Gun worshipers don’t want President Obama
in Roseburg, Oregon, when he visits on Friday in response to the recent
massacre at Umpqua Community College, and they do not want him to talk
about gun control.
They say he should focus on the families rather than politicize the issue.
Can we cut to the chase and simply state the obvious, which is that
there are gun fanatics out there who are scared of the big black man
taking their guns?
The post-massacre reality in Roseburg is emerging and is providing
us with some insights into the deep end of America’s toxic gun culture
— extreme, paranoid, definitely racist and very much anti-Obama.
For one, David Jaques, the rightwing publisher of the Roseburg Beacon,
told Bill O’Reilly of Fox News that the President is not welcome in his
community on Friday and that Obama wants to “stand on the corpses of
our loved ones and make some kind of political point.” Jaques added
that local officials, including the Douglas County commissioners, the
sheriff and chief of police, have urged Obama not to use the mass shooting to promote his political agenda.
Sheriff John Hanlin,
who refuses to utter the name of the shooter, was also the man who
rejected gun control and insisted the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax.
As The Oregonian noted, in January 2013, a month after a
lone gunman shot 26 people, 20 of them children at Sandy Hook
Elementary, Hanlin posted a conspiracy video suggesting the massacre
had been staged by the feds as a pretext for “disarming the public” and
that grieving parents were “crisis actors.”
“This makes me wonder who we can trust anymore,” Hanlin wrote.
“Watch, listen, and keep an open mind.” He added: “Gun control is NOT
the answer to preventing heinous crimes like school shooting.” The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence has called for Hanlin’s immediate resignation.
Meanwhile, as The Trace
reported, five weeks before the Umpqua massacre, the Douglas County
commission, headquartered in Roseburg, passed a resolution condemning
the Oregon state government for the new law expanding background
checks. “Douglas County strongly supports the right of the people to
keep and bear arms as stated in the Constitutions of the United States
of America, and Oregon … and vigorously opposes any state or federal
law that unfairly and unconstitutionally restricts these rights,” the
Not surprisingly, there is more. Jessy Atkinson, the brother
of Cheyenne Fitzgerald — one of the teens who was injured in the
shooting and is recovering in the hospital — told CNN’s Anderson Cooper
that President Obama should focus on mental health and stop pushing his
“Look where the problem really lies, and quit running the agenda —
quit running the gun agenda,” Atkinson said. “It’s not the problem.
It’s mental health in America.” And Atkinson’s mother, Bonnie Schaan,
said “our children should be able to protect themselves somehow” and
that her daughter should have had a gun.
Finally, saving the best — or worst — for last, Laurel Harper,
the mother of the dead Oregon gunman, Chris Harper Mercer, stockpiled
weapons because she feared stricter gun control laws. In fact, Ms.
Harper had an AR-15, and AK-47, a Glock, and semiautomatic rifles, and police recovered 14 guns.
“I keep two full mags in my Glock case. And the ARs & AKs all
have loaded mags,” she wrote in an online forum. “No one will be
‘dropping’ by my house uninvited without acknowledgement.”
In addition, Ms. Harper took her son, with whom she shared an
apartment before he killed nine people and himself, to an unsupervised
shooting range where they could just fire away.
Harper and her son should remind you of Adam Lanza, 20, the Sandy Hook shooter, whose survivalist mother Nancy was obsessed with guns and stockpiled food
as she prepared for the end of the world. She reportedly taught her
son, who shot her to death, how to shoot. And then he took several of
his mother’s guns to shoot little girls and boys to death.
But if President Obama dares to discuss the pathological crisis of
guns when people are killed by guns — as he is entitled as the leader
of the nation — the gun rights extremists want to change the subject.
The militia movement and white supremacist groups used the election
of the first black president as a recruiting tool, while the NRA and arms manufacturers waged a campaign
to boost both membership and gun and ammunition sales by scaring people
into thinking the black president would take away their guns.
Obama is the black face of their resentment, and their disrespect
towards him is palpable. We need to keep our eyes on America’s unhinged
This commentary originally appeared in The Grio