Extremists finding fertile ground in Northwest US
With its jagged peaks, glistening lakes and lush valleys, the Inland Northwest — stretching from eastern Washington to Montana’s Glacier National Park — is a stunningly beautiful and remote part of the country.
It also is a cradle for sometimes-violent anti-government activity — a reputation most recently rekindled by the search for David Burgert. The former Kalispell militia leader is accused of opening fire on sheriff’s deputies on a remote logging road in Lolo National Forest.
After a lull following the demise of the Idaho-based neo-Nazi Aryan Nations in 2000, anti-government and white supremacist groups and individuals may be reviving in the Inland Northwest. It’s a mostly white, mostly rural area with few job opportunities and a history of extreme activists.
Experts say the number of radical right groups is growing across the country because of the poor state of the economy, rising immigration and fears that President Barack Obama’s administration has an agenda to curtail individual liberties.