Defiant, Armed: Idaho Man Rejects U.S. Laws in Radical Trend


But putting his beliefs into practice has produced non-stop conflict for Peterson. Aside from arguing traffic violations, he at one point declared a nearby $370,000-foreclosed home to be his property. He even put a sign out front that said "this is my spot now."

Ultimately, the local sheriff, who is very familiar with Peterson by now, made him leave. Kootenai County Sheriff-elect Ben Wolfinger said they hope his behavior doesn't continue to escalate.

"We need to be aware of who he is and what his ideology, just in case that manifests itself into something else down the road," he said.

Peterson insisted that he is non-violent -- to a point.

"If they shoot at me first, shooting back would be a good reaction," he said.

When Peterson appeared in court for the stun gun incident, there was extra security on hand, including the bailiff who used the stun gun on him.

"First time in eight years that I ever had to pull a Taser," Pete Barnes said. "You don't ever want to do that to anybody, but our job is to protect the people and not cause the defendant harm. You always hate to do things like that."

Inside the courtroom, Peterson remained defiant, refusing to take off his hat at first when the guard asked him to.

"Out of respect for the court they want him to take his hat off, but I get it, he doesn't have respect for the court," said his mother, Tina Busby.

Peterson eventually took his hat off and the judge set a trial date for three days later, but Peterson didn't seem fazed by the experience.

"Just continue doing what I'm doing," he said. "Going to tell them they're wrong for trying to screw with me."

Peterson's case attracted attention from other people who follow the sovereign citizen ideology in the Northwest, an area that has long been a hotbed of radicalism.

Michael Hicks of Spokane, Wash., had a SWAT team descend upon him and his cousin after they refused to get out of their vehicle.

While he said he would call the fire department, which is funded through local taxes, if his house were on fire, Hicks referred to firefighters as "our servants."

Many sovereigns refuse to let what most consider to be contradictions get in their way. Peterson lives off his mother, who receives monthly disability payments from the government, but he said he doesn't apply for any benefits.

"Accepting government support at this stage of the game is pretty near the end of life of the Republic, what is known as the United States, is pretty much non-consequential," he said.

When Peterson was called back to court to discuss a possible deal for the stun gun incident, his defiance continued. He refused to rise when the judge entered the room. When the judge threatened to find him in contempt and sentence him to five days in the county jail for not rising, Peterson responded, "I will rise under protest then."

In the end, Peterson took the deal the prosecutors offered: No jail time, but the Alfred plea, which means he did not admit to the criminal act, but acknowledged the prosecution likely had enough evidence to convict him. But Peterson knows his struggle is not over.

"I'm going to keep living my life and if they have a problem with it then I have to go to court and argue," he said. "It's not like I'm going to change the way I live or drive just because some bailiff tased me or a judge said I'm guilty."

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