Break in

September 27, 2021

When I entered the sun porch last week, I noticed that an intruder had gotten into the area and had chewed through one of the bags that contained the squirrel mix I had been placing in one of my feeders.  I found it interesting because none of the other plastic bags had been touched.  It seems the corn in the squirrel mix was what had attracted whatever animal it was.  Once more, I defaulted to the usual suspect, a squirrel.  What I did not know is how he managed to break in.  The porch is screened, and the squirrels always scamper away when I go out on the deck.  When I was watering this morning, it became apparent how the break in happened.  One of the window screens behind a succulent rack had been pushed open.  Appropriately, the size was about what would be needed for a squirrel to enter.

Melissa sent me a feed this morning from the NY Times about an intruder break in who then tried to take over a house recently purchased by Shanetta Little in Newark, New Jersey.  Not long after her purchase, she began receiving letters with documents claiming an obscure 18th-century treaty gave the sender rights to claim her new house as his own.  She dismissed the letters as a hoax, until she arrived to find a man in her house. After the break in, he changed the locks and hung a red-and-green flag in its window.  He claimed to be a sovereign citizen of a country that does not exist and for whom the laws of the US do not apply.  The man who entered her house was arrested June 17, and charged with criminal mischief, burglary, criminal trespass, and making terroristic threats.  Prosecutors in New Jersey are preparing to take the case before a grand jury, according to Katherine Carter, a spokeswoman for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.  He was released on his own recognizance.

When I looked online, I found the loosely affiliated group called Members of the Moorish sovereigns (Moors), have come into conflict with federal and state authorities over their refusal to obey laws and government regulations.  The events around the break in at Little’s house used a popular ploy known as paper terrorism.  According to government experts. Moorish sovereigns are one of the fastest growing extremist groups in the US.   Also known as the Moorish sovereign citizen movement, they are loosely based around a theory that Black people are foreign citizens bound only by arcane legal systems.  The Moors then encourage followers to violate existent laws in the name of empowerment.  Experts say it lures marginalized people to its ranks with the false promise that they are above the law.  Neither the break in person nor the new owner of the house was impoverished, and both were Black.

Thoughts:  Sovereign citizen ideology was initially adopted by white supremacist groups in America in the 1970’s, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.  The Moorish permutation gained popularity in the 1990’s.  Present membership in the Moorish sovereign citizen movement has been driven by the internet to include hundreds of thousands of adherents.  Real Estate agent Jordan Fainberg confronted a similar break in during 2013.  “It was the most bizarre thing in the world,” Fainberg said recently. “This was just somebody saying the sky is purple when it’s blue.”  There seems to be a lot of this going around in national politics.  Facts no longer matter, and truth is relative.  If you claim your “rights,” you can do whatever you want.  Do the work.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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