Texans, particularly Republican and staunchly conservative Texans, have been highly suspicious of the federal government since Americans elected Barack Obama as President. In fact, Texas hardly considers itself part of the United States and often floats the idea of seceding to form its own nation. Recently, reports that the United States military is planning training exercises in Texas has elicited fear among paranoid residents that the federal government is secretly planning a military takeover.
Instead of ignoring the paranoid Texans, or telling them to grow up, Texas Governor Greg Abbott incited more distrust by ordering a Texas militia to keep the real U.S. military under a watchful eye to prevent any violations of the Constitution and Texans’ liberties. Abbott sent a letter instructing the Commander of the Texas State Guard, a state militia and not the real “National Guard,” to monitor the military’s movements and update the governor’s office. Abbott issued an official Tweet exacerbating Texans’ paranoia about federal tyranny that read; “I’ve ordered the Texas State Guard to monitor Jade Helm 15 to safeguard Texans’ constitutional rights, private property & civil liberties.”
Jade Helm 15 is the designation of a planned training operation of about 1,200 elite forces from all four branches of the United States military conducted in seven states across the southwest with military role players standing in for hostile and less-hostile forces. Fueled by conspiracy theorists and distrust of the federal government, Texas citizens who are certain the Obama Administration, in concert with the United Nations, is planning a military takeover of Bastrop County angrily confronted a representative of the U.S. Army over the military’s upcoming Jade Helm 15 training exercise scheduled between July 15 and September 15.
After six years of conservative, armed militia, and teabagger fear-mongering coupled with paranoid conspiracy theorists about an Obama takeover plot, Texans crowded into the Bastrop County Commission to badger a U.S. Army spokesman with questions worthy of certified lunatics. The packed room meant an overflow crowd had to watch and gnash their teeth from downstairs on a closed-circuit television.
The questions fielded by Army spokesman, Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria, were bizarre and driven by madness leading Lastoria to assure the crowd that there would be no intelligence gathered on non-participants, no Texans’ property would be confiscated, and no psychological operations would be conducted. Participants’ suspicion of the Obama administration drove their demands to know why they had not been individually notified about the exercise; likely because they will be conducted on private property with the expressed approval of the landowners.
When the Army spokesman told the crowd that most of the landowners are either Veterans or connected to the military, one participant demanded to know why Texas residents were not permitted to vote on it. Lastoria replied “I don’t understand why you would vote on private land use.” Another man stood up to ask a series of increasingly specific questions about what was going to happen to protesters who trespassed on private land to disrupt Jade Helm exercises, and whether the operations would be suspended if they were disrupted. Lastoria only replied that “I would find it bizarre that someone would violate someone else’s private property to make a personal statement.”
It was really bizarre that the Texans were seriously suspicious of the recent closing of five Walmart stores in Texas that apparently incited fears the stores were being converted into detention centers for patriotic Texans, or somehow secretly linked by underground tunnels to transport large numbers of troops undetected. The patient Army spokesman Lastoria said that if the concerned Texans had done “an extra minute of research” they would have learned that each of the five stores were involved in labor disputes. Walmart is notorious for shuttering stores before giving in to workers’ organizing demands.
It surprised the Army spokesman, but if he had done an extra minute of research on seriously insane conspiracy theories he would have expected the lunacy of questions about the United Nations’ part in the military exercises. Lastoria had to assure the Texans that the United Nations was not involved in the U.S. military’s operations, and he drew jeers from the crowd when he told them he was not familiar with Agenda 21.
There has been no dearth of conspiracy theories relating to the Jade Helm 15 military training this summer and they run the gamut from Walmart colluding with the Department of Homeland Security to the Obama Administration enlisting assistance from ISIS in Mexico to invade and take over Texas. Apparently the fear mongering has become so virulent that some Texas Rangers (cops, not baseball players) are preparing to mobilize and ‘defend the Constitution‘ when the invasion and assault on the Constitution goes down. Instead of ignoring the noise and allowing the U.S. military to go about its business, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott waded in and ginned up the conspiracy theories and incited more suspicion of the federal government with the announcement he tasked the state militia to spy on the real military. It leads one to believe the governor is just as suspicious and conspiracy-enthralled as the lunatic crowd in Bastrop County.
A less-paranoid governor would have felt no need to issue orders to what is basically a Texas tinhorn militia and trust the United States military to proceed with its planned exercise without interference. But according to Abbott, the U.S. military cannot be trusted and requires monitoring by a state militia; all so the governor can stay informed about the training schedules and facilitate communications with local law enforcement and citizens. A normal scenario would be the governor communicating directly with the military if they really felt there was an issue that warranted his involvement. But this is Texas, after all, and there is hardly anything normal about the Lone Star state including its assertion that it is special and not really part of America.