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Panic grips world and America buys guns as end of Mayan calendar nears

In Russia and China, citizens are stockpiling essentials and counting down until Dec. 21, 2012, the end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar. In America, guns are reportedly flying off the shelves in preparation for the Rapture. As the Apocalypse supposedly approaches, the New York Times has reported a number of strange, fear-fueled phenomena across Russia, a population which has a "penchant for mystical thinking."

From prisoners experiencing "collective mass psychosis" to citizens stocking up on essential supplies or building an imposing Mayan-style archway, Russia has caught a case of the end-of-the-world fever. But the government has put its foot down: Vladimir Puchkov, the country's minister of emergency situations, said Friday that he had access to "methods of monitoring what is occurring on the planet Earth," and that was able to guarantee the world was not ending in December, according to the New York Times.

He did admit that Russia was still privy to "blizzards, ice storms, tornadoes, floods, trouble with transportation and food supply, breakdowns in heat, electricity and water supply."

Ah, right. The usual panic-inducers.

Marie McDaniel, an assistant history professor at Southern Connecticut State University who teaches courses about the Apocalypse, also argues that we're going to be sticking around for a while longer, she told the New Haven Register.

"These ideas come up all the time ... Throughout American history, we go back to this again and again. If we can take away the end-time narrative, then many of these threats are actually solvable," McDaniel said. "We need to get to work on the real threats that beset Earth: climate change, overpopulation, world hunger, the spreading of disease.

"That's harder than deciding that we will be saved if we have faith that God will protect us."

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