How many are preparing? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Is there any estimate (guestimate) of the percentage of people preparing for any of the scenerio's you write about in your book Timebomb 2000?

In 7 months of monitering various forums, 120 miles away is the closest email contact I have had with anyone.

-- Joe Stout (, December 30, 1997


No, I don't have any survey-based estimates, but here is my guesstimate: as of 12/31/97, less than 1% of the US population is aware of Y2000 to the point where they can describe in reasonable detail what it is, and what kind of impact it might have on their lives. Even that figure might be optimistic, for it represents 2.5 million people. But of that 1%, I would be surprised if as many as 10% are sufficiently concerned that they're making any fallback plans at all; that represents 250,000 people. My publisher would have an orgasm if our "Time Bomb" book sold 250,000 copies, and even 100,000 copies is probably optimistic.

By I think the situation will begin to change drastically by the end of 1998: by then, perhaps 10% of the population will have a good understanding of what Y2K means, because it will have been hammered into their heads by repeated media exposure. And perhaps 10% of that group will be making serious plans -- i.e., 1% of the overall population. If 2.5 million people decided to take their money out of the bank, or buy a year's worth of emergency food, I suspect that it would show up on the radar screens of the economic forecasters, etc.

By the summer of 1999, I think the figure will reach 50%, and by the fall it will reach 80-90%. But 10-20% will still be utterly oblivious as the clock strikes midnight on 12/31/99, and only a small percentage of the "aware" people will have made fallback plans. Of course, if they don't around to making plans until late 1999, it will be too late...

-- Ed Yourdon (, December 31, 1997.

In 1983 a book written by Dr. Gary North "The Last Train Out" was then followed in 1986 with a book co-authored with Dr. Art Robinson entitled "Fighting Chance". Both gave all the reasons for one to become educated on survival and self-sufficiency - the books' advice was followed "to the letter" by one author, Dr. Robinson and his family. "Fighting Chance" addressed the problems and offered ways to deal with weapons of mass destruction, which, today are a greater risk than during the "cold war" and an even greater risk with the y2k issue at hand. I would venture to say 99.99% of the readers made no effort to provide for the safety or well-being of their families. Even providing various "dates certain" for an impact to be felt by y2k, most will not participate or make any serious effort to prepare for eventualities. As Ed said, "until it is far too late". In 1986 I moved to a rural area, to a town of 700, with a college less than 7 miles distant, and the largest city of 50,000+ at least 100 miles away. My son and his family are planning to do the same in 1998 moving out of the greater Boston area. My latest y2k effort started 2 weeks ago printing 400 one page letters to the inhabitants of my town advising of the y2k issue. I am passing these out at the rate of 20 per week-end. In May I hope to have a y2k meeting after the annual town meeting for those interested. My guess is that less than 50 will attend - and more than likely, 10...Today, people are not interested in "truth" especially if it requires some deep unpleasant thinking and required "actions" to be taken. They simply don't care. Preparation? at 7:00am on New Year's Day I found myself on page 161 of "Square Foot Gardening". God provided us with red and white cells for our protection - He also provided us with a "brain" - put it into gear!

-- Steve Alley (, January 01, 1998.

The results of my highly unscientific, but still illuminating survey technique, which is strike up a conversation about Y2K with everybody I meet, supports the figures in Ed's answer. While a few people are aware of the issues, almost no one understands it, and I have yet to find a single person who has done anything at all to prepare.

As pointed out, this may change, and the sale of a hundred thousand copies of Time Bomb 2000 might actually see a few people at the hardware story purchasing candles.

-- Ron Kuhnel (, January 05, 1998.

I first started reading about the y2k stuff in Sept. of 97. When I started discussing it with family and friends, they all thought I was crazy. Now, at least I think my mother is coming around. We have a small house with about 3 acres, and it was in need of repairs, my mom has now moved the repairs into a higher gear, since the house is one of the few things that my family does not owe any money on. It is the only place we have to go if at least a depression happens. I don't know a whole lot about computers, my father has dealt with cobol all his life, but he wont/cant give me a straight answer. Of all the scenarios, or what ifs, the food supply/grocery chains situation scares me. In the town I live in, it wouldn't take much for rioting anyway, but this food supply stuff really is scary. I have been stocking up , slowly (my wife doesnt take this stuff that seriously), and am making plans to get to the house out of town. Hopefully we will be living there before the middle of '99. I geuss, what worries me is the fact that I dont understand all of the terminology, but I do understand the fear of it. I hope it is just a recession or depression, over what some websites talk about. Thanks for this forum, and a place to talk about the implications of the what if's.

-- Scout Wade (, January 05, 1998.

I would estimate that the percentage of people preparing is about 1/2% of the population. And most of those are people who already had the cultural mindset established by other factors such as religion (ie: Mormons) or those who never really left the farm. I don't fit either of these categories.

In my case, maybe its genetic. My grandmother refused to marry my Grandfather unless he promised to take her to America. They just managed to leave Lithuania before things got really bad before WWII.

I cannot (will not for various personal reasons) leave my present suburban location. I will make do here.

First, I've purchased BOOKS. "Making the Best of Basics" by James Talmage Stevens "Cooking with the Sun" by Beth & Dan Halacy "Community Technology" by Karl Hess "Backyard Meat Production" by Anita Evangelista "How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine" Biointensive Gardening by John Jeavons "The Hydroponic Hothouse" by James B. DeKorne "Earthship" Vol I, II, III by Mike Reynolds (I can dream of getting away can't I??) and "The Humanure Handbook" by J.C. Jenkins (hey, shit is GOING to happen and I HATE the thought of storing it in breakable, leakable garbage bags. Yuck)

Second, I've started telling my family, double-buying groceries, and preparing and the horrid southern CA adobe soil according to the methods in "How to Grow More Vegies." I would LOVE to get a solar PV system, but I'll leave that one in the Lord's hands since I cannot figure out how to get one installed without going broke.

Best of luck to you all, Nancy Ulrich

-- Nancy Ulrich (, January 20, 1998.

I am a software developer with only about 4 years of experience. I first heard about the Y2K problem in '96 (<- noncompliant notation). Back then I figured it'd be the end of the IRS and maybe a headache for a few companies here and there. I didn't think it was a big deal, and maybe it'd help bring in a flat tax. A year later as I gained experience developing IT apps for various high-tech companies I began to realize that if these computer savvy organizations were not fixing their systems, then it was almost certain that businesses not in the computer industry were even further behind. Four months ago I began contracting to a very large US government agency. When I came in, I expected a flurry of Y2K preparations. A quick look at their databases showed about half the date fields still using 2 characters. Sure, there's a Y2K officer here, and there's a big book about Y2K schedules sitting over on a desk, but I came to the chilling realization that this was a back burner project. I've been on enough FRONT BURNER projects that never got done.. nevermind one with little support. This agency will not finish in time. The company I work for just finished a Y2K survey for another vital government agency that came to a similar conclusion. The fact that they're barely getting around to survey the problem in February of 1998 should tell you something. Now here's the REALLY scary part: ask a programmer or someone in IT about the problem and they'll probably tell you it's not a big deal, that maybe some companies will have problems for a couple of days, maybe ATM's will fail for a week or so, but after that magically everything will get a software patch to get it running again. If software people are blind to the problem, then rest assured most everyone else is. I picked up Mr. Yourdon's book because I liked his ability to balance fear with optimism in another book about the state of the software industry. At any rate, I read it in a day and it confirmed my fears. My preparations? My family lives in Mexico.. I called my dad, who is an engineer, and in 30 minutes he agreed that this was bad.. very bad. We are pooling our savings and preparing to buy a small ranch in a remote part of southern Mexico. Worst case, we can move there and trade with local farmers for food. Best case, this problem is overrated, we sell the ranch and we continue where we dropped off. We owe it to our families to have an option, any option, if indeed the situation becomes unbearable.

-- Enrique Flores (, February 10, 1998.

Since I read Time Bomb 2000, I've been discussing the problem with everyone I know. Most think I'm crazy and wish i would shut up about it.

-- William Shugrue (, February 16, 1998.

Here in my little corner of the world, I personally only know of one other family within 100 miles that is preparing. I talk to computer consultants from all over and most are in full denial, so how can you expect the average person to understand or accept this?

-- Rebecca Kutcher (, February 17, 1998.

I know of another family in Florida seriously planning. I am seriously planning in East Tennessee. None of my family takes me seriously. They think I'm crazy. I believe more and more people will begin to understand toward the end of this year.

-- agnes devine (, February 18, 1998.

I live an hour and a half south of Louiville, KY and I am aware of only 1% of the people I know who are preparing. Of the 1% I know that belong to my church community that are preparing, we are preparing to band together into small communities in the country. If things turn out as bad as they possibly may turn out, you will only be able to survive if you are in a community of people, you are all working together to protect each other 24/7, and you have plenty of food, water and massive supplies of guns and ammo.

I can easily see gangs of people robbing and stealing. If you do not have your own army ready to defend against these gangs, you will quickly die.

-- Mark Preston (, February 20, 1998.

How are the roving gangs going to organize? After they have robbed the stores and their neighbors,will they then call a meeting to organize a gang to go pillage through the countryside?Will they elect a leader to decide on the agenda and how to divide up the spoils? What about the gangs in the areas where they are going? will they fight each other or combine forces? How will they know where to go?

-- Herbert L. Johnson (HERBJOHNSO@AOL.COM), February 21, 1998.

I'm in northern Virginia about 15 miles west of Washington, DC. Given the high number of people here who work in technical fields, I would have thought that more would be interested in, or at least aware of, possible Y2K problems. Wrong! Most aren't even working on solving Y2K problems in their own companies, much less think that they have anything to worry about.

If there's anyone else in my area making Y2K plans, please contact me. I'd be interested in going in with several others for bulk food shipments to help defray shipping costs, or in bouncing ideas about for contingency plans. I can't afford to move, so will be staying in the area unless absolutely necessary.

-- Melinda Gierisch (, February 26, 1998.

I'm curious. Its one thing to say, " I can't leave my job." if you live in a small or medium sized city. However, if you live in the heart of metropolis such as Manhattan, Boston, Chicago, etc., can you afford not to? Or at least have an option for where to be in the first few weeks of 01/01/00, regardless of job,income, or assets?

For myself and my family I think that living in a Midtown Manhattan high rise may not be the most prudent strategy some 18+ months from now, maybe sooner. What are prudent and socially responsible options for those in different sized settings, differing friendship networks, differing ages, and differing financial situations? I gather Ed feels Taos will be safer than NYC. Thoughts?

-- victor porlier (, February 27, 1998.

Reply to Herbert: I work (not live) in a depressed ghetto/bario neighborhood. The kind of a place where you can tell when the high school lets out by the sound of the gunfire. Trust me, the gangs will get organized, they're already practicing.

-- Annie O'Dea (, March 02, 1998.

The amount of denial and outright outrage I've received when discussing Y2K is just amazing. I work with the Y2K problem everyday yet those around me are not concerned personally. I've sent warnings to email lists, even some general self-sufficiency based ones and have gotten the same anger, denial and outrage in return. Just amazing.

Books - someone earlier mentioned Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholemew. EXCELLENT method, EXCELLENT book. I have been using this method for 6 years and am very pleased. It saves time, money and mostly importantly - WATER and produces great yields.

Another must have book - The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery. She covers it all in there. From giving birth to burying your dead, growing everything, raising everything, making soap, cheese, candles, you name it. For my money the most comprehensive, down to earth and enjoyable-to-read book on the subject.

I know of no one (except Mr. Yourdon and those I read about here) who is actually preparing. I'm not sure which is sadder, the possibility of how bad it could be, or the large number who will not be ready.

BTW, have been living on undeveloped land - "homesteading" for 5 years, off the grid and off the water tap and as self-sufficient as possible. I vote for wind power generators and a good battery bank with powerful inverters over fuel generators or solar. Much more comfortable than candles anyway.


-- BooBear (, March 04, 1998.

I am now preparing. My mother's on board. My immediate family's on board. Everyone else I talk to about it is clueless or in denial. I urged my brother (1000 mi. distant) to prepare. He's a Ph.D., and department head at a university. He told me not to bother him with Y2K. He plans to ignore it---aggressively. I hope to be at Gary North's conference on April 2 in Springdale, AR and use the trip to check out real estate in the Ozarks. I AM SEEKING CONTACT WITH Y2K-AWARE FAMILIES IN THE NW SUBURBS OF CHICAGO (LAKE ZURICH AREA) WITH THE GOAL OF FORMING A COMMUNITY OF SURVIVORS.

-- Bob Randall (, March 13, 1998.

This is in many ways a fascinating psychological phenomenon, as well as a technological one. Even though I am a programmer fixing Y2K, even though I've read both Ed's book and all of the Gary North web reports, there's still a part of me that likes to slide back to the thought of, "it can't be THAT bad, can it? Things will go on as they always have..." This must account for why I also get mostly the 'you are a nut' response when I discuss Y2K with people. I have been broadcasting it for nearly a year now, and of all the people I've shared it with, one coworker takes it seriously and wants to plan. My father thinks that it is grim, but the little company he coowns is heaing into bankruptcy, so he's working day and night to fix that. Perhaps that is why he is not making any preparations that I can see.

-- Roland Teigen (, March 16, 1998.

To Herbert Johnson: Think about how wolf packs operate and I think you will have your answers.

To All: I'm a programmer/analyst with 25+ years experience so I've been in this game almost as long as Ed. I hope this turns out to be the stupidist thing I've ever done but I'm getting my family ready for 6 months of no electricity, no banks, no job and very little food availability. I have a basic plan worked out and I'm putting all the pieces together over the next 12 to 18 months. Once I have everything set for a 6 month period I will probably do my best to extend some important resources to last a 12 month period.

Thanks to those who have suggested books and other important resources on this forum. I'm sure it will be a great help to many that stop by here. I'm definetely taking notes.

For those of you that are wrestling with the idea of whether or not you should make preparations your thoughts might go in the following steps:

* Your interest in y2k subject matter begins * You start reading items here and there and concern levels rise * You start devouring y2k related materials and concern levels continue to rise * You start waking up in the middle of the night with feelings of mild panic and feelings of urgency (you are moving from denial into acceptance) * You start to think about what you need to do and what you can do in order to be prepared as possible (this is no small task) * As you start to plan panic starts to subside but the urgency remains

This has been my own path. I'm keeping the panic under control and working the urgency to help me keep my focus. As I stated earlier, I hope this is the stupidist thing I've ever done. If none of my preparations are needed I will probably have enough provisions to be able to take a long term vacation to rest up from the Y2K Wars. Hmmmmm. Maybe this is a win/win situation after all. Where's that list. I'm gonna add computer games to it.

Good luck all!

-- Bob Benson (, March 20, 1998.

The y2k problem appeared on my radar screen a few months ago. Before that time I had been making serious preparations because I felt our country was heading towards a serious depression- I felt the public and private debt levels were unsustainable and repudiation was the only was out- and the attendant depression a result. I started a food storage business and wrote a book later on the topic of food storage. Because of these 2 facts I am familiar with the survivalist, earth changes, and religious end of an age folks. I advertised in publications and so know their circulation #s. I guess there are 100,000 to 200,000 serious folk in the U.S. These folk don't show up on many radar screens- many paid me in cash or money orders. There is one sobering fact I must relate. The stocks of many basic comodities [grains and beans] are at historically low levels in this country! China and other nations have been spending their dollars on these stocks. This is an extraordinary situation not seen in a couple of generations. The closest thing to exhausting a commodity in out country occured in the 70's. A disease struck the corn crop in the midwest. We barely had enough stock on hand to make it to the next harvest! Just the kind of news you wanted to hear, huh? I will have Chapt. 2 of my book ready to E-mail in a day or two. Send me an address and you can check it out

-- skipper clark (, March 22, 1998.

Reference: my posting of March 13 concerning formation of a community of survivors.

Please note that my e-mail address has changed.

-- Bob Randall (, March 23, 1998.

Misspelled my own e-mail box in previous message. This is the correct version.

-- Bob Randall (, March 23, 1998.

Hi Joe, I can tell you that there are many more people actually preparing now than there were six months ago. It is taking us much longer to get the items we need to prepare. For example, I ordered a Country some-thing or another-grain mill a month ago and it still isn't here. The salesman told me they used to go out in a week or so.

-- Abigayle (, April 15, 1998.

Hi Joe, I can tell you that there are many more people actually preparing now than there were six months ago. It is taking us much longer to get the items we need to prepare. For example, I ordered a Country some-thing or another-grain mill a month ago and it still isn't here. The salesman told me they used to go out in a week or so. We sold our home, bought forty acres forty-five minutes from town, bought our food storage (half way there anyway), purchased non-hybrid seeds and much more. We are putting in a Hardy wood burning furnace, which also heats water. It goes outside in the yard near a covered building for our wood. Next I will buy a Jersy cow to help take care of our young grandchildren, make butter and cheese. We will take our money out of the bank soon. My husband is studying solar, hydro, and generators, and will make a decision soon on our power commitment. I have laying hens, birds for the freezer, and a huge garden. We have much more to do, but our kids are starting some small amount of preparing upon our insistence. I asked a question today, and was answered by a lady who lives nearby. I didn't know she existed. Maybe there are more of us than we know. We sure don't advertise. We worry that when this thing happens people who don't prepare will remember what we said. Good Luck & God Bless, Abigayle

-- Abigayle (, April 15, 1998.

In South Australia I know of no one preparing, other than those that my wife and I have talked to, who listened. As with most of the respondents to the question, most people would rather you just shut up and let them get on with their lives. They seem to have enough difficulty with their current problems, let alone anything more than 2 weeks in advance. So we have made a list of those that would form a good community, have listed our requirements and started the preparation phase. I wish all of you good fortune.

-- Mark Johnson (, April 16, 1998.

If for some reason you are unable to get a grain mill, or need an inexpensive alternative, you can use a #10 can, and an iron pipe with an end cap can be used to crush grain.

I hope this suggestion helps...

-- Frank Anderson, Jr. (, April 21, 1998.

If for some reason you are unable to get a grain mill, or need an inexpensive alternative, you can use a #10 can, and an iron pipe with an end cap can be used to crush grain.

I hope this suggestion helps...

-- Frank Anderson, Jr. (, April 21, 1998.

I am a programmer of over 20 years experience and the only folks I know of in Idaho who even know about the y2k catastrophe are the ones I told myself. It looks like we've got about 7 families really stirred up to prepare and more in the wings. If you live in SW Idaho and want to talk, contact me.

As far as getting people stirred up, here is what has worked for me. First tell them all about the effects on government, banks, manufacturing, embedded chips, electricity, gasoline, food, etc.. Then tell them that this is God's judgement come upon our society. "If God doesn't judge America, He'll have to resurrect Sodom and Gamorrah and apologise". ( this only works for Christians ). I've tried this in various groups and some people will "get it" and others won't.

Anyway, I think 1% is way too optimistic. I personally think it's probably in the range of .1% and that's only because some people were already prepared for other reasons.

Tempis Fugit

Dick Pullman

-- Dick Pullman (, April 22, 1998.

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