It is now 2001, we have arrived at the official starting point of the Millennium. So why on earth would anyone want to bring up the thoughts of 1999 and the Y2K scare? Everyone agrees that nothing major happened. The world didn't end and everything ran like it usually does. We didn't feel anything there was no shake up, no rioting, and no mishaps. The year 2000 went smoothly, without a hitch, right? Well not exactly.
In December of 1999 there was an air of paranoia that had the nation in its grip. It was the fear that perhaps computers would shut down, power grids would blow out, water would not be pumped into homes and crude oil would cease to flow on offshore rigs.
The doomsday prophets were using the Y2K hysteria as a starting point for cashing in on predictions of weird weather, global warming, and worldwide cataclysm. There were many who thought the biblical Armageddon was imminent.
People are now beginning to see 2000 as the dress rehearsal before the big show.
While many people stayed indoors on the night of the millennial dress rehearsal, there were big cities that decided not to have celebrations for fear of rioting, terrorist activity, and any other kind of mayhem that would associate with an electronic Armageddon.
The very real scare of terrorism was felt in Seattle when it was feared that terrorists were going to detonate a bomb at the Space Needle.
This too was avoided and the news satisfied the harshest critics by declaring that the Y2k scare had been diverted due to the exhaustive efforts of programmers, the military, and other groups that were commissioned by big government to run tests, and military drills.
Complete with armed patrols and moving tanks in U.S. cities.
Now the scenario is quite different. Y2k survival manuals are on sale as gimmicky reminders of our folly, yet on Ebay they don't seem to be fetching too much dough and the web domain Y2ktimebomb.com has gone up for sale as well. Some people still have their dried fruit, and their 400-pound bags of rice and beans attracting weevils and rats in the basement.
With our gaze cast away from theY2k "nonsense" we may be beside ourselves as we give out a collective sigh of relief.
However, it may be necessary to point out that one should not rest on his laurels when the very things that we were warned about in the months leading up to the 2000 celebrations are happening in the latter 2000 and in the early 2001 by some sort of sick synchronicity.
The front page of the local paper and the national headline rang in the first day of the Millennium letting us know that while the Y2K bug was squashed and killed it's ghost seems to linger like a cockroach after a nuclear holocaust.
The Headline blared at me through my aching hangover that the Mideast was bracing for violence on the first day of 2001. The son of a Jewish extremist and Palestinian leader were both killed in separate incidents putting more strain on an ever promised peace process in the middle east.
This gives fodder for anyone who is holding a candle to the idea that the Millennium mayhem is a sign that the Messiah is already packing his suitcase for a trip to earth.
Any Christian without the reputation of being an alarmist whacko can give you the very scripture in the Gospel of Luke that clearly states that "Nation will rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom and great earthquakes will happen in diverse places."
The Bible goes on about gnashing of teeth and all sorts of other dramatic dogma.
There will be great famine and incurable diseases that will snuff the land of life. There will be fearful moments and close calls and the earth will be shaken to its very core.
The war and uprising is happening right at Ground Zero for the faithful. The very place where Christ is to touch down. The Mount of Olives and the temple Mount in Jerusalem are all-important pieces of real estate in prophetic doomsday scenarios.
Some think that it is good sport to question the doomsayers post millennium credibility.
Perhaps this is fool hearty.
First of all, are we judging them by some imaginary timeline or window when these so called calamities are supposed to take place?
Even though nothing substantial has rocked our world and we are copping the "same old same old attitude," is it wrong to conclude that the population of earth has ignored the very things that they have been warned about previously?
The fate of the wacko millennialist seems to be sealed by the mainstream press however they fail to acknowledge that they are unwittingly fortifying their argument.
The whole diagram or template for the end times scenario preached and warned about by millennialists and Y2k Scare mongers is that the millennium bug would bite electronic equipment power grids, and computer chips in various machinery around the globe.
This would in turn cause panic and chaos. The result would be higher power bills, higher prices at the gas pumps, food shortages, and the eventual electronic "Armageddon."
The world's grid is now showing signs of breaking down.
On January 2nd, 2001 India's entire northern region -- covering three times the population of Germany -- suffered a massive power cut due to the collapse of the whole northern grid.
The power outage was reportedly triggered by a problem in a substation in India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, which then spread to neighboring states and the capital, New Delhi. 225 million people were without power.
At the end of 2000 long after the due date for "doom," the State of California experienced power grid drains and virtual blackouts as computer systems coupled with the eventual Christmas season drain sent power companies into alert status.
There were other companies in the Northwest that just couldn't take the strain in outlying areas and people were seeing the electric bills soar 200 per cent at the end of 2000.
The drain was so high in the Midwest that water wells were unable to use power to pump water into homes. The heavy storm activity and bitter cold that hit the Midwest and the east coast also were taking it's toll as homes would suck power for heating as the ice and snow storms hit at full force.
When Republican Senator Bob Bennett of Utah headed the president's Y2K task force in the late 1990's he heard the warnings of widespread outages. He also heard that if the problem were not corrected in time that the cost of repair would be colossal.
There were an estimated 6,000 power plants, half a million miles of high-voltage power lines and about 112,000 substations that needed upgrades before the bug hit and now its as if some of them have slipped through the cracks.
The warning back then was the advent of a ripple effect with the grid. Since all power companies, are interconnected in some way to the power grid, an alert stage outage anywhere in the U.S, can have a ripple effect. The whole mess destabilizes the Grid and power failures and surges can be seen many miles from the epicenter.
The post Y2K Headlines confirm that perhaps we were ill prepared for this problem:
"A power crunch that has left California teetering on the brink of darkness and sent electricity prices skyrocketing requires a swift, regional response" -- Associated press December 2000
"Chilly California and Northwest Run Short on Electricity" -Associated Press December 2000
"California declared an unprecedented electricity alert tonight after the state's overwhelmed power grid, crippled by idled power plants and scant supplies, struggled to meet evening demands." -Associated Press December 2000
This could indeed set off a chain reaction as companies who provide power and have invested in this valuable commodity could go bankrupt trying to save the grid from completely going down. This could become a nationwide crisis and the government would have to step in and save the power companies from collapsing.
Are we seeing a slow moving disintegration of the old systems?
I have been called crazy because I am attributing this mess to a belated Y2K glitch, but isn't it peculiar how coincidence rears its ugly head so close to the turn of the real Millennium?
Bob Bennett also reported that if the Y2K scenarios play out without an effort to correct them the petroleum industry would suffer as well. People would be fighting for gas and prices would surge after the year 2000. It is obvious that a lot of the offshore oil rigs were fixed however there may have been a few that malfunctioned. There is no proof that any of them shut down but once again we must look at the headlines.
Headlines in the news after the "quiet' arrival of Y2k showed that another weird coincidence was happening at the pumps.
"The average price of regular gas is up 17.6 cents per gallon since Feb. 15. Prices have increased 57.3 cents since last March when the nationwide average was 97 cents per gallon" -Associated Press March 2000
In the U.K. and in other parts of the world the story was even grimmer.
"British Army Deploys Tankers With Reserve Fuel to Cope With Potential Crisis" - Reuters News September 2000
"Protests over soaring fuel prices in Europe are spreading, shutting down fuel deliveries and hastening shortages and consumer panic-buying." - ABC NEWS LONDON
The overall rants from the doomsayers in 1999 covered massive power blackouts, fuel shortages and failure of transportation equipment such as planes, trains, and automobiles.
Granted no Airplanes fell out of the sky when the clock struck Midnight on December 31st 1999.
Of course planes crash every once and a while. So in order for the doomsayers to be right on, would we have to see a whole flock of planes fall simultaneously for anyone to pay attention?
The idea is silly.
What if we were to see a plane go down that has a spotless record?
We did see the crash of such a plane in 2000.
The supersonic plane with an impeccable record crashed upon takeoff from Charles De Gaulle Airport in July of 2000. The safety record of the Concorde was perfect until the ill-fated flight. The plane caught fire and then hit a Hotel killing all 109 on board. The official death toll was 113 after innocent bystanders on the ground were taken in the crash.
Am I insinuating that it was a Y2K foul up? No.
But I am pointing out the coincidence.
Trains have also seen problems.
A case that happened upon the transition between December 2000 to January 2001 has a lot of people scratching their heads and wondering if the maligned Y2K glitch is a resurrected entity.
An associated Press story from Oslo Norway reported that on December 31st 2000 the national Railroad company was unable to start it's trains that run through the airport. None of the company's new 16 airport express trains or 13 high-speed, long-distance, Signatur trains would start because the computers on board the trains apparently did not recognize the date. This obviously was not anticipated by experts who checked the systems thoroughly last year in anticipation of problems feared worldwide when the clocks rolled to January 1, 2000.
Meanwhile Another bug-related glitch is thought to have made the online, telebanking and cash machine systems operated by Swedish bank Nordbanken unreliable over the Christmas and New Year period.
The systems crashed five times between 27 December and 3 January 2001, rendering them unusable and leaving many of the bank's 3.5 million customers frustrated and short of cash.
Back home in the United States Convenience store chain 7-Eleven was hit by a computer glitch problem. On 1 January, many of the cash registers in its 19,600 stores or affiliates around the world lost the ability to process credit cards.
In Oregon, residents of Multnomah county were told to appear for jury duty. Three thousand letters were sent out telling potential jurors that they were to report to court in 1901. In this case however there many who wanted to point out that this was more or less a computer's response to human error and not a belated Y2K glitch.
Or was it?
Well you can decide for yourself as you are laughing at everyone who saved food and stored it in their basements for the millennial catastrophe.
These same "prepared" people are using their generators now as power outages have plagued the US during some of the harshest weather in history. From Ice storms to Blizzard Bombs there have been a lot of people who stocked up and bought generators living comfortably as their neighbors who demanded refunds on their Y2k purchases are freezing and hungry.
In 1999 the fringe element who constantly bark out loud about a coming global extinction event were busy brewing the doom and gloom causing many to say "enough already."
Even after many of them were defrocked and ridiculed, undaunted they returned to continue the preaching of an act of God ushering in a millennial doomsday.
The doomsayers as with every coming year were banking on cataclysms from space, pestilence, harsh weather, and earthquakes.
At the end of 2000 they almost got their wish, and still may see close calls or even actual catastrophic events taking place in the year 2001. An asteroid about the size of a couple of football fields came within a hair of earth by cosmic measurements. The wide Asteroid came within 800,000 kilometers away from earth. The object came within twice the distance of the moon, which according to astronomers is a near miss. This report had been issued in the U.K. and in several other countries. It was downplayed in the U.S. However there was concern that the asteroid was headed on a collision course with earth. Traveling at more than 32km per second, the asteroid swept past Earth December 23rd 1100 AM EDT and was visible through a powerful telescope. The Asteroid called 2000 YA would have left a crater three quarters of a mile in diameter if it hit the earth.
In 2001 a study was released about the probability of a massive earthquake in California. The study, conducted by the US Geological Survey, showed that Los Angeles is sitting on a spongy layer of rock far deeper than was previously thought, and geologists are now saying that if the 'big one" hits the damage will be far more horrible than previously thought.
The new study also concluded that there are a number of other active faults criss crossing the San Adreas Fault the active fault that causes most of the tremors in the area.
Well the idea of a big quake in L.A. has been talked about for a long time. It's just a matter of when.
As far as apocalyptic prediction of plagues and pestilence one needs to remember that the year 2000 brought us the West Nile Virus, Ebola scares, and Mad Cow fears with reported cases of CJD all over Europe.
So the question I pose to laughers and those who scoff is, "Did the Y2k problems foretold in 1999 happen or not? "
Was it all wishful thinking? Was it coincidence?
Well I can't convince anyone that it may have happened and that small fires are being put out as we speak.
But the world continues to operate and all of the red flags in the "dress rehearsal" will turn into full fledge catastrophes long after the Y2K survival manuals get thrown out in the recycle bin.
Or when the warning flyers and handbills line the various canary, and parakeet cages all over the country.
Millennial doom saying makes everyone feel uneasy some people tune out because they feel that it's just not important anymore. They believe that hell will freeze over or that pigs will fly when any of this stuff comes to pass.
Well, in the year 2000 hell didn't freeze over to my knowledge but "Charlotte" a pig flew fat and happy. The pig was granted the same status as a Seeing Eye dog and flew with her owner last year.
U.S. Airways claims that the pig slept for most of the flight. But as the plane landed, the portly porker started squealing and charged through the cabin.
I guess we can use that as a far-reaching metaphor for the year 2000. Many people virtually slept through it fat and happy. But as we came in for a landing in 2001 there are some that are still squealing and will continue to do so until the prophecies are fulfilled.
I am sure as the year 2001 continues to steam forward, there will be many more reports of grid breakdown, transportation failures, and financial trouble in trying to rebuild a system that was in dire need of repair more than 30 years ago.
Alternative Ideas for energy were proposed long before we tapped an already drying up power grid.
The bottom line for the new millennium is to have respect and watch the new technology carefully.
It has always been the crutch of many people awaiting doomsday that the apocalyptic end or cataclysm will be an escape from the global corporation's hold on the world. That there will be someone or something that will save them from the enduring fate of having a place to live where the Play station won't work.
There are always those exceptional people that tell you that when the time arrives they will be able to live on that bag of beans and bottled water in the basement.
But of course this "head for the hills" mentality is all lip service until someone actually has to be survivalist.
Then it will be evident that when all else fails it is always the mob that rules.
It's a brave new world out there, at least I can only hope so.
Copyright 1998-2007 Ground Zero Media, Clyde Lewis, and John Hart. All Rights Reserved.