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Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 06/20/15

Guests: Dot Scott, Bakari Sellers, Cleveland Sellers, Jonathan Metzl,Isaiah Pickens, Amanda Pierce, Jelani Cobb, Akhil Reed Amar, YolandaPierce, Lucia McBath, Kavita Patel, Shari Cookson, Nick Doob

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR: This morning, my question -What country is this? Where nine black people are murdered in their church as they pray. Good morning, I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. I want to begin this morning with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "They have something to say to us in their death. They have something to say to every minister of the Gospel who has remained silent behind the safe security of stained glass windows, they have something to say to every politician who has fed his constituents the stale bread of hatred and spoiled meat of racism. They say to each of us, black and white alike, that we must substitute courage for caution." These are the words of Dr. King offered to the grieving congregation gathered together amid the blistering pain and the incomprehensible loss of four little girls. Slaughtered in their Birmingham Sunday School by the bomb of Southern white supremacists. Today, the words are not for four, but for nine. Murdered as they gathered together in the familiar ritual of Wednesday night bible study. Reverend Clementa Pinckney, 41. Cynthia Herd, 54, Reverend Sharonda Coleman- Singleton, 45. Tywanza Sanders, 26. Ethel Lance, 70. Suzie Jackson, 87. Reverend DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49. Myra Thompson, 59. Reverend Daniel Silva Senior, 74. Like the four little girls martyred in their Sunday best 52 years ago these nine men and women were murdered because they were black. And if you have ever wonder just what the activists organizing cry "Black Lives Matter" means, the answer was abundantly clear at Friday`s bond hearing in Charleston. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) FELECIA SANDERS, MOTHER OF TYWANZA SANDERS: We welcomed you, Wednesday night, in our bible study with open arms. You have killed some of the most beautiful people that I know, every fiber in my body hurts, and I`ll never be the same. As we said in the bible study, we enjoyed you, but may god have mercy on you. NADINE COLLIER, DAUGHTER OF ETHEL LANCE: I will never talk to her, never again. I will never be able to hold her again. But I forgive you and have mercy on your soul. You hurt me, you hurt a lot of people. But god forgive you. And I forgive you. ALANA SIMMONS, GRANDDAUGHTER OF DANIEL SIMMONS: Although my grandfather and the other victims died at the hands of hate, this is proof everyone`s plea for your soul is proof that they lived in live and their legacies will live in love. So hate won`t win. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Like those four little girls, these nine men and women were killed in a place that is supposed to offer literal and figurative sanctuary. Indeed, the African Methodist Episcopal Church is rooted in a specific history of resistance to American racism. In 1787 church officials of the St. George Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia pulled black worshippers off their knees and dragged them from the church to enforce racial segregation of worship. In response, black men and women led by Richard Allen and Epsilon Jones founded their own spiritual and religious home in the AME church. The AME church considers itself the oldest independent Christian denomination founded by black people in the world. It is the living, breathing institutional embodiment of the black church. Not as I was reminded by one of my campus chaplains this week, the church for black people, but the black church, the institutional structure committed to a god of liberation, a definitive space for the worship of human freedom and equality and welcome to all children of creation. And Charleston`s Emanuel AME is the oldest in the South. To walk into the womb of Mother Emanuel, to worship for an hour with her people, to take their lives in calculating cold blood -- is to strike at the very heart of the black American struggle for freedom. To strike Mother Emanuel is to strike the tap root of resistance and the birthplace of sacred autonomy. It is an attack against the place where enslaved black people rejected the biblical mandate to obey your masters and instead embraced a savior who suffered as they did undeservedly at the hands of the powerful. This is the place where black people sought to manifest a freedom they saw as promise embedded in the story of Moses` demand to let my people go. It is not inconsequential that this blow against freedom of black people is struck in South Carolina. South Carolina, the first state to secede from the union by a unanimous vote in 1860. Dissolving its tie to the United States of America with a preference to vigorously and violently defend its right to maintain intergenerational chattel bondage. South Carolina, which still flies the battle flag of those traitorous troops on the state house grounds, still at full mast. In the hours and days after nine innocent South Carolinians were slaughtered. South Carolina, site of the first in the South primaries, for both Republican and Democrat candidates, who will seek to follow President Barack Obama in the White House. That is what happened on Wednesday night in Charleston. Yes, a mass killing. But not just that. Yes, a rampage, but not just that. Yes, a tragedy, but not just that. Yes, a gun crime, but not just that. What happened Wednesday night was an act of racial terror. As Dr. Martin Luther King spoke over the bodies of four martyred girls, he insisted they say to us that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers. They say to us that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, and the philosophy which produced the murderer. Joining me here in New York is Jonathan Metzl. Director of the Center for Medicine Health and Society as well as the professor psychiatry at Vanderbilt University. Yolanda Pierce, associate professor of African-American religion and literature at Princeton Theological Seminary. Isaiah Pickens, who is a New York City licensed clinical psychologist and founder of Eye-Opening enterprises and Joe Watkins, a Republican strategist and former White House aide to President George H.W. Bush. But first, I want to go back to Charleston, South Carolina to talk to Dot Scott, president of the Charleston branch of the NAACP. Dot, you have actually talked with survivors of this horror. What have they said to you? DOT SCOTT, PRESIDENT CHARLESTON BRANCH NAACP: I have actually talked with family members of the survivors. What are they saying? The family members are -- to be honest with you, Melissa, first, thank you for having me, it`s they`re speechless, as to what has happened. The family members of those, their concern at this time is whether or not the lives of loss is going to make a difference in a state that we live in. You enter the conversation you were having prior to my coming on, speaks to the truth of what we`re dealing with here. Because it goes beyond this particular carnage. This happened because we needed to have the nation and the world look at exactly what are some of the things that African-Americans continue to deal with. And in states such as South Carolina, where we`re still fighting issues of integration for schools, and we`re still fighting the issues of policing in our neighborhood. This would be the thing that I would hope that the lives are not, they were not taken in vain and we will have some changes that`s going to be monumental enough that the people of South Carolina, all people of goodwill will begin to see that we have reason to be proud of the state that we live in. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you, stay with us, I don`t want you to go. I do want to turn to you for a moment, Yolanda. Because I think for me the most stunning thing of this whole week was listening to the families offer forgiveness so swiftly. And honestly, I`m not there yet. I mean maybe someday, but right now I feel just mad and I`m wondering about the role of this kind of forgiveness and this insistence on a love coming out of it. We`re hearing from Dot something good to come from this. YOLANDA PIERCE, ASSOC. PFOF. PRINCETON, THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY: So, I affirm the right of these families to grieve and process this in any way that they need to. Including if they need to offer statements of forgiveness. Including if one of the things that they most want to talk about is an ethic of love. But I also affirm the right to be angry. I am angry, Melissa. I am in a state of rage. A sanctuary has been violated. A sense of peace, a sense of comfort has been completely and utterly violated. So, we can talk about forgiveness, but for there to be genuine forgiveness, there has to be repentance, there has to be real, genuine repentance and that has not happened yet. So we can simultaneously affirm that families need to do whatever they need to do to heal but we can be angry. We can call this a hate crime. We can call this an act of racial terror and that we don`t have to mute it. I want to be allowed to grieve and this nation needs to allow people space to grieve this horrible tragedy. HARRIS-PERRY: Dot, I want to come back to you on this idea of forgiveness and repentance. I was trying to push us past simply this individual shooter, Mr. Roof, to the idea of a collective repentance here. I`m going to borrow Yolanda`s language. When you say something to change. Is there, what is the thing that would feel like a repentance from the collective that might give us space to forgive the society, the racism of the nation in which we live that help to produce this moment? SCOTT: I want to go back to the forgiveness thing. I happen to agree with the speaker just prior to me now. First, you know, even Christ expects us to ask for forgiveness. And I am here and I`m thinking, in order to for me to be there, I would want to hear the perpetrator say, can you forgive me? We haven`t heard that yet, so it`s, it`s good to have the feel-good feeling going on. But I think in order for changes, there needs to be something concrete that`s going to change, us having to breathe young people at age 21, that not feels the kind of hatred and the kind of need to do the disastrous act as this that we`re still dealing with this in 2015. So, I think that the first thing we can do as a state, to send a message that black lives do really - do matter and it just not the young people black lives, all black lives matter as with all people lives matter. So we need to deal with removing the flag off top of our state house. That to me is a message that resonate about people who are hateful and it`s a message that resonate with us, people of color, who think that you continue to remind us what you think of us by flying that flag. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to Dot Scott in Charleston, South Carolina. Up next, we are going to go back to Charleston for the latest on the ground and still to come the legacy of Mother Emanuel. Nearly 200 years later, the struggle continues. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: The memorial outside Mother Emanuel AME continues to grow. And vigils are being held in churches across the nation. Last night inside a Charleston arena, thousands of people gather for prayer, song and solidarity with the families of the victims filling the front rows. Joining me now from Charleston, South Carolina is MSNBC correspondent Adam Reiss. Adam, who spoke last night and what was the central message? ADAM REISS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: There were church leaders. There were politicians, thousands gathered, they joined the family members of the victims in song and prayer as you just mentioned, each one of them holding up a rose, remembering all of the people that were lost in this senseless tragedy. HARRIS-PERRY: Adam, I`m struck as we look at the images, at how interracial -- REISS: Well, I can tell you the group here, black, white, they just set up an impromptu service here. Priests, people speaking. Lots of emotion. Lots of tears, lots of flowers. A lot of crying. Very raw emotion, Melissa. HARRIS-PERRY: But and maybe we`ll take a listen a bit to some of what we heard last, some of what you heard last night. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAYOR JOSEPH RILEY, CHARLESTON, NC: If that young man thought he was going to divide this community or divide this country with his racial hatred, we are here today and all across America, resoundingly say he immeasurably failed. (APPLAUSE) HARRIS-PERRY: And I want to just point out again how interracial the services were, that Mayor Joe was there and affirming that this will not create an emphasis towards segregation, but instead one towards racial healing. Is that what you`re hearing on the ground there? REISS: Absolutely. Absolutely. This is all about unity, about coming together. Groups just hugging each other, black, white, all races here coming together and as the long-time mayor of Charleston, Joe Riley said, all of our hearts, not just here in Charleston, but across the country, all of our hearts are broken. Melissa? HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to MSNBC`s Adam Reiss in Charleston, South Carolina. We also know from witness accounts that Dylann Roof sat with the bible study group for an hour before opening fire. Now, newly released police affidavits reveal new details about what happened that night and the man who remains behind bars this morning charged with nine counts of murder. Joining me now from the Charleston County detention center in North Charleston, South Carolina, is MSNBC national reporter Trymaine Lee. Trymaine, what else have we learned from those police documents? TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Melissa, here is we learn from the affidavits, around 8:06 p.m., Dylann Roof walked into Mother Emanuel church with a fanny pack and a gun. He sat for about an hour, as you mentioned at some point he opened fire on the group. Killing nine people. Now, here is one addition that we didn`t know until yesterday when we read the affidavit is that at some point, he stood over a witness and uttered some sort of racially inflammatory statement. They didn`t say exactly what that was. But there was something of a racially charged nature. He then exited, looked both ways, hopped in his car. Now, police say that Dylann Roof`s father confirmed that Dylan did own a .45-caliber handgun. On the scene they found .45-caliber shell casings, and so they`ve matched the gun or at least the shell casings to the type of gun used in the crime. So again, here he is, in the detention center behind us, apparently he has a neighboring cell to Michael Slager, the officer who killed Walter Scott here in North Charleston. And while the state flag is not at half mast, here outside of detention center, the American flag is at half-staff. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to MSNBC`s Trymaine Lee in North Charleston, South Carolina. We will be checking back in with you later. And up next, a father and a son with deep roots in South Carolina`s civil rights past and present. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The nature of this attack in a place of worship where congregants invite in a stranger to worship with them, only to be gunned down adds to the pain. The apparent motivations of the shooter remind us that racism remains a blight that we have to combat together. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: That was President Obama on Friday, talking about the massacre in Charleston. And joining me now for more on what`s next in the city and its role in the fight against racism is Bakari Sellers, former South Carolina state representative and his father, Cleveland Sellers, president of Voorhees College. So nice to have you both with us tonight. SELLERS: Thanks for having us. HARRIS-PERRY: So, I wanted to ask you both, because on Friday, Eric Schultz indicated that President Obama believes "the Confederate flag belongs in a museum." And I`m wondering how much the flag issue has become part of the kind of trauma of this experience. BAKARI SELLERS, FMR. S.C. STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Well, Dr. Harris-Perry, people are hurting right now. This community suffered unfathomable harm Wednesday. And we stand here still crying, we stand here still screaming, we stand here still in so much pain. Then when you go to our state capitol and you see a banner that may not have pulled the trigger and killed Clementa Pinckney and eight others, but it definitely did provide Mr. Roof with some reason to do so. It provided him with some justification. And that is what`s troublesome. CLEVELAND SELLERS, PRESIDENT, VOORHEES COLLEGE: I want to -- For me -- HARRIS-PERRY: Yes? CLEVELAND SELLERS: Let me see if I can respond to that. Because when Bakari called and told me what had happened on Wednesday night, I, it brought back memories of another secret that South Carolina keeps. And that`s the Orangeburg massacre. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. CLEVELAND SELLERS: In which three students were actually shot by state highway patrolmen. HARRIS-PERRY: And you yourself -- CLEVELAND SELLERS: On the campus at South Carolina State University. HARRIS-PERRY: And you yourself were injured. CLEVELAND SELLERS: Yes, I was injured. But I just want to make that point. That we are still crying and screaming and carrying our dear to the cemetery. And that we have to have something very specific done in South Carolina. That begins with some kind of discussion and dialogue on race. We also must find a way, in which we can have some kind of blue ribbon committee. There was never an investigation of what happened in Orangeburg. And that we have to go back and start at that point. And find ways in which we can provide restitution. In terms of healing, you have to heal from where you can actually target what has gone on. So, a lot of times people talk about it in terms of the flag. But since that time, we`ve had the Orangeburg massacre. 40 students were actually shot. Three were killed, one was a 16-year-old high school student and it has gone pretty much unnoticed and so when we`re talking about honest dialogue in South Carolina, we have to talk about how we find ways in which we can address that issue and have the state provide some white paper or some kind of restitution to those who were injured. And we can`t just keep putting it up under the rug. And I hope and pray that we don`t do this on this particular occasion. HARRIS-PERRY: Mr. Sellers, I so appreciate you taking us back to that moment. I know that you actually fairly rarely make public appearances and talk about that Orangeburg massacre. And Bakari, I want to ask you specifically about it. Because we were talking about Mother Emanuel as an institutional space of black freedom. In addition to the black church, often historically black colleges and universities are seen in this way. And of course, South Carolina State University, the site of that Orangeburg massacre in the late 1960s has been under attack in the sense of likely closing, we know that there have been voting rights questions there in the state. And so I`m wondering how these things that don`t seem to have anything to do with it, are nonetheless part of this big institutional structure around how race is understood in the state of South Carolina. BAKARI SELLERS: I`m glad you asked the question, Dr. Harris-Perry. Because in South Carolina we still have a corridor of shame where kids go to school where their heating and air don`t work, where their infrastructure is literally falling apart on their heads, we have counties and communities where they really don`t have a hospital within 45 miles. So if you have a heart attack, that`s a death sentence. We have some serious issues to deal with here. And yes, it`s amazing that the two massacres that Orangeburg, that South Carolina is now known for happened in places of such reverence. One was on a college campus, the other was at a church. And what aches my heart so much is that our state`s soil is stained red with so much blood. And I`m only 30 and my father is 70, but we shouldn`t be sharing the same experiences when it comes to burying our loved ones, that`s traumatic, that has to change, we have to redirect history. And it starts now. If not now, then when? And if not me and my father, then who? HARRIS-PERRY: Bakari, thank you so much. That point, that 40 years apart. You should not be sharing the same experience of burying your beloved. Thank you to Bakari and Cleveland Sellers in Charleston, South Carolina. Up next, I`m finally going to get an opportunity to talk to my brilliant panel here at the table. The shooter`s chilling message to survivors and the question, is racism a mental health issue? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) SYLVIA JOHNSON, COUSIN OF REV. PINCKNEY: I spoke with one of the survivors and she said that he had loaded, reloaded five different times. He just said, I have to do it. He said you rape our women, and you are taking over our country. And you have to go. That was Sylvia Johnson, a cousin of church shooting victim Pastor Clementa Pinckney. Recounting what survivor told her about what happened inside the church. And among the three survivors, is Felicia Sanders. Who told a niece of one of the victims that she played dead during the shooting massacre? lying on top of her granddaughter to protect her. Another survivor says that the shooter told her she was going to live so she could tell the story of what happened. And so Isaiah, I guess for me the constant question this week is how is it that a 21-year-old ended up with a 150-year-old analysis of race in America. Like that narrative of -- you rape our women, like that is -- that`s almost ancient and this is a young person. And it makes me feel that I`ve missed something about what we are teaching very carefully. ISAIAH PICKENS, NYC LICENSED CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: So, I think this really first of all the pain that these families have experienced is tremendous, and we couldn`t even imagine it. But from looking at it from mental health standpoint, and talking about how a young person came to that perspective, there`s been research that again has looked at implicit bias and how messages in our country can infiltrate and really build on some of the dilutions that extreme racism may have. And so there`s been a number of times that psychiatrists have fought to have racism considered a mental health disorder within the DSM and really looking at this idea of how do these beliefs become built through the messages that are implicitly put in our society? Whether it`s a flag, whether it`s just what we do not stand up for. And even when we talk about this concept of color blindness, potentially building on these concepts, and so. You know, I think that that`s something that`s truly important to be aware of in that process. HARRIS-PERRY: So, I`m of two minds, Jonathan, on this idea of racism as a mental illness. There`s a part of me that appreciates defining it. Not as an ideology, but as a sickness, an illness, a cancer, and this white supremacy and racism. On the other hand, from a kind of judicial legal standpoint it concerns me that defining this world view as a mental illness allows for a lack of culpability for those who act on it. DR. JONATHAN METZL, CTR. OF MEDICINE, HEALTH & SOCIETY VANDERBILT: Absolutely. I think we have to be very adamant at this point about refusing narratives that blame individual shooters for this kind of violence. Even, I think we all agree that you have to be crazy and really screwed up to go and shoot strangers, but I think that the narrative very often with white shooters is that we limit it to their individual white brains and I think what we`re seeing here in the calls for calling this terrorism. It`s not just a random call. I think terrorism implies that what`s happening here is part of a larger ideology. That it`s got a politics, it`s got a history. It`s got all of these charges, and so I think that in a way if we`re going to talk about racism as a mental illness, we need to talk about the racism of a society that produces shooters like this. We need to talk as we heard from the last segment about the trauma that`s passed down. We need to talk about the symbols of racism that are perpetuating not just shooters, but also ongoing wounds for people who live in communities, communities of color who feel that they themselves are traumatized. I think that this is a wakeup call for white America in a way to suffer - not to locate the individual shooter`s particular mental illness. HARRIS-PERRY: And that feels to me like one of the distinctions between this moment and 1963, when those four little girls are killed in that church. Yes, there is a bomber. But we are very clear that it is the collective evil of Jim Crow that gives birth to it. But somehow it`s as though it is about this one person. I want to play for you, Yolanda, the sound of the judge talking initially about the victims being not just the nine, but the family of the shooter as well. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JUDGE JAMES GOSNELL, CHARLESTON COUNTY MAGISTRATE: We have victims, nine of them. But we also have victims on the other side. There are victims on this young man`s side of the family. Nobody would have ever thrown them into the whirlwind of events that they have been thrown into. (END VIDEO CLIP) PIERCE: That is so difficult for me to hear right now, and maybe there will be a time in about 100 years where I would be able to process that. The family of this shooter, they are alive. There are nine people who are dead. Whose bodies have not even been buried? This is what I mean about this being a country where African-Americans are not even allowed to grieve. Even before these people have been able to claim the bodies of their mothers, their grandmothers, their fathers, their relatives, they`re being told, oh, by the way, the shooter has a family and those family members are victims and he has a story. These nine men and women have a story and we need to tell it. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. JOE WATKINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: What kind of kid did their parents raise? That boy walked into a church, sat in a bible study for an hour, and then calmly killed nine people, he would have killed more, if he didn`t know some of them were playing dead. And so, the question becomes is, who did his parents raise and the other relatives? Who was this son that they are missing? Did he learn it from them? Did he learn this hatred of people because of the color of their skin, from his family? HARRIS-PERRY: And, you know, I was asking my psychiatrist and psychologist if racism is a mental illness. One of the questions I think I want to ask you is, as a man of God is, is racism a sin? WATKINS: Well, we all sin. We all sin. And the amazing thing about belief in Christ and following Christ as we saw by what the families of the people who were killed said, is that that you forgive. Jesus was crucified on the cross, and as he was dying he forgave the people who were killing him. It`s just unbelievable. I mean it`s just hard to comprehend. And to hear the family members, the brothers and sisters and other family members of the people killed say -- I`m hurting, I`m angry, but I forgive you, is exactly what they`re supposed to do as Christian people. (CROSSTALK) PIERCE: But racism is a sin and it`s an evil and it`s a shame and we have to call it by its name. We will never, ever get to a point of any kind of healing unless we call the evil by its name. It`s a sin. PICKENS: I would argue that the forgiveness is less for the shooter, but it`s for them. When we talk about the idea of trauma, we`re talking about undermining psychological safety in this. The idea of can I take care of myself or repair resources to take care of me and a trauma like this that goes into the most sacred place that you feel safe, it undermines that sense of feeling safe forever. And so, the forgiveness is about letting it go so that you can connect with that higher power that restores that sense of psychological safety. HARRIS-PERRY: Well, we are going to come back as well. I want to talk more about trauma because it`s not - the trauma is not just in this moments. It`s the trauma that is about a whole series of the events that all of us have been watching and experiencing for weeks and weeks and months and months and years now. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: This week, MHP show regular professor Jelani Cobb wrote for "The New Yorker" "The daisy chain of racial outrages that have been a constant feature of American life since Trayvon Martin`s death three years ago are not a copycat phenomenon soon to fade from our attention." Joining me now from Charleston, South Carolina, is Jelani Cobb, the associate professor at the University of Connecticut and a staff writer at the "New Yorker." Jelani, what do you mean by the daisy chain of racial outrages? JELANI COBB, STAFF WRITER, NEWYORKER.COM: So, what I think is that, you know, beginning with the death of Trayvon Martin, three years ago, we`ve had this kind of consistent you know low-grade fever sometimes spiking you know of racial conflict you know we saw what happened with Jordan Davis, we saw what happened in Ferguson. What`s happened with Eric Garner. What`s happened in too many places, actually. And so, I think there`s been a kind of perception that this is a spate of incidents. But in all actuality it`s us paying attention to something that`s been the status quo anti-for a really long time. And so we should be mindful that this is not something that`s going to go away. That we`re just now becoming more aware, likely because of social media and cell phone cameras and that sort of thing, we paying more attention to something that`s been the reality for a very long time. HARRIS-PERRY: I want to ask you one of the reports coming out of South Carolina right now is that this perpetrator, Mr. Roof, is sharing space, is right next to Officer Slager, whose shooting of an African-American man, Walter Scott, was captured on tape in a way that has now become I think part of that daisy chain, part of our experience of it. How is the trauma of the Walter Scott killing been part of how this local community is responding to this fresh trauma? COBB: You know, I was talking with a gentleman last night and he, you know, he said he saw this kind of thing, those two incidents endemic. But he also pointed to the video which some people have seen, you know, of a gentleman who was reaching for his license, and a police officer shot him. And he was complying with the police officer`s commands. And was shot nonetheless. And I guess he was trying to say like I say, that these, like, you know, my earlier point, that these two incidences are very high- profile and very outrageous. But this is something that people have been familiar with for some time. HARRIS-PERRY: Stay with me, Jelani. I want to come out to you for a second, Jonathan. Because obviously one of the major differences between a police officer shooting and this case is the availability of a gun. We would expect a police officer to be armed. METZL: Sure. HARRIS-PERRY: What I`m wondering is if any of the kind of proposed gun legislation that exists in our discourse of world, the things we talk about, everyone can agree on this, would any of that have kept this young man from being armed? METZL: Well, it`s hard to know because we don`t know exactly how he got his gun. There are reports that this was a gun that was passed down and given to him, the money was given to him. I mean there`s a kind of family trauma in a lot of these mass shooting narratives about parents giving seemingly unstable children their guns. I think that there were warning signs here. That background checks probably would have caught. There`s a history of substance abuse, two arrests and the particular case. And so I do think that I think that President Obama right now is very smart to be pushing for some of this legislation. I also wanted to say just getting back to Jelani`s piece in "The New Yorker" that I thought there were two really, really nice points about that essay. And one was that, you know, we started this week with this conversation about who gets to define who is black and racial identity and really, I think his point beautifully made the point that it`s not - it is a privilege to call yourself - to be able to call yourself what you want. That in a way this is society telling you who is black. And the other point was, it`s not just a boomerang of history that we`re living right now. That in a way, this is our traumatic present. We need to deal with this in the present moment, in order to address it. And I think gun legislation is a very important piece. Unfortunately, our politicians don`t seem to have the braveness right now to address that. HARRIS-PERRY: Jelani, let me come back to you in Charleston, South Carolina, just for one second here. I know that the flag conversation is a big part of what people on the ground there are talking about. Is gun control legislation also a part of it? COBB: I can`t say I`ve talked with people here and I haven`t gotten a really good feel for exactly what people think will come out of this. You know, I did, you know, have a conversation with a couple of people who have been out in the crowd behind me as you can see. You know it`s already pretty hot out here. And it`s maybe a couple of hundred people who are braving the heat outside in front of the church and, you know, there was a bit of cynicism about exactly what will come out of this. Whether or not there will be action as a result of it. And so, it`s really kind of hard to say. HARRIS-PERRY: Yeah, that sense of cynicism is what feels like begins to set in. And what Jonathan just called that traumatic present we`re living with. Thank you to Jelani Cobb in Charleston, South Carolina. COBB: Thank you. HARRIS-PERRY: Up next, from fighting against slavery to fighting for voting rights: the history of Mother Emanuel. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Mother Emanuel is, in fact, more than a church. This is a place of worship that was founded by African-Americans seeking liberty. This is a sacred place. In the history of Charleston and in the history of America. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: That was President Obama on Thursday speaking about the significance of Charleston`s Emanuel AME Church, Mother Emanuel. It has roots in the 18th century and then in 1822, one of its founders, Denmark Vesey, masterminded what would have been one of the largest revolts of enslaved people in American history. The plot was exposed by another member of the church. Vesey was convicted and executed. And in the aftermath the church was burned down, South Carolina banned churches from holding services without a white person in attendance. But the congregation persevered, holding services underground and after the Civil War they rebuilt the church just a half-mile from Fort Sumter where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. When an earthquake destroyed the building in 1886 they replayed it with a structure that stands there today. And throughout its history the church was not only a place of faith, but also of activism. But it`s working as part of the underground railroad or advocating for voting rights. During the civil rights movement, leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave speeches from the Emanuel`s pulpit and led marches from its steps. Now Emanuel AME Church once again is showing its resilience in the face of racial injustice, something black churches have been called on to do far too often. From the 1963 church bombing that killed four young black girls, for the rash of church burnings in the 1990s. They tell you to pray in a moment like this, but praying is what was happening in that church when these nine lives were taken, and so I have been left wondering what am I supposed to pray? We can pray with our eyes open and on our feet. When we think about the history of African-American churches, they were actually birthed in secret. They were not allowed enslaved men and women were often not allowed to worship or if they were allowed to worship sometimes they had to sit at the back of the church or they had to sit in the galleys or they had to sit in the balcony. They sometimes could not even receive communion. And so to be born out of that as a protest against segregation, against dehumanization, African-American men and women in these historically black churches have been praying this whole time. But they have been praying and marching, they have been praying and protesting. They have been praying and changing legislation. So, I believe in prayer. I believe in the power of prayer, but what I`m saying on your feet with eyes open. I`m saying that that prayer is connected to a history of advocacy, a history of agitation, a history of making a way out of no way and that`s what the institution of the African-American church represents. And Isaiah, there is such strength that we can draw from that story. But there`s also from me this sense of why must black churches be resilient against burnings and bombings and death? I mean why can`t they be sanctuaries of rest and of safety? And so there is on the one hand this thing from which I draw strength, but also this sense of, when even the safe place is not safe, what are we to do emotionally with that? PECKINS: One of the first things we should do is be honest with ourselves and be aware of what`s happening. When parents are talking with kids and when families are talking together, don`t skirt around what this actually was, that this was a racially motivated shooting. That it made us feel unsafe and that this happens in our country from time to time, but it doesn`t necessarily happen everywhere. And when we`re able to take it from the unknown, because that`s what makes us really anxious, and feels very afraid, and really make it concrete and say this is what we`re dealing with and this is how we`re going to deal with it in terms of working towards our healing and restoring that sense of psychological safety by connecting with people that we love, by hoping to move for policies that protect us that puts what this trauma is out of the realm of anything could happen to me at any moment. So, this is what we can do about it, and it empowers the church and the people around it. HARRIS-PERRY: Joe, I feel like it would be hard for me to imagine there`s any black Christian minister in the country who is not going to preach this tomorrow morning in some way, drawing from some text. WATKINS: Yeah. HARRIS-PERRY: I`m wondering whether or not white Christian ministers, particularly in the South, will also take this as a moment. Do you believe they will take this as a moment to also preach and to teach on this as a religious question? WATKINS: I hope so. I mean I know that Dr. King wrote a letter from the jail in Birmingham back in 1963, wondering why some of the white ministers wanted him to leave. They didn`t agree with what he was doing, which was in line with what the gospel tells us to do. I hope that ministers who happen to be white will join with every other minister of the gospel. Including African-American ministers of the gospel and call this what it is and talk to their congregations about how we respond and what an appropriate response is. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to Isaiah Pickens and the rest of my panel is going to return the next hour. And coming up next we are going to go back to South Carolina for the latest. We also talk to the mother of Jordan Davis about why she is in Charleston, South Carolina this morning. There`s more MHP at the top of the hour. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome back. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. And across the country, people are paying tribute to the nine men and women who were murdered Wednesday inside Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Last night, thousands attended a vigil of prayer and solidarity at an arena in Charleston. Also, yesterday, there were profound moments of grace, when one by one family members of the Mother Emanuel victims stood in a courtroom and offered forgiveness to the man charged with killing their loved ones. The man police say confessed to the massacre remains behind bars this morning. Joining me now from the Charleston County detention center in North Charleston, South Carolina is MSNBC national reporter Trymaine Lee. Trymaine, what is next for Mr. Roof? LEE: This is the beginning of a long process again just the beginning. Yesterday when a magistrate judge set a $1 million bond on the gun charge, he said that he did not have the authority to issue -- to set bail on the nine murder charges he faces, that will be left to a state circuit court. So, in the coming days or weeks, we`ll figure out what happened. But also, as we learned from the affidavit last night, that he uttered some sort of racially inflammatory statement before leaving the church. Now, that may be fodder for a civil rights investigation by the Department of Justice. They`ll be looking at this as a possible hate crime. But for the time being, again, he`s behind us in this detention center. Again, the beginning of a very long road. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, the Department of Justice indicating they`re considering all avenues, including hate crime and domestic terror as possibilities, of course, also in addition to the murder charges for these nine. Thank you to MSNBC`s Trymaine Lee in North Charleston, South Carolina. Following Wednesday`s massacre at Emanuel AME in Charleston, South Carolina, the devastation and sense of loss is palpable. The tragedy was called an unspeakable act and a heartbreaking act. Headlines read "Loner Held in Church Killings." On Friday, the Department of Justice discussed its investigation in stark terms, and the spokesperson for the DOJ said, quote, the department is looking at this crime from all angles, including as a hate crime and as an act of domestic terrorism. Hate crime, domestic terrorism -- two terms to describe the massacre that have eluded some GOP candidates with many of their initial statements and comments failing to mention race at all. When first asked if he believed the shooting was racially motivated, Jeb Bush replied, "I don`t know what was on the mind or the heart of the man who committed these atrocious crimes." Speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Senator Rand Paul believed that he had the answer. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What kind of person goes in a church and shoots nine people? There`s a sickness in our country, there`s something terribly wrong. But it isn`t going to be fixed by your government. It`s people straying away, it`s people not understanding where salvation comes from. And I think that if we understand that, we`ll understand and have better expectations of what we get from our government. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: And, finally, Rick Santorum had this to say. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You talked about the importance of prayer at this time that we`re announcing assaults on religious liberty that we`ve never seen before. So, it`s a time for real deeper reflection even beyond this horrible situation. (END AUDIO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: At the table, Dr. Jonathan Metzl, director for the Center for Medicine, Health and Society, as well as professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University. Yolanda Pierce is associate professor of African- American religion and literature at the Princeton Theological Seminary. Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling professor of law and political science at Yale University and author of "The Law of the Land: The Grand Tour of Our Constitutional Republic." And Joe Watkins, a Republican strategist and former White House aide to President George H.W. Bush. I want to start with you, Joe, because there is no question every single GOP candidate denounced this as a horrible crime, as something disgusting and awful and tragic. It seems to me that where we -- like how we understand what a thing like this is, helps to convey something about sort of what we think the problems are in American society. And we did not hear a racial analysis at least initially from these candidates. JOE WATKINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, we should have. I think they should have called it what it was. The hate crime, a crime based on race and the color of a person`s skin. They ought to speak plainly about it. I`m a Republican, I worked for a Republican president and I also happen to be an African-American. I`m somebody who has to deal with what other African-American men have to deal with every single day. It was racial hatred, and I think Republican candidates are much smarter if they talk about it plainly and clearly to other Americans. HARRIS-PERRY: I wondered if it was a little bit of the John McCain effect, where, you know, GOP hopefuls may be recognizing that there`s an early South Carolina primary that will occur. And that John McCain got himself into trouble 15 years ago. I thought it might be worth taking a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: But they fought to sever the union of our great nation, a cause that would have terribly harm America perhaps irreparably, and for a time perpetuated the grave injustice of slavery. They fought on the wrong side of American history. That, my friends, is how I personally feel about the Confederate battle flag. That is the honest ever I ever gave to a fair question, I feared that if I answered honestly, I could not win the South Carolina primary. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: He was about saying it plain. He said, I didn`t, I didn`t give the real answer. This is what I think about it. WATKINS: And he`s right. He should have just told it the way it was. People respect you if you`re true to yourself and if you speak the truth. HARRIS-PERRY: I want to go, Akhil, to this idea of the individual, loner, shooter, somehow disconnected from a history of American race. Because I asked you when you came in you`re wearing a tie that has Abraham Lincoln on it, and you gave me a linkage and analysis that I thought might be useful to share here. AKHIL REED AMAR, YALE UNIVERSITY: So, we`re talking about the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, basically co-founded by Lincoln. And we`re talking about South Carolina and the Confederacy and the history. Lincoln was assassinated. He was killed by someone who was a narcissistic murder. But was also politically motivated, was part of a larger ideology of hate and hierarchy. Abraham Lincoln is killed by John Wilkes Booth four days after Lincoln for the first time in the White House publicly says, "I, Abraham Lincoln, think black people should vote", and John Wilkes Booth was in the audience when he heard that and he actually said according to reliable reports, that`s the last speech he will ever give. And that`s history, that`s context. And it`s complicated -- it`s complicated in all sorts of ways. But let`s understand the history and the context. HARRIS-PERRY: That idea that there is not a mutually exclusive relationship between a narcissistic murderer who is also imbued with a system of racial supremacy, of white supremacy on this. METZL: Well, this narrative of the loner again is something we hear in the aftermath of pretty much every one of these shootings, perpetuated in some way by the media but also the NRA says, this is a lone act. This is one crazy person. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. METZL: What that does is it doesn`t allow society to look at itself. I feel that we go the wrong way when we tell that narrative, because these are moments of about a national awakening about ourselves, about our own values. This shooter clearly reflected larger ideologies. He clearly resonated with larger symbols of racism. I mean, I don`t think having a flag of Rhodesia was necessarily the best approach, given the story, but I think that in a view, this is a reflection of us, this is a shooting the pathology is us in a way at these moments, and we really do a disservice when we individual it is. YOLANDA PIERCE, PRINCETON SEMINARY: I was going to say, that`s wolf lone narrative, the reason why others said of course, within, you know 12 or 24 hours they interviewed his friends, his neighbors, his family members. So, he`s not a lone wolf. He`s situated in a community and a community is in part connected to the heinous act. We can`t dismiss this as an anomaly or an aberration. I even don`t like it when we say it`s a senseless crime. Actually, it makes perfect sense. Racism in this country is as ubiquitous as rain. And so, it actually makes perfect sense. So, instead of saying this is a lone wolf or this is someone who we just can`t imagine, he told us why he did what he did, and he told us who he hated, and he told us why. And so, we have to take that seriously so we stop thinking that this is just an individual and it won`t happen again. It happens with great degree of regularity. It`s broken. Our systems are broken. Our institutions and our structures are racist. Until we address that, we`re going to continue to have these conversations. (CROSSTALK) AMAR: Here`s one thing that we`ve done historically, historically, when these horrible things have happened. Americans amazingly have made constitutional lemonade out of lemons. Lincoln is martyred and we get the ratification of the 13th Amendment and the 14th Amendment and the 15th Amendment and his memory of his vision, and these four little girls are killed in a bomb in Birmingham, Alabama and we get the Civil Rights Act. And President Kennedy is assassinated. In his name, Lyndon Johnson says we must have civil rights and voting rights. And Martin King is assassinated and the day after that I believe the Supreme Court hears a landmark Fair Housing Act case Jones versus Alfred Mayer and ringingly affirms the importance of fair housing in America. So, we have in American history, taken these horrible moments, used them as occasions to reflect on ourselves and actually make amends. (CROSSTALK) PIERCE: And that`s being done on the backs of black people. AMAR: Right. PIERCE: That`s what we have to say. Those occasions certainly have happened, but primarily on the backs of black people. Enough is enough. HARRIS-PERRY: Let me suggest that one place where we haven`t yet done it, is in the question of the deaths, the martyrs` children at Sandy Hook. And we have not made reasonable accommodations around the question of gun control. And when we come back, I`m going to talk to Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Every country has violent hateful or mentally unstable people. What`s different is not every country is awash with easily accessible guns. And so, I refuse to act as if this is the new normal. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: That was President Obama on Friday, speaking out about the attack by Dylann Roof on the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. The mass shooting has galvanized supporters of gun control including those who have lost loved ones to gun violence. Joining me now from Charleston, South Carolina, is Lucia McBath, whose son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed in a dispute over loud music at a gas station in 2012. Lucy, I`m so happy to have you here. Why did you feel it was important to be in South Carolina today? LUCIA MCBATH, MOTHER OF JORDAN DAVIS: Thank you. Well, Melissa, first and foremost as a black woman, as a black mother who lost her child to the same kind of gun violence tragedy and as a woman of deep moral faith, I felt compelled to be here, because I really believed it was so important for me to be here and extend the same support and prayer and sense of community that these very members of this church, I know extended to me and my family in our darkest hours. HARRIS-PERRY: In fact, on last week`s show, we discussed the documentary about your son`s slaying. The three and a half minutes, ten bullets and are you utterly disillusioned at this moment, having lost Jordan and then standing there in the space of this loss? Or do you still have hope? MCBATH: I would not be honest if I said oh, I`m not disillusioned, yes. I mean, this hurts me to my core. I have spent just so many moments I mean literally in tears over this very thing. For me, the last bastion of safety and love and acceptance and forgiveness is in the church and now the gun violence is extended beyond the realm of our communities into the church. And you know, where do we go from here as a nation? But I do have hope, Melissa, I really have to have hope, because there`s nothing left. And what I see here today is a complete spiritual awakening in the community. I see people coming together, the way in which god intended this country to live, because beyond the shooting of these nine black victims this is the same kind of violence that we see across the country. And I see people here today for the first time truly standing together and committing themselves to do something about the gun violence beyond what we`re going to see and do here today. HARRIS-PERRY: Lucy, hold on for me a moment. Yolanda, I want to bring you in here. We were talking before the break about Akhil suggested to us that we have this kind of redemptive possibility that exists in this country. It`s part of the Christian narrative, too, that undeserved suffering can be redemptive, that literally in blood, from that can come a resurrection in a church space in my mind. AMAR: Yes. HARRIS-PERRY: And so I guess, again talking to Lucy McBath, you know, I don`t know how -- PIERCE: I think there are a couple of pieces here. One is the piece about thinking about suffering as inevitable, but not necessarily redemptive. People suffer, bad things happen and we get that. But part of the language that we`re often using is the way in which we equate salvation and violence together and those two things don`t actually belong together. A lot of as I was mentioning before, the break, a lot of the kinds of gains that we`ve been talking about politically have come about because the blood of black people is soaking this ground. And so, we have to think about ways that we can talk about redemption, we can talk about reconciliation or even talk about healing. But that isn`t always built upon violent acts perpetuated upon black and brown bodies. There is another way. And we also have to talk about not just salvation as something theological, but we have to talk about what does it mean to be safe? Not saved, that`s an interesting theological question. But what does it mean for black people to feel safe in this country, if on a Wednesday night, we cannot go into our own houses of worship? HARRIS-PERRY: Lucy, I want to ask you that question. I want to give you that question. What does it mean to feel safe in a country where you can`t go to the gas station and play your music as a young person? Where you can`t go on a Wednesday night to a church and have bible study? MCBATH: I mean that`s a very difficult question to answer, because, yes, where can you feel safe? If even now the church has become a platform for violence? I think it`s a matter of creating that safety. We don`t have that safety at this time. So, we have to create those safe spaces. We have to be willing to go beyond what we see here today. And go to our community legislators and civic leaders and pound on their doors, that you are accountable and responsible, a lot of which is happening here in the country. Rest on your hands. And you have the power and you have the authority to help us create safe places, safe spaces for our communities and people. And if that if they are not going to be accountable, we will make them accountable. And so, what I implore is that we have to be the agents of change. We have to create those safe spaces. But we have to push those that have the authority to help us create those safe spaces. We don`t have them now. But we have to move towards that. And you do that legislatively, civically, academically, socially and most importantly, spiritually. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to Lucy McBath in Charleston, South Carolina, every time I talk to you, I draw strength from you, you are made of extraordinary stuff. Thank you for being with us. MCBATH: Thank you very much. HARRIS-PERRY: And here in New York, thank you to Dr. Jonathan Metzl and Dr. Yolanda Pierce. Akhil Amar and Joe Watkins are sticking around. And up next, we`re going to switch gears and we`re gong to talk about some other news, why the GOP is wary of an ACA win and what`s at stake for millions of Americans caught in limbo? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Any day the Supreme Court will decide on the future of the Affordable Care Act -- again. Like the court`s last big ACA decision in June of 2012, this comes when the law is already fully in place and it comes at a time when we know that the ACA is finally in many ways working. Twenty-two million people have enrolled in Medicaid or private insurance plans, on the ACA`s exchange. The number of uninsured Americans has dropped by 12.1 million adults, the rate of uninsurance has dropped from 20 percent before the rollout to 13 percent today. If the 21 states that haven`t expanded their Medicaid programs chose to do so, another 4 million people, most of them in the South, can get health care. Despite claims that Obamacare would force people into subpar insurance claims. A recent commonwealth survey found that 81 percent of people with exchange plans are satisfied with their insurance coverage and 89 percent say they`re satisfied with the doctors covered in their plans. Much of this is made possible by the federal subsidies that help people afford their monthly premiums. And it is the fate of many of those subsidies that is in the hands of the Supreme Court. The justices could very well be on the verge of striking down subsidies in 34 states. The 34 states that failed to build their own insurance exchanges and use the federal government`s exchange instead, subsidies that go to 6.4 million Americans. Without the subsidies, the premium was jump on average, nearly 300 percent. MSNBC`s Irin Carmon reports on just two of the millions of people who could be affected by the court`s impending decision. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LADONNA APPELBAUM, BOUGHT INSURANCE ON FEDERAL EXCHANGE FEMALE: I put my wig on, which is always fun because I feel like I`m a rock star. IRIN CARMON, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Six months after Ladonna Appelbaum and her husband, Tom, bought health insurance for the first time in four years, they found out Ladonna has breast cancer. L. APPELBAUM: I get a summary from my health insurance every month. For the month of May, I would have had to pay $16,046.50, and because I have insurance, I saved $15,803.18. CARMON: So how much do you guys pay now? L. APPELBAUM: Now, we`re paying about $185 a month. CARMON: What are you getting for that? TOM APPELBAUM, HUSBAND: Well, we`re getting our money`s worth to say the least it saved us from bankruptcy is kind of an understatement, because there`s no way that we could have afforded to pay any of these medical bills that keep coming in every month. CARMON: Like 7.7 million other Americans, the Appelbaum`s monthly premium slower because they qualified for a subsidy under the Affordable Care Act. But any day the Supreme Court may rule in King v. Burwell that the aid the Appelbaums got is actually illegal. They live in Missouri, one of 34 states that did not set up its own insurance marketplace. Conservative activists argue that according to the letter of the law, specifically the words "established by the state", only plans bought on a state exchange qualify for the subsidy. If the Supreme Court agrees, 6.4 million people will lose the financial help they`re getting. What role does the subsidy play in you guys being able to afford health insurance? L. APPELBAUM: It`s a huge role. They cover over $600. CARMON: The Appelbaums are Democrats who supported the Affordable Care Act. But they say they never expected how much it would affect their own lives. L. APPELBAUM: Everyone has told me, Ladonna, you -- you look great, you`re doing great getting through this. I can`t believe you`ve had surgery. I can`t believe you`re going to chemotherapy. And it`s -- I honestly believe that I was able to focus on my health and not our wealth. (END VIDEOTPAE) HARRIS-PERRY: Joining me panel is MSNBC reporter Irin Carmon, and joining me from Washington, D.C. is Dr. Kavita Patel, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, a primary care doctor for Johns Hopkins, a former aide to the Obama administration. And I`m going to start with you, Doctor, can we say now that the law is a success? DR. KAVITA PATEL, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Yes, we can. Absolutely. And, Melissa, I think that Irin and your comments have highlighted the success. This was about getting affordable health care to Americans. As we just saw, this is actually happening, it`s distressing to think that a potential Supreme Court ruling could create more chaos in the meantime. But let me get something clear, it wouldn`t undo the law. So, what we need to concentrate on is how to move forward because the law is here to stay. HARRIS-PERRY: So, you say that, let me come to my Supreme Court expert here. So, Akhil, it wouldn`t undo the law, but wouldn`t it sort of -- a bit like what happened with the Voting Rights Act, right? It didn`t end the Voting Rights Act, but it took the teeth out of the ability to do it once Section 5 was gone. AMAR: So, here`s another metaphor, it would throw a monkey wrench into the machinery. But it may very well turn out that this will actually create more chaos for Republican governors in Republican states because they would be leaving a lot of federal money on the table if they didn`t in some way figure out a way to join the system. Maybe they just joined the system by saying we authorize the federal exchange to operate in our state. It`s not just four words "established by the state." It`s one word "by`. Hw about for the state, established for the state. So, they`re going to be pressured to do that, because doctors who are Republican constituency in general want to get paid and hospitals and this is a middle-class entitlement, more like Social Security rather than a poor person`s entitlement, like welfare, aid to families with dependant children, Medicaid and so on. HARRIS-PERRY: So, this is not a small point. I mean, when we look at the states that would be impacted, there are 34 states with federal exchange. These are the ones that might be affected. As you might expect, most of them have Republican governors, it`s why they didn`t set up state exchanges. And then you see the whole solid south there. If it goes down there may be an ideological win, but won`t there, I mean, there`s a kind of rule of politics, you don`t take the benefit that your constituents have and do a victory lap. You figure out how to make sure your constituents continue to have this kind of benefit. WATKINS: Oh, you make a great point, beauty is always, of course, in the eye of the beholder. You know? I mean, from state to state, it depends on what the challenge of constituents might be. But I really don`t see at the end of the day whether I`m Republican or Democrat, I don`t see how the court doesn`t support the president. I think ultimately the court ends up upholding the president in this matter. It would be inconsistent for them to do something otherwise based on the last ruling. HARRIS-PERRY: So, this is an interesting point, the idea of the language of the state, right? Sort of where they have been previously. When I hear the state, I think the leviathan, the state in the broadest sense, as opposed to the state. But I also want to point out that there seems to be a discernible effect. When we look at the ten states with the worst-ranked health, nine have the federal exchange which means they didn`t set it up themselves. Six of them have not expanded Medicaid. Again, we see a big representation of the south there. It just feels like there is a kind of, I mean having a state with poor health is an economic convention not only for that family, but for the state. CARMON: You know, I have to say I`m not as optimistic as Akhil about if the Supreme Court rules for plaintiffs in this case, will Republicans will be blamed, there will be so much pressure on various governors, some of whom are Democrats and various legislatures, in the case of Missouri, that`s what would be required to set up an exchange. Because we heard the same thing about the Medicaid expansion. We heard that hospitals, for example, would be pushing and that would lead people to bring -- to accept the Medicaid money that the Supreme Court made optional. Now, as Professor Amar pointed out, that`s the middle class that involves poor people, this involves middle class people. But I do think, ultimately, if the Supreme Court says the Obama administration screwed up this law and people get their subsidies taken away, I think it`s at least reasonable to think that people will be angry at Obama as the chaos ensues. And even in states that would like to set up exchange, some of them just chose to go to the federal exchange not out of hostility but that they just didn`t want to deal with or they messed up their own attempts at exchanges. There`s going to be a lag time. So, even absent any sort of ideological hostility to the Affordable Care Act. It`s going to take months, potentially years to set up an exchange, and in the meantime, there will be complete chaos. And the last point that I really don`t want to miss here is that this was a case that was cooked up by conservative activists to kill the act. This is not -- the people who have brought this case have been recruited by libertarian and conservative activist who would like to take away health care from these people. HARRIS-PERRY: Stick with us, we`re going to have more on the ACA. Plus, the directors behind a new documentary on gun violence. So, Dr. Patel, I`m coming back to you. I have a very specific question when we get back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: So, five years in, what we are talking about is no longer just a law, it`s no longer just a theory. It isn`t even just about the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, it isn`t about myths or rumors that folks try to sustain. There`s a reality that people on the ground, day to day, are experiencing. Their lives are better. This is now part of the fabric of how we care for one another. This is health care in America. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: That was President Obama last week speaking to the Catholic Health Association Conference about the Affordable Care Act, celebrating its successes even as the Supreme Court considers gutting a major part of the health care law. So, Dr. Patel, I want to come back to you, I have a general rule I use when I`m trying to figure out how something is likely to happen. And I just sort of presume big money interests are going to win. Sometimes I`m wrong about that, but an awful lot of time it turns out that that cynical rule of thumb works. In this case, aren`t insurance companies interested in the preservation of this subsidy? Wouldn`t they be the ones who lose six million customers? PATEL: Absolutely. And, Melissa, your rule is a pretty good one in general in all sectors of the world by the way and you`re absolutely right. In fact some of the people that are kind of standing the most nervously on the edge here waiting for the ruling, any Monday now, are the insurance companies. And if, if the reason I actually think this is different than Medicaid is because the people who benefit from the exchange plans are very different than the ones who benefit from Medicaid plans and they will likely be even more outraged. In a state like Florida with 1.5 million people and two presidential Republican candidates and heavy insurance company involvement, you can bet that that`s going to add up to activism for this effort. HARRIS-PERRY: Akhil, have any of the major insurance companies actually filed amicus briefs with the court on this? AMAR: I actually haven`t seen all the amicus briefs, it`s complicate all around. But just remember there are four rock-solid votes for the administration`s position, the four Democratic appointees, the four liberals. So, all they need is one more vote from any of the five on any one of four different theories and so, one, I`ll give them case names, one is McCulloch. McCulloch is about a case about the Constitution. It says read holistically, it would say read the statute holistically. And then there`s a case called Chevron. It says defer to the administrative agency, the IRS, the HHS, to make this complicated statute work. A third is the case called Ashwander. It says, you know, actually if you, if you cut off money to the states that didn`t play ball, that didn`t say we create our own exchange. That would be like a gun to the head of the states and that might be violation of states rights. In order to avoid the constitutional state`s rights objection, let`s construe the statute not to put a gun to the heads of the states, whether they get the money, whether they kind of signed on officially or not. And, finally, a case called Pennhurst that says it`s not a very nice thing to have all of these hidden strings in the statute when you`re dealing with states. They should be treated nicely with dignity. They should be treated well. And so, the statute itself if it`s going to impose all sorts of conditions on states have to be clear about that up front, so that the states in Congress know to fight those conditions if they have a problem. So, any one of four theories -- HARRIS-PERRY: So, there`s a ton of room for those five conservative justices, for one of them to pop over to the side. AMAR: On one theory. PATEL: It should -- (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: -- maintaining a fundamental kind of conservative world view vis-a-vis, the law. AMAR: And just as an example. We mentioned briefly about Confederate license plates, there was a Supreme Court case just this week on that. And it was the four liberals joined by my friend Clarence Thomas. HARRIS-PERRY: Clarence Thomas -- AMAR: It only took one and who would have thought perhaps. Some of us might have. But only took one conservative on one theory in that one, in the original Obamacare case, John Roberts crossed over. On same-sex marriage, it might be Anthony Kennedy. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. AMAR: So, it`s interesting. CARMON: You know, President Obama said something about how this is woven into the fabric of our lives now. You know, we introduced you to the Appelbaums, they are people who have been having this insurance for a year. He had hand surgery right after they bought insurance. She got cancer. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. CARMON: $15,000 in a single month is the amount of money that they`re saving. So, I do think there`s some aspect where the justices, they stepped in the earliest possible moment. But they should be taken into consideration that people are now getting used to and now have purchased this health insurance with the assistance of the government. And what would it mean to uproot it in actual people`s lives. HARRIS-PERRY: I just want to point out particularly black and brown lives, when we look at the reduction of the uninsured rate, by race in this country, Latino uninsurance is down by 10 percentage points, African- American insurance down by almost 8 percent points, white uninsurance down by about 4 percentage points. So, it also had a disparate positive impact on the communities who most need it. Thank you to Dr. Kavita Patel in Washington, D.C. Here in New York, thank you to Erin Carmon, and Joe Watkins and also to Akhil Reed Amar. Up next, a documentary that examines what it means to live in a country where the number of guns nearly equals the number of citizens. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Even as we learn more about the shooter, Dylann Roof and his motives, we know what ultimately made the 21-year-old deadly was access to a gun. But in a country where the number of guns is nearly equivalent to the number of citizens, how can safety ever be assumed? Sunday is the first official day of summer, and already, there have been an estimated 5,800 deaths from gun violence this year. In the spring of 2014 alone, an estimated 8,000 people died from gunfire and while highly visible incidents like Charleston temporarily capture the nation`s attention, the pervasiveness of gun violence makes it difficult to give all of its victims a public face or more importantly a story. That is the goal of the new HBO documentary, "Requiem For the Dead: American Spring 2014", using a power mixture of social media, police reports and home videos. The film tells the story of simple gun violence victims who died that spring. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DISPATCHER: OK, what`s going on, ma`am? CALLER: I accidently shot my daughter. CALLER: Get an ambulance, please? COURTNEY WIEN: Chris was like I can`t live without her. So nobody else was going to. So he just took her from all of us. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Joining me now are Emmy Award-winning filmmakers behind the documentary, Nick Doob and Shari Cookson. I was saying before the break sometimes when I`m screening a film I`ll be doing other things, because of how you put this together, you have to watch the screen at every second. You have to see all the faces, you have to read it. I was stunned by how many young people, and I mean young, teenagers, adolescents, young kids, is that a story we`re missing here? SHARI COOKSON, REQUIEM FOR THE DEAD: Well, it`s true there`s so many, so many children are killed, both in accidental shootings, or get in the line of fire, something else going. Either one of the headlines I was reading, a couple was having a fight and father took out a gun and shot it and hit the kid and these kind of things are happening all of the time and everybody can be shot, young, old, everybody. And that`s what this movie just really -- I think for us just, we didn`t realize it until we started looking. HARRIS-PERRY: At point you just made, it`s often not the kind of case we`re looking at this week, of someone who plan it is, decides it and intentionally goes and does it. Sometimes it is. But sometimes it is just the availability of a gun in a moment when our passions and our heat and our anger and our judgment is off kilter. NICK DOOB, REQUIEM FOR THE DEAD: There`s 88 people die every day. It`s -- there`s a constant string of killing going on. And the, big, big stories, the stories like Charleston, is less than 1 percent of the deaths that happen every year. And these every day, there`s these gun fatalities that you don`t hear about. And that`s what we were trying to do in the film, is to bring those alive, make them real. HARRIS-PERRY: I want to play one of them, a tough one, to watch about a murder and suicide. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WIEN: Chris was like, I can`t live without her. And none of us took that as to mean that he couldn`t live without her, so nobody else was going to. And he just took her from all of us. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: So, I think I`m also stunned how much social media there was for you to use. How many people tweeted or Facebooked or said something about either their intention. I guess I was, that is also a shocking moment for me. COOKSON: You know, one thing was, we started out, we had a lot of headlines and maybe hundreds. And we didn`t -- it`s almost just overwhelming to see all of the headlines. So, sometimes I don`t even have pictures of the person. So we would start to put a picture with the headline and then you would think -- that`s the person. You know. And then we wondered what else might exist that would let us know a little bit about this person. And we would go into their Facebook page and we`d see how they were. Just a little bit ago. Just alive and living every day lives. And in a way, they sort of came alive for us, and then when you see the headline and you realize that they were shot dead, it`s really incredibly moving so that was the spirit we wanted to infuse into the film is make people show their lives. HARRIS-PERRY: And I really -- I felt that and watching in the context of nine people having been sitting there in their bible study group and then gone, you have that sense of 88 times a day here. Thank you to Nick Doob and to Shari Cookson. After the break, more about the nine men and women who lost their lives on Wednesday night in Charleston. Exactly that. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Before we end the show, I want to thank you for watching. We`ll be back tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. It`s the same time churches across Charleston will ring their bells together in solidarity in mourning and in remembrance of the nine people whose lives were cut violently short Wednesday night at Mother Emanuel Church. The Reverend Clementa Pinckney, 41 years old. The reverend was the senior pastor at Emanuel AME and a father of two. He was also a South Carolina state senator and was the youngest African-American elected to the state legislature in 1993 at the age of 23. Reverend Sharonda Coleman Singleton, 45 years old. She served as a pastor at Emanuel AME and coached girls tracked and worked at a speech therapist at Goose Creek High School. Ethel Lance, 70 years old. Ethel worked at Emanuel Church for more than 30 years and was a retired employee of the Gaillard Center for Performance Hall in Charleston. Susie Jackson, 87 years old. Susie was Ethel Lance`s cousin, long-time member of the church. A church mother of Mother Emanuel. Tywanza Sanders, 26 years old. Tywanza recently graduated from the historically black college Allen University with a degree in business administration. He died trying to save his Aunt Susie Jackson from the shooter. Cynthia Hurd, 54 years old. Cynthia was a librarian with the Charleston County public library system for 31 years and managed one of its busiest branches. She once explained her job by saying, quote, "Your whole reason for being there is to help people." Myra Thompson, 59 years old. Myra was a church member and an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Her husband is a reverend at the Holy Trinity Reform Episcopal Church in Charleston. And the reverend Daniel L. Simmons, Sr., 74 years old. Reverend Simmons, like Reverend Clementa Pinckney and Tywanza Sanders graduated from Allen University and was a retired pastor from friendship AME Church. He served on the ministerial church at Mother Emanuel. The Reverend DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49 years old. Reverend Middleton- Doctor was the mother of four daughters, sang in the church choir and was the admissions coordinators for South Wesleyan University`s Charleston Learning Center. I do not know what verse they joined together to study on Wednesday night, but on this day I can only stand to turn to the third chapter of Lamentations where I find language for unspeakable grief. "All our enemies have opened their mouths wide against us. We have suffered terror and pitfalls, ruin and destruction, streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed." But also there among the words of sorrow is a promise of healing. "I called on your name, Lord, from the depth of the pit and you heard my plea. Do not close your ears from my cry for relief. You came near when I called you and you said, `Do not fear`." Do not fear. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END