Image: Illustration from High School textbook printed in 1885, titled “History of the US”; Wikipedia

The sovereign movement, estimated by the Southern Poverty Law Center to number 100,000 ardent followers and about 200,000 sympathizers across the country, is rooted in an ideology that rejects government authority at its most basic levels, from its power to tax to the enforcement of criminal laws, including common traffic regulations. The law center, which tracks extremist groups in the USA, based its estimates partly on its reviews of tax disputes and court documents involving people who do not recognize government authority…

…Sequestered on a 50-acre, wooded compound in East Texas since jumping bail more than a decade ago, Gray and his clan have effectively outlasted the administrations of four local sheriffs, all of whom have decided that John Joe’s arrest is not worth the risk of a violent confrontation.

“The risk of loss of life on both ends is far too great,” said Anderson County District Attorney Doug Lowe, who first sought to prosecute Gray for the alleged Christmas Eve 1999 assault of Texas Trooper Jim Cleland. “I believed it then; I still feel that way.”

The stalemate, perhaps the longest-running standoff in the U.S. between law enforcement and a fugitive living in plain sight, is also emblematic of what the FBI believes is a troubling re-emergence of an anti-government movement that vaulted to notoriety in 1995. Then, one of its disaffected sympathizers, Timothy McVeigh— angered by the government’s botched 1993 raid of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas — detonated a truck bomb outside the Oklahoma City federal building, killing 168 people in what was at the time the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

Source: Read the rest of Kevin Johnson’s article at USA Today.

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Image: Illustration from High School textbook printed in 1885, titled "History of the US"; Wikipedia…