Some Americans worried about possible violence after the U.S. presidential election are forming community watch groups, others are working on conflict de-escalation and still others are purchasing guns, according to two dozen voters, online groups and data surveyed by Reuters.
A common fear is that the Nov. 3 contest between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden remains undecided, leading to protests that could escalate into civil unrest, or even sectarian conflict.
An illustration of those concerns came in Michigan on Thursday, with the announcement that 13 people had been arrested in alleged plots to kidnap the state’s governor and attack the state capitol building.
For Americans like financial adviser David Powell, the greatest worry is that they could be forced to take sides to protect civil rights, private property and even lives.
“I’m not part of any group, don’t want to be part of a group, I’m your regular guy who is watching the news and is getting really concerned,” said Powell, 64, of Raleigh, North Carolina. He said he worries about “antifa thugs,” a term U.S. conservatives use to describe left-wing anti-fascist activists. He said he is prepared to “stand guard” in his community, if necessary.
Some people are planning foreign vacations around Election Day or heading to rural retreats. Others have bought guns for defense. Firearm sales hit a monthly record of 3.9 million in June, according to FBI data. Ammunition for AR-15-style rifles is on back order in states like Washington and Colorado.