Ideology and violence

06/21/2014 4:06 PM

06/23/2014 9:33 AM

Re "Suspect says he's sovereign" (Page A1, June 21): The sovereign citizen movement may be small, but it is part of a large constellation of groups that view government as oppressive and conspiratorial. Many distrust other institutions, including the media, banks, and public education.

Groups range from the Aryan Brotherhood, to militia movements, survivalists, the NRA and the tea party. Despite major differences, they share a core anti-government philosophy and reinforce one another. Conservative politicians and media giants like Fox News have learned to capitalize by feeding these groups messages they want to hear: the government does not represent you, and it is corrupt, wasteful and oppressive.

Sovereign citizen ideas have entered the mainstream, as more people find their information on ideological websites, and political and media profiteers have taken up the anti-government refrain. Collectively these groups threaten democracy. They alienate people from the democratic process. Some promote or condone violence against an imagined unaccountable oppressive government.

-- Al Franklin, Auburn

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