THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
September 16, 2013
Guests: Ginger Gibson, Janis Orlowski; Garry Kasparov
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: We are about to hear more from Washington,
D.C. police and FBI about the mass murderer who shot and killed 12 people
in the Washington D.C. Navy Yard.
A news conference is set to begin any minute now. We will bring it to
you as soon ass underway.
But here, 13 hours after those people were shot and killed, police say
they are still working on identifying those victims and notifying their
families. Three victims of the shooting, including one police officer,
remain hospitalized tonight. But doctors expect those three to recover
fully from their wounds.
Navy Commander Tim Jirus was actually speaking to one of the victims
when he was shot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CMDR. TIM JIRUS, U.S. NAVY: There`s an individual who came from the
building behind us, I mean, this building. He came up and was talking to
me, basically saying, hey, there`s a shooter in your building. Then I
heard two more shots. One of them hit him. He went down in front of me
and I took off from there.
REPORTER: The guy you were with?
JIRUS: The guy I was talking to.
REPORTER: Got shot?
REPORTER: And what was his situation afterwards? Did you move or did
you try to assess?
JIRUS: He was shot in the head. He did not look like he made it.
So, I run from there.
I don`t know if he was aiming for him or aiming for me. But I got out
of there as soon as I could afterwards. I realized I couldn`t do anything
else for him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The alleged murderer Aaron Alexis was shot and killed in a
gun battle with police. Aaron Alexis was a U.S. Navy civilian contractor
who worked in information technologies. Aaron Alexis previously served in
the Navy Reserves between May 2007 and January 2011.
Here is how Washington, D.C. police Chief Cathy Lanier described the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF CATHY LANIER, DC POLICE: It certainly was one of the worst
things we have seen in Washington, D.C. As officers entered the building
and moved to the building, they were making transmissions and keeping
commanders informed of what they were coming across as they went through,
multiple victims. There was gunfire still going on.
This is what we trained for. We were able to pull active shooter
teams together and compliments to the partners here in the national capital
region. We were able to pull officers from different agencies, put them in
a single team and get them into the building within seven minutes.
LANIER: There`s no question he would have kept shooting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now: NBC`s Kasie Hunt and "Politico`s" Ginger
Gibson, who have been covering the Navy Yard scene all day.
Kasie, you are at the scene of the press conference. What is it that
we expect to learn at this hour?
KASIE HUNT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: At this point, it`s not
definitive what we`re going to actually hear. But at this hour we`re
really waiting for the sad accounting for the victims. We still don`t have
a full picture of how many people died, although officials have said at
least 13 civilians and we haven`t begun to understand who they are and go
through that grieving process.
So, at this hour, just a few blocks from where we are, there are
still, by all accounts, thousands of people inside the Navy Yard waiting to
be bussed out.
The FBI has been talking with those who actually did have some
connection with the event before they have been letting them out. They
have been bussing people over to nationals park where there was supposed to
be a baseball game tonight.
So, we are still getting the full picture from people who were
actually witnesses to what happened today. I did speak with one man who
was nearby and who said they barricaded he and nine of his colleagues
barricaded themselves inside a conference room.
At one point, the ceiling was sprayed with bullets, and he said, while
he didn`t see any casualties on his way out, he did hear from somebody that
he knew that one of his friends, somebody he`d served with at the Pentagon
had, in fact, been killed.
So, at this point, we`re on hour almost 14 of sorting through exactly
what happened today and still no real end to this terrible day for all of
these people here -- Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Ginger Gibson, a place where thousands of people work,
what was your -- how would you describe the confusion level today among
people trying to get out of there, and people trying to figure out who`s
left in there?
GINGER GIBSON, POLITICO: I was at Nationals Stadium earlier today.
As Kasie pointed out, it was supposed to have a baseball game, instead,
it`s being used as a place where they a reunited families.
A lot of families confused. A lot of families still looking for the
woman whose mother was working inside the building where the shooting was.
She was able to get in touch with her through a co-worker`s cell phone to a
neighbor, but unable to get text messages or calls right away.
A lot of people were texting assured that their family member was safe
but still very worried, very nervous, not knowing what was going to happen
next. And, you know, there are lots of people on the Navy Yard, still
waiting to be able to go home. And their family members don`t know when
they will get to see them next. They can`t drive their car. They don`t
have any other way to get home for some of them. So, there is a lot of
confusion and a lot of people trying to sort out what exactly took place.
O`DONNELL: The latest update we have from law enforcement sources in
Washington indicates that they have located the suspect`s rental car in the
garage across the street from the building where the shooting occurred.
The authorities are in the process of obtaining warrants to search
that car and to search the hotel rooms of the suspect and his fellow
contractors at the southwest Washington, D.C. residents` inn, where those
contractors were staying. The same law enforcement sources said that it
appeared that Alexis entered the building armed and one of the first
persons shot was the security guard at the entrance. It is believed that
he then took that guard`s side arm and either picked up the assault rifle
from a safe or cabinet nearby, or also the guard may also have had a long
gun with him.
Kasie, this is one of the mysteries of the day, is it seems that the
shooter ended up with three weapons but probably didn`t start with three
HUNT: Absolutely. And there`s also been over the course of the day,
as you remember questions about how many active shooters there were at any
given time. And then you had police even confused, or not necessarily
confused but warning the general public and reporters who were gathered
outside the scene here that there could be more than one suspect in this
We have since learned that it was just this, they believe now it was
just confined to this one active shooter. We are starting to get some, as
you outline, details more of where the guns came from. My colleague
Michael Isikoff points out that a source told him that he would have passed
a criminal background check to get the gun that he may have brought on to
the premises himself.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what the suspect`s brother-in-law said
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY LITTLE, BROTHER-IN-LAW OF ALLEGED GUNMAN: Their initial
reaction, I was not here for, but when I got here they were very
distraught, stressed out, tears. They didn`t see it coming. It`s very
The hearts are going out more to the victims, the people that got
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Ginger Gibson, I don`t want to read too much into that,
but he doesn`t seem completely shocked. I mean, just says didn`t see it
coming. But there`s -- I don`t hear a comment there about this is
unimaginable. You know, he -- we would think he would never do something
GIBSON: We`re going to be waiting to hear maybe tonight the details
of what happened inside that building or in the morning. But the more
difficult part and the part we all want to know is why. How did he get to
a point where he could do something like this?
Listening to what the brother had to say. I know there are folks in
Texas talking to friends, former roommates, co-workers, trying to put
together those pieces is going to be difficult to try to grasp. We all
want to grasp what would make someone do such a horrific thing.
The brother-in-law didn`t seem too surprised but we have to remember,
too, that shock is at play here. It`s very difficult to try to put
together in such a short amount of time why and how someone could do
something like this.
O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by NBC News national investigative
Michael, what is your understanding of the latest version of where we
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, NBC NEWS NATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Well,
the latest version is, as you just reported, the rental car has been
located across the street in the garage. And law enforcement authorities
are trying to get the search warrant to search those. But there`s still,
you know, the big unanswered question here is why.
Motive has not yet been established. The closest that I have seen,
Lawrence, are the interviews with the friends who talk about that he had
some sort of beef with the contracting firm that had employed him, didn`t
feel he was being paid, and was ticked off at them, and then also had this
propensity for violent games, that I think one of his friends or
acquaintances described him as obsessed with violent video games.
Now, we heard that before with Adam Lanza and the Newtown shooting.
But, you know, it`s still a far cry from playing those video games to
committing an atrocity like this. So, it`s fair to say there`s a lot of
Just a couple of points on access to the base. We did get this
statement tonight from Hewlett-Packard confirming that Alexis had been
employed by a subcontracting firm called The Experts, which was part of an
HP contract to refresh equipment used on the Navy Marine Corps intranet
network. Apparently, that involved installing new PCs when they went down
and refreshing them, replacing them. But that did apparently give him
access to the base and might explain how he got in there in the first
O`DONNELL: We`re still waiting for the latest update from a press
conference that Casey Hunt is attending.
And, Michael, the -- there is information that has been developed now
in the last few hours saying that this suspect had been treated multiple
times for psychological issues, including sleep deprivation, anger,
paranoia. Most recently, they said he had been treated at a V.A. hospital
in New England, Rhode Island, possibly Massachusetts. So we are still in
the process of developing this psychological profile.
ISIKOFF: Exactly. There is clearly a lot that we don`t know. We do
know we found that he had this arrest record. He had been arrested on
misdemeanor charges in September of 2010, which is just a few months before
his discharge from the Navy.
It`s worth pointing out that the charges were dropped and they would
not have been a barrier to him buying the weapon. We know that he -- or
weapons. We know that or believe that he did purchase this shotgun in
northern Virginia just -- northern Virginia, not far from Washington D.C.
But nothing that we know of in his background would have prevented him
from doing that or passing a background check.
O`DONNELL: Michael, I have to interrupt you. We are going to a press
conference. The mayor is about to speak.
MAYOR VINCENT GRAY (D), WASHINGTON, D.C.: We will follow the same
order of presentation that we did earlier. I will be followed by Chief
Lanier, who will be followed by our FBI Washington director, and then Chief
Chambers and Congresswoman Norton.
We don`t have a great deal of new information to present to you at
this point. I think we mentioned earlier that we had ruled out one of the
suspects. No longer being a suspect. We continue to pursue the
possibility of there being another shooter. We don`t have any evidence,
any indication at this stage that there was yet another shooter even though
we haven`t completely ruled that out.
That was the person as you probably will recall who was identified as
wearing an olive, drab uniform -- somebody around 55 years of age, around
5`10", with graying sideburns. We have not identified that person nor do
we have a lot of corroborating evidence. And maybe Valerie will talk a
little bit about that, too, when she comes up.
We don`t know what the motive is at the stage. We were asked earlier
if there was likely terrorism involved. We have no indication of that. We
haven`t ruled that out. We continue to investigate that.
We know that there are 13 fatalities, including the shooter who
perished today. We do have more information now on the decedents. Their
ages are 46 years of age to 73 years of age.
The families now are still in the process of being notified. Seven
families have been notified and the process continues to notify the other
six. We don`t know exactly when that process will be completed, but it is
continuing now as we speak.
I also want to update the issue around injuries. We didn`t have
precise numbers earlier. We were using estimates. We now know that there
are eight people who incurred one or another kind of injury. Of the eight,
three were shot.
They all are -- that includes Officer Scott Williams who the chief and
I just went to visit earlier this evening who is doing well. He is in
great spirits. There were two other civilians who were shot and they are
relative minor injuries.
The other five injuries range anywhere from stress action and someone
who fell and had head injury, a contusion chest, arm abrasions and chest
So, again, a total of eight injuries, people who were hospitalized as
a result of those and there`s absolutely no reason to think that there
won`t be fined.
One other point before I turn it over to Chief Lanier. We anticipate
tomorrow morning that the traffic patterns will be back to normal in the
city. All the bridges will be open, all the streets in the area of the
Navy Yard will be open, even as the investigation, of course, will be
continuing tomorrow and the days ahead.
Again we have been in close contact with the White House. They`ve
been a close contact with us and the president has reached out. His staff
and the president through them have reached out to connect with us as this
process has unfolded throughout the day.
So again, this is a horrific tragedy. I want to thank all of the
first responders who have done a terrific job dealing with this horrific
tragedy. Our police officers and various law enforcement agencies that
have done a sterling job, and I want to especially thank fire and emergency
medical services for the work that they have done today as well. They had
obviously many transports that they had to make and they did an
extraordinary job doing that.
And Chief Eleve (ph), where are you, Chief? I want to thank you for
the work that you did today in order to be able to handle that important
So, with that having been said, let me ask Chief Lanier to come up and
share some things with you -- Chief.
LANIER: Thank you.
I`ll pick up where the mayor left off. I can`t say enough about the
first responders. All the training, exercising and daily interaction that
we have here with more than 30 law enforcement agencies of some type in the
district. The team work as we hear story after story and having been on
the scene and listening to transmissions throughout the course of the day,
24 years doing this in the city. I`m very proud of the team work.
The ability to quickly pull together to spare the teams of law
enforcement, the heroic efforts, United States Park Police working with
Metropolitan Police Department quickly entering the building along with
security from the Navy Yard, as well as support from partners quickly
brought in mutual aid, Maryland state and park police helicopters, as well
as Fairfax, to see three difference jurisdictions had less than 45 minutes
to coordinate emergency response, whether it`d be fire, emergency, medical,
support from Prince Gorges County brought to DC fire EMS, to medevac
support brought in through United States park police and their medevac,
just incredible work. United States Marshall Service entering buildings
with teams of MPD.
Also, NCIS who assisted in picking up and carrying an injured police
officer out of the building, story after story, we`ve heard from police
officers and firefighters just terrific responses and thank you for all of
the local and regional partners who responded.
I will say Metro Transit as well. The special recognition that really
stepped up today to help us get large numbers of victims and survivors to
various places that we needed to transport witnesses, never had to ask for
any support. They are always there to provide what we need so we really
appreciate the work of Metro Transit.
As of right now with the last outstanding lookout that we had for the
potential last person connected to the deceased shooter, that was a lookout
we put out for a black male between the ages of 40 and 50 in an olive drab
uniform. Obviously, we had multiple witness accounts that we were sorting
through. We have now exhausted all means that we have available to either
support or discount that lookout.
And we are comfortable at this point to lift the shelter in place to
the residents of the neighborhood. Thank them first of all, residents and
businesses, for supporting us and sheltering in place for an extended
period of time, but we feel comfortable right now that we have exhausted
all means to eliminate that possible last suspect. So, we do now feel
comfortable that we have the single and sole person responsible for the
loss of life inside of the base today. If anything changes, as we continue
to go forward we certainly will make that available to the public.
But again we are lifting the shelter in place and we appreciate the
support from our community members. We will most likely have all of the
traffic closures around the area open by 5:00 a.m. for morning commute.
But we will make sure that is put out for the public in advance. Listen to
your local news media before you come to work in the morning.
And as of right now, we have, as we go through finalizing next of kin.
We have identified one D.C. resident so far that are among the victims.
So, in terms of our outreach in local community, our hearts go out to all
of the victims certainly and at least one of our victims we have confirmed
as a D.C. resident.
At this point, we don`t have anything to support that any of the
victims so far identified are active duty military. We have civilian and
contractors so far that have been identified. We still have some work to
do, but no active military have been identified amongst the victims at this
So, with that, I will turn it over to the assistant director of the
FBI, Val Parlave, and let her update you on their investigation.
VALERIE PARLAVE, FBI: Good evening.
As we have stated, this continues to be a very active investigation.
The FBI`s evidence response teams continue to process the shooting scenes.
These teams have special capabilities to include bullet trajectory analysis
and crime scene mapping.
We continue to follow every lead related to the shootings, to include
piecing together the movement and activities of Aaron Alexis. While we
have learned some information about his recent whereabouts, we continue to
work to determine where he has been, who he has talked to, and what he has
done. This includes determining the origins of the weapons he used, but
because this investigation still continues, we will not comment further on
the weapons used in today`s shooting.
We can confirm, however that Mr. Alexis had legitimate access to the
Navy Yard as result of his work as a contractor. And he utilized a valid
pass to gain entry to the Navy Yard. We continue to work to identify and
locate additional witnesses to today`s events and any individuals who may
have information about Mr. Alexis.
We appreciate the information provided so far by the public and we
continue to ask for any and all information related to Mr. Alexis and
today`s tragic events. Please report this information by calling 1-800-
CALL-FBI. That`s 1-800-225-5324.
And we again thank the public for your cooperation and will continue
to update you on this investigation as it progresses. Thank you.
CHIEF TERESA CHAMBERS, PARK POLICE: And simply from the United States
Park Police. You heard Chief Lanier talk about team. We were part of that
team this morning. We now have a more subordinate role, but we commit to
her and to Assistant Director Parlave and the mayor that we will provide
whatever resources available and appropriate to help complete this
investigation. Thank you.
DEL. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D), WASHINGTON, DC: Thank you more mayor
for bringing us to this last report to the city and to the region.
As in the beginning, our thoughts are with the victims and their
families and they will also be our first thoughts tomorrow when Congress
reconvenes and I go on the floor to lead moments of silence.
We`re not going to be silent about the tragedy that occurred here
today. There are many outstanding questions. I would say most of the
questions are outstanding. For many of us in this city who have been
plagued by gun violence, among them is how someone, whatever his badge,
managed to get a high powered gun into one of the most secure facilities in
the District of Columbia.
I`m sure the Navy will be doing its own investigation. Tomorrow I
will be working with others to get an independent investigation of what
I`m very, very proud and very grateful for the federal and D.C. police
who responded so promptly. They have made the District of Columbia since
9/11, the most protected and secure city in the United States.
But we do not fool ourselves. We understand that in an open and
democratic and free society, you cannot make yourselves impenetrable,
especially when there are more guns than there are people in the United
We take very seriously security at one of our most secure facilities
is penetrated and where the security is breached. But we also regard the
Naval Sea System Command as a neighbor, a part of this residential mixed
use neighborhood. And we like it that way.
I appreciate -- continue to appreciate the banquet room they built so
that they could accommodate residents. And I`ll be working with the Navy
and the Naval Sea System Command to maintain the relationship with the
neighborhood while shoring up the security here in the neighborhood and at
Thank you very much.
GRAY: All right. We will take a few questions.
REPORTER: Question to the special agent in charge, can you just
characterize the (INAUDIBLE)
PARLAVE: There is still quite a bit of work left to do inside,
processing the scene. I would expect them to be there for the next couple
of days finishing up. It took us a while to clear the building with our
tactical teams and they haven`t actually been in there that long,
processing the evidence on scene.
So, I would say, you know, 48 hours wouldn`t be unreasonable.
REPORTER: There are a lot of people still left in there, the Navy
PARLAVE: I believe most of the people who were alive have been
cleared from the Navy Yard.
REPORTER: All civilians and contractors were among casualties. Do
you have any belief that the shooter was intentionally avoiding shooting
PARLAVE: We have no information right now as to motive.
REPORTER: The congresswoman was talking about bringing a high powered
weapon into the building, into the yard. Is there any sense that the
suspect was able to lift any of the weapons off of the victims?
PARLAVE: That is part of the ongoing investigation and I can`t
comment on that.
REPORTER: There have been reports that a rental car has been found
near the scene that belong to the gunman. Can you confirm?
PARLAVE: We are processing vehicle at the scene related to the
REPORTER: Are there reports of other officers injured in the Navy
guards on base or park place --
LANIER: We do have one park officer with injuries, not a gun shot
injury, but other related injuries to the incident. I believe we do have
one contract, I believe contract security working with the naval district
of Washington. We will confirm as we go forward, but I do believe we do
have at least one.
LANIER: He`s in very good spirits. His family is here, parents,
brothers and sisters. He has been on the department 23, almost 24 years.
In fact, came on right about the time I did. We worked together for many,
He is a K-9 officer. He`s in very good spirits. He`s got a pretty
serious injury, but right now, his family is here with him and he is in
The mayor was up visiting with him as well and he was certainly very
complimentary of the partner agencies who helped to get him out of the
building and D.C. Fire and EMS helped to get him medical attention that he
needed. He is just very grateful for all the other responders that helped
to get him out of the building and get him the medical attention he needed.
But great police officer. I have known him for most of his 23 years
and he`s got a stellar record.
REPORTER: Chief, why did you think there was a second shooter and why
is that not so?
LANIER: Well, obviously, the more information that we can put out, as
time goes on. But we always err on the side of caution through
conglomeration of witness victim interviews, some camera views. There was
potential that there could have been other shooters involved and we
believed that the best action for us to take was to make sure our community
was safe first. And we weeded through that information, secondly.
We certainly want to clear the community as quickly as possible but we
would rather err on the side of caution so we did that. And we have spent
the last several hours trying to go through everything possible to make
sure that we were 100 percent comfortable that we had cleared that
information and get it out as quickly as possible.
So, again, sometimes we ask for a little bit of patience from our
community but our goal is to make sure that everybody is safe and that
there is no additional harm. And that`s our goal, no addition harm once we
arrive on the scene.
GRAY: Last question, last question.
REPORTER: At one point (INAUDIBLE)
LANIER: No, there will be a press release put out following this
event. I believe that is already completed. So, those victims that have
been identified, confirmed and notified will release that following. This
press briefing, I believe it is here with us so we can hand that out. And
as the next of kin are notified, we`ll put out the remainder.
GRAY: Thank you all very much.
O`DONNELL: Michael Isikoff, so there we have the investigation
conclusion at this stage that the suspect that was killed today is as the
police chief put it, the single and sole person responsible.
ISIKOFF: Right. And one piece of new information that is worth
noting here is that he did have a valid pass and legitimate access to the
Navy yard in his capacity as a contractor. And what is interesting about
that, Lawrence, he was working, according to the statement we got from
Hewlett Packard on this Navy Marine Corps intranet network, which is a
clues network, which does suggest that there would classified work
involved. And in order to do that, the presumption would be, he would have
to have some sort of security clearance and have undergone some sort of
Now, we have not confirmed what level that is or what sort of
background checking underwent. But to work on a closed military network
like that would normally require that kind of clearance, some sort of
So, I think there is g to be an addition to the questions that
Congresswoman Norton raised about the billing to purchase the weapon. And
as I put it up before, we have no felony conviction that we know of in his
background. There is, I think additional questions about what sort of
background check he underwent to get this job.
O`DONNELL: Michael Isikoff, thanks very much for joining us tonight.
ISIKOFF: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the chief medical officer of the hospital that
took in the wounded joins me.
And who the extraordinary press conference today, Dr. Janis Orlowski
forced us to think about why these kinds of shootings keep happening in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOCTOR JANIS ORLOWSKI, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, MEDSTAR WASHINGTON: I`m
Doctor Janis Orlowski. I`m the chief medical officer at MedStar Washington
hospital center. I`m here to give you an update regarding the three
individuals brought to the hospital center.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The Doctor Orlowski was then able to announce that the
three shooting victims her team was treating are all going to recover
including the police officer who was shot multiple times. Then 15 minutes
later in that press conference, in a response to a question about the
hospital`s experience treating gunshot victims, Dr. Orlowski said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ORLOWSKI: We see a lot of trauma and, you know, sometimes it`s just
accidents that occur. And then you see what I call senseless trauma. And
there is something evil in our society that we as Americans have to work to
try to eradicate. I have to say I may see this every day. I may, you
know, be the chief medical officer of a very large trauma center, but there
is something wrong here when we have these multiple shootings, these
multiple injuries, there is something wrong. And the only thing that I can
say is we have to work together to get rid of it.
I would like you to put my trauma center out of business. I really
would. It`s a great city. It`s a great country and we have to work
together to get rid of this because we just cannot have one, you know, more
shooting with, you know, so many people killed. We have got figure this
out. We have got to be able to help each other. It`s a challenge to all
of us. Let`s get rid of this. This is not America. This is not
Washington D.C. This is not good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now from MedStar Washington hospital, Dr. Janis
Thank you very much, Dr. Orlowski, for staying up late on this very
long day to join us now.
Your know, your comment there towards the end of your press conference
really captured the nation`s attention today beyond the very helpful
information that you gave about your patients. It sounds like it is a
truly wearisome duty that you have there, processing a of these gunshot
victims not just today but Washington D.C. in and out of that hospital.
ORLOWSKI: Well, I think it is. The recorder asked me a question.
She said we know you to be a great trauma center. We know that you are
taking care of victims, but is there something different about today? And
I think that I spoke not only as a physician as the chief medical officer,
but I spoke as a mother, as someone who is in this community and it is not
only weary. I have to say that I worry about this. I worry about our
community. Mass murders, people walking through schools, people walking
through movie theaters, people walking through workplaces. Unfortunately
it is common or more common than what it should be. And I think that I
spoke from the heart when I said we have got to work together as a
community to stop this.
O`DONNELL: You are certainly in emergency medicine doing your end of
this terrible task. But does it feel at the end of this task that society,
that government that we are in fact not coming together as you said we must
in order to minimize how much of this burden we are sending into our
ORLOWSKI: I think that there is much more that we can be doing and
that we should be doing. We have multiple mass murders throughout the
United States. We have individuals who some of them we know needed mental
health care. A number of them could have been identified. I think that we
just as you would see anyone who is bleeding on the street to call 911, I
think we he to be able to identify and help those individuals who suffer
other illnesses that make them act in this way.
I believe that it`s not just rage. I believe that it`s not just
anger. I believe that it is an illness. So, it`s an evilness to have
someone raise arms against their fellow man. It`s wrong. We need to work
to eradicate it. And whether it`s more support, more mental health,
whether it is programs to help individuals, I spoke frankly when I said to
the country and to the people who were listening we have got to work on
this together. We have got to do better than this.
O`DONNELL: Doctor, I would like to hear the latest about the patients
that you have there at the hospital, the three victims of the shooting. At
the press conference, we just heard about officer Scott Williams, a 23-year
veteran of the D.C. police department, ak-9 officer, his chief said that he
has, quote, a star record and that he is in good spirits at this hour.
ORLOWSKI: He is. I met officer Williams when he entered MedStar
medical center. I would tell you that he came in. He was speaking to the
staff. He was immediately thanking individuals in the staff. I told the
story that one of the things that he wanted to do is get his mother on the
telephone so that she wouldn`t worry and he asked to be able to address her
personally. He is gone off to surgery and I have seen him afterwards
remains in great spirits.
We are confident that her will continue to do well. And I would say
he is the kind of person that everyone would like to meet. He is someone
you would love to have as a neighbor. He just comes across as a warm and
personal man. And if you think about it, he has been a police officer in
this community for 23 years and protecting us, just a terrific guy. So, I
would tell you that he is doing well.
We have another woman who was shot, her main entry was in her shoulder
although she had a few other minor areas of injury. She is just coming out
of surgery right now. This is individual also who was speaking when she
came into the hospital center. She was again making jokes and trying to
keep things going as we were talking with her and she talked about her time
being on the roof and waiting. She talked about her wonderful captain who
had helped her up to the roof and had packed her wounds and wanted to make
sure we said thank you to him.
And then, the last individual is a person who luckily did not need
surgery. She is a young woman in her 20`s who was at her desk. She
actually got under her desk. She stated that she put her hands up when the
shooter was there. He ended up hitting her finger and then hit the back of
her skull. She is very lucky. She has not required surgery because the
bullet fragment did not go through her skull, but we are watching her to
make sure there is no bleeding. She is here with her parents and with her
sister and in good spirits. In particular, she is very concerned about the
colleagues that were around h at her workplace and has talked to us many
times about whether we knew information about it.
So, I have to tell you the three shooting victims who came to the
hospital center are doing well. Two of them have had surgery. They are
recovering and I expect a full recovery of all three of them.
O`DONNELL: Dr. Janis Orlowski, the chief medical officer of
Washington hospital center, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
I`m sure that those wounded feel lucky to be in your care. And I think the
nation is -- feels very lucky that you are able to get their treatment done
so quickly as soon as they were there.
Doctor, thank you very much for joining us.
ORLOWSKI: Thank you very much. Bye now.
O`DONNELL: We will be right back.
O`DONNELL: President Obama has given four state of the union
addresses. But he has had to address the nation on gun violence more than
that. It has now become more routine for the president of the United
States to speak to the nation after a mass murder than it is for the
president to give state of the union addresses. The authors of the second
amendment never anticipated that.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to begin by
offering an update on the tragedy that took place yesterday at Fort Hood.
There are families, friends, and an entire nation grieving right now
for the valiant men and women who came under attack yesterday in one of the
worst mass shootings ever to take place on an American military base. So,
from now until Veterans Day, I have ordered the flags at the White House
and other federal buildings to be flown at half staff.
Earlier today, a number of people were shot in Tuscan, Arizona,
including several meeting at a super market with their Congress woman,
Gabrielle Giffords. We are still assembling all the facts but we know that
Representative Giffords is one of the victims. She is currently in a local
hospital and she is battling for her life. Obviously, our hearts go out to
the family members of those who have been slain. We are going to get to
the bottom of this and we`re going to get through this.
By now many of you know, many of you have heard that a few miles
outside of Denver, in a town called aurora, at least 12 people were killed
when a gunman opened fire in a movie theater. And dozens more are being
treated for injuries at a local hospital. Some of the victims are being
treated at a children`s hospital.
Tonight our prayers in particular are with our friends and fellow
Americans in the community. We mourn those who were senselessly murdered
and injured in their place of worship. We may never understand what
motivates such hatred and violence, the perpetrators must know that your
twisted thinking is no match for the compassion and the goodness and the
strength of our united American family.
The majority of those who died today were children. Beautiful little
kids between the ages of five and 10-years-old. They had their entire
lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.
As a country we have been through this too many times.
We are confronting yet another mass shooting and today it happened on
a military insulation in our nation`s capital. It`s a shooting that
targeted our military and civilian personnel. These are men and women who
were going to work doing their job protecting all of us. They are patriots
and they know the dangers of serving abroad. But today, they face the
unimaginable violence that they wouldn`t have expected here at home.
O`DONNELL: Gary Kasparov has a few things he wants us to know about
Vladimir Putin, things that he learned the hard way by living in Vladimir
Putin`s Russia. Gary Kasparov will join me next.
O`DONNELL: On Saturday, the United States and Russia reached a deal
on how to eliminate Syria`s chemical weapons. Here is secretary of state
John Kerry announcing the deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We have no illusions about the
challenges ahead. The United States and Russia have not always see eye to
eye that is known. And we still don`t see eye to eye on everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The next day, President Obama said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Ronald Reagan said trust and verify and I think that has
always been the experience of U.S. presidents when we are interacting with
first soviet leaders and now Russian leaders. You know, Mr. Putin and I
have strong disagreements on all range of issues, but I can talk to him.
We have worked together on important issues. So, this is not the cold war.
This is not a contest between the United States and Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, political activist and former world chess
champion, Gary Kasparov.
Gary, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
GARY KASPAROV, POLITICAL ACTIVIST: Thanks for letting me.
O`DONNELL: So, you have learned the Putin way of doing business the
hard way, by actually living in Russia and dealing it with on a daily
O`DONNELL: There are so many things I want to talk to you about
beyond Syria but including Syria. What advice would you give John Kerry in
going forward with his day to day negotiations over this?
KASPAROV: I think they already lost because it`s not verifiable. And
basically, the agreement gives Assad green light because suddenly, Assad
who two weeks ago was seeing his bunker fearing for his life, now he is
part of the deal. And as long as he is me complying or pretends he is
complying, he can keep killing his people. And even if he does something
outrageous again, there is no trigger there. Then, it goes back to United
Nations. So, Putin got everything he wanted. I think it would beyond to
his wildest expectations. And Obama who once said red line, he is just --
just blowing up the reputation of his office.
O`DONNELL: Well, the president and secretary of state, their stated
mission from the outside was to stop this use of chemical weapons by Assad.
They seemed to have stopped the use of chemical weapons and the process
they are engaged in is to prevent them from using it.
KASPAROV: Wait, wait, wait. I think -- I agree that that was the
goal and that`s why president said the line. I understand that red line
means that if somebody crosses that line then you act and then talk
anymore. Now, these redlines --
O`DONNELL: That`s not what he said. He didn`t say this is what I
will do if you cross --
KASPAROV: No, red line, whether it is in Russia or in English or any
other language means that you act.
O`DONNELL: No, no, no. You can`t say if you use this phrase that
means you must do this.
KASPAROV: We are sitting here talking to studio, Barack Obama is a
person he has with America. And if he says red line, he is shooting
O`DONNELL: I would say, what I would say to you is if he says red
line you shouldn`t assume this extra stuff that you are assuming about
KASPAROV: OK. Again, the problem is now what I assume. The problem
is what Iran assume and North Koreans assume.
O`DONNELL: But they have stopped using chemical weapons and the
president has said if they do use chemical weapons again, the United States
does reserve the right to strike militarily without --.
KASPAROV: That is exactly what he said a few months ago.
O`DONNELL: No. He did -- he never said. You have got to remember
this, he never said if you use chemical weapons, I will strike militarily.
He never said that.
KASPAROV: So, the fact that Assad killing people by not using
chemical weapons is acceptable now?
O`DONNELL: It turns out that was acceptable, yes. Without using
chemical -- I mean, that`s the story. That`s the weirdness of the story.
KASPAROV: If he uses the chemicals again, what happens?
O`DONNELL: The position now is -- No. We won`t put it that way.
KASPAROV: No, no. That`s an agreement.
O`DONNELL: No, no. You have got to pay attention to what the
president and John Kerry are saying. They are saying if he uses chemical
weapons again, John Kerry has been very clear, the president has been very
clear, the president reserves the right to use a military strike.
KASPAROV: (INAUDIBLE) in the United Nations again.
O`DONNELL: OK. But we can continue to talk about overtime because we
are going to watch how this goes if it will work or not work, we will see.
You don`t think it is going to work at all, I get that.
But tell me about what`s happening with Putin and the anti-gay laws
and why he did that?
KASPAROV: You cannot take it separate from other things, you know.
This year, we saw in Russia a number of laws that were totally violating
Russian constitution and international treaty signed by Russia. It started
with the law -- it`s a ban on adoption by American. Actually now, it
expanded to other nations that Putin didn`t like. And then, there were
many other laws, you know, limiting you know, ability to Russian people to
protest and exercise their fundamental constitutional rights. And you may,
of course, (INAUDIBLE) was a very clear demonstration that any criticism of
Putin, you know, would be severely punished.
O`DONNELL: You got arrested over that one.
KASPAROV: OK, but it happens, you know, so me and many others --
O`DONNELL: Garry, we are out of time right here. Can you stay and we
will continue online and use the rest of this interview online because we
run out of time.
KASPAROV: So, there`s no other choice.
O`DONNELL: OK. We will continue to talk about it online.
Garry Kasparov, thank you very much for joining us on the program.
Chris Hayes is up next.
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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, September 16th, 2013
THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL