What . . . ME Panic?

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Here's part of my (constantly changing) y2k worldview. There is little chance of large-scale panic prior to some critical failure. Such a failure would have to be really significant. Much more than the loss of one communication satellite; much more than the bank's computer being "down" for a few hours (since that happens to me about once a month anyway) and much more than the phones being out of order for a few hours.

Not that there is nothing to panic about. If one were prone to panic (instead of prepare), 1999 would be as good a time as any, but I refuse to see a realistic situation where the mass of people in the US will *anticipate* something to panic over.

Allow me to paint a picture. First, you must picture a representative of the mass population. This is surprisingly difficult to do. For instance, I do not understand how Clinton got elected, but there he sits and I am forced to deal with the reality that 48% of the voters in America thought he was the best person for the job. Likewise, I do not understand how Jerry Springer, Oprah, Melrose Place, World Championship Wrestling, and Preaching for Dollars, etc. dominate the limited bandwidth availiable for broadcast, but they do and it's a fact I need to deal with. You must consider this kind of seemingly corny fact when trying to understand the thought process of the masses.

The point is that these people are not prone to certain kinds of thought. I've seen others refer to them a "sheeple." It's why advertising works on them. They are led through life by a loud voice showing them the path of least resistance. The portrait is derogatory and I don't like using it, because I think there is a lot of greatness in the American public and I love the American public, but I'm forced to come to terms with the fact that abstract thought and the ability to plan is not a widely-dispersed trait. (Who knows, the rest of the world is probably worse than we are in that area.)

The masses will refuse to recognize any problem as long as the status quo exists. Especially comforting to middle-America is the fact that the stock market indexes are high. Admittedly, the US stock market is widely considered a leading indicator of future economic activity, but in my opinion, its accuracy as an indicator fluctuates over time. After the market debacle in 1973-1974, the beaten-down middle-America pulled its money out of the market after massive losses. The market was then more under the influence of "smart money" or professional traders, and, in my opinion, the market was then a more accurate leading indicator. In recent years, however, the unsophisticated public has flooded the market with retirement money. There is no concept of market risk among these people. They do not know what a price/earnings ratio is, but even if they were to learn, they would believe that the multiple could expand forever at its current rate; earnings are irrelevant to the masses; Amazon.com is, based on market capitalization, worth more than Merrill Lynch: Amazon has yet to make a penny of profit. The stock market is free money to many. So the stock market's record high levels do not lead me to believe that the "smart money" is confident of the y2k future. For all I know, the smart money has already transferred its shares to the sheeple or has hedged its position in the options market. Risk assessment requires abstract thought and the propensity to plan and that just ain't gonna happen folks.

Now, my opinion on what happens if the power goes out. (I'm not trolling here. I understand the other scenarios and I do not dismiss them in any way. My opinion is not worth much, but here it is.)

I am preparing for the possibility that the power will go out, and you are preparing as well. I we have prepared properly, you and I will not drain precious assets from the system. What about the masses. What's going to happen to them. Well, elected federal officials have no clue. They are experts at getting elected and probably very good at whatever they did before they became politicians, but any out-of-the-box neurons they had withered long ago. So forget about help from elected officials. They will stay behind the curve. State and Local governments are mostly well-intentioned, but a problem like this? Don't even think about it. That leaves the military. At the risk of receiving the wrath of some in the forum, I feel that the masses will be saved by the US military. I have never been in the military, but the officers I know are, to a man, among the finest public-minded citizens and patriots that this country has. All of my acquaintances are mid-level officers. At the upper echelons, a Schwartzkopf is almost superhuman in his ability to assess and plan. In my opinion, Schwartzkopf is a patriot. I hope there is one like him or an like an Eisenhower or a Lee or even a Grant to feed and shelter the masses. I can't imagine any meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff where domestic y2k issues are not on the forefront of the agenda. They know that no other organization on earth has the organization and the power to save this nation in times of extended widespread domestic crisis. These people are not naieve and they are not sheeple. Will I depend on the military to save me? No. Do I think the military can rescue the masses in a benevolent operation. Yes. If I am wrong . . . well, I hope I'm not wrong.

-- Puddintame (dit@dot.com), January 20, 1999



My Y2K worldview is constantly changing too. I don't think fiscal- year rollers in New York state, Japan and Britain in April will be noticed by the public.

What I do see now is public concern about Y2K going way up around July due to two factors. First, worries about non-compliant nuclear power plants that need months to cool off if the decision is made to shut them down, and secondly, companies like GM dropping certain vendors because GM believes they won't be compliant. If companies like GM do cut off certain vendors, it would be a clear signal to the stock market and then the public that Y2K disruptions on the way.

The IRS is a wild card. Will they be able to correctly process tax returns this spring? The other wild card is the public utility issue in general. I read Y2K news constantly, and I'm just starting to see a trend in the last few days of communities becoming concerned about water, sewers, etc., and a call by *local* authorities not to panic.

I don't know how Y2K is going to play itself out, but I'm going to keep preparing a little bit each week, as I have been now for awhile.

A few other things to keep in mind if we're concerned about the effect of panic on our personal preparations. The price of junk silver has went up significantly in the past month or so due to Y2K, and it's getting very difficult right now to buy a generator. I've already mentioned that public concern about utilities is just starting to take off.

I'm looking at July now as when the general public will start trying to buy non-perishable food.

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), January 20, 1999.

Who knows? The word is spreading...slowly.. I would rather panic now and be cool when and if most others do.. When/if that happens, I hope to sit back and keep my head low. Except...all my DGI friends and family will probably start ringing my phone.

-- Sue (conibear@gateway.net), January 20, 1999.

Schwartzkopf allegedly had a hand in covering up the Gulf War Illness virus... reference: Nurse/vet Joyce Riley. Ditto just about the entire recent past and present military hierarchy. Clinton has been weeding out patriot types from the military for years. Those getting promotions are alleged to be those in favor of "non-traditional roles", eg urban clearing exercises, drug bust participation, FEMA, overextensions of the military to foreign country posts, UN joint exercises, etc.

I think the worst case involves marshalling public opinion via spin media to lump y2k'ers in with survivalists in with fundamentalist religious sects in with the disorganized militia in with the skinheads and the KKK racists. Then, some real or contrived civil disturbance could and would be used as a pretext to have prepositioned NG and Marine units sweep selected areas (eg Catron County, Arizona) for "illegal weapons" and "hoarding" and "bomb-making materials". I see efforts to minimize panic through minimization of information and preparedness, and this, along with the rumored mobilization of NG across 50 states, makes me even more code red XXX concerned than recent weeks. Demonization of Y2k'ers through civic leaders and media is a big red flag to keep a low profile and have a bug out location and several alternate routes and means of transportation to it. Am I wrong or paranoid???


-- Anny Body (annybody@anywhere.disorg), January 20, 1999.

What's paranoid to a sheeple is healthy suspicion to someone else ;-)

-- Chris (catsy@pond.com), January 20, 1999.

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