When I saw newspaper stories in the Boston Globe and Chicago Tribune in the spring and summer of 2015 reporting the people of Bastrop, Texas believed the Obama Administration and the U.S. military were coming to take their weapons, I thought it was a joke. Sadly, it was not.
Some politicians in Bastrop, Texas warned their fellow citizens to prepare; the U.S. government was coming to seize their weapons in connection with a large-scale military exercise covering several western states. Yes, the U.S. military was preparing to conduct the largest multi-state exercises in its history. Yes, the exercises were and did take place from July 15 to September 15, 2015. No, the government did not confiscate anybody’s weapons.
Before the exercise, the press quoted a right-wing politician as saying that a U.S. military’s exercise was part of an Obama Administration “plan to spy on them, confiscate their guns and ultimately establish martial law.”
Just how paranoid can people be? Are there that many people who are emotionally disturbed who would believe these absurdities?
According to the press, Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape tried to reassure the county’s approximately 78,000 citizens that the federal government was not coming to take their guns. He tried to reason that the exercise was routine. But his efforts were met with placards reading, “No Gestapo in Bastropo.”
Really? Has anyone told the people of Bastrop that the U.S. government has heavy artillery, drones, and nuclear weapons? The U.S. government is coming after Bastrop, Texas? Bastrop residents are going to take rifles and pistols to a drone and missile fight?
And then there is the question, why would anyone (outside of the town residents), especially the U.S. government, care about Bastrop? The President and Washington politicians have to worry about al Qa’ida, ISIL, the Greek financial crisis, the North Korean nuclear threat, drug trafficking, growing strains with Russia, this country’s huge China debt, closing the earnings gap in this country, and a truck load of other major economic and political problems. Does anyone really believe that President Obama and Washington politicians were willing to put those problems on the back burner so they can concentrate on Bastrop, Texas? Does anyone outside of Bastrop even know where the town is?
Then there is the question of just how many enemies do these people in Bastrop have that they need to be armed to be teeth?
The people of Bastrop should not be afraid of Washington; they should be afraid of some of their neighbors who appear to be hell-bent on living in an armed world of self-aggrandizing paranoia. Furthermore, some of Bastrop’s politicians appear to be 40-watt appliance bulbs—they are the real threat to public safety and citizen’s rights, not the politicians in Washington.
Bastrop has become an advertisement for the importance of heavy spending on better education and mental health care. (To be continued)