"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."
But, as we said, most we talked to -- including Stankiewicz -- don't have a job. The largest industry in the region, logging, has been hurt badly in recent years, and unemployment here hovers near 20 percent. And yes, most do take unemployment from the state. They argue it's insurance... not welfare.
"If you want to have free health care and you want to have gay marriage and you want to have whatever -- any welfare programs... line them up in your state," Stankiewicz said. "The states were supposed to be different. The federal government was there just for national defense and foreign relations. That was pretty much it. That way I can live in a state that believes -- and live around people that believe -- the same sort of things I believe. And liberals, if they want to live in another state, all around people who believe what they believe."
In fact a current candidate for governor of Idaho, Rex Rammell, a Republican, is running on the platform of supporting a statewide militia.
"I don't think anyone would argue that America is getting more and more enemies all of the time -- both foreign and domestic," said Rammell. "I think the way politics is going in the United States and the Tea Party movement -- the whole atmosphere promotes people wanting to get prepared. And I think that is what this is about."
Rammell raised eyebrows last year when he joked he'd like to a buy a license to hunt President Obama. When Rammell ran for Senate in 2008 he got a measly 5 percent of the vote. This year, he says, things have changed.
"It's because of the current administration's politics -- the more they force upon the states, the more noise there is," Rammell said. "The more concern people have, the less freedom there is. Lots of Idahoans believe the health care bill is very intrusive on our individual rights. ... We are not going to allow them to come into the state and make what we believe are unconstitutional mandates. Even if they can get them passed in D.C., we are not going to all that to happen. These guys want to show a little force behind the scene... I don't have a problem with that."
Stankiewicz said he wasn't looking for a showdown.
"I keep telling the guys, I don't know how many times I've said it at the meetings," he said. "I'll be happy to be an old man with some really nice hunting and camping gear and have nothing happen. That would be the best."