to suggest the project could ever come close to the predictions its backers are making. Even other extreme rightists question the plan, some seeing it as the latest embarrassment from the fantasists among them. It hasn’t helped that the project’s chief backer is a convicted con man who, with his wife, has started a whole series of unsuccessful businesses and consulting services.
It’s hard to say if anything at all will come of the project described by its backers as a kind of extreme-right Disneyland — a destination for a certain type of tourist and a place where every person over 13 would own an assault rifle, and where the bulk of the population would work in an arms factory.
But even if it all comes to nothing, it won’t be for want of attention. In recent months, the latest talk of a major American right-wing compound has gotten attention around the country and even in the foreign press, despite the fact that its promoters won’t give interviews and rely on their websites instead. One thing does seem eminently clear. “The Citadel,” as its backers say on a website promoting their Alice in Wonderland plans, “is not the best housing solution for everyone.”
Housing for ‘Patriots’
The prime promoter of the Citadel project — ultimately pictured as a one-square-mile enclave — is Christian Allen Kerodin, who with his associates recently purchased 20 acres of a mountaintop south of St. Maries, Idaho, in Benewah County. Kerodin and the others say their purpose is to build a remote home and defendable redoubt for “3 percenters” — the minority of the population that they believe will be ready “in the event of a national economic implosion.” The site is 3,500 feet above sea level in an area known for heavy snow during frigid Idaho winters.
“This will become the initial factory location for our firearms company and will be developed into a Showcase for the larger Citadel concept,” the III Citadel website says. Improvements to the site, it adds, are slated for this summer.
A key part of the plan is that the city’s inhabitants will have to remain ideologically pure, and could face expulsion or even trials for treason if they do not. That’s why they won’t be allowed to own property, only to lease homes.