Last week in New Jersey there was a bit of an uproar over an urban assault training session. Residents were woken by the sound of gunshots, helicopters, and bomb blasts. Needless to say they were pretty upset and flooded 911 with calls, only to later find out that it was a scheduled military drill.

The exercise wasn’t the first of it’s kind in the last several months. There was the very public event in Tampa recently, that involved foreign soldiers and a simulated hostage situation. In that case it was during the day and all the school children got to watch and cheer. A couple of weeks before that, however, there was a nighttime urban assault training at an abandoned Miami hotel, which not all of the neighbors were informed about. As in New Jersey, people were pretty upset. Your average American isn’t really used to being woken in the night to the sounds of heavy artillery.

These urban drills have been happening in many cities, as a matter of fact, though you may not have heard of them all. Recently they have been conducted in Chicago and Los Angeles as well as the three locations already mentioned above. This activity has some people concerned about what is going on and why.

This isn’t a new type of training, as it turns out. In fact, in the mid to late nineties there was quite a string of urban assault simulations in various cities and the response to the many complaints by citizens was that fighting overseas now happens more and more in urban areas, so of course we want our guys to be trained as well as they possibly can be. Right? This reasoning seemed to appease most people, and gradually the training events quieted down.

What’s new this time?

Maybe nothing.

Of course, there are the “conspiracy theories” that the government is getting ready to use the military to police U.S. citizens. The economy sure isn’t likely to turn around anytime soon, incidents of robbery are already on the rise and as people get desperate it could be a downhill slide from there. So, theoretically, if you were aware of that, you might want to be prepared for a martial law scenario. Then of course there is the fact that Homeland security bought all those fun armored vehicles this year. You know, the kind that can survive being hit with stuff and shot at? Oh, and don’t forget the massive order of hollow point bullets.

The suggestion could also be made that if you are going to have military drones patrolling American airspace, you might as well have military personnel to respond to whatever they might pick up. Of course, it’s not Constitutional to have a standing army policing the nation, but then, it’s also not Constitutional to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens, and as the president and congress have already authorized that provision, well, that leaves things pretty wide open, doesn’t it?

It’s definitely possible that all of the recent urban training drills are just business as usual. But then again, who really knows for sure?

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