Ketchum, IdahoAugust 23, 2020
‘No Body of Men:’ A militia movement, recast, takes to the streets of North Idaho
“This has been just the gasoline on the fire for civil war. If it’s coming, North Idaho is the heart of the new confederacy.”-Rebecca Schroeder
For North Idaho residents like Schroeder, who have watched warily as armed militia groups gain a foothold in their town, the area’s history — the leveled Aryan Nations compound lies just seven miles from Coeur d’Alene — doesn’t feel so far away.
“They have been calling for a civil war for a long time. I mean, this is a perfect excuse. The Black Lives Matter protests layered in with the COVID pandemic and the restrictions placed on movement and masking and things like that in our community,” Schroeder said.
When Rebecca Schroeder reported the increase in death threats — she estimates she’s blocked 1,000 people on Facebook in the past month — to the police department and to various levels of leadership in the city, she received no offer of protection.
“I needed to get the hell out of town,” she said. “There wasn’t anyone in local leadership who was going to hold these folks accountable.”
Schroeder says combating right-wing extremism in North Idaho could be like firing at a shifting target.
“Because it’s hidden under this guise of ‘patriotism,’ and it kind of co-opted that word and that identity, it’s much more difficult to single out and oppose those folks,” Schroeder said.
For (one resident), who previously hoped to retire in Coeur d’Alene, the recent trend toward open right-wing extremism has also become untenable. After events this summer, he no longer wants his granddaughter to visit. He plans to sell his house and leave town for good as soon as possible.