It does little good to spend a lot of time and money in preparing for difficult times if you don’t also plan on securing those supplies against the very threats you are preparing for. Severe social dislocations caused by war, economic problems, or widespread natural disasters are almost always accompanied by looting, theft, and increased criminal behavior—sometimes in large mobs that even police cannot control. We need to plan ahead on how to deal with those threats without resorting to violent confrontations, which should be a last resort.
We also have to consider government’s propensity to confiscate stored supplies when in short supply. There is still a 1950’s law on the books that gives the government the power to declare anything in short supply as “hoarding.” In the March 3, 2012 edition of my World Affairs Brief, I covered the relevant sections with the Defense Production Act of 1950 that affect personal storage:
“Sec. 102. HOARDING OF DESIGNATED SCARCE MATERIALS [50 U.S.C. App. § 2072]
In order to prevent hoarding , no person shall accumulate (1) in excess of the reasonable demands of business, personal, or home consumption, or (2) for the purpose of resale at prices in excess of prevailing market prices, materials which have been designated by the President as scarce materials or materials the supply of which would be threatened by such accumulation.”
The wording implies that the government is taking action against those that start to hoard for profit once something gets scarce in a crises, but notice that there is no provision for acknowledging or exempting stockpiles that were accumulated before something was declared scare. That’s what is dangerous about this wording. And there are severe penalties for getting caught “hoarding,” regardless of when your supplies were purchased:
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