Growing, Lurking Threat: ‘Paper Terrorism’
How do you stop one anti-government extremist from coordinating a trillion dollar “paper terrorism” scheme involving a raft of false financial documents, or deal with another who sues prosecutors for allegedly conspiring against him by using poor grammar?
This is the question that state governments and federal agencies are faced with, ever since a surge of people who consider themselves “sovereign citizens” began acting on their belief that all aspects of law and government are illegitimate. The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates that in 2011 there were approximately 100,000 “hard-core” believers in sovereign citizen ideology, though it’s a tough number to nail down because the movement is so disparate. For the same reason — and because, by their nature, members of the movement don’t believe in laws — it’s also tough to draft legislation to specifically target those crimes favored by sovereign citizens.