A Scenario

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Here's the discussion thread at FreeRepublic.

To me, this represents a 5, which is what I'm nearly prepared for...

How would regulars rate this scenario a) in terms of likelihood and b) on the scale?

VANITY - Y2K, A possible future (Caution, kinda long...)

Miscellaneous Opinion Keywords: Y2K, FUTURE
Source: A few overtaxed and tin-foil wrapped brain cells
Published: July 24, 1999 Author: The shy, quiet and understated Trident/Delta
Posted on 07/24/1999 00:50:01 PDT by Trident/Delta

While there are a myriad of possible permutations of events that could be attributed to the impending Y2K event, this paper will focus on the most likely series of events and probable scenario scripts based on currently available information.

Phase 1  The Preparation begins

In this scenario, events begin to unfold in the mid November 1999 timeframe. The general populace, nervous from a steady stream bombardment of sensationalized press accounts of dire Y2K doom and gloom, and anticipating potential financial problems, begin to withdraw their cash reserves from savings accounts and close retirement accounts. These actions in the face of a media blitz from financial institutions and the Federal Reserve assuring depositors of the safety of their funds. The pollsters, examining this phenomena, determine these actions are fueled by memories of the great Crash of 29 and the stories of the depression. These fires are further fueled by pundits, that reveal there is only enough cash-in-circulation to cover 4-6% of financial institutions savings deposits in the United States. This figure does not include monies in-play or investments in the various stock exchanges. In anticipation of these reports the Federal Reserve has already bolstered the cash-in-circulation by and additional $50 billion. However, in early November, financial analysts discover that with the potential for stock market sell-offs and advanced profit taking, the spectre of insufficient liquidity is raised in the media. Middle income casual investors begin divestiture of their holdings and retain profits as a hedge against Y2K events. As this occurs, lower and middle income families without portfolio holdings look to their savings accounts for safety. The financial institutions and Federal Reserve move with PSAs (Public service announcements) and advertisements to assuage the public perception. This is countered by Internet Pundits and self-proclaimed Y2K experts that point out that in the event of catastrophic power failure, the safe funds in the banks would be unavailable. The level of public unrest continues to build.

Phase 2  The First Signs

Thanksgiving 1999 is celebrated with a higher-than-average number of full family gatherings. Religious leaders proclaim that they are experiencing a miraculous surge in church attendance. Pop-psychologists describe the events as a normal reaction to the uncertainty of the Y2K horizon. Historically, the Friday following Thanksgiving is a bellwether of the impending Christmas shopping season. Stores report brisk sales of camping supplies and generators. High-end luxury merchandise is left gathering dust as the stampede is to more conventional items. This day also serves as an indicator. Many financial institutions, discover that their ATM withdrawals exceed expectations. By Monday, November 29th, most ATMs stand empty and bank employees are shocked to find queues of customers awaiting the opening of the bank. As account closures and large scale withdrawals deplete on-hand cash reserves, ATMs go unserviced. This exacerbates the situation by focusing more walk-in customers to the financial institution branches. The financial institution branches, are forced to call for supplemental cash reserves. Armored car companies cannot keep up with the demands of the financial institutions. Depositors are turned away as branches await the delivery of cash reserves to service depositors. Befuddled citizenry, unaware or the complexity the of American banking system, perceive only that there is no money at the banks. Using the tools of todays interconnected society (Internet, cell phone, telephone, Fax), the word quickly spreads and there is a full fledged run on American financial institutions. The Administration, aware of the potential powder keg, declares a Bank holiday for 5 days and efforts are immediately focused on the cooling off of the situation. The closure of the financial institutions has exactly the opposite affect. Those who did not have the opportunity to withdraw their funds look at alternative liquidations to support themselves. Sell-offs and profit taking are the order of the day in the major stock exchanges. While several canny investors look at the sell-off as an opportunity to increase their portfolio holdings, there are not nearly enough of them to offset the number of sellers. As the market value plummets, the automatic safeties kick in and trading is suspended to allow for market to cool. Brokerage houses and fund managers issue checks to clients who are demanding payment for their trades. At the banks, these checks are only honored as deposits and no funds are disbursed. By mid- December, the value of the stock market has plummeted to the 5000 point level. This action has triggered a cascade effect throughout the financial community. Many young Gen Xers , who have hedged heavily against their stock holdings are looking at a dismal holiday season.

Phase 3  Tensions Rise

The close of the twentieth century is a time of nervous apprehension. Families that have taken precautions and have stockpiled food and water are close mouthed about their preparations. The American public, reminiscent of the days of gas shortages, develop small networks of friends and families that scour stores and sales for anything that could be construed as being Survival oriented. All during the fall of 1999, the media has been sensationalizing the Y2K phenomena. This builds to a crescendo in the week after Christmas and before New Years eve. Hollywood, sensing massive profit potential releases rushed movies to theaters across the nation. As a result of the anxieties of impending doom, cults suddenly arise from nowhere that espouse everything from the Gaia movement to UFO worshippers. Storefront psychology centers crop up everywhere as scammers sieze on the moment to partake of a profit. Home invasions rise dramatically as neredo wells figure that there could be gold and currency stockpiled. Correspondingly, these same individuals rapidly discover that guns and ammunition has been stockpiled as well. The reports of self defense rise to a level where those espousing disarmament of the public are ignored. The Constitutional Militia movement, long dormant, is quickly seen as a means and method of neighborhood safety. Initially condemned by the Federal authorities, local governments quickly seek to enlist these forces to supplement a thinly stretched and overtaxed public safety resource. The Federal government acquiesces and accepts the local government actions. All eyes turn to the clock as the countdown begins

Phase 3  Let the Games Begin

January 1, 2000 arrives without measurable impact. Mainstream media has reported incidents throughout the world as the millennium started at the international dateline and arched across the globe. In New York City, Times Square, revelers watch in awe as the Bacaratt Crystal globe descends marking the year 2000. Much to everyones relief, the lights remain on and all appears well. This further excites the gathered throng as they now celebrate what they percieve as a victory over the so-called millennium bug. There are reports of scattered power outages and a variety of other problems along the eastern seaboard, but, they are ignored as the partying continues. Prudent businesses, immediately commence testing of their computer systems and networks. As daylight breaks on New Years day, workers across America fan out to determine if there are any lasting effects of the Y2k bug. The weekend passes, on Monday, in many locales, commuters are startled to find temporary stop signs in intersections throughout their towns and cities. Traffic is snarled as commuters discover that the city stoplight control system is a victim of Y2k. City officials assure citizens that everything should be back to normal in a few days. In reality, panic has set in in the citys traffic department. Calls to the system manufacturer have determined that it could take months to get the replacement systems. The manufacturer had not done an adequate level of Y2k testing and is haveing to replace all the controllers in multiple cities. Faced with impending financial doom, the manufacturer declares Chapter 7 and shuts down. This vignette is played out by manufacturing companies repeatedly across the United States through the month of January. Unemployment skyrockets as the ripple effect spreads throughout the economy. By the end of January 2000, the international impact begins to make its presence known. Major shipping centers throughout the world, recently modernized, grind to a halt. The critical infrastructure of several nations is severely crippled. Products, normally and routinely exported to US markets sit idle. Foodstuffs and perishables spoil and cannot be shipped. In the US, grocery outlets begin to feel the crunch. Inventories dwindle as the supply pipeline slows to a dribble. Major food distribution centers begin lay-offs as there little for workers to do. Localized power outages, initially thought to not have consequence disrupt shipments as 18 wheel trucks have to alter their routes to maintain fuel supplies. Fresh fruit and vegetables are literally non-existent. By the end of February the situation has deteriorated to near critical.

Phase 4  The Fuse is lit.

Social unrest becomes more and more prevalent through March and April. The public, suspicious that they may have been deceived by the government, focus on their local communities. The Federal government continues a campaign of platitudes and assurances that all is we1l and everthing is under control. But, to a large degree they are ignored. The minority community, egged on by ambitious leaders, begin to protest that they are not receiving their fair share of goods and services. Local political leaders, anxious to please, enact draconian anti-hoarding measures. Committees move through neighborhoods, investigating reports of food hoarding and as a result, there are several shootings. The local draconian measures are expanded to include firearms. The Federal government, sensing a means to restore credibility, swoops in and, using Federal resources, aids the local governments in their disarmament actions. Initially overjoyed, the minority community is shocked to find that they are not exempt and begin extensive protests as the Federal authorities initiate house-to-house weapon and food searches throughout their municipality. By the first warm days of May the stage is set for a major confrontation.

Phase 5  BOOM!

As the weather grows warmer tempers begin to heat up. All of the anxiety and hostility that has built up since the Christmas season explodes in violent clashes. In short order, anarchy reigns as multiple major metropolitan areas in the US face rioting and looting. The Federal government moves to quell the disorder only to be shocked to hear from the military commanders that troops arent responding to the call-up. Unwilling to leave their families unprotected, troops stay home. Millions die as a result of the coast-to-coast upheaval. The impact on the critical infrastructure of the United States is severe. After 8-10 days, people begin to heed the call for sanity. Church leaders and local politicians begin to restore calm. By 15 days after the onset, cleanup and restoration has begun. The Federal government, eager to re-assert itself, attempts to take control of the restoration efforts. They are rebuffed by local communities and are soon relegated to irrelevance.

Phase 6  A New Beginning

As restoration efforts gain momentum, talks begin toward the restoration of the Republic. Blame for all the events is firmly affixed to the Federal Government. A new government is proposed. The current Government balks at the idea, but is soon convinced as they become aware that there is little to no support for their continuation

What is next???

Who really knows???.

Respectfully submitted:


-- Lisa (lisa@work.now), July 28, 1999


What a mess - I apologize. Just go read it at the link.

-- lisa (lisa@work.now), July 28, 1999.

A "5", with the exception of the following:

"Millions die as a result of the coast-to-coast upheaval. The impact on the critical infrastructure of the United States is severe."


"The current Government balks at the idea, but is soon convinced as they become aware that there is little to no support for their continuation"

These are probably the only factors I don't see happening...

Diane, feel free to chuck this whole thread if somebody wants to re- post/re-format it nicely...

-- geesh (lisa@messit.up), July 28, 1999.


Pretty interesting : )

I think it's pretty upbeat and optimistic really. Many areas of concern such as terrorism and cyberterrorism and their effects are ignored. I'm sure there are many possibilities that are left out but someone worked very hard to visualize how things might unfold.

Personally, I'm looking to the GPS rollover and how that affects peoples perceptions. I hope nothing happens then but if it does it should be an interesting precurser of how to gage the public reaction to other problems that might pop up.

I'd say this is somewhere around a 4 up until just before Phase 6. I don't think that the activities mentioned prior to 6 would bring about Phase 6.

Fact is, I think that it would/could take years with lots of war and suffering before Phase 6 could even begin.

I hope I'm totally wrong.



-- Michael Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), July 28, 1999.

Sounds good to me. :-)
Also not mentioned -- Russia, China, N. Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Algeria, etc., using U.S. as a testing ground for n*u*k*e*s or b*i*o*l*o*g*i*c*a*l*s.

-- A (A@AisA.com), July 28, 1999.

what about ALL the folks that didn,t stock up on toilet-paper?

-- yoicks. (dogs@zianet.com), July 28, 1999.

steady stream bombardment of sensationalized press accounts of dire Y2K doom and gloom

Will SOMEBODY point me to all these doom 'n gloom press accounts !! Why do people keep saying this ?? Every press account I've seen has stressed the readiness, played down problems, quoted Koskinen, and generally made fun of doomers!

-- Ct Vronsky (vronsky@anna.com), July 28, 1999.

Wow! I have printed the actual article and hung on my BB to see how close it comes to actual happening. The thing that disturbed me the most with this scenario was "local" gov't doing a house to house search for supplies. There goes my food preps and our large generator. I wish that I had read this a year ago, we would be buried back into the mtns, probably in western Idaho. Going to make hubby read this one. We may be buying a place in Ga in the boonies to park our travel trailer for a bug out.WE CAN SURVIVE IF WE ARE LEFT TO OUR OWN RESOURCES. WE HAVE THE SKILLS AND THE TOOLS. But when we are not in the control position of our lives, its damn scarey.

Taz....who wants that new GI forum up and running NOW!! (please?)

-- Taz (Tassie@aol.com), July 28, 1999.

A new government is proposed. The current Government balks at the idea, but is soon convinced as they become aware that there is little to no support for their continuation

Yeah. Right. And the new gov't will be fully stocked with nothing but holdoevers from the old one, just like the Soviet -> Russian transition.

-- Ct Vronsky (vronsky@anna.com), July 28, 1999.

I agree with most of this scenario, except for the 15 days and restoration will begin. I think more like 2 or 3 months. Even if the rioting, etc ends, we who survive will be knocking boards together and sewing pieces of torn tarps trying to make us a place to sleep at night out of the rain and snow. Hannah

-- Hannah (Hannah@Colonial America.com), July 28, 1999.

I find it disturbingly close to the grain in most areas.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), July 28, 1999.

Lisa, you just forgot the HTML paragraph tags. (Stuck 'em in for you).

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), July 28, 1999.

I would add to the above...

Phase 1  The Preparation begins

...Based on serious Y2K U.N. unpreparedness information on a global scale, large investors, begin reallocating their investments. Stock market drops 500 to 1000 points. The smaller investor wakes up to Y2K and... the preparation begins, as do cash withdrawls... etc...

Phase 2  The First Signs

...The early signs have ALREADY been happening throughout 1999. When the stock market drops... the newsmedia, and consumers, suddenly wake up. Christmas shopping goes electronic rather than cash-basis and credit card purchases/debts soar, and consumers get practical rather than expendible gifts... i.e. America maxes out ALL their credit card limits (and looses concerns over their ability to PAY for their debts in the coming year)... etc.

Phase 3  Tensions Rise

...The smart Y2K Aware community organizers will use this opportunity to pull together their neighborhoods, hold Y2K preparedness meetings at the local High Schools and town halls, and in an eleventh-hour effort, TRY to develop/coordinate/encourage all activities that pull communities together... rather than push them apart... etc.

Phase 3  Let the Games Begin

The global media (et. al.) watch begins starting with stories and video, from each time-zone on the globe. Y2K and both related and un- related PROBLEMS are highlighted at the speed of a pulsing electron. Some people party hearty and drink themselves under the table... others just watch... and wait... etc. From there on out... WHO KNOWS...???


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), July 28, 1999.

Social unrest becomes more and more prevalent through March and April.

Sorry, but there's no way that it's going to take 4 months for social unrest to become prevalent. We'll be lucky if it takes 4 weeks. Remember how many people haven't prepared. They'll be the first to riot as soon as problems surface (and surface they will)

Most importantly, this part is simply ridiculous:

After 8-10 days, people begin to heed the call for sanity. Church leaders and local politicians begin to restore calm. By 15 days after the onset, cleanup and restoration has begun.

There's absolutely no way a society in chaos can be restored in 15 days. Society won't break down in a neat and orderly fashion as described here. Once the violence begins (and it will), there's very little that can stop it until it burns itself out. A society as fragmented as this may never rebuild itself, but if it does, I can't see how it will take less than several years to fix.

-- (its@coming.soon), July 28, 1999.

The post about 30 lines above this post entitled Many years ago you could get a $10,000 bill etc. proposes a solution that could substantially reduce the panic envisioned in this post by making big bills available to ease the crisis. The printing presses have a limited capacity and there is a real possibility that there will not be a sufficient amount of cash available if the biggest bills printed are the $100 bills. An expiration date on the bills would assure that they would be retired after the crisis. The panic could be worse than the even.

-- Tom (Tom@bb.wow), July 28, 1999.

I'll be thrilled if it turns out this rosey. Electricity? Phones? Natural gas? Railroads? Gasoline? Banking? People without government checks? Rioting and looting? Martial law? Terrorist attacks? Industrial or chemical accidents? Explosions and fires? I'm sure the weather will be lovely all winter as well.

My apologies for being so negative. Being optimistic is far too risky.

-- Will continue (farming@home.com), July 29, 1999.

I agree that this is quite optimistic, but not completely ridiculous. I'll be happy if things are this good, but I'm not going to count on it.

-- Steve Heller (stheller@koyote.com), July 29, 1999.

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