Several groups plan to protest President Barack Obama’s visit to Roseburg, Oregon, on Friday.
Many residents of the conservative community are not happy with the president because he politicized the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College before all the bodies had even been identified. David Jaques, publisher of the conservative Roseburg Beacon, put out the word earlier this week that the president would not be welcome in his town because he was coming to further his anti-gun agenda.
On Monday, Jaques told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that he had talked to “dozens and dozens of citizens, some family members of the victims, our elected officials.”
He said Douglas County commissioners, the sheriff, and the chief of police had signed a letter stating the the president would not be welcome in Roseburg to grandstand for political purposes.
Meanwhile, a Facebook page called “Defend Roseburg — Deny Barack Obama” emerged this week outlining plans for a protest at 11 a.m. on Friday before the president’s early afternoon arrival.
So far, 7,600 people have indicated that they will be “going” to the rally, and another 3,400 have said “maybe.”
The organizers stress that they want a peaceful protest and have asked those attending to behave in an appropriate manner so that 2nd Amendment supporters are not put in a bad light.
“Conduct yourselves like adults,” the event description reads. “Show the nation and the world a strong force of principled, good, responsible patriots. Represent yourself and the country with excellence because the world is truly watching.”The organizers also recognize that gun control opponents will express themselves by carrying weapons.”If you choose to carry a firearm that is your right. Be safe, be responsible. We suggest that you carry a handgun as opposed to a rifle, but again, you have the right to carry what you wish. Whatever you carry, keep it holstered/secure. Show the world that American gun owners are responsible patriots. Look out for each other.”
The Douglas County Tea Party announced that at least two separate protests are planned, with the intention of showing support for County Sheriff John Hanlin, an outspoken opponent of additional restrictions on gun ownership.
The White House insists that this will not be a political visit, but rather a private one for the president to “console” the grieving families.
“I hope that’s the case,” Chris Boice, a Douglas County commissioner, told Bill O’Reilly earlier this week. “It’s difficult to judge one’s motives, but the president has been very clear since the beginning of this that he has an agenda about gun control.”
Boice added that “if the president is truly coming to visit the families, that’d be great.”
O’Reilly asked Boice if he knew how the families of the victims were feeling about the visit.
The commissioner answered that the victims’ family members he had spoken to sounded much like “what we’ve heard already.” He also claimed that one young man told told him he had no interest in talking to the president “about political issues.”
O’Reilly asked if it was true that Umpqua shooting hero Chris Mintz, who was shot by the killer seven times, had indicated he was “not interested” in meeting with Obama.
Boice said that when he had mentioned the presidential visit to Mintz, the hero just said “he was not real excited about getting involved in the political side of this, either.”
The president is combining his visit to Roseburg with a West Coast fundraising trip this weekend.