The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Paranoia as Patriotism:
Far-Right Influences on the Militia Movement

Gordon Wendell Kahl

Gordon Wendall Kahl was a North Dakota farmer and member of the Posse Comitatus who died on June 3, 1983, at age 63. Kahl, a fugitive who was charged with tax evasion and the murder of two Federal marshalls in Medina, North Dakota, was killed by law enforcement officers in a confrontation at a farmhouse in the Arkansas Ozarks.

In keeping with Posse doctrines recognizing no government authority above the county level, Kahl refused to renew his state driver's license in 1974. In 1977, he was charged with tax evasion on his 1972-74 taxes, and was placed on five years' probation. An arrest warrant was issued for him in March 1981 when Kahl failed to report to a Bismark probation officer.

On February 13, 1983, Kahl killed two U.S. marshalls and wounded three others in Medina, North Dakota, when the marshals attempted to arrest Kahl for his probation violation. Kahl escaped and a four-month search ensued. In June 1983, Kahl was discovered hiding out in the Arkansas farmhouse. He was killed in an ensuing shootout with law enforcement officers; a local sheriff was also killed in the exchange.

Kahl has been hailed as a hero and marty among radical right activists who see his death as evidence of a Federal government conspiracy to deny Americans their rights. Books and songs saluting him have been written, and shirts and bumper stickers eulogizing him have become collector's items. (Anti-Defamation League, 20)

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