The “Chicken Little” Syndrome- Part 2, by Peter Martin


So, what is wrong with opinions? Well, for the person holding it, nothing is wrong. It is their opinion, and that is all that is important.

So, what is the problem? An opinion is not necessarily anything factual. Huh?

If I like my steak well done, then a good steak is a well done steak. To others, a good steak is rare, or medium rare, medium, et cetera. So, the opinion is accurate or valid to the holder of the opinion, but it’s not necessarily valid to anyone else.

The President recently stated, “…that no one ever running for the Office of the President has ever been more qualified than Hillary Clinton.” That was the President’s opinion. I would think that Dwight Eisenhower’s descendants might disagree with that statement. Though never having held a political office previously, his experience leading the Allied effort in Europe during WWII, dealing with the multitude of personalities under his command (from all Allied forces) and with representatives of various governments provided General Eisenhower with very unique qualifications to lead a country. That’s my opinion.

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” – H.L. Mencken 1880-1956

(To make this quote more contemporary, I would add the modern Mass Media, as it is just as bad as the practical politics of H.L. Mencken’s day.)

An Informed Opinion

What is an informed opinion? According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, it is “a belief, judgment or way of thinking about something based on information. ‘She has enough knowledge of the system to offer an informed opinion of why it isn’t working.’”

Most of what we see, hear, or read is not an informed opinion but just an opinion. Some make it sound like the opinion they are expressing is an informed opinion, although for the most part it is just opinion. Some talk radio show hosts are very good at this, and it is misleading. Some news anchors, both local and national, are also quite good at making their opinion sound as if it were the Gospel truth, which it isn’t. We must stay informed, and the only way to do such things is to search for information from as many sources as possible in order to discern what is true and what is not true.

I thought about listing out some of the sources I use, but then those sources are my opinion of what a good news source is, and it’s not your opinion. So, let me provide a good insight into determining good sources of information and determining not so good sources of information.

If a source of information tells you that the economy is going to collapse soon (something I have been hearing since 1990) and it doesn’t happen, then they are just stating an opinion and a really bad one for the most part. If a source of information is telling you that military exercises inside the USA is a rouse for an actual take-over or martial law to be declared and it doesn’t happen, then you need to realize that it is fear mongering and that you need to get a better source of information. Just a side, military exercises have been happening in the country for well over 100 years and are not of any real concern. Some just think that seeing military vehicles in large numbers being transported by train or 18-wheelers is a concern, when that is how they are being moved to the exercise sites. Some of those sites are Yakima, WA, Camp Irwin, CA, and White Sands, NM. There is no real cause for alarm, as these exercises happen quite frequently. I know this from my military background and those of my family, relatives, and friends.

When you need to be concerned about such movements is when the Army Posts, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Bases are suddenly put under high alert status, only authorized personnel (no retirees or vendors) are being allowed in, and there has been no public announcement of why the facilities are under high alert. It would not include when a Post or Base has had an active shooter situation or other such event, as it would only affect that particular Post or Base. Security alerts are normal and announced, and usually they will allow retirees and vendors access to the facilities.

It would probably take nothing short of a nuclear, biological, or chemical (NBC) agent attack for martial law to be declared. An EMP event could also be cause for martial law to be declared, but it would have to be something that significant of an event for a legitimate martial law to be declared. Anything less would probably meet with resistance from Congress, law enforcement agencies (both civil and federal), and probably the military as well. Many have been led to believe that law enforcement (both civil and federal) and the military will just respond like automatons to any Presidential order for martial law, and in some cases that may be correct, though in other cases they will not cooperate. There are many police chiefs, county sheriffs, and military leaders that will not follow those orders if it is for anything less than an NBC attack or an EMP. Isolated terrorist attacks or riots in the streets would not be enough to declare martial law. Wide spread attacks or riots across the nation that involved every major city in the country, including every states’ major cities and state capitols could be grounds for martial law. Something else to consider, with the current administrations gutting of our military, there isn’t enough military forces combined in this country to enforce martial law. There also are not enough federal agents to do so either, regardless of whether they were acting with the military.

There are 10.2 million people in Los Angeles County alone, so how many military personnel do you think it would take to control it under martial law? Upwards of 30,000 or more would be my guess. That would be three Army divisions, and with troop strength being what it is the government would start running out of troops very quickly. The greater New York City area is approximately 20.2 million people, which would take upwards of 60,000 or more Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force personnel to keep under martial law. By the time they put the top 10 most populous cities in the country under martial law, the military would become exhausted of personnel, leaving vast amounts of the country not under martial law.

As previously mentioned in this article, if the source(s) you use to get your information from are always presenting the “Chicken Little” side of the story, I would caution you to look for other sources of information and to not react or over-react until you are able to confirm from independent sources that the information you have received is valid information.

In conclusion, there is no easy one-stop-shopping for the information you need to keep yourself well informed. You can spread around the time needed to find the information out over the course of the day, if you do not have the time to do it all at once. Be careful and watch the information you are getting by seeing if what they say actually happens, or if it is just misinformation or disinformation. Don’t fall into the “Chicken Little” syndrome and allow some source of information to constantly keep you in a fearful over-reacting mode, as you are just playing into a game you cannot win.

Peter Martin is a resident of New Mexico and has served in the U.S. Army. He also worked for 20 years in the Video production and Television Broadcasting industries. He is currently a civilian contractor working for a major Defense industry contractor to the U.S. Air Force in New Mexico. He holds several college degrees in History/Anthropology, Fine Arts Photography, and Organizational Learning and Instructional Technologies.