On February 6, the government Bureau of Investigation held a news conference regarding a growing problem faced by local police force agencies. Based on the FBI, police all over the country are already contacting the Bureau with requests for information and training on the sovereign citizen movement.
On the next week, the web response to the Bureau’s statements ranged from confused to outraged. Conservative pundits were wringing their hands, fearing 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 become domestic terrorists.
For example, conservative commentator Glenn Beck aired a 12-minute segment on his show a week ago where he determined that there is absolutely no such thing as a sovereign movement, since he’s never been aware of it, and that the federal government is utilizing this fictional group like 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 as well as the sovereign movement is probably minor. The negative news all through us is the fact that state and local police force agencies are experiencing a heck of your time educating their officers about how exactly advisable to identify and take care of this very real and potentially violent group.
If you’re part of the Tea Party movement, the remedy for this bad law is to protest your opinion in DC and then in other metropolitan areas, write angry letters to the Congressmen, and vote for politicians who go along with you that such a law ought to be scrapped at the earliest opportunity.
If you’re part of the sovereign citizen definition, your approach is a little different. You start out by searching for a mixture of quotes, definitions, court cases, the Bible, Internet websites, and so on that justify the best way to disregard the disliked law without any legal consequences. Be imaginative. Pull a line in the 1215 version in the Magna Carta, a definition from your 1913 legal dictionary, a quotation from your founding father or two, and placed it inside the blender with 14dexipky official-sounding Supreme Court case excerpts you available on like-minded websites. Even better, find someone else online who disliked that same law and pay them $150 for the three-ring binder filled with their word salad research.
Et voilà, not merely have you ever proven that you simply don’t must obey the law 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 for the US government.
When you are able select which laws to put through your special blender, you are effectively putting yourself first and foremost laws.
Sovereign citizens are true believers. They generally entered the movement by buying in a scam or conspiracy theory that not only promised them a brief fix with 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 to the U.S. government’s Goliath, they are fully aware, with all of their hearts and souls, that the research is correct, that the cause is merely, which anybody who disagrees using them can be a criminal who deserves to get punished.
These sovereign citizens may also be doomed to failure; the tax collector, prosecutor, and judge have all heard these same legal theories a large number of times already and understand they are bogus.
Whenever a person believes his cause is merely, yet he meets failure over and time and time again, there comes a point where he has to make up your mind: they can admit his theory is wrong and walk away, or they can fight dirty.
Non-violent retaliation against government employees and law enforcement is easily the most common response, and will take the shape 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 with all the sovereign’s legal theories.
Some sovereigns plot a violent revenge, trying to inspire others inside the movement to attain their breaking point sooner. By way of example, after 2 decades of wanting 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 the concise explanation of insanity is repeating a similar process over and over and expecting the outcome 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 zero grand plan in position; they only lash out when they’ve failed one lots of times. Some commit suicide, but for a lot of them, the final straw can be something as small as being pulled over by way of a highway patrolman for having a busted tail light or anything as big as being evicted from the home when the bank forecloses on his or her property.
As most people don’t possess any direct exposure to government other than with local law enforcement, officers tend to be at a particularly high risk of bearing the brunt of sovereign citizen anger.
On the outside, sovereigns believe some pretty outrageous things, and also to an outsider, their legal theories seem fairly silly. Up until the recent wave of violence, most police officers who encountered sovereigns found them more amusing than everything else. Following recent police shootings in Arkansas, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania, officers now need to rethink their opinion of the group.
Also, sovereign citizens don’t call themselves that. Actually, when you ask someone if she is part of the movement, she is probably going to respond the “sovereign citizen” label is an oxymoron, and that she actually is someone choosing the Truth. She may then launch right into a ten minute lecture about 18th century ideals of individual sovereignty. A non-sovereign simply answers, “No.”
Possibly the hardest hurdle for law enforcement is coping with stereotypes. The first 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, from any walk of life. By way of example, dentists, chiropractors, and also police officers all seem drawn to the movement lately.
Sovereigns will also be difficult to identity because there is no membership group to enable them to join, no charismatic leader, no organization name, no master list of adherents, without any consistency in the schemes they promote and buy into. There are numerous sovereign legal theories being peddled in seminars, in books, and on the Internet, and a number of these theories contradict each other.
The sovereign citizen movement is large which is growing fast, because of the Internet. You can find an estimated 300,000 individuals the movement, and approximately one third of those are a few things i would call hard-core believers – people willing to act on their own beliefs as an alternative to simply walk away.
While there is no guarantee in terms of officer safety, police departments do indeed have to teach their front-line officers how you can identify sovereign markers and take appropriate precautions in case a particular encounter gets to be a sovereign’s “final straw.