On February 6, the Federal Bureau of Investigation held a news conference regarding a growing problem faced by local law enforcement agencies. According to the FBI, police all over the country have been contacting the Bureau with requests for information and training about the sovereign citizen movement.
Across the next week, the web based response to the Bureau’s statements ranged from confused to outraged. Conservative pundits were wringing their hands, fearing the FBI will almost certainly target their Tea Party readership as enemies of the state, while liberal pundits expressed glee that the FBI now considers Tea Party supporters to get domestic terrorists.
For example, conservative commentator Glenn Beck aired a 12-minute segment on his show last week by which he determined that there is no such thing like a sovereign movement, since he’s never heard about it, and that the federal government is applying this fictional group as being a boogeyman to carry out nefarious things to Glenn Beck’s fans.
The good news for Beck is that the overlap between his fan base and also the sovereign movement is probably minor. The unhealthy news all through us is that state and local law enforcement agencies are having a heck of time educating their officers about how precisely wise to identify and handle this very real and potentially violent group.
If you’re part of the Tea Party movement, the perfect solution for this bad law is to protest your opinion in DC and also in other metropolitan areas, write angry letters to the Congressmen, and vote for politicians who are in agreement with you that this type of law must be scrapped at the earliest opportunity.
If you’re part of the what is a sovereign citizen, your approach is a bit different. You start by searching for a blend of quotes, definitions, court cases, the Bible, Internet websites, and so on that justify the best way to forget about the disliked law without any legal consequences. Be imaginative. Pull a line from the 1215 version of your Magna Carta, a definition from your 1913 legal dictionary, a quote from a founding father or two, and put it in the blender with 14dexipky official-sounding Supreme Court case excerpts you seen on like-minded websites. Better yet, find someone else online who disliked that same law and pay them $150 for a three-ring binder loaded with their word salad research.
Et voilà, not merely do you have proven which you don’t ought to obey legislation you dislike, heck, it’s your patriotic duty to disobey it, and anyone who informs you otherwise is just plain un-American which is probably a part of a world-wide Jewish conspiracy to ensure that Chihuahuas are slaves to the US government.
When you can choose which laws to get using your special blender, you will be effectively putting yourself first and foremost laws.
Sovereign citizens are true believers. They generally entered the movement by purchasing in a scam or conspiracy theory which not only promised them a brief fix to their problems, but wrapped such solutions in the heavy layer of revolutionary rhetoric. As soon as a sovereign feels the flush of excitement and self-importance that comes from acting as the David to the United states government’s Goliath, they understand, with their hearts and souls, that their research is correct, that the cause is definitely, and that anyone who disagrees along with them is really a criminal who deserves being punished.
These sovereign citizens may also be doomed to failure; the tax collector, prosecutor, and judge have heard these same legal theories lots of times already and understand they are bogus.
Every time a person believes his cause is definitely, yet he meets failure over and again and again, there comes a point where he has to make up your mind: he could admit his theory is wrong and move on, or he could fight dirty.
Non-violent retaliation against government employees and police force is regarded as the common response, and will take the form of filing false liens, filing bogus Forms 1099, sending threatening correspondence, suing government employees for vast amounts, and cyber-stalking individuals in government who disagree with all the sovereign’s legal theories.
Some sovereigns plot a violent revenge, looking to inspire others within the movement to achieve their breaking point sooner. For instance, after 2 decades of trying to persuade the IRS and the Tax Court that his blender salad of legal theories was accurate, in 2010, private pilot Joseph Stack flew his airplane into an IRS building in Austin Texas, killing one tax collector, and injuring thirteen others.
“I saw it written once how the meaning of insanity is repeating exactly the same process repeatedly and expecting the actual end result to suddenly be different. I am just finally willing to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.” — Joseph Stack’s suicide note
Most sovereigns who act violently, however, have no grand plan into position; they merely lash out when they’ve failed one a lot of times. Some commit suicide, however, for many of them, the ultimate straw could be something as small as being pulled over by a highway patrolman for having a busted tail light or something as huge as being evicted off their home if the bank forecloses on his or her property.
Since most people don’t have direct contact with government apart from with local law enforcement, officers are in a particularly heavy risk of bearing the brunt of sovereign citizen anger.
On the outside, sovereigns believe some pretty outrageous things, as well as to an outsider, their legal theories seem fairly silly. Until the recent wave of violence, most law enforcement officers who encountered sovereigns found them more amusing than whatever else. Following recent police shootings in Arkansas, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania, officers now have to rethink their opinion on this group.
Also, sovereign citizens don’t call themselves that. Actually, when you ask someone if she actually is part of the movement, she will likely respond how the “sovereign citizen” label is undoubtedly an oxymoron, and therefore she actually is an individual choosing the Truth. She may then launch in to a ten minute lecture about 18th century ideals of individual sovereignty. A non-sovereign simply answers, “No.”
Maybe the hardest hurdle for police force is working with stereotypes. The initial generation sovereign movement (from 1970 to 1995) was comprised mostly of middle-aged, high-school educated, white men with some military background, and extreme-right, often racist values, located mostly in in rural communities west 14dexipky the Mississippi. Today, another sovereign wave (1999 to present) may include anybody: black, white, rural, urban, Asian, Hispanic, young, old, armed, unarmed, male, female, conservative, liberal, semi-literate, college-educated, through the walk of life. By way of example, dentists, chiropractors, and even law enforcement officers all seem drawn to the movement in recent years.
Sovereigns will also be hard to identity as there is no membership group to enable them to join, no charismatic leader, no organization name, no master listing of adherents, with no consistency inside the schemes they promote and acquire into. You will find countless sovereign legal theories being peddled in seminars, in books, and online, and a number of these theories contradict each other.
The sovereign citizen movement is large which is growing fast, on account of the Internet. There are actually an estimated 300,000 individuals the movement, and approximately one third of the are a few things i would call hard-core believers – people happy to act on their beliefs as an alternative to simply leave.
While there is no guarantee in relation to officer safety, police departments do indeed have to teach their front-line officers how to identify sovereign markers and take appropriate precautions in case a selected encounter turns into a sovereign’s “final straw.