“What do you think will happen on January 1 — really?” It’s a question I’ve received from hundreds of readers in the past few weeks.

For some reason there are some people who seem to think that just because I have done some articles on the Y2K computer bug I have some special knowledge that enables me to predict what no one else seems to know.

The predictions range from a return to the dark ages to the biggest non-event of history, but I have no special ability to determine which prediction will come true. And I certainly don’t have a crystal ball. I do know how to look at the facts and determine the possibilities so that I can take reasonable precautions.

The military is getting ready for the worst. The No. 2 guy at the Department of Defense is the No. 1 military guy when it comes to Y2K preparations. John Hamre sent a memo to all military commanders warning them of the possibility that there may be so many simultaneous Y2K disruptions that it would place national security at risk.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and over 30 other federal agencies have placed their employees on various levels of alert. Actual bomb shelter-style bunkers have been established in Washington, D.C., and in most states to handle emergency management.

Local police agencies have been drilling their officers in the latest riot control tactics, and they have canceled all leave and vacations around New Years Eve. Many police departments have issued much stronger Y2K preparation recommendations to their employees than the recommendations given to the public. National Guard units will be on duty or on alert as well.

Virtually all commercial air travel has been canceled. Resorts can’t give rooms away. Large New Year celebrations have been canceled for lack of interest. Most people are staying close to home.

It has been a boom year for preparedness sales, although sales in recent months have slacked off. Electric generator manufacturers have never had it so good.

The U.S. and Russia will station military leaders in a building in Colorado Springs to monitor each other’s nuclear arsenal in the hope they can work together to prevent an accidental launch.

The CIA reports that about half the countries of the world have done little or nothing to deal with the Y2K computer bug. Over 130 countries met at the United Nations a year ago to plan for martial law.

The greatest impact of Y2K may be financial. Over $1 trillion in liability law suits will be filed next year, according to Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah. Businesses have stocked large inventories and may be headed for layoffs and recession, particularly if they are dependent on foreign suppliers.

Over 800 U.S. diplomats are being evacuated from former Soviet Union countries, partially because of fears that some Russian nuclear power plants will experience melt downs. One State Department source confirmed what a CIA source told me. The U.S. believes as many as five Russian reactors could blow.

The military has conducted over 200 urban training exercises this past year in preparation for possible civil unrest and terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

Many government whistle blowers have contacted me to report that the government is planning for and expecting the worst, not just for Jan. 1, but for the first few months of the year. The concern of these federal employees and military officers is that the government is telling the public not to worry while the government prepares for the worst. Many federal officials have stated their concern that the public is not prepared for the possible problems the Y2K bug could create.

The president has all the documents necessary to declare a national emergency because of Y2K problems. Everything is in place and ready for his signature. FEMA confirmed that he will declare a national emergency, not a national disaster. This will happen as soon as there are multiple Y2K events taking place at the same time.

FEMA claims civil agencies working with the federal government can handle 56 simultaneous events. More than that and resources could be strained.

The FBI believes militias and conservative fundamentalist Christian groups could be a major threat. They sent a document to 5,000 law enforcement agencies that tells cops to take preventative action to stop suspect groups and individuals from committing acts of violence. Project Megiddo points a finger of suspicion, but it does not provide supporting evidence.

Foreign enemies are expected to attempt attacks on U.S. soil. The National Guard, under orders from the Department of Defense, has created special RAID teams in every state to be prepared to deal with terrorism in major U.S. cities.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross and FEMA continue to advise the public to be prepared to get by without power for about three days. If a Y2K disruption lasts longer than that, people are to be comforted with the knowledge that a caring government has prepared shelters all across America.

It really is no surprise that after reporting all these problems and more, readers are asking for help and guidance. They don’t trust the government. They want to know what to expect and what to prepare for. The government is preparing for Y2K contingencies, and the public is starting to realize they should do the same.

Some think that because I write about these facts that I am predicting disaster, or even that I actually want something bad to happen. Others think I am critical because the government is making preparations for the worst. A few have recognized that I am simply trying to be the eyes and ears of the public and report what is going on in our government. I find facts, experts, witnesses, and documents to support the reports I have given. I have not given my own opinion in my articles.

What will happen? I have absolutely no idea. I doubt anyone really does know. It is obvious that there will be problems — particularly overseas. At the very minimum we can expect a recession. Will terrorists attack? Will the power stay on? Can you call Aunt Mildred to wish her a Happy New Year? Will you be able to flush the toilet?

Maybe. I hope so.

I have no problem with the fact that the government is preparing for the absolute worst. In fact, that is what I want them to do — be prepared. My only problem is that the public has not been advised to do the same.

Americans are very resourceful people when it comes to disasters. We stand together, face our challenges, and do what it takes to recover and move forward. Instead of spending this past year helping families prepare for possible problems, the government has led everyone to believe that a 72-hour kit will be adequate preparation.

I have had a year’s supply of food, clothing, personal goods, water, and other preparedness items for many years. It’s just good advice from my church leaders that I have followed as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Each year has come and gone and I haven’t needed to survive on my stash of goods.

Does that make me feel foolish? Am I embarrassed to admit that I have all this stuff I haven’t used. Heck no. It gives me a great sense of security that I can weather any storm — Y2K or anything else.

If Y2K comes and goes and I don’t make use of the stuff in my storage room I won’t be a bit disappointed. I’ll be thrilled. I am prepared for the worst and I constantly hope and pray for the best.

It is no different than buying homeowner’s insurance. If my house doesn’t burn down, it is not proof that I was an extremist. Buying fire insurance is prudent and sensible. So is being prepared for disaster — Y2K or otherwise.

So what will I be doing on New Year’s Eve?

Working, of course — covering whatever does or doesn’t happen around the world.

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