“Sovereign” renunciant headed for disaster

17 September 2008 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in people | 11 Comments »

I knew my tracking of news stories for keywords like “renounce OR renunciation OR renunciant AND citizenship” would strike gold one day…

From the Stanwood/Camano News, Camano Island, Washington:

Troubles brew for island coffee stand

16 September 2008

They say “no man is an island,” but on Camano Island, at least one man has claimed himself sovereign. Randy Harless has declared sovereignty by renouncing his citizenship and claims his status prevents him from being held accountable for laws of a government he is no longer a part of.

“Privileges are not to be granted by the government,” said Harless. “Our government has overstepped its bounds extremely.”

Now, big troubles are brewing.

Sovereign Coffee: The Randy Lee Harless espresso stand

Sovereign Coffee: The Randy Lee Harless espresso stand

When Harless bought Log Cabin Espresso, located on SR 532 near Good Road, earlier this year, and renamed the establishment Randy Lee Harless, he put his declaration of sovereignty to the test. At the end of July, Harless was notified by Island County Public Health of the suspension of his 2008 food service establishment permit. Failing to respond to notification of continued violations of health codes, Harless was notified he must immediately cease all food service operations.

“It’s my right to own a business,” said Harless. “I don’t need permission.”

However, when the permit was revoked, Harless was advised that he could not request a new permit to operate a food service establishment in Island County for a minimum of six months. Nonetheless, the stand remains open for business, offering coffee, espresso and other drinks, along with muffins, homemade donuts, croissants and bagels.

“I think Roger Case is grasping at straws,” said Harless. “He has no legal standing here.” According to Harless, his actions are a stand against tyranny. “Nobody stands up for their rights anymore,” he said. “The health department comes along, and they want to have power to control every move of what goes on here.” Harless said he has taken back that control over his establishment. “Under my sovereignty, I have granted myself a health permit,” he said. The sovereign espresso stand owner said he is ready for a legal challenge. “I’m expecting it,” said Harless.

Dr. Roger Case, Island County health officer, disputes the validity of Harless’s sovereignty claim. “He’s in violation of public health code,” said Case. According to Case, anyone operating a business in Island County has to follow the law. “The place needs to be closed,” he said. “It’s not safe for people to eat there.”Case said that the matter could have easily been cleared up months ago. “We’ve been trying to work with him for some time,” said case. “He has not been willing to comply with code.” Harless’s failure to comply with the order to cease food service operations will result in Superior Court action, said Case.

(my comment left at the newspaper’s website)

Leaving aside the inanity and delusion that is democracy along with the hysteria from the annoying county bureaucrat, bravo for Mr. Harless. He’s a real agorist ( revolutionary. He’s going to suffer from a poor choice of tactics, though, as one of the prime criteria for the US government to accept a renunciation of citizenship is that there be no demonstrated intent on the part of the renunciant to live inside the territory claimed by said government.

I’m kinda doing the same thing, though without the coffee stand and the same class of tactical error. I hope Mr. Harless manages to stay out of prison, but this doesn’t look good for the man.

More on how to actually renounce your US citizenship here:

  1. 11 Responses to ““Sovereign” renunciant headed for disaster”

  2. By John on 17 September 2008

    Brilliant! “Bravo,” indeed! This man is a true hero and role model.

    It is so simple yet so uncommon to realize how absurd it is for a group of criminals and busybodies calling themselves a State to go up to a man and tell him, “We claim jurisdiction of the land that surrounds you; you have to obey us or die.”

    What gives them that right? I mean, it is just so absurd, it boggles the mind. As libertarians and agorists we must never relent in stressing this point to Statists.

  3. By David Z on 17 September 2008

    lulz @ “I granted myself a health permit”

    @ John – it’s not even the group of “criminals and busybodies.” We ought to take offense, even if a group of well-meaning grandmas claim jurisdiction of the land that surrounds us, that we have to obey them or die.

    His biggest mistake, however, is his willingness to fight them in their own court.

  4. By John on 18 September 2008

    @ David Z:
    Well, yeah, for sure. Their aggressive claim to having jurisdiction over us makes them criminals and busybodies.

  5. By Zargon on 18 September 2008

    What’s the alternative to fighting them in their own court? When (not if) the thugs show up to kidnap the guy, if he resists, he’ll be gunned down without a second thought. After he’s kidnapped, he’s fighting them in their own court whether he wants to or not.

    He could flee, but there’s no habitable land in the world (that I know of) where some group or another doesn’t claim the inhabitants have to obey them or die, citizen or not.

    It’ll be interesting to see where this goes, but my gut tells me this guy is screwed.

  6. By on 19 September 2008

    That’s an excellent name for a coffeeshop.

    But they will not tolerate civil disobedience; Maybe a deal can be struck such that if he discloses information about the non-regulation of his coffeeshop then he can keep operating and not face penalties.

    It looks like you might have a pen pal 🙂

  7. By Sunni on 24 September 2008

    I couldn’t get past the captcha on the article, so I’m hopeful Mr. Harless will read your comment there and follow the link back here.

    I second your “Bravo!”, and wish Mr. Harless all the best. He has more support than he probably knows.

  8. By Kudos on 23 October 2008

    I find it amusing that the Health Dept continues pounding their palm stating that ‘it isn’t safe to eat there’. Why? Because he refuses to pay them money for a permit that says the establishment is a-okay? Somehow we’re to put all this faith into a governmental agency that watches out for us as consumers even though we have all witnessed how well the FDA does their job…

    Money, money, money!

  9. By jay on 28 February 2009

    I’m all for him and his sovereignty. Just be sure to use only the roads in your sovereign country to commute to and from work. Also, be sure you pay for the import tariff on the items and supplies you use. Don’t be alarmed if You are stopped and inspected when you leave your sovereign borders or return to them. HAHAHA and to think I spent 17years in the military for your rights. Good thing Obama was voted in office or your little sovereign nation might have been “liberated”. Get a clue man and after you grow up and stop acting like a spoiled child who hasn’t gotten his way, buy a food permit. 02/28/09

  10. By Mike Gogulski on 28 February 2009

    @Jay: Whatever your reasons for spending 17 years in military service were, they were your own. Pretending that they were for someone’s rights may help you sleep at night, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a lie.

  11. By Seth on 28 February 2009

    It’s pretty amazing how desperately military people cling to the lie that they are “fighting for your rights”. It’s also sad and pathetic, because the “fight for your rights” bromide is such a transparent lie.

    I imagine one of the reasons they cling to this myth so fiercely, is that a large part of their self identity is tied up with the myth of the righteous warrior-soldier. A large part of that would rapidly implode upon admitting they were merely a paid serial killer for the government, a criminal that happens to wear a uniform.

  12. By Morgan on 4 August 2009

    I can’t think of a war for the last 65 years where my rights were actually at stake. Go find bin laden or knock-off the guy who spearheaded the patriot act – then you will be a true defender of liberty and our rights.

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