“Claim to flame” (Food factory fires)


This month’s moral panic centers on a supposed swarm of arsons targeting food processing plants. This, even though the National Fire Protection Association has stated that the blazes are not occurring at an unusual rate, nor do they seem to have been intentionally set.

For believers, the reasons such blazes have been roaring are that President Biden is trying to distract from his failures or that a malevolent shadowy group is disrupting the food supply. The usual target here is Bill Gates, who is the descendant of the Rothschild-Bohemian Grove-Illuminati-Free Mason line of catch-all villainy.

While it might be scary to think that the food supply is being intentionally interrupted, or at least exciting and ego-stroking to think that you are exposing it, the numbers point to far more mundane matters.

Saranac Hale Spencer of FactCheck interviewed NFPA spokeswoman Susan McKelvey, who told her that the roughly 20 fires in U.S. food processing facilities this year “is not extreme at all and does not signal anything out of the ordinary. The recent inquiries around these fires appears to be a case of people suddenly paying attention to them and being surprised about how often they do occur.”


Still, the crowd which mocks COVID concerns since the virus has a 99 percent survival rate are much more antsy about the food processing fires, which have taken place in .0005 percent of such facilities nationwide. And this microscopic number is typical of most years.


Both fires and food processing plants are more common than most people might think and if adding a bit on conspiracy theory-think to the equation, one can end up concluding that something sinister has to be going one when there is a fire hitting such a target every week on average.

For example, Headline USA told of FBI warnings about a series of suspicious fires. However, the associated article referenced ransomware attacks, not flames. Moving from the mistaken connection to the just plain loony, Arizona state senator/nutcase Wendy Rogers insists that Gates is behind it – even though there’s nothing to be behind.

Along those lines, there are accurate reports that Gates has plenty of farmland – in fact, he is the country’s largest owner of such property. But the follow-on assumption that he is plotting to control the US food supply is unable to bear the weight of the facts. His 242,000 acres owned represents .0003 of the county’s agrarian space. So .0003 percent of the farmland and blazes at .0005 percent of food processing facilities are neither literally or figuratively alarming.

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