Remember the hysteria surrounding private militias? You know; back when Sarah “She Put a Reticle Over Her Opponents on her Facebook Page” Palin was the Republican choice for Vice President? About the time Jared Lee Loughner shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed six people, and the feds did the entrapment thing with the Hutaree militia (later tossed in court). Liberal commentators drew a straight line between the Republican party, gun rights and “domestic terrorism.” Oh how we laughed! We also warned our readers that the law enforcement industry was taking a bead on small government types. Some of which are called “Sovereign Citizens.” The Richmond County Daily Journal reports that the cops are still paying close attention to the “movement,” whose parameters are worryingly vague . . .
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website, the FBI considers sovereign-citizen extremists “as comprising a domestic terrorist movement, which, scattered across the United States, has existed for decades, with well-known members, such as Terry Nichols, who helped plan the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, bombing.”
It goes on to say sovereign citizens do not represent an anarchist group, nor are they a militia, although they sometimes use or buy illegal weapons. Rather, they operate as individuals without established leadership and only come together in loosely affiliated groups to train, help each other with paperwork, or socialize and talk about their ideology.
They may refer to themselves as “constitutionalists” or “freemen,” which is not necessarily a connection to a specific group, but, rather, an indication that they are free from government control. They follow their own set of laws. While the philosophies and conspiracy theories can vary from person to person, their core beliefs are the same: The government operates outside of its jurisdiction. Because of this belief, they do not recognize federal, state, or local laws, policies, or regulations.
So how many Reds are under this bed? Let’s gather some intel at the local level . . .
Rob Finch is a detective in the Criminal Intelligence Squad of the Greensboro Police Department, and an expert on sovereign citizen subculture. He has interviewed more than 100 self-proclaimed sovereign citizens over 1,000 hours.
He held a class at Richmond Community College in Hamlet to train law enforcement on the kinds of things they will encounter when dealing with a sovereign citizen.
“We’ve been training law enforcement for the last 18 months and we’ve trained over 5,000 officers,” said Finch. “The best tool is training and we teach them the sovereign’s tactics, tricks and just educate them about the movement.” . . .
“There is a tremendous amount of them,” he said. “Being conservative, I’d say there may be 600, but I think there’s far more than that in North Carolina. You definitely have them here.”
OK Rob, I’m definitely worried—just not about Sovereign Citizens.