Polyannas, Trolls. and Lurkers

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I'm going to keep this short, and to the point. None of us can say with any certainty what the eventual impact of Y2k will be, or what side effects it will spin off. I think we all agree that the POTENTIAL for massive social upheaval does exist, though to varying degrees. With the escalating terrorist threat, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, a trembling world economy, Y2K, racial tensions, mutating viruses, global warming, political polarization, and numerous other treats in our immediate future the cumulative odds that a major life threatening event will affect you personally are growing daily. Situational awareness and personal threat asessment will become a way of life in the next century here in the U.S., as it already is in most of the world. I realize most of the trolls and polyannas who visit this forum think they are doing some service to quell panic and calm the shifting herd, but the net effect is that people straddling the fence on personal preparation are frozen in confusion like a squirrel in front of an oncoming car. Jumping first one way and then the other they are unable to commit to a course of action which will save their lives, and by proxy those dependent on them. It has been said here a thousand times that you have everything to gain and nothing to lose if you prepare and are wrong. If the bottom doew fall out in a major way I personally would not want to go to my grave with it on my conscience that I spent a year talking people out of preparing, however well intentioned my motives.

-- Niloli Krushev (doomsday@y2000.com), January 15, 1999


Exactly right! I don't CARE about opinions are anymore. I'm getting really tired of "I think Y2K will be..." arguments, especially those based on movies or speculative fiction. If the "experts" opinions are filled with disclaimers and qualifiers, who cares what "I" think will happen? The other tiresome, though pitiful posts are those that ask, "what should I do?" - totally unanswerable without a detailed analysis of each personal situation and a crystal ball. Preparation, like other major life decisions, is ultimately a gamble. There are no certainties, no one to follow, only action based on the totality of one's life. I am preparing; if I'm wrong I may feel foolish and have to eat a lot of wheat. I'm willing to take that risk rather than base my decisions on someone else's opinions and agenda.

-- Finn McCool (mccool1234@hotmail.com), January 15, 1999.

I've been an advocate of the mindset that not only does nobody know what will happen, but that it will likely turn out in such a way that nobody has imagined. As N.K. suggests, there are many crisis point events in the world as it is. We are living in a dangerous period in history. And the most dangerous part of it is complacency.

Crystal Balls are good for opening up to possibilites in order to have some idea for yourself how to respond to particular situations. But that's all. Ideally, one must be able to respond to new information or stimulus at any time. Building a fixed image of the likely outcome of an event makes it difficult if the outcome is completely different.

I guess the point is - don't get too emotionally wrapped up in any particular outcome scenario, but be prepared just in case...

-- pshannon (pshannon@inch.com), January 15, 1999.

> "It has been said here a thousand times that you have everything to gain and nothing to lose if you prepare and are wrong."

Maybe, but it's not true.

Certainly the cost of getting in a month's supply of food, water, and cash is small, since you'll eat/drink/spend them in due course and so all you've lost is a little interest.

But, if you think TEOTWAWKI, give up your job, move out into a remote rural area, learn to farm, let your previous skills go out of date, spend all your remaining savings on a bunker, ... then the decision is more or less irrevocable. If you aren't happy with your changed life, and if nothing to justify the change happens, then you've lost a biggish chunk of the rest of your life for nothing.

-- Nigel Arnot (nra@maxwell.ph.kcl.ac.uk), January 15, 1999.

Thanks for a good post.

My family has been storing since the 70's -- in part because our income has varied from month to month, and "backup" was necessary to just maintain a semblance of consistency; and in part because there is such as thing as "disruptions".

Since those days, we have had to rely on our preparedness three times yearly, on average -- the most recent time, during the first two weeks of this year, when our power was out for almost 5 days, and we literally could not leave the house due to ice buildup on roads and everything (one of our cars is still in a ditch, awaiting the tow company).

There were times when I questioned the sanity of keeping hundreds of candles, cluttering up storage space -- when I looked at the hopeless backlog of canned tuna, and asked myself if anyone in their right mind would eat that much fish -- when I said bad words after finding some water container had leaked and soaked a carpet --

And there were other times when I sat, warm and well fed, reading by candle or lantern light, and comfortable, and at peace, while sleet built up on windows, and the (battery-powered) radio discussed the horrible roadway conditions, or the lack of food or emegency goods at local stores, or the latest boil-water order.....or, when our income dropped to zero for several months at a stretch.....

Anyway, you get the picture. Preparedness isn't only for y2k -- it is for safety, and peace of mind, and security during ANY troubled time.

And, don't we all have some of those?

Anita E.

-- Anita Evangelista (ale@townsqr.com), January 15, 1999.

Anita: hear hear. I live in California and have been meaning to get an decent emergency kit together for years. Quakes, floods, riots - there is no good excuse for living here without at least a couple days' supplies. Even without Y2K, to live "just-in-time" as if there could never be the slightest hiccup or interruption in the supply chains - water, power, food - is irrational.

For better or worse, the number of people selling everything and preparing for a 19th-century lifestyle in the country is a very small number, IMO. And what is inarguable is that the existence of Doomers at 9 or 10 on the scale does absolutely nothing to discredit the idea of making preparations.
Whether you think the extremists are right or wrong - what bearing does it have on your own planning? If there are people who are so easily distracted by serious-mindedness, is that that any reason for them to conclude we're only in for a 'bump in the road'? It seems somewhat like using the existence of teetotalers as an excuse to keep drinking. Do what you're going to do, but don't hold up other people who think differently as any kind of reason for your own actions.
Could this be a bilateral phenomenon? Are there doomers who are "doomier" because of the existence of optimists... !?

-- Grrr (grrr@grrr.net), January 15, 1999.

Do I have to tell my "My Friend Ana" story again?...I guess I do.

My friend Ana is a bookkeeper, the wife of an architect and mother of two kids ages 5 and 6. She lives in a very comfortable, "middle- class" home designed by her husband, with all the bells and whistles (dishwasher, whirlpool tub in the master bath, 2 computers, you get the idea) By choice they live in a remote of the California central coast, up a winding road in the middle of a beautiful redwood forest. Her backyard has a catherdral hush, and they sometimes see mountain lions from the kitchen window. Their are other "cabins" on this road, vacation homes and other "middle-class" folk who want to live away from it all. The major industries are tourisim on the main road and pot farming further up the mountain (BTW, if you have pot farmers in your area, they make great fire marshalls. Very concerned about the safety of their crop....)

Last winter, during El Nino, the area flooded. Saturday morning Ana's husband got up, noticed there was no power for the coffee maker, and decided to go to town for coffee and a paper. He got in his Subaru coupe, drove to the top of the driveway, and found that there was no road. In fact, there was a waterfall where the road used to be. This bothered them deeply because they had NO other source of power, NO way to purify water (not even bleach!), NO wood for the fireplace, and only ONE days worth of food in the house. At this point they couldn't even wait for the National Guard evacuation helicopters. They ended up hiking out, overland, through old-growth forest full of poison oak, 14 MILES to town with the two kids and the dog. Everyone broke out in Oak rash, they couldn't return home for a month (the Highway was out too) It was a nightmare. When they were able to go in for their cars the first thing they did was drive to the next city over, to Home Depot, for a generator. Now she is STOCKED, a four months supply of EVERYTHING. In her words "I am NOT doing THAT AGAIN"

Another family lived a bit farther the mountain. They were also a nice "middle class" family. But they had a big garden, solar, water tanks, and so on. They never even bothered to evacuate, they just home schooled for a month...

I live in town, in the historic district, in a house my family has owned for almost 100 years. And I'm still stocking up, putting in solar, not only because of Y2K, or earthquakes, or El Nino's, but because I am NOT doing what Ana did, EVER!!!!

Annie O'Dea

-- Annie O'Dea (tarotmaid@yahoo.com), January 15, 1999.

That's a great story, Annie. My question is: will those pot farmers deliver via FedEx?

-- a (b@c.def), January 15, 1999.

Having recently moved from a remote SoCal area, where it was anything but easy, Im advocating and planning for at home and community camping preparedness.

In California, not being prepared for a big one is just plain silly. (Also been guilty, as charged, in being unready, within the recent past). That Northridge Quake was one of several reasons I moved to the hills. Talk about wake up call!

Unfortunately, moved back to civilization and Silly Valley, a tad too soon. Oh well. Many things to do and learn now. *Big sigh*

Annie, sounds like a great plan. And the stories are quite illustrative too. Thanks. This is the year for changing that just- in-time lifestyle, if there ever was one, Grrr.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), January 15, 1999.

"If you aren't happy with your changed life, and if nothing to justify the change happens, then you've lost a biggish chunk of the rest of your life for nothing." --Nigel

Not for nothing. You've bought piece of mind, which comes at a price. You then have the option of returning to whatever life you had. Which also comes at the price of more effort. The bottom line is: you haven't gambled your life and are still there to cry about it. If the alternative happened, you wouldn't be there to cry about it.

-- Chris (catsy@pond.com), January 15, 1999.

Nigel - your posts always make me laugh - do you ever post to "Top Tips" at VIZ, you could make a fortune :)

Andy the doombrooder :)

"We're doomed I tell ye, doomed!"

Private Frazer, Dad's Army, Walmington-On-Sea Home Guard, 1939 (Undertaker)

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), January 16, 1999.

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