On February 6, the government Bureau of Investigation held a news conference regarding a growing problem faced by local law enforcement agencies. In line with the FBI, police all around the country have already been contacting the Bureau with requests for information and training on the sovereign citizen movement.
On the next week, the online response to the Bureau’s statements ranged from confused to outraged. Conservative pundits were wringing their hands, fearing that this FBI will probably target their Tea Party readership as enemies from 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 the other day through which he determined that there is absolutely no such thing like a sovereign movement, since he’s never heard about it, and that government entities is utilizing this fictional group as a boogeyman to do nefarious what you should Glenn Beck’s fans.
The good thing for Beck is the overlap between his fan base and also the sovereign movement might be minor. The negative news throughout us is the fact state and native law enforcement agencies have a heck of time educating their officers about how exactly better to identify and take care of this very real and potentially violent group.
If you’re a member of the Tea Party movement, the perfect solution to this bad law is always to protest your opinion in DC and in other metropolitan areas, write angry letters in your Congressmen, and vote for politicians who go along with you that this kind of law should be scrapped at the earliest opportunity.
If you’re part of the sovereign citizen definition, your approach is a bit different. You start by looking for a mixture of quotes, definitions, court cases, the Bible, Internet websites, etc that justify tips on how to ignore the disliked law without the legal consequences. Be imaginative. Pull a line from your 1215 version of your Magna Carta, a definition from a 1913 legal dictionary, a quote coming from a founding father or two, and placed it in the blender with 14dexipky official-sounding Supreme Court case excerpts you seen on like-minded websites. Better yet, find a person else online who disliked that same law and pay them $150 for the three-ring binder filled up with their word salad research.
Et voilà, not just do you have proven that you just don’t have to obey the law you dislike, heck, it’s your patriotic duty to disobey it, and anybody who informs you otherwise is merely plain un-American which is probably part of a world-wide Jewish conspiracy to make sure that Chihuahuas are slaves on the US government.
When you can choose which laws to place through your special blender, you might be effectively putting yourself most importantly laws.
Sovereign citizens are true believers. They generally entered the movement by purchasing in to a scam or conspiracy theory that not only promised them a quick fix on 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 which comes from acting as the David on the U.S. government’s Goliath, they know, with a bunch of their hearts and souls, that the research is correct, that the cause is definitely, and that anyone who disagrees along with them can be a criminal who deserves to be punished.
These sovereign citizens will also be doomed to failure; the tax collector, prosecutor, and judge have all heard these same legal theories dozens of times already and understand they are bogus.
Whenever a person believes his cause is just, yet he meets failure over and time and time again, there comes a point where he needs to make a decision: he could admit his theory is wrong and walk away, or he can fight dirty.
Non-violent retaliation against government employees and law enforcement is the most common response, and might take the type of filing false liens, filing bogus Forms 1099, sending threatening correspondence, suing government employees for millions of dollars, and cyber-stalking individuals in government who disagree together with the sovereign’s legal theories.
Some sovereigns plot a violent revenge, seeking to inspire others within the movement to arrive at their breaking point sooner. For instance, after two decades of trying to persuade the IRS and also the Tax Court that his blender salad of legal theories was accurate, during 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 that this meaning of insanity is repeating a similar process over and over and expecting the result to suddenly be different. 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, do not have grand plan set up; they simply lash out when they’ve failed one too many times. Some commit suicide, but also for a lot of them, the last straw may be something as small as being pulled over by way of a highway patrolman to have a busted tail light or anything as huge as being evicted from their home as soon as the bank forecloses on their property.
As most people don’t have direct exposure to government besides with local law enforcement, officers are in an especially high-risk of bearing the brunt of sovereign citizen anger.
At first glance, sovereigns believe some pretty outrageous things, as well as 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 anything else. Following recent police shootings in Arkansas, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania, officers now should rethink their opinion of the group.
Also, sovereign citizens don’t call themselves that. Actually, when you ask somebody if she is a member of the movement, she is probably going to respond the “sovereign citizen” label is surely an oxymoron, and that she actually is an individual choosing the Truth. She may then launch into a ten minute lecture about 18th century ideals of individual sovereignty. A non-sovereign simply answers, “No.”
Maybe the toughest hurdle for police force is working with stereotypes. The very first generation sovereign movement (from 1970 to 1995) was comprised mostly of middle-aged, high-school educated, white men with a few military background, and extreme-right, often racist values, located mostly in in rural communities west 14dexipky the Mississippi. Today, the next sovereign wave (1999 to show) might 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, as well as law enforcement officers all seem interested in the movement in recent years.
Sovereigns are also hard to identity since there is no membership group to allow them to join, no charismatic leader, no organization name, no master listing of adherents, without any consistency within the schemes they promote and get into. There are numerous sovereign legal theories being peddled in seminars, in books, and on the web, and many of these theories contradict the other person.
The sovereign citizen movement is very large which is growing fast, due to the Internet. You will find approximately 300,000 people in the movement, and approximately 1 / 3rd of these are a few things i would call hard-core believers – people happy to act on their beliefs rather than simply move on.
While there is no guarantee with regards to officer safety, police departments do indeed must teach their front-line officers the way to identify sovereign markers and take appropriate precautions just in case a certain encounter turns into a sovereign’s “final straw.