On February 6, the government Bureau of Investigation held a news conference about a growing problem faced by local law enforcement agencies. In accordance with the FBI, police throughout the country are already contacting the Bureau with requests for information and training about the sovereign citizen movement.
Across the next week, the online reaction to the Bureau’s statements ranged from confused to outraged. Conservative pundits were wringing their hands, fearing that the FBI is going to target their Tea Party readership as enemies from the state, while liberal pundits expressed glee that this FBI now considers Tea Party supporters to be domestic terrorists.
By way of example, conservative commentator Glenn Beck aired a 12-minute segment on his show last week in which he determined that there is no such thing being a sovereign movement, since he’s never read about it, and this the us government is utilizing this fictional group as a boogeyman to do nefarious points to Glenn Beck’s fans.
The good thing for Beck is the overlap between his fan base as well as the sovereign movement is most likely minor. The unhealthy news all through us is that state and native police force agencies have a heck of energy educating their officers about how precisely best to identify and handle this very real and potentially violent group.
If you’re part of the Tea Party movement, the remedy to this bad law is to protest your opinion in DC and then in other metropolitan areas, write angry letters for your Congressmen, and vote for politicians who accept you that such a law ought to be scrapped at the earliest opportunity.
If you’re a member of the what is a sovereign citizen, your approach is a bit different. You begin by searching for a combination of quotes, definitions, court cases, the Bible, Internet websites, and the like that justify tips on how to forget about the disliked law without the legal consequences. Be imaginative. Pull a line from your 1215 version of the Magna Carta, a definition from the 1913 legal dictionary, a quote from a founding father or two, and placed it from the blender with 14dexipky official-sounding Supreme Court case excerpts you found on like-minded websites. Better still, hire a company else online who disliked that same law and pay them $150 for a three-ring binder full of their word salad research.
Et voilà, not merely do you have proven that you simply don’t ought to obey legal requirements you dislike, heck, it’s your patriotic duty to disobey it, and anyone that tells you otherwise is simply 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 select which laws to place by your special blender, you happen to be effectively putting yourself above all laws.
Sovereign citizens are true believers. They generally entered the movement by buying into a scam or conspiracy theory that not only promised them a brief fix to their problems, but wrapped such solutions within a heavy layer of revolutionary rhetoric. As soon as a sovereign feels the flush of excitement and self-importance which comes from acting since the David towards the United states government’s Goliath, they are aware, with a bunch of their hearts and souls, that their scientific studies are correct, that their cause is just, and therefore anyone who disagrees along with them is really a criminal who deserves to become punished.
These sovereign citizens are also doomed to failure; the tax collector, prosecutor, and judge supply heard the same legal theories lots of times already and understand they are bogus.
Every time a person believes his cause is simply, yet he meets failure over and again and again, there comes a point where he needs to decide: he could admit his theory is wrong and walk away, or he could fight dirty.
Non-violent retaliation against government employees and police force is considered the most common response, and may take the type of filing false liens, filing bogus Forms 1099, sending threatening correspondence, suing government employees for huge amounts of money, and cyber-stalking individuals in government who disagree together with the sovereign’s legal theories.
Some sovereigns plot a violent revenge, hoping to inspire others within the movement to arrive at their breaking point sooner. For instance, after twenty years of seeking to persuade the internal revenue service 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 time and time again and expecting the end result to suddenly differ. I am 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 position; they merely lash out when they’ve failed one a lot of times. Some commit suicide, but for many of them, the very last straw might be something no more than being stopped by a highway patrolman for having a busted tail light or something as big as being evicted off their home if the bank forecloses on his or her property.
Since the majority people don’t possess direct exposure to government apart from with local police force, officers tend to be at a particularly high risk of bearing the brunt of sovereign citizen anger.
At first glance, sovereigns believe some pretty outrageous things, and to an outsider, their legal theories seem fairly silly. Up to the recent wave of violence, most police officers who encountered sovereigns found them more amusing than other things. Following recent police shootings in Arkansas, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania, officers now should rethink their opinion with this group.
Also, sovereign citizens don’t call themselves that. Actually, should you ask somebody if she actually is part of the movement, she is probably going to respond that this “sovereign citizen” label is definitely an oxymoron, and this she is someone looking for 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.”
Probably the most challenging hurdle for police force is handling stereotypes. The very first 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) can 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. For instance, dentists, chiropractors, and even police officers all seem interested in the movement recently.
Sovereigns are also challenging to identity as there is no membership group so they can join, no charismatic leader, no organization name, no master list of adherents, without any consistency within the schemes they promote and acquire into. There are hundreds of sovereign legal theories being peddled in seminars, in books, and on the Internet, and several of these theories contradict one another.
The sovereign citizen movement is large and it is growing fast, on account of the Internet. There are an estimated 300,000 folks the movement, and approximately one third of those are a few things i would call hard-core believers – people happy to act on their own beliefs instead of simply leave.
Nevertheless there is no guarantee in terms of officer safety, police departments do indeed need to teach their front-line officers how you can identify sovereign markers and take appropriate precautions in the event that a particular encounter is a sovereign’s “final straw.