Obama Visit to Umpqua Brings Controversy – City Welcomes, Many Don’t
After speculation he might not come, officials have confirmed President Obama will be visiting Roseburg, OR - the home of Umpqua Community College. He will apparently meet privately with some of the families of the shooting victims. But others are not wanting any part of it, including some victim's families.
Many critics have stepped forward, including the father of the 9 wounded in Chris Harper-Mercer's assault that left ten dead at the school. Also opposing the idea is the publisher of the local paper, the Roseburg Beacon, David Jacques.
He says Obama's visit is a political one, to push an anti-gun agenda. He called the President's planned trip "a dishonor" to the victims and their families. He says it will be more of a publicity stunt than intended to honor those who died and were hurt. Other families members have also echoed similar sentiments.
The reason many in this small Oregon community are not welcoming such a visit stems from remarks Obama made shortly after news of the shooting broke. Rather than focus on the victims, and stress the need to find and subdue the shooter, he typically used the tragedy to (once again) spin his desire for gun controls, and more anti-gun laws. Obama said shortly after the shooting:
"This is something we should politicize, is is a political choice that we make."
The White House didn't say anything about any public appearances by the President when he comes. Officially, the City of Roseburg says it welcomes any such visit by Obama.