Jade Helm military exercises began this week in Texas and across the Southwest, but so far everything remains quiet, and the confrontation with federal troops that some feared has failed to materialize.
Some 1,200 highly-trained special forces have been told to consider Texas enemy territory for the duration of the exercise, sparking fears around the state of a takeover by the federal government.
Conspiracy theorists and right leaning groups started to view the exercises as a prelude to martial law and a move by the federal government to confiscate their guns.
When Wal-Mart abruptly closed several of its superstores citing plumbing problems, right leaning theorists seized on the idea they would be used to intern Texas citizens during a federal government takeover.
Fearing the worst, residents in Bastrop, Texas, crowded into a town hall meeting and bombarded a military official with their concerns for two hours.
Afterwards, Texas Governor Greg Abbot ordered the Texas State Guard to deploy and monitor the federal troops in his state.
The move drew criticism from some groups, saying the governor caved into conspiracy theorists. Others praised the order calling up the Texas militia as good common sense.
Then civilian groups like Counter Jade Helm Operation sprung up in Texas these past few months as more citizens began to take an active role in monitoring the federal troops. The group’s 250 volunteers have vowed to watch and report on activity in their towns and post their findings to social media to keep everyone informed.
Previously, their leader, Pete Lanteri, organized a Minutemen chapter in New York. He originally set up a Facebook page to organize the Counter Jade Helm Operation but was forced to take it down after being harassed by liberals.
Now that the operation is in full swing some West Texas residents have started burying their guns just in case.
The Jade Helm 15 military exercises, designed to elevate the military’s preparedness on the evolving nature of warfare will continue for eight weeks until September 15.
California, Nevada, and Colorado have been deemed friendly territories, Arizona is leaning friendly and New Mexico is leaning hostile, while Texas and Utah have been dubbed hostile territories.
So far, the black helicopters haven’t filled the skies and tanks haven’t materialized on Texas roadways, but until September 15 rolls around, some residents will remain nervous.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]