President Obama arrived in Roseburg today amidst significant protests. PolitiStick.com was on the scene to observe the massive protests throughout town. The president’s arrival was the talk of the small town and while a small fraction of the people on street corners and along the road leading to the local airport were supportive or welcoming of the president, the vast majority waved signs and banners criticizing Obama for his divisive rhetoric that added insult to injury as the community grieved for the lives lost in the UCC shooting last week.
The president was expected to arrive in one of two places and for security purposes, the itinerary was well-guarded from the Roseburg population. Obama was reported to be landing in Eugene, about 70 miles North of the town, and take Marine One to either the Roseburg regional airport or the local high school, Roseburg High School.
However, the president’s motorcade slinked-past the long road of protesters lining the road leading to the airport and bypassed the crowd before arriving through the back entrance of the high school.
The town had the feeling of being “occupied” as Secret Service joined Oregon State police, Portland police, local police and even Oregon department of transportation workers in locking-down much of the town.
Harvard Avenue, one of the main arteries of the town that runs-by the high school, was locked-down for roughly a half hour before the president’s arrival. Rather than offer a sign on the freeway, officials closed the off-ramp leading to Harvard Avenue at the stoplight at the end of the off-ramp, thus stranding dozens of people who were going about their business and had the misfortune to be caught in the president’s wake.
As I tried to find a place to park, I was confronted by a police officer who had come all the way from Portland, nearly 200 miles away, who informed me that if I stopped my vehicle even near the high school, she would “have to arrest [me].”
I joined the group of several hundred protesters who lined the road leading to the airport and the mood was nearly 100% anti-Obama. Many openly carried firearms on their hips. With many waving flags and many holding signs, the community came-out in full force to show their disdain for the president and his message.
Some came from as far away as California. One man who wished to remain unnamed claimed to have come from the central California coast and claimed that he and others had made the trip to protest Obama’s “anti-civil rights agenda,” a reference to Obama’s call for more regulations to undermine the Second Amendment.
The man note that Obama’s agenda is flawed and that gun owners will not comply with his unconstitutional pronouncements. “Any too-drastic moves that Obama tries to make in the whole gun rights issue and he’s flirting with civil war.”
David Jacques, the editor of the Roseburg Beacon, a local newspaper, has stirred controversy after he appeared on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” and announced that the community did not want Obama to visit. Jacques offered a comment to PolitiStick and noted that the town has responded to Obama’s grandstanding with a unified voice of opposition. “We feel pretty strongly that this was the wrong thing for the president to be doing and we’re seeing that pretty consistently.”
Throughout the entire day, amidst hundreds of protesters, I could note only four who voiced support for the president. One was a woman who shouted that protesters should “be ashamed” for protesting the president, another was a woman who danced in the street and claimed that mothers should be “against school shootings.”
Two men adorned in bicyclist gear were swarmed-upon by media as for hours, they were the only two pro-Obama supporters. When I asked for a comment, they spied my Glock on my hip and demanded to know why anyone “would need a gun.” When I answered that it was for the same reason that I do not allow soldiers to be quartered in my home, that carrying was my right, they mumbled to each other that they should “get out of here.” As they departed my company, they shouted that nobody needs a piece of “dangerous weaponry” to retain their rights. I responded that that is precisely why one would need such weaponry- for the retention of rights.
Obama was shuttled around town, but soon, the streets were closed once again to accommodate President Obama’s departure. He remained in town for roughly an hour before departing to his next photo opportunity. He did not give a speech and it is as yet unknown if he met with any families affected by the tragic shooting at UCC.
Though the president has called for further infringements upon the Second Amendment rights of millions of citizens, the president was noticeably protected by men and women with guns. Secret service agents possessed such weapons and the rooftops of Roseburg High were adorned with snipers who were, presumably, armed with rifles.
Of course, that seems impossible; Roseburg High is a “gun-free” zone. Therefore, it would be impossible for a person to bring a rifle into a “gun-free” zone…
Three Sikorsky choppers ferried personnel and aside from the cost of Air Force One and operating the motorcades, the sheer cost of employing hundreds of law enforcement agents and county workers to provide for the president’s arrival must have been enormous. When we consider that that not only did the president’s arrival cost taxpayers significantly, the short duration of the president’s trip coupled with the extended delays forced-upon the entire town seems to indicate that Obama’s arrival was not only unwelcomed by the majority of Roseburg residents, but quite costly and inconvenient for them as well.
Thankfully, while Obama was able to skirt having to witness the majority of the protests, the message offered to Obama and his staff was remarkably clear:
Obama was not welcome in this community.
Many signs were signs of support for Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin who has stood-strong and asserted that he will not enforce unconstitutional gun laws.
These two were, for hours, the only Obama supporters in the crowd.
Cars were backed-up and blocked in order to accommodate Obama’s visit.