The Field: The Specter of Political Violence

This episode contains strong language.

With an election in which uncertainty may abound, concerns are swirling around the possibility of political violence. Experts and officials — including those charged with the security of polling stations and ballot counting facilities — have been taking extra precautions.

Americans across the political spectrum appear to be preparing themselves for this possibility, too: Eight of the 10 biggest weeks for gun sales since the late 1990s took place since March this year. Many of those sales were to people buying guns for the first time.

Today’s episode examines these anxieties from two perspectives.

Andy Mills, a senior audio producer for The New York Times, speaks to patrons of gun stores in Washington State about their motivations and sits down with a first-time gun owner who relays his anxiety, ignited by the unrest and protests in Seattle over the summer.

And Alix Spiegel, a senior audio editor for The Times, visits three women of color in North Carolina, one of whom says the scenes in Charlottesville, the killing of Black people at the hands of the police and the threat of white militias have encouraged her to shift her anti-gun stance. 

Guests:  Andy Mills, a senior audio producer for The New York Times; Alix Spiegel, a senior audio editor for The Times; and Reid J. Epstein, who covers campaigns and elections for The Times. 

For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily 

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