As Dec. 21 approaches, some in Hawaii planning for the end

Published On: Dec 11 2012 06:14:00 PM HST

If you believe the end is near, you better hurry up. There are only 10 days left until the end of the Mayan calendar on Dec. 21.

"They giggle, and admit it after the fact," Sandii Kaumanu of Military HQ in Mapunapuna, said of those planning for doomsday.

Over the past several months, the military surplus store has seen an increase in the number of people preparing for the end of civilization as the 5,125-year cycle of the Mayan calendar comes to an end at the winter solstice.

University of Hawaii professor James Dator heads the Hawaii Research Center for Future Studies.  He believes the obsession with apocalyptic scenarios like the end of the Mayan calendar may be a reflection of the times we live in.

"I think a lot of people are worried now," said Dator.  "Their own personal lives are not going as well as they had hoped (and) the American dream is most certainly in doubt."

Those planning for the end of the world have even been given the nickname "preppers," as in prepping for disaster.  Kaumanu says the most popular items in her store are compasses, meals ready to eat, dehydrated food, rope bracelets and ammunition cases.

"I just have one set of military pots left that a lot of people want for massive cooking," said Kaumanu.  "My theory is great. At least you're going to be prepared in case we have an emergency here on the island."

Some preppers have also been taking advantage of the LDS Storehouse in Kalihi where canned beans, flour and wheat can be purchased at reasonable prices.  The Mormon religion calls on followers keep a year's supply of food. However, the storehouse at 1120 Kalihi Street is open to anyone who stops by.

"Some of these can goods last 30 years theoretically," said Richard Hayashida, a storehouse volunteer.  "We encourage people to save whatever they can, wherever they can -- even in an apartment building."

There's no telling how many Hawaii residents are taking the Dec. 21 Armageddon prediction seriously, but Kaumanu says her store was busier leading up to Y2K nearly 13 years ago, when some feared the new millennium would render all computers useless.

"Y2K was really crazy. I think nobody knew what was going to happen," said Kaumanu.  "This is just a date out of the middle of the air that the Mayans pulled out of the sky."

Still, even some celebrities have become so-called preppers.  In a December 2010 interview with Men's Fitness, actor Ashton Kutcher admitted he worries about the end of days.

"What happens when all our modern conveniences fail?  I'm going to be ready to take myself and my family to a safe place where they don't have to worry," Kutcher told the magazine.


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