The Proper Way To Y2k

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Doomsayers who preach a technological apocalypse as the year 2000 approaches and foment panic rather than caution are doing no one any good.

There is a difference between preparedness and zealousness. Our advice is for thinking people to take a hard look at what preachers of Y2K doom stand to gain before they buy into their proclamations. The more extreme the prediction, the larger the grain of salt.

Because of our complex technological society, problems are bound to occur as the clock slips past midnight Dec. 31 and some computers get confused by the two ending zeroes in the new year. You might not be able to program your VCR. Some traffic lights could lock up. Companies that haven't done their homework might have record-keeping problems.

But we just don't believe that wholesale catastrophe will occur. Call us naive -- we like to think of ourselves as careful, thoughtful and prudent -- but we have a strong faith in the talent, expertise and ingenuity of the American people to manage this so-called problem.

That's not to say that families should not be ready for potential disruptions in the routine of their lives. In fact, they shouldn't wait until late 1999 to prepare for these. They lurk around the corner every day -- a job loss, a debilitating injury, an expensive car repair. We should always be prepared for emergencies.

When it comes to Y2K, it is important to become informed and to keep a level head. We'll be addressing our community's preparedness in a series of articles over the next several months -- what businesses, utilities, government agencies and others are doing to handle the situation.

Don't let the Y2K scare become a self-fulfilling prophecy. After all, people generally get what they expect. Let's be prepared -- but expect the best.

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