Racist Neighbors Alarm Rights Group Ex-Kkk Leader Buys Land Near Sandpoint
(From For the Record, Saturday, May 6, 1995): Tim Bishop, staff leader at the Aryan Nations in North Idaho, said he didn’t attend a gun rights rally in Sandpoint on April 8. A story in Thursday’s newspaper was incorrect.
Former Klu Klux Klan leader Louis Beam’s purchase of 15 acres here and his appearance at meetings with other known racists has alarmed some people in Bonner County.
“It’s time to stand up and speak out about these people,” said Brenda Hammond, president of the local Human Rights Task Force.
“If we are too afraid to do so, then fear and hate have us by the throat.”
Task force officials are worried that antigovernment groups in the region are gaining momentum.
Beam, 48, is the Aryan Nations ambassador at large. He recently bought property near Sunnyside Cutoff Road, about 10 miles east of Sandpoint. He is applying for permits to build a home there.
Beam attended a gun rights rally in Sandpoint on April 8 along with Timothy Bishop, another Aryan Nations official. The meeting was sponsored by the Idaho Citizens Awareness Network, a group cofounded by Dave Barley, formerly of Arizona, who now heads an anti-Semitic ministry in Sandpoint.
“It is time to be wise, to be cautious to be well-informed,” said Hammond, adding the task force doesn’t want hate organizations to operate unchallenged here.
Bonner County Sheriff Chip Roos agrees, adding authorities have been aware of Beam’s presence for weeks.
“If you don’t like this kind of thing in your community, you best be opening up your mouth,” Roos said. “It’s our community and it will become what a majority of us want to turn it into.”
Roos and others fear Beam is setting himself up to be the next leader of the Aryan Nations and to court militia groups at the same time.
The acreage he bought, which is legally held under his wife’s name, is about halfway between Richard Butler’s Aryan Nations compound in Hayden Lake and the Militia of Montana headquarters in Noxon.
“I think it means this is a very opportune spot for him to drop anchor,” said Roos. “It’s easy to recognize that when you’ve got so many radical elements going on, this is probably a dandy place for him right now.”
Beam was contacted Wednesday at an Osburn telephone number in the Silver Valley, he had listed on his septic tank application. After a reporter identified himself twice, Beam said, “You must have the wrong number” and hung up.
The Human Rights Task Force issued a written statement of “concern” Wednesday.
It was prompted by Beam’s presence, an anonymous letter making allegations about an Idaho Citizen’s Awareness Network meeting, other militia organizations and the Oklahoma City bombing.
“While we advocate becoming educated about the existence in our own area of elements similar to those that brought about disaster in Oklahoma City, we want to be very clear that the major ingredients of that bomb were not fertilizer and fuel oil, but hate and fear,” the task force said.