Guests: Rep. James Clyburn, Joe Zamudio, Al Sharpton, Bill Press, Tony
Blankley, Paul Helmke, Alan Grayson
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight, live from New York.
There‘s a lot of things hitting our “Hot Buttons” as Americans tonight. It has been a gut-wrenching and horrific weekend for this country. This is a tragedy that reverberates across this nation, and tonight, we ask a lot of questions.
Let‘s just keep one thing in mind, in an elementary school in Tucson, Arizona, today, there was an empty desk in a classroom of 9-year-olds were wondering, what happened to their classmate?
America, where are we going?
A few minutes ago, Jared Lee Loughner—well, he appeared before a federal court, and the five charges against him were read. The judge said he‘s a danger to the community and offered him to be held without bail. That is the most recent picture of the alleged shooter.
And at this hour, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is fighting for her life in an intensive care unit and six American families are planning funerals for their loved ones.
Like many Americans, I spent the weekend evaluating how a tragic shooting could happen like this. And I want to be crystal clear tonight off the top—the only person responsible for the shooting is the apparently mentally deranged sick young man.
But I also think that this is no time in this country to limit conversation and discussion. And I think this story has three main parts, three elements to it.
Number one is mental illness. This country has to do something about the crisis of undertreated mental illness among our veterans and other mentally ill Americans who can‘t get the help they desperately need.
The second thing, just like Richard Nixon said, guns. Those damn things. We need to ask ourselves, if Americans with mental illness should have access to firearms. What happened here? How did this slip through the cracks? And if any American should have a concealed weapon, which can fire 30 rounds without reloading.
I will take the liberty tonight to tell you that I own a lot of firearms. I hunt and fish, deer rifles, 10-gauge, 12-gauge, 20-gauge. I‘ve been doing it for 35 years. It‘s part of our life and our family.
But I have to tell your folks, I don‘t own a pistol and I couldn‘t imagine having a firearm because I wouldn‘t know what do with 30 rounds.
These guns are made to kill people. These guns are made to, I guess, protect people. Whatever way the NRA wants it, that‘s the way they‘re going to defend it. We‘re always the bad guys if we question gun control and laws in this country.
And number three is the rhetoric. What role does the language from politicians and talk radio and the Internet and cable news shows have to do in the effect of this hot political climate that we live in?
Now, we tackle these issues head-on, if we want to make change in this country, if we want to make us a better society. Congresswoman Giffords was trying to change the tone of political rhetoric in Arizona. In fact, the night before she was shot, Giffords wrote an e-mail to congratulate Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson on his new position at Harvard University.
She wrote, “After you get settled, I‘d love to talk about what we can do to promote centrism and moderation. I‘m one of only 12 Dems left in a GOP district, the only woman,” she put in parenthesis, “and I think we need figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down.”
Well, this tragedy presents a lot of us in this country, the whole nation, with a moment to get better when it comes to bipartisanship. It certainly shines a light a bright right on the extremist rhetoric, that modern-day culture gives us every day-in and day-out in the 24-hour news cycle.
You want to fix it, let‘s start with Washington. Congresswoman Giffords knew that all too well. In the last election, her Tea Party opponent Jesse Kelly talked about her like this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JESSE KELLY ®, FORMER ARIZONA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: We don‘t need to be running for office to enhance our own power. This country is in trouble and liberalism is ripping this nation apart, and I‘m tired of Republicans playing namby-pamby politics with it. It‘s time to engage the enemy. We have lost ground for so long. We are done losing ground in this nation. We‘re about to start taking ground and we‘re done being afraid of this government. It‘s time for them to be afraid of us.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: How does that sound bite sound now in the wake of what happened on Saturday? Public officials have to be very careful of their language, don‘t you think?
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver put responsibilities squarely on elected officials in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D), MISSOURI: We are in a dark place in this country right now. And the atmospheric condition is toxic and much of it originates here in Washington, D.C. and we export it around the country. I think that members of Congress either need to turn down the volume, begin to try to exercise some high level of civility—or this darkness will never, ever be overcome with light.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: There‘s some pretty strong logic right there. You know, we‘re always quick to assign blame—but I think mental illness, guns, gun laws, and the rhetoric all play into it. It‘s all intertwined.
And we‘re having a discussion in this country about anger. Why are we angry? We‘re never going to be able to change the mood of the country unless we address the radical policies that are being presented in front of the people.
Is it a radical policy to continue to ship jobs overseas? Do you expect the people out there in the heartland to feel good when their jobs get shipped overseas? Are they supposed to feel real good about that and not be angry?
Just this Wednesday, there was supposed to be a vote where the Republicans wanted to take away health care from people with pre-existing conditions. Does that make a lot of people happy?
And what about losing your home? We‘ve had a mortgage crisis in this country and people being drummed out of their home after losing their job, losing their credit, not being able to get back into the economy—while they watch the top 2 percent get the tax breaks, and Wall Street run away with taxpayer dollars and all of the abuse that‘s been done when it comes to military spending and independent contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Do you think we have a reason to be angry in this country?
Look, we‘re just a reflection of what happens in this country. I‘ll defend this program, not one time have I ever advocated overthrowing the government or anything that dealt with a revolution. I‘m here to advocate for the workers in this country, for those who have been crapped on, the justice/injustice, the social justice that needs to be addressed, the labor issues in this country.
But you see, when you face such radical policies and you put them in front of the American people and you take their pension and give the tax breaks to the top 2 percent and then you say that you‘re getting paid too much as a worker, the country is going to get angry.
Now, this has nothing do with the shooting that took place on Saturday. And there‘s no psychiatrist or psychologist or sociologist that‘s willing to step out and say, what you see on cable is why that happened on Saturday. It‘s simply not true.
But fact of the matter is, is that we have a mood in this country that is dangerous right now. We have politicians and we‘ll play some of the sound for you later on who actually advocate that they want their constituents armed and dangerous.
Words have consequences. Did your wife believe you when you said, “I love you”? Did your spouse believe you when you said, “I love you”? Do words matter in our society anymore?
But in the wake of all of this, what do we teach in the next generation? Hell, we can‘t even communicate without yelling at one another. And you know what? I‘m fault, I admit it. I get passionate, but not in a violent way.
And I believe that we have to say things on this show and we have to be honest—because there‘s a lot of stuff, especially across the street, that is not the truth. That is embellished to the point where it might make somebody think that doing something radical is the right thing to do.
We‘ve had all these comparisons over the years about confrontation, how many politicians have taken out commercials and said, I‘m going to fight for you. Heck, on this show, we have a “Battleground” segment. It‘s the big debate. We have “Psycho Talk,” that‘s because people lie and we want to put a light on those lies.
So, who‘s right? Who‘s wrong? We know this: that there are a lot of elements to this, and I think as a country and as a people, we want to assign blame right away.
It‘s much bigger than that. We have to make a commitment to our neighbors that if they‘re mentally ill, we‘re going to make it right for them to come back; that we have to be responsible and share information because no one wants to confiscate guns. Hell, we have the loosest gun laws we‘ve ever had.
But do you want someone who‘s mentally deranged to be able to walk into a sporting shop and just pick up a firearm and then go do whatever he wants to do with it afterwards? Is that the kind of society we want to live in? But every time we have this conversation, we run into a political party that says, we‘re nothing but gun-grabbers as liberals. It‘s the vilification that takes place in this country that is so dangerous.
Has this ever been like this before? Yes, it has been. And this man knows it has been. This man lived it his whole life. And he, in my opinion, is wrong of the finest public servants in America.
Jim Clyburn joins us tonight from South Carolina on the phone.
Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA (via telephone): Thank you so
much for having me, Ed. It‘s always good to be on the show
SCHULTZ: Has it ever been like this in America, Congressman?
CLYBURN: Oh, yes. Back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, I was around when Brown versus Board of Education was working its way up to the Supreme Court. That decision came in ‘54. I was around when we had the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Even before that, 1957 with the Civil Rights Act that you remember the senior senator from my state at the time, Strom Thurmond, wrestled Ralph Yarborough to the floor to keep him from going into the room to vote on these Civil Rights Act of 1957.
And then we had the Voting Rights Act of ‘65. We all remember Bloody Sunday. John Lewis will soon be getting the presidential Medal of Honor for all of the work that he did. He was a member of Congress now. 1968, the Fair Housing Law—
SCHULTZ: But did we have the rhetoric back then that we have now?
Public officials talking about Second Amendment remedies?
CLYBURN: No, we didn‘t. The difference back then and now has been the technology. It‘s been the people not respecting each other in the contest.
The issue was all over whatever may be being discussed at the time.
Stuff has gotten pretty personal now.
I don‘t remember anybody ever back in those days, talking about their opponents in political races the way that they‘re talking about today. I don‘t remember these symbols of gun sights being placed over congressional districts of people. We didn‘t cross that line. We have now, I think, crossed the line.
When you hear people not wanting to compromise, not even wanting to use the word “compromise,” we teach our children—and I have three daughters—that they need to learn how to get along with each other. And it‘s a give and take. Now, it‘s all take and no give. That is the problem that we have today.
I have often said that the difference between me and my opponent on any issue are five steps. I don‘t mind taking three of them. And I believe that‘s the kind of atmosphere that we‘re going to have to create once again if we‘re going to find common ground to do the nation‘s business.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, it‘s been a shocking weekend for a lot of Americans. I know you‘re good friends with Gabby Giffords she‘s fighting for her life tonight.
CLYBURN: Yes and I—
SCHULTZ: And how do you feel about security for congressional members? Can that be done? Would it change everything?
CLYBURN: Well, I do think that we have to take an assessment of exactly how people do their business. You may recall a few weeks ago, we had a congressman from California and another one from Oregon all get into confrontation with the TSA officials at the airports. Some of the most antsiest moments that I‘ve had since I‘ve been in the Congress have taken place in airports.
I think we need to develop some different protocol. We need to take a look at the MSA accounts that Congress people have. And just as we make adjustments for travel, I think we need to make some adjustments for security.
So, upon the security assessment that we are making going forward and threat assessments, we need to take a look at what we need to do congressional district by congressional district. And what kind of information, what kind of threats, what kind of letters, faxes, telephone calls are coming into these member‘s offices in order to determine how we conduct ourselves going forward.
SCHULTZ: Congressman Jim Clyburn, good to have you with us tonight.
Shovel that snow down in South Carolina, OK?
CLYBURN: Thank you so much.
SCHULTZ: All right. Congressman, good to you have with us tonight.
Thanks so much.
Coming up: the sheriff in the county of Arizona that‘s been critical of the rhetoric, and a focus on the heroes of this tragedy, one of them will join us. A guy who ran right at the shooter and helped pin down the shooter. He tells his story.
And we don‘t know what motivated the shooter. Sarah Palin was not responsible for this horrible tragedy, but Congresswoman Giffords was concerned about Palin‘s rhetoric long before the shooting. Al Sharpton is on a campaign to stop the hate speech in this country.
That‘s all coming up. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, this is no time to limit conversations in this country. We need to have about what‘s going on in America. Everything should be on the table, including why so many extreme words and violent imagery is so common among those who want to be political leaders in this country.
Stay with us. That‘s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Obviously, all of us are still grieving and in shock from the tragedy that took place. I think it‘s important for us to also focus though on the extraordinary courage that was shown during the course of these events. Part of what I think that speaks to is the best of America, even in the face of such mindless violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
President Obama speaking this afternoon.
As the horrific shooting unfolded in Tucson on Saturday, a few heroic individuals rushed into the line of fire, risking their lives to prevent even more deaths.
Daniel Hernandez, an intern for Congresswoman Giffords‘ office, immediately tended to victims, including the congresswoman herself. As he spoke—he spoke about his courageous efforts on “The Today” show this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL HERNANDEZ, INTERN FOR REP. GIFFORDS‘ OFFICE: The first thing I started to do was trying to assess who was still alive by checking for pulses and for breaths. I got to about two and three people when I noticed that the congresswoman had been hit. I then saw that she‘d been hit in the head. So, I prioritized her because of the severity of her wounds and stayed with her for the rest of the time. I could tell that she had—had a pretty severe gunshot, but I was just trying to do my best until the emergency and medical services could arrive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: And Hernandez wasn‘t the only hero of the day. One woman snatched a fully loaded magazine from the shooter as he tried to reload his gun, while a couple of men tackled him and held him down until law enforcement arrived.
One of the people who helped wrestle the gunman was—to the ground, was Joe Zamudio, who joins us now on THE ED SHOW tonight.
Joe, you are a hero. Thank you for doing what you did. You saved lives.
JOE ZAMUDIO, HELPED SUBDUE AZ SHOOTER: Thank you. I didn‘t think about it. I just did what needed to be done. I went to go help. I carry a gun, so I was—I felt like I was a little bit more prepared to do some good and than maybe somebody else would had been.
SCHULTZ: Take a moment—take a moment, Joe—
ZAMUDIO: And honestly, I didn‘t think at all.
SCHULTZ: Joe, take a moment and tell us exactly how it went down. What was the first thing you saw? Did you get in the gunman‘s face when he was on the ground? Tell us what happened.
ZAMUDIO: As I came out of the door the Walgreens, I saw several individuals wrestling with him. And I came running. I was already at a full sprint and, you know, there‘s no time to think about anything. I saw another individual holding the firearm. I kind of assumed he was the shooter. So, I grabbed his wrist and, you know, told him to drop it and force him to drop the gun on the ground.
When he did that, everybody says, “No, no, it‘s this guy. It‘s this guy.” and I proceed to help that man down.
You know, he‘s trying to square him but not very hard, at least it didn‘t seem like he was trying very hard to me. I‘m a big guy, though. I‘m 220 and I was holding him the down. So, he wasn‘t going anywhere.
SCHULTZ: Did he say—Joe, did he say anything? Did he mutter any words? Did he show any expression at all?
ZAMUDIO: No expression. His face was the same the whole time. Even when he complained, he says, ow, ow, you‘re hurting my arm. I didn‘t—it seems like unworldly. It didn‘t even seem like to came from him, because his face stayed calm. He was emotionless.
SCHULTZ: How chaotic was it?
ZAMUDIO: It was pretty chaotic. I mean, there was a lot of people wounded. There was blood everywhere. It was really disturbing thing to witness. The most disturbing thing I‘ve ever been apart of in my life.
All those people hurting and crying and asking for loved ones—I mean, this is a horrible event. This was a terrible thing for our community.
SCHULTZ: Did you ever think in drawing your firearm or you made the determination you didn‘t have to?
ZAMUDIO: Sir, when I came through the door, I had my hand on the butt of my pistol and I clicked the safety off, I was ready to kill him. But I didn‘t have to do that and I was very blessed that I didn‘t have to go to that place. Luckily, they‘d already begun solution. So, all I had to do was help.
They hadn‘t grabbed him and he‘d still been moving I would have shot him. I almost shot the man holding the gun.
SCHULTZ: You would have used that firearm?
ZAMUDIO: You‘re damn right. This is my country, this is my town. I
don‘t get to walk around hurting people killing innocents and little girls
it‘s not right, man.
SCHULTZ: It‘s horrific. How do you feel about—
ZAMUDIO: It‘s not right.
SCHULTZ: -- how do you feel about the gun laws in Arizona?
ZAMUDIO: You know what? I carry a gun everywhere I go, sir. Honestly, I believe that—you can make as many laws as you want. People who want guns are going to get them. Laws aren‘t made for—aren‘t made for us. They‘re made for criminals, and criminals can get guns any way they want. So, you can make as many laws as you want and it will not stop anybody.
They can bring it across the border from Mexico. They could—you could get an old one that‘s not registered. You can steal one. You can—
I mean, you can buy it out of a trunk.
There‘s no shortage of firearms. That‘s not solution. The solution is helping people, taking care of people, you know, not leaving these lone wolf gunmen out to be lone wolves. I mean, he shouldn‘t be in a situation where he‘s so alone that this is his only solution.
I think that our answer‘s to help people and not to argue over whether or not we‘re allowed to own guns. We live in America and we‘re allowed to own guns. It‘s not an option. I think the—go ahead.
SCHULTZ: Joe, I‘m out of time on this segment tonight. I just want to thank you for what did you.
ZAMUDIO: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: It was very courageous. And you saved lives. Joe Zamudio with us tonight here on THE ED SHOW. Thank you, Joe.
ZAMUDIO: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Coming up: former Congressman Grayson is a friend of Congresswoman Giffords‘ and he‘s also been criticized for taking the rhetoric over the line. He‘ll be here live later on in the program. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight—“Time” magazine columnist Joe Klein. He went on CNN this weekend to talk about the role cable news plays in America‘s political climate. Klein criticized cable for promoting extremism. First, he hammered Glenn Beck for his conspiracy theories and called some of what you see on FOX News, crap. No argument on that one.
But then he decided to take a dig at your old buddy Big Eddie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE KLEIN, TIME: The cable news chooses, not to really deal with complicated issues with the level of complexity that they deserve. I was on Ed Schultz‘s show to discuss Afghanistan. I was just back from there. It is the most complicated issue imaginable and the guy writes down on a piece of paper, “Get out now” and holds it up in front of the screen. That‘s so stupid. And it‘s so unworthy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Stupid, unworthy?
Well, you see, my opinion that we should get out of Afghanistan is not stupid and it‘s certainly isn‘t unworthy. Mr. Klein, we have done segments on the war in Afghanistan since this show started. It has been my opinion that we should get out, whether I used a sign or not.
And most Americans, interestingly enough, they‘ve had enough details about your reporting. They want to get out, too.
A recent CNN poll, the network that you were on, shows that only 35 percent of people support the war in Afghanistan; 63 percent are against it. And Joe Klein, I have to ask the question: does Joe Klein think that 63 percent of America is stupid?
It‘s easy for a guy like Joe Klein, who earns a living covering the war to call me stupid for wanting to get out of Afghanistan, but like most Americans, I‘ve watched this war unfold for what now, ten years, billions of dollars, how many hundreds of lives? I‘ve seen our country spend billions of dollars and lose more than 1,300 lives trying to win in a place where empires go to die. So, for Joe Klein to go after me for wanting to pull the economic drain and end the bloodshed is misguided “psycho talk.”
Coming up, Congresswoman Giffords spoke out against this graphic from Sarah Palin‘s political action committee. It has cross hairs over democratic districts. You know she never apologized for it. In fact defended it. It‘s time to take a hard look at what politicians are saying and the way they‘re acting. And what effects it‘s having. And Reverend Al Sharpton is on a crusade against hate speech on talk radio. He‘s talking with the FCC. He‘ll weigh in on the political climate today. Plus, the warning signs were there. The alleged shooter couldn‘t get into the military, he was kicked out of school, yet he could just walk into a store and buy a gun. We‘ll talk about Arizona‘s shockingly lax gun control laws ahead.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. The “Battleground” story tonight, the debate over rhetoric. Some people don‘t want to talk about it, some conservatives are already dismissing a real discussion. They say this isn‘t a time to bring up Sarah Palin asking people to reload or Michele Bachmann calling for voters to be armed and dangerous. This is not a time to limit conversation, in my opinion. This moment is important and having this debate is part of the healing process for this country. At the beginning of the program, I said everything is on the table. I‘ve been thinking a lot about my own words over the weekend. Every commentator and political figure should be doing the same thing, I think. There is passion on both sides, but I reject the claim that the left is just as bad as the right. Show me the sound bite from a democratic lawmaker that is equivalent to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: Now, I‘m a foreign correspondent on enemy lines and I try to let everyone back here in Minnesota know exactly the nefarious activities that are taking place in Washington. I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolutionary every now and then is a good thing and the people, we, the people, are going to have to fight back hard if we‘re not going to lose our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Now, could you imagine Jim Clyburn talking like that? In my opinion, when a congresswoman tells her constituents to be armed and dangerous—this isn‘t rhetoric—that‘s a call to action. She is advocating a behavior. During the midterm campaign, Sarah Palin‘s political action committee put these cross hairs over democratic districts including that of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. You don‘t need my thoughts on that, do you? Just listen to what Congresswoman Giffords said about it herself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. GABRIELLE GIFFORDS (D), ARIZONA: We really need realize to that the rhetoric and firing people up and you know even things, for example, where we‘re on Sarah Palin‘s targeted list, but the thing is that the way that she has it depicted has the cross hairs of a gun site over our district. When people do that, they‘ve got realize there‘s consequences to that action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Now that was up for months on end and it was a story when it was first put up, they didn‘t take it down, obviously. But Sarah Pac took the page down after the shooting, but no one from the Palin camp has apologized for it. In fact they‘ve defended it. Palin aid said was quote, “we never, ever intended it to be gun sites.” Are you that stupid? Sarah Palin has enlisted the Beckster, Glenn Beck to help deflect scrutiny. Beck read part of an e-mail exchange he had with Palin today on his radio show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: She wrote back, in part, “I hate violence. I hate war. Our children will not have peace if Politicos just capitalize on this to succeed in portraying anyone as inciting terror and violence.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Oh yes, she‘s always the victim, isn‘t she, Glenn? Where‘s the self-reflection? Sarah Palin isn‘t the victim here. If she hates violence, will she pledge to stop telling people to reload? Let me be clear, I don‘t think Palin or Bachmann or Sharron Angle is to blame for this horrific tragedy on Saturday. But a democratic lawmaker who received threats during the health care debate said this about intentions. “But it‘s not about what is intended, it‘s about how the least rational person in my district takes it. We run into some crazy people in this line of work.”
We don‘t know what activated the very disturbed or who motivated the very disturbed individual who opened fire on—in Tucson on Saturday, but we also don‘t know what might motivate the next person. So it‘s our responsibility to weigh every word, isn‘t it? And ask ourselves, what do we really mean by “lock and load” “reload,” “don‘t retreat,” be “armed and dangerous on this issue, “revolution”? The story set on the right has been widely out of control in my opinion. The president has been painted as a Nazi, socialist, a dictator and even a terrorist. The right wing has been telling people that they‘re under physical threat from government takeovers and they‘re going to pull the plug on grandma. Where does it end?
Could it end in violence and tragedy? That‘s what every political figure should be asking themselves. Words do have consequences. A lot of people in this country are hurting right now. They‘re angry because their jobs are going overseas, and it‘s—I guess you could say, it‘s an undercurrent of anger in America that we all need to be responsible for and this is what set it off. A lot of bad stuff. A lot of bad policies.
Joining me now is Reverend Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network. Reverend, good to have you with us tonight. Doesn‘t all of this start in Washington?
REV. AL SHARPTON, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: I think it does. I think Washington has to step up now and help put some standards on what we permit, particularly on the airwaves. All of us have to reflect, all of us have made mistakes whether we‘ve said things blatant and indirectly and I think you have said it best, yourself Ed, we all that are in public life whether it‘s elected or whether we‘re activists or on the airwaves, have to say, our words have consequences and have we‘ve done anything that could lead to someone that is off of being balanced as a person to do something that is irrational.
And I know that I have made mistakes, others have. We‘ve had to apologize for it. Others should apologize. And more importantly, reflecting, go forward with a new commitment. We don‘t know if—what triggered this man. But we do know that if you have a poisonous climate, that can in any way, shape, or form in someone‘s mind that is not well, use it to trigger them to do something and I think that while the investigation goes forward, we can make those commitments notwithstanding where the investigations lead to find out what triggered this young man. All of us has the potential of doing damage. We need to be more conscience about it and we need to be self-reflected. This is not a blame game. This is not blaming others. This is for all of us taking more responsibility in the wake of this atrocity that the nation has faced this weekend.
SCHULTZ: What is your response to the head of the Tea Party down in Tucson, Arizona today saying that this shooting is not going to change their rhetoric?
SHARPTON: I think all of us need to say that our rhetoric, we need to check. We should none of us should become so defensive that we say we‘re not going to change. We all need to see if there is change required, change need, and all realize that there‘s some very unbalanced people here in this country that anything can trigger. So, I think it is irresponsible on the left or the right to be afraid to do self-examination and be afraid to say that we all must be part of healing this nation, by first having the discipline and the concern enough for the American public to watch what we say and what it may infer to someone who really doesn‘t want to go through the details and say they don‘t mean violence, they do mean violence. We‘ve got to be clear to keep the rhetoric within the boundaries of a discourse and a democracy that is settle at the ballot box and not for people to try to figure out on their own when they don‘t have reasoning ability.
SCHULTZ: Reverend Sharpton, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much for joining us.
SHARPTON: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Now let‘s get rapid-fire response from our panel on these stories. I want to get their thoughts on extreme political rhetoric in this country. What is the responsibility of the politicians, the left and the right? Are they equally to blame?
With us tonight, Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio talk show host. And Tony Blankley, syndicated conservative columnist. Great to have both of you with us.
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hi, Ed.
TONY BLANKLEY, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: Good to be here.
SCHULTZ: Does—does the rhetoric of Michele Bachmann, Bill Press, saying that she wants all Minnesotans to be armed and dangerous. Should she take that back, or is that all just part of politics today?
PRESS: I don‘t think that it‘s part of politics today. I don‘t think it should be, look, I want to say what you said at the top, right, and we all agree. This act was committed by one unhinged, mentally unstable young man. But you can‘t escape the fact that he committed this attempted political assassination in this fiery political rhetoric—headquarters, if you will, of Arizona. And he went after a congresswoman who herself was the victim of personal violent rhetoric for the last year, and then in a climate where you had Sharron Angle talking about second amendment rights, and Michele Bachmann with armed and dangerous, and Sarah Palin with her map. And I think all of those people who‘ve used that gun-filled rhetoric tonight, Ed, have to do some real soul-searching.
SCHULTZ: Tony, what do you think?
BLANKLEY: Look, I think that very regretfully throughout American history, going back to colonial times, our rhetoric has been violent and our actions have been violent. We‘ve had more assassinations, political assassinations, than any other democratic country.
SCHULTZ: Is it always going to be like this?
BLANKLEY: Well, if the last 240 years is any indication. But let me make a point here. Because in fact, it is on all sides. You talked about Sarah Palin‘s gun site stuff. I‘ve seen a democratic national committee posting, where in 2004, they had gun sites. They had it called “behind enemy lines,” the same phrase that you were quoting in the previous segment. I quoted Pelosi, calling people who‘ve opposed Obama-care Nazis, et cetera.
PRESS: Tony, look.
BLANKLEY: It‘s on all sides and equally.
PRESS: No, it‘s not. No, it‘s not. And Ed made that point earlier. There‘s no morrow equivalency here. Listen, I wrote a book about this called “toxic talk,” I have to tell you something, I listened to all of the talk radio on the right and on the left. This is 24/7, the specialty of right-wing talk radio today.
BLANKLEY: Bob, you can say.
PRESS: I‘ll tell you something else, there‘s a big difference between colonial days and today. And the difference today is that that ugly hate talk from Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, it‘s around the world within seconds. It will never was in colonial times. So get off of that.
BLANKLEY: Well, that‘s a little aggressive yourself, Bill. But look.
PRESS: Because I feel strongly about this.
SCHULTZ: Go ahead. Tony, go ahead.
BLANKLEY: The fact is that Speaker Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Senator Reid, all used the words “Nazis,” “dissenters,” “un-Americans” to describe their opponents. This is part of the American politics. We all know that this is an ugly.
SCHULTZ: Harry Reid‘s used the term Nazi?
PRESS: Again, show me when.
SCHULTZ: No Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid used to call people who were opposed to him, evil. That‘s the word. And I have it from a column that I wrote late last year. This is a reality. We all know that this is an ugly part of American politics and it always has been. I hope it changes—I hope it changes but I don‘t think that it‘s going to.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
PRESS: Listen to me—Ed, I think you made the point, Ed. You made the point that all of us should be cooling our jets and all of us should be searching in looking at the words that we use, everybody should.
SCHULTZ: My prediction is, nothing will change because the passion on both sides and the ideological divide is so great in America, I don‘t think anything is going to change when it comes to the conversation. Bill Press, Tony Blankley, good to have you with us tonight.
BLANKLEY: Good to be here.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, the alleged shooter clearly had mental illness problems, and the warning signs were there, but he had no problem walking into a store and buying a gun legally. Policies have consequences. It‘s time to think about gun control in America. That‘s next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, more on the tragedy in Tucson. We really want to hear from you on this story. Tell me what you think about all of this on facebook.com/edschultzshow. Or talk to me on twitter, at twitter.com/wegoted. We‘ll be right back.
SCHULTZ: And in my “Playbook” tonight, gun control, we‘ve said everything should be on the table, so tonight let‘s talk with Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Mr. Helmke, what‘s wrong with this situation?
PAUL HELMKE, PRESIDENT, BRADY CAMPAIGN TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE: A
lot‘s wrong with this situation. It shows how weak our gun loss are. Here‘s somebody who was too dangerous for algebra class, too dangerous for the military to accept him but not too dangerous to be able to buy all of the guns he wanted in the United States. The other thing that‘s really wrong here is the fact that he was able to get a gun that held a 30-round clip. Between 1994 and 2004, we had the assault weapon ban, part of that was a restriction on the size of ammunition clips you can hold under the ban. You could only have clips that held up to ten rounds. He was stopped, he was tackled when he went to change clips. If he had only had a clip that held ten rounds, he would have gotten 10 bullets off instead of 30 bullets. A lot of less people would have been hurt a lot less before him.
SCHULTZ: But don‘t you think about gun law changes with this Congress, it isn‘t going to happen. The Republicans aren‘t going to go down that road and the federal assault weapons ban expired in 2004 which dealt with that high-capacity clip you were just talking about. The Democrats haven‘t brought anything out to change that.
HELMKE: Well, the one thing that has changed is they had a member of Congress shot at, and they had a conversational staff member killed, as long with the federal judge and the 9-year-old. This is something we‘ve had before, banning high-capacity clips works. You know you don‘t need more than 10 rounds in order to hunt deer. You don‘t need more than 10 rounds to stop to intruder. The only thing that those high-capacity clips give you is the power to kill more people, more quickly.
SCHULTZ: How is Arizona with gun laws? Are they in your opinion, one of the worst states in the union?
HELMKE: Definitely. I mean, the U.S. only a handful of laws, they‘ve got a lot of loopholes. Arizona, this guy didn‘t even need a permit to carry around. And one thing that has changed, we talk about the assassinations in the past, when Bobby Kennedy was killed, when George Wallace was paralyzed, they got off one shot and then they‘re stopped. With these kind of guns, with these high-capacity clips, you get off 30 rounds before anyone even knows they‘ve been shot.
SCHULTZ: Do you expect things to get better or worse in this country when it comes to gun control? This of course is going to shed a big light on the discussion. What do you think?
HELMKE: I‘m hopeful that this one will wake the people in Congress up.
HELMKE: I mean this is a congresswoman, this hits home, if we get some leadership from the president, I think that can make a difference.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Helmke, thanks for your time tonight, I appreciate it so much.
HELMKE: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, protecting members of Congress. What should the plan actually be? An armed guard for all 535 members of the Congress? Question mark. Alan Grayson has some insight on that in his thoughts about his friend Gabby. Next on THE ED SHOW.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, and finally tonight, Alan Grayson worked closely with Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. He also knows what the security threat is like for a member of Congress. He received multiple death threats during his time in office. The former congressman from Florida joins us tonight. Congressman, is it too much to think that we could protect 535 elected officials in the Congress? That‘s 535 personnel. I mean, we spend billions on the TSA, equipment and personnel, why couldn‘t we do this with Congress?
ALAN GRAYSON, FORMER DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN: Well, we made sure that we had police officers at our public events and I think that‘s a reasonable precaution but there‘s been a steady buy of attacks and threats of attacks against democratic members of Congress for two years now. Tom Perriello is burned in effigy. Frank Kratovil was hung in effigy. Debbie Wasserman Schultz had her initial used to target practice by one of her republican opponents. Emanuel Cleaver was spot on. This has been going on for two years now. And now it‘s come to this.
SCHULTZ: What should be done?
GRAYSON: I think that we have to crack down on the people who are perpetrators.
SCHULTZ: Do you think the shooting on Saturday had something to do with the discourse in this country?
GRAYSON: No, it had something to do with the threats of violence in this country. Not the discourse, but the threats of violence. When you show a picture of someone, user name or to represent her district and use it with the rifle site the way Sarah Palin did, that is inexcusable. That is inviting people to commit violence on another human being. That is way over the line.
SCHULTZ: You think that Sarah Palin was way over the line?
GRAYSON: She knew it, because she took down that thing from her Web site as soon as this happened. She knew she was over the line.
SCHULTZ: She also put out a statement before the president did or any other officials. I mean, she was on it right away. But securing the lives of congressional members, what do we do?
GRAYSON: I think we have to protect our members of Congress. And if that means, police protection the way he had at our public events, that is what we need to do. But we have to make sure that members of Congress can continue to meet with the public because that‘s our job.
GRAYSON: That‘s what we need to do.
SCHULTZ: .with a guard there, couldn‘t they?
GRAYSON: Yes, that‘s exactly the way we did it.
SCHULTZ: I mean, there could be a 24/7 guard on a—or at least most of the day on a congressional member, why not? I mean, if these gun advocates out there believe that guns are a deterrent, then why would they be against having an armed guard with them.
GRAYSON: Well, certainly at public events, it seems like a prudent way to go.
SCHULTZ: Do you regret in your campaign depicting your opponent as Taliban Dan?
GRAYSON: There was no threat of violence in that campaign. I invite anybody to check and see whether I‘ve incited violence against any other human being ever during the campaign or otherwise, the answer is no. I know where that line is and so does everybody else and other people have crossed it but I have not.
SCHULTZ: What about Michele Bachmann‘s comment, she wants her constituents armed and dangerous.
GRAYSON: Yes, that‘s over the line.
SCHULTZ: Is that over the line?
GRAYSON: That‘s over the line, so is, don‘t retreat but reload. So is Dan Gainor (ph), a Republican operative, telling people that he paid them $100 to punch me in the nose. That‘s all over the line. That is inciting violence and that‘s unacceptable in any civilized society.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks for your insight on this.
GRAYSON: Thank you, too.
SCHULTZ: Allan Grayson from Florida here on THE ED SHOW. That‘s THE ED SHOW, I‘m Ed Schultz. “HARDBALL” starts right now here on the place for politics, MSNBC. We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night.
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