Friday, May 8, 2015

Defining the "Bubba Factor"

(Photo: )

   US Law Enforcement, State Police, Special Forces, and even the Central Intelligence Agency have all periodically mentioned something they call  "The Bubba Factor".   I actually dislike the term because I think it can be misleading, and I would prefer a more precise label, if a label needs to exist at all.   The "Bubba Factor" does not actually refer to the idiocy of the common man, as many think it does.  The way this is defined among law enforcement and CIA operatives is that a group of men who own their own weapons and who embrace the US Constitution as they understand it with limited education, and who are willing to help protect their counties and home areas, even if it results in actions which would be considered illegal by federal standards. They would also consider dying for the US Constitution as they understand it. These men are sometimes involved in local militias.  Some of them have been helping Texas ranchers prevent illegal aliens and drug dealers from using their properties with some effectiveness.

               The concern by Special Forces and the CIA is that groups of organized armed men who might not understand law could be dangerous in situations where during a major protracted disaster or perhaps an economic crash in the US were to occur.  They have concerns that in an emergency, such men would consider that the federal government no longer has jurisdiction in their area, or that the federal government is corrupt or  is anti-Constitution.   There are furthur concerns that former soldiers who swore to defend the US Constitution, and then came home to a nation in which the Constitution appears to be frequently discounted or ignored, make take seriously their solemn vow to defend it against all enemies.   There may be "bubbas" who consider the present regime an enemy of the US Constitution. (There are days I think that myself)  They don't fear "bubbas" as much as they fear vigilantism.

           Of course, it is the job of elements of the federal government to create contingency plans for many things that will never be.  My own family invested in a basement shelter in the 1960s which was never used, as anything other than canned food storage . Many things simply never come to pass but a plan for them needs to exist nonetheless.  There are a few things we all can do to help to quell some of the "Bubba Factor" concerns.

1.  If the Federal Government fears it's citizens then it needs to think again.  It works for the people who legally inhabit the United States.  The government for and by the people needs to reflect what is right for them.  When the government finds the need to do something that might not be accepted well, then a policy of transparency needs to exist.  Americans are entitled to know where their tax money is going and why.  A little more transparency on the part of government will result in a lot less loose talk on the part of the citizenry.  This would contribute to much more comfort and perhaps confidence,on both sides.

2. Militia members need to have trusted contacts in their local law enforcement and in their state police departments or equivalent.  If you are known to law enforcement as a reasonable person, then you are less likely to be wrongly investigated, feared or inappropriately detained.  Fear breeds misunderstandings, and misunderstandings also breed accidental shootings.  Most officers travel with a round chambered all the time.  It doesn't take much more than a scary situation and some adrenalin pumping, for an accidental firearm discharge to occur. Networking and cooperating with law enforcement can be a very wise choice. Knowing law enforcement personally also helps us to realize that although there certainly are some bad police officers (and some bad lawyers, some bad nurses, and some bad doctors) that the bulk of them are good people professionally and deserving of our respect and cooperation.

3. In many communities in the US, the sheriff must approve a concealed weapons permit following a background and criminal check of the citizen, as well as examination of his firearm training certificate.  Intelligent sheriffs like this plan.   Vetted concealed weapons carriers are known to him (or her) to have a clean criminal record, and in the event of a dire emergency or a disaster, surviving concealed weapons permit carriers could be deputized to aid the sheriff, especially in areas where very few law enforcement officers or back up exists.  Rather than collecting weapons, perhaps we should be making sure that vetted persons actually have them, and carry them.

4. A firearm is a tool, just as a steak knife, and a hammer is a tool.   In my early nurses training I met several patients who had killed people using knives or hammers.  Tools do not have a mind of their own. They exert no control over individuals.  People who are misguided or insane can use anything from a clothes line to a swimming pool to kill someone.  The paranoia regarding handguns and long guns needs to stop.   Don't we wish to have trained citizenry able to use firearms competently when ISIS hits "soft" targets ?

            I think we would also do well to remember that a lot of the real work of this country is done by people who would be considered to be "bubbas".   Perhaps we should fear their not working.