Doomsday prepping: Much ado about nothing?

By Denise Dick

A zombie apocalypse? A planetary collision? The earth being swallowed by a giant black hole?

OK, well probably not.

While disaster believers contend the world will end Friday, pointing to the Maya calendar that ends that day, Mesoamerican history and astronomy experts say tales of the Earth’s imminent demise have been greatly exaggerated. They refute the theories, arguing the beliefs stem from misunderstanding and misinterpretation.

Still, some aren’t taking any chances.

Marty Cohen, owner of Mickey’s Army Navy Store in Warren, said the store has seen a slight uptick in recent weeks in customers seeking gas masks, ammunition cans and military and survival items.

“They’re putting together like a survival kit to keep,” he said.

Sometimes people come into the store just to add to their kits, augmenting them with the latest in survival gear.

“The classic is the gas mask,” Cohen said. “Some buy saws. We have a lot of camping accessories. The military meals-ready-to-eat, or MREs, are very popular.”

This isn’t the first time the Main Avenue store has seen customers preparing for disaster.

In 1991, at the beginning of the war in Iraq, many people were buying similar supplies, and those expecting pandemonium at Y2K, the beginning of 2000, also stocked up.

“There’s always flare-ups,” Cohen said.

While some are prepping for the worst, other Mahoning Valley residents expect just another day.

If they knew, though, that the end was nigh, what would be on their short-term bucket list?

Many would spend it with family, friends and those closest to them.

Poland village Mayor Tim Sicafuse would take the day off work and spend it with family.

“I’d do whatever I wanted to do — connect with everyone I know. I wouldn’t cook, that’s for sure. I’d go out to dinner and maybe not even make the bed that day.”

Lisa Doing Peura of Warren would offer a hand to four-legged friends.

She’d “bring home all the pups and kitties from the pound and love em all up! Then eat, drink and be merry with all my family and friends!”

Vic Delligatti of Mineral Ridge would try to gather family to relive fond memories.

“I would contact my mother and two brothers to see if they would like to meet at my mom and dad’s camp in Moorefield, W.Va.,” he said. “We went there almost every weekend growing up. If that would not work out, I would have to get my mom and spend time with my family..”

Laura Meeks, president of Eastern Gateway Community College, offered a similar plan.

“I’d gather my grandchildren and have sleep-over parties to spend every precious moment with them,” she said. “I’d go to church a lot and be with my church family, spending time in thanksgiving and prayer. I would open my home to the homeless so no one would be alone. Also, I’d eat a lot of chocolate.”

Terry Stocker, Struthers mayor, also would reach out to his family.

“I would make sure I talk to everyone in my family to assure them I love them and think about them constantly,” he said.

Michael Kerensky of Canfield also would host a gathering.

“I would invite all the people that I knew were going to be alone and have a huge dinner paid for by me on a credit card that was due on Dec. 22,” he said.

Others have less-lofty goals.

“To get two good night sleeps,” said Youngstown schools Superintendent Connie Hathorn. “I just want two good night sleeps before I die. I’m tired.”

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