The man who killed three cops and wounded three others in Baton Rouge has been identified. His name is Gavin Long and it turns out that he’s a rather unusual mix of afrocentrism, black nationalism and the sovereign citizen movement. I’ve actually dealt with some of these people before.
Long’s particular branch was apparently the Moorish Science Temple, one of many groups that preach a similar ideology. He went by a different name, Cosmo Setepenra, and was very active on social media. He also had his own blog and put videos on Youtube. In addition to those ideologies above, his videos also often smacked of MRA nonsense and a deeply toxic masculinity about the need to control “your” women.
Long, who served five years in the U.S. Marines and about six months in Iraq, posted YouTube videos and social media tips about achieving “complete and full masculinity,” and he shared the anti-government views of the loosely organized sovereign citizen movement.
“This group believes that they are indigenous to the continent and therefore above all federal, state and local laws,” said author J.J. MacNab, an expert on anti-government extremists and a fellow at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security. “(Those) documents show Long’s attempt to separate his flesh and blood ‘indigenous’ self from his legal entity self.”
He put those anti-government beliefs into action after becoming increasingly angry over the police shootings of unarmed black men, saying that non-violent protest had accomplished nothing…The sovereign citizen belief system originated about 40 years ago in the deeply racist and anti-Semitic Posse Comitatus movement, which teaches that the government has authority over only those citizens who submit to a contract.
The Posse Comitatus movement also teaches that black Americans were made citizens by the 14th Amendment and were therefore bound under permanent contract to the U.S. government.
But the idea that tax and criminal laws can be nullified by individuals who exploit certain loopholes or incant the correct words in the proper order proved irresistible to some black Americans – just like their white counterparts…
The anti-black sovereign citizen movement’s teachings turned out to be highly adaptable to the black nationalist teachings of Noble Drew Ali, who founded the exclusively black Moorish Science Temple of America in the early 20th century.
He taught that black “Moors” had been America’s original inhabitants, so they were entitled to self-governing status as a nation within a nation – giving them rights that predate the Constitution, just as sovereign citizens believe.
Another variation on this is the Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, led by a man who calls himself Malachi Z. York. Wesley Snipes was associated with that group, which led him to spend time in prison for tax evasion because he swallowed all that sovereign citizen bullshit and decided not to pay millions of dollars in federal taxes. I actually used to deal with a member of that group in an IRC chat room a very long time ago. They have some rather bizarre views on pretty much everything, including religion. The SPLC has a page about their weird views and activities.