First, credit where credit is due. I got this on Twitter from @xarph, who says he has a Google news alert set up for “sovereign citizen” and reports that the results are “always amazing.” Credit also goes to Raw Story for its headline: “Dog’s escape attempt causes ‘sovereign citizen’ to crash SUV full of weed, guns, and chickens.”
Exactly what this gentleman was up to is not yet known, but he was well prepared, that’s for sure. That came to light after he crashed his SUV at about 3:30 a.m. on I-79 in West Virginia. Police said the man’s dog apparently tried to jump out the window, which may not be too surprising given who (and what) he was being forced to ride with. In the commotion the man lost control, went into the median, and the car rolled over.
State police responding to the crash found 30 live chickens in the vehicle, as well as two assault rifles, a “large amount” of ammunition, and a jar full of marijuana. They also found what were described both as “improvised explosive devices” and “altered fireworks.” Police refused to be more specific about the latter. I’m going to go ahead and speculate that he took the insides out of some fireworks and made improvised explosive devices out of them, but the details appear to be all top-secret. Police arrested the man on the drug charge and weapons charges are forthcoming.
Sadly, the dog did not survive the incident, but his heroic leap may have saved somebody’s life. The man reportedly told police he is a “sovereign citizen,” and while many members of that movement are just odd, not dangerous, the Charleston Gazette notes that according to one report this is the “largest perceived terrorist threat among American law enforcement agencies.”
FYI, in that survey sovereign citizens indeed ranked #1, ahead of Islamic extremists, neo-Nazis, and a wide variety of other left- and right-wing nut jobs, as well as what the survey called “idiosyncratic sectarians” (survivalists) and “reconstructed traditionalists (i.e., Odinists).” Who? According to Wikipedia, “Odinism” is “a type of Germanic neopaganism” or “Nordic racial paganism,” possibly also known as “Ásatrú,” descriptions of which range from new-agey rune-casting to something called “Esoteric Hitlerism.” Okay.
That all sounds pretty goofy to me but I guess we’re supposed to be afraid of it. Still, the “reconstructed traditionalists” were way down at #16, just below “doomsday cults.” So maybe not too afraid?
Anyway, although they apparently spend some time pulling apart firecrackers and stocking up on chickens, most of what I’ve seen of sovereign citizens involves bogus tax immunities or declarations of personal independence for some other (but still bogus) legal purpose.
Their legal arguments vary quite dramatically but are, uniformly, a hoot.