But when James "Bo" Gritz, 59, sat down for an interview at his home near Kamiah, Idaho, on Sept. 17, he was uncharacteristically deflated. He explained that his wife, Claudia, 40, whom he had married on the eve of her 17th birthday when she was a student in a karate class he taught, had recently filed for divorce. "I've thought about looking at the other end of my pistol a few times," he told Steve Stuebner, a writer for Intelligence Report, a quarterly newsletter that keeps track of U.S. extremist and militia groups. "What kind of life do I have without my bride?" Three days later, Gritz (pronounced "Grites") was found by the roadside near his home with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.
Gritz is expected to recover, but his macho-warrior image may not. A leading light among right-wing fringe and militia groups, Gritz had traveled the country in recent years, teaching survivalist seminars and railing at the federal government. Claudia was always at his side. Then last month, when Gritz returned home after leading a search in North Carolina for suspected abortion-clinic bomber Eric Rudolph, in hopes of persuading the fugitive to turn himself in, she told him she was leaving. (Claudia, whose divorce petition cites "irreconcilable differences," could not be reached for comment.) Gritz was devastated. "I've never been afraid of anything on earth," he told Stuebner. "But I'm frightened for the first time in my life."
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