Dealing with Rumors

The information age was supposed to make our lives better.  It was supposed to enable us to make faster decisions based upon the solid, factual information that was available at our fingertips at a moments notice.

Are you getting the feeling that the free and rapid flow of information is making your life easier?  More enjoyable?  Less stressful?

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars,

But see to it that you are not alarmed.

Matthew 24:6a

Internet rumors and conspiracy theories fly about, and people react to them in a panicked way, but, as the Ultimate Tactical Handbook says above, “See to it that you are not alarmed”.  Learn to separate fact from rumor, and stop blindly sharing unconfirmed things.

An example of this is the recent crash of a Wisconsin National Guard fighter plane in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Immediately, the internet was awash with rumors.  One that was presented as fact by many was that the plane was shot down by some Chinese soldiers who had rowed (yes, rowed) their way across Lake Superior from Canada in an invasion attempt.

The Edmund Fitzgerald

This falls apart when you realize that no one is rowing across Lake Superior in the winter.  The waves and ice in Lake Superior are legendary (listen to “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”) and exposed soldiers, no matter the gear, would have died of exposure halfway across.  I’ve encountered massive ice calves and bergs in late April on Superior.

Also, knowing the people of Northern Michigan, if any Chinese soldiers had landed, at least one would have ended up hanging from a buck-pole.

Of course, when no Chinese materialized, the rumor changed to meet the facts….suddenly, the Chinese withdrew when they knew they’d been spotted.  Coincidentally, if you were invading a nation, you’d eventually get spotted.  It’s kind of the entire point of invading a nation.

Examine all internet rumors with a critical eye, and apply logic to them.  If the rumor changes when facts on the ground seem to refute the rumor, you know it’s false.

Another key to dealing with rumors:  Give it 5 hours.  In our instant information society and camera-phone loving people, a video should emerge almost immediately.  When it doesn’t, ask yourself why.

A great example here was the violence in Washington right after the election.  Multiple people were stabbed and the media immediately reported that the Proud Boys has stabbed 5 people.  Within 3 hours, video emerged, proving that a BLM activist was stabbing people and that the Proud Boys stopped the attacks by rendering the assailant unconscious.  

What if people had reacted drastically to the rumor and began attacking Proud Boys in the streets?  There would have been many more casualties that night.

The bigger danger is people who have their entire psyche and worldview wrapped around a rumor.  Yes, those people. There is an equivalent to the Q people on the left; they’re called “the left”.  All kidding aside, there are people on the left who believe the Russia hoax just as fervently as some on the right believe the Q hoax.

The problem with those people is that when their world view falls apart, they either modify it to fit facts, or they lash out. 

At the moment, many of the ones on the right are being snatched up by the FBI and being charged with all kinds of crimes (mostly unprovable and some crimes completely made up), in an attempt to silence them by the FBI.  

Capitol Riot

The Ultimate Tactical Handbook has advice for people who are very vocal about their opinions:

And do not grumble, as some of them did –

And were killed by the Destroying Angel.

1 Corinthians 10:10

Yes, those who spoke out most loudly on the rumors of a stolen election have been smitten by the destroying angel of the left, the FBI.

I’m not discounting it by calling it a rumor, and I, in fact, did protection work for the founders of the Stop The Steal movement, for full disclosure.   I call it a rumor, because until it’s proven definitively in court, it’s still a theory.  And the Government of the United States of America has no intention of ever letting it see the inside of a courtroom.

I bring this up because those who are the most vocal at the moment are literally being silenced by the Federal government for sharing what is as this point a rumor.  

There is legislation pending that would allow the Federal Government to revoke or deny security clearances based upon one’s involvement with the Stop The Steal movement, which is truly protected speech under the First Amendment, as Stop The Steal was people exercising their “right to petition the government for the redress of grievances”.

Rumors lead people to take drastic action, which may or may not be based upon the truth.  Our role, as people interested in preparedness, is to seek the TRUTH, and not act on rumors.

I supported the movement because I felt a need for the facts to be determined.  I did not support taking drastic action based upon it.  And I’m not convinced that the people who did take action are who the media says they are.

Before taking action on any rumor, do your own research.  The first thing most people do in this context is to ask someone for their source.  While that’s valid, understand that their source may well be wrong.  I point to CNN, the “most trusted name in news”, who constantly has to issue corrections, because they spread rumors, not truth.

Whenever someone gives me a source, I look for additional sources to verify it.  The problem with this is that since the Russia Hoax, the media has stopped verifying actual sources, and began using each other as sources.  CNN runs a story, then NBC runs the same story, saying it’s confirmed by CNN, who then reports that NBC has confirmed their story.  None of that is true. 

Review multiple sources independently, and make sure that they aren’t just cross-verifying each other.  

Consider also confirmation bias.  You are most likely to believe your preferred sources and discount others, and to predominantly look only for things that prove your preferred position.  Set that aside and seek to disprove you position, and you’ll be more impartial.  That’s a basic philosophy we use in investigations, if you can’t disprove it, it is most likely true.

Never share any information that you can’t verify, and certainly don’t take action on it.

As the potential for widespread violence and civil war increased in America, while I told people to prepare, I cautioned against going out and running up the credit cards (taking drastic action) to do so.  We noticed, every time that the rumor of a new lock down came up, people ran out and bought up all the food, and all the toilet paper.  Don’t take drastic action based upon rumors.

It’s sad to say it, but we do indeed now live in a post-truth society, and the truth becomes whatever those in power want it to be.  That’s why I mentioned Stop The Steal.  The Federal Government has decided to criminalize sharing a rumor, and they are ACTUALLY locking people up for it.  

Brandon Straka, Thought Criminal

Brandon Straka, probably the most non-violent guy you can find, is currently in federal custody.  He is one of the founders of Stop The Steal.  

Ali Alexander and Michael Coudrey, the other founders, (both of whom have ridden in my personal car) are effectively un-personed (read 1984) and banned from all social media.

I am as fervent about my free speech rights as any of you (probably more), but this current environment is DANGEROUS.  FBI agents are showing up to question people for sharing internet rumors, and the ATF is showing up at the houses of people who buy innocuous items online because they *COULD* be used to make a silencer.  Be very careful in what you share.

There is serious talk among sitting Legislators to make sharing “malicious” online rumors a federal crime.  Malicious is defined as “anything that disagrees with the narrative”.  

The best thing you can do in this environment: try to share only verifiable facts and avoid sharing and spreading things that are only rumors.  On my Twitter feed, you’ll find several tweets about me deleting a previous tweet because I couldn’t verify the information.  That’s a solid policy to have.

Don’t let internet rumors run your life, and don’t take drastic, life-changing action based upon them.

Learn to separate fact from rumor, no matter which side you’re on, or which side it supports.

The Truth is always an absolute defense.


Published by JD

I am the author of the Tactical Wisdom Series. I am a personal protection specialist and a veteran of the US Marine Corps. I conduct preparedness and self-defense training.

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