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Was the storm a preview of coming attractions?

New Year's weekend saw what could be a prelude to the Y2K era. There were some parallels.

Weather forecasters foretold the severity of the blizzard and ice storm of '99. People had ample time to make preparations, but instead placed their trust in the system (grid-supplied electricity).

When the lights went out, they huddled in little masses until the magic of electricity was restored and their lives were turned back on.

Your publication urges people to prepare for life after Y2K. I'm afraid they will treat the Y2K problem with the same attitude as they did the blizzard of '99. Here are what I see as some possibilities.

People will be content to wait it out for a few days. After this time, the need for essentials will draw some out. They will discover the goods they seek aren't available because the power to run the cash register is off and/or the mainframe it's connected to can't figure out what day it is and therefore fails to function.

These people will return home frustrated and try to "make do." When making do runs out, increasing frustration will lead to bolder action. Some of this will be positive, in that some groups will form and mutual sharing and caring ensue. Others will be beaten by their frustration and resort to desperation, crime and/or violence to get what they need or desire.

Initially, this may just be some looting, but when everything has been looted, the next easy target will be the newly formed small cooperatives. Once these collectives that are close at hand have been plundered, the desperate will continue to reach out. Then they will be on our turf ... and then what?

Some will compare this era to the Depression. There are some major differences between now and then.

1. The population of the world is significantly greater.

2. There is less land per capita.

3. Pride is gone for the most part.

4. Knowledge of "how to" has shrunk significantly.

5. Sense of family/community has all but vanished.

How are we going to handle this? Here are some thoughts.

We have a son with a wife and children some 500-plus miles away. We've asked them to be home for Christmas, and if that's not possible, get enough gas stored up to get here if the need arises. This leads to the first point -- gather your family.

"If you feed a hungry man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a hungry man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime." Acquire all the knowledge you can. Knowledge comes from books, conversations and experience.

1. Fixins' are better than finished products. Raw materials such as seeds and tools offer the potential to renew themselves, whereas finished products have almost no renewable potential. Gather what you are going to need now.

2. Plan. Plan your garden, meat, tools, medical, hygiene, raw materials and barter items. Connections are hard to beat.

3. Find like-minded people, have discussions, make friends, plan to be mutually supportive physically and emotionally. Most importantly, keep God first.

Realistically, there will be violence. Desperate people do desperate things, and hunger is a motivator. Be prepared to see to your needs and those of others as well as defending your interests and those of your neighbors.

Here in northwest Arkansas, some already think we are quirky, since we farm with horses and preserve our own food. I'm sure as we quietly prepare, we will only further that opinion. If nothing happens, we will have lost nothing. We have accelerated change in our lives only to get to be where we wanted to be anyway.

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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:May 1, 1999
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