On February 6, the Federal Bureau of Investigation held a news conference regarding a growing problem faced by local law enforcement agencies. Based on the FBI, police all over the country are already contacting the Bureau with requests for information and training around the sovereign citizen movement.
Within the next week, the web based reaction 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 be domestic terrorists.
For instance, conservative commentator Glenn Beck aired a 12-minute segment on his show a couple weeks ago by which he figured that there is no such thing as a sovereign movement, since he’s never heard about it, and therefore the government is using this fictional group as being a boogeyman to do nefarious what you should Glenn Beck’s fans.
The good news for Beck is the fact that overlap between his fan base and also the sovereign movement is most likely minor. The not so good news for the rest of us is state and native police force agencies are having a heck of your time educating their officers regarding how best to identify and deal with this very real and potentially violent group.
If you’re a member of the Tea Party movement, the remedy for this bad law would be to protest your opinion in DC and in other metropolitan areas, write angry letters in your Congressmen, and vote for politicians who are in agreement with you that such a law needs to be scrapped as soon as possible.
If you’re part of the what is a sovereign citizen, your approach is a little different. You start by trying to find a combination of quotes, definitions, court cases, the Bible, Internet websites, and the like that justify ways to disregard the disliked law with no legal consequences. Be imaginative. Pull a line from your 1215 version in the Magna Carta, a definition coming from a 1913 legal dictionary, an estimate coming from a founding father or two, and set it in the blender with 14dexipky official-sounding Supreme Court case excerpts you available on like-minded websites. Much better, hire a company 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 only perhaps you have proven that you simply don’t need to obey what the law states you dislike, heck, it’s your patriotic duty to disobey it, and anyone who lets you know otherwise is definitely plain un-American and it is probably a part of a world-wide Jewish conspiracy to make sure that Chihuahuas are slaves to the US government.
When you are able select which laws to put via your special blender, you might 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 that not only promised them a simple fix to their problems, but wrapped such solutions in the heavy layer of revolutionary rhetoric. Once a sovereign feels the flush of excitement and self-importance that comes from acting because the David on the United states government’s Goliath, they know, with a bunch of their hearts and souls, their scientific studies are correct, their cause is definitely, which anybody who disagrees along with them is a criminal who deserves to become punished.
These sovereign citizens will also be doomed to failure; the tax collector, prosecutor, and judge have got all heard these same legal theories dozens of times already and understand that they are bogus.
Each time 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 come to a decision: they can admit his theory is wrong and leave, or they can fight dirty.
Non-violent retaliation against government employees and police force is 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 of money, 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 from the movement to attain their breaking point sooner. For example, after two decades of trying to persuade the IRS along with 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 definition of insanity is repeating exactly the same process time and time again and expecting the 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, do not have grand plan set up; they only lash out when they’ve failed one a lot of times. Some commit suicide, but for the majority of them, the final straw can be something no more than being pulled over by a highway patrolman to have a busted tail light or something that is as big as being evicted off their home as soon as the bank forecloses on their property.
As most people don’t have direct connection with government aside from with local law enforcement, officers are in a particularly high risk of bearing the brunt of sovereign citizen anger.
On top, 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 on this group.
Also, sovereign citizens don’t call themselves that. In reality, should you ask a person if she is part of the movement, she is likely to respond that the “sovereign citizen” label is an oxymoron, which she actually is somebody 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 most challenging hurdle for law enforcement is dealing with stereotypes. The 1st 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, the second sovereign wave (1999 to provide) can include anybody: black, white, rural, urban, Asian, Hispanic, young, old, armed, unarmed, male, female, conservative, liberal, semi-literate, college-educated, from the walk of life. For example, dentists, chiropractors, and even law enforcement officers all seem attracted to the movement recently.
Sovereigns will also be hard to identity because there is no membership group for them to join, no charismatic leader, no organization name, no master selection of adherents, with no consistency inside the schemes they promote and purchase into. You can find 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 and it is growing fast, because of the Internet. You will find an estimated 300,000 folks the movement, and approximately 1 / 3 of these are the things i would call hard-core believers – people prepared to act on their own beliefs as an alternative to simply move on.
As there is no guarantee in relation 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 specific encounter becomes a sovereign’s “final straw.