How do current radical right groups such as sovereign citizens threaten the legitimate federal authority in the United States?
In the United States, a radical right group is a term used to assign common depiction to each extreme side of the political spectrum (Johnson 46). Radical right groups comprise of a number of fanatic movements that support nationalistic leanings. These groups can be classified into supremacist movements, militia movements, sovereign citizens’ movements, and various single-issue movements (Johnson 46).
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Among these groups, sovereign citizens are the most active. The groups, together with other right groups in the United States threaten the legitimate federal authority in a number of ways. As such, these groups champion for secession. They want to fight for the removal of their states from the United States. These groups argue that state separation is a constitutional right that the federal government should respect.
Based on these motives, it is apparent that these extremist groups are after undermining the legitimate federal authority of the US. Similarly, sovereign citizens have always insisted that the US federal government is illegitimate. Therefore, they have always tried to reinstate an idealized and an inconspicuous government that has never been in existence in the US.
To date, these groups wage confrontations against the federal government and similar related authorities by use of paper terrorism, pestering, threat tactics, and infrequently resorting to aggression (Johnson 47). In addition, sovereign citizens assert that the county is the legitimate seat of command in the US. Their ideology is supported by the fact that county administration is nearer to the citizens than the federal government.
Why does the FBI classify this group as domestic terrorists?
According to the FBI, domestic terrorism group is a faction that satisfies the below characteristics (Johnson 47). The first attribute is that a group must be planning dangerous acts against fellow humans contrary to the national or state law.
Second attribute is that a group must seem to be intentionally threatening civilians, undermining the policy of a government through threats, and have an effect on the behavior of a government by mass obliteration, murdering or abducting.
Lastly, for a group to be considered a domestic terrorist it acts must occur inside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States and be carried out by its citizens. Sovereign citizens are categorized as internal terrorists because they exhibit the above characteristics. For instance, ever since the fall of the Posse the group has witnessed a momentous increase in numbers of its acts.
These acts comprise of attempts of aggression frequently against the legislative body of the government. During the year 1993, radical escapees Linda Lyon Block and George Sibley, who were the members of the group, assassinated a police officer in Alabama (Hamm 217). In mid 1990s, a gang of radicals linked with the extremists battered Karen Mathews at her residence.
Similarly, in the year 1998 two members belonging to the group fired their guns at two firefighters in Ohio. They attacked the firefighters because the two servicepersons’ vehicle had blocked their way. At irregular intervals, the group members have engaged themselves in high-profile confrontation with the authorities.
In spite of aggressive activity, the favored weapon of this group is referred to as paper terrorism. Paper terrorism utilizes the use of fake legal credentials and filings. Similarly, paper terrorism employs the misuse of lawful credentials and filings. These acts are undertaken to threaten, annoy, and pressurize public officials, police officers, and the public (Johnson 46).
Hamm, Mark S.. Terrorism as crime: from Oklahoma City to Al-Qaeda and beyond. New York: New York University Press, 2007. Print.
Johnson, Daryl. Right wing resurgence: how a domestic terrorist threat is being ignored. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012. Print.