PBS NewsHour full episode August 5, 2019


JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: a deadly weekend
in America. Two devastating mass shootings separated by
less than a single day claim over 30 lives in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Then, we devote the entire show to gun violence
in America, from calls for sensible legislation, to labeling white nationalism as domestic
terrorism. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. JUDY WOODRUFF: Plus: breaking down the political
fallout of this weekend’s violence, President Trump’s response and the effect guns and terror
in America may have on the fight for the Democratic nomination. All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: Guns, hate and America. We devote tonight’s program to where we are
now and how we face this change — and change this tragic reality, Las Vegas, Orlando, Blacksburg,
Newtown, Sutherland Springs, Parkland, all sites of mass murder. Oakland Baltimore, Chicago, all places witness
to gun violence this weekend. Sadly, there are many more to name, and we
take this hour to examine why. We start in El Paso, where 22 people were
killed. Our William Brangham is there. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: For many in El Paso, it’s
a time to show solidarity. Dozens and dozens of people lined up to donate
blood. Local hospitals treating the victims put out
the call, and the response has been tremendous. Frida Delgadillo is a college student at the
University of Texas in El Paso. FRIDA DELGADILLO, Student: I’m here because
I like to want my community in any way I can. And so many people have shown up that I wanted
to be one of them as well. When I first heard that there was a shooting,
I knew that it wasn’t one of the people from El Paso. I knew that it was an outsider, because our
community would never do something like this. Our community is very loving. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Saturday’s massacre happened
at a Walmart just five miles from the border, where American and Mexican families alike
were shopping. Many were getting back-to-school supplies. Last night in downtown El Paso, hundreds gathered
to grieve the victims. Chris Cummings is in local real estate, and
came with his wife and family. CHRIS CUMMINGS, El Paso Resident: I think
the only way to heal is to sort of bind with your community and let everyone know that
El Paso is not the type of place where this occurs. This was somebody from outside our community. And so we have to show our strength. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Police believe the 21-year-old
suspect, originally from the Dallas area, wrote a racist manifesto that he posted online
just minutes before he entered the Walmart. He called his rampage — quote — “a response
to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” At least seven of the dead were Mexican nationals,
and some at last night’s rally were still struggling that immigrants were the target. Mary MacKay is a public school teacher in
El Paso. MARY MACKAY, El Paso Resident: Obviously,
it hurts more when this is your own hometown where this happens, but I think it adds a
whole other level of pain that this guy came to my home to kill us because of what color
we are. You know, like he went out of his way just
to kill us for being Hispanic. It’s — that’s a lot to deal with. Like, it wasn’t a random shooting. He wanted to kill brown people. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The border city of El Paso
is about 80 percent Latino, and it’s been a hub for thousands of Central American migrants
crossing the border to seek asylum in the U.S. President Trump has also made disparaging
comments about the city, and described these migrants as representing a kind of attack
on the U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke
represented the El Paso area in Congress. BETO O’ROURKE (D), Presidential Candidate:
We have a president right now who traffics in this hatred, who incites this violence,
who calls Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, who calls asylum seekers animals and an infestation. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Congresswoman Veronica Escobar,
who was elected to O’Rourke’s seat, said the shooting hurt a community that’s already the
target of the president’s immigration crackdown. REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (D-TX): I think it’s no coincidence
this has been ground zero for the president’s zero tolerance policies, the return-to-Mexico
policy. Hatred and bigotry and racism has been teeming
below the surface for as long as America has been around, but now it’s full-blown out in
the open, and we have a real epidemic of hate in this country. And with the epidemic of gun violence, that
makes for a very deadly combination. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The tragedy is also distressing
for locals, who see an oftentimes ugly national debate over immigration being waged in a city
that welcomes its diversity. MARY MARTINEZ WHITE, El Paso Resident: I think
that the passions of many people are being stirred. And I think that it’s largely — it is partisan,
and it is wrong. And I’m just going to call it what it is. It is an evilness. We have to work together. I don’t understand why we’re allowing hatred
to infiltrate our communities. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In the end, beyond politics
and policy, many simply want the world to know the horror of Saturday is not the city
they call home. GERTRUDE KONINGS, El Paso Resident: It is
a very lovely place. We really chose El Paso to live here. We love the people, we love the city, we love
the nature, everything. And we live here already over 20 years, by
choice. So, it’s — people should come and see how
the community is, how the place is, and then they will really also get a different idea
about the border. JUDY WOODRUFF: And William joins me now. So, William, we are getting a sense of how
people are doing there. Tell us more about how this community is responding. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Well, Judy, I think any
community you go to after they have suffered a major tragedy like this, one of these mass
shootings, every community across the country says, we couldn’t have imagined it ever would
have happened here, but especially in El Paso, which is a community that — when you think
of the shooter saying he targeted the place because of immigrants, this is a community
unlike I have ever seen anywhere else in the U.S., that so embraces their immigrant identity. You can see Mexico from where I’m standing
right here. The constant flow of Mexicans and Americans
back and forth over the border, one man here referred to it as one city, being Juarez and
El Paso, that is divided into two countries. And that’s really the sense you get here. Every single person we have talked to has
said, we welcome immigrants here, we have immigrants in our families, we live on this
side of the border, we live on that side of the border. And so that warm embrace of dual nationalities. When you see — I’m standing in the parking
lot of a mall here. You see Mexican license plates all over the
place. That kind of community, when you suddenly
have violence visited upon it because of immigration is especially jarring. JUDY WOODRUFF: So the argument, William, that
the rhetoric about immigration contributed to this, do people there believe that? WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Some people say that, and
some people don’t. I mean, Frida Delgadillo, the young woman
we met at the blood drive this morning, said no one is to blame for the shooting except
the shooter himself. Nobody put a gun in his hand. Nobody told him to drive 900 miles down here
or 600 miles down here to do what he did. But, she said — and this is a point we heard
from a lot of people — it is undeniable that the rhetoric about immigrants, calling them
rapists and murderers, talking about Central American migrants coming here as an invasion
of the United States, she said — and many echoed this — that it’s undeniable that that
contributes to a feeling of fear and potential for violence. You mix that in with a young man who’s been
marinating in white supremacy online what seems months or maybe years, that’s a recipe
for disaster. JUDY WOODRUFF: And that it was. William Brangham reporting for us from El
Paso, thank you. So, less than 24 hours after the carnage in
El Paso, another tragedy. Our Yamiche Alcindor reports from Dayton,
Ohio. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Thirty seconds, nine shot
dead, and a community reeling from yet another mass shooting. This time, the violence unfolded early Sunday
in a busy nightlife district here in Dayton, Ohio. Police fatally shot the 24-year-old gunman
soon after he opened fire with an automatic weapon. He was just steps away from entering a popular
bar, Ned Peppers, in the city’s Oregon District. Anthony Reynolds had just left the bar when
the shooting began. ANTHONY REYNOLDS, Shooting Witness: I know
it’s gunfire, so I’m looking around. And I’m like, OK, what’s going on? But then what you right after it’s just repeated,
like, shots, high-powered shots, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. So we just start really running. I’m grabbing my cousin. We’re running. And I just started yelling at the people in
front of me, like, that’s a mass shooter. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: At one point, he was just
10 feet away from the shooter. The shooter’s own sister is among the dead. The motive is still unclear. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said the quick response
by the Dayton police prevented scores more from dying. NAN WHALEY, Mayor of Dayton, Ohio: I’m completely
grateful for the Dayton Police Department. Six police officers, five of whom have only
been on this force for three years, ran toward the shooter heroically, not with the kind
of weapon he had, but with the weapons that we have given to them to stop — stop this,
and they did that in 24 seconds. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The shooter wore full body
armor and carried a .223-caliber rifle with magazines holding nearly 250 rounds of ammunition. Hours later, police tape outlined the epicenter
of the massacre. Yellow cones marked the 41 shell casings found
in the area. A pile of mismatched shoes scattered the sidewalk,
evidence of the rush to escape the scene. Also in the aftermath, shock, sadness and
calls for action. PAM BROOKS, Dayton Resident: You don’t expect
that to hit you at home. But, unfortunately, it’s become the reality
of our world. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Pam Brooks lives in a high-rise
building in the Oregon District. From her window, she witnessed the chaos. She now feels moved to personally push for
change. PAM BROOKS: I have seen people tell you to
get in touch with your congressman and that kind of thing, and I have never reached out
to anyone representing me. But that has changed already. I sent off some e-mails and text messages
this morning voicing my concerns and asking them to get back to their jobs and get some
legislation in place so that other people don’t have to go through this. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Sunday night, the community
held a vigil near the scene of the shooting. Some, like Teresa Smith, were still in shock. TERESA SMITH, Dayton Resident: I know love
is greater, but there is so much bad and evil and divide. And it doesn’t have to be that way. All of these people are innocent people who
just want to live and enjoy life. And it’s like it’s been cut down. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Susie Lane heads the Dayton
chapter of the pro-gun control group Moms Demand Action. She hopes the mass shootings will spur both
Congress and Ohio legislators to act. Susie Lane, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense
in America: Right now, in Congress, there is a universal background check law that the
House has passed, and the Senate has not taken it up yet. That’s a first step. We also need that cultural change, where we
understand that guns aren’t the answers to our problems. GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): I’m representing all the
people of the state of Ohio. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Meanwhile, earlier at the
vigil: MAN: Do something! GOV. MIKE DEWINE: We’re here tonight… (CROSSTALK) WOMAN: Do something! MAN: Do something! MAN: Do something! YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The group shouted over Republican
Governor Mike DeWine. They demanded he pursue gun control legislation
immediately. After the vigil, DeWine told a Columbus Dispatch
reporter that he is open to discussing gun control policies, like expanded background
checks. That willingness to enact some reforms was
shared by other Ohio Republicans. GOP Senator Rob Portman Sunday: SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): There aren’t enough laws,
and, in fact, no law can correct some of the more fundamental cultural problems we face
today as a country. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Reynolds, who witnessed
the shooting, said he is hoping President Trump will himself seek change. ANTHONY REYNOLDS: Well, he has to change his
tone from the top, because you’re in a seat that is powerful. You’re in a seat that means everything. It represents this country. So if you’re not holding it up for everybody,
then that’s a problem. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: He added that all of the
country’s lawmakers must act to prevent these massacres. ANTHONY REYNOLDS: After these cameras cut
off, we still got — we are still forced to sit here and work with each other and figure
it out, because these camera’s ain’t going to be here forever and the light ain’t going
to be on Dayton forever, because with the rules that we got in place, this is going
to happen somewhere else real soon. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Everyone I have talked to
here in Dayton is just shocked this took place in their hometown. Many fear that, just around the corner, another
mass shooting could unfold in another city — Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Yamiche, we heard Anthony
Reynolds tell you he’s concerned with President Trump’s rhetoric. How much of that sort of frustration are you
hearing from people on the ground there? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Over and over again, I have
been hearing from people that the president’s rhetoric, as well as his inaction on gun reform,
is part of the problem and part of the reason why they feel like these mass shootings continue
to happen. People here in Dayton are juggling a lot. This is a city that has a booming and rising
immigrant population — immigrant population. There’s also largely white suburbs that are
opposed to a lot of the city’s pro-immigrant policies here. And then you have the city really dealing
with a number of things that have really, really hurt the city here. You have the city dealing with a KKK rally
that stirred up a lot of emotions. You also have the city dealing with a string
of tornadoes that hit it and caused a lot of damage in May, and then now you have this
mass shooting. So there are people that are looking to the
president to change his tone and really help with the healing in a city that’s just dealing
with so much. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Yamiche, you know about
the challenges in that community. You were there just last week reporting on
— talking on it — talking to voters. How much hope do you pick up from people that
maybe these two terrible shootings could lead to some change? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: People here definitely want
to see change, but they don’t feel as though there’s going to be a lot of change. And that’s mainly because people have been
telling me, after Newtown and after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, people thought there
was going to be this big momentum and that Washington was going to pass all sorts of
gun laws, and that just didn’t happen. So now they’re hopeful that lawmakers will
at least hear their voices. But they’re not sure whether or not they will
actually be able to really make real change. JUDY WOODRUFF: Yamiche Alcindor, reporting
for us tonight from Dayton, Ohio, thank you, Yamiche. And now to the day’s other news. Wall Street had its worst losses of the year,
after China’s currency hit an 11-year low against the U.S. dollar. The move sparked new fears about the escalating
trade war. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 767
points to close at 25717. The Nasdaq fell 278 points, and the S&P 500
gave up 87. The Dow and the S&P were down about 3 percent. The Nasdaq lost 3.5 percent. Late today, the U.S. accused China of being
a currency manipulator, in violation of international agreements. New violence has broken out in Hong Kong after
a general strike by pro-democracy forces disrupted commuter traffic. The protests lasted all day, with some throwing
rocks and police firing tear gas to disperse the crowds. After nightfall, demonstrators set fires at
police stations. The city’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, urged
restraint. CARRIE LAM, Hong Kong Chief Executive (through
translator): Today, some citizens made their voices heard by participating in the strike
action. No matter what kinds of requests you have,
I hope all of you can express your voices in a peaceful manner. People may choose to strike, but should respect
others’ freedom of returning to work. JUDY WOODRUFF: Lam warned that Hong Kong is
on the verge of what she called a very dangerous situation. Still, a top police official said there is
no need to call in the Chinese military. The Hindu nationalist government of India
touched off new turmoil in Kashmir today. Officials asked Parliament to end the Muslim-majority
territory’s right to make its own laws. The Indian-controlled part of Kashmir was
put on security lockdown, and thousands of troops were deployed. In Pakistan, Muslim protesters turned out
to denounce the decision, while Pakistani leaders warned that it will have serious effects
on regional security. The political crisis in Puerto Rico has deepened
after the island’s Senate filed suit to oust newly installed Pedro Pierluisi as governor. The suit says that he cannot legally hold
the office because he wasn’t properly confirmed. He also faces public opposition over legal
work that he did for a financial control board that imposed austerity measures. ALEX MARTINEZ, San Juan Resident (through
translator): Well, for us, it really symbolizes a coup. The people are asking for transparency. That hasn’t happened at any moment. The people are not the same as before. What’s happened is that the people of Puerto
Rico have woken up. They have discovered the power they have,
and have said, enough is enough. JUDY WOODRUFF: Pierluisi was named Puerto
Rico’s secretary of state last week. He argues that that put him in line to succeed
Ricardo Rossello as governor when Rossello resigned on Friday. The Puerto Rican Supreme Court will now consider
the issue. A federal judge in New York sentenced a Florida
man to 20 years in prison today for mailing pipe bombs to top Democrats and Trump critics. Cesar Sayoc had pled guilty in March to using
weapons of mass destruction. The packages were sent before the midterm
elections last fall. None of the bombs went off. And another Republican in the U.S. House of
Representatives is retiring. Texas Congressman Kenny Marchant announced
today that he won’t run for reelection next year in his suburban Dallas district. He gave no reason for calling it quits after
eight terms. Marchant joins nine other House Republicans
who’ve decided not to run again. And two of America’s largest newspaper chains
have agreed to merge. GateHouse Media is buying Gannett Company,
which owns USA Today, among other dailies. The combined company will include more than
260 newspapers. Back now to our look at guns in America. Excluding El Paso and Dayton, just since yesterday,
at least 88 people were shot and at least 28 people were killed by guns in 27 states. That’s according to the Gun Violence Archive. In fact, we rarely report on these events:
gang warfare, domestic violence, robbery. And that excludes suicide, the largest factor
for gun deaths. Amna Nawaz reports that the number of guns
in America, some 393 million of them, more than one per person, is greater than in any
other country and that, even on days of relative calm, guns kill roughly 100 people in this
country every day. AMNA NAWAZ: That’s right, Judy. And President Trump condemned the shootings
over the weekend and denounced white supremacy and racist hate, which he said fueled such
violence. He also warned against — quote — “the perils
of the Internet and social media,” which he said helped to foment that hate. But he declined to call for tougher gun laws,
instead pointing to the mental state of the killers. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
We must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who
may commit acts of violence and make sure those people not only get treatment, but,
when necessary, involuntary confinement. Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger,
not the gun. AMNA NAWAZ: We look now at some of the questions
that are again in the air, in particular, what, if anything, can or should be done to
curb gun deaths in this country? We get two views. Shannon Watts is founder of Moms Demand Action,
a grassroots organization she established in the days after the 2012 shooting at Sandy
Hook Elementary School to strengthen U.S. gun laws. And Larry Ward is chief marketing officer
with Gun Dynamics. It’s a group that promotes gun rights and
the gun industry. Welcome to you both. Thank you for making the time. Shannon, I’ll start with you. I want to take a moment, and, if you can,
on a day like today, when many Americans are reeling from the events over the weekend,
what is your message to them? What specifically are the changes you would
like to see put into place? SHANNON WATTS, Founder, Moms Demand Action
for Gun Sense in America: Well, we are specifically calling on Congress to come back from recess
and to do their jobs. We’re asking them to pass legislation that
we have seen work in the states, a background check on every gun sale — 21 states now requires
that — as well as red flag legislation; 17 states have red flag laws. And they have been shown to be essential in
interrupting gun suicide and gun homicide. And it is time for our Congress to do their
job and to protect Americans, instead of protecting gun manufacturers’ profits. AMNA NAWAZ: Larry Ward, tell me briefly, what
was your reaction when you heard about the events this weekend? LARRY WARD, Chief Marketing Officer, Gun Dynamics:
I was horrified. I mean, look, at the end of the day, all gun
violence is terrible. We’re looking at this thing that keeps happening
over and over again. According to the Crime Prevention Research
Center, 94 percent of these active shooter, active gun, and mass shootings take place
in gun-free zones. AMNA NAWAZ: Shannon, what’s your response
what you just heard from Larry Ward? SHANNON WATTS: Well, first of all, it’s not
true most mass shootings occur in so-called gun-free zones. Most mass shootings occur in private residences
and involve domestic violence. Walmart wasn’t a gun-free zone. Not only was it in an open carry state. Open carry is allowed in Walmart. And there were even armed customers when the
shooting happened. So that is a lot of NRA talking points. And it’s been debunked over and over again. There are no background checks required on
unlicensed sales in this country in 29 states. It’s how so many criminals and minors get
easy access to guns. And the idea that just because one law wouldn’t
have stopped one specific mass shooting, they shouldn’t be passed is asinine. We don’t say one law is going to fix all of
gun violence. It’s going to take several different laws
to get passed. And we have seen them work in the states. We know that they would work at a federal
level. AMNA NAWAZ: Shannon, I do want to ask you
about what the president has mentioned, what we have heard from people before about this
issue of mental health, that we need to do more to address it as a country. It’s true there have been incidents in the
past, right? The Sutherland Springs shooter, for example,
had a serious mental health issue. And suicides actually comprise a large number
of gun violence deaths in America. So, what’s your response to that argument? SHANNON WATTS: When you look at gun homicides,
only about 5 percent of shooters show any sign of mental illness. We know that people who are mentally ill are
much more likely to be victims of gun violence than perpetrators. This is an NRA talking point. It’s the same thing they said after the Sandy
Hook tragedy. They blamed video games and movies and mental
illness. And data shows it’s none of that. In America, we have a 25 times higher gun
homicide rate because of easy access to guns, full stop. AMNA NAWAZ: Larry Ward, the statistics do
speak for themselves. We have a gun violence problem in America. What is it? You’re a gun owner yourself. You’re speaking on behalf of gun owners out
there, who comprise the minority of Americans. What safety regulations would you be willing
to sign on to? LARRY WARD: Well, like — like I said, if
we’re talking about safety, I’m talking about people safety. And the only way to stop somebody with murderous
intent that goes into a place to shoot, to run over, to drop a bomb, the only place to
stop these people is to have people who are vigilant, with their — with their ability
to defend themselves and the people around them, and to make sure that law-abiding citizens
are armed so they can act. See, what happened in Dayton was, there was
— there happened to be an armed police officer there. Of course, that whole area has — most of
those stores and restaurants and clubs were all gun-free zones. So that’s why that place was chosen. But thank God there was a — there was an
officer there. AMNA NAWAZ: But let me ask you about that
Dayton shooting, because at, the same time, nine people died in that shooting. Are you saying there was nothing that could
have been done to prevent those nine deaths? LARRY WARD: Well, there could have been things. I don’t know the whole case. I mean, the whole case hasn’t come out. We do — there was a whole lot made about
blaming President Trump and his — and blaming President Trump’s policies and ideas on the
border, but — so we don’t know the motivations of that — of that particular shooter. Could — would — would anything have stopped
him? No, he could have driven — could have rented
a truck and driven it and run over a whole bunch of people. There’s a lot of things that could have happened. If the person has murderous intent… AMNA NAWAZ: But he didn’t use a truck. Mr. Ward, I want to ask you about that. He used a gun. We know he didn’t use a truck. I want — I want to stick to what we know. As you mentioned, we do not know the motivation
of the Dayton alleged shooter at this point. LARRY WARD: Of course. AMNA NAWAZ: It is true, in America right now,
we have more guns in circulation than we do have Americans. And a large — a large portion of that ownership
is concentrated in a minority of Americans. So I’m trying to understand from you — and
you seem to be saying that there’s nothing you would be willing to do, there’s no additional
safety regulations you would be willing to agree on. Is that — is that right? LARRY WARD: Well, look, come up — come to
us with what I consider an additional safety regulation, which is ending gun-free zones,
which is having — having more people — look, everybody’s ignoring the, what, 47 — 47 shootings
in… (CROSSTALK) AMNA NAWAZ: Mr. Ward, what is the data? What is the data you can show — what is the
data you can show that shows that prevents deaths in America? LARRY WARD: Well, what — what — what data
can you show that shows gun-free zones actually stop anybody from entering and shooting? There’s no data. AMNA NAWAZ: Let me show you what data I can
use. Let me show you what data we do have. Federal waiting periods, for example, can
significantly lower gun violence in America. Background checks can significantly lower
gun violence in America. Would either of those be amenable to you as
proposed safety regulations? LARRY WARD: There are background checks. There are background checks all over in all
of the states of the United States. There are background checks. There are — there are due — there’s due
process to get guns out of hands of people with mental illness. There are — if you commit a crime, you can’t
have a gun in most states. There are a lot gun control laws, very, very
strict gun control laws in all the cities of America. And no one’s talking about the 47 shootings
in Chicago, where they have very strict gun control laws. AMNA NAWAZ: Shannon, I would like to ask you. It’s been seven years since the mass shooting
at Sandy Hook Elementary, which is the reason you began this work in the first place. A lot of people said back then, if the murder
of 20 children, ages 6 and 7, could not bring people to actually change our gun laws in
America, that nothing will. Do you see anything in the weekend’s events
that leads you to believe that now is the time for change? SHANNON WATTS: First of all, so much has happened
since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Moms Demand Action happened. We’re the largest gun violence prevention
organization in the country. We are larger than the NRA. We outspent them in the midterm elections,
and we outmaneuvered them. We won in the midterm elections. And we’re going to beat them again in 2020. But I also want to say that there are 400
million guns in the hands of civilians in America. If more guns and fewer gun laws made us safer,
we would be the safest country in the world. In fact, we have the highest rate of gun violence
of any developed nation. And the reason for that is because people
like Larry, who work for the gun industry, are writing our nation’s gun laws. And the only way we fix that is by every American
getting off the sidelines and using their voices and their votes and demanding change. AMNA NAWAZ: We will leave it there. Larry Ward and Shannon Watts, thank you very
much for your time. Now, from the debate over gun safety, to a
resurgent threat here in the United States. That’s domestic homegrown terrorism, motivated
by racism, white supremacy, hatred of government and immigrants. The president, whose own language has been
frequently condemned for stoking those hatreds, spoke to these issues this morning: DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. We have asked the FBI to identify all further
resources they need to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism — whatever
they need. AMNA NAWAZ: So how pervasive are these racist
ideologies in the U.S. and beyond? What is the U.S. government doing, or not
doing, to combat this threat here at home? We’re joined by Kathleen Belew, a professor
at the University of Chicago who is an expert on the history of white supremacists and author
of “Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America.” And Seamus Hughes, he’s the deputy director
of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. Welcome back to you both. Kathleen, I would like to start with you. Address for me, if you can, the president’s
first remarks there, the bigotry, that white supremacy. What do we know about that threat? How do we know that’s led to violence? And how has that changed over time in America? KATHLEEN BELEW, University of Chicago: What
we’re seeing now in El Paso and elsewhere is not simply a single act of violence. We often think about these events as singular
acts of horror. And it’s hard not to think about it that way
when it’s in your community and in your home. The thing is what we’re looking at is generations
old. It’s organized. It’s part of a social movement that has had
a broad purchase across the United States in every region, across gender, across age,
across class. And what we’re — what we’re seeing is really
the fruition of decades of organizing. That movement came together after the Vietnam
War. It brought together Klansmen, neo-Nazis, skinheads,
and other activists into a coherent white power movement. And where we are now is responding to the
fact that we have never had a coherent prosecution of this movement. We have never had a large-scale public response
to this movement. And it’s a very major problem for our nation. AMNA NAWAZ: Kathleen, I want to clarify. When you say we’re seeing the fruition of
this decades-long movement, are you saying now that the threat is larger than it’s ever
been before? KATHLEEN BELEW: I think it is. One thing that you can learn from looking
at the archive of this movement, from the history of that earlier period, is that, when
these activists think about violence and acts of violence, like the El Paso shooting or
the Oklahoma City bombing or the attacks on synagogues, those acts are not meant to be
the end point of this organizing. Those acts are meant to be political and ideological
actions that bring other activists into the movement, that — quote, unquote — “awaken
people” into joining this groundswell. AMNA NAWAZ: And, Kathleen, I want to ask you. I do want to ask you… KATHLEEN BELEW: The end point isn’t a bombing. The end point is race war. AMNA NAWAZ: I apologize for interrupting. I do want to ask you about some of that recruitment
in a moment. But I want to make sure we bring in Seamus
Hughes here to respond to the other part of what President Trump said, which was that
he has asked federal authorities for what resources they need. What do we know about what federal resources
are going to combat what Kathleen says is clearly a growing and larger threat than ever
before? SEAMUS HUGHES, George Washington University:
We know that domestic terrorism has always been an afterthought when it comes to addressing
these issues. It’s always been underutilized, under-resourced. You have less FBI agents, less analysts that
are looking at this issue. At the same time, you have got 1,000 active
investigations when it comes to ISIS and 1,000 active investigations when it comes to domestic
terrorism. I think it’s time to take a hard look at where
we’re putting our resources. AMNA NAWAZ: What would you say now about where
the resources are going? Are they going where they should be? SEAMUS HUGHES: Not quite yet. And I think it’s fair to say that they’re
woefully understaffed as it stands right now. We’re going to need to focus this in a coherent
way. We’re also going to look at this as a movement
around the country, right? You’re not just talking about these one-off
events. I agree with my colleague on this. This is an ideology that’s pervasive. AMNA NAWAZ: Kathleen, back to you on this,
that idea that this is a movement in some way, and that a lot of this recruiting goes
on online. I heard one former white supremacist talking
about the Internet as sort of a 24/7 hate buffet. Tell me a little bit about how this movement
grows. KATHLEEN BELEW: This is another area where
what seems very new to us, because of social media and because of the way that these attacks
go viral in our current moment, is actually a strategy that’s been perfected in this movement
over decades. This movement went online in 1983-’84 in kind
of the pre-Internet chat rooms, called the Liberty Net. And on those chat rooms, they were exchanging
not only hit lists and assassination targets and things like this, but also recipes, and
they posted personal ads. In effect, they were doing social media before
social media even existed for the rest of us. So the idea that that’s new is erroneous. What is new is, of course, the same scale
permitted by these kinds of outlets and the way that technologies of communication and
technologies of killing allow the body counts to go higher and higher and higher. AMNA NAWAZ: Seamus, I want to ask you about
how we approach this in a federal way to combat this threat. And I want to play for you a sound bite from
FBI Director Christopher Wray. He was asked about that domestic threat by
Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin in July. Take a listen to this. CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI Director: I think the
greatest terrorist threat to the homeland is the homegrown violent extremists. I will say that we take domestic… SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D-IL): These would be foreign-inspired… CHRISTOPHER WRAY: Which is jihadist-inspired
violence. That does not mean, by any stretch of the
imagination, that we don’t take domestic terrorism, including hate crime committed on behalf of
some kind of white supremacist ideology, extremely seriously. AMNA NAWAZ: Seamus, the FBI director there
is distinguishing between Americans inspired by foreign terrorism and Americans inspired
by domestic ideas, white supremacy, and so on. Do you agree with his assessment there, that
one is a bigger threat than the other? SEAMUS HUGHES: If you look at the numbers,
they’re generally on par when it comes to violence. Now, the difference is how we address it. When it comes to law enforcement, you have
something called the material support to terrorism clause, which allows you to interject yourself,
law enforcement, at a much earlier process than you do for domestic terrorist groups. So there’s less tools available for law enforcement. There’s also less coordination going on, on
the federal level. AMNA NAWAZ: Kathleen, the big question here,
of course, is what is driving the growth of this movement. A lot of people, of course, have concentrated
the conversation around some of the political rhetoric, some of it coming from President
Trump himself. You have studied this movement for years and
years. So tell me how you assess what’s fueling this
hatred right now. KATHLEEN BELEW: I think it might actually
help to take a step back and think about what we’re thinking about and what we call these
groups and these ideologies. White supremacy is much bigger than what we’re
talking about when we think about an event like El Paso. White supremacy, we could think about as undergirding
enormous parts of our electoral politics, our legal system, our court system, and more. What we’re talking about here is a small fringe
movement that is attempting an overthrow of the United States through guerrilla violence,
in order to provoke and insight race war. I’m not overblowing this. This is what is in the writing. This is what people are trying to accomplish
in these manifestos. When we think about a phrase like white nationalism,
I think too many people still think about sort of just overzealous patriotism, or whiteness
within the United States, or promoting whiteness within the United States. But the nation at the heart of white nationalism
is not the United States. It’s the Aryan Nations. It’s imagined as a transnational white polity
that is fundamentally opposed to the interests of the United States. So, no matter how much wink and nod is coming
from the elected officials — and this is an area for serious concern — we still have
to attend to this fringe violent movement that is interested in a much more radical
future. AMNA NAWAZ: A lot of work to be done, and
hopefully more resources from our federal government as well. Kathleen Belew and Seamus Hughes, thanks to
you both. SEAMUS HUGHES: Thank you. KATHLEEN BELEW: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: And thank you, Amna. The weekend’s tragedies and the call since
for policy changes have also become for now the dominant focus of the 2020 presidential
campaign. By and large, the candidates put their focus
squarely on the president. Here is some of what they had to say today. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), Presidential Candidate:
Today, I say to Donald Trump, stop your anti-immigrant rhetoric. Stop the hatred. (APPLAUSE) SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Because that language, that
hatred, that divisiveness creates a situation where certain people will do terrible things. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), Presidential Candidate:
Mr. President, it’s long past time you stood up to it. Mr. President, it’s long past time you addressed
it for what it is. This is hatred, pure and simple, and it’s
being fueled by rhetoric that is so divisive, and it’s causing — causing people to die. SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), Presidential Candidate:
What happened in El Paso and in so many of the other shootings across the country, it
was fueled by hate. And no, Mr. President, as he said after Charlottesville,
there are not two sides to the issue, when the other side is the Ku Klux Klan and white
nationalists. There is only one side. JUDY WOODRUFF: Dayton, Ohio, is in the home
state of another candidate for president, Representative Tim Ryan. Ryan has suspended his presidential campaign
in the wake of this weekend’s shootings. He’s also been in Dayton since yesterday. And he joins me now. Congressman Ryan, thank you for being here. President Trump, we learned, is going to Dayton
on Wednesday. Today, among other things, he said it’s not
mental illness and hate that pulled the trigger, it’s the gun. He said, it’s not the gun, rather, it’s mental
illness and hate. How do you respond to that? REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), Presidential Candidate: I’m
furious about the whole thing, to be quite frank. I think it is an insult to the victims, both
here in Dayton and in El Paso and all the victims that have died in scenarios like this
across the United States over the past many years, because we know that four out of five
of these crimes has nothing to do with mental illness, that the vast majority of people
and families that are dealing with mental illness, those people are not violent in any
way, shape or form. And this whole idea about video games, well,
of course, we don’t want our kids playing them too long to distract, because we know
many people in other countries who have mental illness and who have played video games, they
don’t have this rate of crime. The issue is the God-blessed gun and these
weapons of war that are on the street slaughtering people in places like Dayton and El Paso. And if we don’t close these loopholes and
stop making these weapons of war, these crimes are not going to stop. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, as you know, the House
of Representatives passed legislation earlier this year, Democratic majority. It has not moved in the Senate. Are you hearing a clear message from voters
in Ohio, in Dayton about what they think should be done? REP. TIM RYAN: We had a candlelight vigil last
night. And I stayed here for two hours after. And for anybody who wants to help Dayton,
go to the Dayton Foundation Web site and make a donation to help the victims. There’s kids who lost their father. And so go to the Dayton Foundation Web site
and send some money in to help these families. But I was here for two hours after. And I met more Republicans that were telling
me to get something done, please, that this has gone too far. And so when you hear that coming from a Democratic
town in a Democratic county in Southwest Ohio, you know that we’re reaching the point in
this country where people are fed up. And the NRA-paid-off politicians like Mitch
McConnell and Donald Trump and others in Republican leadership are going to get steamrolled. Can it happen now or does it take some more
time, I’m not sure. But we’re going to apply as much pressure
as we possibly can on these politicians who are carrying water for the gun manufacturers
and the NRA. It’s got to stop. And I think we’re building more and more Republican
support, although you may not see it reflected in their political leadership. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, I think we want to know
if there’s any single thing that can realistically happen. For example, the governor of Ohio has been
pushing the so-called red flag laws that enable weapons, firearms to be taken away from people
who may present a danger to the community. This is something, you know, we haven’t seen
an appetite for nationally. Do you think that tide is turning? REP. TIM RYAN: We will see about the red flag. Maybe, maybe, just maybe, God, we hope and
pray that maybe there’s a half-a-step we could take. But I will be just clear. That is very, very inadequate. That is saying that, if you know somebody,
if you think they may try to buy a gun, if, if, if, that maybe you can prevent it. And what we’re saying is, whoever goes to
buy a gun, regardless of who they are, should get a background check. And that’s the bill that’s sitting at Mitch
McConnell’s doorstep right now, and it has the support of about 80 percent of the American
people, over 70 percent of gun owners and hunters that also think that there should
be a background check. And yet Mitch McConnell won’t bring it up
for a vote. Now, to me, that is an insult to these people
here who have lost lives. I mean, these people had hopes and dreams,
they had plans, they had vacations, they have kids. You know, their kids had dads that they lost
here. This is just gut-wrenching. And to think people are being so inadequate
in their response, and the president is the distracter in chief, more than anything else,
because he wants to get everybody off talking about some of these issues like gaming, as
opposed to dealing with the real issue, which is the weapon of war that slaughtered people
both in El Paso and here in Dayton. JUDY WOODRUFF: Congressman Tim Ryan with us
tonight from Ohio, from Dayton. Thank you, Congressman. Now we hear from another Democratic presidential
candidate. Bill de Blasio is mayor of New York City. He runs the largest police force in America. Mayor de Blasio, thank you for being here. BILL DE BLASIO (D), Presidential Candidate:
Thank you very much, Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: You do run a large city that
has its own share and history of gun violence. BILL DE BLASIO: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you look on what has
happened over this past weekend? BILL DE BLASIO: I think it’s a tragedy that
doesn’t have to be in America. I think this happened for a reason. It’s the proliferation of weapons and the
ease with which people can get them. And now it is this additional horrible reality
of white supremacy growing in this country, this movement of white supremacy growing,
aided and abetted by messages from the White House. We have to understand, this wasn’t the case
20 years ago. We have seen these mass shootings become more
and more common, and on top of it now more often coming with a political agenda. We saw that with the Tree of Life Synagogue
in Pittsburgh. We saw that in Poway, California, now El Paso. We have to understand something’s changed. And I think we have to confront it two ways. One, Congress needs to come back and pass
some commonsense gun laws, background checks, the basics, a waiting period before you get
a gun, get rid of assault weapons. But, second, we need leadership that’s actually
going to unify us and not tear us apart. JUDY WOODRUFF: You say background checks need
to be tightened. BILL DE BLASIO: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: Your city has some of — and
state of New York… BILL DE BLASIO: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: … has some of the strictest
gun laws in America. And yet you still have your share of violence. Critics say you go to the places with strict
gun laws, they still have violence. Don’t they have a point? BILL DE BLASIO: I’m going to contest that,
Judy, with this point. We are now, New York City, safest big city
in America. We had under 300 homicides for a city of 8.6
million people and the most diverse place on Earth, people in one of the smallest — crammed
together in one of the smallest geographies you could imagine for 8.6 million people. And yet we have created some more mutual respect. We have created a stronger social fabric. And our police are working more closely with
communities. The result? Gun violence continues to go down. Crime continues to go down. So I actually would argue we have got some
proof that those strong gun safety laws correlate to reduced violence. JUDY WOODRUFF: You had in New York City, in
the Brooklyn neighborhood of Brownsville the weekend before this a shooting, and one person
dead, 11 wounded. BILL DE BLASIO: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: You waited several days before
you called that a mass shooting. BILL DE BLASIO: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: Why? BILL DE BLASIO: Judy, I have since said I
understand why people of the community wanted to make sure that somehow there was not a
different value given to one of these tragedies in one kind of community vs. another kind
of community. JUDY WOODRUFF: What do you mean by that? BILL DE BLASIO: Meaning I think the fear in
the Brownsville community — first of all, I went out there the next morning. And folks were first and foremost concerned
that the whole community not be painted negatively because of the acts of a very few. We don’t know all the facts yet, but they
appear to be members of a local gang. I didn’t want to in any way add to the negative
impression that people were worried about. On the other hand, some voices came forward
and said, we don’t want to be undervalued. We don’t want that — a shooting that affects
black lives to be seen as less important than some of the other shootings, for example,
on some of the college campuses. And I heard that point, and I recognized it. And I said, that’s fair. I will refer to it as a mass shooting. Even if the — even if the motive may have
been different, even though the specifics may have been different, I understood why
people thought that was important. JUDY WOODRUFF: Another issue in all of this,
of course, New York City has been the site of the worst international terrorist event
ever, 9/11. BILL DE BLASIO: Yes. Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you think there’s been too
much emphasis placed on international terrorism, and not enough on domestic? BILL DE BLASIO: I think it’s time to reassess,
because, for years, there was a valid concern about international terrorism, obviously after
9/11. But even when I first came into office, we
were still seeing a lot more activity by terrorists directed at major locations in the west. Thank God that has been reduced in recent
years for a variety of reasons. But what is coming up is this domestic terrorism. It’s unmistakable. This is the threat we need to focus on more
and more. JUDY WOODRUFF: Mayor Bill de Blasio of New
York City, thank you. BILL DE BLASIO: Thank you, Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: And that brings us to Politics
Monday. Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and
host of “The Politics With Amy Walter” on WNYC. And Tamara Keith from NPR, she also co-®MD-BO¯hosts
the “NPR Politics Podcast.” Hello to both of you on this time of serious
reporting on the events of the weekend. Amy, as we have been discussing throughout
this program, not a single serious gun control measure — significant gun control measure
has passed in this country in two decades. AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: Why not? AMY WALTER: Well, let’s look back at where
we were in 1993 and 1994, when you had two major pieces of legislation pass, the Brady
Bill and the assault weapons ban. And look at how — the makeup of the Democratic
and the Republican caucuses in Congress then. You had a lot of suburban Republicans who
crossed party lines, supported a Democratic president in his quest to pass gun safety
legislation. You had a lot of conservative Democrats from
rural areas in the South who voted against it. And it was those coalitions that made something
like that possible, a bipartisan coalition possible. Now, over these last 25 years, we have seen
a major realignment in this country politically. There are very few Republicans left in suburban
areas, in part because of the Republican position on guns. And there are very few Democrats left in rural
small town America, in part because of the national Democratic Party’s position on guns. And so what we have now are Democrats and
Republicans in Congress that are geographically just so similar, right? They don’t they don’t represent a diversity
of geography. And so what that means is, votes on guns now
are purely partisan. They are no longer about the issues on the
geography. You don’t have a diversity within the caucus,
so you’re not going to have diversity in the vote. JUDY WOODRUFF: What would you add to that,
Tam? TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: I would
add that that’s pretty remarkable, given this “PBS NewsHour”/Marist poll that we had — just
got back fairly recently found overwhelming support again for something like background
checks. JUDY WOODRUFF: We can show those percentages
right here. AMY WALTER: Yes. TAMARA KEITH: Yes. It is — you have got 96 percent of Democrats,
84 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of independents. That is — I mean, I don’t think that many
people support apple pie. And yet, in terms of Congress, it simply has
not been able to be done. The legislation that passed in the House this
year was the first time the House has passed legislation dealing with gun control since
the 1990s. In the Senate, in 2013, there was this effort,
the last serious bipartisan effort between — with Manchin and Toomey, a Republican senator
and Democratic senator. JUDY WOODRUFF: Right. TAMARA KEITH: And that was after Sandy Hook. It’s the closest that they have come, and
it couldn’t overcome a filibuster. Toomey, Senator Toomey, the Republican from
Pennsylvania, has said he wants to try to revive this and bring that back. And yet he doesn’t actually want the Senate
to come back into session right away, because he doesn’t think it has the votes. AMY WALTER: Yes. (CROSSTALK) AMY WALTER: Oh, go ahead. JUDY WOODRUFF: Could this be the impetus,
Amy, to change in some way what the status quo has been? AMY WALTER: Well, you had the president today
saying, we need bipartisan, we need unity. The ship has sailed on that. He is calling for unity. And yet that’s not what he practices from
his bully pulpit. That has not been his administration at all. So you can’t now two years in, after running
as an incredibly divisive administration and the rhetoric that has come from the White
House, to say, well, now we’re going to come together and change this. The thing too, about this bipartisan bill
that passed the House, so it had eight Republicans that supported it, two Democrats who voted
against it. Again, back in 1994, when they passed the
assault weapons ban, 38 Republicans supported it, 77 Democrats opposed it. That is going back to this idea that we have
just sorted ourselves, and now this polarizing — it’s as much about the messenger as the
message. Everyone agrees in that poll that we should
do something about it, but they don’t trust the other party to do it. JUDY WOODRUFF: But we are reading and hearing,
Tam, about some problems in the gun lobby. The NRA has had a lot of internal issues. Is there in any sense a weakening on the side
of gun rights and a strengthening on the side of gun control, or are we — again, are we
looking at things just staying this way in perpetuity? TAMARA KEITH: Well, the NRA has had very public
challenges. They didn’t spend as much money in the midterms
as they have before. And yet it isn’t about the money. It is about the sway that they have in people’s
districts. And not yet have we seen a genuine erosion
of that. And the other thing is, the NRA is only one
group. And there are a number of other gun rights
groups who sort of pick up the mantle. JUDY WOODRUFF: And just quickly, Amy, among
the Democrats, pretty much unanimity for the most part. (CROSSTALK) AMY WALTER: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: They want gun control. Are we likely to — so are we just assuming
this isn’t going to be an issue? AMY WALTER: Among Democrats. JUDY WOODRUFF: Among Democrats. AMY WALTER: Among Democrats. And it wasn’t that long ago, Judy. You remember the 2000 election. And there were a lot of Democrats who said
the reason that Al Gore lost in places like his home state of Tennessee, because of the
Clinton administration taking a harder line on guns. And so Democrats are still that — they have
made a lot of movement on this issue in the last 20 years to get to this place where they’re
totally unified in support for more gun regulation. JUDY WOODRUFF: Amy Walter, Tamara Keith, thank
you both. AMY WALTER: You’re welcome. TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome. JUDY WOODRUFF: And that’s the “NewsHour” for
tonight. Thank you for joining us. I’m Judy Woodruff. Join us online and again here tomorrow evening. From all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank
you, and we’ll see you soon. END

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