Spin Supreme at Today's Local Y2K Expo

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

Today, the City of Gainesville, Florida held a Y2K Expo with representatives from utilities, banks, police and emergency management. First, I have to describe the ad in the paper. It's too cute to believe. The slogan is "We're OK with Y2K" with the "O" in OK being the city seal. Obviously, I knew what to expect but went anyway for curiousity's sake.

It was from 9-11:30 am and I was there between 10:00 and 10:30. Only a handful of people were there.

Two conversations I had were very interesting. The first was with two gentlemen representing First National Bank of Alachua. In an attempt to be nonconfrontational, I began by saying, "Obviously, the biggest danger to banks right now is the public's reaction to Y2K. If their reaction is negative, do you have any plans to limit withdrawals?"

Their response: "We don't have any plans for that. But when someone comes in and asks to withdraw an UNUSUALLY large amount, we want to sit down with them and ask what it's for. And then we want to explain to them the dangers of taking out large amounts of cash. There's no place safer to have your money than in the bank. It's not going to disappear. Where are you going to put that money? You may lose it, it may be stolen OR (I swear he said this) you might hide it and forget where you put it. Why, now the criminals are starting to work in teams at banks. One person inside and one person outside and the one inside watches to see who is leaving with a lot of cash and then the person outside robs him as he comes out!" -- this "safety" discussion went on and on.

I said, "Well, the money's always there, yes, but not if everyone decided to take their money out." He said, "But you can ask for a statement and you can SEE your money's there. And there's always certificates of deposit that you can take home with you and SEE that you have that much money.. or traveller's checks."

I gave up at that point.

I worked my way around the room. Stoppped at emergency management and asked why there has not been any article or notice in the local paper advising the "3-day" preparations that FEMA suggests and he said, "But it's on our website." I really felt like I was talking to 3-year-olds by this point. I said, "What about people who don't have computers or don't go to your website, wouldn't it be advisable to publish it in the paper for people who don't have any knowledge of it yet?" And I swear he looked at me with wide eyes and said, "You know, that sound like a really good idea!" Couldn't figure if he was being condescending or not.

Last but definitely not least, was the table for Gainesville Police Department. I picked up the brochure they had and the gentleman behind the table, who looked very bored, said to me, "Just let me know if you have any questions...(slight pause).. but I'm just going to say the same thing everyone else has said - We're ready." And he went back to his reading!

So much for the dissemination of information.

BTW, one table was set up specifically to reassure us that the traffic lights will still work. This was the most extravagant set-up with an actual working traffic light and computer screens and electronic equipment.

-- dakota (none@thistime.com), October 30, 1999


Dakota: I've been to one of those. Betcha didn't know whether to laugh or cry, did ya? I didn't.

When the police rep said "We're ready" why didn't you say "PROVE IT"? Hee hee. I would have loved to see the expression...

I have also wondered why FEMA and the Red Cross haven't given their OFFICIAL recomendations more publicity. I mean, they want people to know, but they don't, right? I have told so many of my friends of their recomendations (personally I recommend more than 3 days but I don;t mention it anymore) and they are always surprised to hear it. I refer them to the website where they find out for sure and are REALLY surprised.

-- preparing (preparing@home.com), October 30, 1999.

Yesterday, went to the local Salvation Army thrift store and spoted "Y2K-Be prepared !"--"What you need to know!" handout. In it they state FEMA suggests, 4 days food and water. Info available online ,www.salvationarmy.usawest.org

-- Capt. Dennis (capden@hotmail.com), October 30, 1999.


Your conclusion about "Spin Supreme" is based on the unshakeable conviction that they're all lying to you. They spent the money to put on a whole expo, complete with detailed exhibits, just to lie to people!

And the bankers do indeed have those options. What's wrong with them? Personally, I appreciate the bankers talking to those who take out big wads of cash -- historically, the big cash-withdrawers have been victims of con men often enough to justify the curiosity. If you just automatically assume the banks have big bugs, what could they possibly have said to reassure you? They answered your questions in some detail, and you "gave up" because it wasn't the horror story that you were determined to hear, true or not! Good work!

What should the police tell you, assuming (for grins) that they might actually be ready? Do you want demonstrations of all of their equipment and business systems? What would possibly satisfy you?

As for Emergency Management, it sounds like they may be dropping the ball (except for the expo itself, of course). Did you think to ask them what their budget might be for dissemination of preparation information? Or do you prefer lower taxes instead?

I can't help but applaud the traffic light exhibit. Someone went to a great deal of trouble to actually *show* how it all works, to anyone genuinely curious. Were you curious enough to understand the technical details so as to make a determination for yourself as to the vulnerability of the traffic light system? Or did you just blow it off as another exercise in spin?

In a nutshell, there just is NO WAY to get the word to someone whose ignorant conviction of serious problems is so ironclad. I recommend you go to an expo where people are selling survival supplies. They'll be more than glad to agree with whatever you believe so long as you buy stuff. You just went to the wrong place.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), October 30, 1999.


Whose "ignorant conviction of serious problems" are you talking about? The US Navy? The Gartner Group? The GAO? FEMA (who are preparing for "simultaneous disaster scenarios in all 50 states")? The National Guard? You aren't ignorant, as you wag your finger at someone who is justifiably frustrated by the obfuscation and unresponsiveness of the arrogant "public servants" WHOSE SALARY SHE PAYS. There is a mountain of evidence for serious disruption coming, you denial-squad hack, and you know it. How dare you call Dakota "ignorant"?! You're just running interference between those of us like Dakota, who are informed of the danger, and new people, who are worried, but willing to cling onto lies like those you peddle here. You know they want someone to tell them it's going to be okay, and that's what you're paid to offer, to make them go away satisfied - and vulnerable. Wave it all away, ignore it, accuse those who are aware of "ignorance" or confabulation. Keep the situation under control for your masters... You are the lowest form of human being, and blood will be on your hands for the lies you tell.


-- Liberty (liberty@theready.now), October 30, 1999.

The reason why Dakota felt likeed they were lying to him is becasue he went with a prejudiced mind, he said so himself:

"Obviously, I knew what to expect but went anyway for curiousity's sake."

Obviously there was no shaking his resolve to find the glass half empty.

-- (_@_._@_._@_.), October 30, 1999.

Interesting sidebar for those who don't know:

Flint must have had an awful lot of that "ignorant conviction of serious problems" to prep like he has. He has said that he has one year of preps. It's easy to pose as quite cool and unconcerned about potential y2k dangers and possible misinformation when one has hoards of preps. For somebody who prides himself on being so "rational," isn't it rather irrational to have such extensive preps if one doesn't believe there is going to be an impactful problem?

-- (I'llbethejudge@rational.com), October 30, 1999.

When I went to the bank the other day, I noticed a guy wearing a ski mask, standing around by the front door in the bushes. Didn't think much about it, but then, there was another one, with a walkie-talkie, in the teller's lobby.

I NEVER would've thought they were robbing people on the way out! I am so thankful those bankers are looking out for all us terribly stupid, gullible folks.

BTW, Flint, maybe it would have made Dakota feel better, if the Police had explained their contingency plans for possible failures, and what they expected to do to safeguard Dakotas neighborhood. Or just a discussion of emergency preparedness. Or, perhaps since they went to all the trouble to stage the thing, they could have been just a little more in tune to the citizen's concerns.

Oh, but wait. I realize I'm just using Lon-logic again. It's actually much better to just realize that we are all ignorant, pre-disposed Doomers, who will actually be the real problem as we sit in our fortified bunkers with years of supplies and pray for the power to go out, so we can shoot innocent strangers in our deranged panic on New Years day.

-- Lon Frank (lgal@exp.net), October 30, 1999.

Liberty, Thank you for your eloquent defense. It is appreciated.

In my own defense, I stated - "Obviously. i knew what to expect..." SIMPLY because of the logo on the advertisement - "We're OK with Y2K". Any moron could read that and come to a pretty good conclusion they weren't going to be there to instigate panic.

My main argument with this event was the (IMHO) complete unwillingness of any of the participants to engage in an intelligent discussion. Perhaps I did not convey my thoughts well enough in my original post. This was a group of people sent by their supervisors to sit for 2 hours and give a rehearsed speech (for the most part). For example, neither the Manager nor the Assistant Manager of the County Emergency Management Office were present. The men from the bank sounded like a broken record with their "It's safe!" speech. No matter how I phrased a question, they gave me the same answer. They did not listen or think about my question. It's what we've seen over and over again all the way up the ladder. "Everything's fine because I said so." They would not address my "what if" scenarios.

Actually, it was only the traffic light guy who actually did listen to me. He did address the issue of "what if" the power went out in terms of contingency plans for traffic control.

Flint, contrary to your opinion, I did not believe everyone was lying to me. In actuality, I'm sad to say, I think most people were telling the truth. I think they believe everything they said. I only wish I had had the opportunity to talk with people within those organizations who perhaps have greater vision. That is, if they exist.

-- dakota (none@thistime.com), October 30, 1999.


OK, maybe I was too harsh. I agree there's a good chance that those at the expo really didn't know where their departments stood on remediation or contingency plans. Certainly none of them *want* to see a worried public, whether or not that worry is justified. And you realize these people are unlikely to have been salesmen (in the sense of being comfortable with the public and fluent in fielding questions outside their expertise). They probably *really* didn't want to be there.

But the thrust of my post remains -- what could anyone there have possibly done to *convince* you that they were actually ready? Yes, bank runs are always possible, that's a different question. What could the bankers have done to satisfy you that their computer systems were OK?

My general problem is, IF organizations have fixed and tested their systems, THEN how can they best get the word out? I strongly doubt that it's possible to change the mind of someone like Liberty under any circumstances whatever.

So I ask you, dakota. If you *knew* your systems were OK, HOW could you convice Liberty of this? What would you do?

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), October 30, 1999.

Ok, Flint and all of your ilk, I have just ONE question for you that this post reminded me of. I am ALWAYS asking this question of the people I speak to that pooh-pooh ANY possibilty of anything going wrong BASED ON what the people who are running things say.

Do you REALLY HONESTLY think for one tiny second that if things WEREN'T looking good, or that if TPTB even THOUGHT that something might go wrong that they would actually TELL people?

I mean let's take the goverment and say, Corporation X, and your local friendly power company. Let's say they don't know what will happen (they don't, by the way, unless they got their crystal ball, mine is still on backorder) or let's say they have serious doubts about their ability to stay up/keep functioning/whatever come the new year. Do you think they would say "Ok folks, looks like we really didn't start this soon enough and we are just getting to the testing first week of November. If anything comes up screwy we are going to work our asses off to fix it, but it probably won't be done before the end of the year."

NO! Hell no they aren't going to say that! Good God, no! They aren't even going to let people think for ONE second that everything isn't hunky-dorey. I'm not saying everything isn't, please understand that, I am just saying that their response to the question will ALWAYS be "Yes, everything is fine, we are ready" whether they are or aren't.

THAT is why we "doomers" as you call us (I call myself a "Preparer"-- hey, you ought to, too!) take all this happy face crap with a big shaker of salt. I, for one, LIKE the fact that I have the ability to think for myself.

BTW, YOU don't know what will happen, either. I don't. No one does.

-- preparing (preparing@home.com), October 30, 1999.

At this late date, without 3rd party independant verification, ain't NOBODY gonna get convinced. Possibly, the only people who will have a switch will be some of the 'pollies,' who (unlike decker, flint et al.) didn't start to prep seriously before, might just start doing so as best they can now. Without the famed "3rd party indepedant verification panel" there is just no way in hell to tell if any group is ready. Not until 'the rubber meets the road' on 01-01-00 and time after will we know who was truly correct.

-- Billy Boy (Rakkasan@Yahoo.com), October 30, 1999.

Flint thinks he's dealing with children here.

What an arrogant prick.

Once someone's insulted you, why engage them? Why go back for more?

It's too bad he really is clever and slimy; he's unlikely to get himself deleted or banned. But his weakness is typical: because he is clever, he thinks everyone else is stupid, and addresses them as if they were: "now, little dakota, I just want you to close your eyes for a moment and imagine that all the problems are solved, and I want you to put yourself in the place of those authority figures..." What manipulative horseshit! THE UNITED STATES SENATE AND THE GAO WARN THAT A HUGE NUMBER OF MUNICIPALITIES ARE GOING DOWN THE TUBES! KOSKINEN SAYS THAT'S WHERE THE REAL PROBLEM IS! If your bureacrats are patronizing and tight-lipped - or just lacking info because they're clueless - that's MORE reason to suspect there's real trouble.

Flint, just complete your patronizing Mr. Rodgers routine by changing back out of your sweater and tennis shoes and getting the hell out of here.


-- Liberty (liberty@theready.now), October 30, 1999.


I find it hard to believe you about anything when every one one of your posts has a personal attack/insult included.

At least I can applaud Flint for being level headed. I'd rather take advice from him over you any day, and I am sure that lurkers of this forum agree.

-- (tedjennings@business.net), October 30, 1999.


That has been the rub from the beginning, in our inquiry. The fact that the person in responsibility cannot afford to tell us "bad news", makes the "good news" answer suspect, if not moot. In fact, not only is the answer of no value, the question itself is hopelessly unrealistic.

Flint knows this, and continually plays this card. We cannot afford to believe the good news, so what will satify us? Nothing. Plain and simple. Nothing but our own research, and (Heaven forbid) our own ability to formulate an opinion.

Can you actually see the bankers at the Y2K expo, wringing their hands and whispering to people, "listen, we really don't know how this will all wash out, but we are definately at risk of misplacing your electronic funds". Well, actually they did say that for a while. One of the first things I heard about Y2K was "the banks are absolutely safe, but you should make copies of all your records". HUMMMM.

And Flint, I owe you an appology (of sorts). I have always tried not to respond crossly to anyone in particular, but you just have a talent for pushing my buttons. I believe you are playing a game, sir. I know you have taken on the "Devils advocate" role, but your excellent debating skills have outlived their usefulness. Your arguments have become shallow and hipocritical, at best. Please continue to post, but quit falling back on the same old routine; you're better than that. You have made us think over the past months, and I hope you will again. I actually liked very much your recent postings on the embedded chip debate. I know you've had just cause to lash out, but leave the name-calling to little folks like me.

-- Lon Frank (lgal@exp.net), October 30, 1999.


I think your questions deserve the best answer I can offer. I believe you are oversimplifying badly, and I'd like to explain why I think this way.

[Ok, Flint and all of your ilk]

Everyone here is an individual. That's a lot of different ilks. Some of us might be in substantial agreement with others on some topics and disagree violently on others. It's a perceptual error to lump people together into ilks.

[I am ALWAYS asking this question of the people I speak to that pooh- pooh ANY possibilty of anything going wrong BASED ON what the people who are running things say.]

I don't do that. I agree there are real problems. I was trying (poorly, perhaps) to address the means by which the real story, *whatever it is*, can be best communicated to a public composed of people who don't want to hear it. Face it, this forum represents a highly aware, very small subset of the general population. dakota pointed out that the expo was sparsely attended. Most people don't want to hear that things might be bad. Many here don't want to hear that things might not be bad. It's very hard to find anyone who actually wants to hear.

[Do you REALLY HONESTLY think for one tiny second that if things WEREN'T looking good, or that if TPTB even THOUGHT that something might go wrong that they would actually TELL people?]

This question is nowhere NEAR as rhetorical as you intend. If problems were being deliberately kept a dark secret, this forum could hardly exist at all. Yet here we have a whole forum full of good investigators, constantly finding examples of companies having problems, companies admitting problems, Rossotti and Cosgrove admitting IRS hasn't finished their inventory yet, surveys (this is self-reported information) by Weiss, Cap Gemini, Gartner Group etc. showing companies doing poorly, on and on. Even Koskinen has come out and said that there will be problems, and they will last for weeks or months. By law, companies are publishing their contingency plans. Contingency plans aren't cheap, and the money wouldn't be spent if no problems were anticipated. The fact that the computerized world is full of date bugs is no secret from anyone.

I'll readily accept that a lot of the PR stuff that's released tends to minimize the problem. But nobody can possibly know how accurate or how misleading these releases are. I think it's as incorrect to swallow all this happyface stuff at face value, as it is to discount it 100%. Those hundreds of billions of remediation dollars may not have all been spent wisely, but that's a LOT of simoleons. I think also some fairly reliable and knowledgeable people here have good reason to believe their own shops are in good shape.

No, I certainly don't know what's coming. I've prepared fairly extensively, and I recommend that everyone else do the same. Even if things are pretty good in most places, your own situation might be very dicey nonetheless. People at *both* ends of the spectrum all have what they consider excellent reasons for exaggerating their respective extremes.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), October 30, 1999.

All opinions, doomer and polly, are extreme, as they fall to either side of my divine equilibrium. I am preparing, but I am not a polly. I challenge your suspicion of public officials and company flaks, but at the same time, I admit that they do not tell the truth. Do not mistake my celestial complexity for mere, mortal self-contradiction, for your puny mind cannot possibly grasp it. From your extreme, prejudiced view, my panoramic understanding of the issues may seem like hypocritical fence-straddling, but, as always, you are wrong. How can I make you understand? I can't. You are determined to be ignorant. It must be enough for me that I can make you doubt yourself, and so that has become my mission here. Doubt your understanding. Doubt your negative views. And believe in the authorities, give them the benefit of the doubt. They know. You don't. Remember that, children.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), October 30, 1999.

No, that wasn't me.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), October 30, 1999.

We tolerate almost anything here, but it is NOT acceptable to post using someone else's name!

-- Lon Frank (lgal@exp.net), October 30, 1999.

On the other hand, it was a delightful parody, and I quite enjoyed it. And it does illustrate that some people want solid answers, *any* answers, all the more desperately when there are NO answers. The human mind does not deal well with complex ambiguity; this takes training and practice, and it's nearly the case that you can't even *see* the need for such training and practice if you don't already have it. A chicken and egg problem. Where is Truth, when you're making probabalistic estimates about the future? If it doesn't exist, we have to create it. And defend it. Sort of.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), October 30, 1999.

Lon, I couldn't agree more. It would have been far more effective had it been posted under flint@imposter.com, but let's face it - it was a very acerbic and accurate parody.

-- (iknow@ilaughed.com), October 30, 1999.

Oh, come on, now. I knew right away it wasn't Flint. I did, however have to read it twice, just to be sure. :

-- Lon Frank (lgal@exp.net), October 30, 1999.

How can these agencies of government and business convince those of us who have questions ?

I was in L.A. when the sewerage bubbled up in the park and it set me to thinking about what might happen to my basement. When I called the Department of Public Works about our sewer systems, the lady who answered the phone gave me a five minute speech which was obviously canned. I contained all of the buzz words and was oriented for a person with a 6th or 7th grade education. After waiting patiently, I apologized but interrupted her and asked, "The power company has said that we should all prepare to be without power for 36 to 72 hours. How long can the lift stations go without power before we have a big problem". She did not hesitate to answer, "8 to 14 hours". The next obvious question, "What contingency plans have been put in place to handle the sewerage for those extra hours". She said, "We are going to pump every station completely empty on New Year's Eve. We are also going to station a crew at each lift station, with tested communication equipment, to monitor the levels. If the power stays off, we will put on generators and rotate pump trucks to keep each station at a safe level. If for some reason, we have a serious problem with the trucks, generators, or any other equipment which might cause a backup, we are prepared to shut off the water in localized areas for short periods of time, to allow us to catch up. We have special tanker trucks available with several hundred thousand gallons of water which can be used by the fire department in those areas where the water has been temporarily turned off. All of our municipal departments have fuel stocks with manual pumps, and all of our staff have been trained and have actually used all of the manual equipment."

I think you get the idea....but what I have really heard is something more like. "We in the Department of Public Works have been actively addressing the Y2K mediation project in an appropriate and meaningful manner. All of our staff and equipment are Y2K ready ! Please call 555-5555 for our latest brochure "Y2K OK", or visit our website for more information. Don't forget, September is Save Water Month !"

-- Ken G. (Ordinary@guy.net), October 31, 1999.

"What is truth?" Said Pilate, and washed his hands of the matter. It is an ancient gambit.

Wherever the power goes out people, especially our elders, are going to freeze in great numbers; they will go to sleep shivering and never wake up. People crowded into shelters and "warming centers" will get sick; the heroic efforts of public health officials to limit the spread of antibiotic-resistant strains of disease will come to nothing. When the economy contracts, what is the your "probabalistic estimate" of the number of men who will beat their wives and kids because they've lost everthing and have no job, no dignity? Will it matter to the wives and kids in question whether unemployment is 40% or 60%? Perhaps your amazing mind, trained as it is in the vitally important practice of "ambiguity," will contain some words of comfort for them. How many will take it on themselves and cut their wrists open or blow their brains out because they can't feed their children? Affected cities will implode; the National Guard couldn't police South Central Los Angeles when the lights were on and the phones worked. That happened because one man was beaten and unavenged. That's all it took. Everyone had their welfare checks, their food stamps, and all the t.v.s were working just fine.

This is what the military, and the National Guard, and the Police, and emergency services, and hospitals, and governments all over the world are planning for. They have mobilized ARMIES to brace for this (in Canada, it's the largest land operation the Canadian Army has ever undertaken). And the little people hear about the advisability of "preparing for a storm." Right. The super-rich like Buffet and Gates are buying precious metals and taking physical possession, getting out of the game while the price of gold is held down, while millions in PR dollars are spent "calming the herd" so that they don't cash out of the market or take their money out of the banks - until it's time.

We are headed down the rabbit hole. This is not going to be "business as usual," with "perhaps a bump in the road." Forces are poised to take advantage of this chaos, and a bolthole or two full of racist goon scapegoats should be the least of our worries. The globalist noose is around our necks and tightening: the UN says it now supercedes the sovereignty of nations; Strobe Talbot informs us that global governance is already here, America as a nation means nothing, and we ought to get used to it. The posse commitatus act, which prevents the turning of armed military against U.S. citizens, has been effectively overturned. Cohen tells us that we should not fear tanks and troops on our streets. The FBI tells us that people who fear a globalist takeover are threats; their potential for violence must be supressed. These are the men who hold the highest offices of the land. No, I don't think that the Y2k breakdown that the nations of the world, the cities and towns and corporations of the world are feverishly planning for, will be "business as usual."

You can always say "we don't know what will happen." Just as you can comfort someone by saying "shhh, don't worry." But when your house is on fire and someone is taking advantage of that fact to burglarize it, that's not an appropriate time for comforting words. I don't see a lot of difference between the burglar and the purveyor of "ambiguity" in that situation.


-- Liberty (liberty@theready.now), October 31, 1999.

From: Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr (pic), near Monterey, California

Last spring I went to a "community conversation" in a neighboring county. At an appropriate moment I asked how the police department is preparing for the possibility of civil unrest. The answer I got is: "We can't imagine that that would be a problem."

My thought is, "Well, TRY HARDER!"

What could they have possibly said that would have made me feel that the police department will be well able to handle the troubles that come their way? I would have been positively impressed if they would have assured me that they are giving no vacation days during Decmeber and January, and also have hired several additional officers. I would like to know that their police dispatch radios will be working OK without electricity. Why didn't they mention the state of the 911 service? Could it be that they didn't even think to check it?

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage), October 31, 1999.


I've been following this thread with emotions from discomfort to sheer anger. Allow me to explain. I'm the cop behind the Y2K booth (no, I'm NOT the cop who was at the Expo.) I'm a police Lieutenant from a large North Jersey agency who has been studying Y2K for the past year.

I have talked with people from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, to police in England, to scientists from NASA to company presidents doing IV&V (Independant verification & validation), to to Congressmen and State Department Officials to Emergency Management Coordinators all over the country. I have also been deeply involved in Emergency Management for the past 7 years, and have been a cop for the last 18 years. My humble opinions:

1. I don't have a clue as to what is going to happen. 2. I don't, for a second, believe that anyone knows for sure. 3. The media has done a lousy job of preparing this country. 4. Our government has done a worse job. 5. I am NOT on the same page as the rest of my local government. 6. I liken the Y2k event as to driving down the road at 25 mph and hitting a 1 foot deep pothole at night--do you have your seatbelt around you and your lights on???? if you are belted in and see it coming, you'll be OK--if not, you may be thrown out the window. Either way your car is gonna need work.

With that in mind, allow me to tell you MY side. The cop you spoke to is what we refer to as a Flaming @$$hole. I apologize to you on behalf of all cops. In MY town of 40,000; only 3 people are on my page--the Emergency management Coordinator, the Head of Public Works, and myself. I have been warning my superiors since last January (I have given them over 1,000 pages of reports; everything from the IEEE letter to Congress in June to Capers Jones, to dozens of links and "clubs" I've been in.) BTW I'm going to plug a great one- -contact Oxsys@aol.com for 7 days free of her daily newsletter. It's $20 after that--and NO, I don't get a kickback lol--the editor is a journalist from Florida who has her act together. If I, as a cop (who are normally tighter than a frog's butt) shelled out the $$$, it's worth it. Anyhow, I have been giving speeches for the past year, and even had the honor of being a guest speaker at Dr. Paula Gordon's Y2K Symposium last July in DC. From the local government point of view, the local elected officials are NOT telling you anything MOSTLY because, IMHO:

1. They are clueless. 2. They abide by the old government maxum: NEVER tell the public bad news. 3. If they reasonably BELIEVED that the SWGHTF, they WOULD be more proactive.

They are clueless because they don't have any concept of the technology or even ability to research the Internet. They are told of the concept of inter-connectiveness, embedded chips, independent validation v. self reporting, and their eyes glaze over. The Red Cross says prepare for a winter storm of 3-7 days. They think that the Red Cross is saying thats how long the problem will last, it never dawns on them that its possible the Red Cross says that because that's the average time it takes for FEMA/Red Cross/OEM/Salvation Army to set up emergency ops in a given area.

I am warned prior to giving a speech "not to scare people." Well guess what??? I believe there are times people NEED to be scared. If the American (or any people) people are not given ALL available data, they cannot make a reasonable decision on where they want resources allocated. And, I firmly believe it is the public's decision to say how much and where they want THEIR money spent. If the public is given the data and they make the WRONG decision--well so be it.

So, I give my speeches, and I don't scare people. I do however tell the people if they want to know how I--as a private citizen personally have prepared--AND I HAVE--I tell them after the meeting. I could go on and on...

I live in an area 25 miles away from where I work. I TRIED to alert neighbors (If my neighbors are not prepared, I'm not) but out of 30 families I gave materials to, only 1 understood. (They had lived through the Battle of Britain)--the rest gave me polite thank you's or replys like "I don't own a computer--it won't affect me."

The people who work for and with me refer to me as chicken little-- and I've had some truely humorous "put downs"-like the "Jesus is coming, and He is pissed" bumper sticker stuck to my desk, or the "End of the world" posters on my door. BTW--no, I don't believe its TEOTHAWKI.

If anyone wants links, feel free to email me at LtPita@aol.com. Thanks for letting me stand on my soapbox awhile.

-- RJ (LtPita@aol.com), October 31, 1999.

Thank you Ken, Liberty, Dancr, and RJ. Especially you RJ....that is the first time I have heard from someone on the front lines, as it were, that is not involved in computers in some way. It must be terribly frustrating for you.

Flint, no matter how much you say you don't straddle the fence, you do. Just because you SAY you don't contradict yourself doesn't make it true. On one hand, you agree with me that TPTB would NOT tell us if things were bad, on the other hand you bring up the fact that we have discussed documented bad news on this forum and no one has done anything about it. (So that PROVES something?) Well what are they supposed to do? Send over a bunch of trolls to jam the bandwith? ;-)

-- preparing (preparing@home.com), October 31, 1999.

RJ, my local Communications Dept. has a three-day supply of fuel for their back-up generator. The fire and rescue folks have a one-day supply. I tend to think this is the amount they have always had on hand for an emergency power interrruption and they see no reason to increase it. What's your opinion? How much back-up fuel does your PD have? Do you know what sort of supply other jurisdictions have?

Did you suffer any problems with your on-board computers when the tiem changes last night? I heard of one prolem here, probably a coincidence of course, but have not checked around.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), October 31, 1999.


This fence is a construct resulting from either/or thinking. It's like saying you either make a billion dollars or you're flat broke. If you're making, say, $30,000, is that a billion or is that zero? If you don't pick one or the other, you're straddling the fence?

I've been saying for a long time now that we have lots of indication that there will be many problems, and lots of indication that these problems won't seriously mangle the economy, much less bring civilization crashing down around us. Blend these indications all together, and you come out with a middle of the road picture. And that's where things always seem to come out in practice, too.

Any viewpoint favoring one extreme or the other simply has too much contrary evidence to ignore rationally. I'll admit that the extremists on both ends ignore all the contrary evidence *irrationally*, but that doesn't make it right.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), October 31, 1999.

RJ, I want to thank you for your post. I have been thinking that maybe this particular person the police department chose to man the booth at the expo probably would have had the same disposition no matter what the subject matter. He was a bad choice.

It's nice to hear from someone in law enforcement who is open-minded. It is also sad that you seem to be in the minority, at least in your area. Thank you for your contribution.

-- dakota (none@thistime.com), October 31, 1999.

My town OEM Coordinator had the foresight to purchase several large generators a few years back, AND to pass an ordinance so that the 50+ high rises in my town of 2.5 sq miles had to have a coomon connection so the generator could supply elevators, life support & limited heat.

Our Communications center has an EOC Office (actually 2 different buildings--I'm assigned to EOC staff) both with own generators and about a months worth of fuel. I have no knowledge of problem(s) w/ date rollover because I'm currently on vacation.

As for kvetching (NJ speak for whining), I did a newsletter for all postal customer mailouts--one page 2 sides--clean and sweet. I took it almost word for word from Red Cross (it was actually based upon a mailout from a smaller nearby town who HAS THEIR ACT TOGETHER--they even had websites including Sangersreview & Drudge Report as well as FEMA & Red Cross!!!) I changed a word here & there and added 2 more links.

Chief financial officer of town rejected ALL links and had to be "persuaded" that Red Cross link was necessary. He wanted to know why 3-7 days when he said red Cross only suggested 1-3 days. Then I had a quote from Ben Franklin--you know the one "we hang together or we will hang separtaly..." Well this guy says "get rid of it, I never liked Franklin since the key incident." (reference to experiments w/ kite and lightening.) THIS from a town w/ 30 million annual budget.

I'm beating my head...My OEM coordinator was laughed out of council meeting when he asked for $$$ to buy MRE's @ $7/CASE!!! for emergency workers--police/fire/ems during y2K and a few pallets to store in shelters--which BTW would only house 10% of population fully loaded. Why waste money, they said (yeah, a whole $1,500 he asked for--and MRE's at SEVEN bucks for 12 meals each...) THEN he asked for $$$ for potassium iodide for workers--we're 25 miles from 2 nuclear plants--not only didn't they know what it was, they told him he was an idiot.

THESE are the people WE have put in government, Ladies & Gentlemen. The cop who was reading probably didn't know squat about Y2K, and didn't want to be there to begin with--no excuse--the OEM coordinator is probably someone who had job dumped on him...well meaning but no knowledge.. Emergency services tend to have problems w/ computer technology--i.e. not to trust it, and don't like changes. They (we) figure "we did our job before computers, we'll do it without them" not knowing of course, that they are comparing appleas and grapefruits... Comments???....

-- RJ (LtPita@aol.com), October 31, 1999.

RJ: Hang in there. You are doing the right thing, and it's a shame you and your coworkers will be the ones to deal with the fallout (hopefully not literal). Good luck and thanks for sharing a perspective we don't often get around here.

Flint: I've arrived at the determination that you're a fence-straddler because you simply like the way that fence FEELS. I guess we have to take our comforts where we can find them, in these trying times...


-- Liberty (liberty@theready.now), October 31, 1999.


What county are you in and do you coach soccer?


-- TECH32 (TECH32@NOMAIL.COM), October 31, 1999.


Thanks for a very informative post.

One of the things that people don't seem to understand (and which you have highlighted in your post) is the influence of bureacratic and corporate inertia.

Keep up the good fight!

-- Midas (midas_mulligan_2000@yahoo.com), November 01, 1999.

RJ -

Many thanks for your post. I know there are many, many folks in positions of public safety reponsibility who feel as you do. I had the pleasure to talking with the Mayor and Fire Chief for the City of Poway here in San Diego County, and both of these gentlemen are working very hard to prepare the citizens for serious problems. Here's the Y2K page from Poway's website: City of Poway Y2K Compliance

They've gotten a lot of grief from many of their colleagues, as you might imagine, and they don't care. Preparedness just makes sense, peer pressure or no peer pressure.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), November 01, 1999.

Thank you for encouragement & kind words, Mac. Also that link was great. Lots of stuff I can swipe...er..uh..I mean share with others-- lol

-- RJ (LtPita@aol.com), November 01, 1999.


I'm in Bergen, and no; I don't coach soccer.

-- RJ (LtPita@aol.com), November 01, 1999.


Thanks. I'm in Bergen also and the guy who co-coaches soccer with my wife has a similar background (longtime officer now working in Emergency Services). I just didn't know how long he's been doing either/both so I thought it might be you. Oh well. It would have been too funny if you were him.

Btw, I briefly mentioned Y2K to him a few months ago and he kind of brushed it off so I let it drop. I'm not hiding the fact that I'm prepping from anyone but I'm not exactly advertising it either. I don't know if it would be a good thing or not to have someone 'on the inside' know that I've got food, fuel, ammo, etc. What's your take on the whole 'confiscation' issue? You think it might come to that if things got bad in our area??


-- TECH32 (TECH32@NOMAIL.COM), November 01, 1999.

In the spirit of T.S. Eliot: "Mediocre Web authors borrow - great Web authors steal!"

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), November 01, 1999.


I don't believe in making myself a target, either for real or imagined shadow agencies of our "I didn't inhale, I didn't have sex, what do you mean by *is*?" government.

More importantly, you don't want PEOPLE to know. How many times have you had people laugh off Y2K and say "well I know where I'll be if the lights go off..."


It was one thing, when over the past year; I made a list of EVERY PERSON I KNOW and sent them Y2K literature. I also left door opened with 'call me if you want to talk." For family, I did more; obviously--my family already knows I'm 3 sandwiches short of a picnic, I didn't have to advertize the fact... I even carried around extra materials, so if I went to get a haircut and another person was there I'd give him/her materials...it's a Judeo/Christian ethic with me--the old "do unto others."

At THIS point in time, however, I PERSONALLY believe taht with the exception of your family it is too late. If, God forbid, things get bad--i.e. weeks w/o water and/or electricity--are you going to be able to turn away your neighbors??? I might, but what about their kids??? THAT I couldn't do. EVEN after I warned the morons. And WHAT if the parents decided they weren't GOING to be turned back??? What if everyone knows you have supplies and a dozen people come knocking and decide they are not going to be turned back??

Are you going to utilized deadly force...at neighbors over a loaf of bread to feed their kids...or are these people who have been warned, didn't listen, and are comitting robbery and a home invasion...Is there a middle ground (have extra supplies & have neighbors work it off by barter or cutting wood, fetching water, utilizing some special skill--or by helping their kids and having parents do best on their own to be taken care of by our honest and competent government...)

I, for one, do NOT WANT TO BE FACED with that type of decision...If anyone has constructive ideas, PLEASE ADVISE!!!!!!!!

-- RJ (LtPita@aol.com), November 01, 1999.


I don't believe in making myself a target.....


More importantly, you don't want PEOPLE to know. How many times have you had people laugh off Y2K and say "well I know where I'll be if the lights go off..."

And I tell them "That's why I have lots of guns and ammo and I practice shooting every week." I flat out tell them "Don't count on me for your continued existence." It's too late for me to 'untell' people about my preps. Besides, the first time they smelled food cooking they would be at my door anyway.

It was one thing, when over the past year; I made a list of EVERY PERSON I KNOW and sent them Y2K literature....

Been there done that.

At THIS point in time, however, I PERSONALLY believe taht with the exception of your family it is too late. If, God forbid, things get bad--i.e. weeks w/o water and/or electricity--are you going to be able to turn away your neighbors??? I might, but what about their kids???

Yes I will turn them away because every meal I put in someone else's mouth is a meal MY children won't get to eat later. It might be tough but I'll do it with a clear conscience since I told everyone who would listen to prepare. If they didn't, well, I cannot feed everyone no matter how much I would like to. It's a hard fact but a fact none the less.

THAT I couldn't do. EVEN after I warned the morons. And WHAT if the parents decided they weren't GOING to be turned back??? What if everyone knows you have supplies and a dozen people come knocking and decide they are not going to be turned back?? Are you going to utilized deadly force...at neighbors over a loaf of bread to feed their kids...or are these people who have been warned, didn't listen, and are comitting robbery and a home invasion...Is there a middle ground (have extra supplies & have neighbors work it off by barter or cutting wood, fetching water, utilizing some special skill--or by helping their kids and having parents do best on their own to be taken care of by our honest and competent government...)

Yes, I will use deadly force if needed. If I can avoid it I will, but I realize that there just might be no way around it. I *might* be willing to barter if they have skills that I don't but that's it (I just found out a little while ago the guy across the street is a truck driver/mechanic and I have a diesel genset so he might be able to help me there if I have problems). Otherwise, anyone who won't take 'NO' for an answer will get shot, uniform or not. I even told some of my oldest and closest friends this and they know me well enough not to doubt my resolve.

I, for one, do NOT WANT TO BE FACED with that type of decision...If anyone has constructive ideas, PLEASE ADVISE!!!!!!!!

I *DO NOT* want to be in that situation either but I will do what I must to make sure me and mine get through whatever happens. I'm not looking forward to it but I cannot (nor can you) take care of the world. It just can't be done.... -TECH32-

-- TECH32 (TECH32@NOMAIL.COM), November 01, 1999.


You have made some good points...--...Anyone ELSE out there have something to contribute???

-- RJ (LtPita@Aol.com), November 02, 1999.

In order to provide a counter example to the old "governments, even local ones, can't be honest at all about their preparation status" schtick:

I live in a small town (approx 23,000) in Northeastern Massachusetts. The local papaer has reported on the town's Y2K status on a regular basis with the full cooperation of all town agencies. We have gooten the news, both good and bad, and town officials have been open to anyone who wants to speak with them about the situation.

The police and fire departments have been very upfront with the problems hey had in getting the local 911 system ready. The project that was supposed to be finished in spring took until late summer and ran over budget. We knew all of this as it happened. Furthermore, the police admit that their internal administrative systems are still not compliant. If 01/01/2000 were to hit right now, there would be problems dealing with things such as supplier information, physical inventories and procedure documentation. The plan is to complete this work by the end of November, but everyone involved acknowledges that it might not happen in time. The generalities of the department's contengency plan have been made available to anyone who asks for a copy.

This summer, the installation of the new town payroll system resulted in many town employees not being paid correctly (if at all) for several weeks. While the new payroll system was not put in to fix Y2K issues (it had been discussed and planned for over three years, and the old system was compliant) there were weekly updates in the town paper about the status of the problems. When the problems were resolved and found to be a mixture of system setup issues combined with user error, all these facts were made available (including the names of the people who made the errors) to anyone who asked.

Okay, it's only one town, and a small one at that. But it raises some important points: Maybe, just maybe, someone in a position of responsibility in a government somewhere is presenting good news because it is the truth. Furthermore, they are presenting it as the truth not just because they believe it to be the truth but because it actually is the truth. Lastly, is is in fact possible for a governmental agency to have problems and admit them in public. I agree that this last point has few examples to back it up, but it does happen from time to time.

-- Paul Neuhardt (neuhardt@ultranet.com), November 02, 1999.

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