By JJ MacNab | January 18, 2010
Contrary to public belief, most right-wing extremists don’t spring from the womb with a Constitution in one little hand and a loaded firearm in the other, gurgling and cooing anti-government rhetoric and crying about gold fringe on the hospital diapers.
Sure, a few have extremist parents to blame, but usually, theyâ€™ve chosen to walk the â€œpatriotâ€ path as adults. There’s almost always a triggering event such as a bankruptcy, a business failure, or an ugly divorce that somehow turns off the common sense switch in their brains, and turns on the narcissistic rebel switch.
And once that common sense switch is thrown, thereâ€™s no flipping it back. After all, the world of the extremist is a glorious place, at first. Itâ€™s not your fault if youâ€™re struggling to pay your credit card debt. Itâ€™s those evil Jewish bankers that have conspired to keep you down. The court says you have to pay child support for your three little kids? Pfui. Youâ€™re a sovereign entity and the court has no jurisdiction over you. The ex-wife that dumped you and took the kids can starve, for all you care. Are taxes keeping you from the lifestyle you know you deserve? Not anymore, because the 16th Amendment was never ratified, so youâ€™re tax free for life! Anyone who still pays is a chump.
Without that pesky common sense around, your failures are never your fault, and your responsibilities can be conveniently sidestepped with a legal-sounding excuse.
Of course, without that common sense around, you are also gullible to every con artist that comes calling. As long as the tax scam, medical quackery, debt elimination scheme, or sovereign citizen package is wrapped in suitably angry, rightâ€“wing, paranoid rhetoric, the typical extremist will believe even the most absurd get-rich-quick scam.
Case Study: Michael Lee Wight
Michael Wight has a long history of tangling with the courts. His rap sheet includes driving under the influence, driving without registering his car, carrying a dangerous concealed weapon, driving with a suspended license, a red light violation, driving without a license plate, driving without car insurance, theft, and interfering with a legal arrest. Whenever he went to court on these charges and lost, he sued the arresting officer and/or agency in state or federal court. And when he inevitably lost those cases, he filed an appeal. All at taxpayersâ€™ expense, of course.
Here’s an example of what the Judge had to say in Wight v. Utah, 1999 Colo. J. C.A.R. 5822:
Appellant’s complaint consisted of a plethora of incoherent, unsupported constitutional and other allegations arising out of sundry traffic infractions and the towing and impoundment of his vehicle. Appellant had provided no facts in support of his claim for relief.
According to public records, Wight also filed UCC statements against himself in 1999 in what is commonly known as a “redemption” scam. The general belief in this scheme is that a sovereign citizen can magically separate his flesh and bone sovereign self (Michael Lee Wight, expressed in a mix of upper and lower case letters) from his corporate strawman self (MICHAEL LEE WIGHT.) Since criminal indictments are usually typed out in ALL CAPITAL letters, a sovereign can doing anything he wants, and never be prosecuted. Thatâ€™s the theory, and theyâ€™re sticking to it no matter how many times they lose.
And in the true litmus test of any right-wing extremist, Mr. Wight is even less keen about paying income taxes than he is about registering his car. Two liens, dating back to 2004 and 2006, show that he owed the federal government at least $12,400 and another five liens filed by the State of Utah total more than $3,000.
When the IRS tried to collect these back taxes, he expressed his displeasure on the internet, in such places as MySpace and on survivalist forums.
When most people get behind on their income taxes, their options are usually difficult, but doable. They can file for bankruptcy, arrange an installment plan with the IRS, or find a second job. Mr. Wight took a slightly different approach. He vented his frustration on his MySpace page and threatened to murder the IRS employee who pissed him off.
The federal government, of course, does not take kindly to death threats against their employees, and Mr. Wight was indicted in December 2009.
Hereâ€™s an excerpt from the FBIâ€™s Affidavit in support of the Complaint in Wightâ€™s criminal case:
As recently as November, 2009, your affiant saw … [a] photograph on WIGHTâ€™s MySpace page showing a number of firearms laying on the bed â€¦ [T]he following writing appeared underneath the aforementioned photograph of the firearms on the bed: â€œDedicated to the Assholes and Government Tyrants who Fuck with me and the other REAL Americans!â€ WIGHT continued: â€œI was just thinking about this video today and I have this song on my MP3 App on my Blackberry phone..I dedicate this to the Bitch and her Husband that cause me Lifetime injuries when the Bitch hit me with her Car and THEY HAD NO FUCKING INSURANCE and then LIED about the Accident to try and Blame me! I also dedicate this to the INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICES ACS Collection Manager, [name deleted for purposes of this Affidavit] in Fresno, Califuck-Ya who steal My money every Month for the last 2 Â½ Years I got Your Vengance and Justice Coming to You all with My Guns Bitches!!!! These Guns and others like them will Insure Your Death and the return of Freedom in America!…â€ (sic)
Mr. Wight, of course, is using a taxpayer-funded federal public defender in his upcoming trial.
If convicted on the two felony counts, Wight faces a maximum sentence of eight years in federal prison. For his sake, I hope his common sense switch turns back on in time to cut a deal. Iâ€™m not going to hold my breathâ€¦