Fringe political group plans local meetingGuardians of a Restored Republic, a group describing itself as dedicated to restoring America, is asking area residents to attend a Jan. 15 informational meeting in Mitchell. The group has published advertisements in The Daily Republic asking a series of rhetorical questions, such as “Are you aware that the government with which we all grew up is not lawful?”; “Are you an American who wants true freedom?”; and “Are you tired of being subservient to the government?”
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Guardians of a Restored Republic, a group describing itself as dedicated to restoring America, is asking area residents to attend a Jan. 15 informational meeting in Mitchell.
The group has published advertisements in The Daily Republic asking a series of rhetorical questions, such as “Are you aware that the government with which we all grew up is not lawful?”; “Are you an American who wants true freedom?”; and “Are you tired of being subservient to the government?”
Alexandria resident Richard Nebelsick, one of three area people whose names are listed as information contacts in the ads, said GRR advocates a return to the country’s founding principles.
Nebelsick, who describes himself as a “very concerned citizen,” said that America’s current government is “out of control, they do not pay attention to the Constitution and they have assumed power and authority over us.”
“Our principles are to restore the constitutional government that our forefathers — Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, etc. — gave to us in the 1700s,” he said. “I don’t want to be a subject of the government. I want to get our government back under control of ‘we the people.’ We just want them to get back to a common law, de jure government.”
“De jure” is Latin for “according to the law.” A de jure government or corporation is one that is formed in compliance with all applicable laws. GRR members believe the current government is a “de facto” government. That means it is a government “in fact,” but it does not meet the legal or formal requirements to operate as a government.
Wikipedia, the Internet’s free, user-written encyclopedia, classifies Guardians of the Free Republics — the original name of the organization — as part of the “sovereign citizen” movement, which holds that citizens should be governed by constitutional law or common law. The latter is typically defined as a body of law based on court decisions and custom, rather than codified statutes, but the GRR also defines common law as “God’s law.”
An FBI agent quoted in the Wikipedia article said “these are individuals who reject all forms of government and believe they are emancipated from all the responsibilities associated with being U. S citizens, such as paying taxes and obeying laws.”
Background on the organization and its “Restore America Plan” are available on its website, www.Republicof theUnitedStates.org, as well as the South Dakota website http://republicforsouthdakota.org. The sites exhibit a distrust of the U.S. government and governmental dealings with corporate America.
The Guardians of the Free Republics first hit the national radar on March 30, 2010.
It was then that the group sent letters to 30 state governors demanding that they resign within three days or face removal from office. Governors who received the letters were from both political parties. It is not clear why all 50 state governors did not receive the letters or if the remaining 20 eventually received the letters.
The letter had a list of demands, among them that the governors stop all foreclosures and tax-related collection actions, and stop all investigations and prosecutions against “the sovereign people which do not involve a flesh and blood injured party.”
“We had the notice, along with every other governor,” said Joe Kafka, press secretary for South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds. “We acknowledged that we received the request — period.”
Kafka has heard nothing from the Guardians since, he said.
An April 2 article in The Washington Post noted that “the FBI and Department of Homeland Security warned police across the country that the letters could provoke violent behavior,” but the article also stated that those public safety organizations were not aware of any credible threat posed by the organization.
The idea wasn’t to threaten anyone, Nebelsick said.
The point of the letter, he said, “was to put them on notice that we want states to give effective ‘de jure’ constitutional government. We do not advocate any violence. We want a peaceful means to re-establish and re-inhabit the republics and the state of South Dakota.”
Asked why nothing came of the March 2010 demands, Nebelsick said, “It’s still in the works. Nothing is going to happen overnight. It took 150 years for our government to get from where we had common law, de jure government, to where we are now, and it’s not going to change back overnight.”
For more information than that, Nebelsick said, “You need to come to the Jan. 15 informational meeting.”
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Jan. 15 at the Mitchell Comfort Inn and Suites.