Jennifer nails it again, this is how memes are planted, leading the reader to assume something that isn’t so.
There is only one reason why they chose to frame the story in the way they did, to disparage prepping as a negative, illegal activity, when it was only the perps’ illegal use of banned weapons, and with the company of a convicted felon where they ran afoul with the law. Not prepping, nor the purchasing of legal firearms.
Propaganda 101: AP says North Carolina men arrested for being ‘preppers’
By J.E. Dyer on August 3, 2015 at 9:05 pm
This is a study in how to plant a false theme in people’s minds.
The implication from the story, as presented, is false. In case the story is altered later, I’ve screen-capped it as it is right now, at 7:30 PM EDT on 3 August. The Associated Press story bears this headline:
FEDS CHARGE 3 MEN ACCUSED OF PREPPING FOR MARTIAL LAW
But there is no such crime as “prepping for martial law.” Being a prepper isn’t a crime. The men were charged with things that actually are crimes, and some of those are mentioned in the story. But the AP story doesn’t distinguish between the criminal actions and the non-criminal actions of the men in question.
AP prepper story
Instead, the story presents everything the men have done that seems to relate to being a prepper as if it’s all illegal. The impression left in the unwary reader’s mind is that authorities found some terrible men committing the crime of being preppers, and that their prepping actions were all against the law.
Consider this passage, for example:
Walter Eugene Litteral, 50, Christopher James Barker, 41, and Christopher Todd Campbell, 30, are accused of stockpiling guns and ammunition, as well as attempting to manufacture pipe bombs and live grenades from military surplus “dummy” grenades, according to the statement by Acting U.S. District Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose and FBI Special Agent in Charge John Strong.
In addition to ammunition for a .338 caliber rifle, the statement says Litteral purchased hand-held radios, Kevlar helmets, body armor and face masks in preparation for an armed resistance to the feared military occupation.
The only things actually against the law in this list are the attempts to manufacture pipe bombs and live grenades. There is nothing nefarious, or even necessarily “prepping” related, about buying multiple guns and a stockpile of ammunition. Some grades of body armor are prohibited for general sale to the public, but merely buying hand-held radios, Kevlar helmets, body armor, and face masks is not illegal. These items are offered for routine sale by any number of retailers across the fruited plain.
A truthful story would have explained what the men did that actually constituted crimes. They tried to make homemade explosives, and one of them (Litteral) reportedly “planned to” buy a gun for Barker, who is described as a convicted felon. Depending on where the two were in the process for that transaction, Litteral could have committed a crime, or been intercepted by authorities in the commission of a crime.