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Alaska Congressman Seeks Distance From Accused Militia Plotter

By Bill Morlin on March 22, 2011 - 4:24 pm, Posted in Antigovernment, Extremist Crime

A Republican congressman from Alaska, who also is on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association, now is attempting to distance himself from a Fairbanks militia leader accused in a high-profile firearms, murder and kidnapping plot.

In April 2009, with a video camera rolling, Rep. Don Young signed a “Letter of Declaration” being circulated by the Second Amendment Task Force/Alaska Peacemakers Militia, led by Francis Schaeffer Cox. The “declaration” called on “sovereign Americans” to “alter or abolish” any government that tries to “further tax, restrict or register firearms” or prevents individuals from exercising their “God-given right to self-defense [that] precedes all human legislation.”

Cox apparently thought the Second Amendment also gave him the right to possess hand grenades, a silencer and an unregistered machine gun. He’s accused of keeping such an illegal weapons cache in a trailer in Fairbanks.

The 27-year-old militia leader was arrested earlier this month on state and federal charges accusing him of being at the center of a militia plot to kill Alaska state troopers and a federal judge, along with amassing the illegal firearms. Militias are the paramilitary wing of the so-called “Patriot” movement, whose conspiracy-minded members typically see the federal government as their primary enemy. The movement has grown dramatically in the last two years.

Five other militia members also are now charged with crimes in a “241 plot” that allegedly involved pledges by members to kill two federal or state officials for every militia member arrested or killed.

Shortly after those arrests, a YouTube video of the congressman and Cox at the signing of the militia’s “declaration letter” surfaced.

The connection between Young and Cox is drawing national attention from the National Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, the liberal Crooks and Liars blog, and Media Matters Political Correction, a liberal monitor of the political right.

That apparently is drawing heat to the congressman.

A staff aide at the Alaska congressman’s office in Washington, D.C., said Tuesday that several calls had been received, but that the office had not issued a formal response. The aide referred inquiries to Young’s press secretary, Meredith Kenny, who had left Washington, D.C., for a week-long visit to Alaska, possibly because of the developing controversy in the state.

“The Congressman has absolutely no affiliation with Mr. Cox,’’ Kenny said in a brief E-mail response when asked Tuesday for reaction. The press spokeswoman confirmed that the YouTube video was taken at an Open Carry Day in Fairbanks in 2009.

“Congressman Young attended solely as a staunch defender of the Second Amendment,” Kenny said. “The letter the Congressman signed expresses the view that we should elect those who will defend the Constitution, and in turn the Second Amendment, as written, or vote them out of power.”

  • james

    Why is it there are so many people on the left that believe that it’s their duty to stick their nose into everyones business, tell them how to live/breathe/work/die?
    Why can’t they just go get a job, and take care of their own problems instead of creating problems for everyone else?
    Be part of the solution, not the cause of the problem!

  • Alan Aardman

    Where would he obtain the grenades? While illegal automatic weapons can be made by any machinist, grenades are difficult to manufacture and impossible to obtain on the open market.

    Could there be more militia sympathizers in the military?

  • Walt

    @Grizzly Mom – The lawsuits would have no affect on your state’s budget as all your government’s lawyers are on retainer – the cost to the state would be the same if they participated in zero, or a thousand lawsuits – she was more interested in filling her own pocketbook than serving out her term. @ Jeffery Calhoun – as to the 2nd Amendment – “A well regulated militia” is the key phrase here, according to the US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8 “Powers of Congress” Paragraph 16: “To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of Training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.” Now I’m not a Constitutional Lawyer, but it seems to me that the 2nd Amendment was pretty clear in giving gun rights to those in “well regulated militias”, and the body that does the regulating – according to the quoted paragraph – is the US Congress. So if you’re not a member of your state’s militia & you don’t get your guns & grenades supplied by the US Congress you’re probably breaking the law (that’s meant to be a joke, kind of).

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Grizzly”, please do not confuse Communism with liberalism. We Commies get insulted by that. What I don’t understand is this:

    “But there’s no virtue for you in anything, because most of you are just whiney failures with no backbones, and no self-discipline or interest in putting the needs of others above yourself.”

    Did you ever examine the contradictions in this before writing it? There are too many to count. First off, what do you mean failures with no backbones? According to your heroes like Glenn Beck, we are “thugs” who have apparently been ruling America for quite some time, and are on the verge of taking it over completely. Not bad for “whiny people without backbones”, huh?

    And then there’s this: “…and no self-discipline or interest in putting the needs of others above yourself.” Gee, that looks an awful lot like Communist rhetoric there, you know, the condition for the free development of the individual is the development of the whole society, etc.?

    Can you please make a few quick decisions for the future:

    1. Are Liberals, Commies, anarchists, illegal immigrants, gays, Muslims, community organizers, union members, and (insert random group you hate because Fox told you to): A. Weak, pencil-necked dorks with no power or will? Or B: Ferocious, bloodthirsty thugs dominated you poor conservatives via violence. I’d like to see some consistency there.

    2. Please decide if you are rugged individualists who don’t give a damn about anybody, or if you care about society and think individuals should put society above their own wants.

    By taking concrete positions on these matters, you will sound more coherent and less laughable. Speaking of incoherent people who are laughable…

    About your hero, Sarah Palin. Personally I am tired of hearing about her, because she is basically a circus clown. But the reason for all the flak she takes is that she is a moron. I’m sorry but there is no better way to say that. The things she says are simply idiotic. Let’s recap:

    1. Her infamous explanation of the bailout and why it was good.(Later she would lie and claim she was against it; her fans didn’t notice).

    2. She was asked what publications she reads to stay informed(by Ms. Couric), her response; “All of them”. She couldn’t even come up with “Time” or “Newsweek.” She couldn’t even rattle off some conservative publication. This is sheer idiocy.

    3. She made fun of Obama for using teleprompters(as though he was the first to do this), while writing notes on her hand.

    4. All this nonsense about the alleged virtues of small towns(despite being endlessly repeated by her followers, we haven’t yet seen a mass exodus of conservatives to the countryside). I have been to many large cities and small towns in America, including small towns in the Midwest and “Bible Belt.” They are terrible, ramshackle wastelands full of methlabs and much, much worse.

    There are dozens of other examples but none that I care about, as I find Sarah Palin to be nothing but fodder for snarky, liberal hipsters who like shooting fish in a barrel. In short, conservatives need to hitch their cart to someone with dignity.

  • Aron

    Ahhhh, nothing quite like a hardcore conservative to start insulting everyone else on a comment board, even those who made any mention of politics (like myself).

    That’s some truly enlightened political discourse there, Grizzly Mom. You might want to scoot on back to Free Republic now.


  • Grizzly Mom

    Sarah Palin quit the governorship because so many frivolous and adversarial lawsuits were brought against her as governor that the court fees would have bankrupted her beloved state even if she won, not to mention the time it would have taken her from her duties. You commie libtards ought to at least have a quiet respect for her willingness to sacrifice her pride and her office for the sake of her people’s pocketbooks. But there’s no virtue for you in anything, because most of you are just whiney failures with no backbones, and no self-discipline or interest in putting the needs of others above yourself. You can’t recognize virtue because you have none, and you project your moral failures and childish mentality on to everyone you meet, but especially those who say “no” to you when you’re wrong. The definition of Fool is one who knows what is right and refuses to do it.

  • Georga Grivois

    I wonder if this guy is a friend of Job of Governor quitter Sarah Palin and hubby Todd??

  • skinnyminny

    I think this story should be fully examined. People can run from their past, but they can’t always hide. And for this congressman to think he can distance himself, this will be interesting to see if he can do just that. If it is true, that these guys can target troopers and judges, then isn’t it true that they can target the congressman? I definitely want to see the outcome of this, because, if a cop is involved with something like this, he is terminated. If an attorney is involved with something like this, he stands to lose his license. BTW, with Alaska allegedly trying to curb/cut union activity, in addition to this guy ‘Pal-ling around with…’ I wonder how many troopers will feel safe around this guy. As for me, I wouldn’t trust him, because I would think that this guy has an opportunity to hand me over to the other side on a silver platter.

  • Aron

    Mr Calhoun

    Taxation, regardless of amount, does not equate banishment.

    I work as a tobacconist; we also deal with exorbitant taxes. But people still buy our cigars.

    They may have to pay more than they wish, but they, like you, are still allowed to do so.

    It’s a very important distinction.


  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “What part of infringed do you not understand? The taxes can be so high that no one is able to afford the purchase.”

    Oh gee in that case gunsellers should have to give away their products for free, because prices could be prohibitive as well. And why not make tanks legal too? Hey, where’s all that attention to detail on the “well-regulated militia” part?

  • Jeffrey Calhoun

    Jordan said, on March 23rd, 2011 at 7:42 am

    “…A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” It gives the citizens the right to “bear arms”, but it never specifies how many, or what kind. The only thing the government could do to violate the 2nd Amendment is pass a law banning all weapons outright.”

    What part of infringed do you not understand? The taxes can be so high that no one is able to afford the purchase.

    I own a machinegun, and a destructive device. I’m looking at a couple of suppressors soon also.

  • stupidamerkin

    The powers that be sure don’t have a problem with threatening others or plotting harm just as they did with Shafer. I personally do not agree with any violence of any kind, however as Marcus Tullius Cicero quoted;

    “There exist a law, not written down anywhere, but inborn in our hearts; a law which comes to us not by training or custom or reading; a law which has come to us not by theory but from practice, not by instruction but by natural intuition. I refer to the law which lays it down that, if our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right.”

    Another dynamic here is the fact that Shafer was in their mind the head of a very large and powerful snake that they could not control until they cut the head off. From what I have heard of this story they drew first blood over an issue they should have just let be. As the quote goes, “When the government is afraid of the people you have freedom, but when the people are afraid of the government, you have tyranny.”
    The one question I would have if any would be who was the injured party when all of this started?

  • Aron


    I completely agree with you. In case you were wondering, though, there is still a large collector’s market for machine guns. Due to 1986 legislation that prevents civilians from purchasing fully-automatic firearms manufactured after April 1 of that year.

    As such, prices have been driven exponentially higher, with some machine guns previously valued at roughly $3,000 now changes hands for upwards of $20,000.

    Now I find that price as silly as I’m sure you do. But I also have wealthy friends who do collect machine guns. And be assured, these ARE NOT the people who will be using their weapons for evil.

    But grenades, I honestly have no idea why anyone would wish to collect. At least the live ones.



  • skinnyminny

    This is interesting! I guess the question is, what does this need with grenades? The next question is, no one really focused on Palin’s alleged involvement or past involvement with these type groups in her state, why? This is interesting because Muslims are being arrested for buying fertilizer in large quantities, yet, it is obvious what a grenade can do also. Our we, as a nation losing our civilization all due to our love of weapons?

  • Ian

    “[The NRA] got all hot under the collar about the TV show ‘MacGyver'[…]”.

    Is nothing sacred?

  • Linnea


    Yes, I frequently wonder about the NRA’s motives myself. Back in the ’80’s, they got all hot under the collar about the TV show “MacGyver,” in which the hero shunned the use of handguns. Now, if I were the NRA, I would be more upset about a show or movie that depicted the use of guns in an irresponsible way. The NRA really showed its colors there…

  • Aron


    Try telling that to the NRA!

    (Chortle, chortle, chortle)

    And I agree with you. Even as an armaments historian it still bothers me whenever I drive past the NRA headquarters in Virginia. Why does it have to be so huge? Why do they need so much money?



  • Jordan

    “…the Second Amendment, as written…” The 2nd Amendment “as written” has no prohibition against registering, taxing, or restricting guns.
    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” It gives the citizens the right to “bear arms”, but it never specifies how many, or what kind. The only thing the government could do to violate the 2nd Amendment is pass a law banning all weapons outright.

  • Rollingforest

    It should be noted that Don Young is not just “a Republican congressman from Alaska” but is THE congressman from Alaska. Despite being the largest state geographically by a long shot, Alaska’s population is so low that they are only given one seat in the House of Representatives out of 435. The fact that he represents all of Alaska might help to promote this story.

  • Linnea

    I second that!

    Sometimes I wonder if there are *any* sensible people in Alaska. I’m sure there are, and I feel sorry for them.

  • skinnyminny

    This is just too funny! It is so funny that these elected officials don’t get it, “what goes around, comes around,” and when you point the finger at others, take note of how many fingers are pointing back at you.

    It’s also funny, that in a rush to paint Obama as a Muslim…in a rush to blame Obama for helping OUR ALLIES in Libya – now, if Obama had refused to help our European allies, these guys would have rushed to say that Obama was a traitor by wanting to help the Muslim countries instead of the Europeans. Then, if Obama didn’t help the Europeans, later they would blame him like they did Clinton, saying that he missed the opportunity to ‘get him (Sadam Hussein).’

    I’ll tell you, these guys (GOP) nag more than anyone I’ve ever met – constant complaining, whining…they ridicule everyone and constantly cause problems, yet, they always end up in some scandal and want to cover it up or back away from it. This just doesn’t get any better.

  • Aron

    Believe it or not, the Second Amendment DOES, if not guarantee, but at least allow the ownership of sound suppressors and hand grenades. Please see the 1934 National Firearms Act.

    The requirements for owning a suppressor are the same as owning anything that might be considered Any Other Weapon (short-barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, et c.) or machine guns. The simple payment and registration of a $200 tax stamp.

    I believe it is similar for hand grenades, though they would fall under the category of Destructive Devices, and the regulations very well may be stricter.

    That being said, I am but a mere armaments historian. No lawyer or law-enforcement official am I.

    Hope this helped!


  • Reynardine

    How much do we need to offer Russia before they’ll take Seward’s Folly back?