Why not be prepared?

To the editor:
The editorial in the Dec. 16 edition of the Times (“Fear-mongering has no place in Y2K debate”) reads, in my opinion, very negatively.
Coincidentally, the Vancouver Sun’s edition of the same date had a front page story that read, “The RCMP’s main millennium-bug troubleshooter says citizens should squirrel away a little food, water and cash–and maybe rethink (elevators) in tall buildings–when the clock strikes 12 to usher in the year 2000.”
Quite a contradiction in opinions. I don’t read this as “fear mongering” at all but simply a warning to people about possible consequences of computer problems without causing any panic.
I agree that taking all of one’s money out of the banks would be foolish. On the other hand, why would you assume that to stock up on extra food, water, and even a generator is buying into paranoia? During the November “ice storm,” rural residents experienced power outages of more than 40 hours. Auxiliary power and well-stocked pantry would have come in handy.
You also say “stick to the facts.” From all that I read about Y2K, there are few real facts out there. We all hope that the people in charge will be able to get the bugs out but if there are glitches, why not be prepared? This shouldn’t make us fearful–simply more confident that we are ready, and any extra food and water we have wouldn’t be wasted.
A recent report notes that five percent of the world’s 50 billion computer chips have date-related problems. We really don’t now yet what is likely to happen. It can’t hurt to be prepared for even slight disruptions in service.
Let’s work together as a community on this important issue, and be ready to handle whatever needs to be done.
Sandra Brunetta