[Videos from KPAX and KECI.]
Militiamen are really a bunch of bad pennies who just keep popping back up:
LOLO - A former militia leader who went on the run Sunday after allegedly shooting at Missoula County sheriff's deputies seems well-equipped for a long sojourn in the woods, given the caches of weapons, food and gear already discovered, Undersheriff Mike Dominick said Monday.
Some 65 county, city, state and federal authorities combed a 30-square-mile area west of Lolo on Monday for David Burgert, who once led Project 7, a Flathead County militia group accused of plotting to assassinate judges and law enforcement officers in hopes of provoking a war with the federal government and NATO.
Burgert holds intense anti-government views, and has survivalist skills, Dominick said.
"He has that type of mentality where he believes in training, in preparation," he said. "... This guy seems to have had a plan."
Authorities discovered ammunition in the Jeep Cherokee in which Burgert originally fled on Sunday and also located a second car, loaded with ammunition, food and camping gear, that they believe belongs to Burgert. They're searching for yet another that Dominick described as a tan or red Jeep Wagoneer-type vehicle dating to the 1980s.
I reported on Burgert's original spree back when it happened:
Kalispell made the news last year when a militia outfit called Project 7 was broken up by local police. Its leader, a 38-year-old named David Burgert, was arrested for jumping bail on an earlier conviction for assaulting an officer and resisting arrest; when captured, officers uncovered him in possession of an arms cache of about 30 weapons and some 30,000 rounds of ammo.66
What was even more disturbing was the simultaneous discovery of his plans for this materiel: To run amok in a killing spree against local authorities. Burgert had organized a team of about 10 people to target some 26 city and county officials, including some of those same police officials, mayors and judges who came out for the potluck last summer.
Burgert, who received support from the usual far-right suspects, eventually pleaded guilty to federal firearms charges in the case, and faces a maximum 10-year prison term when he's sentenced in September. But no one has ever been charged in the alleged conspiracy, partly because any evidence that the plot extended much beyond Burgert's fantasies was not very strong. He has countered by filing a lawsuit against the FBI and Montana's state Division of Criminal Investigation.
Of course, we've been reporting for quite some time now that the Patriot movement of the 1990s is fully resurgent in 2011, thanks in large part to its close associations with the Tea Party movement. Indeed, we've reported that places like Montana are significant hotbeds for this kind of extremist revival.
David Holthouse at Media Matters observes that Burgert's fugitive run is occurring in the context of a fully resurgent extremist right in western Montana:
This coming Saturday for example, the Montana-based militia group Flathead Liberty Bell, which Cox helped get off the ground in 2009, is sponsoring a survivalist "Preparedness Expo" at the Valley Victory Church in Kalispell, Montana.
Scheduled workshops include Political Structures, Wild Foods and Herbal Remedies, Home Schooling, Animal Care, Self-Defense...and much more.
Also featured will be Special Presentations by radical right luminaries including Ruby Ridge icon Randy Weaver, who will be autographing copies of The Federal Siege at Ruby Ridge, and Stewart Rhodes, ex-Ron Paul aide and founder of the Oath Keepers, a national organization of police and soldiers who've sworn to disobey orders they deem unconstitutional.