February 6, 1996 in Idaho

Freemen Patriots Tell Gritz To Lead Movement They Bought Pitch, Part Of His Property, Now They Want Him To Take Action

Associated Press
 

Members of the fledgling Freemen Patriots say Bo Gritz should lead his constitutional law community in Idaho or get out of the way.

The former Green Beret and presidential candidate replies he is not above demanding some of the patriots move out of his Almost Heaven community.

“They’re certainly not going to find me leading them against a windmill,” Gritz said. “It’s almost as if nothing is happening in their lives, so they make something happen.”

The Patriots contend Gritz, who runs his Center for Action from Sandy Valley, Nev., has yet to take any action in Idaho. And some of those who bought the Gritz pitch, as well as a piece of his property, have grown impatient.

“Bo talked the talk and walked the walk,” said Ed LeStage, one of the patriots. “But he has changed the talk and the walk.”

He announced two years ago that he was moving to the Woodland area to form a constitutional covenant community.

Gritz bought land, subdivided it and sold lots.

But despite media hype that he was building an armed compound, Gritz has yet to even show. And his absence appears to have caused a rift within the patriot rank and file.

So far the Freemen Patriots number about eight adults without a leader.

“We’re not anarchists by any means,” said LeStage.

“In fact, we’re lovers of law, constitutional law. The last thing we want to see is a lawless community.”

To that end, LeStage and Michael Cain said they both keep guns strapped to their hips.

“If every person carried a gun, this would be a more polite society,” said Cain.

“We have armed ourselves. But more than put on weapons, we’ve armed ourselves with the armor of God.”

“There’s no need to carry a .45 around,” said Gritz. “They’ve invented their own dragon.”

Patriot member Chad Erickson wrote a letter to the Clearwater Progress, the weekly Kamiah newspaper.

He warned of a diabolical, Star Wars-like attack.

“Through a conference with patriots in Montana, we have learned that federal agencies are planning a strike against the patriots in the Kamiah, Idaho, area,” he wrote.

A helicopter-borne microwave weapon would cook the residents without causing smoke and flame from their houses.

Gritz vows not only to disassociate himself from the Freemen Patriots, but perhaps rid his covenant communities of them if they persist.

“If it looks like Almost Heaven is going to become some kind of epicenter, we’ll certainly move those people out,” he said, adding his family will move to Idaho in June.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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