Monday, November 25, 2013

Poking fun at the tinfoil hats

Recently CNNMoney featured an article entitled What I saw at the Doomsday Prepper Convention. The article begins sensibly:

More and more Americans are spending money to get ready for an uncertain future -- gathering food, water, tools, and skills to help them weather anything from a hurricane to a pandemic. Contrary to images of deluded or gun-obsessed "lone wolves," many preppers are average consumers reacting to concrete worries, and their way of thinking is spreading, fueling an emerging lifestyle trend.

The reporter seems a little surprised (and maybe just a wee bit disappointed) that the attendees of this convention were so… well, normal. I think he was hoping to see a bunch of tinfoil-hat-wearing crackpots wandering around. (To his satisfaction, he finally did find a couple.)

Instead, the reporter was informed by the show producers that the “core audience is 40-75 years old. Eighty percent have college degrees. Twenty percent of those have advanced degrees.”

Ouch. So preppers are educated, normal people. Where’s the fun in that? How can we poke fun at college-educated middle class folks with the good sense to look to their future?

Critics of the prepper crowd have yet to be able to adequately explain why being prepared is a bad idea. What's going to go through their mind when a hurricane is roaring down upon them? Are they thinking how stupid their neighbor was to have what he needed in advance? Or is he thinking how likely his neighbor might be to share the necessities of life with him when the power goes out for three weeks?

People like to think that because we live in modern times, complete with instant communication, electronic marvels, and superb medical knowledge, that we are immune from the economic, political, and natural forces that have shaped history again and again and again. The arrogance of that assumption is breathtaking. As Don is fond of pointing out, the greatest arrogance of mankind is “It can’t happen to me.”

In nature, animals are constantly on the alert to danger. They’ve learned to trust their instincts and react accordingly. But in humans, we’ve lost that ability. We ignore red flags, disregard the signs of impending doom, and ignorantly assume “It can’t happen to me.” We expect others to provide for our needs if hard times come, rather than preparing for those needs ourselves, to the best of our ability.

Despite admitting that the conference focused on learning and products rather than conspiracy-laden stuff, the reporter couldn't help but highlight the few nutjobs he did meet. He concludes by writing, “While normalcy and centrism may be the goal for businesspeople like [the show producers], it seems the preparedness lifestyle hasn't completely shaken loose its extremists and kooks.”

Hmmm. Mr. Reporter, has it occurred to you that you're actively looking for the "extremists and kooks," while ignoring the regular folks with legitimate concerns? Why are you so determined to focus on the extremists at these events? I realize that extremism is the lifeblood of news ("If it bleeds, it leads"), but why are reporters so reluctant to admit that when smart educated people – doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc. – join the rest of the "tin foil hat wearing club," maybe it's because THERE'S A DARNED GOOD REASON FOR IT?

So I ask the rhetorical question – if “ordinary people” see something worth preparing for, why are you still trying to paint them with the broad brush of conspiracy-laden idiots?

What it boils down to is these reporters still can’t admit that there are unimaginably evil things going on in the upper echelons of government. Can anyone look at America’s debt and doubt that it is unsustainable? Can anyone look at Shadowstats and see the REAL unemployment rates, and compare them to the Great Depression?

Perhaps someday these types of reporters who attend preparedness conventions will understand that the concerns of most preppers stem from a solid understanding of economics, political history, and the potential for natural disasters.

Not conspiracies.


  1. I tell you from my own experience~preparing is not for anyone else but for you. You are your very own first responder~no kidding. I shared the two part series on my blog.

    No matter how kooky or fringe anyone paints those that prepare, I can say with all sincerity that life happens, and then what? For my family, I can look back and share with everyone...that one can overcome adversity, and redefine a new life, if, they are preparing in some sort or another. It is not about items any more than it is about skills. It is about a person that is ready and willing to adapt with courage in spite of the crisis that is happening.


  2. I have watched shadowstats for several years but seeing all 3 charts together really drives home the size of the problem! It would be very interesting to poll the attendees as to where they get their news. I bet that almost none of them listen to ABC, NBC, or ABC.

  3. What a shame the reporter (I read the article) couldn't focus on the good these conventions are doing. I live in SW FL and was here for Hurricane Charley - it was a disaster and luckily, or not for some of us, it was a small, fast moving storm. That meant that you could drive 30 miles north, if you could find a working gas station, and find a normal lifestyle going on. That was 9 years ago when few people were prepared. Now it is preached every year and most, but not all, listen and do some prep. This area of Florida sees 50% new residents every 7 years so everyone must be informed and ready.
    It's not only weather but financial (read The Prudent Homemaker) with job loss, pay cuts, increase prices of everything that make prepping necessary. At 49 cents a pound for whole turkeys I'm buying 2, butchering them into meal sized portions and freezing - there are only 2 of us - so there is enough for 16+ meals. That's prepping!
    My kids in CT are paying $4.00 a gallon for heating oil and because of bug infestations in trees, wood, for wood burning stoves and fireplaces, is not being allowed into the state so the price of wood has almost doubled since last year. And this winter is supposed to be bad. They both prepped by having this year's wood ready, insulating their homes more, making sure windows and doors are sealed. This is all part of prepping.
    Oh yes, we're over 65, college educated, retired on fixed income and can live for 3 months without buying food, clothes, personal necessities, and we aren't alone - most of our neighbors are the same.

  4. Now, why would any reporter even be surprised at a 'prepper' convention? The feds have been airing ads all over the local airwaves here to 'Be Prepared', touting their own website at We're just doing what is being recommended (a subtle hint possibly?) by our all-knowing government. Sheesh.... where has he been? ;-)

  5. Imho such articles as the one you've pointed to are written by viewpoint activists with agendas. This is a malady that infects far too much of (alleged) reportage in America today.


  6. A CNN reporter was looking for extremists and kooks? I thought that was the job of their Human Resources Department.
    Montana Guy

  7. One has to remember that those of us that are prepared are not the masses that depend on the Government for everything and we are not the blind sheep willingly and quietly following in line with our Supreme Leader. They have to make us look like weirdo's because we don't agree with what is taking place and happening to our country. If they treated us as normal it would lend credence to our questioning of the leadership. The left could never stand for that so......we are the crazies. crazy like a fox!

  8. I bet that if the reporter was covering a conference with a 'progressive' cause, he'd be lauding those 'extremists' as leading the way and people to be emulated!

  9. Savings come in many forms. You can have paper or rather digital money in the bank or you can have food on the shelf and some other supplies that make life easier. TPTB would prefer you have a digital account all the while advertising on the radio to be prepared. Geesh, you can't win.
    As for the tin foil hat crowd, I won't make fun of them or paint them with a crack pot brush. Just think back to when one was considered a member just because they spoke of "shadow banking", now that's out in the light of day and routinely spoken of, just like many of the people behind it. There's also too many dead people that can no longer defend themselves.

  10. New York city, after Sandy but before help arrived, the mainstream media showed pictures of people digging in trash dumpster for food. After help arrived, mainstream media showed pictures of people lined up literally by the thousands to get one MRE and a one liter bottle of water. After seeing that and reporting it on national news, how can a reporter be surprised that some people got the message and are trying to prepare?

  11. Conservatives keep asking the same questions: Why can't liberal-progressives see what's going on all around them? Why do they ignore the obvious? Why don't they understand the reasons most folks are preparing for the worst? If “ordinary people” can see something worth preparing for, why are these doubters still trying to make them appear to be conspiracy-laden idiots? And on and on.

    I believe the answer to these questions is really very simple: They don't want ANYONE to know the truth about ANYTHING. They can't control us if we have questions and doubts... if we don't believe all their lies. Liberal-progressives might be a lot of things, but most of them are not stupid. They know what's going on. They know conservatives are right, but liberals don't want to be honorable and honest. Their pride is so great that they will never admit when they're wrong. No, they "misspoke" or "goofed" or they were "misinformed." They're trying their best to cast doubt and derision on conservatives, any way they can. It's time we all stopped being so nice. It's time we fought fire with fire. --Fred in AZ

  12. SMH at the referenced article. I fit the demo of most of the conference attendees, I fit the age range, I have a college degree, and I had the blessing to learn from my Depression Era grandparents, as well as being an avid camper. I also live in an area with fairly regular power outages and some wild weather. So color me kooky for being a 'prepper'. I watch the news, and am not comfortable with the way this country is headed, and this has spurred me to try to build my preps to a longer term. So color me kooky, again. Yeah, I have a metal colander I can use if I need, but it's not for a tin hat.

  13. When tshtf all the scoffers will be trying to take the supplies from the preppers by force. It's gonna get ugly. Be prepared.


  14. Well, if you're of the personality type: that places total Faith and Control with a Beaucratic machine, are willing to rely upon the Nanny State to Bail you Out, or Believe Everything the Media spoonfeeds the public. Then you'll understand the motivitations of this reporter, and all Media (in general).

    Most Govt.Agencies and Major Media Venues are Shocked! to find that the General Public actually have Opinions on their own Health and Welfare. Their 'Big Picture' of Society has them starring as the heroes = 'the Calvary riding in with their White Hats' to Save-the-Day.

    Big Govt. and Big-salaried Media mouthpieces always think they know what's best for everyone else. "Whether we like it/or need it at all...

  15. When it comes to reporters I don't think most people realize the drivel they hear is the opinion of the one person who owns the news outlet.That wealthy person sells image to the highest bidder.Talk about the ultimate extortion racket.I used to worry about the effect the media had on the mindless masses . The truth is We are out numbered by the Stupid, Ladies and gentleman. And I believe that's been the case thru the ages.Thankfully the Stupid usually lack motivation and enough imagination to do anything with the vile propaganda. We will survive, God willing. Be wise as Serpents and Gentle as Doves.