Re: Y2K: Am I paranoid?

Alex Heard (
Wed, 10 Feb 1999 10:34:09 -0800

I don't think it's paranoid to at least wonder about it all. I don't think there will be any disasters or "chaos," but I still think most stories that debunk the "there will be problems" line tend to dance around the part where they convincingly explain why there won't be.

There's a good web site ... has nothing to do with mine, so this is not a spam, honest ... called there, a guy who writes for Time and used to write for Wired news does a good job of sorting out the hype and the horror

>I know I've brought this issue up once before. At that time
>only two people responded. Hopefully this will generate
>more responses this time:
>On a daily basis I do my best to maintain a practical
>optimism. Beyond this however, I can't help but play out
>what I see are likely U.S. scenarios *if* certain things
>Here's the scenario:
>1) Y2K problems in embedded chips cause a certain critical
>minimum of power stations around the US to shut down.
>Because it's the middle of the winter, the other stations
>along the grid are already taxed to the limit. These
>critical minimum failures start a cascade or domino effect
>by draining power from other stations, thereby shutting them
>down. This taxes the remaining operational infrastructure
>even further and finally shuts the entire grid down. A
>nationwide, if not global wide power outage occurs.
>2) What does the US government always do in these
>situations: Declares a State of Emergency.
>3) Meanwhile the power outage hinders the entire economic
>infrastructure - with the most critical being food and
>water. Since most people do not have stashes of food for
>such occasions, they will grow *very* desperate and begin
>roaming and perhaps robbing other people for food and
>water. This in turn precipitates widespread rioting,
>looting and general mayhem.
>4) What does the US government always do in these
>situations: Send in the troops! Or in this case declare
>Martial Law.
>5) What exactly does this mean? According the ex-military
>people I know, they say the first most likely action on part
>of the military will be to conduct door-to-door searches to
>confiscate everyone's firearms. They all will use airborne
>ground penetrating radar to locate via GPS exactly where
>people have *hidden* their firearms. Obviously they will
>not confiscate everyone's firearms, but will probably be
>successful in getting most of them.
>6) Shortly following arms confiscation, they will set a
>curfew. Martial Law curfew is typically enforced strictly,
>with the use of deadly force if necessary. "Anyone found
>out after 9pm without proper 'paperwork' or work permits
>will be detained or even shot on sight".
>7) Once this all sweeping Martial Law is instituted, why
>would they reverse it? Since they now have the control they
>have long sought, they will not give it up without a fight.
>Since the majority of the population will now be under their
>control, such an organized "revolution" will *not* likely
>materialize in any reasonable period of time - we may be
>stuck in a totalitarian hell for decades or longer.
>Ok, this is *not* an optimistic scenario. I more than most
>people I know Want an optimistic scenario. Yet I can't help
>but feel the above scenario is a likely one.
>I'm posting this on the extropian list, because you guys are
>the most intelligent and informed people I know, who also
>share my transhumanist aspirations. I look forward to your
>comments, critiques and dissections. I hope there is
>something I'm missing in this "big picture". I more than
>anyone want to be wrong about this. Should I be paranoid,
>or are optimistic times more likely?