Tabitha Converse is quietly preparing for Election Day and the weeks beyond by stocking her basement pantry with canned goods, toilet paper and other basic supplies. She even persuaded her husband to buy a hunting rifle, just in case.
Like millions of Americans, Converse, 43, fears the potential for violence that experts say may accompany this year’s presidential election. A mother of two who works as a dental hygienist, Converse is trying not to worry too much, but with a pandemic, civil rights protests and raging wildfires piled atop the election’s boiling-hot rhetoric, well, who knows what might happen?
Most experts predict scattered violence is the worst the United States could experience this Election Day, given isolated incidents that have already taken place this year. But across the country, Americans like Converse are stocking up and preparing to hunker down to ride out a possible wave of sustained election-relatedchaos. They are buying guns and ammunition in record numbers and getting ready to peel off political bumper stickers and yank out yard signs to make themselves less of a target in case the other guy wins. Some are fleeing for remote areas or custom-built bunkers.
“It just seemed, well, stupid isn’t the right word, but it doesn’t make sense to be that ill-prepared,” says Converse, a lifelong Republican who voted Democrat in the presidential race for the first time this year. “A civil war? That could last for years. We don’t have years’ worth of supplies and if it went on for years, well, you could always go out and shoot a deer.”
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