SEP FEAT 201219

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    or me, being prepared for 2012 is a stress-reliever. I spendan average of $200 to $300 per month on my supplies.Ive been training myself in what I call frontier livingdehydrating, canning, preserving, cooking without modernappliances. Last weekend I started decorating our attic(almost 3,000 square feet) to store my reserve becausepeople I know are getting suspicious of the amount ofhurricane supplies I keep. Ill never be Martha Stewart,but I feel very good about the variety and quantity I have

    amassed. I believe in the three Gs of preparedness: God, guns andgroceries.Susan Skains, Texas Gulf Coast

    Dressed in blue jeans and a red short-sleeve shirt, Steve Pacestands guard atop a bucolic hill on the outskirts of Poplar Bluff in theMissouri bootheel. The scene is as rural as it gets; theres nothing outhere but rolling hills and big sky. A lonely sentinel with a shiny silverrevolver strapped to his waist, the retired U.S. Army sergeant scansthe wooded horizon with a pair of binoculars for signs of the comingcataclysm. He sees things others dontthe apocalyptic omens that,he says, are everywhere if you know how to connect the dots.

    Pace is a lean and leathery 55-year-old who looks a bit like SeanConnery but speaks in a thick, crusty rural accent. He gives me a tourof his solidly constructed 1950s bungalow on a quiet tree-lined cul-

    ACCORDING TO ANCIENT MAYAN

    PROPHECIES, THE WORLD WILL END THREE

    SHORT YEARS FROM NOW. EARTHQUAKES,

    PESTILENCE AND REVOLUTION WILL BRING

    HUMANITY TO ITS KNEES. ACROSS THE

    GLOBE, THOUSANDS HAVE ALREADY BEGUNTO PREPARE

    PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARK KATZMAN/FK PHOTO

    BY FRANK OWEN

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    will starve.) But what Pace fears most is a terrorist nukethat could destroy Americas electrical grid: If they reallywanted to disrupt America, an airburst nuke would providean electromagnetic pulse 300 miles wide that would prob-ably cascade the rest of the system. Without electricityweve really got a problem.

    Whatever happens, Pace intends to be ready. In my opin-ion 2012 is the year of collapse, he says. The perfect storm

    approaching is a conglomeration of crescendos. The financialcollapse, political corruption, natural disaster, terrorism andresource scarcity will culminate in wars and revolution.

    Pace is not alone. In the past few years a growing numberof citizens across the globesurvivalists, conspiracy theo-

    rists, alternative religion seekers, former military officers,UFO buffs, hard-core Bible-thumpers, ordinary housewiveswho, post-Katrina, dont trust the government to save theirloved ones if a disaster occurshave become fixated on

    December 21, 2012 as EOTWAWKI (end of the world as weknow it). The Mayan long-count calendar supposedly pre-dicts 2012 as the year in which a 5,000-year cycle of civi-lization will come to an abrupt halt. The Mayan civilization,a sophisticated culture of temples and cities that flourishedin what is now Mexico, mysteriously collapsed around theninth century. The Mayans have been a source of fascinationfor spiritual Western tourists since the Beats, particularlyWilliam Burroughs, who peppered his novels with referencesto Mayan timekeeping. The idea that Mayans predicted theworld would end in 2012 has been around since at least the1980s, when writer and 2012 guru Jos Argelles popular-ized the concept with his book The Mayan Factor.

    For any number of reasons the 2012 meme has caughton. The media, in documentaries such as Disinfo.coms2012: Science or Superstition

    de-sac, where he lives with his ailing mom and his third wife,Martha, who works as a secretary at the local high school.Three years ago Pace moved here to Campbella town offewer than 2,000 people thats known as the peach capitalof Missourifrom Fayetteville, Arkansas (population 70,000)because he thought it wasgetting too crowded. Ihave this fear of becom-ing just a number, losingmy identity, becomingjust another face in thecrowd, he says.

    Displayed on Pacesdining room table is acollection of weapons:an assault rifle, a shot-gun, numerous hand-guns, hunting knives andenough ammo to start asmall war. Alongside the

    arms are gas masks, antiradiation pills and about $10,000worth of gold and silver. The gold and silver will come inhandy when paper money becomes worthless, which italready has, according to Pace. Its just that people dontknow it yet. Dont call him a survivalist, though: To me asurvivalist is some white supremacist living up in the moun-tains somewhere. Im not a survivalist. Im a preparer.

    And theres a lot to prepare for, according to Pace, whoanticipates a world in the not too distant future whereyoull need a wheelbarrow full of dollars to buy a loaf ofbread, just like in Zimbabwe. Catastrophic climate changewill have swamped the coastal cities. (Youll want to beat least 300 feet above sea level.) Law and order willhave broken down. (Youll want to stay away from thepopulation centers to avoid the mobs.) And food will bescarce. (If we have a major crop failure, millions of people

    A GROWING NUMBER OF CITIZENS HAVE

    FIXATED ON DECEMBER 21, 2012 AS

    EOTWAWKIEND OF THE WORLD AS

    WE KNOW IT.

    Retired Army ser-geant Steve Pace

    has stockpi ledcanned food, goldand silver, a water-filtration system,

    a radiation suitand a whole lot ofguns and ammo.

    Potassium iodide pills, popular

    among 2012ers preparing forthe apocalypse, help the bodyward off the effects of radia-

    (continued on page 000)

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    and books such as Daniel Pinchbecks2012:The Return of Quetzalcoatl, have endlesslychronicled the movement and what toexpect. Pinchbeck, perhaps more than any-one else, has become the greatand mostcontroversialadvocate for a transforma-tional 2012. Apocalypse fever is set to hitmultiplexes with the November release ofRoland Emmerichs big-budget Hollywooddystopian disaster movie 2012, starringJohn Cusack and Amanda Peet.

    A cottage industry of small companiesthat supply products to 2012ers is nowthriving, offering everything from bulletsto backup generators to full-size bunkers(such as a $36,000 six-person bargain- basement underground bomb shelter,complete with a nuclear, biological andchemical filtering system, which a VirginiaBeach company called Hardened Struc-tures offers to deliver and install anywherein the U.S.). In May the Associated Pressreported that suppliers of survivalist gearand military surplus stores nationwide hadseen as much as a 50 percent rise in busi-ness in recent months as more Americans,spurred by the bad economy and otherfears, rushed to stock up on gear. One sur-vivalist told the AP that the website of hisconsulting businesswhich teaches new-comers emergency preparednesshadseen a threefold increase in traffic in thepast 14 months.

    Never mind that reputable scholars insistthe Mayans attached no particular apoca-

    lyptic meaning to 2012. It was merely theend of their calendar. And never mind theabsurdity of the idea that some mysteriousMayan priest could accurately predict whatwould happen 2,000 years in the future.

    Its not just the Mayans, says Pace.One of the great prophecies of the HopiIndians was that the world would end whena huge spiderweb covers the entire globe.For hundreds of years we didnt know whatthey were talking about. Now we have theWorld Wide Web. Whether you believe inHopi prophecy, Mayan prophecy, the Bookof Revelations, Nostradamus, the Web BotProject or the Bible Code, the commondenominator is that they are all pointingin the same direction. As Proverbs 27:12says, A prudent man foreseeth the evil andhideth himself, but the simple pass on andare punished.

    We are located in the middle of the continent,up high and away from significant populationcenters, nuclear power plants, active volcanoesand major fault lines and at a sufficient alti-tude to limit flooding. We may have to moveand move quicklyso we have bug-out bagspacked with food, water, medical and othersupplies that can be transported in the eventwe have to abandon our primary site. I havea network of friendly sites I can make my way toward and improve my chances of survivalsignificantly.Ace McQuade, Chuck Norrisfan, somewhere in the middle of Canada

    The 2012 movement would be easy todismiss as pseudo-mystical mumbo jumboif it werent for the disturbing real-worldtrends that inform the less fanciful pre-

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    dictions of bad times ahead: catastrophicclimate change, terrorism, nuclear prolif-eration, financial collapse, swine flu, peakoil, peak food. This is the everyday fodderof CNN andNewsweek, not science fictionor religious fantasy. Home prices havedeclined on average almost 33 percentsince their peak in 2006, and the unem-ployment rate in America is the worst it hasbeen since 1983. When you add the spec-ter of nuclear-armed religious fanatics, whowouldnt be a bit anxious about whats com-ing down the cosmic sewer pipe?

    Even before the current economic crisis,Hurricane Katrina in 2005 made clear tomany Americans that civilization can some-times hang by the barest of threads. Thosedoomsday cultists stocking up on guns andgroceries in preparation for end-times dontseem quite so silly after what happened inNew Orleans. As we watched bloated bodiesfloat dow