KANSAS CITY, MO. — Washington D.C. and states across the country are bracing for possible violence after the roit last week of the U.S. Capitol building.
Threats made online brought extra National Guard troops and police in to help ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.
Past and potential violence along with angry exchanges on social media sites are causing an increasing number of people to believe that their personal safety is in danger.
Security experts and mental health professionals have specific tips to help those feeling overwhelmed with stress or anxiety to regain their sense of peace and empower them to feel protected.
Mike Brown, owner of Frontier Justice, a gun store in Lee's Summit, Missouri, said that on the day the U.S. Capitol was invaded, people started coming in his store to get a weapon for protection.
"We saw a 290% increase in sales over the last week given everything that's going on," Brown said.
Brown said most of the people coming in to get a weapon are first-time customers who previously did not own a gun.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker Lidia Young is founder and president of ReThink Leadership Now in Overland Park, Kansas.
She said she is afraid some people are spending too much time watching news accounts of violence, threats of violence on television and political debate on social media.
Young said she believes internalizing the dangerous threats causes the body to release stress hormones and make people to believe that their personal safety and their family's safety is at greater danger than it is.
Tip #1: Examine how much time you're watching the news and on social media.
"Is [time spent on social media or consuming news about violence] helping me to feel more in control of my life, or more empowered? An even better question: are you more happy or hopeful? If the answer is no, then you nave the power to not be on that page or not listen to the news so much," Young said.
Tip #2: Try to avoid any conflict.
That's the advice from Ty Moeder, president, and CEO of P24:6 Consulting based in Lee's Summit, Missouri.
Moeder is known worldwide for training, assessing and solving security threats. He also provides personal security protection for individuals.
Moeder said a low profile means making yourself less of a target.
"If you've got your car or vehicle covered in bumper stickers of a certain type of opinion, well, guarantee you there's going to be somebody else who has a counter opinion to that — and who knows what that might solicit," Moeder said.
Tip #3: Have a plan.
"Have a plan in place and use this opportunity to create one. What should you do if there's a fire? What should you do if we have an intruder?" Moeder said.
Tip #4: Have a safety talk with your children.
Be honest with children and help them understand safety concerns without making them afraid.
"Help them understand that 'Hey, look, there's a big crazy world out there and things happen and we, if everybody does their part and looks after themselves and we look after ourselves and our neighbors and communicate, then things will work out fine,'" Moeder said.
Tip #5: Properly train on and store your weapon.
"My philosophy is a firearm is a tool that you use for personal safety as a last resort," Brown said.
He recommends that people who buy a firearm also get trained on how to use it, and to store it safely at home so children can not get it.
Brown is hoping that tempers will calm and people will begin working together to unite the country.
"We're all Americans, and we need to act like Americans and pull together," Brown said.
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