Despite the expected cold reception, President Barack Obama pushed through with his planned visit to Roseburg, Oregon on Friday to condole with the families of the nine Christian victims who were shot dead by a gunman inside their classroom at the Umqua Community College on Oct. 1.
Hundreds of protesters greeted Obama's motorcade carrying signs and banners saying such messages as "Obama Free Zone," "Go Away," "Go Home, You're Not Wanted Here," "Please Leave Us In Peace" and "Obama Is Wrong" among others.
The protesters were indignant at how Obama quickly and callously politicised the murders when just minutes after the rampage he called a press conference at the White House not to condemn the killings but to push for tighter gun control.
Some of the protesters carried firearms to make their point that more gun control is not the solution to the problem of mounting violence plaguing America. Support for gun rights remains strong in Oregon despite the recent school tragedy.
The president went to Roseburg on the same when two more campus shootings—one in Arizona and another in Texas—occurred, leaving two persons dead and four wounded. Both student gunmen in the two incidents were arrested by the police.
Despite the tense atmosphere in Roseburg, the anti-Obama protest was peaceful, with some of the protesters simply turning their backs as the motorcade passed by, according to WND News.
Gary Shambling, one of the protesters, said Obama should not have come to Oregon. "He should stay away," he said. "He made it very plain, 15 minutes after the shooting happened. He politicized it. The bodies weren't even cold."
"He's using us to politicise this shooting. He's trying to get guns taken away," said another protester, Willie Windon, a 56-year-old retired US Army veteran.
Speaking to reporters after meeting with the families of the victims, Obama still pursued his gun control agenda, saying he had "strong feelings" about the issue, Reuters reported.
Obama still did not say a word about the religious aspect of the tragedy where the gunman specifically asked his victims if they were Christians before gunning them down. There was also not even a hint of a presidential condemnation of the violence.
Reuters said Obama only mentioned about the need for the country to come together to prevent such shootings from happening in the future.
"Obviously, in moments like these, words aren't going to bring their loved ones back," he said.
"When you talk to these families, you're reminded that this could be happening to your child, or your mom, or your dad, or your relative, or your friend. And so we're going to have to come together as a country to see how we can prevent these issues from taking place," he said.
Obama's statement appeared to signal his plans to promote his gun control agenda. According to ABC News, Obama's Democrat allies in the Senate are set to file several gun control bills. If the bills don't pass, the White House said on Friday the president may take unilateral action by executive order to create new federal background checks for firearms purchases, ABC News reported.