Witchita Online, if you wrote a respone to this, what would it say?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Wichita Online 825 E. Douglas Wichita, Kan. 67202 316.268.6614 Home >> Local News

Updated MONDAY August 2, 1999

A column by Roy Wenzl

The end of the world as we know it? I feel fine ... I regularly get e-mails at home from a group of people who worry about the Y2K millennium.

People in this group are apparently burying boxloads of ammunition in their cellars. They attend classes to relearn the lore of fruit and vegetable canning. They are buying buckets of wheat, along with hand-turned grinders, to make bread the old-fashioned way.

Their e-mails tell me how I can order huge water storage tanks, electrical generators and anything else I'll need to set up a fortress family economy.

If I threw in with these people, my son would love it. He's 8 years old and likes to play war.

Some of these e-mail correspondents also talk about how much they hate Clinton and how much they love the Lord.

But then that's the sort of thing you get when you allow a people to have a First Amendment. They tend to say almost anything. These particular folks believe very much in mixing butter, guns and God.

This talk about the end of the world has percolated into the schools, and some of the kids are worried about it.

When you are 15, as my daughter is, and when you hear people talking about computers crashing and stock markets crashing and worlds colliding and maybe ending in chaos, you tend to wonder. Especially if you hear that there might be some sort of Messiah mixed up in all this, fixing to send the damned down to their eternal agony.

You haven't yet developed the experience level to know that this end-of-the-world talk has gone around since ... the beginning of the world.

When my teenager asked about it, I grinned and told her about 1968. I was 13 that year and remember how the news on television was all apocalyptic.

I became aware, and I became scared.

That was the year of the Tet offensive in Vietnam; hundreds of Americans killed every week. The Russians had hundreds of nuclear missiles pointed at us. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. The North Koreans kidnapped an entire ship full of American sailors. Young people were calling soldiers baby killers; the Democratic National Convention turned into a police riot where young people were beaten with clubs.

And then came 1969. And then 1970. And life went on.

It wasn't all good in some years, but it went on. And so now, as I told my kid, I don't assume the world is coming to an end just because someone says so on television.

People who talk about the end of the world are not the sort of people who talk about perspective, critical thinking and rational thought. They are usually pretty sure of their opinions, and they talk about it like it's all some sort of accomplished fact.

So here's an accomplished fact: When the millennium comes, at midnight on Jan. 1, I'm going to be fast asleep.

I'm going to greet the dawn of a new century by getting up, just like I always do and eat food that is bad for me. And then, unless it is raining fire and brimstone outside, I'm going to go down for a walk along the Arkansas River.

If I'm lucky, it'll be one of those pretty cold mornings, when both the clouds and the river turn a soft luminescent pink just before sunrise.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Roy Wenzl can be reached at 268-6219 or rwenzl@wichitaeagle.com.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ) The Wichita Eagle || Return to top

-- Thomas G. Hale (hale.tg@att.net), August 03, 1999


I would whish him a nice walk and say, goodbye it was nice knowin ya.

-- FLAME AWAY (BLehman202@aol.com), August 03, 1999.

It's sad that he doesn't listen to his daughter, who is clearly wiser than he is. Unfortunately for her and her brother, they will pay the ultimate price for their father's incredible stupidity. His little morning walk better not last long or else he will find his family killed and his home burned by the time he gets back.

-- (its@coming.soon), August 03, 1999.

I just wouldn't know what to say to someone who is that sure of his own opinion.

-- Mara Wayne (MaraWayne@aol.com), August 03, 1999.


In the definitions below there is no mention of a Messiah or Saviour being someone coming to round up anyone and burn them forever. It's a clever lie...but a lie it is. Notice the words...defend, deliver, get victory [over tyrants]. You said...

"Especially if you hear that there might be some sort of Messiah mixed up in all this, fixing to send the damned down to their eternal agony."

Definition of Messiah: Strongs 4899. mashiyach, maw-shee'-akh; from H4886; anointed; usually a consecrated person (as a king, priest, or saint); spec. the Messiah:--anointed, Messiah.

Definition of Saviour: Strongs 3467. yasha', yaw-shah'; a prim. root; prop. to be open, wide or free, i.e. (by impl.) to be safe; causat. to free or succor:-- X at all, avenging, defend, deliver (- er), help, preserve, rescue, be safe, bring (having) salvation, save (-iour), get victory.

Take care and don't worry about lies, overcome liars with the truth...whatever the situation.

-- Mark hillyard (foster@inreach.com), August 03, 1999.

Ask him how he will face his children if he is wrong. Tears and apologies will not feed the hungry.

-- Linda A. (adahi@muhlon.com), August 03, 1999.

It's not the odds.. it's the risk...

If you gamble and lose on this one, well, enjoy your children in the time left.

-- Carl (slowlygi@stubborn.com), August 03, 1999.

The man has no clue what Y2K is actually about. He lives in the Bible belt and obviously has some Christain phobia of some sort. Anyone who would continue to point at Christains alone, in respect to Y2K in *August 1999*, when he has access to the facts and figures........is an asshole supreme. Not once did he mention computers. Another glowing example of literary talent gone amuck. An amoeba with a vocabulary and a pen. Idiot.

-- Will continue (farming@home.com), August 03, 1999.

I would suggest to him that critical thinking is something he might like to try. That he needs to look beneath the glossy covers and read the agate type, talk to some people, like the chief of police in (I think) Solon, OH, who'll bend his ear. Of course, not a lot of this will work. As has been pointed out, he has his mind pretty much made up. Maybe we can have Flint reason with him, particularly because he speaks the language of prudence better than anyone I know.



-- Chuck, a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), August 03, 1999.


Do you have life insurance?

-- Deborah (infowars@yahoo.com), August 04, 1999.

His comments in the 6th paragraph are stunning.

".....when you allow a people to have a First Ammendment. They tend to say almost anything".

My, my.

*Allow* a people to have a First Ammendent.

Allow is a word used to convey permission. In my way of thinking, it is completely different than an inherant right.


-- Wilferd (WilferdW@aol.com), August 04, 1999.

Say this,

Dear Roy,

Do you have homeowner's insurance and auto insurance?

Wow, what a fool you are.

The odds are very low that you will ever need them.

Get rid of them now.

-- mabel (mabel_louise@yahoo.com), August 04, 1999.


You came oh, so close to understanding the issue, but then derailed. I single you out only as an illustration, since your fellow extremists make the same error so consistently.

Of course insurance is a good idea. It is never foolish to be prepared against low-probability but high-impact threats. But the key here is the low probability. Wenzl recognizes this, and you give lip service to it, but just LOOK at the responses here.

1) Scotty assumes the man will die. Not low probability. Certainty.

2)its@coming assumes his family will be killed and his house burned. Not low probability. Certainty.

3) Linda A assumes he is wrong. Nowhere does Wenzl say he is preparing or he isn't, but everyone here assumes he is not SOLELY because Wenzl talks only about the probabilities.

4) Next, Carl assumes he'll die if he gambles and loses. Another certainty. People have gambled they won't have fires or auto accidents and been wrong without dying. And many many more have made the same gamble and won.

5) Mark starts in on his usual religious kick, almost entirely off topic.

6) Will continue calls Wenzel an "asshole supreme". This is the all- too-typical extremist synonymn for "disagrees with me".

Mabel, where in all this knee-jerk response do you see *anyone* talk about probabilities? What we find in this nuthouse is people who *know* that y2k is *sure* to be fatal for *everyone* who doesn't make significant preparations.

I've lost count of the number of times I've encouraged preparations, or detailed my own rather extensive preparations. But because I don't holler gloom at every pretext and run around calling realists "assholes" for failing to toe the party line, I've read several posters here who have come out and said that I'm sure to die because I'm not preparing!

Once you take the position that the odds that preparations will be requited is 100% for everyone, you're not talking about odds at all anymore. Instead, you're taking a position that has abandoned any pretense at critical thinking or perspective.

So once again, I personally feel preparations are a worthwhile investment and I recommend making them. I think the odds that you'll *need* those preparations is low like most insurance, but not so low that I'd choose to risk not having them. I agree with the director of y2k research at Gartner Group who says "doing nothing is probably a safe bet". He's right, it probably is. For the vast majority, doing nothing will prove the most cost-effective course of action. But for the minority who needed that insurance and didn't have it, life will be very hard (and perhaps short).

Wenzl's daughter is acting like a child, which is understandable because she *is* a child. Wenzl himself admits acting the same way during his childhood. When I was 15, I decided not to do my homework during the Cuban missile crisis because I was sure the world would end the next day anyway! Most people outgrow this stage, but sadly you still find grown children who write: "his daughter...is clearly wiser than he is". This attitude represents *denial* of the odds, not recognition of them.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), August 04, 1999.

Hi Flint,

I'm personally going with "moderate probability / high stakes" as opposed to "low probability / high stakes" but the reasoning remains the same.

I'm basing my own probability estimates on credible sources:

Capers Jones has predicted 15% of the country will have an avg. 5 day power loss.

Bruce Webster has predicted 25% of the country will experience blackouts, brownouts and rationing.

Rick Cowles has predicted that only 15% of the power companies will be fully remediated.

The government says otherwise, but they have no credibility after they've been caught in lies.

I know you can argue the validity and status of the data, but a (far-from) "non-zero probability" remains.

I never gamble, and that's why I'm preparing.

-- mabel (mabel_louise@yahoo.com), August 04, 1999.

The Aftermath of the Year 2000 Problem, Capers Jones

An Interview With Rick Cowles

Looking for Webster URL, it has changed.

-- mabel (mabel_louise@yahoo.com), August 04, 1999.

Bruce Webster's Initial Response To The Senate Y2K Report

-- mabel (mabel_louise@yahoo.com), August 04, 1999.

An interesting post and set of answers.

Although I'm prepping for an 8-10, I most certainly *do NOT* know that I will be defending my rice and beans and canned hams (Check out Sam's-$5.29 for three one pound cans [g]) with deadly force next year. Is it possible? Yep. Do I take the possibility "seriously"? Yep. Could I be completely wrong? Yep. In fact, I hope so.

Folks, this is a time when we are substituting our best judgement, our take, for firm knowledge. I know the temptation to let speech slide into absolutes. It makes us feel better. But, the doubt is still there. We could all get lucky, Uncle Murphy may give us a break.

For myself, even when talking to my dear bride or my daughter, I try very hard to say "IF things turn out as I am afraid they will", rather than "When everything falls apart next year".

I'm pretty sure it's gonna be a mess. I think we will eventually muddle through. Me, I'm gonna kind of be on the sidelines. Not in the way, just taking care of me and mine.

On the other hand, my new goats and chickens and pigs will REALLY enjoy all that grain and beans if I'm wrong.....

Will, can I pick on you a here for a bit, pretty please? We are all free citizens here (with respect to Milne and Invar). No matter if we think someone who chooses not to prepare is an idiot, foolish, or not fulfilling their parental responsibilities, that IS their right.

I saw one of my nieces at Memorial Day. About 12 years old. She asked me about this Y2K thing. I started to talk to her, didn't know quite how to begin. Her Mom walked in, heard what we were talking about, and said, "Mandy, your Dad doesn't think it is going to be bad. You don't need to worry".

Will, should I have jumped in, called my sister an idiot, tried to convince her or the niece that we were all toast? What if I convinced the girl but not the mom? The parents "WON'T" do anything, they don't even carry life insurance, despite incomes in the six figures, total.

Would I have been better off to have burdened the girl with fear while leaving her in the hands of parents who are sure the world will always continue on the way it is?

Sorry about my ramblings, just some thoughts that are on my mind. It is so easy to hang out here, surround yourself with somewhat "like minded" people, that you start to develop a confrontational attitude toward those who feel differently.

I have no arguement with people who have researched the situation and have formed an opinion based on that research, even if the opinion is totally opposite of mine. I do object to those, apparently like the writer of the original piece, who take a stand based on little knowledge and less analysis.

-- Jon Williamson (jwilliamson003@sprintmail.com), August 04, 1999.

Sorry Jon. You need to read my post again. I never mentioned his daughter or his response to her. I was speaking of 'his' view of Y2K, and his disregard for the facts before printing it!

-- Will continue (farming@home.com), August 06, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ