'Liberal preppers' survivalist movement gains steam in United St - KCTV5

'Liberal preppers' survivalist movement gains steam in United States

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With the start of Donald Trump's presidency, a new survivalist movement is gaining steam in the United States. They call themselves “liberal preppers.” (KCTV5) With the start of Donald Trump's presidency, a new survivalist movement is gaining steam in the United States. They call themselves “liberal preppers.” (KCTV5)

With the start of Donald Trump's presidency, a new survivalist movement is gaining steam in the United States. They call themselves “liberal preppers.”

Colin Waugh’s one-bedroom apartment in Independence, which he shares with his wife and three cats, is crammed with supplies, including food, water, medical items and camping equipment.

An outspoken liberal, he was never a fan of firearms, but he filled a safe with weapons and ammunition after Trump won the presidential election.

“These weapons are for defense in the event of civil unrest,” said Waugh. “Defense only.”

Waugh founded The Liberal Prepper group on Facebook the day after Donald Trump won the presidential election. Since then, it’s gained almost 2,500 members.

“A liberal prepper is someone who has taken under consideration the current political climate and is anti-Trump. They would feel, liberal preppers like myself, would feel as if our First Amendment is not being honored. It is akin to your prototypical prepper that is a conservative, you know, most often. The difference is they're concern was the second amendment and ours is the first," Waugh said.

Waugh said, while conservative preppers worried about their second amendment rights, liberals’ biggest concern is the first amendment.

“Since the onset of Donald Trump’s candidacy, it seems as if it was a never-ending media attack, and if you look at dictators of the past, the first thing they do is get rid of their political opposition. No. 1 is the media,” said Waugh.

He worries about hate crimes and violence waged by conservative extremists, emboldened by the rhetoric coming from the White House. Members of the Facebook group said they’re tired of conservative hatred.

“All your proverbial stuff: the snowflake, the welfare recipient, the Muslim sympathizer ... All this stuff gets really old really fast. And you realize that these people actually hate you,” said Waugh.

It’s a battle waged largely on social media between people with strong political viewpoints. Waugh showed KCTV5 numerous examples of calls for violence online in memes and message boards.

Waugh, who’s been in the national spotlight for his prepping, has received death threats. One message read, “Colin Waugh and you other libs, learn how to use your firearms, cause we are ready! When the ‘red dot’ is on your head, you are ‘toast’!”

“This person thinks that their intentions are good; that he actually would be doing his country a service,” said Waugh, referencing the threat. “It’s gone too far. This is too much. We have to start bringing it back."

Waugh has what he calls a “bug-out bag”, which he’ll fill with supplies, should he and his family need to leave quickly. He is seriously concerned about a modern day Civil War.

KCTV5 turned to University of Missouri-Kansas City political expert Greg Vonnahme, who said congressional voting data confirms a deep political divide in the United States.  

“Going back to, since right after the Civil War in the period of Reconstruction when Americans were killing each other, polarization is higher today than it has been at any other time since Reconstruction,” said Vonnahme.

He said two main issues are creating that division. First, he said people are more prone to negative party identification; they’re more likely to side with a certain party than with one.

“We've also seen an increasing level of social polarization,” said Vonnahme. “People are less likely to know and talk about politics with people who are dissimilar from themselves."

The divide may be wide, but Vonnahme said it’s not widespread.

“We've seen sort of a segmentation of society between people who are highly politically interested and there's a lot of intense feelings, a lot of bitterness, a lot of antipathy ... versus the average citizen who, in an election, won't even bother to show up to vote,” said Vonnahme.

He said he’s not concerned about a new American Civil War.

“It would take a different society than what we actually have,” said Vonnahme. “The average citizen is not highly engaged in politics and they don't feel nearly as strongly about any of these issues as the party activists do.”

Still, Waugh feels it’s better to be prepared. He wants people to know he doesn’t “prep” to create division; he really wants the division to end.

“Somehow, we have forgotten the things that bond us together the most,” said Waugh. “We need to call for unity despite differences.”

Waugh told KCTV5 he no longer has the weapons he showed us for this story. He says he realized he’s not legally allowed to have them because of a 2011 conviction for domestic violence. He also said he removed himself from The Liberal Prepper Facebook group due to backlash after his criminal record was discovered.

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