The arrest of suspects in a bombing plot near Sacramento and a firebombing in Reno may have little in common, but they remind us of the real danger that could come with the much-anticipated Year 2000 celebration.
In the California case, two men with alleged ties to Carson City are accused of plotting to blow up liquid propane tanks as well as other targets.
As crazy as it sounds, the FBI claims that the men have ties to a militia group that somehow thought a major conflagration would force authorities to declare martial law, whip up public unrest and help the militia overthrow the U.S. government.
In the Reno incident, police have arrested people supposedly associated with a white supremacist group for a bombing attempt at a Jewish synagogue. Only the fact that the Molotov cocktail failed to break a window saved the synagogue from destruction.
The incidents illustrate the willingness of extremists to resort to violence to try to foist their narrow, misguided beliefs on society. They also demonstrate, if the allegations are accurate, that radical militias and race-hate groups exist in our back yard.
While the rest of us may be fretting about the possibility the lights will go out or our ATM won't be functioning on Jan. 1, 2000, law enforcement authorities around the nation must be prepared for the worst - a potentially chaotic New Year's Eve in which any kind of mayhem could be blamed on "that whole Y2K thing."
That's the real danger on the night we enter a new year - not computer programs, or mechanical devices, or glitchy systems. It's humans.