The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 06/23/15

Isabel Wilkerson, Alan Jenkins, Karl Kirkland, Michael German

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Not exactly – Republican field for the
presidency is now 4,602, not exactly, I`m rounding up to the nearest 4,602
because it`s easier at this point than actually counting them one by one.

Trump officially yesterday, Jindal tomorrow and Christie within the next
week, and then your mother-in-law.


That does it for us tonight, we`ll see you again tomorrow, now it`s time
for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, how did Chris Christie talk Bobby
Jindal into running? Just so Christie wouldn`t be the lowest-rated
governor, right? I mean, come on –

MADDOW: I think –

O`DONNELL: How did that happen?

MADDOW: That – well, as soon as they take approval rating measurements in
New Jersey after Christie announces, I think he might be number one.

O`DONNELL: There you go, it`s always –


O`DONNELL: Possible.

MADDOW: Exactly, thanks Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel. South Carolina Republican Senator Strom
Thurmond served in the United States Senate until he was a 100 years old.

The only senator in history to reach that age while still in office. And
throughout his long career, Strom Thurmond, a staunch segregationist did
everything he possibly could to stand in the way of racial progress
inequality in America.

Today in South Carolina, his son took a strong stand against his father`s


SEN. PAUL THURMOND (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I have often wondered what is my
purpose here in the Senate.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Pressure quite frankly has been

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hundreds of people are gathered in the South Carolina


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring it down! Bring it down!

THURMOND: I am proud to take a stand and no longer be silent.

shouldn`t fly anywhere.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m calling for the removal of the Confederate flag
from all state places right here in the Commonwealth of Virginia.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wal-Mart, Sears, Kmart, eBay say they will no longer
sell confederate flag products –

LESTER HOLT, JOURNALIST: What some see as a symbol of hate, others see as
an important piece of southern history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Black didn`t kill those people. On “Fox News”, they
could not decide that this was absolutely not the right time to talk about
guns or absolutely not the right time to talk about racism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My solution is if you hate the flag why not make it
yours. The first black designer to make the flag fashionable wins.

LARRY WILMORE, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: I don`t know, just take the
damn flag down right now. How about that, OK?

THURMOND: I am proud to be on the right side of history regarding the
removal of the symbol of racism and bigotry from the state house.


O`DONNELL: South Carolina`s Strom Thurmond was one of the most prominent
segregationist of the 20th century. He was elected to the South Carolina
Senate in 1933, Strom Thurmond was elected governor in 1946.

Having run as a segregationist Democrat back when segregationist Democrats
controlled most of southern politics.

He run for president in 1948 on the so-called states rights Democratic
ticket with a platform of segregation now, segregation forever.


that there`re not enough troops in the army to force us southern people to
break down segregation and admit to – race into our theaters, into our
swimming pools, into our homes and into our churches.



O`DONNELL: Strom Thurmond was elected to the United States Senate as a
Democrat in 1954, he changed parties after the civil rights Act of 1964 and
remained comfortable in the Republican Party for the rest of his remarkably
long life.

He left the Senate in 2003 at the age of one hundred. In his final years
in the Senate, his only moment of relevance came at his 100th birthday
party where the Republican Senate leader Trent Lott got a bit carried away
in his praise of Strom Thurmond and he said this.


state, when Strom Thurmond run for president, we voted for him. We`re
proud of him.


And if the rest of the country had followed our lead we wouldn`t have had
all these problems over all of these years either.


O`DONNELL: Days later, Trent Lott was forced to resign his Senate
leadership position for having retroactively endorsed the segregationist
party candidate for president, Strom Thurmond.

Strom Thurmond had four children and one secret child with an African-
American maid who worked in his home. That secret child`s father was
revealed only after Strom Thurmond died.

Today, on the floor of the Senate in South Carolina, another Senator
Thurmond rose to speak to the controversy of the hour there.

Senator Paul Thurmond is Strom Thurmond`s youngest son and the only
Thurmond family member in South Carolina politics.


THURMOND: Mr. President, fellow colleagues, I would ask that you lend me
your ears, your mind, and your heart for a few minutes.

Grief the loss of my friend and colleague, the senator from Jasper, Senator
Clementa Pinckney along with his eight sisters and brothers.

Needed time to mourn the loss of my friend and my fellow Charlestonians.
Vigil that Senator Kimpson and I attended was powerful and beautiful.

I feel that I am out of place after thought and prayer to try to find the
words to maybe make a difference with you and with others.


O`DONNELL: For the next few minutes, the South Carolina Senate chamber
took on the dimensions of Shakespearean drama with the son stepping into
the light to do battle with the father.

The father who first spoke as an elected official in that very same chamber
82 years ago. The father whose statue stands on the grounds of that
building. The father whose name was not mentioned by Senator Thurmond


THURMOND: I think the time is right and the ground is fertile for us to
make progress as a state and to come together and remove the Confederate
battle flag from the prominent statue outside the state house and put it in
a museum.

It is time to acknowledge our past, atone for our sins and work towards a
better future. That future must be built on symbols of peace, love and
unity. That future cannot be built on symbols of war, hate, and


O`DONNELL: Senator Thurmond did not do the mandatory political bow to the
Confederate flag that other conservative politicians always do.

He did not echo Governor Nikki Haley yesterday saying that the Confederate
flag was a symbol of respect, integrity and duty.

Instead Senator Thurmond used all the credibility that the Thurmond name
has with southern conservatives and all the credibility of his ancestors
who served in the Confederate Army to discredit everything that flag stands


THURMOND: Some say that the Confederate battle flag represents the south`s
heritage and ancestry. Let`s talk about the heritage aspect.

My family has been in South Carolina for many generations. I was told that
my great grandfather was with General Lee when he surrendered at

I am aware of my heritage, but my appreciation for the things that my
forebearers accomplished to make my life better doesn`t mean that I must
believe that they always made the right decisions.

And for the life of me, I will never understand how anyone could fight a
civil war, based in part, on the desire to continue a practice of slavery.

Think about it for just a second. Our ancestors were literally fighting to
continue to keep human beings as slaves and continued the unimaginable acts
that occur when someone is held against their will.

I am not proud of this heritage. These practices were inhumane and were


O`DONNELL: When sons follow their fathers into an occupation, sometimes
they find themselves wondering why they`re there. Is there any larger
purpose to this other than following in a parent`s footsteps.

Today, Senator Paul Thurmond of Charleston, South Carolina found that


THURMOND: I have often wondered what is my purpose here in the Senate. I
have asked God to guide me and to strengthen me and I`ve prayed that I will
be able to make a difference for this state.

I have prayed that I will leave this place better for the future
generations. I am proud to take a stand and no longer be silent.

I am proud to be on the right side of history, regarding the removal of the
symbol of racism and bigotry from the state house.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson, the
author of “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America`s Great

Also joining us Dorian Warren, Msnbc contributor and host of “NERDING OUT”
on shift by Msnbc and Alan Jenkins, the Executive Director of the
Opportunity Agenda and former Associate Counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense
and Educational Fund.

Isabel Wilkerson, well, we lived long enough to see hell freeze over and
Strom Thurmond`s son repudiate his life`s work.

ISABEL WILKERSON, AUTHOR: Well, you know, I think this is a karmic moment
for our country. When you think about it, the last four years we`ve really
spent looking at memorializing or commemorating the civil war.

The (INAUDIBLE) of the civil war which of course, South Carolina was the
first state to succeed. South Carolina was where the first shots were

And then in this past week, we`ve seen that there`s this massacre on the
eve of Juneteenth, which is a sacred day that represents the last – the
freeing of the last enslaved people in Texas in the United States.

And that occurred two and a half years after the emancipation proclamation.
So, this is history coming full circle. And it`s an important turn about
in our country.

O`DONNELL: I want to contrast what Senator Thurmond said today with what
Nikki Haley said yesterday. Let`s listen to Governor Haley.


GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: For many people in our state, the
flag stands for traditions that are noble. Traditions of history, of
heritage and of ancestry.

The hate-filled murderer who massacred our brothers and sisters in
Charleston has a sick and twisted view of the flag. In no way does he
reflect the people in our state who respect and in many ways revere it.

Though South Carolinians view the flag as a symbol of respect, integrity
and duty. They also see it as a memorial, a way to honor ancestors who
came to the service of their state during time of conflict.


O`DONNELL: Dorian Warren, Senator Thurmond today just ripped apart that
respect, integrity and duty argument.

DORIAN WARREN, MSNBC: Ripped it apart and showed the kind of leadership
from frankly – of not only a white politician, but as you so well – you
know, skillfully pointed out, the son of the most – one of the most famous
southern segregationist of the 20th century, if not the most famous.

And as you`ve said, the longest serving senator in terms of a 100 years
old. He showed leadership with that speech and was very honest about
saying, what is my purpose?

And I think he found his purpose in that moment on the floor to repudiate
once and for all, as I would hope that all Republican politicians were to
do and white Republican politicians were to do today.

But to say this flag is not about heritage, it is not about pride or
anything else, it is about a stain on our national soil in terms of treason
of slavery.

It represents the opposite of freedom. It represents slavery and treason
in succession. And so, to be able to say that after all these other
Republican candidates for president, Republican politicians in the state of
South Carolina had an opportunity to give that exact same speech.

It took Senator Paul Thurmond to say that speech. It`s really remarkable.
I`m struck by –


WARREN: All those –


WARREN: Words –

O`DONNELL: And Alan Jenkins, the thing I kept waiting for never happened
was, where is the moment where the white conservatives southern politician
does the respectful bow toward this flag and uses those words that the
speech writers put in Nikki Haley`s statement about the flag, saying that
for some people it is about duty, respect, honor, these things.

He would have none of that.

remarkable. And let me first just take a moment and acknowledge the souls
who were lost and their families at the church in Mother Emanuel in

And these are folks – and this relates here, these are folks who embody
the highest values in our country of welcoming, of inclusion and now we see
with their families, forgiveness.

When it comes to the flag, the Confederate flag, people of good-will have
not been paying attention. And the flag can only be defended when people
of good-will are not paying attention and now they`re paying attention.

What`s remarkable is that Senator Thurmond, young Senator Thurmond is
bringing that full set of values into the way he is talking about this and
the way that unfortunately we didn`t see with the governor.

I welcome her statement that the flag should come down, but it is
remarkable to talk about the sins of the past, to talk about the fact that
the flag has always been about hate and the inferiority of black folks.
It`s really a remarkable development.

O`DONNELL: And Isabel Wilkerson, that very important note in Senator
Thurmond`s speech where he says, you know, I can honor and I can love my
ancestors, but it doesn`t mean that I must believe they always made the
right decisions.

WILKERSON: And that`s a powerful acceptance of the full weight of history
and the full weight of what his family has experienced and what they stood

It`s also important to recognize that when we speak about issues of race
and of all of the terrors that have occurred in our – in our country`s
history, particularly in the south.

We often forget that these are people who are not necessarily evil in and
of themselves, but that the actions are evil and that the regime itself was

And there must be a way that we can find to accept the humanity of
individuals in the – you know, despite the horrors of the regime and come
together somehow, find a way to come together to recognize, to push forward
and to see what – where we can go in the future with this.

O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to have to take a break right here,
everyone stay with us. Coming up, is Dylann Roof racist or insane? And
what exactly is the difference?

A psychiatrist will join us with his answers. And later, some of the
candidates running for president have had a difficult time addressing what
happened in Charleston and what we should do with the Confederate flag.


O`DONNELL: What started in South Carolina is spreading to other states and
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is calling for the state to stop making
specialty license plates featuring the Confederate flag.

Mississippi Republican house Speaker Philip Gunn called for removing the
Confederate emblem from the Mississippi state flag.

Democrats and Republicans in Tennessee are calling for a bust of
confederate general. And Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest to be
removed from the state house.

And Senate Majority Leader, United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell joined Kentucky`s Republican nominee for Governor Matt Bevin in
calling for the removal of a statue of Confederate President Jefferson
Davis from the Kentucky State capitol, Rotunda.

Coming up, we now have video of the arrest of Dylann Roof. And let`s just
say, getting arrested for killing those nine people in that church looks
very different from what happens to you when you get arrested for selling
illegal cigarettes in New York City.


O`DONNELL: And we`re back with our panel. Isabel Wilkerson, I want to get
your reaction to what is sweeping through the states now.

We just – I just read the news about Virginia where Terry McAuliffe wants
to get the Confederate flag off some of the license plates there.
Mississippi, Tennessee, what is your reaction to this now sweeping
reconsideration of this confederate insignia?

WILKERSON: Well, to me, it`s the – it`s the – either it`s the final
continuation of this battle that`s been going on since the time of the
civil war. I mean, these states are finally entering the 21st century and
they are becoming more reflective over the rest of the country.

The final, you might say enfolding of the rest of the south into the rest
of the country to be more reflective over what others in America view, how
others in America view the symbol.

Symbol that has been connected so long with intolerance and with the
violent regime that persisted in the south for so long.

O`DONNELL: And Dorian Warren, is it your sense that the – some of the
discussions we`ve heard this week, public discussion that people comparing
it to Nazi paraphernalia or Islamic State flags.

You know, this Confederate flag was a flag used in war against the United
States of America. Are those comparisons holding, do you think?

WARREN: For black people in this country, absolutely. The whites –

O`DONNELL: But spread it, I mean – I mean, that`s the argument, that`s
the sharpest version of the argument –


O`DONNELL: That`s being visited against the Confederate flag.

WARREN: It is a symbol of hate. It is a symbol of, frankly, racial
eugenics and the justification – if you look at the origins of the flag.

It is very – all the founders of the confederacy are very explicit. I
mean, origins of the flag, there are many speeches that were given that
explicitly states what the flag symbolizes in terms of racial inferiority
of black people compared to whites.

In terms of the justification for slavery and frankly treason. So, it`s –
it was – and then we`ve spent the 20th century trying to whitewash, so to
speak, that origin story but that is very true.

So, yes, I think the comparisons are apt and the pace of change in the last
week has been remarkable.

That all of a sudden everyone is falling over themselves to stake out a
position, although not as strong as Senator Thurmond today but to stake out
a position to get rid of the flag.

That is – it`s unfortunate and it took the murder of nine black people in
Mother Emanuel for it to get to this point, but it is stunning the pace of

But let us not substitute symbolism for actual structural and policy
changes that would improve the lives of black people in this country as

O`DONNELL: And Alan, it seems as soon as the argument turned to the flag,
the flag that could not defend itself. It just once the focus was on it,
people were going – oh, yes, what are we doing? What is it – why is this
thing here?

JENKINS: Right, well, Dylann Roof had that flag, he had his photo taken
with –


JENKINS: That flag for a reason because of what it stands for. And so,
once that was, you know, laid there, people who had not been paying
attention suddenly had to pay attention and acknowledge the true meaning of
the flag.

I want to build though on what Dorian said, which is that we have to also
look in addition to the symbolism of the flag, we need to also look at
policies that determine people`s opportunity and equal participation in

And there are a lot of those in the housing context. The U.S. Supreme
Court has a case right now awaiting for a decision. It is about whether
subtle discrimination violates the Fair Housing Act.

The answer is no, I hope that people will be as quick to repair the Fair
Housing Act as they`ve been to call for the flag to come down.

O`DONNELL: Chris Rock put out a very provocative tweet a few days ago
saying – I`m not sure, we have it graphically to show here.

But he said “this is how you arrest a white man who shot nine people and
this is how you arrest a black man for selling cigarettes.”

He showed a picture of Dylann Roof being arrested quite peaceably beside
Eric Garner being arrested and choked to death in the process.

And I want to get to Dylann Roof now because – and the story of how he got
his gun and how he got arrested.

Eight days after his 21st birthday, law enforcement officials now say
Dylann Roof went to the Shooter`s Choice gun store in Columbia, South
Carolina, just 25 miles away from his house and legally bought a 45-caliber
glock handgun.

His friends tell “Nbc News” that Dylann Roof used his birthday money his
parents had given him to buy the gun. Dylann Roof was able to legally buy
that gun even though he had a pending drug charge.

Federal law only prohibits the sale of firearms to anyone under indictment
for a felony. Dylann Roof`s drug charge is a misdemeanor under South
Carolina law.

According to police, 67 days later, Dylann Roof walked into Mother Emanuel
AME Church in Charleston with that gun and shot and killed nine people.

Today, police in North Carolina released a dash cam video showing the
arrest of Dylann Roof for the murder rampage at Mother Emanuel AME Church.

The only sound on that video came from the commercial radio station that
was playing inside the police car where the dash cam was.

And that radio stuff consisted primarily of a series of reading of
commercials. So, we`ll now show you that video without that distracting
sound from inside the police car.

That is Dylann Roof`s car pulling to a stop after a short pursuit by police
vehicles. We`re going to see very professional, very calm police work

They know they are pursuing a suspect in a case of murdering nine people,
and this is how they approach that car.

There are guns drawn, but immediately the gun is holstered when the officer
who is going to approach him and speak to him decides that it is safe
enough to do that.

And you now see other officers responding to the scene, keeping a distance
and Alan Jenkins as an attorney, this is a – this is a text bookcase of
careful and professional, respectful even arrest procedure that we`re
looking at here.

JENKINS: That`s right, it`s what you want to see. You want –


JENKINS: Once police can determine that they are not in danger, the public
is not in danger, you want that kind of calm arrest to happen.

Unfortunately, we don`t see that very often in the African-American
community when it`s black folks who are being arrested.

And so you think about the McKinney pool case in particular, kids in
bathing suits clearly had no weapons, posed no threat and the way in which
they were treated.

That`s not what every police officer does but we see it way too often.

O`DONNELL: Yes, and as we see this go on, they have patted him down, he`s
handcuffed now, and it doesn`t get any more eventful than this.

And Dorian Warren, you can understand, I mean, you know, Chris Rock`s
reaction to this is not surprising.

WARREN: It`s not surprising. And I have to be honest, Lawrence, I can`t,
but help to be filled with rage watching this.

The discrepancy between the fact that if you are black and you are selling
a cigarette, you`re trying to swim, you have – you`re 13, you might have a
toy gun in your hand, you`re shopping in a Wal-Mart store, the immediate
reaction is force or in many cases lethal force.

This is an example of a police seeing the humanity in what is essentially
domestic terrorist as they arrest him. And the discrepancy in that is
absolutely maddening.

O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to take a break here, everyone stay with
us. Coming up, that question about Dylann Roof, is he racist or is he

Some think that insane is the whole story and you don`t have to think about
race at all in this case. We`ll discuss that coming up.


O`DONNELL: This evening in Washington, there was a
moment of silence in the House of Representatives for the people killed at
Mother Emanuel AME Church.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE : – Reverend Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders,
Cynthia Hurd, the Reverend Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson, Ethel
Lance, the Reverend Daniel Simmons, Sr., the Reverend Depayne Middleton-
Doctor, and Susie Jackson.

Would you all join me and join us in a moment of silence.


O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back.


In some of the TV analysis of the massacre in Charleston, racism as a
motivating factor, has been minimized in favor of insanity as the
explanation for the murder rampage.


BO DIETL, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: These were nine human beings that were
gunned down by a deranged kid. I don`t care what his motives were. This
was a psychopath savage that killed these people in the act of praying to

at the picture. You can see it in his eyes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE 1: Let`s call this guy what he is, a nutcase, a devious,
an evil devious –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE 2: – we`re dealing here is a – was a crazy person –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE 3: This guy has just whacked out.

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: The killer in Connecticut, the killer in
Denver in the movie theater, Hinckley and this guy Roof, they`re all the
same person, psychotic sociopaths –


O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by – from Alabama by Clinical and Forensic
Psychologist Karl Kirkland. And here in New York, a fellow at the Center
of Justice, Michael German. Michael is a former FBI agent who infiltrated
white supremacist groups during his 16-year career at the FBI.

First of all, Karl Kirkland, couple of quick questions, from a
professional, about this. First of all, can you see it in his eyes.

from the data that I have. What I can say is, a psychotic sociopath is an
oxymoron. They`re mutually exclusive.

The law in South Carolina and the law in Alabama essentially says that if
you`re psychotic, –


– that falls into a category of not guilty for reason of insanity or, in
South Carolina, the same legal conclusion, or guilty but mentally ill.


A sociopath is a different matter altogether. And sociopathy, psychopathy
are excluded in both states by statutes. So, they`re not allowed as a
mental state defense.

O`DONNELL: Karl Kirkland, I`ve read this manifesto of his and it really –
it`s really quite awful. But every horrible concept in it was held by
hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of people in America in 1960.

These were not considered unusual thoughts, extremely abhorrent thoughts in
1960. And so, the mental health question becomes – does the passage of
time alone make relatively normal thoughts within certain communities

KIRKLAND: No. The insanity, first and foremost, is a legal conclusion.
The role of a forensic psychologist is to bring data forth for a judge or a
jury to make that decision.

The market has changed. The definition is the same.


And a document like that might be used to be evidence to look at planning
behavior, criminal intent.


But while I cannot comment specifically on this case, I would imagine that
this kind of document would be very useful in the criminal analysis of
behavior, which does look at planning behavior and intention.

O`DONNELL: Michael German, having infiltrated these kinds of groups with
this kind of thinking, this stuff, it all reads as boilerplate white
supremacy straight out of the 1960s.

have to understand about this movement is that it`s based – number one,
it`s quite fragmented. There are a number of different philosophies and
even theologists used to justify this racial hatred.

And one of the interesting things I find in the document is that it`s not
just boilerplate. It`s not that he is cutting and pasting from these
racist Web sites, –


GERMAN: – but, rather, analyzing he decisions of the different positions


GERMAN: – of the different groups –


GERMAN: – and deciding which he agrees with and which he doesn`t which, I
think shows –

O`DONNELL: For example, he`s very generous to Asians, at a certain point,
in his diatribe here.

GERMAN: Right. And even the discussion of Jews, I think most white
supremacist groups would look at the discussion as quite misguided. So, it
does show that there is a deliberation and, certainly, a premeditation
acknowledging that this is a political act he`s –


– about to engage in, and justifying that action and even justifying the
targets, where he speaks of Charleston as a city that had a significant
African-American population.


O`DONNELL: Isabel Wilkerson, what I kept being struck by, as I say, when I
read through this thing is, as crazy and awful as it reads now, people were
saying these things out loud, very plainly in the United States.

No one called them “insane” in the 1950s, certainly well into the 1960s.

WILKERSON: Well, this was standard acceptable beliefs for, you know, the
majority of the time that our country has been in existence.

It`s relatively new to have this more open and more tolerant view of
African-Americans, in particular, in our country. This was the way the
country has been for most of its history.

And he is representing the messages that have been passed down –


– through the generations, of course, it`s more extremist now. But the
country actually – I mean, we live in a –


– country in which there are messages that – and assumptions and
stereotypes that undergird much of our, you know, of our public discourse.
Dog whistle politics is – you know, draws on that.

In fact, it depends upon that in order to win some elections. And so, this
runs through many parts of our country and our society.

O`DONNELL: Michael German, in your experience up close with them, did you
– will you say your feeling, “These people are insane,” or did you feel,
“These people are persuadable in extreme directions.”

GERMAN: One of the things that shocked me when I was invited in was that,
in every meeting, they gave me written materials. Books are published on
these issues.

This idea – this ideology did not go away when the Civil Rights Act was
passed. It has persisted. And there are still groups today, that are
engaged in our political system, that promote these views.

So, it`s not something that ever disappeared from our culture. And there
is a rationality to it, as offensive as it is, to most ears.

And it`s not the rantings of a crazy person but, rather, almost like a
deeply-held religious belief where, if you accept the premise is true, then
the argument then follows.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to take a quick break. Be back right after this.


We`re back with our panel. I want to read some of this manifesto.
There`s a lot of it but the audience has to get a feel for what`s actually
in there.

There`s a lot of very simple stuff. There`s a – says he uses the “n” word
a lot. He says “n” word are stupid and violent.

And that`s your point, Michael German, that once you accept that idea, all
the rest of this is an explanation for how that happened, and then, also an
explanation of what we need to do about it.

And he ends the manifesto with this. He says, –

TEXT: “I have no choice. I am not in a position to, alone, go into the
ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in
my state and, at one time, had the highest ratio of blacks to whites in the
country. We have no skinheads.”

This is his complaint. This is –

“It`s a terrible situation. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, and no one
doing anything but talking on the Internet. Well, someone has to have the
bravery to take it to the real world. And, I guess, that has to be me.”

Karl Kirkland, as a forensic psychologist, when you read that passage, this
is the spot where he seems to be making the decision to go into that

KIRKLAND: Again, that`s the type of reasoning, as manifested in a person`s
writings, that give you entry into their thought process.


And the criminal responsibility part of an evaluation would look at that as
one of the best sources of information about motives, feelings, contextual
variables that lead to decision-making.

And that is a reflection of, not a mental illness, but a very deep-seated


O`DONNELL: And, Isabel Wilkerson, for a country that was allowed to
believe that, by 1970, this kind of thinking had been erased, that it had
just been removed from the culture – of course, it couldn`t happen that
quickly, it couldn`t happen that easily, it wasn`t like pulling a tooth –
it`s obviously lived on in enough of a viral state to manifest itself this
way, using, literally, the same words that were used in 1960.

WILKERSON: Absolutely. And the same words that would have been used in
the 1860s. So, this is a long-running narrative, a long-running script
that has been undergirding much of attention and conflict.

And the assumptions about people who are viewed as “other,” people who had
been subjugated for much of our country`s history. Again, I always
emphasize that this is very, very new, this idea of viewing people as

This is very knew, this idea of incorporating African-Americans into the
entire fabric of our country. And so, we`re only going back a couple of
generations to get to the 1960s, the Civil Rights Act of the 1960s that
began to codify this new vision of what the United States could be.

In fact, anyone born before 1964, in many respects, was not born in
democracy because an entire population was not permitted to vote. So, this
is actually still a work in progress.

O`DONNELL: Another passage from the manifesto –

TEXT: “Segregation was not a bad thing. It was a defensive measure.
Segregation did not exist to hold back negroes. It existed to protect us
from them.”

“And I mean that multiple ways. Not only did it protect us from having to
interact with them and from being physically harmed by them, but it
protected us from being brought down to their level.”

“Integration has done nothing but bring whites down to the level of brute
animals. The best example of this is obviously our school system.”

And, Michael German, that comes from a high school dropout.


GERMAN: Right. And, you know, this, again, is – this idea of white
victimization is a teen that runs through this white supremacist
philosophy, this idea that we have to return to this era, which is why the
Confederate flag is so important, why the Rhodesian flag was so important,
why the South African flag was so important – that it`s a history that
they look to as sort of a golden era that they want to return to.

O`DONNELL: Karl Kirkland – sorry, we`re going to take a break. We`re
going to be right back. Karl Kirkland and Michael German, thank you for
joining us tonight.

Coming up, why have some presidential candidates had such a struggle in
trying to talk about all of this.



ELECTION: Those nine righteous men and women, who invited a stranger into
their midst to study the Bible with them, someone who did not look like
them, someone they had never seen before – their example and their memory
show us the way.

Their families, their church does as well. So, let us be resolved to make
sure they did not die in vain.



Some presidential candidates have struggled with how to address the
massacre in Charleston, including the racist motivation of the killer. Rick
Santorum first saw it as an attack on Christians, not as an attack on
African-Americans before, later, saying the murders were motivated by race.

But one Republican presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, had no confusion
about what had happened. In an op-ed written over the weekend and
published in “USA Today” on Monday, Dr. Carson said, –

TEXT: “Not everything is about race in this country. But when it is about
race, then it just is. There are people who are claiming that they can
lead this country, who dare not call this tragedy an act of racism, a hate
crime, for fear of offending a particular segment of the electorate.”

“So, let`s stop all the interpretative dance around the obvious. It`s the
sickness of racism, a spiritual sickness that distorts the mind and hear,
and causes irrational and baseless fear and hatred in people of all

“Racism was once epidemic in America but, through struggle, sacrifice,
soul-searching and meaningful social change, we have made much progress.
Clearly, the struggle is far from finished. And we must own up to that
fact and that challenge.”

Isabel Wilkerson, Dr. Ben Carson has finally made some sense.

WILKERSON: Well, I think, for any African-American – African-Americans in
general who, by virtue of being visible minorities, are – feel this
especially deeply, being that these were targeted by virtue of their race.


It makes perfect sense for him to come forward to state the obvious. I
would also say though that when we were speaking about the arrest of Dylan
Roof who, it`s important to note, he surrendered peacefully, but the issue
is, he was given the opportunity to surrender peacefully.

That was not the opportunity given, accorded to Tamir Rice who was 12 years
old, with a toy gun, and was shot on site by police officers.


That was not the case, that was not the opportunity given to a man who was
a motorist, who had been stopped for a traffic violation and was shot by
the police officer when he was told to get his registration and was shot


And he ended up asking the officer, “Why did you shoot me.” He, very
politely and calmly asked this police officer why he did that. And so,
this is an example of the disparities that, in some ways, many of us are
responding to and, in this case, this presidential candidate is as well.

O`DONNELL: Well, Isabel, here in the studio, during the commercial break,
after we showed the arrest video, Dorian and Alan just kept talking about

It was the segment that could not end in this room because it was so
striking to see that approach.


And, Alan, as a lawyer who`s worked on these issues, we`re remarking on
that moment where the police officer is approaching the car for the first
time. His gun is drawn.

But before he gets to the window to actually talk to him, he has enough
confidence, enough trust in whoever is behind the wheel of that car that he
puts the gun back in his holster before he even begins the conversation.

JENKINS: It`s remarkable. You see them looking in the car, the police
officers, and seeing someone who`s life is worth is preserving if they can.

And, unfortunately, so many people of color don`t get that second chance,
including those who have committed no crime or are suspected of no crime.
Seeing the humanity in others is the thing that we most want for all our
law enforcement to be doing.

O`DONNELL: I want to be careful – I`m not engaging in a criticism of what
those police officers are doing. What they`re doing is model police.

It`s careful police work. They`re using their judgment. And, Dorian, the
fascinating thing is we see that moment of trust where they have decided,
before talking to him, that, “We see someone who, we understand and we can
trust. And we`re going to put these guns back in the holster.”

WARREN: Trust, that assumption of trust, that faith even, and the humanity
of this person who, we know, is a murderer –

O`DONNELL: And they know, that`s why they`re pulling him over.

WARREN: – and they know, that`s why they`re pulling him over. And it is
– I mean, a video and a picture is worth a thousand words, Lawrence.

And so, to see – for months and months and months now, we`ve seen so many
videos of what happens to black people, black men and women, when police
engage with them, who don`t have that trust and don`t give them that
opportunity to presume – to be presumed innocent.

In the same way that, the humanity, as you said, Allen, the humanity of
this person who was suspected and, we know, murdered those nine
parishioners at Mother Emanuel.

He had a different set of opportunities than the average black person in
this country. It is so stunningly remarkable just to watch the differences
in videos.

O`DONNELL: Isabel Wilkerson, the video has been teaching America –


– lessons about itself. And here is another surprising lesson that we`re
learning from this particular dash cam video tonight.

WILKERSON: I think that we have been inundated, overwhelmed actually,
grown weary from month after month after month, from Ferguson to Staten
Island, Cleveland and Dayton and to continuing places, to North Charleston
not too long ago, that we have been reminded of the different treatment, of
the lack of recognition of the humanity of African-Americans, the visible

And so I think that our goal, what one would hope, is that we could see
that humanity. And we would hope that the South would help lead us, given
the role that the South has played in all of this, would help lead us
toward a brighter future when it comes to how we get along.

O`DONNELL: Isabel Wilkerson gets tonight`s LAST WORD and honored to have
you all with me tonight. Dorian Warren, Alan Jenkins, and Isabel
Wilkerson. Thank you all.

WARREN: Thank you for having us.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.


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