Ever wished you could travel back in time? Idaho might soon provide a glimpse into the past: a group of survivalists are planning to build a giant medieval-style fortress in which residents would carry their own weapons and defend against invaders.
The walled city would be built in the woods of the Idaho Panhandle, 70 miles southeast of Spokane, Wash. Few people live in Benewah County, and the population 9,000 would be more than doubled if the survivalists most into the region.
Coined the “Citadel”, the fortress would house 7,000 people and include houses, a school, and a gun factory. The people of Idaho are well-known for their love of guns and panic about proposed federal gun rules has only spurred a rush to purchase more of them out of fear of having their Second Amendment rights being taken away.
But those who are proposing the establishment of the Citadel say that all of the city’s residents would have to own an AR-15 rifle, 1,000 rounds of ammunition and enough supplies to withstand a collapse of society. And since AR-15s have become difficult to obtain and would be outlawed if Congress reinstates the 1994 ban on assault weapons, the fortress would have its own factory to produce them.
Residents would also be required by law to carry a side arm – a small weapon worn in a holster – whenever visiting the town center.
“Marxists, Socialists, Liberals, and Establishment Republicans will likely find that life in our community is incompatible with their existing ideology and preferred lifestyles,” states the proposal’s website.
Organizers refer to their proposed city as “a community of liberty”, which has no leader and instead hosts “a significant group of equals… each bringing their own professional skills and life experiences to the group,” Christian Kerodin, a convicted felon who is a promoter of the project, told the Associated Press.
“It is very much a ‘grass-roots’ endeavor,” he added.
Such proposals are more common among groups who have a stark opposition to mainstream society and politics in the US. Right-wing television host Glenn Beck last month revealed his plans to build a self-sustaining community named “Independence, USA”. Beck’s utopian city would remain cut off from the rest of the US and thereby isolate its residents from the propaganda that Beck believes Americans are exposed to in their current society, as well as provide them with freedom that he believes the US is lacking.
And the number of ‘patriot groups’ desiring their own utopias has only grown since President Obama was first elected, according to spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center Mark Potok. But Potok said these ideas rarely generate into action and that the Citadel’s organizers are unlikely to actually build their fortress.
“The people behind the Citadel are like 12-year-old boys talking about the tree house, or the secret underground city they’re going to build some day,” he told AP.
But the Citadel’s organizers are already making money off of their proposal: several hundred people have already paid the $208 application fee to live in the Citadel if it is developed.
Although no construction has begun on the fortress, organizers have already purchased 20 aces of land. Eventually, they hope to acquire the entire 2,000-3,000-acre compound.
And while organizers already have at least several hundred supporters, some Idaho residents are skeptical about the idea – especially the requirement for future residents to carry arms and defend themselves against invaders.
“This is Podunk, Idaho,” resident Wanda Wemhoff told AP. “What are they defending themselves against?”