In Idaho, a Militia Trains ... for What?

Even though the group is based just miles from Ruby Ridge, in a part of the country known for white supremacy, members said bigotry is not part of their ideology.

"In a constitutional militia, what we are, racism has no place," said a militia member named Willard who, like many we spoke with, did not want his last name used.

Stankiewicz echoed the sentiment.

"I've even had people ask me about Muslims joining the group," he said. "I said I would have no problem with Muslims joining the group."

Klein seemed uneasy with the idea.

"Jeff was talking about letting Muslims in, and that would be OK in theory, but a couple of us voiced a concern that we don't want to get shot in the back, like what happened in Ft. Hood," Klein said.

A Web site maintained by the militia says men should be the head of the household. "Nightline" asked Stankiewicz to respond to concerns women might have about that.

"Do you mean are women second-class citizens?" Stankiewicz said. "No. God no. It doesn't matter if it's a household or a corporation or a football team or whatever it is... you have to have at least one person who makes the final decision.

Stankiewicz said in his world that person is a man.

"You are equals but the man is the head of the household," he said. "It's my Christian background."

Militia and Local Law Enforcement

The militia says it does not advocate violence against the government or its employees. Members disavow groups like the Hutaree militia, whose members were arrested this week and accused of plotting to kill police officers.

But the lines can be blurry. Hutaree's Web site lists only four links. One is to the site kept by the Lightfoot Militia.

Local law enforcement officials say the Lightfoot Militia seems to be doing everything above board, however. Militia members have met with the county sheriff's department.

"As long as they adhere to the constitution of Idaho and adhere to the laws, we don't have a problem with them organizing," said Robert Bussey, undersheriff of Bonner County, Idaho. "It's just like any group. If you or I form a stamp collecting club under the constitution, the only time law enforcement would be concerned if you were planning criminal activity or carrying out criminal activity."

But the "real" authorities were quick to say they would not be calling on the militia in an emergency.

"We want to make sure we know the people that are coming to our crisis, so we do our background checks," Bussey said. "This militia, we do not know them, their training levels or what their abilities are, so we would not call them."

Stankiewicz founded the militia just a year ago. Since then he has been busy trying to convince the community not to fear the militia. He teaches kids in the local band and marches in parades. Militia members even act as crossing guards at local events. On our way to that Saturday training in the woods, Stankiewicz explained why.

"Everyone in the country, if you ask them about the militia, it's a bunch of gun-toting drunken rednecks who run around the woods shooting at anything that moves," he said. "And that's not who these guys are. They have jobs, they own businesses, we've got firemen. We've got all sorts. These are not crazy people. These are average, everyday guys."

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