- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 15, 2001

DENVER For dealers in arms, ammunition and survival gear, Tuesday's terrorist attack ignited a shopping spree like they haven't seen since the year 2000.
"It's been a little bit wild," said Demoin Gold, an owner of Survival Solutions in West Valley, Utah. "When something like this happens, it definitely triggers some panic. There hasn't been this kind of rush since Y2K."
Shortly after hijackers flew two commercial airliners into the World Trade Center, Mr. Gold said he got his first call from a woman who wanted a year's worth of dehydrated food for long-term storage. He spent the rest of the day fielding requests for hot-ticket items like 72-hour disaster kits and water-storage barrels.
"People think, 'If that could happen, what else is out there? Maybe we ought to be a little more prepared, get a couple of years' supply of food for our family,'" Mr. Gold said.
Not to mention a couple of years' supply of bullets. Bob Jensen, owner of Jensen's Gun Shop in Loveland, Colo., said his store has been mobbed since the first television footage of the attack began airing Tuesday morning.
"We're selling tons of ammunition, lots of guns," said Mr. Jensen. "It's like the gas lines people want to stock up, just in case."
Most people are less concerned about their immediate personal safety than with the accessibility of arms and ammunition if a war breaks out, he said. "It's just a case of people thinking that these things won't be available any more or the price will go up so high that they won't be able to afford it," Mr. Jensen said.
Others were more concerned about the possibility of a chemical or biological attack. Bob Glass, a survival-and-arms expert in Longmont, Colo., says he's been flooded with requests for NBC, or nuclear-biological-chemical, suits.
"It's just a natural consequence of people thinking, 'OK, we want to protect ourselves, and having a gas mask and an NBC suit might save your life,'" Mr. Glass said.
Likewise with John Trochmann, leader of the Militia of Montana, which distributes a catalog of survival equipment along with books and films. Since early Tuesday, he said, he has been inundated with calls from across the country to his office in Noxon, Mont., with requests for NBC suits and gas masks.
"The telephones have been tied up 100 percent of the time since this came out," Mr. Trochmann said. "There's still a lot of interest out there."
The survival business took a big hit when predictions of massive shortages and power failures on Jan. 1, 2000, failed to materialize. The Preparedness Expo, a popular survival-and-militia show that toured the West for years, has since disappeared, while many outlets that catered to survivalists have gone belly up.
"All of the actual retail survival stores [in Utah] have gone out of business, except us," said Mr. Gold. "People got into it because of Y2K, but they didn't understand that this isn't a money-making business it's a service."
At the Army and Navy Surplus Store in Englewood, Colo., manager Rick Wright said customers have been pouring in for MRE, or meals ready to eat, gasoline containers and gas masks. "It's not quite as big as Y2K, but we've definitely seen an increase," he said. "I guess any time you deal with the Middle East, people are going to want to take precautions."
Since the initial run on items, he's noticed that purchase of survival equipment had tapered off, while sales of American flags soared. "I heard we had the last flags in town, and I just sold my last one a few minutes ago," he said.
Mr. Wright said the "panic mood" of Tuesday has transformed into a more "patriotic" feeling.

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