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REMEMBER a few
Well, we're still a month away from the Mayans' "end" prediction and already many Americans are gearing up for another "end of time" --when we'll all fall off that now infamous "fiscal cliff."
Modern Americans are a paranoid lot. Instead of enjoying today, we anguish about what tomorrow may bring. We've always got to have an "end of time" in our sights. Doom and gloom! That seems to be our motto.
Now we have two "ends" to worry about. If we get past the Mayans, the fiscal cliff is there waiting. Like an over-population of lemmings, we just can't wait to make the fatal leap.
I'm being serious here. I'm not just talking about all those guys on television who scream and yell on a daily basis about what dire economic consequences await us if Congress sits back and allows all those tax cuts to expire and spending cuts to take place.
I'm talking about the people who are buying up guns and storing up food for the Armageddon that they believe is inevitable.
You still think I'm joking, don't you? Well, I'm not. I have a friend who is a licensed gun dealer and he can't find enough weaponry to sell. People are buying guns faster than the manufacturers are making them.
Why? Because the fear is that when we go over the fiscal cliff the country will go bankrupt and the value of the dollar will drop to nothing.
"It'll be just like in Germany in the 1920s," one man declared. "You'll need a wheelbarrow load of dollar bills to buy a loaf of bread!"
To this end, another man told me that he has already purchased enough food rations to last his family six months. He is prepared.
He and other Armageddonists worry that, with money worthless, people will go on the rampage looking for food and, "They'll kill you for a can of beans." So, guns are being bought up to protect homes and pantries when the masses from the cities invade.
While the instrument of demise varies, the fear of sociological destruction has been around since, well, the beginning to time. And the more educated the populace, the greater the paranoia seems to become.
In the 1950s, we built fallout shelters because we knew the Russians were going to attack us. Even after the bombs stopped falling, however, we were told we would need those shelters--and all the guns we could find--to protect ourselves from the unprepared segment of the population.
When the stock market crashed in 1987, someone sent an anonymous letter to the newspaper asking if I'd like to join some group that was preparing for the hordes of city dwellers that would attack us when the economic crisis worsened.
There were those who knew the world would end when the clock struck midnight on Dec. 31, 1999. Remember the Y2K scare? All the computers were supposed to malfunction and there would be no food for anyone.
For more than a year, people stored food and water and bought guns to protect themselves from those who would steal their stores.
No, this is nothing new. It is dejà vu all over again. After tens of thousands of years, we continue to live like our caveman ancestors, ready to fight to protect our food from the lazy tribe in the next valley who ignored the obvious signs and failed to prepare for the end that we knew was coming.
To tell you the truth, I'm more worried that the Earth will be sucked into that black hole on Dec. 21 than I am that we'll fall off the fiscal cliff.
Government leaders often play political Russian roulette with the people only to snatch the gun away just before the hammer hits the live round in the chamber. In the end, Congress will do something, if only to shove the cliff a few months farther down the road.
Meanwhile, TV's talking heads babble on, the gun manufacturers' bottom lines improve and K-rations sales soar.
As for all this "end of time" preparation, well, I think it is a useless waste of energy.
Remember that old saying, "You'll never hear the shot that kills you"?
If the end does come, it will probably be at a moment when we least expect it.
And all the guns in the closet won't help a bit.