Shots were fired for the second consecutive day on Wednesday, outside Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center in Southern Mississippi, where Jade Helm 15 training exercises were allegedly being conducted by National Guard and U.S. troops. Authorities believe the suspect is a white male who fired the shots from a red or maroon pickup truck.
No injuries where reported, and since the shooter is still at large, no motive has been identified. However, the back to back shooting incidents in Mississippi are bound to fuel speculation that the troops were fired upon in retaliation against the Jade Helm 15 training exercises.
In late July, the FBI uncovered a plot by three North Carolina men to use lethal force to ambush U.S. troops. The three men, Walter Eugene Litteral, 50, Christopher James Barker, 42, and Christopher Todd Campbell, 30, believed that Jade Helm 15 was a secret operation to impose martial law. The trio was stockpiling weapons and formulating plans to ambush and kill government forces.
Conspiracy propagandists, like Infowars’ Alex Jones have issued dire warnings about Operation Jade Helm, giving extremists plenty of intellectual ammunition to nurture their delusional fantasies. Unfortunately, elected politicians like Texas Governor Greg Abbott have also stoked fears, by giving conspiracy theories more credence then they merit.
In light of the North Carolina arrests and the Mississippi shootings, the Jade Helm conspiracy theorists should not be simply dismissed as annoying crack pots. Instead, these paranoid fanatics who are stockpiling weapons and preparing to fight the U.S. government over their unwarranted fears, represent a clear and present danger to members of the U.S. military and the National Guard.
The self-styled “patriots” who are eager to initiate violence under the false assumption that they are fending off martial law, are too few in number to pull off anything close to the armed citizen insurrection they believe themselves to be a part of. However, they are numerous enough, so that if they aren’t stopped, somebody is going to be needlessly killed.
Elected politicians and media personalities have a responsibility not to continue to feed the paranoia of extremist zealots who will put American troops in harm’s way. Violent extremists and conspiracy nuts should not be labeled patriots, especially since they seem determined to wage a quixotic war on America.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.