Y2K DILEMMA: FACT OR MYTH?

By Karin Pekarcik

"Y2K could be the event that could all but paralyze the planet." Newsweek, June 2, 1997

Chaos, disruption of normal business routines and general life as we know itů.
Are we aware of the implications of a failure in the infrastructure of our entire way of operating?
When the computers go down in just one area of life, it affects masses of individuals. Witness hurricane, heavy rainstorms, and snowstorms, where power is out for an extended period of time, there is general mayhem and hysteria and a run on supplies of every kind. What if this power outage lasted months?
In May 1998 a satellite was inoperative for 24 to 48 hours, and beepers and cell phones were dead. Businesses had to revert to other methods of communication. Doctor's beepers did not go off informing them of an emergency, and business to business was disrupted around the country. And this was just a minor glitch in the daily functioning of our lives.
What about the food chain? From the farmer, to the distributor, to the store, to the consumer? How will this process be affected? How will the delivery trucks operate without computer's telling them where to go? How will the stores know how much inventory they have and how much they will order? How will they be able to make transactions with all their computers tied into the inoperative network?
What about the mail system? Will our mail get delivered to its proper destination without disruption?
What about our banks? Will we be able to withdraw money when we want? Will our paychecks keep coming during this disruption?
When an internet server has a difficulty and is down for several hours, or even a day, many businesses and individuals are affected.
Just imagine if the entire network of computers is inoperative for an extended length of time. Banks cannot make transactions, deliveries cannot be made, telephone, fax, and modems are useless. All computers will be dead. All communications will be nonexistence. And the list continues on in our technologically advanced society. We have all become dependent on computers for the daily operating of our lives - from the individual, to the business, to the community, to the state, and government, etc.
This scenario is a big possibility that is heading our way. Y2K is the name that has been assigned to the year 2000 glitch. What this means is that most of the world's computers register years in two digits (98 for 1998). When the computers roll over to the year 2000, they will indicate 00, which will be recognized as the year 1900 instead of the year 2000. Unless each computer in the entire system is corrected, one noncompliant computer will turn the whole system off.
This is not a new dilemma, it just has been ignored and pushed into the background in the hopes that some computer company will come up with a quick fix and everything will be okay. But this hasn't happened yet, and is not very likely going to happen.
Most people have been in a state of denial over the last year. Just recently the mainstream media is picking up this news item and starting to discuss it. But are they too late?
We have to be prepared for the possibility of a breakdown in the computer network that will affect everyone on this planet. How can we do this? Be being aware of what is transpiring in the business world. Watch with an open eye the financial, educational, political, and religious organizations. What are they doing and why? What is the motive behind their actions?
Witness the recent fluctuation of the stock market and all the worries attached to it. The federal government just bailed out a failed investment firm. Why this one? The minimum starting account was $10 million. Why was this investment firm too important to fail?
Thousands of investment firms, banks and mutual funds are doing a balancing act right now, with any minor glitch ready to topple the already sensitive market.
With the Y2K approaching, many areas of our lives are being impacted. When we experience a major disruption of our normal everyday operations, cash, food supplies, gas for our cars, and the basic necessities of life will be hard to obtain or may even be unavailable. Thus, the need to prepare in advance for what may be the worst case scenario we could imagine.
And if it turns out to be not so bad, then at least we were prepared. We can always spend our cash. We can always eat our food, drink our water, and enjoy all those addictions we have come to take pleasure in. But what if we don't have them available for an extended period of time? Who are we going to turn to? The government. They will be sorely affected as well.
In this time of crises, we must also be vigilant in regards to our personal freedom. We don't want to give away our power to a government agency, or federal assistance, when we just might not get that freedom back. Think about it.
When the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) takes over during a manmade or natural disaster we are in their hands and their hands only. This agency takes over the operation of the disaster area, however widespread that might be. In the event Marshall Law is established FEMA has the ultimate power, even over the President and Congress. Think about the implications here.
Do we want to be dependent upon someone for our food, water, and basic necessities of life? What will we have to do to get these necessities? Give up every freedom we've ever had? And when will we be retrieving back our precious freedom?
Prepare now while there is still time. What basic items are necessary to live a normal life without outside assistance? What supplies can we stock up on now to keep our families from ever going hungry and thirsty? How would we feel to watch our young ones go without food for even a day? The responsibilities of feeding our children are upon our shoulders. Why wait until the crises is upon us? Think upon this, and take action now before it is too late and there is no food on the shelves of our local supermarkets.
Be prepared and ready to face any eventuality whether it is a manmade disaster or a natural disaster.