Mayan Apocalypse: How Are South Florida's Survivalists Preparing?
Nise Wiseman: Not sweating this catastrophe.
Well, by not doing much, it turns out.
Guess it figures. If your life is anchored by gaming out possible doomsday scenarios, a little media hype about Mayan calendars or some such bull ain't about to slow your step. Mayan, shmayan. Have you heard about the asteroid swinging by next February?
But members of South Florida's survivalist community -- subculture depths we've spelunked before -- aren't losing sleep about the catastrophe on the books for December 21. If anything, the people who focus so much thought power toward terminal What Ifs are taking the whole idea of impending doom with a measure of humor.
"My official opinion is that it's a bunch of crap," says Chris Petrovich, head of South Florida Preppers. "What I'm concerned about is people who actually believe in that crap."
Which is pretty much exactly the same answer that dropped out of the mouth of Neal Wiseman, moderator for the South Florida Survivalist Network: "I personally think it's a bunch of crap," he told us this week, suspiciously echoing his compatriot (are we dealing with a possible Mayan Apocalypse Survivalist Conspiracy?... anyone?... hello?).
Wiseman says about the only plan his membership has going for the Mayan doomsday is a meetup at a Palm Beach bar to tip a few back. Otherwise, it's just catastrophe prep as usual. Wiseman does put a good spin on the hype.
"A positive way for me to look at it is that if some people have taken some steps to becoming self-reliant and expedited that to be prepared for December 21. And if a major hurricane hits the area or there's a glitch in society, then these folks will have some level of preparations taken care of," he says.
The lack of prep for Friday doesn't seem to reflect a dip in the movement's energy. Petrovich notes that his group has seen its membership numbers double since a certain alt-weekly put survivalism on its cover. But it's mostly economic anxieties that lead individuals to prepping -- not ancient calendar dates.
"I'm not changing my weekend plans," he adds.
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