Once upon a time, there was this defiant 55-year-old man in Florida who decided to drive a car with a phony license plate and then refused to show a driver's license after being stopped by the police. He even threatened to sue the officer who pulled him over.
Then he was suspected of felony counterfeiting, and when officers tried to serve him with warrants, he locked himself in his garage saying that he wouldn't be "a servant of the king," broke out windows with his handgun, aimed at the officers, and was then shot and killed by them.
Mr. Defiant was a self-described "sovereign citizen." Other sovereign citizens like him have killed at least six police officers since 2000, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
The FBI refers to these loons as a "domestic terrorist movement;" there are somewhere between 100,000 and 300,000 sovereigns who refuse to obey laws, refuse to produce drivers licenses when stopped, and when stopped, demand that officers recite oaths of office and fill out long questionnaires. They also believe they owe no income taxes.
Det. Rob Finch of the Greensboro, North Carolina police department said, "To them, a police officer is just a man in a Halloween costume." Maybe so, but instead of handing out candy, they shoot bullets.
Sovereigns assert that the U.S. Treasury has set up a secret money account for every American, which can be reclaimed through a bizarre set of legal filings known as redemption. They say everything from taxes to traffic tickets can be disposed of by drawing on the secret Treasury accounts through elaborate legal claims and mountains of paperwork.
Many sovereigns file invoices with police or judges, demanding hundreds of dollars an hour for time spent stopped by officers or when in court to answer charges. [...]
Finch and Flowers now train agents of the FBI, DEA, ATF and Homeland Security — as well as district attorneys, clerks of court, judges and registrars nationwide. [...]
They teach police to recognize sovereigns by their convoluted legal jargon and "mouthy" defiance. "Sovereign citizens are more likely not to obey their commands and more likely to commit violence during a traffic stop," Finch said.
Here is a helpful "Recognizing Sovereign Citizens" website that features this image:
And Sovereign-Citizenship.net is, um, interesting.
In addition to the violent types, there are the sovereigns who rely on "paper terrorism." For example, they use photos of silver dollars to pay for phony deeds for foreclosed homes that they live in, because they believe U.S. currency has no value. Instead, they rely on precious metals. And, apparently, photos.
This is where an abundance of hypocrisy comes in. Many sovereigns hold seminars on tax avoidance... for which they charge people money.
"You pay them in cash for them to tell you money has no value," Finch said.
One sovereign citizen told his audience that our money is worthless, but then he went on to explain "how to redeem millions of dollars from secret U.S. Treasury accounts, and how to use the courts to evade government control and taxes."
That guy was-- wait for it-- a government worker employed by the U.S. Postal Service who justified his own hypocrisy by saying he "needed the money to live out his ideology."
It's a good thing the government was there to help him achieve his unAmerican dream.