Several states are either actively deploying or considering deploying the National Guard. Honestly, I would be completely fine with this if they were being tasked with providing some form of humanitarian assistance and comfort to the populace.
Instead, what is being suggested is they are being deployed to assist in law enforcement. Interesting that states are concerned about law enforcement at the same time they are releasing convicts from incarceration with insufficient supportive resources for those inmates in the majority of cases. I find that more than a little ironic.
I am not going to claim I have looked up recent national crime statistics. However, I have not personally heard a lot of news reports indicating that crime has suddenly increased enough to warrant the National Guard being deployed for that purpose. No doubt there have been a few incidents of altercations in various stores and there have been numerous incidents of theft. Though in general, traffic has slowed down which should mean fewer major traffic accidents and virtually no road rage. More people are home more often, so burglaries seem like they should be down. Large bars and night clubs are closed, so it seems unlikely that public intoxication has become more of a problem and probably less of a problem. Large gatherings are discouraged and the vast majority of people are compliant, so riots are unlikely. There is the possibility of an increase in domestic violence but the National Guard would not be suitable to respond to such things.
Not all of this is bad. In some cases it provides for active duty pay for as long as a service member is deployed. That’s good if their employment has been temporarily suspended. Not so great for employers who run short of staff if they are still functional.
It may save some marriages if both partners are suspended from work for a time. “Oh, honey. I’m so sorry they activated you. Take care and be safe. Better go… now… Can I help you pack? Aren’t you gone yet?”
More seriously, I am not seeing a lot of benefit to having large numbers of armed military personnel and vehicles on the streets of our cities during an already stressful and anxious time. Especially when they are apparently not being provided with an active mission. It is highly likely most civilians will find it extremely frightening and intimidating being surrounded by camouflage, armed vehicles and various deadly weapons. A select few may find it comforting in some distorted way but those are a minority.
Even as a veteran, I find the deployment of the National Guard at this particular time to be rather disturbing and questionable. Is this really because of the pandemic? Or does it have more to do with governmental fears related to the stock market? The latter actually sounds more plausible to me. Is this some method of desensitizing the populace to martial law?
I can hope this is merely the overreaction of a person who grew up in the 60’s and witnessed the 1968 Democratic Convention, Kent State.. No matter what, there is absolutely something unsettling about this. There is tremendous potential for a negative outcome. Even if we know what the initial orders given to the National Guard are, none of that means those orders cannot change in minutes. I would feel far more comfortable if the initial orders had a more socially-supportive and humanitarian basis. Unfortunately, that is only a wish on my own part.
For once, I truly hope to look back in the not distant future and call all my anxieties a foolish stretch of an over-active imagination. I have no problem saying I have been stupid. I will laugh at myself right along with you and be the first one to point out my exaggerated words. Let’s just hope I am being stupid this time. I so want to be.