Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Guest Post: Ranger Squirrel - Fact Or Fiction?

By Ranger Squirrel - RangerSquirrels Ramblings

The preparedness community is full of intelligent, independent, and above all passionate folks.

Intelligent people ask questions. Intelligent and independent people ask questions about authority. There is nothing wrong with that. If no one questions authority…well, things get bad.

As for passion – well, there may be nothing more important in life than being passionate about what you do. No fault there.

We share an interest in being prepared for the worst. That’s just common sense.

If preparedness minded people have a weakness it’s that we keep to ourselves too much and that’s understandable. Passionate, intelligent, and independent is rare. When we find others with those same characteristics who also share a common interest in preparedness, we naturally latch on to one another.

The problem comes when we start isolating ourselves from people who aren’t like minded. We spend a lot of time worrying about WTSHTF. We theorize on the possible causes so much that we start to see them around every corner and in every news story. Most of the time however, we got our news stories from a like minded source to begin with, because we’ve eschewed mainstream media as biased.

We have to branch out and get news from sources outside our comfort zone. When I encounter a comment or a story about a secret government program, I need to ask “how do they know?” and then I need to search for the original source, and folks, YouTube doesn’t count. If someone can’t produce a reliable source, then whatever they’re saying is either rumor or commentary. Being rumor or commentary doesn’t necessarily make it false or wrong, but it does mean it isn’t fact.

If you want truth, do the research. I’m talking about US and International sources BEFORE they get filtered by the media, commentators, and yes, our friends. Ria Novosti. Al Jazeera. BBC. Reuters. Associated Press. These organizations, as a group, aren’t loyal to any one government. Two of them aren’t even particularly friendly to our government, so if you want the honest truth about the potential evil on Capitol Hill – look no further. I’m not saying trust any one of them in particular. I’m saying read them all and use that intelligent, independent, and passionate mind you’ve been blessed with to come to a tentative conclusion (one that you’re willing to adjust as you learn new facts).

If someone tells you that a statute is currently being considered by the House or Senate that offends you in some way, ask for the bill number, and then ACTUALLY READ THE BILL. If they can’t produce it, ask how they heard about it and then do your own research.

Every piece of news I read has to pass my 5 part smell test before I’ll consider it factual. I recommend you adopt something similar:

1) Any statement of fact must be attributed to a named source.
2) Any mention of an article from another news source must have the name of the article and the name of the publication so I can find it myself (a link is even better). Any mention of a law being considered must have the bill number.
3) Phrases like “In my opinion,” “I think,” “I heard,” “they say,” and “I’m pretty sure” either appear nowhere in the story or are not attached to any factual claim.
4) The source is not MSNBC, FOX, YouTube, or Wikipedia. For all 4 of those sources, pretty much anyone can write anything and it will get published first and fact checked later. Moreover, the first two have obvious political slants.
5) The story must fit the source. For example, a small town newspaper reporting on a major national conspiracy raises serious questions in my head. Similarly, a story by the New York Post talking about a small town in Arkansas has an obvious perspective problem.

Now, some of you may be pretty mad at this point. That’s not my intention. I know there are scary things happening. I’m not singling anyone out. I just felt compelled to write this piece because I find it strange that a group of intelligent, independent and passionate people don’t do it already with our news. Especially since we do it with everything else…from guns, to generators, and even storage buckets, we do our research and we check our facts.

Folks, there are real threats and perceived threats, and they’re equally dangerous. Think about that for a minute.

Now realize that the only weapon against perceived threats is factual information.

- Ranger Squirrel

Flea - "Thanks RS!"

...that is all.

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  1. Good post Ranger.... I've been burnt a time or two because I was too hasty in posting some bit of "news" without checking it out first. I've learned the trutworthy sources. But even though it gags me, I still look at Chicken Noodle News (CNN, ha ha!), and Faux News (Fox). Every once in a while there is something of substance there....

  2. Chicken Noodle News....I so love that ;)

  3. great post ranger is it hard sometimes to dig through all the junk to find what's true.

    Kentucky Preppers Network

  4. My big problem with CNN, Fox, and MSNBC is that they don't make a clear separation between editorial content and news. That can be very misleading.

  5. " there are some scarey things happening " .... no not really - just things happening ... which could have negative consequences that would alter the aveage persons lifestyle ... if memory serves this line came from the movie
    " Dune " - " fear is the mind killer " ....
    crazy joe

  6. PS on news , false or otherwise and for some who may stay up until 1:30 AM listening to an AM radio channel describing the underground secret tunnels in Area 51 ....... I have followed a philosophy most of my adult life
    ( 30 yrs worth ) and it has yet to fail me ...... it goes like this ...... " Jimmy crack corn and I don't care " .... if fact today I found out that it is Wed. not tomorrow - Thurs ... maybe I should take life more seriously ....naaahhh ... fishing is more important ....... still crazy ..... joe

  7. Oh God...not Dune...I haven't seen that in YEARS!