The Camping Crowd: Revisited

We’ve previously posted about the types of people we meet while camping. As we said then, some are folks we wouldn’t associate with under any other circumstances, but “love of the outdoors and the desire for adventure can create strange bedfellows.” To be sure, we’ve met more than our fair share of colorful characters, but the camping crowd seems to include a disproportionate representation of detached-from-reality elements of MAGA-world. You know the type: folks most likely to engage in irrational and irresponsible conspiracy mongering about matters such as the COVID vaccine, the integrity of the 2020 election, and who was really behind the January 6 riots. And of course, we are often in direct contact with supporters of Alex Jones, whose particular brand of crazy has now cost him nearly $50 million in a case involving a single Sandy Hook family he defamed.

For a man whose estimated worth is as much as $270 million, the penalty will surely bruise but not break him. In fact, he continued spreading lies and misinformation almost immediately upon leaving the courtroom after the verdict. The only thing that will stop him is incarceration, which may be possible if he is charged for and convicted of committing perjury.

Jones rose to prominence as a “truther” in 1999, after being fired from an Austin radio station for spouting wild conspiracy theories about the siege of the Branch Davidian compound and the Oklahoma City bombing. He hit his stride after the 9/11 terror attacks, when he dared to doubt the official narrative and suggest that the tragic events were instead engineered by the federal government. All the while, he profited from his harmful lies, sometimes to the tune of $800,000 a day is sales of supplements, survivalist gear, and other products.

You may recall that Jones and his Infowars media empire were the primary drivers behind the racist lie that Barack Obama was not an American citizen, and that Hillary Clinton and other promnent Democrats ran a child sex trafficking ring out of a Washington, DC pizzeria. We’ve discovered that a disturbing percentage of the camping crowd we regularly encounter would sooner spend time with Alex Jones making tinfoil hats while cruising QAnon message boards and spouting daffy conspiracy theories than doing the hard work of learning the actual truth.

It is perhaps one benefit of the pandemic that we have a legitimate excuse to not engage such people–at least not from any length or for any extended period of time.