An Exercise in Poor Judgment and Miscommunication

On Monday of this week, the Army had a training exercise in the city of Houston. They used an occupied, urban area, in the middle of the day. This was a full scale, military exercise, complete with helicopters, troops, and gunfire.

Civilians in the area were not given advance notice of this exercise.

As stated in the link below, it appeared there was “a massive SWAT scene happening.” Neighbors contacted family members to warn them not to come home because, “it sounds like we’re in a war zone. Guns, shooting, helicopters flying around the house…”

Army drill scares residents on Houston’s south side

Neighborhood schools were unaware of the exercise and were placed under lockdown.

God forbid, what if someone had a CHL in that situation? Or even if they didn’t? You’re allowed to defend your home in this country. What if some nutjob conspiracy theorist really thought our own troops are finally being deployed on American soil? I don’t have to tell you what would have happened. We all know that picture – the person would get one shot off, unnecessarily wound or kill a soldier, and the troops would open fire. Civilians would see what happened and freak out. Conspiracy theorists would think the worst.

All because this whole thing wasn’t communicated. We’re damn lucky something like that didn’t happen. It’s bad enough we had a neighborhood of traumatized civilians who didn’t know this was just a training exercise. They had to endure the sounds of wargames going on all around their homes while they hid in their closets and their bathtubs wondering what was going on. Was someone being hunted? Was a terrorist on the loose in the neighborhood? Could someone come bursting through their door at any moment? Were they safe?

I write about this today because I saw another article this morning:

Army to use old jail in Galveston for Training Exercises Today

The Army is going to do another training exercise in Galveston tonight. At least, this time, they’re giving some advance notice. I hope people in Galveston catch this news announcement.

You know, I understand the military’s need to do these urban warfare exercises. You can’t truly simulate a live urban environment on base if you don’t have civilians involved. However, I still think they could do these exercises on base and involve non-military individuals to play a part. I know, I have no military experience and I’m sure I’m missing the aspect of the whole “wargame” experience. But Monday’s situation was uncalled for. An apology just doesn’t undo the trauma these people experienced. The men and women enlisted are trained to handle these types of situations. Your average civilian isn’t prepared to handle warfare on the streets, nor does he or she  ever expect to be exposed to something of that nature.

“Urban warfare?” Ok, I need to hear from some of you out there who have a military background or know someone who does. What kind of training is that and why would the military need to do these training exercises in our neighborhoods?

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

The tragedy in Connecticut was devastating, and my heart goes out to those families. That being said, I’ve thought long and hard about what I wanted to say regarding the topic of gun control. This is a sensitive issue right now, and a very important one.

Throughout the history of mankind, we’ve found a way to hunt, to harm, to wage war. Cane slew Abel because, in his eyes, his brother was “favored” (no motive is ever really given, it’s always assumed the motive was jealousy). But Cane did not have a firearm when he committed this act.

We are in the midst of another debate of gun control because of a terrible event that occurred – something that should never have happened. We cannot ever replace those lives. However, we cannot change the fact that the perpetrator would have found a method to harm these people if he did not have access to guns.

My friend, Stephen Pope, has a far more eloquent post on this topic. After reading it I got his permission to incorporate it into my own post over here:

http://stephenbpope.blogspot.com/2012/12/reacting-and-preventing.html

Whenever we encounter a tragedy, it’s human nature to have that “knee jerk reaction” and want to go to the opposite end of the spectrum, whatever the issue may be. But knee jerk reactions are never long-term solutions. If someone had listened to Cane, or maybe stopped and asked him how he was doing, maybe he would have had a chance to vent about his asshole brother Abel and that whole story would have had a different ending.

Some Ramblings on the Public Reaction to the Tragedy in Colorado

I have not posted about the recent events surrounding the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. Families are in shock and/or grieving. The media is covering the story, as it is, and unfortunately, people are trying to attach a political agenda to this event. 

Last night, Mr. Magick Man and I went to see the new Batman movie at Studio Movie Grill. They were running a bit behind schedule in clearing the theatre, so there was a line of people waiting to be seated. I could not help but overhear the conversation of the couple sitting next to us… the woman was talking to her husband about the shooting in Colorado, and she was genuinely nervous about something happening while we were watching the movie. She said there are “all sorts of lunatics” out there. I couldn’t help myself… I turned to her and laughed, and said, “Hon, you must know half my family!” Obviously, her husband was trying calm her anxiety by inserting some sense of realism, but he wasn’t doing a good job of it… When she said something about how the guy just started shooting, Mr. Magick Man finally said, “Yeah, but here in Texas, we shoot back.” I don’t know if that made her feel better or made her even more nervous, but she stopped talking about the shooting.

What got me to writing about this today is, people are watching so much of the coverage on this tragedy we have people living in fear. The political agenda people are pushing on this – that it wouldn’t have happened if we had stronger gun control laws or if people weren’t allowed to own guns at all – has the general public living in fear. Why? Because they’re spinning it as though all gun owners are freaking lunatics or criminals.

What happened in Colorado was a terrible, terrible thing. IMHO, James Holmes either snapped and had some kind of psychotic break, or he’s just pure evil. The defense is probably going to play for the psychotic break. Would this have happened if we had stricter gun laws? Yes. He just would have found some other type of weapon. Homemade bombs… purchasing weapons on the black market… where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Should we live in fear because there might be a psychotic lurking around the corner? HELL NO. Life is too short for that kind of attitude. Better to live life as you normally would and be capable of defending yourself and your family if necessary.