I think they lit the fuse, whether we explode up immediately or not. My grandparents (both sides) lost a significant portion of their businesses, savings, and stock accounts, during the 1930s depression. Their attitudes towards the dollar, bankers, precious metals and land, were significantly different that those common today.
Significantly, in all the press reports and turmoil about "what to do about Cyprus", there isn't ANY mention of the obvious solution: PUT RESERVE REQUIREMENTS BACK TO WHERE THEY WERE BEFORE 1980. Banking should be a service to society, not a blood-sucking parasite.
Up until the 1970s, banks in most parts of the world were required to hold 10-20% in REAL reserves. That requirement is gone now. For example, US banks can have ZERO reserves on your savings accounts, and on the first 28 million or so that they hold in 'demand' accounts (e.g., checking). Zero reserve = infinite leverage.
That's why these banks are failing; we've allowed the regulations to change so that they can gamble, with our money, at infinite leverage - and we back them up on the bets that go sour. Further, guess what happens if you're a responsible banker? You lose your job to someone who will take more risks.
There are reports that the London and Moscow branches of the larger Cyprus banks remained open throughout this crisis, and since capital controls weren't enacted (what was the need? the cyprus branches were closed), it looks likely that most of the major depositors got their money out. Entirely. Much of it has been moved to Switzerland in the last week.
Then again, it was never about the money. The EU heads are pushing (hard) for Federalization, where a central authority calls the shots in each and every country. Cyprus just served as an object lesson for all other EU states as to how it is going to be. Oddly enough, the German parliament will later on have to ratify what is going on in Cyprus, but the Cypriot parliament's approval will not be necessary.
As for gold, it might be time to start looking to it as a lagging rather than a leading indicator; sure to win at some point, but stop thinking it will lead the way. The world's financial smoke detectors have all had their batteries removed, and they will not be replaced upon pain of death...
Couldn't agree more with your last paragraph. If you're 'good' with your gold and precious metals exposure then just sit tight and be comfortable with the fact that you've bought disaster insurance from problems ranging from a minor inconvenience to total chaos. What we're probably going to see is something in between the two extremes. As for everybody else, they'be been warned sufficiently and if they act on it or not is up to them. Debating the doubters and naysayers is a useless activity. Spending you're time on something productive is a better option.
I look at buying gold now like being on the Titanic before it hits the iceberg. Would it be better to get in the lifeboat now or wait until the ship starts sinking? By then its too late.