In certain parts of the country, the movement seems to be gaining steam now. Dozens of Indiana residents have tried to convince the state to grant them “freedom from taxes” in recent months by being part of the movement. And a few weeks ago, one specific Sovereign Citizens group known as the Guardians of the Free Republics sent a threatening letter to the majority of state governors in the country, warning them to resign within three days “or face removal.” (This particular group is headed by a host of a radio program in Texas who has repeatedly come under fire for his views.)
Then there are the outbursts from individuals like Ford, who embrace the movement’s ideology and use it to justify the theft of other peoples’ property. Before Ford tried to steal a house for herself, Brent Arthur Wilson applied the exact same tactics to appropriate homes for himself. A Miami man was arrested for filing tax returns for the insane amount of $14 trillion and was allegedly inspired by the movement. And an Indianapolis man is currently serving four years in prison for making his own money to pay nearly $1 million in debt.
As is true with many extreme groups today, the recession has likely contributed to this resurgence, but even more than that, these citizens seem to harbor a strong distrust of the current administration. “There is a sizable minority of the U.S. population that do not want to be told how to live; who believe they are entitled to keep the fruit of their own labors,” Johnson said. “Yet these people are being continuously pushed by a government that never knows when to stop pushing.”
For all their extremism, there are certainly hints of ideas that most Americans subscribe to. One Sovereign Citizen wrote on NowPublic.com that members believe it is their duty to “put loyalty to Country and your personal principles over party.” I’m sure many who are sick of party bickering in Washington might agree to that. And groups like the Guardians of the Free Republics do have noble goals like ending the “foreclosure nightmare” in this country and preventing corporations from intruding into our lives. Yet it seems clear that any movement which fosters violence, theft and general chaos in an attempt to improve the country and the lives of its citizens will probably not accomplish either.
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