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Nazi family values Last Saturday morning, 20 members of the Church of Jesus Christ Christian/Aryan Nations assembled in front of Zip Hamburgers in Coeur d Idaho, to begin what had been billed as the Nations 400 Man Flag Parade. As they gathered, an employee of Zip arranged letters on the restaurant marquee to spell out, support human rights. At the head of the marchers is Richard Butler, a retired airplane mechanic and the 82 year old founder and pastor of the Aryan Nations Church, so fragile that he spends the latter half of the parade in a plastic lawn chair carried on a flatbed truck. Behind him are Michael Teague, his chief of staff, in full Nazi regalia, and a smattering of women and men. But the crowd of protesters who line the streets has already decided to focus on a much smaller target: Michael Teague 6 year old daughter, who is carrying the Aryan Nations flag and marching with her mother, Christian, and 9 month old sister. over here with us, the protesters call to her. love you. Your parents hate. The little girl, a strawberry blond in a pink dress, hides her face behind her flag, then holds the flag up straighter. them your her mother urges. The girl turns to give the protesters a practiced Nazi salute. Originally, the parade had been scheduled to coincide with the Aryan Nations World Congress the weekend before, when Idaho Nazis would be supplanted by tourist Nazis. But July 3 is the date of Coeur d annual Kiddie Parade, so it was pushed back a week, after most of the delegates to the congress had returned to their own parts of the world. Then the city rerouted the parade past the old town dump instead of through downtown. The Nazis objected and were given the usual parade route, thanks to the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization that certainly would be eliminated under the proposed Aryan National State. As it turns out, the march has drawn about 400 protesters, well outnumbering the handful of Aryans. But Butler is not discouraged. For one thing, the Aryans clearly have supporters behind the police line on the protesters side the Teagues little girl frequently points and waves to them as she passes. And Butler is philosophical. doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world, he says, quoting Margaret Mead. Although a group of protesters staging a sit in disrupts the parade route slightly, it otherwise proceeds peacefully, ending in a parking lot. There, as a final gesture, the marchers throw a black baby doll into the air and take turns stamping it into the blacktop with their boots. This is when the fight breaks out. On the protesters side of the police line, three young women with babies in strollers salute the Nazis. Immediately, they are surrounded by screaming protesters. One young Nazi mother cradles a baby in one hand and uses the other to punch a young man repeatedly in the face until he is bloody. A young Nazi man who is with her stands back and lets her be the warrior. The strategy works: The man who has been beaten will not hit a woman. The crowd allows them to leave. If you haven been to Coeur d you might think all of Idaho is redneck country. But Coeur d is a tourist town dominated by a luxury resort, a bikini studded lakefront and a downtown with specialty boutiques. The only potatoes you see in this part of Idaho are pureed and piped into morels. Emptied of the out of town protesters in tie dye and beards, it returns to its natural state. The women are Aryan: slim, blond, with delicate features and fair skin. Coeur d resembles nothing so much as it does Southern California, though not the actual Southern California, which has never been white. Instead, it is the Aryan nation that Hitler dreamed of and Hollywood duplicated. The population is wealthy, attractive and 98.6 percent white. People in Coeur d will tell you that they hate the Nazis, and you will believe them. But then, you might begin to realize that the Nazis are the police who patrol the borders, who keep Coeur d beautiful. Just the reputation alone is enough to keep out the non whites; the cost of living keeps out the rest. I lived in Idaho when this area was gaining national attention as the hotbed of the white supremacist movement; the Nazis I knew were mostly confused teenagers. Most published accounts of Nazi activity tend to be about the men church leaders such as Richard Butler who preach white supremacy and urban racist skinheads who beat people up but after today display, I am more interested in the women. I want to visit with them in their homeland, the Aryan Nations headquarters, located on a rural road out of town. The people who live there think of it as home and call it church the anti Aryan activists in town think of it as a military fortress and call it compound. got permission to go up to the compound from Christian Teague; I got it because I was polite, I did not carry a sign or start a fight during the parade, and I am white in fact, as it turned out, I was the only journalist around who was white enough. Although I had not wanted to visit the headquarters alone, I could not find anyone to accompany me who was sufficiently Aryan. The Associated Press reporter was Jewish; Boise Channel 2 News correspondent was Asian American; the protesters, of course, were out of the question; and a journalist from the local paper, who has covered the Aryan Nations for 20 years, was white enough but on deadline. be careful, these aren nice people, he told me. In this case, careful translates into do anything that will cause them to shoot at you. Idaho law allows people on private property to shoot and kill people who could be classified as intruders. Although the Coeur d Nazis have not killed anyone approaching the compound, they have vigorously exercised their right to themselves with gunfire. Photographers and protesters who have come near the property have reported being greeted with bullets. Just last weekend, an anti Nazi activist, who asked not to be identified, was allowed on the compound during the convention, but only after passing through an armed security checkpoint manned by Aryans in Nazi uniform. After that, her only harassment was verbal; she was called a Jew and asked to leave. The most publicized incident happened last July to a woman driving by with her young son when their car backfired outside of the compound. She ended up in a high speed car chase with the Aryan chief of security, while two men with him fired shots at her car. When one of the shots blew out her tire and she pulled over, the men roughed them up. But then again, after last year march, the Aryans invited the protesters who picketed the compound to come up for a barbecue dinner. The protesters declined. I headed out to the compound accompanied only by Jack, a white cab driver. Before I left, I tore out all the notes in my notebook; emptied my satchel of all photographs, phone numbers and anti Nazi literature; and left everything in my overnight bag with the bellhops at the Coeur d resort, who also had the phone numbers of people to call if I didn return in two hours. Jack, however, was not afraid. A Coeur d native and veteran of World War II, he was less disturbed by the Aryan Nations march than he was by an incident at the d hot rod show riots two weeks before, when a rowdy drunk began throwing beer bottles at bicycle cops in shorts. It escalated into a riot that had to be quelled by a full county police squad with tear gas. Coeur d Jack tells me, is prone to such senseless gestures. For instance, there was the beer riot of or caused when all the taverns in town ran out of beer on the same night. Like most Coeur d residents, Jack claims to be bored with the Nazis and believes if they are ignored particularly by out of town protesters and journalists like me they will simply go away. Jack can recall only one African American family living here he says they finally left town because the town barbers claimed they did not know how to cut their hair. Jack and I expected the Aryan Nations compound to look like a military bunker. Instead, we find a Nazi pastoral. The only thing alive at the open gate is a horse. Granted, it is a horse grazing in a field studded with metal Nazi flags, but it doesn look especially menacing and I never heard of an attack horse. The only thing we pass on our way up the drive is a sign posted to a tree that reads Only. we both white, Jack said as we decided, uncertainly, to proceed. going to be the first cab driver to go all the way up to the compound. called Christian on Jack cell phone and she said, up. So we c up. At the top of the hill a young woman, two young men, Christian and her children are sitting on the front porch of a small, wooden house that serves as an office for the Aryan Nations headquarters. Were it not for the picture of Adolph Hitler on the office door and the watchtower clearly visible through the trees, it could be any front porch in any wooded area in rural America. They are preparing a barbecue. sure to segregate the hot dogs and the hamburgers, one of the men jokes. The young woman, Nikki, 18, wears combat fatigues and an Aryan Nations T shirt; she also wears Doc Martens with the trademark Red for Racist laces. Nikki has belonged to the Aryan Nations Church since she was 9, but she says that she knew that she believed in its ideas since she was 5 years old. She lives in town with her parents, who support her decision to become a Nazi percent. Nikki went to public school in Coeur d where she says she had a pretty easy time of it except for the time another student tore the upside down American flag off her backpack and threw it in her face. Like Christian, Nikki has brown hair and brown eyes. Both of the men, Steven Hayes and Shaun Winkler, have cropped blond hair and wear blue jeans. Shaun smokes Marlboro Reds, the same brand as one of the protesters I met, who claimed that Kamel Reds were Nazi cigarettes. I ask them if they have seen the activist flyer that tells how to spot a Nazi, which includes a picture dictionary of Nazi symbols. They have not. I can spot a nigger a mile away, Shaun says. It turns out that Jack is not the first cab driver to make it up to the front door of the compound. Once, on a Sunday, Christian says a cab driver brought a up. dogs were going crazy. They weren used to the smell. When the Aryans came out of church, they told the man to the heck out of here, Christian adds, scooping formula into a baby bottle. Still, the Nazis find my initial paranoia about security extremely funny. They find it so funny that they start telling jokes. Here are some examples of Nazi humor: They tell me that the pot of white petunias at my feet rolls back to expose an assault rifle. They tell me that a beat up gray van nearby is really a gas oven. you really think we need all that propane for cooking? asks Shaun, gesturing toward a metal canister on the porch. Nazis, the ones I knew, did not grow up in an urban jungle. They grew up in a vacuum namely, the town of Boise, Idaho, where I lived when I was a teenager. At least five of my friends in high school stumbled into the Nazi subculture, mostly through cluelessness. These were not factory workers whose jobs had been away by cheap immigrant labor or high school kids who had to deal with gangbangers. They were punk rock kids who thought that they became uber punk when they put on a swastika, or rockabilly kids who thought that the Confederate flag meant not or runaways who chose the wrong group of people to feed them. When one friend who had once wanted to be an ACLU lawyer began sporting swastikas, he was excused by the other kids because it was after he had been beaten by a black man in a bar fight. Most of the time, people telling that story neglected to mention that the friend had been wearing a jacket with a Confederate flag on the night of the beating. I never figured out how Idaho breeds racist activists when there are virtually no other races. How the hell can people build their lives around hating Jews, gays, blacks and Latinos when there aren any around? So I asked these Nazis where they came from. They tell me that, with the exception of Nikki, most residents on the compound came to northern Idaho seeking refuge from the and corruption of the big cities they had called home. Shaun came from San Francisco. Christian and her family left Phoenix three years ago because it was a hotbed of pimps and black men. (Phoenix? Who knew?) we don have much money, we lived in a high crime neighborhood, she says. (Translation: a mixed race neighborhood.) The final straw, she says, was when a black man busted into her apartment, thinking she was alone. Luckily, her husband, Michael Teague, now head of security for the compound, and his friends were there to give chase they knew what he was going to do. other Nazi women, Christian believes that joining the Aryan Nations was the only way to protect her family: we hadn I believe my daughter and I would both be hurt or killed by now. As we speak, Christian daughter, who is playing in the yard, finds a small object, which she kicks at with her foot. she says, She picks it up the object and both she and I recognize it immediately: It is the black baby doll decapitated head. she says, and tosses the head into the yard. Christian daughter will not go to public school this year; she did last year, Christian says, and it was a big mistake. To begin with, her daughter was transferred out of her school for fighting non white kindergarteners in her class, even though her mother insists that they picked the fight with her. says Christian, the principal admitted it. taught her that the Indians saved the Pilgrims lives, Christian says. Then came Black History Month, when the children learned about Martin Luther King Jr. Says Christian: daughter is not black. My daughter has no need to know about a black activist. then they did that flag thing, the little girl adds, suddenly interested in our conversation. nation under God!' Christian exclaims. no! made me put my hand by my heart, says her daughter. Finally, Christian daughter was not allowed to pray in school. This struck a particularly deep chord with Christian, who believes the absence of Bible instruction in public schools is the reason she herself was groped and fondled by in the school hallways in Phoenix. She had to run and hide; eventually, she just dropped out of school. I ask Christian if she supports the Supreme Court ruling designed to stop sexual harassment like that in public schools. She doesn Sexual harassment only happens when girls wear short skirts and tank tops, she says. harassment is a girl way of getting back at whoever she wants to. even worse fashion offense, however, is the or nigger look big pants, small shirts and clunky shoes and the slang that goes with it. In a grocery store, a girl once told Christian that her tattoo was Christian thought she had called her fat and almost slugged her. Here another grocery store story, told to me by the father of a biracial child who lives in Coeur d When he was shopping one day, another shopper flipped over his grocery cart. While his son was still in it. Other rules of living in the Christian compound: Girls and women hair is long, boys and men is short. Everyone must follow the dietary laws of the Bible. Everyone must shower. No drugs. No alcohol. No illegal activities.