Notes from the field : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Mr. Wilferd and I attended the "Y2k Community Conversations" meeting held last evening at the Blue River Community College in Independence, Mo. This is #4 of 7 scheduled meetings here in the KC area of the "Koskinen Road Show".

First meeting was held (October 7th) in VERY upscale part of town; land of the SUV; "Yuppieville". Presenters were appropriately 'slicked-up'. This was held in a different part of the metro (more retired manufacturing), and I thought it might be a little different; I was right.

Got there halfway through the Koskinen video. Room was PACKED - I counted 57 people besides the presenters/helpers. Decidedly older crowd; appeared that only 3 other people besides hubby and myself were under 55 - probably most were over 65. LOTS of note takers. Note: This part of the metro area (eastern Jackson County) is heavily populated with RLDS - Reorganized Latter Day Saints, an offshoot of the Mormon religion. Normally prudent folk; pantries are a way of life. Very conservative. Gives credence to the old "I'm from Missouri - Show me" slogan. Low tolerance for BS.

Went through the usual song and dance routine with panel members from local utilities, city governments, Red Cross, etc. Had different people representing these entities at this meeting than at the first. Panel members were not as 'slick' as at the first meeting; little more 'folksy' (?deliberately choosen to 'relate' to the common-folk?) Standard stuff: "Social Security" -- We can cut you a manual check if need be...Someone will be in the office on January 1, 2000...

Yadda, yadda, yadda....

What I did, though, was watch the presenters closely this time. Watched expressions, watched body language, watched panelist's expressions to what the other panelists were saying, etc. Most appeared VERY uncomfortable; fidgeting, avoidance of eye contact, blushing...

As before, after the individual spiels, questions were solicited from the floor. WHOA!!! Big time GI's, this bunch! Doggedly persistent, too. Lots of these folks had done their homework (obviously better than the panelists) and would not accept a 'pat' answer. Had questions and follow-up questions. Tried to press the panelists for answers. Were frustrated when they weren't getting any 'substance' from the panelists.

But did they/we really GET any answers? NO. The rep from the MO Bankers Association kept saying that their business was/is founded on a basis of TRUST. Kept saying we needed to 'trust them'. He kept repeating "trust us" so many times it was beginning to be of concern to the audience. Gag me. A question was posed as to who, exactly, the FDIC insures - the banks themselves, or the individual account holders; another question was asked again and again, "whose records will be legally final if there *is* a discrepancy? Mine or the banks?" Emphasis was placed on good record keeping, and that if there was a problem, we are to just 'sit down and work it out with them'. "DON'T TAKE YOUR MONEY OUT OF THE BANK!!" Another quote from this guy: "A lot of you folks don't have the facts like the people on this panel up here do."...."All the banks in the state of Missouri are ready. Everything's working great." Real red in the face, yes he was.

Lady from the Red Cross said to store a gallon of water per person per day. Later on in the program, she slipped (?Freudian?) and said to prepare for 3 weeks, then caught herself (turned BRIGHT red) and said "I mean... 3 Days." Another Red Cross quote: "We *do* disasters. That's a lot of what we do." When asked about having shelters, she said "We always have provisions for shelters." She mentioned something about 320 locations. (For whole metro area??!?)

The rep from KCP&L was rather quiet and soft spoken; he was asked a question from the audience that I could not quite catch, but he answered with "....have set the date to 2027...". What the heck???!?

But, I'll have to tell you, the most chilling thing we saw was in response to a question about martial law. A gentleman asked a fairly generalized question about the police department and the possibility of martial law. A representative from one of the local PD's answered with the usual non-committal "I know NOTHING" doggerel...all the while his right leg was shaking uncontrollably! His right leg had a life of its own...really jumping up and down, back and forth...his face was earnest; his leg was dancing. Many people noticed this, even though he was sitting in the back row. Lots of whispers and surreptitious pointing to his leg.

We watched the faces of the audience, too....I believe we were sitting in a room full of mostly GI's at the start of the program; if anyone was on the fence, I don't think they are NOW......lots of shaking heads, pursed lips. A polite crowd, yes. A crowd that bought this PR, no. Didn't see anyone look happy. No sighs of relief here.

The next scheduled performance of the Koskinen road show is next week - November 2nd (Tuesday) at the Kansas City, KS Community College, in the Performing Arts Center, starting at 7pm. I'll be at that one, too. This will be the one I'm most interested in; it'll be the one for *my* county/city.

-- Wilferd (, October 27, 1999


Thanks for the post.

Non-verbal communication is extremely important.

Not much to say except, "keep 'em coming".

-- Me (, October 27, 1999.

My feeble attempt to comment coherently...A fellow I saw interviewed on Oprah last year explained why people should go with their gut feelings when dealing with strangers and potentially dangerous circumstances. He was talking about crimes like rape and assault, not y2k, but I remember something he said. He said if you don't trust someone, or you don't really have a reason to trust someone (a stranger, for instance) and that person keeps insisting that you trust him (I'll just help you get these groceries in your door and I'll go, I PROMISE), you should go with your gut feelings of resistance. He said anyone who uses phrases like "trust me" and "I promise" really has something else in mind, or he wouldn't feel the need to reinforce his message that way. Sorry I don't remember the guy's name or the name of his book. His book was about letting fear be your guide as a survival mechanism.

-- helen (, October 27, 1999.

I think the book may be titled "The Gift of Fear".

-- helen (, October 27, 1999.

"now---I want you'all to listen to me. (finger point)

"I'm going to say this one more time". (red faced anger)

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman"

A respected philosopher I once read said--"feelings never lie"

-- D.B. (, October 27, 1999.

Nice job, Wilferd.


-- dave (, October 27, 1999.

Thanks, Wilferd,

The information is much appreciated. Be sure to wear some waders to the next meeting. That would be a big hit with the panel.


-- gene (, October 27, 1999.

My experience with used car salesmen who say "you can trust me," is that you cannot trust them!

-- Mad Monk (, October 27, 1999.


Great post. Thanks for the heads up on the next meeting. Just so happens that I'm free next Tuesday. Think I'll meander on up.

-- lvz (, October 27, 1999.

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