The Mainstream Media at Work Demonizing the Prepper Movement… Again

martin-winters-doomsday-prepperMost of you have probably, read the sensational headline printed in the Tampa Bay Times; “Valrico doomsday prepper plotted confrontation with government agents, FBI says”  and the “news” report of what the FBI claims is going on.

First off, I don’t live in that area nor do I know any secret details of the case, nor do I have any “anonymous sources”  and don’t know anymore, details of the case than what we are being told in the article, however, I can elaborate on the news report, and give my two-cents about what is going on – let’s start with this excerpt from the article…

A federal gun probe erupted into a manhunt in a rural stretch of Valrico on Monday, as authorities attempted to arrest a man accused of building unregistered destructive devices as part of an end-of-times plan to kill government agents.

Folks, preppers don’t prepare for the end-of-times, because the end of time, is just that – the end… period. My preparation for the end of time, is that, I’ve been saved, baptized, and try to live a good clean life, while trying to help others. I don’t prep for the end of time, I pray. What I do prep for is the end of the world as we know it – as we know it, that is the defining term here.

Let me say it again, preppers don’t prepare for the end of the world – preppers / survivalists prepare for the end of the world as we know it… There is a huge difference.

Martin Howard Winters, 55, remained at large late Monday. He and five other people were indicted June 5 by a federal grand jury on sealed charges that arose from an investigation of a group called the River Otter Preppers, which Winters headed, according to court records.

I’ve never heard of a group called the River Otter Preppers, nor do I know, Mr. Winters, so I can’t comment on his character, his guilt or innocence,  but I do know that when you are targeted, the media, will paint you (even if you’re innocent)  into a monster. 

I’ve often read and watched TV  “news reports”  where the reports would string a list of terms and titles together trying to connect each one to the other – like a racist, survivalist, KKK member got caught today, painting graffiti or some other nonsense…

Take this recent headline for example – “Tea Party Followers Kill Police In Las Vegas Killing Spree”  the news report starts out; “The alleged killers liked Ron Paul, the Freedom Works Tea Party, they listened to far right propagandist Alex Jones, and supported a third-party candidate for Governor”.

You see how they like to find the worst individuals possible and connect them in the media as members of  groups that they dislike and or disagree with, they do this to further their own personal agenda. If one news reporter goes out and rapes a sheep, does that make all news reporters sheep rapists? According to their logic it does…

So by reading that headline and the following article, most people would come away thinking that these killers represent the Tea Party, Freedom Works, and Alex Jones and  therefore those must all be bad organizations and people, that are best avoided – after all they all must want to kill police, because these two did it and they represent those groups…

It’s total bull crap, but the average dumb as a stick, American swallows the  line of crap in one big gulp of stupidity…

Further down into the “news report” it reads;  He also liked militant Tea Party off-shoots like Three Percenter Nation and Operation American Spring.  He expressed an affinity for gun groups, including the NRA, Nevada Firearms PAC, and the National Association for Gun Rights. You see how that they tie them all together in the mind of the readers and then to the shooters….

Even further down we see the media tie the killers to those believing in “conspiracies” about gun confiscation, (how can it be a  conspiracy, when the president of the United States has said, publicly, that is what he would like to see happen)  Benghazi “conspiracies” Climate Change denial “conspiracies”, and of course they have to throw “racism” into the mix.

Jerad Miller shared, reposted, commented on, and added a multitude of far right issues, everything from conspiracies about gun confiscation, Benghazi conspiracies, Islamophobia, Climate Change denial, birther racism, and much more.

So as you can see, so far they have implied that if you’re a member of  The Tea Party,  Freedom Works or the NRA or if you know what happened in Benghazi then you also must be a racist and a cop killer that likes to dress up like fiction characters from a comic book… Yep, they must all be a bunch of nut jobs and everything that they say is wrong and a conspiracy

Okay, now back to FL according to the article…

Last October, Winters told an FBI undercover employee that he had spent $200,000 on his preparations and that he had buried 60 AR-15 firearms in four barrels in the ground, the record states. They toured the neighborhood, and Winters pointed out bunkers that he keeps on three east Hillsborough County properties, two on Williams Boulevard and one on Spring Road.

He talked about shooting government agents in the back, first snagging them with fishhooks that would pop out of air-pressured pipes mounted on the eaves of porches. “Winters will then shoot the agents while they are entangled in the hooks,” Special Agent Ronald Monaco wrote in the affidavit.

An unidentified FBI employee spent months in talks with Winters and wrote that he also talked of shooting tanks of propane gas to kill government agents as they entered his property.

Sounds like a real nut right… but like I said, at the beginning of this article, I don’t know anymore about the case than what I’ve read, but I do know that people reading the “news report” will now think that “preppers” aka “survivalists” must all want to kill cops, when nothing could be farther from the truth.

Preppers only want to be prepared for a disaster, be it natural or man-made and to protect their families and not be a  burden on society – getting into a shoot-out with police is the last thing any real survivalist / prepper wants to do.

Another thing that I can’t figure out was why, Winters was riding around town with a FBI agent and showing him his bunkers, gear and talking about committing illegal acts and activities…

There are two lessons to take away from this – # 1 don’t commit illegal acts and # 2 consider everyone that you talk to as a being an FBI agent or informant – no matter who they are or how long you’ve known them.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Here, here! This guy is crazy and has been painted with a broad brush. Sensation sells papers. All we can do is continue to educate people about short term, medium term, and long term preparedness. But never be discussing what you do or don’t have with folks you don’t have a close and extended relationship with.

  2. Rider of Rohan says:
    • Rider of Rohan,

      According to the article they said; that he talked about;

      “various booby traps and stashes of weapons he had set around his house at 3032 Williams Blvd., according to the affidavit. He also discussed elaborate plans to kill government agents in the event that they raided his property”.

      Yet he turned himself in without firing a shot, or any resistance at all…

      • JP in MT says:

        RoR & MD:

        Sounds like a real “end-of-the-worlder” guy who is ready to fight to the death.

        ‘Course it could be that some FBI agent is booking for a promotion out of the field too.

        Then, if all else fails, smear him in the press, actually find and do nothing, and let it die a slow death within 6 months. (“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”)

      • Ouch, plans to commit crimes. Won’t look good in court. Better plead insanity or such.

  3. MD
    Before I read the article. I must tell you I have never seen a better picture of Bohner, do not know where you found it, but thanks for the laugh.

  4. Nancy V. says:

    I just spoke with my adopted sister in Valrico – she lives about 20 miles north of his area. She did said that there are definitely pockets of rural areas near Valrico especially to the east and south of town. She did say that if he had 10+ acres or multiple acreage around the Bloomingdale area, he must have lots of money because the property taxes are high.

    Sounds like a nut who wanted attention. Looks like he got it. What a maroon.

  5. mom of three says:

    It’s sad that they lump everyone, in the same category. I went to buy 25 pounds of pickling cukes, from a local grower. One of the staff, refuses to sell me that much wanting to know what I was going to do with all. When I told her I was pickling and that 25 pounds gave me about 24 jars of pickles, she thought I was being a hog! ( No kidding) I was insulted to say the least and left and took my business elsewhere. When the manager, asked her about me why I was leaving very mad she explained it as I walked out. He came after me and apologize, for her rude behavior. I accepted his apology but unless I can’t find something elsewhere, I’ll see them.
    All because I can my own food, so we all will be labeled something sooner rather then later. Me I’m a Hog! 🙂

    • mom of three,

      That’s just sad! What is wrong with people anymore…

      • JP in MT says:

        Guys, it’s simple. Something is wrong, they can tell it. They just don’t know what it is. The fence sitters have the media saying everything is okay, they know it’s not, but they see people doing something/anything to mitigate their situation, and it is easier to pass it off as a fad or evil or something to make then feel better about the fact they are doing nothing. Or don’t know what to do.

        I have more people ask me circular questions that COULD pertain to prepping. I give them honest answers without breaking OPSEC.

        • JP inMT
          Have you been talking to our bil? I know you have not, you are in MT and he lives in other. He thinks I/we push the envelope when it comes to having a little extra of every thing. He has hard time coping with what is going since Y2k fell apart. It is a waste of resources to have so much put away, yet he loves the home made meals we eat:-) . Go figure.

        • OldSoldat says:

          Guys, it’s simple. Something is wrong, they can tell it. They just don’t know what it is. The fence sitters have the media saying everything is okay, they know it’s not, but they see people doing something/anything to mitigate their situation, and it is easier to pass it off as a fad or evil or something to make then feel better about the fact they are doing nothing. Or don’t know what to do.

          Exactly. Some prefer a normalcy bias.

        • JP,
          You’re right, and the term for it is Normalcy Bias

      • Washing of brains, that’s what it is, M.D, by those who have absolutely no clue what planet they’re on.

    • Rob Crawford says:

      When I told her I was pickling and that 25 pounds gave me about 24 jars of pickles, she thought I was being a hog!

      “Excuse me, miss? I’m going to give them to friends, family, and some acquaintances I know who are struggling to make ends meet.”

      Even if it’s not true, make such a rude… person… feel like dirt.

      • Rob C
        I like your response for the rude twit, and you took the words out of my mouth. Guess we get more mouthie as we age.

      • Becky,
        Our gun club is in a rewards program at GFS which is a restaurant wholesaler with outlet stores. I buy from them in bulk a few times a year, and when they ask if I’m in the program, I tell them the name of the club, which gets credit and a small check at the end of the year. On one trip I purchased a lot of navy beans (for me) and when the clerk asked my affiliation if any, I gave her the club name and she dutifully entered it. As we were packing the food she commented that I was buying a lot of beams and wondered why. When I told her the gun club had more than 200 members she kind of gasped and blushed a little. The amount of food and the affiliation with the club hadn’t even dawned on her. More normalcy bias I suspect.

    • Sw't tater says:

      24 jars is not even enough for a family to have a pint/quart every other week!Most families that like pickles would be proud to have two a week, at least thru the winter, to add flavor and variety to regular food. That just shows you that person does not have enough in her pantry to last a week.

    • Country Vet says:

      mom of three
      So sad! Fortunately I have had really good experiences here. The local HEB is very good about actually ordering things for me that are on sale. For example, this week there is a coupon for “buy one case Ball jars and get second for 40% off.” They ordered me a large number of cases and had them ready for me to pick up. They have done the same with other products including vitamins with $5 off $10 purchase. Every once in a while I get hold of an idiot checker if I am buying in bulk on a sale item, calling up one of the assistants solves the matter. It has not happened in a long time so I think that they have been “educating” them in customer service.
      Remember everyone- if one place does not want your business, someone else does!

      • CV
        Canning jars……at that price?! That is a great price, do they deliver to out of state?
        My friend and I would have been in canning jar heaven. We never have sales like that where we live. Her hubby goes to yard sales and when he finds good used jars he picks them up for her and myself.

        • Country Vet says:

          I was BEYOND excited. Bought a what they had and then ordered another 12 cases. Unfortunately
          HEB is Texas only. Come visit and I’ll take you shopping!

          • CV
            Thanks, will keep that on the calendar.
            It will give us a reason to visit, we missed out on going to the Alamo last June.

    • axelsteve says:

      Just tell them that you work for tdl and need to make pickles for all these kids from s america.

  6. The lady that was watching over my wifes MRI today and i, got to talking about our gardens. She mentioned how her and her husband enlarged their garden and were learning to can. She told me they moved from an upscale neighborhood in town to several acres outside town where they could raise chickens goats and rabbits. I mentioned that i had drilled my own well for irrigation purposes and she wanted to know all about it. I didnt tell her about my youtube channel and several times I nearly shared to much. I really would love to meet preppers that are in my area for barter reasons but its just to risky now to let on to ANYONE, what plans youve made to preserve your life if the grid goes down.

  7. tommy2rs says:

    “he also talked of shooting tanks of propane gas to kill government agents as they entered his property.”

    Apparently Winters wasn’t a Mythbusters fan…lol.

  8. BREARBEAR says:

    JP In MT
    i like how you put that…
    “Something is wrong, they can tell it. They just don’t know what it is”

    bctruck you keep that opsec Sir!…you are one of the good guys.

    life is getting scarier everyday…

    like M.D. said
    ” what is wrong with people”?

  9. F, B, Ross says:

    Good write up, except for #2 in the last paragraph. I can’t trust anybody ?

  10. It sounds to me like the thought police are at it again. remember sooner or later unconstitutional legislation will make us all criminals. I can think of more than just a few police officers and deputies that would do the same thing to protect what they have concerning the Second Amendment from and the feds.was this man thinking of protecting himself against lawless people whether it be a biker gang a Crips and bloods weather it be lawless police officer.remember if this man is acting within the confines of the Constitution he is not a criminal in the event of a breakdown this man has a right to defend his property now if this man is a constitutional law breaker then he has the right to be dealt with according to our constitutional laws in reality both him and the authorities have to stay in the confines of the Constitution.

  11. my biggest surprise that everybody on this site here was willing to sit by and allow this to go unnoticed contrary to popular belief there is no gray areas its either right or wrong

    • patriotbob,

      What do you mean “sit by and allow this to go unnoticed” I wrote and published this article, and we are discussing it here now. What do you think we all should have done? I’m confused…

  12. I only meant this particular aspect that I was writing about . I’m glad that you brought this article to the forefront. The only thing that I was surprised about was that nobody else had brought this particular view up. This man was sloppy in his security

    • Rider of Rohan says:

      I mentioned discretion on the other thread when I linked to the original story, didn’t see the need to bring it up again on this thread. But for those who didn’t see it on the other thread: Be discreet, folks, be discreet. Work within the confines of the law, and don’t conjecture to people about what you will or won’t do after such and such event. That’s for Conflicted Tuesdays.

    • This is the first I’d heard of it; although it doesn’t surprise me.

  13. As if there is something wrong with prepping, but If you’re going to prep, do it quietly. These days you can’t trust anyone from ratting you out.

  14. Shades of Green says:

    The whole situation seems a bit iffy to me as far as how the media is portraying him and what was or was not even found and why the FBI was even watching him. Last time I checked the constitution had not been thrown out and freedom of speech is a right and so is protecting your home. I don’t know this man so I will not try to even guess on what he may or may not have said but it does go to show that OPSPEC is of the utmost importance. Prep on the quietly like everyone has said and keep your mouth shut. Be the grayman. Something seems a little fishy down there.

  15. Jersey Drifter says:

    ” … preppers don’t prepare for the end – of – times, because the end of time, is just that – the end … period”

    True ! Money is tight, so why spend it on something you will never use, because the end, is the end. I would rather spend it on a nice vacation on a tropical island, with a cold drink in hand. Nice meal out at a fancy place. New pickup truck, to tow a new fishing boat. I could think of lots of things to spend money on.

    But if I would rather buy extra food just in case something happens, that causes me not to be able to find any at the stores, or if I find myself unable to get to the store. That’s preparing for survival not the end.

  16. patientmomma says:

    Don’t know anymore than what has been written, but the guy sounds like he’s gone one step to far into lala land. The article did say the others were charged as felons in possession of firearms, so the folks he hung out with were already a bit tarnished.

    Remember folks, all the American media, TV, radio, cable, etc., are owned by five conglomerates, whose controlling stockholders are members of the Bilderburg Group. They dictate what will be covered and how.

  17. OldSoldat says:

    No normalcy bias here. The world is a dangerous place and the lame stream media is confronting the serious issues of the day… like the Redskins name change and this crap. God help us.

    Nice volume on the PMs today. Fiat $ dying. Obama is no match for Putin and China. Sanctions Smanctions. Oh yeah, no inflation at all! /sarc

    Wait till a true black swan event; wait ’till the Islamists blow up a few Saudi oil wells. I’ve got to get off zero hedge and listen to that country guy who sings Bottoms Up. Later

    • OldSoldat says:

      The large trading volume on the ETF SLV (paper silver if you will) just means JPM’s HFT (high frequency traders) boyz could not control the price move or switched sides. Not likely on the switching as JPM et al are working with the Fed to cap silver below 20.00 spot IMO to maintain the petrodollar strength. They’ll likely beat it down on a slower day by selling short since it’s well over 20.00 today.

      Eventually, an event will destroy this short selling effect and your hedge will cover future inflation and the continued housing bubble if you are positioned. Food, lead and water first, of course.

  18. I’ve noticed the story keeps changing. It goes from they were making bombs, to making booby traps, to making straw purchases (which is only a crime because the ATF said it is, with no real law to back it up). The story changes almost every time it’s reported. Honestly, I think it’s a case of “we’ll figure out what we charge him with once we have him for the crime of ‘too many guns, and way too weird’.”

    • axelsteve says:

      I guess that would have made me an outlaw if I bought this shotgun that was in the lgs. That would be a strawman purchase. Many ways to be a criminal these days but sneaking in the country when you have rabbies is legal.

  19. Bam Bam says:

    The main stream media is making preppers out to look like whack jobs because the entire ideology of prepping undermines their cherished belief in the stability of society. The are too frightened to take a genuine look at preppers because doing so would force them to reevaluate their worldview. It’s much easier to poo-poo whack job preppers than to look at themselves.

  20. junipers says:

    Good article and sadly, this is what you’re going to see more of. We are also Christians and people like us are being attacked for standing up for the foundation and principles on which our nation was founded. When you have a gov’t that is lawless, it doesn’t take a genius to see where this nation is headed. My husband & I are in our 60’s. We are prepared, not for the end of the world, but as you said, the end of the world as we know it. People who prepare for various “disasters” are considered to be militants by our gov’t. We’re called nut jobs because we serve God, not man. There’s spiritual warfare going in our nation. The red cross tells people to be prepared for disasters. Anyone living through that dreadful harsh winter, understands that preparing for 72 hrs. isn’t going to cut it in a lot of cases. If we prepare for longer duration, why are we considered to be extremists? If you disagree with the political agenda of this nation, under this president, you’re a racist. No, I’m not. I just don’t want the gov’t to lord over every aspect of our lives. I’m not familiar with the stories told, so I can’t comment with knowledge as to what is going on. It is clear however, that there is a pattern we’re seeing and should be a concern to all of us. Not just for those of us who are preparing for what will come, but for every citizen of this nation. Like many others, I pray for our nation. We CAN make a difference IF we get out and vote. Not for any specific party, but for someone who has common sense & has a basic understanding of math! We want someone who loves our nation & what it stands for.

  21. These guys are basically idiots who need to brag to feel taller than they really are. I was once told that to avoid trouble, one should avoid doing stupid things, with stupid people in stupid places. This guy seems to have failed all of these rules. I’ve been through the gambit of names over the years, survivalist and prepper being the most common. I prefer Self Reliant personally, and keeping OPSEC until you really get to know someone, and even then to follow the three rules above.

  22. If he would of kept his mouth shut and not try to be top dog he would be doing alright just about now.instead he’s in jail, his neighbors say he’s a nice guy leaving fruits vegeis eggs and milk out side is house for the neighbors,#1 rule keep your mouth shut and don;t seek the lime light with bad talk maybe he was bsing i don’t know, but to bad he went about it the wrong way.

  23. It’s funny how when a notorious criminal has ties to any right wing-oriented group the MSM falls all over themselves to report it without any challenges. Yet when some sources have claimed that most mass shooters are Democrats, people fall all over themselves to prove it incorrect:

    • EddieG,
      You mean like the former Weather Underground Organization terrorists who work for the current administration. Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn were members of SDS and the Weather Underground, an organization that set off bombs in government buildings, and killed several people during an armored car robbery. They are communist leaning domestic terrorists who now work in TDL’s administration.

  24. Country Vet says:

    Something feels very wrong with this story. Just a gut feeling that things are not as they seem. Maybe he really is a nutcase that they are going to make an example of, OR more liekly maybe a “set up prepper” that they are going to make an example of. Don’t forget the feds are looking at all means possible to stir up the pot for gun control.

  25. I posted a similar blog entry before hearing about this guy or seeing this article. Mine now seems redundant as you’ve pretty much covered the idea of “hide your preps.” In the future having preps will get you killed if, well just about anyone finds out about them.

  26. As time goes on and eventually Obamacare becomes our only option, I expect that the questions doctors and nurses ask will be more invasive.
    Do you own a firearm?
    That right there will tag you as mentally unbalanced if you answer yes. Answer no and you do have registered guns, you will be seen as mentally ill and have your guns confiscated by our lovely militarized LEO’s.

    Lesson: When you want to flap your yap have a big steaming cup of shut the (bleep) up. Keep your head down and practice Greyman.

  27. Mary in GA says:

    “one big gulp of stupidity” I love that MD, now I have a new phrase to use!!

  28. Don Duncan says:

    “We have to vote or we will be the victim of those who vote the other way.” My father told me that 61 years ago as he voted for Stevenson. He was frightened and angry when his man lost. He predicted national bad times. He told me about how Ike was playing golf instead of running the country. He said we had a lazy do-nothing president.

    Looking back, I see less presidential “help” as a very good thing. The fifties were times of huge economic progress. My father’s political philosophy was to ask govt. to do everything. I followed him. Then I read the “Communist Manifesto” and Marx, Engels, as he wanted. I asked questions he could not answer. I challenged his premises. He got mad. He could not defend his position. After reading classical liberals and anarchists, I became an independent thinker who rejected centralized control, democracy (mob rule), and am now a voluntaryist, i.e., one who advocates ONLY voluntary social and political interactions. All else is immoral and impractical. Voting is indirect violence. Remember, EVERY law, good, bad, or very ugly, is blindly enforced with deadly force. For example, where I live in Las Vegas, the news has reported of separate cases where unarmed people were shot to death for J walking when they did not respond to an order from a plain cloths officer to stop. One was deaf and the other was a Swedish tourist who did not speak english.

    I reject this police state, and the philosophy of coercion in general, i.e., government. After 10,000 years of failure, it’s time we gave non-violent interaction a chance.

  29. The media paints their picture with the same brush a poet uses to convey an underlying meaning, theory or metaphor. I had a good friend who was more a brother than a friend, but he ran with the Hells Angels. He was murdered by the club er gang. Well there is a television series called Outlaw Bikers; not sure if you get it in the states, but they did a show on him. Well I’ll tell you the slanted view of the truth that was portrayed in that show was blasphemous. Even the ‘police experts on the case’ didn’t have the facts straight. The whole show was a farce. I’m not saying my friend was an Angel or an angel, but because he was associated with that group it was a free for all to demonize him. In another instance, there was a gunman in New Brunswick a few months back who shot a couple policemen one fatally. Again the angle was he was a survivalist yada yada and how did he get the assault rifles he used. We have more strict gun laws than the US, so he wasn’t running around with anything restricted, or automatic. They painted him as a frenzied gun but with illegal firearms. I agree he was a nut but the rifle he used was a Norinco M14, semi auto with a 5 RnD clip in .308. Basically a cool looking hunting rifle. I own the same rifle. But they demonized the weapons. It wasn’t a hunting rifle or the fact he liked camo that was the problem but some of these guys are unstable and they will choose whatever they have been scorned by to take out their fantasies and rage. The media however as you’ve all mentioned will pick the shade they like and mix the colors and facts until they get the picture or story they like. And as a result painting anyone else remotely similar or with similar hobbies as sinister.
    And oh we’re our grandparents all bloodthirsty survivalists because they kept gardens and canned their wares invade hardship like a Depression came along? Thank god they did or many of us wouldn’t be here today. Sorry this was long. Be well.

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