I Am a Genius: listen to my words

I Have the Conch


listen to my words

Predicting or Preventing the Events of September 11, 2001

Let me tell you something about predicting.

In 1999 The Leading Edge, a science fiction and fantasy journal published by Brigham Young University, printed a (very) short story called “Y2K+5.” The premise of the story was that society collapsed due to the Y2K Bug — a hypothetical but likely glitch in older software (of primary fear was software used by the financial industry) regarding how it kept dates (using 2 digits). The concern was that when the 2-digit representation of the year rolled over from 99 to 00 it would cause a host of errors and confusion. The financial system and other infrastructure IT systems would crash and data would be lost. Societal collapse would be followed.

Everything in that premise was true. At least, the fear and potential was true. The story simply made a joke about what the world would be like 5 years after the collapse of the world as we knew it – since media attention had made The Doom all but inevitable. In reality, nothing happened.

In 1994 Tom Clancy had a book published called Debt of Honor. At the end of this book a member of a failed plot to restore primacy to a fallen empire took his revenge by crashing a passenger jet into the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. He did it just before the president was to speak to the assembled joint-houses of Congress. Naturally, the president and most congresspersons died. The sequel, Executive Orders, details events that followed this act of terrorism. Another terrorist plot using bio-weapons is included, as well as near-war in two southern Asian nations.

This one didn’t come true either. But it echoes eerily for some of us.

Most of the world, even if they didn’t expect anything to happen, was aware of the potential of their world changing at midnight on January 1, 2000. But nothing happened. We were able to go back to our regular lives. We were convinced that the foretold doom was nothing.

None of us were ready for the world to change on the bright, clear morning of September 11, 2001.

On that date, terrorists, using passenger airlines as kamikaze missiles killed thousands by crashing into the two World Trade Center towers in New York City and into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Another plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania when its passengers learned what was happening and heroically gave their lives to foil the terrorist plots.

In the aftermath, the terror meant to be inspired by these terrorists became real: civil rights were revoked in some of the most free countries in the world to stem unspecified potential attacks. Anthrax was used as a biological weapon. War was started with multiple Asian nations on sketchy premises. The world became a political thriller, except that there was never a neat conclusion.

So maybe somebody knew something could have changed things and nobody listened to him. It was human nature if that happened, and it wastes time and breath to try and blame people.

Because we predicted Y2K and nothing happened.

Y2K + 1 was when society as we knew it died.

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