Twenty months ago I wrote my first Y2K column for WorldNetDaily. At
that time I wrote, “It is really not my intention to scare folks, but
the sad, brutal reality is that the turn of the century probably is
going to result in big-time, large-scale, global problems. The recent
underreported scrambling to ‘solve’ the problems of the so-called
‘millennium bug’ is way too little, and far too late.” Since then, Y2K
has turned into a boutique industry. Y2K has caused people to move,
stockpile food and water, purchase generators, buy guns and ammunition
and traumatized business large and small.
Last year I first wrote about Y2K: “The latest revised estimates are
that it is going to cost worldwide over $6 trillion to correct the
myriad computer-related problems that will be caused by the myopia of
pioneer computer programmers, and the subsequent procrastination of
folks who should know better.” Today, honestly no one knows or will
report what has or has not been spent.
This weekend the Washington Post reported, “With the year 2000 and
its potential for computer-related problems less than 13 days away,
Washington area officials are mobilizing an unprecedented volume of
people, equipment and supplies — a buildup that follows months of
pretend-it’s-New-Year’s emergency drills. No one is really sure whether
it’s all necessary, but with Y2K, as with politics, perception makes it
real. Or real enough.”
“We are hoping that this is all going to be a flop,” said John
Patton, chief deputy sheriff in the tranquil suburb of Loudoun County,
whose office has bought gas masks in case deputies need to use tear gas
on New Year’s weekend to break up crowds angered by Y2K problems. “We’re
anticipating that we’ll all be ridiculed for overkill. But if it does go
bad, we’ll be able to deal with it.”
I’ve been researching Y2K for two years now, and the weird thing
about this issue, is no one really knows what will or won’t happen …
or how long it will be before the fat lady sings. Contrary to bad
television disaster movies and worst-case scenario doomsayers, the one
most significant thing I have learned about Y2K is that it will not be
an event. It is not going to begin and end when clocks strike twelve.
Y2K is, and will be a process. Timothy Chou, the Chief Operating
Officer of the Reason company of Mountain View, reinforced that opinion
(kinda). His firm specializes in assisting companies in dealing with
Y2K-related computer problems. When I asked him about the event versus
process aspect, he said “Yeah Geoff, it will not be an event, but
a process.” Cool! So I then asked if enough Band-Aids would solve the
problems in six months? He smiled an uncomfortable smile and replied
“No … the process will continue for about five years.” Five years?
Consider what we know, and what we don’t know. When I first started
peeling this onion there were two extremes: Dr. Gary North and his
“worst calamity since the bubonic plague” and the government’s “Hakuna
Mattata … no worries.” My view has been the same for almost a year.
I think it will not be as bad as North suggests, however, it will be
worse than the government will acknowledge. My personal opinion is that
there will not be any global meltdown. However, there will be a series
of significant, albeit temporary disruptions.
Here is my WAG forecast. Within 60 days I’ll either be a prophet or
- Power outages/brownouts will be intermittent but temporary.
- Public utilities will suffer periodic breakdowns.
- Technology will hiccup. ATMs and credit cards will face
- Some products will be in short supply.
- The buses still won’t run on time.
- All the recently reported government “command bunkers” won’t
accomplish anything other than overtime for assorted government workers.
- Martial law will NOT happen. However, police will eventually
lose patience and deal with disrupters harshly.
Last year I wrote, “According to the experts, even best-case
scenario remedial measures will result in less than half of the federal
agencies being ready for the chaos of Dec. 31, 1999. The United States
Defense Department claims they can solve the problems by the year 2012.
The Department of Energy claims by 2019 they will have it handled. Both
of those optimistic projections are waaaay too late.” Notwithstanding
government obfuscation, that situation has not changed significantly.
There have been more Y2K tests conducted in more venues than Bill
Clinton’s administration lies. We are told everything is cool, and we
have been told nothing is cool. The eventual result of Y2K will be more
a function of luck and prayer than by guess and by golly.
Regardless of whatever does or does not happen with Y2K (have you
noticed how it has become a noun), I find it interesting that what I
wrote in April of last year still seems prudent. “I really don’t know
how really bad it is going to be, but I DO know it is going to be a lot
worse than any official is willing to admit. In the meantime, since
this potential tragedy is something you and I can’t really affect, I
STRONGLY recommend that … everyone makes the concerted effort to
obtain hard copies of significant documentation: IRS records, DMV
records, bank statements, medical records, retirement account records,
etc.” I also suggested folks should “Keep, obtain, and protect
firearms, learn to fish, garden, and consider how (if the worst case
scenario does happen) you can feed your family.”
Frankly, the greatest danger we face is from threats “real or
promulgated” which result in reciprocal responses from government that
could domino into problems worse than the original problem. There are
elements in government who are anxious to restrict our liberties and
freedoms. There are the radical fringe hoping for bad things to happen
and anxious to precipitate problems. Each of these polarized factions
hates and fears the other, oblivious to the fact they have become
co-conspirators in an avoidable scenario in which you and I would become
Oddly, it was a liberal icon that spoke words we all need to
understand and embrace. Former President John F. Kennedy noted, “Today,
we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to
take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the
basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously
work and sacrifice for that freedom.” Freedom never has been, and never
will be free.