On February 6, the government Bureau of Investigation held a news conference regarding a growing problem faced by local law enforcement agencies. Based on the FBI, police all around the country have already been contacting the Bureau with requests for information and training on the sovereign citizen movement.
Across the next week, the web response to the Bureau’s statements ranged from confused to outraged. Conservative pundits were wringing their hands, fearing that this FBI will target their Tea Party readership as enemies in the state, while liberal pundits expressed glee the FBI now considers Tea Party supporters to become domestic terrorists.
For instance, conservative commentator Glenn Beck aired a 12-minute segment on his show the other day where he concluded that there is not any such thing as a sovereign movement, since he’s never read about it, and this government entities is using this fictional group as being a boogeyman in order to do nefarious what you should Glenn Beck’s fans.
The good news for Beck is that the overlap between his fan base and the sovereign movement is most likely minor. The unhealthy news for the remainder of us is the fact state and native police force agencies have a heck of your energy educating their officers about how exactly better to identify and handle this very real and potentially violent group.
If you’re part of the Tea Party movement, the solution to this bad law is usually to protest your opinion in DC and then in other metropolitan areas, write angry letters in your Congressmen, and vote for politicians who accept you that this sort of law ought to be scrapped as quickly as possible.
If you’re part of the sovereign citizen definition, your approach is a bit different. You begin by trying to find a blend of quotes, definitions, court cases, the Bible, Internet websites, etc that justify ways to forget about the disliked law without having legal consequences. Be imaginative. Pull a line through the 1215 version from the Magna Carta, a definition coming from a 1913 legal dictionary, a quote from your founding father or two, and set it from the blender with 14dexipky official-sounding Supreme Court case excerpts you located on like-minded websites. Better still, find a person else online who disliked that same law and pay them $150 for any three-ring binder filled with their word salad research.
Et voilà, not only perhaps you have proven that you don’t have to obey the law you dislike, heck, it’s your patriotic duty to disobey it, and anybody who lets you know otherwise is definitely plain un-American and is probably component of a world-wide Jewish conspiracy to make sure that Chihuahuas are slaves to the US government.
When you can pick and choose which laws to get by your special blender, you happen to be effectively putting yourself especially laws.
Sovereign citizens are true believers. They generally entered the movement by purchasing right into a scam or conspiracy theory that not only promised them a quick fix for their problems, but wrapped such solutions in a heavy layer of revolutionary rhetoric. As soon as a sovereign feels the flush of excitement and self-importance that comes from acting as being the David towards the Usa government’s Goliath, they understand, with all their hearts and souls, that the scientific studies are correct, their cause is definitely, and that anyone who disagrees along with them can be a criminal who deserves to be punished.
These sovereign citizens are also doomed to failure; the tax collector, prosecutor, and judge have heard these same legal theories lots of times already and understand they are bogus.
When a person believes his cause is simply, yet he meets failure over and over and over again, there comes a point where he needs to make a decision: he is able to admit his theory is wrong and move on, or he is able to fight dirty.
Non-violent retaliation against government employees and police force is considered the most common response, and can take the type 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 using the sovereign’s legal theories.
Some sovereigns plot a violent revenge, hoping to inspire others in the movement to attain their breaking point sooner. By way of example, after twenty years of attempting to persuade the internal revenue service as well as 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 over and over and expecting the result to suddenly differ. I am just finally ready 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 zero grand plan in place; they just lash out when they’ve failed one a lot of times. Some commit suicide, but for a lot of them, the ultimate straw could be something no more than being stopped with a highway patrolman for having a busted tail light or anything as large as being evicted from their home if the bank forecloses on the property.
Since most people don’t possess any direct experience of government aside from with local law enforcement, officers are at a really dangerous of bearing the brunt of sovereign citizen anger.
On top, sovereigns believe some pretty outrageous things, as well as to an outsider, their legal theories seem fairly silly. Up until the recent wave of violence, most law enforcement officers who encountered sovereigns found them more amusing than everything else. Following recent police shootings in Arkansas, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania, officers now have to rethink their opinion with this group.
Also, sovereign citizens don’t call themselves that. The truth is, if you ask someone if she actually is part of the movement, she will likely respond that this “sovereign citizen” label is an oxymoron, which she actually is someone choosing the Truth. She may then launch in a ten minute lecture about 18th century ideals of individual sovereignty. A non-sovereign simply answers, “No.”
Probably the most difficult hurdle for law enforcement is working with stereotypes. The 1st generation sovereign movement (from 1970 to 1995) was comprised mostly of middle-aged, high-school educated, white men with a bit of military background, and extreme-right, often racist values, located mostly in in rural communities west 14dexipky the Mississippi. Today, the 2nd sovereign wave (1999 to present) might include anybody: black, white, rural, urban, Asian, Hispanic, young, old, armed, unarmed, male, female, conservative, liberal, semi-literate, college-educated, from any walk of life. By way of example, dentists, chiropractors, and also police officers all seem attracted to the movement in recent years.
Sovereigns will also be challenging to identity since there is no membership group to allow them to join, no charismatic leader, no organization name, no master set of adherents, and no consistency in the schemes they promote and purchase into. There are a huge selection of sovereign legal theories being peddled in seminars, in books, and on the net, and most of these theories contradict one another.
The sovereign citizen movement is big and is growing fast, because of the Internet. You can find an estimated 300,000 individuals the movement, and approximately a third of the are a few things i would call hard-core believers – people prepared to act on their beliefs rather than simply leave.
While there is no guarantee in terms of officer safety, police departments do indeed must teach their front-line officers how you can identify sovereign markers and take appropriate precautions in the event a specific encounter becomes a sovereign’s “final straw.