As a U.S. Army retiree, I have concerns about a Marine Corps exercise that is being conducted in counties around Augusta. It’s not that I don’t fully understand the need for training in realistic settings, but my concerns comes from the military’s proximity to civilian homes, among civilians who are not trained, and at a time when our country is seemingly being turned upside-down.
The military has access to thousands of square miles in military property, and millions on other federal land. Why here, and why now? Fort Stewart has 279,000 acres alone. In our pine forests, you can’t see more than a few hundred yards anyway. Why here, and why now?
It’s my point that this operation is ill-timed and ill-conceived. It doesn’t seem wise for several reasons. The civilians, especially the ones who “cling to their guns,” have been the focus of the president’s agenda, and he has backing from others in the legislature. People here are on edge, because of conversations on potential martial law, the fear of restrictive new gun laws and liberal-speak about “confiscating guns.”
A lot of our good citizens do not subscribe to newspapers, or watch television. They get their news from friends and family, and sometimes by rumors. They often don’t have a phone.
Put yourselves in the position of a citizen living in rural areas, and consider the following scenario:
You’ve maybe been living alone, and getting only bits of information about what is perceived to be our president’s intent to “disarm America.” You’re an elderly veteran, and you know full well what it means to take the oath to “preserve and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It still resides in your heart. After all, the oath is a lifelong obligation. Somebody may have told you that the president has begun removing generals from command positions if they have said they will “not fire on civilians.” It has to be truth, right? It was on the Internet, and “everything’s true on the Internet.”
You like your privacy. You don’t like strangers coming around, “snoopin’,” especially if you keep a still in your bottomland. You’re very proud of your family’s military history, and you maybe don’t trust in our government. Most of us possess some element of this description.
Tomorrow morning, as you’re sipping your coffee, you think you see deer in the treeline across your pasture. You’ve watched them on many mornings. This morning is different. Something’s not right, and you don’t know why, but the hair’s standing up on the back of your neck. Suddenly, several people step out of the woods, in full camouflage attire, wearing helmets with strange gizmos on them, and carrying rifles.
You don’t know that they are only carrying blanks. You can’t understand why these people would trespass on your property, and come toward your house. Then you remember that you were once labeled among those who “cling to their guns.” Why here, and why now?
You wish you had a phone.
The next move is yours. How are you going to react, and who’s going to get blamed?