MINOT, N.D. — In 1983, Gordon Kahl left a Posse Comitatus meeting in Medina, North Dakota, and ended up in a gunfight with U.S. Marshals attempting to apprehend him for a parole violation.

The violent conflict ended with two cops dead, three injured, and an ugly blight on our beautiful state’s history.

Kahl, on the run, would end his life (and that of a county sheriff) in another shootout in Arkansas.

Members of the Posse Comitatus, an extreme populist movement, believe, among other things, that there is no legitimate form of government above the county level. The county sheriff is the top government official, as they see it, and those not abiding by the people’s will are to be lynched in public. The name comes from the Posse Comitatus Act, a 19th-century federal law (how ironic) intended to draw a line between the military and domestic law enforcement.

In that context, consider what’s happening in Ward County, which is home to Minot and this humble correspondent.

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