Stankiewicz defends Lightfoot Militia - Bonner County Daily Bee: News

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Stankiewicz defends Lightfoot Militia

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Posted: Sunday, April 4, 2010 12:00 am

BONNERS FERRY — Every able-bodied Idaho male already belongs to the militia, according to Jeff Stankiewicz.

That is outlined in the Idaho Constitution, said Stankiewicz, major of the 21st Battalion of North Idaho’s Lightfoot Militia.

A member of the Constitution party, Stankiewicz is challenging incumbent assessor Dave Ryals in the Nov. 2 general election. Ryals is running on the Republican ticket.

It is not, however, Stankiewicz’s political campaign that is drawing the most attention. It is his membership in the militia — especially after a similar group in Indiana were arrested last month for allegedly plotting violence against the government.

Stankiewicz and other members of the 21st Battalion were recently interviewed on ABC’s “Nightline” about militias in general and more specifically about Idaho’s Lightfoot Militia.

A certified welder, Stankiewicz, 41, was born and raised in Connecticut. He worked for a local steel manufacturing company for five years until he was recently laid off until new contracts come in.

His interest in the militia was sparked when he joined the John Birch Society 15 years ago after moving to North Idaho. Stankiewicz said society members taught him about the U.S. Constitution — something he was never taught in school.

After waiting for 10 years, he decided it would be better to start the group that to wait any longer.

“I waited for someone to come along and start it; I thought maybe someone ex-military would step up,” Stankiewicz said. “It never happened, then the Tea Party movement started and people were waking up to things I have known for over 15 years. I thought, ‘Now is the time.’ ”

While the state constitution does address the creation of a militia, it also gives the authority for enrollment, equipment and discipline to the Legislature. All militia officers must be commissioned by the governor and the length of their commission set by the Legislature.

Stankiewicz holds no such commission, and no legislative sanction has been granted the 21st Lightfoot Battalion.

While ABC News reported that 12 members showed up for last week’s interview, Stankiewicz said 24 people actually were present. In total, the group has somewhere between 100 to 200 members, he added.

“There are members who don’t want to say their names, they don’t want to give up their security,” Stankiewicz said. “A lot of it is about not showing our strengths and that is why some people did not want to be on camera.”

The battalion is preparing for an economic collapse. Members want to be on the front lines to ensure safety and provide medical attention in the wake of the ensuing chaos that would likely come from the dollar falling in a tailspin, Stankiewicz said.

“We don’t want this to happen, we hope it doesn’t happen, but we want to be prepared for it if it does,” Stankiewicz said.

Much of the group’s monthly training centers around just that.

“We are not worried about conspiracy theory, but being this far into debt as a nation can lead to disorder,” Stankiewicz said. “When the truck stops delivering food and people’s federal checks stop coming there could be rioting in cities, that is why I am glad I live here.”

Stankiewicz said the group uses military manuals and follows basic military training, including first aid and survival.

Despite the negative connotation presented by the show, Stankiewicz said the 21st Lightfoot Battalion is in Boundary County to provide whatever assistance they are asked to provide.

“I use the examples if there is a flood and volunteers were needed to sand bag, we would be there,” he said.

As an example, Stankiewicz cited the call for volunteers by local law enforcement in the event of an emergency.

It would be better, he added, for them to call upon a group already trained, organized and ready.

Boundary County has the lowest turnout of participants in the regional Lightfoot militia units. Stankiewicz believes it is because potential members are afraid of the strong stand taken by the county’s sheriff’s office and county commissioners against the group.

Stankiewicz said they are loyal citizens and most of the militia’s members obtain concealed weapons permits to show they are upstanding citizens.

The 21st Lightfoot Battalion believes that if there is a breakdown in civil order they will be needed to protect neighborhoods. Stankiewicz said they will offer assistance to the Sheriff and other local law enforcement agencies to stand guard where needed.

“Again, I hope we are never necessary,” he said. “I want to die an old man with some really nice hunting and camping gear.”

A person of faith like many in the group, Stankiewicz said the 21st Lightfoot Battalion is not preparing for the end times — which is the proclaimed mission of the Hutaree militia in Indiana, where a group of eight members are currently in jail on charges of trying to overthrow the government. 

While the groups are linked on each other’s Web sites — something which critics say show the commonality of their beliefs — Stankiewicz said that isn’t the case.

“We are linked to other Militia groups but we are not part of their belief system or group,” said Stankiewicz said. “We basically wanted to link up with others so when someone used the search engine we would come up more often.”

While taken aback by what he says is the negative spin put on the group by “Nightline” crews, Stankiewicz doesn’t regret talking to the media.

Stankiewicz said he knew there was a possibility of negative coverage from the outset but that if he didn’t do the interview they would have still run the story.

“The press is not the enemy, we could have chosen not to talk to them and then I guarantee it would be bad,” said Stankiewicz.

The real enemy are those who don’t follow the Constitution, Stankiewicz said.

“One of the funny things is at the beginning of the piece on ABC, they said, ‘They are not police officers and they are not active duty military, but in reality we are ex-cops, ex-military, ex-EMT and firemen.”

Stankiewicz said he has never had political aspirations but was asked by Donna and Terry Capurso at a meeting of the Boundary County Property Association if he would run for assessor.

“I thought we needed new blood in that seat and he came back to us after the meeting and said he would run,” said Donna Capurso, who is challenging Walt Kirby for his county commissioner seat in May.

Stankiewicz is hoping his election would allow him to give back to the community — especially since the group’s offers to help the county have fallen on deaf ears.

“I have tried to offer help by way of sheriffs office, search and rescue, I ran a food drive for community action partnership, trying to help this community,” he said. “This is one way I can help by myself since the Militia is not taking well in Boundary County.”

Stankiewicz said he is not worried about a troubled past or the fact that he owes $1,460 on his property taxes dating back to 2007.

According to the Boundary County treasurer’s office, Stankiewicz started making payments to his delinquent property taxes tax account in October.

Stankiewicz blamed his financial problems on being laid off and on high medical bills stemming from an accident in which he was charged with inattentive driving.

“I had a big hospital bill that I was not able to pay and did not have insurance,” he said.

“The hospital got a judgment to garnish 25 percent of my wages, which was a huge chunk of my paycheck. I paid as much as I could when I could to the treasurer.”

It wasn’t the first time Stankiewicz has run into legal trouble. In 2002, he was accused of stabbing another man and charged with felony aggravated battery after a bar fight with two men over a woman. All four had been drinking and, while there were witnesses to the fight, no one saw the actual stabbing.

Stankiewicz denies the stabbing but admits to defending himself when he was jumped in the bar that night. The charge was amended to simple battery, a misdemeanor, to which Stankiewicz pled guilty.

Stankiewicz said he agreed to the offered plea bargain because he was taking care of his then-girlfriend, who was disabled.

“I had a public defender and I was with a disabled woman at the time,” said Stankiewicz. “I was scared and told by the prosecutor he would put me away for 5 years. I decided to take the plea for the sake of the woman I was caring for.”

He served 12 days in jail, spent two years on probation and was ordered to pay Taft restitution in the amount of $15,098. A garnishment of wages against Stankiewicz was later issued for lack of payment to Taft.

What happened in his past doesn’t change Donna Capurso’s support for him as a candidate for local office.

“I try to respect everyone I meet for who they are when I meet them,” she said. “I think Jeff is trying to stand up and do the right thing. He is an intelligent young man and I give him my respect regardless of what happened eight years ago.”

Stankiewicz wants to dispel any misconceptions about his 21st Lightfoot Battalion. He does not condone anti-government talk or actions. Instead, he said the group is pro-Constitution and denies that race or religion are a factor in any Idaho militia group.

“We are not racist,” he said. “There are a lot of people in the militia that are not white. Some militia are private and only accept certain members, but here in Idaho we are in line with the Idaho Constitution which states we are supposed to have a militia.”

In fact, according to Stankiewicz, ABC left out a comment made by a member when he was asked what he thought about having a black president.

“I think it shows how far our country has come,” Stankiewicz quoted militia member “Mike” as saying. Stankiewicz did not want to give a last name.

Stankiewicz said they don’t care what color Obama is.

“He could be Asian, White or Hispanic,” he said. “His color doesn’t matter, but he is a socialist. I think that his policies and ideas are based on socialist principals. Progressive or liberal whatever they want to call it, the policies and ideas come from socialist principals.”

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • anonymous posted at 8:22 am on Mon, Apr 12, 2010.

    anonymous Posts: 50343

    To: "The Truth" Again, I ask: Where were you and those like you when Bush Jr. lied to get us into a Trillion $ war and began squandering our children's future? Where were you when he took off ALL regulation of the banks and stock brokers and mortgage house which led to the extremely risky financial ventures that lost all that money in the first place? When those risk takers got paid their multi-million$ salaries and bonus, and left us, the investors and depositors and home owners holding the bag? You were silent as a tomb. Now, Obama had to continue the bailouts or loose the economy, but now wants to put regulation back into the industry. And where is the neo-con right-wing nuts? Saying NO as always. You have not merit. Your arguments hold no water.

  • anonymous posted at 8:02 am on Mon, Apr 12, 2010.

    anonymous Posts: 50343

    @FDLAnd you think that a hollywood movie is reality? Go rent a history book and read about how the militia's during the revolution were a key part in making this country free.

  • anonymous posted at 12:28 pm on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    anonymous Posts: 50343

    To Matt: "" Well Mr. Ivy guess just because the military says its ok then God will thik its ok to right?. Regardless of your military God has a special place reserved for your kind. I hope it works out for you on judgement day. Cant say you havent been given the opportunity to find the real reason we exist, that would be serving the only true God. Not the satanic reason for your belief. And as far as combat I have been in battle maybe you should do your background check of me. Just Google or check the Bee. I have been in a gun fight, blown up, ran over so on and so forth.As for knowing what it is like to be close to death I rode that line for 14 years, between being a firefighter,EMT,Cop and Hazmat tech I would say I have plenty of combat experence from both ends of saving, and having to potentially take a life. As for holding a doctorate in Christianity then you would know that wicca, and Christianity go together like oil and water. I would agree you sound very intilectual but ignorant at the same time. As far as your comment of my writing again you are right. I am not the best at putting pen to paper such as yourself, and probably will never be. None of this was to be disrespectfull but I am surprised with the supposed knowledged of Christ you still turn towards witchcraft which you should know its based on evil, and satanic ideals. So as far as being a kiddo and not know what I am talkijg about my fater was a pastor, and a spokesman for the militia in the late 80s early 90s so yes I am aware of how long we have had evil traitors running this country. And how many good men and women have lost their lives or freedom defending it. " ***** Matt, sorry, but you just have absolutely no idea of what you're talking about. First off, your concept of Wicca as being "satanic" is completely wrong, there's absolutely no correlation in any way. Wicca and Paganism existed LONG before Christianity ever began. In fact, and this may really rattle your cage, several of the Christian Holy Days, specifically Easter and All Souls Day, if you're Catholic but I expect more likely that you're a fundamentalist the way you talk, come from Pagan traditions. If you take All Souls Day, which is November 1st, it was divised to follow All Hallows Eve, Halloween to you, and was dedicated TO "those" who had died previously and was an invitation for them to rejoin in our world, with our kind, for a night of celebration, and that ended at dawn. In Catholicism, the same "practice" takes place the next day. As for Easter, it is a celebration of fertility symbolised by the rabbit and the enjoyment of searching for decorated eggs that the rabbit had hidden. How many times have YOU celebrated Easter???? If ONLY one time, you were partaking in a Pagan ritual...don't believe it, check it out..same goes for Halloween too!!! Those are ONLY two of the holidays that were "copied" from Pagan tradition......and THAT is a whopping "gotcha"!!!As for the "satanic" reference, neither Wicca nor Paganism are in any way associated with this archetype, satan is completely a Christian creation. The concept of a satanic entity was created by early priests, even in the Talmud, to instill "fear" in the people thus compelling them to follow the edicts of the priests. Satan was a method of intimidation and the threat of "burning in hell" was the capstone of that intimidation. You can believe in all that hype if you wish, it holds no meaning OR threat to me. As far as "judgement day", well, you have the most to fear about it since the Christian God is supposed to be a God of tolerance and forgiveness, and you exhibit everything BUT those qualities, well, you may well find out that you've erroneously anticipated your final destination. It is said that they who bear hatred and lack forgiveness when they die will face a wrathful God equal to their own hatreds. So, I think that perhaps YOU are the one who actually should be worried......I mean REALLY worried!Oh, one other minor point, and you won't like this one, Christ was Jewish, NOT Christian and had forbidden his disciples to make a religeon OF Him! You can likewise check THAT out too!I appreciate your "civilian" experience with hazaedous situations, but, you know what, it's just NOT the same as actual combat! You say you know special forces personnel, funny how EVERYONE seems to have that association, ask THEM what it's like in actual combat...I've been there and it is NOWHERE the same.....Bottom line Matt, when Christianity started out, the ONLY way it could attract "followers" was to absorb Paganism by making Pagan Feast Days into Christian Feast Days. And then, using intimidation and fear mongering to compell Pagans into the religion, using all manner of tortures and even the threat of death, as well as death itself, to "enslave" a whole world.Lastly, you said that Wicca and Christianity go together like oil and water...well, without Wicca and Paganism, Christian as it was developed wouldn't have existed WITHOUT Paganism... Meaning no disrespect to your father, if your father was a pastor, that's fine, but he ONLY spoke of those things that he was told, just like you're doing. The world "grew up" SEVERAL centuries ago and you've been left behind....A Viet Nam Combat Veteran 7/66 - 11/71

  • anonymous posted at 12:28 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    anonymous Posts: 50343

    For Matt:" For Mr. Ivy I would call you a doctor agian with respect but now that I have looked you up I would have to say that is not as true as it sounds. If you are the same person if not then forgive me but aren't you a WITCH. Is it true that your doctorate is in witch craft? well that is just amazing. As far as your comment about having infiltraitors it just may be true. But agian I say they are welcome because we are doing nothing wrong or illeagal. And as far as worring about military I am not worried because many of my closest friends are active military and special force guys including many I am in contact with from my high school days. They have all said they will refuse any order to disarm or fire upon U.S. citizens. In fact the statment of foriegn troops is correct they are called the UN. I worry about them not my brothers or sisters. And as far as the govt comming after us let them I would rather die doing what I could to educate my fellow man than to survive quietly in the background, but that is my personal belief. And I do this with the knowledge that it may cause harm to my family because who wants to live a life without true freedom. And I say if Obama passes the weapons treaty with the UN to disarm America then it will cause a war. And with roughly 60 million weapons owners in this country no army on earth could take us on. But I digress if the govt is really watching all of us, your comments alone to me would be cause for concern and could wind you up on their watch list. "**** Matt, I really hate to burst your bubble, but since you really think that the question of "religeon" is going to bolster YOUR side, it won't. In fact, I proudly admit that I have been a 3rd Degree Lord High Priest of Wicca for close to 40 years, and well accredited and respected in that position. I ALSO hold doctorates in traditional Christian faiths as well, for some 35+ years, there being absolutely no conflict in this regard. I am ALSO a Pastoral Councilor, and because of my diversity, can council in almost ALL faiths, despite my ignorance of the Hebrew language. FURTHERMORE, WICCA has long been recognized as a "valid" religous practice by the U.S. government, same as ANY other belief, and the Veterans Administration has so accepted that and has appropriate grave markers, et al, to address that faith, same as Christian, Jewish, etc.So much for your bringing out this issue, which I don't really mind and pretty much expected it. When your side's arguments have a weak foundation, it never fails to come up as a desperation ploy to divert attention from the real subject at hand. So, bottom line, I can "minister" to all faiths, and most especially the "new age" faiths, which are just as valid, and less corrupt/preverse than long-standing practices.Now, moving on, you speak so "bravely" when you say "I would rather die...", have you EVER been in combat or actually faced death? Probably not! When you have THAT experience, then maybe you can talk about it. You treat "life" so casually when you're ignorant, but when you're facing the imminent possiblity of "dying", well, perceptions change!Son, I am not concerned that my comments to you "might" put me on the government's "watch list" - I've been on it for probably MORE years than you have had birthdays, and that goes back to the early 70's on my part. You "play" at your war games and think that you have a chance to play an important role in "safeguarding" everyone and our Republic, but you don't! In MY day we "studied" the "LAW" and learned how to file Pro Se litigations in the courts and to use the law to forward our cause against government injustices. We also had the Posse Comitatus which also was a viable support, but you probably NEVER heard those phrases. When William Pabst filed his Pro Se case in Houston Federal District court, in the early 70's, wherein he proved with documentation that the Federal Government had established, within the boundaries of the U.S., "detention centers" for American citizens, I and others like myself were there to "protect" him until he could get to court and present his case. BUT, all of this would seem to be way before YOUR time from the tone of your response.So "kiddo", you've taken your best shot and missed and only made yourself appear the fool. I agree with you on one point, that should the government ever decide to blantantly defy the 2nd Amendment, it WON'T be received by the citizenry very well. As was once stated, " if one does not assert his rights, he has no rights", and I definitely assert, and will defend, my rights. Ultimately, in a conflict to usurp my "rights" I may lose to overwhelming opposition, but I can rest assured that the "cost" to the opposition will be no small matter to them.You've got a whole lot to learn from what I can see of how you "write" and I'm decades ahead of you in that so I know whereof I speak.... A Viet Nam Combat Veteran 7/66 - 11/71

  • anonymous posted at 2:39 am on Wed, Apr 7, 2010.

    anonymous Posts: 50343

    For Matt - one last thought: " ....I would also like to say in a respectful manner there are men in the unit with much more military experience than yourself including special force military, military pilots ect. Again thank you for your open honesty but if you feel we are training wrong, why dont you come join, and help us become better at what we are trying to do." ***** Just one last thought that I had previously meant to bring up: You say you have men in your unit with more military experience than myself, maybe, maybe not. Out of 7 years active service I spent 5 1/2 in combat, but that is neither here nor there. What I would point out is IF there are such as you claim, then I'm led to believe that they have not even carried over the "basics" of insurgency/counter insurgency operations from their previous military roles. That figures into the "being obvious" and NOT being so clever about what you are doing and "who" you are. Anyway, that aside for now, one significant point that I planned to make is this: HOW do you know that your organization is not already "infiltrated" by agents reporting on everyone involved and what you're doing? It would be EXTREMELY reckless on your part to dismiss the possibility and your people with "more military experience" should be well aware of that potential - it would amaze me IF they hadn't raise that concern if they were THAT experienced. You see, you CAN'T know everything about everybody and if the "government" can infilitrate a tight-knit criminal organization, any organization such as yours would be a "snap". And, that's why I say, collectively you all just aren't clever enough to have even a remote possibility of being any viable "threat" to a government run amok, if THAT is what you believe you are planning for. Before you were eliminated, your families would have already been "taken" into custody and who among you would "sacrifice" their family when all that was needed was to round up the militia members and who would "sell out who" to protect their own family? All this fancy rhetoric that your associates spout won't amount to a "hill of beans" when the chips "fall". Anyway, all the previous is "free" advice from experience, that's how I'll help you to be better. Whether you take it or not is up to you. IF you are as "wise" as you claim, you just might think about it.....With Respects...A Viet Nam Combat Veteran 7/66 - 11/71

  • anonymous posted at 10:10 am on Tue, Apr 6, 2010.

    anonymous Posts: 50343

    From the militia website regarding militia vs National Gaurd:Even a recent Congress has acknowledged who the Militia in the Second Amendment refers to. On page 11 of the Report of theSubcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Ninety-Seventh Congress, SecondSession, February 1982, it states:"The militia refers to a concept of a universally armed people, not to any specifically organized unit. When the framers referredto the equivalent of our National Guard, they uniformly used the term "select militia" and distinguished this from "militia".Debates over the Constitution constantly referred to organized militia units as a threat to freedom comparable to that of astanding army and stressed that such organized units did not constitute, and indeed were philosophically opposed to, the conceptof a militia. That the National Guard is not the militia referred to in the Second Amendment is even clearer today. Congress hasorganized the National Guard under its power to raise and support armies and not its power to provide for organizing, arming,and disciplining the militia. (House Resolution Report No. 141, Seventy-Third Congress, First Session, February 5th, 1933.)This Congress chose to do, in the interest of organizing reserve military units which were not limited in deployment by thestrictures of our power over the constitutional militia, which can be called forth only "to execute the Laws of the Union, suppressInsurrections and repel Invasions". The modern National Guard was specifically intended to avoid status as the constitutionalmilitia, a distinction recognized by 10 United States Code, Section 311, Subsection (a)."

  • anonymous posted at 7:11 pm on Mon, Apr 5, 2010.

    anonymous Posts: 50343

    If some people want to get together, Stockpile food, first aide, Guns, ammo,etc. in the event that a catastrophic event hits the area or even the United States, I would call them smart for preparing. Nothing worse than to need and not have!!!If this group wants to train for any imaginable emergency, whether it be floods or UN Troops invading their Sovereign land- If thats what makes them sleep better at night, I'm OK with that Too.But I feel Jeff and Company are their own worst enemies. They would better serve their group by blending into the environment. Do what they do, but stay out of trouble and take off those Uniforms. Have a rank structure, but dont wear in on your collar. Stay out of sight and out of mind.Remember that Actions will always speak louder than words.If the day comes where all your preparing is needed, Rest assured the public or its officials will know where to find you. Police yourselves and you will be left alone. Have one voice. Your message on TV was ruined by the fact that Mr. Jeff was countermanded by his own people, showing total unorganization.And last but not least, dont force acceptance. If the public wants or needs you, they know how to find you, and they will.

  • anonymous posted at 3:37 pm on Mon, Apr 5, 2010.

    anonymous Posts: 50343

    The debt load our country is accruing right now is totally unsustainable. This is not a left or right issue. Our current administration is spending our childrens money and stealing or liberties. This is the exact same thing the last administration did. Both parties serve those at the very top and the very bottom. So all the tea party people out there should see the big picture, both the Dems and Repubs are crooks.There is nothing wrong with a militia, Ive been to the website and am also stocking up on "outdoor supplies". The elite in our country think its perfectly fine to charge everything on credit. Our population and money supply is expanding exponentially, while our planet is finite. The results will be unnerving eventually. Additionally it is important to remember our country was founded on the seperation of church and state. The founding fathers were not religious nuts but rather men of the enlightenment.Take the Crash Course at to learn how the economy, the enviroment and energy needs will make the next few decades different from any we have known before.