White supremacists, survivalists, militia members and others gathered here Friday to share their political beliefs and stock up on survival gear in one of the largest such gatherings since the Oklahoma City bombing.
Most of the browsers and exhibitors at Preparedness Expo ‘95 said they are doing what they’ve always done and haven’t changed their ways since the April 19 blast that killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.
“No, we’re not here to do anything different, call for an uprising or anything,” said Oliver Smith, 58, who drove here from Atlanta with his wife.
The consumer show and conference is expected to draw more than 4,000 people over the weekend to the Orange County Convention Center, said organizer Dan Chittock of Salt Lake City, who puts on a half dozen such shows a year.
Chittock said that despite the media attention to the kind of antigovernment groups and militias that his shows typically attract, no exhibitors backed out and the crowds didn’t drop off.
“We’re not about hate. It’s an open forum,” Chittock said. “There’s enough stuff here to satisfy everyone, although some people may find something that’s out of their own comfort zone.”
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