A number of Cambodian-American supporters of presidential hopeful Barack Obama voiced concern over his safety after they learned this week of an alleged plot to assassinate him.
Authorities on Tuesday arrested two men in Tennessee, Paul Schelesselman, 18, and Daniel Cowart, 20, on suspicion they had planned to shoot Obama and several black students. The two men allegedly followed white supremacist beliefs.
Obama is the first black man in US history to run for president under a major party, the Democrats.
Kheun Somkhan, an education advisor in Lowell, Mass., said the reported threat was a reminder that the culture of racism in America and the world should be eliminated.
“I was very worried to hear about the plot to kill Obama,” he said.
“As you know presidential assassinations have already been listed in America’s history, so we are very concerned about Obama’s security,” he said, adding that the government should provide more security for the presidential hopeful.
Seth Kopha, a Democratic supporter from Illinois, agreed.
“I urge the government to take serious care of Obama’s security,” he said.
Another Obama supporter, Holl Sophorn, said US presidential assassinations should be a thing of the past and accused the two men of having mental problems.
“I think those two young men are barbaric,” she said. “The government and US competence should seriously protect these presidential candidates.”
Tach Saren, a Republican supporter in Virginia, said the two men were not professional murderers and were likely suffering from emotional problems. The alleged plot would not effect the election, he said.
“They just don’t like Obama and it came through in strong emotions,” he said. “My theory is that they are not experts.”
Virginia is still fresh with the memory of another shooting: the murder of 32 students by Seung Hui Cho at Virginia Tech in April 2007.
Amercia’s legacy of violence includes the assassination of president Abraham Lincoln in 1865, president John F. Kennedy in 1963, black civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., in April 1968, and senator Robert F. Kennedy in June that year.