The Disaster Myth Narrative: No One Panics, No One Loots, No One Goes Hungry

revisionist history

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”  ~ George Orwell

I was recently doing some research about the aftermath of some natural disasters that took place here in America. I was shocked to find that the articles I was looking for – ones that I had read in the past – were pretty hard to find, but articles refuting the sought-for pieces were rampant.  Not just one event, but every single crisis aftermath that I looked up, had articles that were written after the fact stating in no uncertain terms that the hunger, chaos, and unrest never happened.

Apparently we, the preparedness community, are all wrong when it comes to the belief that after a disaster, chaos erupts and civic disorder is the rule of the day.

According to “experts” it never happens.


Panic?  What panic?

According to newspaper articles written after Superstorm Sandy devastated the East Coast and after Hurricane Katrina caused countless billions in damage in New Orleans, people were calm, benevolent and peaceful.  Heck, they were all standing around singing Kumbayah around a campfire, sharing their canned goods, calming frightened puppies, and helping the elderly.

Apparently studies prove that the fear of anarchy, lawlessness, and chaos is nothing but the “disaster myth”.  Reams of examples exist of the goodness and warmth of society as a whole after disaster strikes. All the stories you read at the time were just that – stories, according to the mainstream media:

Yet there are a few examples stubbornly fixed in the popular imagination of people reacting to a natural disaster by becoming primal and vicious. Remember the gangs “marauding” through New Orleans, raping and even cannibalizing people in the Super-Dome after Hurricane Katrina? It turns out they didn’t exist. Years of journalistic investigations showed them to be racist fantasies. They didn’t happen. Yes, there was some “looting” — which consisted of starving people breaking into closed and abandoned shops for food. Of course human beings can behave atrociously – but the aftermath of a disaster seems to be the time when it is least likely. (source)

Looting?  Only hungry people getting food from unmanned stores. Who wouldn’t do that?

Beatings and assaults?  Didn’t happen. Disturbed people made these stories up for attention.

Gang rapes?  No way. You watch too much Law and Order: SVU.

Murder, mayhem, and gangs of youth on the streets?  Silly readers – we just made that up.


The Disaster Myth is a narrative created by the establishment and delivered by their stoolies in the mainstream media.  The Disaster Myth points fingers at many of the things that are commonly believed to be true by the preparedness community.  Included in this narrative:

  1. People do not panic after a disaster – instead they pull together.

  2. The official government response is always speedy and appropriate.

  3. You will be taken care of if you simply comply peacefully with authorities.

  4. There is little increase in post-disaster crime.

These statements all stand in direct opposition to the stories we hear from news sources during the crisis.  We heard terrible stories from eyewitnesses who suffered from hunger, thirst, and unsanitary condition in the Superdome after Katrina.  We heard about citizens being robbed of their 2nd Amendment rights by police after the crisis, and we heard about gang rapes, looting, and mayhem.  Fast forward to Sandy where people were defecating in the hallways of their high rise apartments and digging through garbage to find food just a few days after the storm.  As for the official response, who can forget the FEMA shelter that closed because of inclement weather?  Of course the weather was inclement – it was a freaking weather-related disaster!

Mac Slavo of SHTFplan wrote of the unrest, discomfort, and mayhem after Superstorm Sandy ransacked the East Coast:

For tens of thousands of east coast residents that worst case scenario is now playing out in real-time. No longer are images of starving people waiting for government handouts restricted to just the third-world.

In the midst of crisis, once civilized societies will very rapidly descend into chaos when essential infrastructure systems collapse.

Though the National Guard was deployed before the storm even hit, there is simply no way for the government to coordinate a response requiring millions of servings of food, water and medical supplies

Many east coast residents who failed to evacuate or prepare reserve supplies ahead of the storm are being forced to fend for themselves.

Frustration and anger have taken hold, as residents have no means of acquiring food or gas and thousands of trucks across the region remain stuck in limbo.

Limited electricity has made it possible for some to share their experiences:

Via Twitter:

  • I was in chaos tonite tryin to get groceries…lines for shuttle buses, only to get to the no food left & closing early (link)

  • I’m not sure what has shocked me more, all the communities around me destroyed, or the 5 hour lines for gas and food. (link)

  • Haven’t slept or ate well in a few days. Hope things start getting better around here soon (link)

  • These days a lot of people are impatient because they’re used to fast things. Fast food, fast internet, fast lines and fast shipping etc. (link)

  • Glad Obama is off to Vegas after his 90 minute visit. Gas lines are miles long.. Running out of food and water. Great Job (link)

  • Went to the Grocery store and lines were crazy but nail salon was empty so I’ve got a new gel manicure and some Korean junk food (link)

  • So f*cking devastated right now. Smell burning houses. People fighting for food. Pitch darkness. I may spend the night in rockaway to help (link)

garbage food

At the time of the event, even the mainstream reported on the affluent East Side residents dumpster diving in search of food. Was this NBC report, complete with video, a work of salacious fiction ?


As far as civil unrest is concerned, the “Twittersphere” was jammed with people planning looting sprees in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.  Those who were already of criminal leanings saw the disaster as a great opportunity. In the great North American Edit, however, these tweets are said to be part of the myth – apparently they were just kids playing around.  Some reports pooh-poohed the very idea that looters had run amok.


This article from Prison Planet refutes all of the refuting and says that the civil unrest DID occur, and that it generally does given evidence from past events.

Legends from the past? Every single extreme weather event in recent years in the United States has been followed by looting.

As MSNBC reported at the time, looting during Hurricane Katrina was so prevalent that it “took place in full view of police and National Guard troops.”

Residents described the scenes as being like “downtown Baghdad” as looters filled garbage cans full of stolen goods and floated them down flooded streets.

As Forbes’ Erik Kain points out, “looting and rioting…occur after most natural disasters,” including after Hurricane Irene as well as Hurricane Isaac.

Looters also targeted victims of the Colorado wildfires earlier this year.

Does this sound familiar?

This revision of inconvenient history will sound quite familiar to anyone who has read George Orwell’s masterpiece 1984 (which was not meant to be an instruction manual, by the way.)  In the novel, the main character, Winston Smith, worked for the Ministry of Truth, which was actually a department of propaganda whose job it was to rewrite any faction of history that did not make the government look omniscient.

In George Orwell‘s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Ministry of Truth is Oceania‘s propaganda ministry. It is responsible for any necessary falsification of historical events. The word truth in the title Ministry of Truth should warn, by definition, that the “minister” will self-serve its own “truth”; the title implies the willful fooling of posterity using “historical” archives to show “in fact” what “really” happened. As well as administering truth, the ministry spreads a new language amongst the populace called Newspeak, in which, for example, truth is understood to mean statements like 2 + 2 = 5 when the situation warrants.

The Ministry of Truth is involved with news media, entertainment, the fine arts and educational books. Its purpose is to rewrite history to change the facts to fit Party doctrine for propaganda effect. For example, if Big Brother makes a prediction that turns out to be wrong, the employees of the Ministry of Truth go back and rewrite the prediction so that any prediction Big Brother previously made is accurate. This is the “how” of the Ministry of Truth’s existence. Within the novel, Orwell elaborates that the deeper reason for its existence is to maintain the illusion that the Party is absolute. It cannot ever seem to change its mind (if, for instance, they perform one of their constant changes regarding enemies during war) or make a mistake (firing an official or making a grossly misjudged supply prediction), for that would imply weakness and to maintain power the Party must seem eternally right and strong. (source)


So why the vast effort to expunge tales of mayhem and to make it seem like our own national disasters really weren’t that bad?

It’s simple. Those who live a self-sufficient lifestyle are a threat to the status quo that those in power would like to see.  If you don’t NEED them, then there is no leverage to force you into compliance.  You don’t NEED to go to Camp FEMA in order to have 3 squares a day.  You don’t NEED to give up your guns in order to have a roof over your head and government supplied security.  You don’t NEED to get some kind of chip implanted in your arm to be scanned in order to receive “benefits” like medical care, food, and even money.

Self-sufficiency means freedom.  When you can feed yourself, clothe yourself, shelter yourself, and protect yourself, you are far less likely to need to cede your freedoms  in order to stay alive. And in a police state that is frantically trying to withdraw our constitutional rights, this just won’t do.  They need leverage.

So the establishment has created a narrative that tells us what we are doing is silly and unnecessary.  They are rewriting history even though we only lived that history in the past decade.  Even though we know the truth of the matter because we watched it live, they are changing the facts to make us doubt our own perceptions.

This narrative was created to make a society of anti-preppers – of people who believe that all will be right with the world, the government is kind and benevolent, potential disasters aren’t really that big of a deal, and that preppers are stark raving lunatics.  They want us to be perceived as extremists so that others are less likely to follow our examples. If they need a crazy bad guy at whom to point the finger, all they have to do is call someone a “Doomsday Prepper”. (Remember how poor Nancy Lanza was vilified after the Sandy Hook shooting last year?)

If this civil unrest is not occurring, why is the National Guard called to keep the peace?  Why are state police riding around on tanks wearing body armor? Why were the guns of law-abiding citizens taken away in the aftermath of Katrina?


My family and I have opted to be prepared with food, water, a self-defense strategy, and home security.  We believe that when bad things happen, worse things often follow before order is restored.  We won’t be lining up to get an MRE and a bottle of water to share amongst us. We won’t require a cot at Camp FEMA.  We won’t need to give up our firearms in order to get our next meal.

Which reality are you going to believe?  The one that you witnessed or the perverted rewrite that the mainstream media is trying to push upon you for the benefit of their handlers?


A sampling of articles and studies supporting the Disaster Myth Narrative:

About the author:

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Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at

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14 Comments  to  The Disaster Myth Narrative: No One Panics, No One Loots, No One Goes Hungry

  1. Ray says:

    Daisy, I don’t want to disappoint you, but it was worse than that.
    Police officers were ACTIVELY PARTICIPATING in the looting of stores during Katrina.

    Take a look at this:

  2. anon says:

    the person who posted above, im sorry, you didt get the point. YOU have no idea waht is coming. sheep, so many sheep, not enough time. Me, i come from the forefathers blood. seriously. There are things going on many have NO idea of. YES the police??? were looting, well, doing what they wanted. Point is, we dont need no government, to “help” us, with those kind of “friends” who needs enemies. Too many panty waste dependent people, cant take care of yourselves, afraid all the time, afraid to die, un uninformed, the person who [posted above, get RE uducated, the IS an “event coming, and your LATE, too late now. There is not enough time for you to learn, that is evident by your comment, sorry folks, well, no im not. becuase most of you cant see whats happenning righy before your eyes, ya stick ur heads inh the sand. and are cowards, naany stated raised babies. and i dont care if i misspeelllled a word, i am in a hurry. Thanx daisy, dont waste ur time on um.

    • HalfKin says:

      To anon – Your rant makes no sense. I beleive the person above you was agreeing with Daisy and pointing out that it was actually worse. There was not denail in his response. But I am sure your rant felt good to yourself also.

  3. Claymation says:

    Great Article Daisy! What I would like to see is some accounts of preppers who survived these or other disasters. How they coped, observations and what they would do differently next time. The memory of Katrina that stands out the most is a woman standing on the corner of an underwater street screaming for President Bush to help them. I thought to my self at the time “ummm… the government did try to help you, the NWS told you four days ago to get the hell out of the way!”
    Also, don’t forget the mess hospitals were in. No power, no drugs, no water, no supplies like glove gowns and masks. Many were made sick just from the conditions let alone the injuries they suffered. Peace Clay

  4. Char says:

    I don’t know exactly what post-disaster sources you were looking for and not finding, but I didn’t have any difficulty finding articles from Katrina about man’s inhumanity to man during a natural disaster. I simply googled “was there looting after hurricane Katrina”, and a large number of articles popped up.

    I clicked on the first one. From an article dated 8/30/05, the mainstream media represented by allowed this quote to make it into their article:

    “Mike Franklin stood on the trolley tracks and watched the spectacle unfold.
    “To be honest with you, people who are oppressed all their lives, man, it’s an opportunity to get back at society,” he said.”

    The next article in line was from, dated August 24, 2010. The focus of the article was whether or not an order was formally issued to police to shoot looters in New Orleans. I picked out this quote:

    Defense attorneys representing two of the officers charged in the shooting of six civilians at the Danziger Bridge said their defenses will largely center on the contention that the shootings were justified — that officers believed they were under fire.

    “They weren’t shooting looters. They were shooting at people who they thought were shooting at them,” said Lindsay Larson III, one of the attorneys representing former officer Robert Faulcon.”

    A blog on HuffPost dated 10/31/12 and wondering whether what happened during Katrina would happen in the northeast after Sandy, had this to say:

    “The collective sentiment of the looters at the time appeared to be all that stuff was up for grabs because of the emergency. Sociologists call this a breakdown in the social order.”

    While I agree that the revisionist mythos exists (see the Wikipedia article on Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath, which wasn’t on your further reading list, for example), I think everyone reading this knows it’s false in the first place. If there’s any doubt that human nature has its dark side, one doesn’t need to look at articles on the social breakdown during natural disasters; one only need look at the year’s hottest toy for the holidays. Every Christmas season there are media reports of people being trampled by impatient mobs to enter the store on Black Friday; fist fights over the last toy on the shelf; and scalpers selling the item for ten times it’s list price.

    While I certainly agree that its common sense to consider the possibility of a natural (or not-so-natural) disaster and to be prepared with adequate provisions and protection, it’s unfortunate that the sarcastic, defensive tenor of this post wasn’t revised itself during editing. Yes, I know it’s hard to be objective when you see injustice done. But it doesn’t lend credence to your point when you can’t contain your disdain.

  5. yental says:

    Careful Daisy, someone is likely to accuse you of not only “investigative journalism and connecting the dots”, but a “capable and articulate author”. There goes your chances with the “state run media”.

  6. steve says:

    So what happened in Argentina in the last financial meltdown? I think this article is a little naive

  7. G! says:

    If I remember correctly, things were really bad in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in Florida.

    While I am sorry that so many people lost their homes, and didn’t have “help” from Hurricane/super storm Sandy, these people did not have any common sense, either. I am not being callous. The main part of the storm hit the Jersey Shore and affected large areas inland as well, myself included. Most of the Jersey Shore, in essence, is a sand bar. There have been big changes along the shore. When I was young, many families (not mine) vacationed “down the shore” in tar papered shacks. Today, Condos and houses are built closer and closer to the beach, and therefore the water. It was considered a good investment to purchase a vacation home, especially to rent. It was not unusual during choppy seas that waves would crash over the jetty to the cars driving down route 36. In some part of this road, it is the only way in and out. Those who lived there knew this. If you build your house on sand, it will not stand. We took a trip in the spring to the area. Unsurprisingly, they are all rebuilding.

    Through our education system and mass media, most people will not do for themselves. They would rather have someone else do it for them. For one who has been “ridiculed” by others for my DIY/saving money/frugal lifestyle attitude, I have come to understand their position. Many have an entitlement attitude despite the fact that they have no basis for it. Most would rather be entertained than work at a skill with a challenging learning curve. Most do not understand that reduction of expenditures is the same as cash. Most do not know what delayed gratification is. Most do not understand that making and doing improves health both mentally and physically. It is their loss.

    Unfortunately, these same people will say, “Why should **you** have XYZ when I don’t!” Some will up act upon their attitude.

    This also means that one must keep these parasites in mind when thinking of the future.

  8. Dither says:

    I was fortunate that the worst of Sandy missed my area. However, the storm did cause disruptions in gasoline supplies. This would not have been a big problem if not for widespread economic ignorance — specifically, about the necessity of market prices for actual *economizing* to take place, especially during times of crisis.

    State government in NY and NJ imposed price controls on gasoline in the form of “price gouging” laws. Thus, the demand for a dwindling supply of gasoline was never tempered by rising prices. People actually purchased more than usual, at artificially low prices, topping off and filling up plastic containers to carry home with them.

    Predictably, this resulted in gas shortages. Many stations just closed. The ones that remained open were host to long, snaking lines of cars. People waited for hours, often only to be turned away because there was no more gas. Time was wasted, tempers flared, fights erupted.

    This went on for two or three weeks. Rather than lift the price controls, government doubled down, promising severe punishment for any station owner who raised prices.

    Having prevented rationing by price, government implemented coercive rationing in the form of an “odd-even” scheme. Police officers were dispatched to enforce the rationing and discourage fighting among customers.

    For me, this was an eye-opening experience. I realized how quickly “civilization” could grind to a halt, and how the “authorities,” ignorant and driven only by the lust for power and prestige for themselves, would act to make a bad situation much worse.

    • G! says:

      In my area, in the aftermath of Hurricane/super storm Sandy, there were gas lines, but everything was relatively peaceful. We had enough fuel to drive to an area even further away to get more fuel as a back up as we were not certain when the electric was going to be turned on; we learned out lesson and this will not happen again. Electric was out for two weeks, and for the few, even more. While certainly not everyone, it is not unusual in my area for people to have generators. The guy across the street ran his gasoline generator non stop. Our guess it was to watch TV-as it was flickering through the front window. It was expensive entertainment. Freezers and refrigerators only need 4 hrs per day, especially if the outside temperatures are colder.

      There was enough warning for people to get enough gasoline/diesel before the storm hit. There was enough time to get enough food as well; the stores in my area were not sold out. There are many meals that do not need to be heated or refrigerated. While Staten Island took a bit hit, and I know of some poor fellow who drowned in his basement, there was enough time to prepare for provisions. There are a number of people I know who survived, by choice, without electric or heat. Several used the showers at their gym memberships, taking a chance on the gym having electric.

      In the 1970′s there was as rationing every-other-day/odd even license plate numbers. It caused long lines, and it was a royal pain, but I do not remember flaring tempers, although I am sure if someone did enough research it would be found. Then again, in those days, gas stations were not open 24/7 and if you wanted to travel at night or first thing in the early morning, you had your tank filled before closing.

      I understood the gas shortages were due closing NY Harbor. The waters are treacherous around there, and I was told that the buoys were removed due to the storm surge. Ships were unable to navigate the waters/harbor without them. I could be in error.

      With due respect, “Price gouging,” people buying what others do not think they need (hoarding?), and other accusations that get thrown around during times of crisis is, quite frankly, a waste of time and energy for me. Price gouging and stock piling was used and criticized in the South during the Civil War/War between the States. It was also used during the blizzard of 1880-1881 in South Dakota area, and my guess just about everywhere the haves have and those who don’t do not. It is best to prepare my “ship” for “rough seas ahead” than find oneself adrift, ill prepared, and in a crisis.

      As an aside, when a business person looks ahead and buys products that are needed in the future to sell and make a profit, it is considered good business practice. When someone saves something they think they might need in the future, to use or sell, and another person thinks they don’t need it, it is usually considered “hoarding,” an incorrect use of the word.

      • thebareheadedwoman says:

        Re: Sandy…in my part of brooklyn, 20ft from Sheepshead Bay, we didn’t get electricity back for almost four weeks…longer for those houses which had electrical systems located in the basement. There were waiting lists on getting the supplies needed to replace fried meter boxes. Many homes didn’t have electricity by Christmas.

        I was the only prepper on my block besides a little polish woman who didn’t call herself a prepper but it was her habit to have much put away. Between the two of us, my year’s worth of food fed almost 200 people on my block (we were a tight knit block…think seaseme street), including about 30 children under 12, fed for the five weeks it took before the money and gas came back. The one grocery store, and a couple of mom-n-pop bodegas were in business at three weeks but only on a cash basis. There was no gas to go to the closest working ATM miles inland, and the stores couldn’t take debit. The one bodega on our block was taking IOUs from the long time residents, bless them.

        And don’t tell me there were no looters. There were packs of looters, mostly traveling up from coney island. We had a brigade of men with bats and shovels and what all at either end of our block to keep them from coming down to us and stealing our two generators which were running our two pumps which were systematically pumping dry every house on the block. And fron syphoning the gas out of the flooded cars on our street (of course, we had already done that but they were our cars). They hit up the “rich” neighborhood across the marina. Rockaway was absolutely lawless.

        Why didn’t we evacuate? Because there was ONE 300 bed shelter for brooklyn (a second was for elderly and special needs only) that couldn’t be reached by train from our neighborhood. We saw the first FEMA representative the weekend before thanksgiving. He used my house as a warming station during the week. We fed him at our communal meals and gave him blankets to take back to the shelter where he and the other reps were staying, to keep warm because, per their instructions, they showed up with a change of clothes only to be given a bare cot and 3 days of MREs.

        By and large, we did MUCH better NOT evacuating. But I don’t live in Brookyn anymore. Afterwards our block was not the same and even now, 70% of the stores and shopping streets are still closed down. There are apartment houses that landlords still have not renovated so our neighbors moved. I moved in the spring because that taught me that no, an urban area–especially one on an island–is NOT the place to be come SHTF.

  9. Britt says:

    Great article!

    Hurrican Ivan was a major catastrophe in the Baldwin County area, but didn’t get much publicity because it’s not as popular an area as New Orleans, and therefore the public is not as interested (or such is the media’s approach.) My family was without power for a month. Gas rose to over $5 a gallon before the police cracked down on price gouging. You had to get in line at 4am and wait till they opened at 7am, then you still might not get gas before they ran out. There was a 10 gallon limit so you had to go multiple times. My family lived in the woods and I was away at college. I had to bring them gas and chain saws to cut themselves out of the woods, where so many trees had fallen that they couldn’t get out. Fortunately my dad was prepared and had plenty of food and water, along with propane and other necessary supplies, to survive the situation. None of this was ever put into any news stories I saw.

  10. John says:

    Back in 1993 a freak late winter storm dropped over 3 feet of snow in Alabama where there normally is NO snow. Consequently there is no road clearing or salting equipment per se. The evening weather shows tracked the storms all the way from Texas into Alabama, but no one bothered to get prepared because they failed to grasp the seriousness. The power went off for three full days. ALL secondary roads were impassable and main roads were accessible by emergency and off road vehicles. Listening to our battery powered radio the airways were filled with people fearful because they had no medicine or sometimes O2 and no way to obtain more! Many had no food and no heat. Schedules were made to pick up nurses to carry them to hospitals to work and relieve those trapped by the storm. We made it using an old propane camp stove, our gas grill and we heated our den using the gas fed log lighter inside the fireplace. We had no wood but sheets over all the doorways allowed the room to be passably warm. Now we live our in a rural area and are retired, but we now have a propane powered generator for power outages. We were prepared for the worst after the Zimmerman trial. You never know where the next problem will arise.

  11. Another Take on This? says:

    I usually agree with you 100% — and am not disagreeing this time, exactly. But ….

    I have been doing research on the subject. What is interesting is that usually the “we won’t tell them because they’ll panic” line, is used to justify withholding the truth of industrial-caused disasters. Studies have been done more recently that suggest people don’t panic … where they are challenging the paradigm of the panic myth as an EXCUSE. So for example, we are told by the white house that fukushima won’t affect US, and then the first family goes off to Brasil for two weeks. So in this sense, we SHOULD have been told to stay indoors, duct tape our windows … but we weren’t because we might “panic.”

    On the other hand, people HAVE behaved VERY BADLY in the days following recent disasters in the US … but I would argue that this is not panic … it is opportunistic predation on those who expected help. Katrina is an excellent case in point, but the real panic they experienced was because they were lured to an isolated location where they had to depend on others to care for them, and the powers to be had no intent of helping the poor and black (sad, but absolutely true). So I would argue here that your point, being prepared to help yourself, is VERY solid. But for different reasons.

    I had the pleasure of living in Alaska for a few years. People still tell stories in Anchorage of the 1964 good friday earthquake. JC Penneys operated under a fancy tent for THREE years afterwards, and people DID help their neighbors. Is it the times that have changed? I fear so. In particular, I fear that so many people are unprepared because they are poor, and have been so beaten down, that they have stopped maintaining that fragile veil of civility we all once carried. But I would argue that it is not panic, but avarice, i.e. selfishness and greed, rather than panic, that results in people victimizing others.

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