l've been bothered by the photos and stories of right-wing Obama-hating wackos protesting our President's visit to Roseburg. President Obama came to speak with the families of those killed in the horrific Umpqua Community College shootings.
He didn't politicize the event, though he certainly would have been within his rights to call for steps to prevent gun massacres like this from ever happening again.
I was reassured to come across this message from a Roseburg resident on a local radio web site. Addressing the national media, Peggy Long says a large percentage of the Obama protesters came from out of town. They don't represent Roseburg.
Here's Long's message, with some parts boldfaced for emphasis. Thanks, Ms. Long, for telling us that people in Roseburg don't go along with the disgraceful displays of disrespect toward President Obama that were broadcast last Friday.
How those jerks can call themselves "patriots" is beyond me. It is almost beyond belief that a presidential visit to console the families of those killed in the mass shooting would generate such vitriol and hatred.
DEAR BLUNT ADVICE: They are not from here.
by Peggy Long
[I've added boldface emphasis to parts of Long's excellent message to the national media.]
Dear National Media: As a citizen of Roseburg, Oregon, I just want to express how embarrassed and dismayed I am over the protesters during President Obama's visit to our town. I don't even know who those people were and I am sorry about the vile names they called you and the disrespect they showed the President of the United states. It wasn't what the families of the victims wanted, and it wasn't what the majority of the citizens wanted.
What you saw on display isn't the embodiment of this community. Being from this town, I can tell you we are all still reeling from this - but it has been an unspoken agreement that this is a time to help the families. The families' needs are all that concern us now. What I have witness since the tragedy took place is inspiring. I can't keep track of all of the fundraisers going on around town.
From people selling t-shirts, staging car washes, baking cookies, organizing rallies and concerts, giving their services for free to the victims and families of the victims - to little kids selling dough hearts in front of the grocery store - all of the money from these acts are going to those hurt the most by this tragedy. The people of this town work hard, and when they aren't at work they try to help in any way they can. We are exhausted, but still we keep rolling and giving of our time and money. These people are amazing and I wish you could see that.
I wish these images were the ones being propped up in the media of what Roseburg is about, but unfortunately it's not....
I can't even begin to tell you about these people because I don't know who they are. A large percentage of the protesters aren't even from this community, but there they are... standing in front of the High School that I graduated from, in the city and county that I pay taxes in, "speaking for our community" by screaming insults to the National media and telling the President of the United States to go home - that "we don't want you here". Really? Do they even know anything about "Here"?
"Here" is a community that heads to the High School to watch football every Friday night and puts on their Ducks or Beavers t-shirts for the games on Saturday. "Here" is a community of hunters, of sportsmen, and have their latest "Big Catch" saved as their background on their iPhone. There are gun owners "Here" and have been for generations. "Here" is a community that honors the flag and has record turn outs for events on Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Veteran's Day. "Here" is a community of character, and of charity, and know the definition of "Community". "Here" is where people have gigantic hearts and their friend's back. If something horrific happens to one of us "Here" it happens to all of us. "Here" is a county that votes predominately Republican, who didn't vote for the President, and more than likely don't support his views on gun control.
But we also know someone who lost a life, or were hurt, or are friends with someone who had a family member affected, so we understand that the time and the place for political agendas is not now and not "Here".
Some may argue that the President's visit was to push his gun control agenda, but the majority of the people "Here" know that it wasn't. He came for the families. He made it known that he wasn't going to make any speeches that he was only going to meet privately with those who were hurt and the families of those who lost their lives. There were no photo ops. There were no gun control statements. He was just bringing comfort to the families and letting them know that the Nation is praying for them. The people "Here" may not agree with the president, but they are humble enough to put their feelings aside for the sake of the families' wishes. It has been widely expressed that if he could ease the pain or provide any comfort to those who were hurt or lost someone, then the people of this community would welcome the President "Here".
These protesters aren't from "Here". They just used our tragedy as an opportunity to thumb their nose at the President and prance around with their guns on their hips. They came "Here" to co-opt an event for the victims' grief so they could call the National press vulgar names and wave their misspelled signs at the President in our name. Because they don't live "Here" they had no qualms about packing up and leaving us with their mess to clean up. They don't care how their agenda made those who live "here" look to the rest of the world. I do have to give it to them though, they really drove home the fact that the gun isn't the one that causes the damage - people do. They ruined our reputation and any good will from our Nation that these families gained without firing a single bullet. Their work "Here" is done.
So my advice to you, National Media, is... take a second look at this community before you lump us in with extremists. Understand that our agenda is to continue to support the families and to heal as a community. Spend some time "Here" and witness what I have had the privilege to see. We are tired, and this week has been a blur of emotionally trying events. And though we struggle, we rally to give each other support and help where we can. Please let that be your story. Let that be how you define us. Don't put up photos of people who don't represent us and don't understand the nature of this Community. Stop saying that they are from "Here". That is not who "We" are.