The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/1/15
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Indeed. Thanks
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
We will bring you break news from Roseburg, Oregon as that news come
in, and we do expect it to keep coming in. And I`ll tell you why. The
story of this mass shooting, this mass murder in Oregon, it broke starting
more than six hours ago now. And it`s very interesting over the course of
We still do not have some very, very basic information about what
happened, which is unusual for an incident of this kind. I mean, here`s
what we do know as of this minute. Late tonight after a whole day in which
even the death toll has been unclear in this mass shooting, late tonight
the sheriff in Douglas County, Oregon has now finally reported that there
are a total of ten fatalities in this incident and seven injuries.
Now, the sheriff would not say if the gunman is one of the ten
people, if the gunman is included in that count. The sheriff is not saying
either way. The newspaper “The Oregonian” is reporting and they`re
sourcing the FBI, saying the shooter is among those ten fatalities. If
that`s true, it would be the shooter plus nine other people killed.
We do know that the gunman is dead. If he did act alone, then
honestly, part of me does not care what was going on in his mind that
caused him to kill all these innocent people. But we do not know that
Just in the last few minutes, we also have learned according to law
enforcement officials the gunman`s name and age. We have been told earlier
in the day that the gunman was a 20-year-old male. Now, we are told that
the shooter is believed to be a 26-year-old male, and we`re told his name
is Chris Harper Mercer. Again, 26 years old.
Those law enforcement officials say that this person was not a
student the school where the massacre happened today. That reporting is
from NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams. He will be joining us
shortly to give us more on both the sourcing of that information to the
extent that he can and also what it might mean about what happened here and
But as far as it goes, there is, you know, still basic information
about the shooter, obviously about his potential motivation, questions
about his connections to this school and this community if any. Again,
we`re told he didn`t attend the school, but we don`t know about any other
connections between him and the community or any other connections between
him and the school other than whether he was a student there.
The only information we have is that he is 26 years old, he is a man.
We have not been told anything today that would lead us to believe he was
acting in concert with another shooter. We are told definitively that he
is dead. But that`s it.
I mean, the basics of where and when and how are known about these
murders. The where obviously is Umpqua Community College in Roseburg,
Oregon. The when is 10:38 local time, which 1:38 p.m. Eastern Time.
That`s when the first 911 call came in. The how, how all these people were
killed and injured, of course, it`s gunfire. This was mass murder
committed by gun, which is almost always the way it is in our country.
So where, when, and how are known.
Who did it? We are just getting the first information about. Who he
killed? We do not know at all. And, of course, the question of why? That
question remains utterly unknown.
So, again, this story broke more than six hours ago. We hope to be
able to fill in some of that missing basic information for you tonight as
authorities release more information as MSNBC and NBC News and our
reporters on the scene can authoritatively source more information, whether
or not that information is formally publicly announced. We will let you
know as we know it.
But I have to say, it is unusual to be this far into a story like
this, to be this many hours into a blanket local and national coverage of
an incident like this and still not know the basic information of what
And, unfortunately, that really absence of confirmed factual
reporting on the basics over the course of this day, honestly, it created a
bit of a vacuum which some people were willing to fill with rumor and
hearsay and even hoaxes, which I find very disturbing. Not just as a news
person but as a citizen and as a person who is moved by the grief and
terror that was unleashed on this community campus today.
And it`s becoming – I worry that as consumers of information and as
delivers of information, we`re becoming more and more susceptible to that.
I mean, as media sources at all levels get increasingly comfortable at
relaying self-reported information from social media, as if it is news,
relaying through the news media things that have not gone through a news-
gathering process but have just been tweeted or posted on Facebook by
unverifiable sources, there have been instances today because of that in
which untrue, not just unconfirmed but actually untrue information has been
circulated about this last – this latest mass shooting. And that is
And I think as news gatherers, we`re going to have to figure out a
way to make sure that doesn`t happen, especially in breaking news, blanket
coverage situations like this where everybody`s hungry for information.
But as citizens, it means we should beware. Buyer beware. Know what the
source of the information is, when you hear it but certainly when you are
tempted to pass it along.
So, as we get confirmed information tonight, we will let you know,
throughout the night and we do expect new confirmed details over the course
of this hour.
Now, of course the only reason I can say that it is unusual to go
this long in the day without certain information we would usually expect to
have and have confirmed, the only reason I can say this is unusual is
because we know what usual is for stories like this. We sort of know how
this goes now. This is a whole category of frequently repeated American
news now, and we know its patterns.
What we are coming to agree upon as the definition of a mass shooting
in this country is four or more people killed in one incident. That`s
apparently the FBI definition for FBI purposes. And we now have enough of
these as a country that people are basically coming around to that as our
round number working definition in reporting on this plague of mass
shootings, this plague of something that happens in our country like it
happens nowhere else in the developed world.
So, we`ve decided four people killed, or more, in one instance,
that`s a mass shooting. For what that`s worth. If that`s the metric, “The
Washington Post” did a simple and ultimately terrifying thing today. They
used data from shootingtracker.com to put just mass shootings on a
So again, just shootings in which four people were killed or more.
Mass shootings, in that inside fans alone, nothing else, just mass
shootings on a calendar, and they charted it over the past couple of years.
And what they ended up finding was that if they go back a few years,
go back, say, to the start of President Obama`s second term in office, go
back to the start of 2013, there has not been a single calendar week in
that time period in which there has not been at least one mass shooting in
America. Every single Sunday to Saturday calendar week since at least the
start of 2013, there has been at least one mass shooting.
There was one week in July where there were 18 in one week, but we
never go a calendar week without at least one. Never.
Our president, President Obama, is a calm person by nature in terms
of his personality. He`s not dry, but he is reserved. He is sort of
unperturbable. Some people say almost to a political fault he is
But I have been on the air covering him the entire length of his
presidency and I can count on one hand the times that we have seen this
president actively emotional in one way or another with one emotion or
another, grieving or really fired up about something or even sort of giddy
about something. He does not show a lot of emotion. I remember the times
when he has because we`ve gone out of our way to show it on TV because it`s
so remarkable. And that`s for a whole different range of emotions from
But when it comes to specifically anger, there are two times,
precisely two instances in the length of his presidency in which I felt
watching him that he seemed almost uncontrollably angry. Two instances in
his presidency. One of them was tonight. The other one was after the
Newtown elementary school massacre. And not immediately after that mass
shooting, which he was willing to appear in public obviously grieving.
But no, the time he was angry was when it became clear that we would
not make any changes as a country because of that shooting. That day in
the Rose Garden, Mark Barden, the father of one of the little boys that was
killed in that massacre, Mark Barden was allowed to speak first in the Rose
Garden at the presidential podium, ahead of President Obama.
And then after Mark Barden, President Obama stepped up to the podium
and he showed more anger that day in those remarks than I think he had
shown ever before in any circumstance as president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m going to speak
plainly and honestly about what`s happened here, because the American
people are trying to figure out how can something have 90 percent support
and not happen. It begs the question, who are we here to represent?
I`ve heard folks say that having the families of victims lobby for
this legislation was somehow misplaced. A prop, somebody called them.
Emotional blackmail, some outlets said.
Are they serious? Do we really think that thousands of families
whose lives have been shattered by gun violence don`t have a right to weigh
in on this issue? Do we think their emotions, their loss, is not relevant
to this debate?
So, all in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington. And I
see this just as round one. When Newtown happened, I met with these
families and I spoke to the community, and I said, something must be
different right now. We`re going to have to change.
That`s when the whole country said – everybody talked about how we
were going to change something, to make sure this didn`t happen again.
Just like everybody talked about how we needed to do something after
Aurora. Everybody talked about we need to change something after Tucson.
And I`m assuming that the emotions that we`ve all felt since Newtown,
the emotions we`ve all felt since Tucson and Aurora and Chicago, the pain
we share with these families and families all across the country who`ve
lost a loved one to gun violence, I`m assuming that`s not a temporary
thing. I`m assuming our expressions of grief and our commitment to do
something different to prevent these things from happening are not empty
I believe we`re going to be able to get this done. Sooner or later,
we`re going to get this right. The memories of these children demand it,
and so do the American people.
Thank you very much, everybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was a year and a half ago, after Newtown. And not just
right after Newtown but after all the grief of the Newtown massacre was
channeled into an effort to not radically reform gun laws in this country,
but just specifically to reform background check laws in this country
around guns – something that gun owners overwhelmingly prefer as a policy
choice in this country.
Gun owners want that. Background check laws to be tightened up. And
so after Newtown, all that grief was channeled into trying to make that one
little fix, and Republicans blocked that reform and that couldn`t happen.
And that was the angriest we had seen this president in public. Until
tonight. Same issue, same remarkable and rare anger.
This was President Obama this evening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: In the coming days, we`ll learn about the victims – young
men and women who were studying and learning and working hard, their eyes
set on the future, their dreams on what they could make of their lives.
And America will wrap everyone who`s grieving with our prayers and our
But as I said just a few months ago, and I said a few months before
that, and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts
and prayers are not enough. It`s not enough.
But we are not the only country on Earth that has people with mental
illnesses or want to do harm to other people. We are the only advanced
country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months.
Earlier this year, I answered a question in an interview by saying,
“The United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which
we do not have sufficient common-sense gun-safety laws – even in the face
of repeated mass killings.”
And later that day, there was a mass shooting at a movie theater in
Lafayette, Louisiana. That day!
Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My
response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in
the aftermath of it. We`ve become numb to this.
We talked about this after Columbine and Blacksburg, after Tucson,
after Newtown, after Aurora, after Charleston. It cannot be this easy for
somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands
on a gun.
And what`s become routine, of course, is the response of those who
oppose any kind of common-sense gun legislation. Right now, I can imagine
the press releases being cranked out: We need more guns, they`ll argue.
Fewer gun safety laws.
Does anybody really believe that?
And, of course, what`s also routine is that somebody, somewhere will
comment and say, Obama politicized this issue. Well, this is something we
should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body
I would ask news organizations – because I won`t put these facts
forward – have news organizations tally up the number of Americans who`ve
been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade and the number
of Americans who`ve been killed by gun violence, and post those side-by-
side on your news reports. This won`t be information coming from me; it
will be coming from you.
We spend over a trillion dollars, and pass countless laws, and devote
entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully
so. And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even
collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths.
How can that be?
And each time this happens I`m going to bring this up. Each time
this happens I am going to say that we can actually do something about it,
but we`re going to have to change our laws. And this is not something I
can do by myself. I`ve got to have a Congress and I`ve got to have state
legislatures and governors who are willing to work with me on this.
I hope and pray that I don`t have to come out again during my tenure
as President to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances.
But based on my experience as President, I can`t guarantee that. And
that`s terrible to say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: President Obama speaking tonight.
Joining us now with the latest is NBC News justice correspondent Pete
Pete, thanks for being here. I appreciate your time.
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right. Pleasure to
be here, Rachel.
We`ve learned a little more tonight about the gunman. Law
enforcement authorities tell NBC News that he is a 26-year-old man, Chris
Now, you may recall that the governor earlier had said he was 20.
There was some confusion about the age. But now, we`re told that his name
is Chris Harper Mercer and that he`s 26.
And they say he was not a student, and they`re working now to try to
figure out what his connection was to the college and why he chose it as a
They don`t have a good answer for that tonight. One official says
that authorities have found documents in which Mercer expressed a
philosophy of hate.
They also told us about the weapons. They say he was armed with four
weapons during the shooting spree. Three handguns and an AR-15 style
assault weapon, not necessarily actually an AR-15 but that kind of a
weapon, what is popularly known as an assault weapon.
MADDOW: Pete, do we know in terms of those weapons, if those were
the weapons recovered from the scene, does that tell us anything about
which weapons were actually used to kill all these people and commit the
crime? Do we know anything about that yet?
WILLIAMS: I`ve asked that question and I think it`s simply too soon
to tell. They have to go through and do all the ballistics tests.
And, you know, thinking about past mass shooting scenes like this
it`s taken several days before they`ve had those answers.
You know, frankly, when the suspect is dead, it changes the nature of
the investigation. Now, they still want to know everything about this
person that they can. They`re especially eager to know what was in his
mind, what caused it, where the weapons came from, what led up to it, and
very importantly whether anyone else was involved, did anyone else know.
Those are important questions. And they will get to the ballistics
evidence. And they want to try to get the school back to normal as soon as
But recovering the shells at the scene, sometimes it takes – you
have to wait for autopsies to be able to get all the ballistics. And so
that takes time. It`s a long way of saying they just don`t know.
MADDOW: Pete, when you mentioned that there may be documents or some
other indication about – or something else linked to this shooter that may
have given some indication as to his mindset, you said something that may
suggest a motivation related to hate. Can you be any more specific or tell
us what mean by that?
WILLIAMS: No, I can`t. And there`s been a lot of – I`m sorry, I
can`t because they don`t know that yet.
There`s been a lot of speculation that there were social media
postings before the shooting that sort of telegraphed it was going to
happen. I can tell you that law enforcement people are certainly looking
at that, but there`s a great deal of skepticism tonight from two officials
I talked to about whether any of those postings had anything to do with the
shooting. No conclusion on that yet. But if you had to take a snapshot of
their view right now it would be that they`re not related. But there`s no
conclusion on it yet.
MADDOW: One question about the affiliation of this gunman. They
mentioned he was not a student at this college. They`re looking to see if
he had any other links. Do we know if he`s an Oregon resident or he has
any connection to the community if not the school?
WILLIAMS: I`m sure they know but I don`t know.
MADDOW: OK. NBC`s Pete Williams, thank you, Pete. I really
MADDOW: We`ve got a lot still to come tonight, including some
eyewitness reports of what happened in Roseburg, Oregon.
We`ve also got some news unrelated to the shooting that you are
really going to have to know for this weekend specifically.
So please stay with us. Big night.
MADDOW: So, we have lots more ahead tonight including an interview
with a student who was at the scene of this mass shooting in Oregon today.
We`re also awaiting the next briefing from local authorities, which
is important because even some very basic information about this mass
shooting in Oregon still remains elusive tonight.
That said, NBC`s Pete Williams is reporting one very crucial detail
which we did not have all day long. Pete Williams reporting that the name
of the gunman, the gunman who has been killed during the commission of this
crime, Pete Williams reporting that his name is Chris Harper Mercer, that
he`s 26 years old and that he is not believed to have been a student at the
community college where so many people were killed today.
Stay with us. We`ve got lots more to come tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I hope and pray that I don`t have to come out again during my
tenure as president to offer my condolences to families in these
circumstances. But based on my experience as president, I can`t guarantee
that. And that`s terrible to say.
And it can change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: President Obama concluding his remarks on this latest mass
shooting at the White House today.
Joining us is Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut. Her
district includes Newtown, Connecticut. She was elected a month before the
shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, which killed 26 people,
including 20 young kids.
Congresswoman Esty, thanks very much for being with us tonight.
REP. ELIZABETH ESTY (D), CONNECTICUT: Great to be with you, Rachel.
MADDOW: I thought of you because of President Obama`s remarks
talking about how he does not want to keep doing this and he expects that
he will. We`ve previously seen the president really angry, specifically
that nothing changed in terms of the nation`s policies after Newtown
What does a day like this mean to you and is it something more than
just retraumatizing to the people of your district?
ESTY: It is more than retraumatizing because it doesn`t have to be
this way. We are not powerless.
The entire Congress came together a week ago, listened to inspiring
words from the pope, who challenged us to be servant leaders for this
country. We are not without power. It doesn`t have to be that way.
And that is why the president is angry. And that is why I have
gotten tired of joining my colleagues in the well of the House of
Representatives and people stand up and observe a moment of silence. The
time has passed for a moment of silence. It is time for action by this
MADDOW: There has been so much leadership sprung from the tragedy of
Newtown and what happened at sandy hook elementary. There`s been so many
people who are affected by that tragedy who have decided to make this their
life`s work, which is inspiring and share harrowing.
I just wonder, as Roseburg, Oregon goes through this on a different
scale and a different way but in some ways following that new line, do you
feel like Newtown has sort of lessons or advice to offer to a community who
goes through this?
ESTY: We certainly do. And I was just in Newtown two weeks ago and
meeting with people planning the national vigil coming up in December,
bringing people from all over the country, not just mass shootings but
frankly the every day shootings that threaten people in our cities, that
destroy families, that rip loved ones. It is an epidemic.
But like any epidemic, we have power to stop it. And I will tell
you, there are researchers and there are people looking to see that the
truth is, the truth is better gun laws make us safer. Reduce the number of
people who die and help our kids go to school and people to be able to walk
down the street in comfort.
MADDOW: If it isn`t –
ESTY: Laws work. It`s shocking but they work.
MADDOW: If it isn`t going to be more tragedy and increasingly
terrible tragedy as these pile up one after the other, these mass shooting
events, if it isn`t going to be something horrifying and negative that
makes us change, what do you think the catalyst will ultimately be that
brings about the kind of change you`re talking about? Will it just be
cumulative horror or will it be something else?
ESTY: I think it`s going to be the American people. It`s what we
saw, Rachel, it`s what we saw with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. We saw
some mothers who were righteously outraged that their children were killed
by habitual drunk drivers. And I think that`s what I`m saying and I`m
hearing all over this country.
MADDOW: Congresswoman –
ESTY: Other families, families who have lost people, are saying we
can do better, we must do better.
MADDOW: Congressman Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut. Her district
includes Newtown. She`s the vice chair of the Congressional Gun Violence
Prevention Task Force. Thank you for being with us tonight. Difficult
night. I appreciate your being here.
ESTY: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Please stay with us. Much more ahead.
MADDOW: As our coverage of the Roseburg, Oregon mass shooting today
continues, joining us now live from Roseburg is David Jaques. He`s
publisher and executive editor of the “Roseburg Beacon,” which is the local
paper that has been covering this story all day in their own hometown.
Mr. Jaques, thank you – thanks for being here with us. I appreciate
DAVID JAQUES, ROSEBURG BEACON: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, NBC News, justice reporter at NBC News Pete Williams is
reporting the name of the shooter as Chris Harper Mercer. Reporting that
he`s 26 years old and that he was not a student at Umpqua Community
College. Do you know anything further about the state of the investigation
tonight? Anything further about this perpetrator?
JAQUES: No, Rachel. We just learned this information just recently
ourselves, and I`m not sure why that was withheld throughout the day.
Obviously, early this morning we knew that the gunman had been shot and
returned fire by the sheriff`s deputies and that he was deceased. But
we`ve been waiting all day to get some kind of lead on who it was, motive,
et cetera. So that`s the latest we`ve heard as well.
MADDOW: But this is not a name that leaps off the page to you in
terms of local news coverage and someone who might be well known in the
community. This is not somebody who has an obvious connection that at
least you know of at first glance to Roseburg or the school.
JAQUES: Well, you know, it`s not even clear. We`re understanding
he`s not a student. And I`ve raised my five children here, Rachel, in this
community and two of them were students at Umpqua Community College as
And they were calling me earlier today, you know, waiting for
information on who the victims were. They were saying, dad, there`s a
better chance we know some of these students. And, of course, the whole
community is horrified and waiting to learn.
One of the emergency responders, a fireman here, has a son that he
hasn`t been able to hear from all day, and we can`t get any proof that he
wasn`t involved. So, you know, we`re all on pins and needles in that
MADDOW: As we`re just getting that first information about the name
of the shooter, we do not have names of victims. It`s been very hard,
actually, to even pin down the total number of fatalities in this incident.
We`re now told by the sheriff there are ten fatalities.
JAQUES: Well –
MADDOW: I don`t know whether or not that includes the gunman,
JAQUES: My understanding, Rachel, is there are 13 confirmed
fatalities. One of those is a faculty member. The gunman is not included
in that number according to our sources.
But again, you know, I haven`t been able to sit down with the
sheriff. He`s been swamped obviously. And so, that`s the best
But I would say that 13 is a good number. It`s a horrible number.
I`m just saying it`s a reliable number. And that one of those is a faculty
MADDOW: Do you know, Mr. Jaques, do you know if everybody who is –
if the family members of victims have been notified, if people have started
to be officially told if they have lost loved ones?
JAQUES: Rachel, I`m having a real hard time with the audio here. If
we could just try that one more time, come back at it. It`s a little hot
on this end.
MADDOW: I`ve got you. What we`ll do is take a break right now and
come back to you, Mr. Jaques, when we can get that sorted. Thank you.
David Jaques, publisher of the “Roseburg Beacon”, which is the local
hometown paper where this is happening. Mr. Jaques saying he`s hearing a
number of 13, the local sheriff – in terms of the death toll in this
incident. The local sheriff is saying the death toll is 10.
One of those basic numbers, basic facts that`s been very hard to pin
down over the course of all this national reporting today on this incident.
More ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Joining us now on the phone is McCrae Kittleman. He`s a
student at Umpqua Community College. He was there at the college when the
shooting happened today.
Mr. Kittleman, thanks very much for joining us. It`s good to have
you with us tonight.
MCCRAE KITTLEMAN, UMPQUA COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENT (via telephone):
Thank you. Yes, good to meet you.
MADDOW: McCrae, I understand that you were in math class in a
building close to where the shooting broke out. Can you just tell us what
was going on around you as it all unfolded, what you perceived from where
KITTLEMAN: It wasn`t a math class. It was a tutoring center that
was a couple buildings away. It was a couple hundred yards from the actual
Snyder building where it happened.
KITTLEMAN: And it was a tutoring building where about 20 or more
other students were also sitting in there, just working on regular stuff.
And we had absolutely no noise, no alert or warning except for the math
teacher who ran in there completely panicked telling us to get into the
back of the building in the teachers room, as fast as we can get down.
MADDOW: And the teachers room that you were moved into, is that sort
of more of an interior space away from the windows? Is that why it would
have been a safer location?
KITTLEMAN: Yes. It was back where the windows were a little bit
seven feet up on top toward the ceiling and it was dark, and he turned off
all the lights and we could hide down behind desks.
MADDOW: How long did you end up staying there, McCrae?
KITTLEMAN: About 50 minutes to an hour.
MADDOW: Did you know at any point while you all were hiding there
with the lights out and everything, did you know what you were hiding from
and what was going on?
KITTLEMAN: No. At the moment I was hiding there with everyone else
I`m pretty sure we were all just completely confused except for maybe the
teacher, but we weren`t told anything. We were just told to hide there.
And at first I thought it was just a drill, but I realized for fire
drills you`re escorted out of the building and then we`ve never heard of a
shooter`s drill. So we were all just sitting there worried and wondering.
MADDOW: How did you get cleared out of there ultimately? Obviously
at some point you ended up evacuated from the school along with everybody
KITTLEMAN: Well, we stayed in there for, again, about 50 minutes to
an hour. Then a state police came in with armor on and a larger rifle he
was carrying. He came in and told us it was okay to come outside, just
outside the door and then wait, to have our bags and pockets searched for
any weapons or harmful devices or anything like that.
We did. And about 15 minutes through all, that then we got escorted
safely down to the bus area.
MADDOW: McCrae, do you know anybody who either directly saw the
shooter today or, god forbid, anybody who was hurt in what happened today?
KITTLEMAN: I haven`t been told the names of anybody that were hurt
or injured or killed. But unfortunately no, I didn`t know anybody.
MADDOW: Fortunately. Yes, McCrae Kittleman, thank you for telling
us what you went through today, and I`m sorry for that trauma you that all
went through. Thank you.
KITTLEMAN: All right.
MADDOW: Thank you. McCray Kittleman, again, an eyewitness to what
happened at Umpqua Community College.
Joining us is Oregon State Senator Jeff Kruse, who represents
Roseburg, Oregon. He joins us tonight.
Senator Kruse, thank you very much for your time tonight. I`m sorry
for the loss in your community this evening.
JEFF KRUSE, OREGON STATE SENATOR: Thank you very much. It`s a very
MADDOW: Is there any updates you can provide us from your
constituents, the people you`ve been speaking to regarding this
investigation? Obviously, there`s a lot of consternation I can hear
tonight, just that we don`t know the names of the victims, we may not even
know the complete and fully official death toll tonight.
KRUSE: Well, you know, when you look at a lot of these other events
that have happened nationwide and how information tends to get leaked out
and some of it is accurate and some of it is not, I think it`s totally
appropriate that they make sure that what one day released information that
is totally accurate and keeping in mind that this is a very large campus
for community college. They have a lot of stuff to go through. They had
to look through the cars, they had to look through all the buildings,
evacuate the kids. They were having issues identifying some of the victims
because they didn`t have ID on them and quite honestly, the victims`
families need to be notified first, obviously.
So I know there`s some frustration that the information isn`t coming
out, but I would prefer that it maybe be delayed somewhat and come out
accurately. And I think that`s what will happen here.
MADDOW: I hear you. We are awaiting another briefing from local
authorities that should happen sometime soon. Hopefully, we`ll get some
more of those details filled in.
But, sir, as an elected official who represents this area, I just
want to ask you if you feel like there`s anything you need in Roseburg that
you don`t have at this point. Are there any resources, any help you could
be getting that you could use that so far you haven`t had?
KRUSE: Well, at this point as far as the initial incident and the
response I think the local folks did a very good job. Of course they were
also joined by folks from the FBI and the federal sheriff is also here.
But actually, we have a conference call earlier this afternoon with
legislative leadership and folks from the governor`s office, and we will
begin our work on that probably Monday, trying to figure out what resources
we need to bring into play.
But I`ve already been contacted by some of the local bankers and
different folks like that saying we want to be able to help in this
situation and I`m very proud of this community. It tends to step up and
take care of itself. And I`m sure that will happen this time too as far as
the local folks who are willing to give to help their neighbors.
MADDOW: Incidents like these, as terrible as they are, they do have
a way of getting people to pull together.
Oregon State Senator Jeff Kruse, whose district includes Roseburg –
good luck to you and your constituents tonight, sir. Thanks for taking the
time to talk to with us.
KRUSE: OK. What we need mostly from the rest of the country is
their prayers for all the people impacted by this.
MADDOW: I hear you, sir. Thank you.
All right. We`ve got much more ahead. Please stay with us.
MADDOW: So, we`re going to have more for you tonight on the shooting
at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. We are expecting new
information on that investigation imminently this evening.
But there`s some other breaking news tonight including one very
serious story that we received word of tonight through the Pentagon.
Tonight, a U.S. military C-130 transport plane crashed at Jalalabad airport
in eastern Afghanistan.
And it was a very bad crash. It apparently happened at takeoff. It
was late at night local time, shortly after midnight there, which puts it
in the 3:00 p.m. hour East Coast time.
This was a C-130, which is a large plane. And it apparently crashed
at the airport after takeoff. The very terrible news about this is that at
least 13 people were killed in this crash, including six U.S. service
members on board the plane.
In addition to the six U.S. service members on board the plane, there
were also five contractors on board the plane. We do not know their
nationality at this point. In addition to the U.S. service members and the
contractors on the plane, we are also told that at least two Afghan
civilians were killed on the ground by the crashing plane.
Now, it does not appear this plane was shot down. A U.S. military
official confirming to NBC News there were no reports of hostile activity
in the area at the time of the crash. But again, we`re learning tonight
that a C-130 crashed at the Jalalabad airport. This is in a mountainous
eastern part of Afghanistan.
The 13 deaths do include six U.S. service members. It`s this very
somber news out of Afghanistan tonight. And it comes to us as the Taliban
continues to hold control of that country`s sixth largest city, Kunduz.
U.S. air strikes have been part of the campaign to take Kunduz back
from the Taliban. U.S. forces have been on the ground in that fight. But
these six Americans killed tonight in Jalalabad, they were hundreds of mile
away from that fight in Kunduz.
The six who were killed in this crash have not been killed publicly
by the military. But when we learn more, we`ll let you know.
More ahead tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: The single deadliest mass shooting happened in Virginia Tech
in 2007, 32 people were killed in that massacre, another 17 were injured.
George W. Bush was at the time of that massacre and at that point it felt
like nothing could be worse.
Then came Newtown, and then came Aurora, then came Oak Creek,
Wisconsin, and then came – and even after all of those incidents, gun laws
have not been reformed in any meaningful way to try to stop mass shootings
in this country. It`s something that President Obama has called his
biggest frustration as president.
But that inability to make policy change after incredible tragedy,
it`s one thing to marvel at as a matter of political science. It`s another
thing to be right in the middle of it personally and to see it happen to
you in your own lifetime.
Joining us now is Lori Haas. She`s the Virginia state director for
the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Her daughter Emily was shot and
injured in a mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007, where 32 of her
classmates and professors were killed.
Ms. Haas, thanks very much for being with us tonight. I know – I`m
sure this is a difficult day.
LORI HAAS, DAUGHTER INJURED IN VA TECH SHOOTING: Yes, thank you for
having me, Rachel. It has been a difficult day for many people.
MADDOW: From your experience having gone through something very much
like what a lot of people are going through tonight in Roseburg, Oregon, is
there anything you can say to those folks or that community in terms of
getting through these difficult days?
HAAS: Well, you know, I would never suggest to anyone a path towards
healing. Everybody deserves their own path and their own time and as much
time as they need to heal. I do know that time is helpful this.
But, you know, we`ve seen far too much of this. Far too much over
and over and over again. And it`s got to stop. And we`re going to make it
stop. We`re going to make this happen in this country.
MADDOW: I was thinking today watching the president express a lot of
anger – for him, a lot of emotion, a lot of anger that nothing has been
done federally to try to reduce the incidents of these kinds of murders in
ore country. That there`s been no federal policy change.
I wonder if you`re more optimistic of change happening in other
venues, maybe state by state or some other way.
HAAS: Absolutely. It`s clear Washington is broken. They can`t get
anything done, much less on this issue, but many issues. But we have seen
progress in state after state after state across this country in the years
since Sandy Hook and prior to that even.
And we are able to stop the gun lobby. They`ve tried to have guns on
campus laws across this country in numerous states and we`ve stopped almost
every one of those.
We`ve had progress on background checks. We`ve had background check
laws in a number of states. We`ve had progress on domestic violence
restrictions. You know, abusers who should not have their hands on guns
because they demonstrated a history of violence, either from a protective
order from violent misdemeanor convictions.
So, we`re making progress at the state level because frankly,
Washington again, as I said, is broken. They`re not up to the task.
But we`re going to get this done. We`ve seen it. The movement is
growing, the frustration and anger of the American people is growing, and
we`re determined to stop the gun lobby. We`re just not going to have this
happen as often as we keep seeing over and over again.
MADDOW: Lori Haas, Virginia state director for the Coalition to Stop
Gun Violence, who`s been through this in her own family, her own daughter
as a Virginia tech survivor – thanks for being with us again. I know this
is a difficult day. Thank you.
HAAS: Thank you for having me.
MADDOW: All right. We are awaiting a press briefing tonight from
local authorities tonight. We expect to get more details killed in over
the course of the evening.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: The biggest story in the country now is obviously today`s
shooting at that community college in Roseburg, Oregon.
But we are also tracking a hurricane that may or may not have a beat
on the most heavily populated region of this country. It`s Hurricane
Joaquin, cat 4 storm. It hit the Bahamas with 130-mile-an-hour winds.
Flooding from storm surges there, more than a foot of rain in some areas,
power out across the Bahamas, but thankfully no reports yet of casualties
In terms of where Joaquin is headed, that`s the zillion dollar
question. We`re watching it closer and closer. Latest predictions have
the storm tracking awe way from the east coast as it heads north which, of
course, would be good news.
The storm is expected to get stronger today and tonight, though.
Even if it does barrel mostly out to see, coastal states in some cases are
expected to see a foot to a foot and a half of rain. Late this weekend
looks like it will be the brunt of it up the eastern shore.
But as of tonight, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina,
Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey have all declared states of emergency in the
face of Hurricane Joaquin.
There are scattered school closures planned already, warnings of
possibly significant flooding from heavy rain, or from the storm surge.
So, with all that`s going on in the world, a big eye on that big
hurricane and whether or not, it`s going to make land fall on the east
coast where and when.
Keep it here with us. We will keep you inform on this and everything
Our coverage of the shootings in – the shooting in Roseburg, Oregon,
continues now with Lawrence O`Donnell.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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