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Hand grasping at $100 bills
At TPM, Eric Lach has a long and detailed article exploring The Citadel, a planned armed community for survivalists and preppers, the people who take disaster preparedness to its most paranoid extremes. The group,  coordinating in conjunction with the III Arms gun company, has bought up 20 acres of remote mountaintop land in northern Idaho, and is taking applications now for potential residents. The taking applications part is key—for $208, gun-loving paranoids can dream of living in an armed paradise, where every member from teenager on up is obligated to carry, all the time. If it's built, and that's a big if.
“Something that I can’t predict, but am hoping for, is a greater level of social interaction,” the organizer, who blogs under the names Vernon and VJ, wrote. “Neighborhood barbeques, musical jam sessions and plays at the amphitheater or the Citadel Society club house, interest groups, clubs, organized and spontaneous activities of all sorts. I enjoy board games, myself, and used to go to a game club every Friday night. We’ll have some great pubs with local brews, walking and bicycle paths, a firing range you don’t have to drive a half hour or more to get to. Maybe a hill with a rope tow for sliding down on inner tubes in the winter time. Militia training will also have a unifying social aspect to it.”

Vernon’s is just one post picked from many, but it’s a good example of the wholesome-until-they’re-extremist ideas behind The Citadel. The project improbably received national notice last week, thanks in large part to The Drudge Report, which prominently linked to a story about The Citadel, with the headline “GROUP TO BUILD ARMED NEIGHBORHOOD FORTRESS” below a close-up photograph of President Obama making Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney’s “not impressed” face. It was a classic Drudge move, calling attention to the fringe at the height of an intense policy debate — this time, about gun control.

But is it real? The locals aren't so sure, as we'll explore below the fold.

The Citadel's 20 acres is in Idaho's Benewah county, where officials are skeptical, at best, about the prospects for this venture, with the sheriff basically labeling the whole thing just a scam.

According to Sheriff Dave Resser, neither he nor county commissioners have had any contact with the group making online claims that it is planning a walled, armed community near St. Maries. [...]

"There is nothing up on the 20 acres that they have purchased, and at this time, it is inaccessible because of the winter weather," Resser said. [...]

"No one has been able to talk to any one person [from the group]. As I understand it, it's all being done by the internet. My take would be if you've got $208 to throw away, go ahead and try it. I definitely would not look to get it back if they do not fulfill this project," Resser said. [...]

"But a project of this size and nature, the logistics are extreme, to say least. And... road access, power, sewage, none of these items have been approached or even talked about that I have seen."

Inaccessible for half the year, no infrastructure, no existing plans to create infrastructure, and a lot of "application" money probably going to a gun manufacturer. Then there's this, from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
[O]ne of the key players linked to the unlikely-sounding venture is three-time convicted felon Christian Allen Kerodin, a Maryland contractor who has apparently used various aliases and whose birth name was Christian Hyman. His wife or partner, Holly Ann Kerodin, has been involved in questionable charity, counseling, publishing and other ventures that have failed, various critics say.
A convicted extortionist and felon who can't legally own a firearm. Yeah, that's someone to trust with your money. As that SPLC blog post says, this guy is such a scam artist, he's being attacked by other "Patriots." The people behind shouldn't be taken lightly, as armed extremists should never be dismissed, but the idea of a fortress theme park actually being built needs to be greeted with the skepticism it deserves.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 08:35 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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