On This Day Pre-Y2K

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March 9, 1999 Permalink

I live in NYC also, and have been studying this issue pretty intensely for a year. I’m convinced that it’s easy for people to fall into the “myopia of locality.” Focusing on the specifics of the infrastructure of where you live makes it easy to forget about what’s going on in the rest of the world. Frankly, it’s a big mess. I can see how NYC can get through the rollover with minor problems (actually, I can’t, but let’s assume it does) and still suffer consequences that will make it fall into an economic depression.

This issue is so much larger than simply “will the lights stay on,” in the short run; it’s also about will other countries and enough small, medium and large companies survive in the long run to keep the “economy” rolling at the pace we’ve grown accustomed to. I believe the answer is no.

My experience is that New Yorkers are very uninformed about this issue, and don’t really seem to care much about it. My experience is also that New Yorkers do not have a “high level of tolerence for inconvenience.” I live in Brooklyn, not too far from areas where I fear 72 hours without heat and/or electricity will cause “social unrest” on a scale this city has never seen before.

I hope that you take the time to inform yourself about all of the issues outside of the city and around the globe. Remember, much of the world is in sad shape right now. Events in Russia, for example, are truly frightening. Saudi desalinization plants and oil rigs are in trouble. You can now borrow a million bucks in Japan and pay 27 cents in overnight interest. The Chinese are running their country on pirated software. There’s talk about shutting down the nuke plants in this country. Cities around the country are building bunker style “Command Centers.” (like the one in the World Trade Center) the FedGov is planning to loan billions of dollars to small businesses, but probably won’t get this money distributed in time to do much good. Asian nations are begging for money to START working on this. Expect a trillion dollars in litigation. Ad Nuseaum.

I’m planning on leaving the city permanently by Thanksgiving, if not sooner...

—pshannon, Time Bomb 2000 Forums (LUSENET), 03/09/99

We will treat our neighbors with respect, but not take them in. We will feed them once, with traditional canned food - not survival supplies - but not again. We will show them strength of arms, but not give away our numbers or our defensive positions. Those that appear to be relatively self-sufficient we may barter with or form a mutual support group of some sort, but I think this will take a few weeks to determine. Certainly, if a neighbor was being attacked by a roving band and seemed to be putting up a good fight, we would provide what aid and support we could without endangering ourselves. It is better to drive them off than to fall one by one.

At some point hen it becomes clear that refugees are coming our way, we cut down trees that block the roads. I would love to do this right away, but there are enough other houses on the street that this is not practical immediately. I would prefer that those who are going to leave do so. I would also prefer that whatever emergency response can be expected takes place and then shrugs and crosses us off their list before we block their access and let them know that something us up. Another problem with cutting down the tress is that this is very difficult to do without knocking down power lines.

Initially, it will take some time to fall into habits. As the emergency lasts longer, we start teaching the kids school. We practice our marksmanship. We cut and gather more wood, even though we have plenty. We hunt and run the trap line, to preserve our stored food. We grow tomatoes and lettuce and cucumbers inside, to the extent that we are able. As spring grows closer, we start plants indoors and expand the garden outdoors. If the farmer nearby has not planted winter wheat, we plant corn and wheat in the outskirts of his field. If he has, and I may encourage him to do so, we help him harvest it.

In short, our life will go on, but it will be dramatically different than the life we have now. There will be some bumps and some sadness, but I expect some good times and some happiness as well. If life returns to “normal” it will be interesting to see which we prefer.

—Jack, Diary of a Survivalist, 03/09/99

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