Sovereign Citizens, Right Wing Extremism Are The True ‘National Emergency’
A January 2018 study showed 71 percent of domestic extremist killings between 2008-2017 were committed by right-wing extremists in the United States.
“I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency. I haven’t done it yet. I may do it. If this doesn’t work out, probably I will do it. I would almost say definitely,” United States President Donald Trump stated on Thursday prior to boarding Marine One to be photographed at the US-Mexico border.
President Trump continues to remain fixated on receiving $5 billion for steel border fencing and is in no hurry to end the partial government shutdown that has affected over 800,000 workers in the United States. That figure does not include family and friends who are attempting to help their loved ones. Despite President Trump’s hyper-focus on the Mexican border, the United States currently has a net outflow of undocumented workers.
“The number of Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. illegally has declined by more than 1 million since 2007. In 2016, 5.4 million unauthorized immigrants from Mexico lived in the U.S., down from a peak of 6.9 million in 2007. Despite the drop, Mexicans still make up about half of the nation’s 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants (51% in 2016),” reads a Pew Research study from late last year.
Extremist Violence Presents A Real National Emergency
“These findings are a stark reminder that domestic extremism is a serious threat to our safety and security,” began Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO, Jonathan A. Greenblatt. “When white supremacists and other extremists are emboldened and find new audiences for their hate-filled views, violence is usually not far behind,” he would continue. The quotes accompanied a January 2018 study which showed 71 percent of domestic extremist killings between 2008-2017 were committed by right-wing extremists in the United States.
Police officers Jacob Carlson and Randi Garrett of Casper, Wyoming had a near-deadly encounter on May 6, 2018. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reports.
Instead, he [the assailant] responded by pulling out a gun and unloading a hail of bullets. Upon seeing the gun, both officers immediately retreated and attempted to take cover. In the course of doing so, one of the officers was struck at least five times in his back. A police spokesperson would later characterize [the assailant] as a sovereign citizen. Don Fuller, who represents police officers after shootings, said that [the assailant] “fancied himself as ‘sovereign.’” Sovereign citizens often do not recognize law enforcement or government authority.
Officer Carlson was shot at least five times but would recover after receiving immediate medical attention. “The movement is rooted in racism and anti-Semitism, though most sovereigns, many of whom are African American, are unaware of their beliefs’ origins,” details the SPLC analysis on the Sovereign Citizens. “In the early 1980s, the Sovereign Citizens movement mostly attracted white supremacists and anti-Semites, mainly because sovereign theories originated in groups that saw Jews as working behind the scenes to manipulate financial institutions and control the government,” the breakdown continues.
“When a sovereign feels particularly desperate, angry, battle-weary and cornered, his next government contact, no matter how minor, can be his final straw. The resulting rage can be lethal. In 1995 in Ohio, a sovereign named Michael Hill pulled a gun on an officer during a traffic stop. Hill was killed,” SPLC explains a situation that was similar to the incident which left Officer Jacob Carlson with multiple gunshot wounds.
The Sovereign Citizen Threat
“The Sovereign Citizen movement was the most highly ranked threat, with 86 percent of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that it was a serious terrorist threat. This is a significant increase in ranking from an earlier survey implemented in 2006-2007, which showed Islamist extremists to be law enforcement’s top concern at the time. In that survey, approximately 67 percent agreed or strongly agreed that Islamist extremists were a serious terrorist threat,” showed the results of a 2014 study by National Consortium For The Study Of Terrorism And Responses To Terrorism (START).
The study surveyed “more than 364 officers representing 175 state, local and tribal (SLT) law enforcement agencies to examine perceptions of: the threat of terrorism; the nature of information-sharing; and whether agencies are prepared to deal with terrorist attacks.”
“They didn’t realize that there are people at war with this country who are not international terrorists. These people are willing to kill and be killed for their beliefs. And they are more dangerous to us in law enforcement than international terrorists,” said Bob Paudert, who was the West Memphis, Arkansas Police Chief in 2010 when his son Officers Brandon Paudert and Bill Evans were murdered by a Sovereign Citizen. Judy Thomas of the Kansas City Star details their murder:
The white minivan pulled over on Interstate 40 near West Memphis, Ark., in 2010 came back registered to a church in Ohio. Inside the vehicle were a Bible and some documents quoting Scripture. Minutes later, Evans lay dying in the ditch and Paudert was sprawled on the roadway, their bodies tattered by two dozen bullets from an AK-47. The killers: members of the sovereign citizen movement, which the officers had never heard of.
Bob Paudert spoke candidly about the dangers presented by the Sovereign Citizens.