'The Village of the Damned': Inside the North Dakota town where residents sleep with guns by their beds in fear of white supremacist 'cult'
'The Village of the Damned': Inside the North Dakota town where residents sleep with guns by their beds in fear of white supremacist 'cult' trying to take over community
By rights it should be the ‘Welcome to Leith’ sign that draws the eye. It stands stark against the vast North Dakota sky, surrounded and impeded by nothing.
But it isn’t. Instead a small makeshift sign does. Tacked awkwardly in high brush and bare branches a few hundred yards further on where dirt track bends towards town, a red swastika is painted on its white background, next to the jagged words, VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED.
Craig Cobb, 62, put it there last week. The residents want to take it down but they’re not sure if they can legally– it’s on his land.
Welcome to a town fighting for its existence against an enemy and a cause of which most had never heard, far less dreamed they’d encounter, just three months ago.
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Intellectual and hate crimes fugitive Craig Cobb, 62, told MailOnline he wanted to rid Leith of the 'bridge troll' residents and turn it into a white enclave by bussing in Aryan Nations and federal ex-cons
Battle lines: Cobb, who has been buying up land has put up this sign on the Leith boundary to the dismay of the town's residents who fear their fight with him will turn violent
That was when the people of Leith learned that Craig Cobb, the wild-haired recluse who had been living in their midst for more than a year, was a hate crimes fugitive who had quietly bought up lots of land in a bid to turn this rural community into a white enclave.
According to Mayor Ryan Schock, 38, that was when ‘all hell broke loose.’
‘The town and the life that we knew was flipped on its head,’ he said. ‘Fighting this has just taken over our lives.’
In a matter of weeks the once quiet community of just 16 has seen rallies and riot police. ‘Keep out’ and ‘No trespassing’ signs have sprung up in a place where once doors were barely shut never mind locked.
Cobb claims it is he who has been defamed and harassed and that it is his civil rights and liberties, which are under threat.
So far the potshots have been verbal but how much longer can that remain the case?
Last week the town council placed a moratorium on new construction. And on Sunday, it passed a series of ordinances including ones preventing anyone from living in a trailer for more than 10 days straight, or from being residents with voting powers if not in proper housing.
Meanwhile, Cobb will have to install potable water and sewerage in the largely derelict buildings he owns if people are to live there. He will be served with a notice giving him 30 days to comply.
Their hope, of course, is that he does not comply and that the buildings can be condemned and their residents evicted.
Cobb cult: Iraq vet Kynan Dutton and his wife Deborah moved to Leith in September and live in Cobb's house with their five children. Dutton says Cobb is doing something that 'as a race if we don't do we'll be wiped out'
So far just one family have heeded Cobb’s clarion call and moved to Leith. Badge-wearing member of the National Socialist Movement Kynan Dutton and his wife Deborah, both 28, arrived from Oregon on September 23 with their five children, ages four to 11.
They are currently living in Cobb’s two-storey house without running water or heat other than a couple of space saver heaters as North Dakota temperatures dip towards 20 degrees at night.
Former teacher, Deborah, homeschools the children.
The town residents know them as ‘Followers of Cobb’ - a turn of phrase that lends an uncomfortably cult-like feel to the whole scenario.
It is a feeling only compounded by ex-marine Dutton’s unwavering admiration of ‘innovator’ Cobb and the party’s reliance on military terms. Dutton refers to himself as Cobb’s ‘Sergeant-at-Arms.’
‘Our goals are to create a white enclave – an all white society. When somebody calls me a racist they’re being ignorant. I’m racially aware. I’m racially motivated. I prefer my own people’
A thin man, brimming with nervous energy, he lost faith in the Government after watching his brethren killed in Iraq when he served as a combat infantryman during tours of duty in 2004 and 2005.
Now he has swapped one cause for another.
Speaking from his porch, he said: ‘Craig is an innovator. He is somebody who is doing something that others have tried and failed. He is doing something that we as a race and a people if we don’t do we’ll be wiped out.
‘Our goals are to create a white enclave – an all white society. When somebody calls me a racist they’re being ignorant. I’m racially aware. I’m racially motivated. I prefer my own people.’
It is according to Dutton, the ‘natural order of things.’
Perplexingly, he added: ‘We’re not excluding anyone. But we would prefer to live separately with our own people.’
There is only one black resident in Leith – council member Bobby Harper who has lived there with wife Sherill for close to two decades.
The couple has had a note pinned to their door demanding: ‘What are you doing “married” to a Negro?’
And instructing: ‘I want you to LEAVE your ‘husband’ and go and join Mr Cobb’s movements. Do it now!’
As far as Dutton is concerned Mrs Harper is a ‘race traitor.’
Mr Harper is remarkably philosophical. He said: ‘Yes it’s been personal and they’ve done hurt and harm but I’m better than that. I don’t need to talk in those terms.’
Hatred: The town's only black resident Bobby Harper has been the victim of racist abuse because he has a white wife. He says 'things are only going to get worse'
Brave: Undeterred Mr Harper and his wife Cheryl Harper held a potluck in September when the National Socialist Movement held a rally there
When members of the National Socialist Movement descended on Leith last month to ‘protect Cobb’s civil right and liberty to address the populus’, Mr Haper calmly grilled hot-dogs and held a potluck in his backyard for the Native Americans and others who had turned out to protest against them.
Two weeks ago another man, who gave his name only as Freddie, turned up and is now living in the same ramshackle house as the Duttons and Cobb.
Cobb has already gifted properties to Tom Metzger, founder of the White Aryan Resistance (WAR), a designated hate group, Alex Linder, owner and operator of the Vanguard News Network, (VNN), an anti-Semitic white supremacist website and supporter of ‘exterminating’ Jews and National Socialist Movement leader ‘Commander’ Jeff Schoep.
For all his stoicism Mr Harper is in no doubt: ‘It’s going to get worse.
''They are prepared to sacrifice their lives for him and be here. He may be clever but they are capable of doing something silly’
‘Look at the people who are his followers. They are prepared to live without water, without heat, without much food .They are prepared to sacrifice their lives for him and be here.
‘He may be clever but they are capable of doing something silly.’
It is in the face of this and the threat of more arrivals that, Mayor Ryan Schock is, ‘trying to turn the tide.’
Mr Schock is not a career politician. He is mayor because it was his turn to be mayor. He drives the school bus, runs a 1000-acre farm with wife Michelle, they have 100 head of cattle, horses for their three children to ride, chickens, goats, dogs and kittens.
Until a few months ago the matters discussed at town meetings were hauling gravel for somebody’s drive, shoveling snow and when to turn on the Christmas lights.
Now he and the council are desperately seeking some recourse in law, passing of ordinances that they hope might stop Cobb in his tracks. But in reality there is no recourse if Cobb plays the game he seems set to.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2488551/The-Village-Damned-North-Dakota-town-taken-white-supremacist.html#ixzz2jzfQkGZp
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