Metals Can Save Your Life?

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When doomsday hits and Mel Gibson’s world of “Mad Max” becomes a reality, at least those with piles of canned goods and precious metals should be safe.

At least, that’s the idea that some survivalists — or those that practice “extreme preparedness” — seem to share. “The traditional face of survivalism is that of a shaggy loner in camouflage, holed up in a cabin in the wilderness and surrounded by cases of canned goods and ammunition,” Alex Williams recently wrote in the New York Times.

But that shaggy loner with his mountain of ammunition now sits near a molehill of ammunition rather than a mountain, given the rising cost of metals in ammo. These days, even police officers have to decrease their action at the firing range. And that shaggy loner? He no longer represents survivalists as a whole, as the search for self-sufficiency against a growing tank of economic and environmental threats cause more self-described “normal” people to prepare: Buying silver coins for possible currency, building cabins, purchasing GPS units and satellite telephones.

In times of crisis, “Your safe haven must be self-sufficient and capable of growing some kind of food,” the article quotes Barton M. Biggs, the former chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley, who noted that people should “assume the possibility of a breakdown of the civilized infrastructure.” He adds that this safe-haven should be well-stocked with seed, canned food, clothes — and even wine, which I should have realized is always necessary when one faces impending doom. It makes widespread chaos that much easier to bear. “Even in America and Europe,” Biggs concludes, “there could be moments of riot and rebellion when law and order temporarily breaks down.”

What is causing these intense ideas? Should we really be worried, or is this a random repeat of Y2K, thanks to the hum of Wall Street and Al Gore’s inconvenient truths? We should always be self-sufficient, but you have to wonder if these extremes are necessary. At least I’m prepared: I have a can of beets in my cabinet from a moment of health-consciousness. They never looked very appealing after that initial purchase. And the metal content of all those pennies and nickels accumulating in the cup-holder of my car has to be worth something — well, someday. Most importantly, I have Skittles and Jolly Ranchers, and lots of them.

–Amy Edwards

Comment (1)

  1. Jason Busch says:


    Given the fact that your boss will not let me keep ammunition in the house (or the office), I’ve lost a huge arbitrage opportunity. Last time after I went to the range, I gave away a few hundred rounds to friends whose spouses were so enlightened as to let them store ammunition locked away at home. Alas, my spouse does not understand the lost profit we’re missing out on or the cost avoidance argument next time I go shooting. Still, we have lots of canned goods.

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