The storied Jade Helm exercise came to an end on September 15, bringing to a close a confusing chapter in US military relations with the public. Initiated two months ago, Jade Helm 15 was to be a multi-state exercise to test the capability of service members from all four branches. With activities occurring across seven states including Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida, it would prove to be more challenging to reassure the populace than to actually perform the exercise.
Beginning back in March, when operational imagery was spread through social media outlets, people started responding. In the slide show presentation, Texas, Utah, and Southern California were listed as hostile, and likely enemy territory. New Mexico was depicted as unknown, but likely to be leaning towards the enemy. Conspiracy theorists went crazy.
The Governor of Texas, George Abbott, called forth the State Guard, a local militia to stand by and monitor the federal government activities. Predominantly heard from the Lone Star state, many Texans declared the operation an official declaration by the government of an impending takeover. Never mind that this type of operational training has occurred numerous times in the past without incident, the tin foil was out, and people began to yell.
Governor Abbott directed his Guard to ensure that the “safety, constitutional rights, private property rights, and civil liberties not be infringed.” Republican Louie Gohmert demanded that the operational graphics be changed, stating that “Obama [believed] that major threats to the country include those who support the Constitution, are military veterans, or even ‘cling to guns or religion.’” Chuck Norris even lent his opinion, questioning those responsible for the planning of the exercise.
So after eight weeks of continuous training across seven states, what did happen? On August 5, for the second time, shots were fired in the direction of service members training near Camp Shelby. While no service members were injured in the gunfire, it was the second day in a row that the event occurred, and resulted in the detention of one individual. Notably on edge after four marines and a sailor were killed in July, the service members displayed restraint in their response.
One of the issues with combining rhetoric and social media is that anyone, anywhere, can create news. From stories about the building of secret tunnels, thousands of caskets, the preparation for martial law, and the seizure of privately owned lands and weapons – this news creates a life of its own. When people fail to fact check, and simply spread rumor, it can catch like a wildfire.
Perfectly sane individuals were to blame for the conspiracy theory spreading. They reacted on emotion and hearsay alone, convincing others without the slightest bit of proof to back up their claims. For Texans, it is even worse. These actions do a disservice to Texans for this to be what their state gets remembered for during this time. Not only are Texans wonderful, hospitable, and hardworking people, but apparently they have to deal with loud, outspoken, conspiracy theorists who drowned out the more sensible people with their screams.
The saddest part about this whole fiasco is that, when all is said and done, all of the participants who exclaimed that the Federal Government was coming to take their guns and declare martial law, will somehow feel as though they resisted, and their articles were what forced the government to back down. Sanity, it seems, is hard to come by these days.
So here is a tip of the hat to all of the service members who took part in this challenging training event. In spite of crazed zealots, weapon carrying militia members, and protestors, they did their job effectively, met their training objectives, and demonstrated their capabilities with pride.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.