A loud minority is creating fear to promote an anti-government agenda, and to sell Y2K related supplies, according to an emergency management official from Michigan. Another Michigan Y2K official says there is much the government is keeping from the public.
There is no effort to hide information from the public, claims Mike Prince, Michigan State Police Emergency Management Division public affairs officer. Full disclosure of Y2K related documents, and even transcripts of meetings and discussions are available without restriction, he says.
“We’re giving the public whatever information we have. We’re loading every scrap of information onto our http://www.mspemd.org“> website,” Prince told WorldNetDaily by phone.
He said he has been getting calls and e-mail from concerned citizens who are worried that they will be taken from their homes and martial law will be put in place because of Y2K related disruptions. He believes those fears are created by people like Franklin Frith.
Frith was hired by Michigan municipalities to conduct Y2K workshops for various local government agencies. He now claims that he believes there is evidence to show that there is a government plan to place people in mass shelters, as well as use military troops to maintain law and order.
“That’s not even reasonable to think that, but you can’t change people’s opinions once they’re made up about that issue,” said Prince.
“For the general public, what we’re telling them is look, be prepared. If you decide that you want to buy a generator and stockpile a year’s worth of food, more power to you. We’re not recommending that you have to do that. We’re not recommending that you stockpile cash. We’re not recommending that you build a bomb shelter in your backyard, but that’s an individual choice and an individual decision that you have to make, and I don’t think you have to be worried about the government coming in and taking that away from you if something should happen,” Prince explained.
He warns that a small number of people try to take advantage of others in every disaster or emergency. The Y2K problem is no exception. He says some have an agenda of mistrust for the government they wish to promote, and others simply want to sell survival equipment and storage food.
Frith denies those claims. He says he has absolutely nothing to sell, and he has never been an activist of any kind. He does not consider himself to be an extremist, nor does he promote an anti-government agenda.
Prince says it is wrong to tell the general population to store food and supplies beyond the basic 72-hour kit recommended by FEMA and the Red Cross. The average person cannot afford to do more than that, so the government is not making such recommendations.
“You’ve got those people that are the survivalist type that are just pretty much dedicating the next 10 months of their lives to preparing for this thing, and most people are not in a situation where they can do that,” said Prince. “What we can do is tell people some really basic simple things that they can do that are reasonable, that are cost effective, that are not going to put a dent in their wallet and that are reasonable approaches that they should be doing anyway.”
Prince said he has a store of water, food, blankets, flashlights and similar gear in his basement. Those items are part of a 72-hour supply for any emergency, not just Y2K. All families should do the same thing he claims, but nothing more. The guidelines come from FEMA and the Red Cross.
The FEMA Y2K emergency plans are simply the same generic plans already established for any disaster. The plans are designed for use by local communities and local government agencies.
Frith claims there are plans to move citizens into shelters three to five days after a Y2K emergency begins. Prince admits the plan exists, but says there is nothing sinister about it.
“There are always plans for those kinds of situations,” Prince explained. “Those plans are in place at the local level all the times.
“This is nothing new that all of a sudden we’ve got to throw together these evacuation plans and shelter plans and things of that nature. Those plans are always in place for any kind of situation, whether it’s a tornado, a flood, winter storm or what have you.
“Sheltering in an evacuation are local responsibilities. If you were to contact a local emergency management office, probably anywhere in this country, and asked how they go about sheltering large numbers of people, they could recite for you what their shelter plan is and how they go about doing that,” said Prince.
Even though there may be disruptions for longer than three days, Prince does not believe people should be warned to store food and water for longer use.
“In a disaster, the first three days we’re dealing with getting the infrastructure back up. Getting the power back on. Getting the roads cleared so vehicles can get through. Dealing with big picture issues. We don’t have time to haul jugs of water out to Joe Smith who forgot to stockpile some water for himself.
“If after three days we still don’t have water and power, then we’ll be in a position to provide those kinds of resources to the public and take them into shelters if it were to become necessary,” explained Prince.
He said no one would be forced to go to a shelter unless the area where they live were determined to be unsafe. A mandatory evacuation could also be required if specifically designated by local, state, or national authorities.
Michigan is planning a major training exercise, as many other local governments around the nation are doing, to prepare government agencies for what might happen in the new year if the Y2K bug knocks out key services.
The National Guard will be part of the exercise, but both groups say this is nothing unusual. Readiness drills are a normal part of what they do. Nationally, the guard will be conducting a practice mobilization using radios instead of telephones on May 1 and 2.
“I get e-mails from people asking about martial law and what can the government do and what can’t it do. I think there’s way too much discussion of that kind of thing and way too much concern about it. It think that’s a certain segment of the population that’s spreading that information and they’ll continue to do so,” said Prince.
Frith claims there are plans within FEMA documents that lay the groundwork for martial law and placing people in shelters. He claims plans are being made at the federal level to use the military as a domestic police force because of widespread problems expected as a result of the Y2K crisis.