Bo Gritz, upholder of the patriot movement, has finally moved to North Idaho and promises law and order in his covenant community.
“The road ends here for me,” said Gritz, 57, as he overlooked the Clearwater River Valley below. “I’m not going anywhere but here.”
People around Kamiah are worried Gritz and those who have bought land in “Almost Heaven” will bring a fringe element like groups such as the freemen in Montana.
But Gritz’s plans sound more down to earth than that.
“Right over there, I’m going to build a boat dock.”
Around the homesite, a modest flurry of activity continues as people who bought property slowly move in.
All the lots in Almost Heaven and Shenandoah are sold out. Other tracts are available. The entire complex would include more than 1,000 acres.
Gritz claims he picked the area after searching the country for a secure place to live.
“I want to provide anyone who’s an American with an organized community where it is very unlikely anything is going to happen to them,” he said. “We don’t ask you on your application if you’re white, black or Jewish.”
Lawbreakers, however, should beware, said Gritz.
“Anyone who thinks this is a Hole-in-the-Wall Gang … where people who commit crimes can come hide. If I find out they are breaking laws of the land. … I would make sure they would be gone.”
He is concerned about individuals who have been calling themselves freemen and flying an American flag upside down, an acknowledged signal of distress, in Woodland Acres.
“I intend to go over and talk with them,” said Gritz. “This is the safest place in the world I mean, they need to get a damn job.”
Earlier, Chad Erickson, Michael Cain and Ed LaStage, declared themselves members of a local freemen group and expressed their discontent with Gritz’s tardy arrival and lack of leadership at Almost Heaven.
The three later traveled to Montana to show their support for the freemen holed up near Jordan.
Gritz, who tried but failed to negotiate an end to the Jordan standoff, said he will not tolerate any radical elements in his community. He was not specific on how he would rid the place of such people.
The upshot of the Jordan situation for himself, said Gritz, is that some people in the patriot movement now consider him a government agent. He scoffs at that.
“There hasn’t been a change in me. If we don’t have the law, who the hell holds us together?” he said. “I mean, who wants anarchy?”
Asked whether he will adhere to tax laws, Gritz said he will pay any taxes that are due, adding that he has never been accused of failing to pay them.
“I think Helen Chenoweth is trying to stick with the law, rather than be politically correct,” he said of the conservative U.S. representative. “I love her.”
Gritz continues to host a radio talk show called “Freedom Call.” He said 300 stations pick it up.
Gritz adds his new book will be titled “The Promise” and will explore, among other things, his spiritual side.
“I don’t know a single church on the face of the Earth that’s got the answer.”
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