- REUTERS/Steve Dipaola
On October 1, a 26-year-old student at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, shot nine of his classmates before turning the gun on himself.
The local newspaper, the Roseburg News-Review, and the town at large have been staunchly pro-gun for years, as evidenced by a number of op-eds and letters to the editors.
“The Second Amendment was considered essential to prevent a tyrannical government from ever usurping complete control over the people,” Roseburg resident Thomas Bonn wrote in an op-ed in the paper in 2013. “Places like Communist China, the Soviet Russia, and Nazi Germany have demonstrated how tyrants clinch total control over multitudes by disarming them, and how easily they can then liquidate their opponents by the tens of millions … Those are the types of mass murders that we must forever prevent here.”
Another resident, Robert Hilliard, decried the 2013 UN gun-ban treaty in the local paper.
“Obama and Hillary Clinton both support this travesty on American’s [sic] rights under the constitution,” wrote Hilliard. “Obama and Clinton must be taking their cues from the Communist Manifesto, which teaches citizens to give up their rights for the sake of the ‘common good,’ but that always ends in a police state.”
A resident of nearby Yoncalla, Oregon, Patrick Conley took it a step further, claiming that some of Obama’s policies are part of his plan to “take revenge on” Americans.
“When the dust from the mid-term elections has settled, our young, ego-maniacal, ideologue of a President, Barack Hussein Obama, will, with great personal disregard to Congress and the majority of Americans, grant some form of amnesty to millions of culturally different, prolific, criminal invaders who are illegally in our country,” Conley wrote. “What better way to dilute, punish, take revenge on, and begin remaking America?”
The Trace notes that these attitudes should not come as a surprise, considering that Roseburg has a 90% white population and a strong Tea Party chapter, adding that it would also be wrong to blame the shooting on the town’s pro-gun stance.
But in a News-Review article immediately following the shooting, “Right now, it’s time to heal,” the paper’s editor and publisher, Jeff Ackerman, took an opposing stance to Obama on how to move forward from the shooting.
“This isn’t going to be about the killer, nor is this the time to talk about guns, or whether or not new gun laws would have kept the horrific event at Umpqua Community College from happening Thursday morning,” Ackerman wrote. “Nobody really knows that yet and … besides … this is also not the time for political rhetoric.”