Bo Gritz has a simple answer for society’s ills that he’s offering audiences across the country: Move to Idaho.
Move, that is, to the “covenant community” that he’s subdividing near Kamiah. Gritz himself plans to move to Kamiah in June. His wife, Claudia, met with a Boise architect Tuesday afternoon to go over plans for the couple’s 4,000-square-foot dream home with a view of the Clearwater Valley.
“Kamiah is the safest place in America,” Gritz said.
“If you’re from Florida, I highly recommend you come up just so you don’t have your home blown away every year. (Or) if you’re from Los Angeles.”
Gritz is the retired lieutenant colonel who was the model for movie-land’s “Rambo.” He’s best known locally for talking white separatist Randy Weaver into surrendering during Weaver’s 1992 standoff with federal agents at Ruby Ridge.
Chatting with reporters and Boise State University students Tuesday afternoon before an evening speech on campus, Gritz said he’s encountering little opposition to his idea that people worried about society should move to Kamiah.
When he first arrived in north-central Idaho, “I just saw a lot of friendliness,” he said.
Concern from human rights groups and others who question whether he is establishing a white-supremacist community has quieted, Gritz said, “now that I have myself a lawyer.”
“The truth is you’re welcome up here if you’re an American,” he said. “We’ve already got some Asian-Americans up there. Black Americans are welcome. You’re welcome.”
Gritz, who conducts paramilitary survivalist training sessions and speaks favorably about some aspects of the militia movement, should be aware that Idaho has enacted stiff laws against terrorism and against training with firearms aimed at civil disorder, said Georgia Smith of the Idaho Department of Commerce. “If Mr. Gritz is telling people to move to North Central Idaho, he’d better tell them that, too,” she said.
“We need to keep it in perspective. Mr. Gritz has bought a huge parcel of land in that area and he’s a real estate developer. So he’s trying to sell the property.”
Gritz said he plans to continue conducting his “SPIKE” sessions, Specially Prepared Individuals for Key Events, until he moves to Idaho in June. His last session was in Idaho Falls; the next stops are Portland, Dallas, Sacramento and Atlanta. The sessions promise participants they’ll come out “as qualified as anyone that ever wore a green beret,” he said.
They also provide an audience for the move-to-Idaho pitch.
Gritz said he and his associates made a study from Florida to Tijuana and concluded that Kamiah was the safest place to be.
They considered everything from soil and water to the upheaval of America’s cities.
“If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, then you need to come to Idaho,” he said.
Gritz has four subdivisions that he said will eventually total 1,000 acres.
They’re dubbed Almost Heaven, Shenandoah, Flying Elk Ranch and Woodland Acres.
The final one is being developed as an RV park, where people can purchase a half-acre lot for their RV, he said.
The others consist of larger lots and acreages.
Gritz said he expects his community to be self-supporting, with residents working as plumbers, teachers, health-care providers and the like to serve the community.
“If we have 400 or 500 people up there, why shouldn’t we be able to prosper within our own community?”
Howard Daugherty, Kamiah’s mayor and a city councilman for 18 years, said he’s unconcerned about Gritz’s followers moving in.
“As long as they got the income, there’s no problem, or if they know where they can get a job.”
“I don’t blame ‘em for thinking it’s really nice here,” Daugherty said.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo
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