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Transcript: The ReidOut, 5/27/22

Guests: Frank Schaeffer, Roland Gutierrez


Texas state Senator Roland Gutierrez discusses the shooting in Uvalde. Texas officials share harrowing details of police failures as a gunman killed at least 19 children and two teachers. As Uvalde mourns its dead, the NRA begins its convention in Houston, as supporters of sensible gun laws loudly make their voices heard. The alliance between gun culture and religion is explored.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: I hope you and your family are safe and informed. And I do wish you a good long weekend.

Thanks for watching "THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER."


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone.

We begin to read out tonight with Texas officials sharing harrowing details on what happened when a gunman killed at least 19 children and two of their teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, where roughly 82 percent of the population is Latino. Yet take a look at this scene.

That is Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, along with his law enforcement peers, a glimpse of leadership that doesn`t quite match the demographics of the town about 60 miles from the U.S.- Mexico border.

But that was even -- what was even more startling than the optics of all these press conferences this week with all of that leadership, well, is what was said today, the admission of a string of police failures, including driving right by the gunman, of how one girl cowering inside the school called 911 more than five times.

By 12:03 that day, nearly 20 officers stood in a hallway outside of the classrooms, but it wasn`t until 12:50 that the classroom was breached using keys from a janitor, before that, no keys.

McCraw said the on-scene commander believed that this was a barricaded subject situation and did not think that there were more children at risk. He was then overwhelmed with reporters demanding an explanation into the time delay, leading him to make this stunning admission:


STEVEN MCCRAW, DIRECTOR, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: Hey, stand by. Hey, stand by. Right? I got it. I got it. OK. Hey, for the benefit of hindsight, where I`m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision, period. There`s no excuse for that.


REID: The press conference also failed to translate questions and answers into Spanish, despite earlier promises that they would. Again, a lot of the folks in this town speak Spanish as a primary language.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Espanol, in Espanol, Spanish.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s no Spanish? What happened?




REID: Hours later, we heard from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who dodged questions surrounding gun laws, focusing instead on touting benefits being offered to local families, and again pushing mental health as the culprit, despite being the governor who has slashed mental health funding in Texas.

But he had this to say about the communication breakdown with his cops.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): I was misled. I am livid about what happened. And when I came out here on this stage and told the public what happened, it was a recitation of what people in that room told me, whether it be law enforcement officials or non-law enforcement officials, whatever the case may be.

And, as everybody has learned, the information that I was given turned out, in part, to be inaccurate, and I`m absolutely livid about that.


REID: Note that he didn`t have the law enforcement standing behind him like he did during his other press conferences. Just noting that.

Also today, we got heartbreaking new images from Pete Luna of "The Uvalde Leader-News," showing law enforcement officers helping students escape through the window of their school, images that repeat again and again in America, children running for their lives.

Joining me now from Uvalde, Texas, is MSNBC anchor and correspondent Yasmin Vossoughian.

Yasmin, my friend, thank you for being here.

And I understand you have been on the ground. I have been watching your coverage. It has been excellent all day. And you spoke with the brother of one of the children who was killed, of one of the -- I guess one of the -- brother of one of the boys who was killed. And what did they say?

YASMIN VOSSOUGHIAN, MSNBC ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: I spoke to -- I spoke to the brother of Xavier. He is a 10-year-old boy who was in room 111, Joy.

And he told me Xavier was this incredible little boy. He loved going around with his big bro, his big bro and his girlfriend, Angel. And they have their own baby as well. And Xavier loved to dance. He loved to dance to music. He loved to play with his little brothers, his little 2-year-old brother, his 4-year-old brother. They looked up to Xavier like nobody else.

And they can`t understand the tragedy that has happened. They can`t go into his bedroom right now. They are just so broken, that family, because of the loss of little 10-year-old Xavier and his girlfriend, Annabell.

REID: Yes.

VOSSOUGHIAN: Xavier had a girlfriend, little Annabell, 10 years old, who died alongside him, Annabell, a little girl that we have heard the name of many times as well.

And he said Xavier did everything for Annabell as a 10-year-old, learning from his big brother how to treat -- how to treat a girl. And Xavier did that with little Annabell.

REID: Yes.

VOSSOUGHIAN: And they died together, as his brother put it.

And I will tell you, he was in room 111. And we learned from that press conference, as you mentioned today, of some details that were startling, I will say, Joy.

The first 911 call came in at 11:30 a.m. from a teacher inside the school saying there`s been an accident outside the school. A man is armed. He then entered the school three minutes later.


For one hour and 20 minutes, he was inside that school alive, for one hour and 20 minutes, until he was shot. The breakdown of law enforcement across the board has been shocking, I think, to this community.

REID: Yes.

VOSSOUGHIAN: 12:03 from room 112, a teacher calls in and says, there are eight to nine kids alive in my classroom. There is an active shooter in this classroom. I am alive.

REID: Yes.

VOSSOUGHIAN: 12:10, another call, 12:21, another call. Guess what room, 12:21, that call came in from?

Room 111. That`s where Xavier was.

REID: Yes.

VOSSOUGHIAN: And Xavier`s brother asking today, was Xavier still alive? Was Annabell still alive? Had these people gone in earlier, would they have remained alive?

The other big question is, school resource officer was not here, was not on campus, heard of the shooting, raced to the scene. And then we heard he bypassed the shooter, who was crouching down in a bush and instead thought that the teacher was a shooter in arms.

Had he been on campus, he would have been able to response. I asked about the SWAT. There`s Uvalde SWAT. There are part-time SWAT, as we`re told. There was not personnel available to respond quickly. Then what are they here for? What are they trained for?

Two years ago, they posted on Facebook saying, in fact, this is exactly the type of situation they were training for. They`re visiting public schools throughout Uvalde to train and be prepared for an active shooter situation.

So, if you`re in this community, you have lost someone, you haven`t lost someone, this is a tight-knit community. Everybody knows one another. You are angry. And no matter what the police is saying going forward, whether it`s coming from DPS or local police, they`re not going to trust it, because, already, as we have gotten into three days of this thing, we have been misled every stage of the way.

And I will say one more thing, the governor saying today, in fact, he was shocked,he was angry that he was misled about the facts. There`s a reason the governor doesn`t come out on day one, and tell you the ticktock of what`s happening with an active shooter situation.

There is a reason in which officials wait until they have all the facts, all their ducks in a row before they brief the press...

REID: Yes.

VOSSOUGHIAN: ... because this is an incredibly sensitive situation. And the parents and families deserve to know.

REID: Yes, indeed.

VOSSOUGHIAN: And that`s where we are today.

And these families, they are reeling, and they want answers.

REID: Yes.

Yasmin Vossoughian, it is shocking, the failure of police in this instance.

Yasmin Vossoughian, thank you very much. Really appreciate you.

Texas state Senator Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat, confronted Governor Abbott at his press conference today, imploring him to reform gun laws. Now, it may be hard to hear him, so we added subtitles.

Here`s part of what he said.


STATE SEN. ROLAND GUTIERREZ (D-TX): You have to do something, man.

Your own colleagues are telling you, calling you, telling you an 18-year- old shouldn`t have this type of gun.


REID: Joining me now from Uvalde is that very Texas state senator, Roland Gutierrez.

And did you -- oh, OK, well, we`re going to -- we`re going to go to him in just a second. And so we`re trying to get him in. We`re having a little bit of a technical difficulty, so we`re going to keep trying to get him.

But while we wait for him to come in, I do want to play another sound bite from Yasmin Vossoughian, who also interviewed a couple of people in Uvalde about what she was talking, about the police response, because the police response has been a big part of the question about what went wrong here.

Here is Yasmin`s interview with two people in Uvalde about the slow police response and the fact that one of the police officers actually knew one of the girls who was killed. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven`t trusted law enforcement, and here`s why?

VOSSOUGHIAN: Why is that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It doesn`t surprise me one bit.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re very slow moving.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very slow moving. Any time we have had situations, they`re pretty slow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They could get better people. That`s what I think.


REID: And the problem here being that, in this community, which we know is a low-income community, it is a majority Latino community, it`s something that happens in a lot of communities.

Those of us who are people of color are familiar with this story -- it`s a sad one -- about slow police response times when we call. It took 10 minutes for police to actually arrive on the scene after the first 911 call of people nearby seeing a man with a long gun running toward the school.

Now I will introduce -- he is here -- Senator Roland Gutierrez.

Thank you very much, sir. I really appreciate you being here.

I don`t know if you were able to just see that video and to hear Yasmin Vossoughian, her reporting. But it does feel like part of the story here, a big part of the story is, number one, a very, very slow response by local police, and then local police being in charge of what happened even when federal authorities got there, and a very, very, very slow response getting inside that school.

You raised some concerns to the governor. Have you had the concerns about that, about slow response and this police failure? I can only call it that. Have you gotten any answers about that?

GUTIERREZ: Well, I -- so, absolutely, I mean, first off, even the police - - you heard Steve McCraw today suggested that there was a failure.


I know that he wants to put it on the local police. I`d like to find out what we haven`t heard from law enforcement. I have asked them. I asked them to give us this account early. They wanted to wait a little longer. The folks in this community need transparency. What I`d like to see is when the different agencies actually arrived.

In my mind, operational control would shift to an agency with higher firepower, higher jurisdictional level, if you will. That didn`t happen here. We allowed either the school police or the chief of police -- I`m a little bit confused as to who is saying, which chief was in operational command.

And so that`s a question that I need to have answered for myself. Certainly, then the federal -- federal government comes in, and then they go in and execute. And so we really have a lot of issues and a lot of failures that happened here.

This community deserves to know and our country deserves to know for sure.

REID: You know, there was a pretty epic tweet thread that was -- went pretty viral today from a Uvalde resident who lives near the school, who said that slow police response times, and not having a great interactive relationship with police, was actually not an uncommon thing in this community.

How do you feel about -- this can`t help, right, in a community that is low-income and largely citizens of color, when they feel unserved at the time when they needed police the most.

GUTIERREZ: Well, certainly, the folks that I`m -- that are accountable to me are the State Troopers, at least that are accountable to the senators in the Texas legislature.

These folks are going to have to go and talk to their mayor and talk to their councilperson. I have real concerns about the failure at every level.

REID: What I asked the governor today was a special session, a special session, because we have to hold him accountable.

We have asked for low commonsense gun laws for a very long time. We need a special session. We need a full investigation that gives us clear transparency as to what went on here and where the failures were, so that this never happens again.

REID: You asked him about this idea that an 18-year-old can just so easily buy an assault rifle. And that made it easier. There was no wait. Just buy two assault rifles, buy lots of ammunition.

And if you`re a spree killer that wants to spontaneously do something like this, it`s really easy in the state of Texas.

But I want to play what Governor Abbott had to say about school shootings, because he had a counternarrative about them. Take a look.


ABBOTT: But it`s my understanding that ever since Texas has been a state, an 18-year-old has had the ability to buy a long gun, a rifle, right?


ABBOTT: Right.

And since that time, it seems like it`s only been in the past decade or two that we have had school shootings. So, for a century-and-a-half, 18-year- olds could buy rifles, and we didn`t have school shootings.


REID: That, sir, is not true. In 1966, the first known school shooting/modern day mass shooting took place in Texas at the University of Texas, that shooting that took place in the tower.

So why do you suppose the government is -- why the governor is continuing to use that talking point, which is disproved by Texas history?

GUTIERREZ: Listen, this governor lives in some alternative world. And that`s the reality.

The fact is, we no longer use .22 rifles. There`s a -- there`s no -- you don`t need a -- people are out there that hunt with squirrel guns, that`s not what we`re talking about.

REID: Right.

GUTIERREZ: We`re talking about AR-15s.

We`re talking about highly militarized weaponry. And we need to have a change there. How in the world are we going to let an 18 -- how can we live in a place where an 18-year-old can go buy thousands of rounds of ammunition, two AR-15s within two days, and no one says anything?

In 2019, I filed a red flag bill that went nowhere because the Republicans didn`t even let it out of committee. If we can`t even have a discussion on the issues that are important, I don`t know what there is left to do. People elect me to fix problems. They elect Greg Abbott to fix problems.

And session after session, he has refused. We are a legislature that meets every other year in odd-numbered years. And so we only meet for five months. And so I have asked Greg Abbott to call for a special session, so that we can have some changes that would make sense for our community.

REID: Yes.

Well, we hope that you get that special session. Please feel free to come back anytime to talk about that.

Texas state Senator Roland Gutierrez, thank you very much.

Up next on THE REIDOUT: As Uvalde mourns its dead, the NRA begins its big unrepentant gun celebration in Houston, but supporters of sensible gun laws are there too loudly making their voices heard.

Also tonight: the unholy alliance between gun culture and religion.

Plus, for the first time in recent history the government is not addressing the leading cause of childhood death, which these days is gun violence.

And the heavy toll on all of us from two weeks of immense trauma.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: A split-screen in Texas today shows the stark reality of the country`s problem with gun violence and our refusal to do anything about it.

As the community in Uvalde, Texas, continues to mourn the lives of 19 children and two teachers, the National Rifle Association is holding praise and worship for the AR-15 and other weapons of death in the face of local and national outrage.

Underscoring the macabre contrast, across the street from the NRA gathering, children were bearing photos as well of the lives taken in Uvalde, one sign reading: "Am I next?"



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have never protested before.



QUESTION: Why -- what was different this time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because enough is enough. This mass shooting in Uvalde just -- just touched us off. And we`re -- we`re so furious about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Things need to change. I think it`s shameful. Everybody walking up should feel shameful.


REID: Texas Governor Greg Abbott pulled out of an in person appearance, opting instead to be in Uvalde by via video -- be in Uvalde, but he addressed the convention via video.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick also bailed, citing the Uvalde families. Those who did appear tried to strike a somber tone, but made clear where they stand.

Ted Cruz`s solution? Make schools into militarized zones.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): We need serious funding to upgrade our schools, to install bulletproof doors and locking classroom doors.

Ultimately, as we all know, what stops armed bad guys is armed good guys.


REID: Well, Ted, that clearly did not happen in Uvalde. And is that really how you want Texas to live? Is that how they want to live, sending their kids to schools that look like prison?

We`re also learning firsthand from the children who survived the slaughter of their friends, classmates and teachers -- friends, classmates and teachers images, that will be horrifically burned into their memories forever.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whenever he started shooting, we hid behind my teacher`s desk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cop said: "Help -- if you need help."

And then they got -- one of the persons in my class said: "Help." The guy overheard, and he came in and shot her.

And he says: "It`s time to die."

I was hiding hard, and I was telling my friend to not talk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My friends who died were really good people. I miss them a lot. When I learned they were dead, I cried a lot.


REID: While the gun lobby holds court with 19 children not yet buried, we`re hearing the grief of the parents whose babies remain forever 10.

Little Lexi Rubio loved playing softball. Her father, ironically, is a sheriff`s deputy who was off-duty that day. And her parents spoke to NBC`s Lester Holt.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re not doing well. I just want my baby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven`t got to see my baby since this day, since the day we took a picture with her with her award.

We just -- we just want to see her.

I know her I can`t told her, but I can touch -- it`s the only thing I can hope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know what it`s like to be here, and that we didn`t -- that I didn`t take her home? I made this huge mistake, and you can never fix it.

I always take my kids home after these ceremonies. I don`t know what was different this day. She didn`t ask. I didn`t mention it. And I left my baby at the school.


REID: Joining me now Mike Hixenbaugh, NBC News senior investigative reporter live in Houston, Charles Blow, columnist for "The New York Times," and Michael Steele, former RNC chairman.

Thank you all for being here.

Welcome, Mr. Hixenbaugh, to the show.

I want to ask you about the NRA and the vibe inside of that convention and how they manage to celebrate guns at a time when, not far away, parents are preparing to bury little 10-year-old children.

MIKE HIXENBAUGH, NBC NEWS SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Joy, I don`t know how. That setup was really hard. I`m sorry.

REID: It was.

HIXENBAUGH: I came from Uvalde last night to be back in town to cover the convention.

And what I found was a complete and utter disconnect. Across the street were protesters holding signs and children pleading to -- for change, for something to change. And, inside, there were parents with their children showing them how to hold AR-15s and telling me why the policies that allowed this shooter to go and buy a couple of these guns days after his 18th birthday are so important, that these -- those policies are what keeps us safe.

And it was -- it`s really hard to put into words how far away I felt from the scenes back in Uvalde. I was talk -- when I was talking to some of those families and to teachers who talked about hiding on the floor for 35, 40 minutes.

REID: Did anyone inside of that convention who spoke to you, did they even express any emotion about where -- I have been crying for three days, by the way, OK, so don`t feel bad about feeling emotional.

Did they express -- was there any emotion in there for these dead children and the teachers?

HIXENBAUGH: Look, I didn`t talk to everybody, but the thing that I witnessed that was the most jarring is, on one side of the street, there were protesters there are emotional screaming "Shame, shame, shame, murderers," and, on the other side of the street, people wearing AR-15s on their chests, like on their T-shirts, holding up their cell phones, and recording videos and laughing and mocking the protesters.


I don`t know how to bridge that.

REID: Yes. I don`t even know how to understand it.

Charles the NRA started out as union generals who were dismayed at the poor marksmanship of the people who were being recruited to fight to save the Union, and it just morphed into this other thing. I mean, they were all for gun reform when the Black Panthers were carrying long guns in Los Angeles.

And then they decided to join the Southern Strategy, and they have hardened into this other thing that we just heard described. There`s no negotiating with that, right?


And, in fact, I think that part of what you`re seeing with the NRA convention is them trying to make a point. The part of the propaganda of the NRA and the Republicans who support them is that this has actually nothing to do with us, right, that these are criminals who are getting their hands on guns, using the freedoms that we are gathering for law- abiding citizens against us, right?

They believe that these -- or they want to convince America that these people are separate, that we have to in fact, have more guns to protect ourselves from these few criminals who get their hands on the guns and use them in these ways.

That is -- if you believe that your true safety is only garnered if you have an arm -- arms in your home, if you have long guns strapped to your chest, if you have them in your truck, if you have them at the grocery store, then that doesn`t -- this doesn`t penetrate for you.

You can even feel sad. You can even say, this is a really bad thing that happened. However, that has nothing to do with me. My guns are locked up. I`m a law-abiding citizen. I have never done anything wrong with guns in my life.

And, in fact, nine -- because we have more guns in America than people, 99.9 percent of people have never used their gun against another human being in this country. So, to a large degree, it`s right.

But it only takes a fraction to wreak absolute havoc. And that is what we have. And until we retreat from this idea of gun proliferation, and also reducing the barriers to gun ownership and the rules around when and where you can have them, we will never get over the havoc that the fraction of a percentage are wreaking on our society.

REID: Yes.

And, Michael, let me play Beto O`Rourke, because I thought he was very magnanimous today. He was at that protest across the street. And this is what he said.


BETO O`ROURKE (D), TEXAS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: There are some, including those who`ve lost those who are most dear to them, who will say it is too soon for us to talk about what we are going to do to prevent this from ever happening again.

But I hope that you agree with me that the time for us to have stopped Uvalde it was right after Sandy Hook.


O`ROURKE: The time for us to have stopped Uvalde was right after Parkland.


O`ROURKE: The time for us to stopped Uvalde was right after Santa Fe High School.


O`ROURKE: The time for us to stop the next mass shooting in this country is right now, right here, today.


REID: Michael, why does that argument not compel Republicans?

Because it does compel gun owners, right? I mean, you and I are friends.


REID: We know a lot of the same people. I don`t know anybody.

STEELE: Right.

REID: I literally don`t. I don`t care how many guns yes, I know people with a house full of guns, but they -- rifles and things. They hunt.

They`re -- even if they collect guns. I don`t know anyone who isn`t moved by that, except elected Republicans.

STEELE: Well, the thing that I think is striking that, for me right now in this space, is the fact that the narrative around the gun discussion has largely centered on an incorrect argument, which has allowed the hard right to harden their position, such that any reform, any effort, Joy, to address what Charles was just talking about, for example, is considered a stripping away, a slippery slope towards diminishing their rights under the Second Amendment.

So this idea of control, gun control, has always been, in my view, the wrong argument to make, because no one...


REID: It`s bad -- yes, it`s bad marketing, for sure.

STEELE: It`s just bad marketing.


And it`s always been about reforms that would allow law-abiding gun owners to continue to enjoy the use of their firearms for hunting and shooting and other things, and for the country to focus like a laser on those, like this young individual, who are outside of that.

And so the reforms, whether it was around -- remember the gun show discussion around finding who owns and who has access to getting permits? The bogus argument the governor of Texas is currently making about, well, we have always allowed 18-year-olds. OK, that doesn`t mean that, in the 21st century, that law should still be the hook on which you want to hang your Stetson.

REID: Right.

STEELE: And so I think a lot of the argument now has to shift when you -- what you hear after Sandy Hook, and certainly after Stoneman Douglas, the David Hoggs of the world are changing that conversation.

They`re saying, look, I know we`re going to disagree on a lot of this, but can we at least get to a space where we can begin to talk about the kind of commonsense reforms, not control of your guns, right? We don`t take anything away from you. We just want to put in place the reforms to save lives.

REID: All we want to do is make an AR-15 as hard to buy a Sudafed or to rent a car.

STEELE: That`s it.

REID: None -- neither of which an 18-year-old can do.

And, by the way, let me put this up real quick. I know we`re out of time.

The -- just as -- just the mass shootings, the worst mass shootings -- this isn`t even all the mass shootings -- since 1991, this shooting doesn`t even rank at the top. This was the murder of a bunch of little kids. It`s not even the top most deadly one.


REID: And Buffalo doesn`t even come anywhere close, OK, shootings since 1991.

The only difference between us and the rest of the world is that -- you used to be able to buy an AR-15 at Walmart, by the way, because it`s a rifle. It`s easier to get a rifle. It was -- you could buy it at Walmart, until they stopped selling them in 2015. Walmart did more gun reform than the United States Congress.

Mike Hixenbaugh, Charles Blow, Michael Steele.

At Walmart, you could buy it.

Still ahead -- and, also, if you can`t stop abortion -- they`re saying you can stop abortion by legislating abortion, but they`re like you can`t -- anyway, let`s move on.

Christian conservatives are offering thoughts and prayers. I`m going to ask about this in the next block. They`re offering thoughts and prayers for the victims of America`s latest school shooting, but guns are also a religion for many on the Christian right. Is that why we`re not hearing more faith leaders calling for gun reform? Hmm.

We will be right back.




REP. BRIAN BABIN (R-TX): The United States of America has always had guns. It`s our history. We were built on the Judeo-Christian foundation and with guns.

We have seen kids are not getting a faith. The faith of America has really suffered for several decades now.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I mean, even faith, we have lost that. We stopped teaching values in so many of our schools. Now we`re -- now we`re teaching wokeness. We`re indoctrinating our children things like CRT.


REID: Yes, wokeness and CRT. Here we go again.

Well, when they`re not regurgitating the usual thoughts and prayers, Republicans are, of course, blaming the horrific massacre in Texas on anything but the guns. They`re arguing not only that a lack of faith, meaning their Christian faith, causes tragedy, but that America`s gun culture is a part of their faith.

And it`s been this way for years. Reverend Peter Cook told "The Guardian" that this developed over time, from President Nixon`s Southern Strategy to increased political support among white voters in the South by appealing to racism against black people, tough-on-crime policies and anti-abortion sentiments.

Guns became ensnared in the strategy. He said -- quote -- "It really gave tacit cultural permission to people of faith to own guns. So they conveniently worked their way into this religious freedom argument and conflated it with Christianity itself."

And there`s no better example of this interconnectivity than an ad that Daniel Defense the maker of the ArmaLite 15 rifle use in Texas, posed eight days, eight days before the shooting.

It features a toddler holding an assault rifle and includes the Bible verse, "Train up a child in the way he should go and, when he is old, he will not depart from it."

That is about as twisted as it gets, folks.

To I`m joined now by Frank Schaeffer, author of "Fall in Love, Have Children, Stay Put, Save the Planet, Be Happy."

Thank you so much for being here, Frank.

Explain a little bit more, give us more of the context of this association of the guns with Christianity, because that sure don`t sound like Jesus.

FRANK SCHAEFFER, AUTHOR, "FALL IN LOVE, HAVE CHILDREN, STAY PUT, SAVE THE PLANET, BE HAPPY": Well, you know, Joy, just like you`re having a tough time talking about this, this is a hard one.

REID: Yes.

SCHAEFFER: I picked up an 8-year-old grandchild at school today, and I had tears on my cheeks when I got her because I was thinking of other people`s grandchildren. There`s no way to get into the politics without saying something real and personal first.

Back in the 1970s, my dad, Francis Schaeffer, the well-known theologian, and I were touring the country stirring up the beginnings of the Protestant evangelical anti-abortion movement. And what was born at that time was the idea that the federal government is your enemy, and thank God we have guns so that we don`t become a dictatorship.

And this has morphed into a religion within a religion that worships the gun as a symbol not just of freedom, but of what it means to be a Christian. You are ready to kill people who are going to take away your God-given right to raise your child as you want, in other words, to indoctrinate them with your vision of religion. You`re going to stand against the federal government, some nefarious conspiracy theory-addled idea of them out there.


And, gradually, the evangelical community has morphed into a community that not only has a huge amount of gun ownership, out of proportion to the rest of the country, but really believes that somehow the gun and the ownership of a military weapon represents their belief, their faith.

And their faith is now very much part of a conspiracy theory that regards people like you and me and Democrats and Jews, and many black people and Hispanics and others, an increasing list of people, as the other.

And, somehow, owning a gun not only defend your home against a home invader who`s going to rob you or rape your wife. It`s a symbol of standing up against the other, these people who are trying to replace us, the white evangelical majority of the past, now becoming a minority that feels embattled. And so there`s so much more here about the NRA and their symbiotic relationship with white evangelicals than at first meets the eye if you`re outside of the loop of evangelical paranoia and the feeling of being victims.

REID: Yes.

The thing is, is that there`s this strange mix of fatalism, right, when it comes to things like abortion, of saying, well, if you get raped and you get pregnant, that`s just God putting a baby in the world, and you can`t have an abortion, and, by the way, believing the laws can stop abortion somehow, but then saying, when it comes to guns, well, if that happens, that just happens, it is what it is, but you can`t have any laws.

That`s a contradiction for me.

SCHAEFFER: Yes, but you have to see that once you are in the grip of this conspiracy theory that somehow the world is against you, then consistency is not your strong suit.

So what you see is a group of people who claim family values. You were talking about my new book, "Fall in Love, Have Children, Stay Put, Save the Planet, Be Happy." Well, that is what evangelicals say they are selling, but they`re not. They are a misogynistic group of people who are completely anti-family.

These are the people, the Republican Party, now controlled by the evangelical Christian nationalist movement -- it`s not a -- it is not a democratically elected party anymore, in the sense of being committed to democracy. It is a Christian nationalist movement, a white Christian nationalist movement.

These folks really are inconsistent on purpose. So they will not vote for something as simple as baby formula being given by the government. They will not vote for paid parental leave. They will not vote for the child tax credit being extended that lifted millions of kids out of poverty.

So the fact of the matter is, they are now the equivalent of the pagan religions that supposedly, in biblical times, the Hebrew faith obliterated and made war on because they sacrificed children to Moloch and to others.

The NRA is a gun-worshipping cult that sacrifices American children to the God of gun ownership. They are about as evil as anything that has ever happened in this country. And they -- they must be replaced. And so, when you look at the evangelicals who have aligned themselves with this, it is as far from the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as one could imagine.

REID: Yes.

SCHAEFFER: And there is no way to overstate this when you hear stories about a little girl smearing blood on herself to hide from a shooter while armed cops stand outside the door and don`t come in for an hour.

REID: Yes. Yes.

SCHAEFFER: If this is not the sickness of a society at its apex, I cannot think of another example, as a grandfather who picks up his grandchildren at school every day.

REID: Yes. Yes.

SCHAEFFER: So, we have to understand this is a battle of good vs. evil.

REID: Yes.

SCHAEFFER: And the NRA is an evil institution, and it must be smashed.

REID: I would implore you to please come back next week, because we wanted you to come on, honestly, before all of this happened to talk about the Southern Baptists and this humongous scandal of sexual predation.


REID: So, please come back, if you can.


REID: Thank you.

SCHAEFFER: There`s a -- and you know what? Those issues are not unrelated.

REID: Yes. Yes. We will talk about that next week.

SCHAEFFER: They`re not unrelated.

REID: We will see you again next week. Frank Schaeffer, thank you very much, my friend.

SCHAEFFER: Thank you.

REID: Coming up next: America has shown time and time again that it will do whatever it takes, whatever needs to be done to protect its children from senseless deaths -- well, until now. So what changed?

Stay with us.



REID: I want to talk a little bit about American history, specifically the history of childhood mortality in the U.S. and how the government responded.

In the 19th century, American cities grew rapidly, housing was poor, and disease spread quickly. By 1900, the leading cause of childhood death in the U.S. were things like pneumonia, tuberculosis and diphtheria. In some U.S. cities, up to 30 percent of infants died before their first birthday, many of them from infections from contaminated milk.

The milk was being watered down by greedy dairy farmers and was full of bacteria. In some cases, formaldehyde was used as a preservative, poisoning children. The government recognized that it was unacceptable and extent and established milk standards, which included pasteurization.


At the outset of the 20th century, 47 out of every 100 American children died of pneumonia before their fifth birthday. Then antibiotics were developed, and the government took steps to improve nutrition and living standards to make kids healthier.

Parents in the early 1950s were worried sick that their children would get polio. Between 1950 and 1953, there were more than 6,600 deaths. Then Dr. Jonas Salk made an historic breakthrough, developing a vaccine. The government made it a top priority to get children vaccinated. And polio was almost completely wiped out.

In the decades that followed, with exponential growth of car ownership, highway accidents became the leading killer of children. But, over time, with innovations in car design and government-mandated safety regulations like seat belts, those deaths leveled off.

Then the unthinkable happened in 2020, just two years ago. The leading cause of childhood death wasn`t car accidents anymore. It was bullets piercing the heads and hearts of little boys and girls all across America, and disproportionately affecting black children.

Researcher Jennifer Whitehill told "The Washington Post" that, while efforts continue to make vehicles and highway safer: "Our government has proved itself unwilling or unable to do the same with firearm deaths and injuries."

Our elected leaders are unwilling or unable to do anything about the top killer of children, which means it`s up to us to get motivated and replace those elected leaders. We owe our children no less.

And up next: the immense trauma many Americans are feeling after two weeks of horrific bloodshed.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, got some blood and put it on herself, so she could pretend that she was dead. Her mom said that.

She saw her friend full of blood. And she got blood and put it on herself.


REID: Uvalde residents are just beginning what is, sadly, a lifelong journey of dealing with the trauma of a massacre at their school.

And, unfortunately, they are not alone. In the past two weeks, there have been 19 mass shootings in this country, according to the Gun Violence Archive, including a shooting at a Tops grocery store in Buffalo, a flea market in Houston, a Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods, California, and at a memorial service in Cleveland.

Here to help us understand how we can try and manage through all of this trauma is Dr. Kavita Patel, former Obama White House policy director and an MSNBC medical contributor.

Let`s start with the trauma to children. That story is horrific about this little girl smearing blood all over herself. How do we even explain that to other kids? And how do kids like that even come back from something like this?

DR. KAVITA PATEL, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, Joy, so I think a couple of important points. And there are psychologists and psychiatrists and primary care doctors. We`re all here to try to be supportive.

But, number one, actually acknowledge (AUDIO GAP) is completely normal. So, this is normal. A normal reaction is actually to feel abnormal. And trying to hide things from your child (AUDIO GAP) show that you`re feeling some emotions can be one of the most kind of harmful things, because they`re incredibly aware.

I think the second is to quickly identify other symptoms that might be happening. Your child might not talk about it, or you might not talk about it, but you might have physical symptoms, problems sleeping, having problems with your memory, being able to do your daily activities, problems at school.Be on the lookout for that.

And then everybody has been talking about self-care. I just want to say one -- breaking it down to be very easy, Joy. It is so hard for us to try to take care of ourselves, because we feel guilty. And I think that sometimes we feel like, well, it didn`t happen to me, so how can I feel this bad?

And we need to do the opposite. We have to actually try to find small things that can just manage, even if you don`t feel like it, bring joy, and that includes with your children.

REID: Yes.

PATEL: And just remember that only people capable of loving this strongly can have this overwhelming amount of grief, and that that`s normal.

REID: And I have talked to friends who say that, every time they see a child now, even if they don`t have -- it`s not even their child, they start to burst into tears.

PATEL: Right.

REID: I have been crying for a week.

And we have had some really tough, like, meetings. Just our meetings talking about doing the show are really emotional now, because you -- like you said, it`s not happening to you.

But how do we, as a society, cope with to two -- what, 2.5 years of constant trauma, mass shooting after mass shooting, a million people dead from COVID? I feel like we`re kind of in a trauma wormhole right now.

PATEL: We are. And we`re not acknowledging how to deal with that trauma.

And some people will say, oh, seek out help from a mental health professional. That`s not sufficient. And, Joy, honestly, we can`t even get patients into psychological or psychiatric care if we need to imminently. So that`s one piece of it. It`s incredibly important to seek out professional help.

But my fear is that most of us are not even getting to that stage where we realize we need it. And I think that`s where self-care -- and, actually, self-care involves caring for others.

I think, in the throes of the early part of the pandemic, people were so isolated. I think people now are in communities. They`re seeing each other, but they`re probably more isolated than ever because of the trauma that you just expressed.

REID: Yes.

PATEL: And so be aware. Be aware of others and your own symptoms as well.

REID: How much -- what if little kids ask, what happened to these little kids who look like them, who are their size, their age?

PATEL: Yes, that`s -- so, look, I`m not a child psychiatrist.

REID: Yes.

PATEL: So, I -- actually, knowing that you might ask this, I went and sought out this information from colleagues who are experts in, unfortunately, Joy, exactly this.

The number one thing that they say is to let them speak their words, not to put words in their mouth...

REID: Yes.

PATEL: ... but to actually let them describe.

And you see children in Uvalde actually doing that. And then to actually then ask them questions and say, what does that make you think of? What does that make you feel? But not to expand beyond what they say, and to allow that space, and also to talk to teachers or any of the adults around them...

REID: Yes.

PATEL: ... to make sure that they`re doing the same, and that they can model that behavior.

REID: It`s been a very difficult week, I think, for everybody.

It`s been difficult to read through the little -- the biographies of these beautiful little children and these -- the grandmas in Buffalo. This is -- it`s hard. People think of newspeople as sort of hardened, cynical people.

And I am incredibly cynical when it comes to things like politics, but this stuff breaks you.

PATEL: It does.

REID: Dr. Kavita Patel, thank you so much for being here.

PATEL: Thank you.

REID: That is tonight`s REIDOUT.