As of Saturday, November 7th, projected results from the American presidential election placed Joe Biden as president-elect, defeating incumbent Donald Trump. However, in the leadup to those results, residents and businesses alike are taking precautions in the event of election-centric violence.
In major cities, preparations were most visible as storefronts boarded up—something that Kylie Albertsen ’21 witnessed in Boston, M.a., her current city of residence. She likened the atmosphere to “the city…planning for war.”
“Many of the designer stores as well as boutiques and chain stores on several main streets began boarding up their windows a few days ago in preparation for election aftermath. Even some of Suffolk University’s buildings are being boarded up in preparation for the election aftermath,” Albertsen said.
Albertsen planned to avoid leaving her apartment after dark over the course of the week and said that every siren she heard put her on edge. She also cited the tension’s negative effect on her focus on coursework.
“With social media posts all discussing election aftermath and how there could quite potentially be a ‘war’[,] it is extremely difficult not to direct my attention toward the media outlets. Now until the presidential inauguration is going to be an extremely turbulent time no matter the outcome of the election and I think everyone, professors and students[,] need[s] to realize we are all trying our best to cope with what is going on and have a bit of leniency and understanding toward one another,” Albertsen wrote.
The turbulence Albertsen wrote of was not limited to urban centers. Sadie Fowler ’22 described a line for gun ammunition prior to Election Day at a Walmart in Quakertown, P.a., near her home. This had followed a demonstration by Trump supporters, who gathered in trucks in the parking lot. Fowler also observed an increased police presence around polling areas, and felt a general climate of tension.
“When I first heard this [about the ammunition demand] I wasn’t surprised, which is kind of sad,” Fowler reflected. Responding on Election Day, she worried about “if [Trump] claims an early victory what the pro-[Trump] people in my town will do with their guns and have more parades.”
Fowler was concerned about unrest, but also felt that, after voting, she could do nothing to prevent any disturbance that might take place following the election. She added that the situation had “absolutely impacted” her concentration: “It’s all we talk about in classes, all we hear in emails and the news,” she wrote.
Not all locales were concerned about unrest. Hunter Omerzo ’24, a resident of Greene Township, O.h., knew that those in nearby rural areas were stockpiling food and ammunition. As a whole, though, his area was calm, with few boarded businesses. Omerzo thought that any violence would either take place within cities, away from his hometown, or, if it occurred, be started by outsiders.
“I think people are concerned for the state of the country as a whole,” Omerzo wrote. “I don’t think anyone thinks anyone who lives around here is going to do anything violent[,] but I think a lot of people are concerned for people in cities mostly.”
Omerzo added “if anyone was going to try to come out here to start something I think most people in my area feel pretty well protected both by the police and in self-defense.”