All over the world, 2012 preppers are busy buying up leftover Y2K rations and getting ready for ‘the Big One’. Being the skeptic that I am, I should be scoffing. OK, I am scoffing. But just a bit, and not for the reasons you might think. You see, as nuts as most of these people are, I think they’re also absolutely right. Our world really is going to hell in a hand-basket, and sometime soon a whole heap of us are gonna die in all kinds of creative and agonizing ways.
Maybe all of us.
The main difference between me and the nutbars is that I (like most folks) really don’t give a damn. Given a straight-up choice between saving the world from impending peril or a three-bean cappuccino with a cute brunette, I’m Starbucks bound.
People die. Sometimes its a lot of them all at once, sometimes it’s a solitary suicide-bomber with a faulty Radio Shack trigger that picks up the neighbor’s garage door opener. Either way, we all bite it sooner or later. But for those who are sitting around waiting for ‘The Big One’, I have news for you: It’s already happening, and there’s nothing mystic about it. It’s just Us, getting together with Mother Nature to make sure we’re all as screwed as possible. However, as we tend to gloss over the news of our demise, I want to take a second to point out for the religious elite that we do not need a God to be genuinely and profoundly screwed…
Sure, we’ve all heard stories about suitcase nukes and Iranian nukes and North Korean nukes, but these are old hat. Of the thousands of missing and uncontrolled nukes in the world, the only one that really bothers me is the 500 kiloton hydrogen bomb that somehow went missing this year (along with the German Dolphin submarine that carried it). On May 2, 2012, the sub and nuke avoided NSA, MI5, and British Royal Navy surveillance at the port of Bemerhaven, Germany and escaped doing 7.5 knots. It was never seen or heard from again. Dec. 21 may be the Mayan mayhem day, but I’d be a tad more worried about New Year’s celebrations in Piccadilly or Times Square. No one steals a nuke and sub without a plan to go with it.
While there’s a bit of overlap here with the nutbars awaiting the planet Nibiru, my asteroid-hitting-the-Earth concern has one thing going for it that the preppers lack: An actual asteroid, named 2012 DA14. It was discovered just this year, and NASA says it’s going to be the closest pass of an asteroid to the Earth since they first started tracking these things. (They say it will pass closer to the Earth than the TV satellites, about 14000 miles. To give you perspective, the moon is 240,000 miles away.) This thing is more of a city-killer than a planet killer, but fear not. All the best NASA mathematicians have worked out the trajectory and say that it definitely, absolutely, positively WILL NOT hit the Earth. Any one else remember the Mars Climate Orbiter that crashed into the surface of Mars because a NASA mathematician had done a simple miscalculation?
When my father was born, there were no antibiotics. As a result a lot of babies born at the same time died in the first year of now-preventable diseases. If they survived that, Death was waiting just down the line with a fresh dose of polio and the Swine Flue. From 1920 to 1950 over 60,000 Canadian kids died from one or the other of these diseases. Of course, that’s all behind us, right?
Well, Death is nothing if not patient. According to the World Health Organization (and my very chatty doctor) the time of dead kids and mass disease is nigh on us again. According to the WHO website: “About 440 000 new cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) emerge annually, causing at least 150 000 deaths”.
Ah TB… Gotta love the classics.
But in a global sense, diseases like these are the spectator’s sport. The real thing… the kind of thing that’s likely to kick our ass… are stuff like hemorrhagic fevers or even Spanish Flue. Both still exist today, and as they get more resistant to our supply of antibiotics they’re going to become far deadlier. Worse yet, international travel means that anyone anywhere who gets one of the Big Diseases is likely to spread it internationally in a matter of days. No containment, no effective treatments. Ya gotta love out modern world.
And last but not least on this short-list of real apocalypses: simple H2O. If we live long enough, this is the one that’s going to get us. Simple and direct. You do the math:
– Globally, 1.2 billion people live in areas with inadequate water supply.
– 1.6 billion live in areas where there is water, but they can’t afford to drink it.
– As population increases, it’s estimated that water consumption will increase by at least 40 percent in the next ten years.
In the USA, kids get killed on the street for their sneakers. Take a guess what the world’s going to be like when the poor are fighting for water instead of footwear.
AND LIFE GOES ON…
So there ya go: a few of the many things that are ready and waiting to kill a whole slew of our population. (Forgot to mention brain parasites. But they’re easy to forget once you have them,) All this, and no need for a god or a prophesy. Just plain old logic and scientific inquiry. The nutbars are right; we’re toast. The how and where remain to be seen, but given the sheer number of things out there that are apt to liquify your innards or eat our brains, chances are one of them is going to hit fairly soon.
So what do we do about it? Move to the desert? Build a bunker? Make solar-powered wind chimes out of rare-earth minerals?
Me? I’m going to do what modern humans always do in the face of almost-certain death: I’m going to go to Starbucks and find that cute brunette. Then, like many a human before me, I will do my best to enjoy life and chat her up until that “almost-certain death” becomes “certain death”.
Only then will I put down my cappuccino long enough to wonder where all the pustules came from. Chances are, it won’t be from some god’s vengeance.
Written by Wm. Hopper, author of
“The Heathen’s Guide to World Religions”
Not for Sheep