BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The first thing you should know about The Citadel is that it doesn’t really exist… yet. For now, it is an artist’s rendering of walls, towers, homes and arms factory; a website; and a developing story. The organizers-developers who are dreaming the dream, intend to build an intentional community – a gunner’s paradise if you will -- in the mountains of Northern Idaho. And, despite the rugged setting, the pathway to The Citadel is pretty straight and narrow; liberals of any size, shape or color, need not apply.
Two of the main forces behind The Citadel, “a developing community of Patriots,” appear to be James L. Miller and Christian Kerodin, according to Politicker.com’s Hunter Walker.
Miller “is many things, a motorcycle enthusiast, accused online scammer, doomsday prepper, gunmaker and cat lover.” Kerodin “also wears a number of hats; he is an air conditioning repairman, blogger, author, self-styled security consultant and convicted extortionist.”
An ambitious project, The Citadel’s developers are aiming to build housing for between 3,500 and 7,000 “patriotic American families who agree that being prepared for the emergencies of life and being proficient with the American icon of Liberty — the Rifle — are prudent measures. … There will be no recycling police and no local ordinance enforcers from City Hall.”
The artist’s concept has The Citadel including a perimeter fenced road with numerous castle-style fortified walls towers, interior defensive walls and towers, an on-site gun factory (“III Arms Factory”), schools, an Amphitheatre, a firearms museum and reflecting pool, and a farmer’s market.
According to its website, residents of The Citadel will be “bound together by”: “Patriotism”; “Pride in American Exceptionalism”; “Our proud history of Liberty as defined by our Founding Fathers”; and, “Physical preparedness to survive and prevail in the face of natural catastrophes — such as Hurricanes Sandy or Katrina — or man-made catastrophes such as a power grid failure or economic collapse.”
On its homepage, The Citadel’s organizers/developers want “Marxists, Socialists, Liberals and Establishment Republicans” to fully understand that they are not welcome as they “will likely find that life in our community is incompatible with their existing ideology and preferred lifestyles.”
Establishing a Beachhead in Benewah County, Idaho
The Citadel organizers are aiming “to purchase between 2,000 and 3,000 acres. Of that, 640-1,280 acres are to be walled-in (minimum one square mile). Plot sizes for the leases inside the walls will be no more than 1 acre for home sites, and larger lots will be available outside the walls.
The exact location has yet to be determined although organizers “have tentatively chosen the state of Idaho and are particularly interested in Benewah County, but we are still considering a number of other options for the actual site.
“We have purchased 20 mountaintop acres in Benewah County. This will become the initial factory location for our firearms company and will be developed into a Showcase for the larger Citadel concept. Improvements to the mountaintop Showcase property will begin in the Spring/Summer of 2013. We have been calling this property our Beachhead.”
A Disneyland for Patriots; sans rides or long lines
"The model will be similar in many ways to that of Disneyland. It is walled, gated, private property with controlled access,” the website points out. “People pay to enter and agree to the rules because they see value in doing so. It is all based on a voluntary agreement between the owners of the property and those who want to come inside. Millions of people visit Disneyland and interact peacefully. It's exceptionally rare to hear of any serious problems. The key is that those people want to be there and understand what is expected of them. Surprisingly similar to what we are doing."
Firearms über alles
The Atlantic magazine’s Conor Friedersdorf recently pointed out that there are a number of “rules that relate to firearms”:
* “Everyone 13 years and older ‘shall annually demonstrate proficiency with the rifle of his/her choice by hitting a man-sized steel target at 100 yards with open sights at the Citadel range.’
* “They must also ‘annually demonstrate proficiency with a handgun of choice by hitting a man-sized steel target at 25 yards with open sights at the Citadel range.’
* "Every able-bodied Patriot of age within the Citadel will maintain one AR15 variant in 5.56mm NATO, at least 5 magazines and 1,000 rounds of ammunition."
* "Every child attending Citadel schools -- with parental discretion for maturity -- shall have as part of every semester's class curriculum basic marksmanship and firearms safety training leading to the proficiency test on the child's 13th birthday as a 'Coming of Age' rite of passage."
* "All Patriots, who are of age and are not legally restricted from bearing firearms, shall agree to remain armed with a loaded sidearm whenever visiting the Citadel Town Center. Firearm shall be on-the-person and under the control of the Resident, not merely stored in a vehicle."
“… it doesn't matter if the subculture is made up of extreme gun enthusiasts or hippies or Scientologists or Trappist monks,” Friedersdorf noted. “In forming their enclave, they're exercising one of their liberties; but their communities shouldn't be mistaken as being ‘dedicated to the principles of libertarianism,’ as a writer at Gawker characterized The Citadel. Nor should The Citadel be mistaken for the sort of place Jefferson would have seen as exemplifying model republican living.”
According to The Citadel organizers, hundreds of families have already signed up through its website. Interestingly, an advertisement on The Citadel’s website carries an advertisement for a gun retailer urging visitors to “buy an AR-15 before it's too late” - referring to military-type assault rifles as used by gunman Adam Lanza during the Sandy Hook massacre.
According to a NNCM.com, as of Tuesday, January 15, the Benewah County Sheriff had not yet commented “on the group and its current plans.”
Politicker.com’s Hunter Walker also reported that neither James L. Miller nor Christian Kerodin have responded to requests for a comment. “However,” Walker noted, “Miller seems to be enjoying the attention … A Facebook page that seems to belong to Mr. Miller features pictures of customized military fatigues with the III Arms logo and the words ‘Millerized’ and ‘Patriot.’ It also includes a picture of one of the Citadel’s more prominent media mentions, a headline about the community on the Drudge Report accompanied by the following caption from Mr. Miller: ‘We are now huge.’”