Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: December 3, 2015 Guest: Nizaam Ali, Malcolm Nance, Nicholas Kristof, Jack Rice, Cristian German, Nizam Ali
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Good evening Rachel, thank you.
O`DONNELL: Well, for 24 hours, they were just a number, 14. Fourteen dead in San Bernardino.
When we heard that number yesterday in American newsrooms, we all knew that we would be talking about nothing else in our coverage.
Because coverage of these events, multiple murders in America are simply determined by body count, 14. Fourteen stopped us all yesterday.
But if it had been two, if it had been three, we would not be paying this much attention to it. Fourteen, that`s what this story is about.
This story is about those 14 and now we have their names. Thirty seven- year-old Michael Wetzel, a father of six who coached youth soccer.
Forty two-year-old Daniel Kaufman who trained development with disabled employees at the Inland Regional Center`s coffee shop.
Fifty two-year-old Nicholas Thalasinos, a loving husband, 27-year-old Sierra Clayburn whose sister says she was a loving, protecting person and loved helping people as a health inspector.
Fifty eight-year-old Damian Meins, a health worker who also played Santa for children. Forty six-year-old Bennetta Betbadal, she fled Iran at age 18 to escape Islamic extremism.
Forty-year-old Robert Adams leaves behind a wife and a 20-month-old daughter. Sixty year-old Isaac Amanios remembered as a great human being by his cousin, NFL player Ned Barry.
Thirty one-year-old Tin Nguyen, she was engaged to be married. Aurora Godoy, was 26. Harry Bowman was 46. Yvette Velasco was 27 years old.
Juan Espinoza was 50 years old. Shannon Johnson was 45 years on the last day of her life. We continue to learn more about the attackers, the "Associated Press" reports tonight that the two shooters met formally for the first time in Saudi Arabia in 2013 during the annual Islamic pilgrimage.
The woman Tashfeen Malik came to the United States on a Pakistani passport on July 2014 and became a conditional resident after she married Syed Farooq who was born a United States citizen in Chicago.
They had a 6-month-old daughter who they dropped off with their paternal grandmother on their way to commit mass murder.
We also learned today that Syed Farooq communicated online with people who were being monitored by the FBI in connection with a terrorism investigation.
But the shooters did not have criminal records and neither was on the FBI`s radar in any real way. Authorities are still investigating the attackers motive.
Police recovered a massive pile of ammunition, bombs, material that could be used to make bombs.
In addition to the 65 to 75 rounds the attackers fired, authorities found a remote controlled-pipe bomb and four high capacity assault rifle magazines at the scene.
The attackers had 1,600 additional rounds of ammunition inside the SUV where they were killed in that shootout yesterday.
And at the house in Redlands that the police searched, they found 12 pipe bomb-type devices and more than 4,500 rounds of ammunition.
Joining us now from San Bernardino is Chris Jansing. Chris, we had an update tonight, another press conference update tonight. What were the -- what were the most important additional items we learned tonight?
CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS: We got to feel, Lawrence, for what it must have been like, the horror to be in that room. Seventy five to 80 people of 91 people who were invited to be there that day.
And this couple walked in and he knew them. We learned tonight that 12 of the 14 people who were killed were his co-workers, were folks who actually worked in the center that is behind me.
So, this was something that was very personal as well as very deliberate. And we saw pictures for the first time, pictures of the weapons that were used to kill and injure these people, to terrorize them.
You see the two large assault weapons that are there. Now, assault weapons are banned in California, but these AR-15s can be modified in such a way that they are legal.
And all four of these were legally obtained. They cost $550 to a $1,000, and go online Lawrence, you can see an advertisement for these AR-15s, they call them easy to use.
You don`t need any special kind of training. We saw new photos of the cars, one of the -- from the officer that had bullet holes in it.
But the bullet hole-ridden car of this couple, one person described it as looking as if a bomb went off.
Four hundred and fifty six rounds of ammunition police say were exchanged between police and those two gunmen. And then we also -- and there you see the higher image of what happened there.
But what we heard that was incredibly moving was a first-person account from Lieutenant Mike Maddon(ph). He was one of the first responders on the scene.
And he was someone who said that he had prepared for this after (INAUDIBLE), they had training for it, they thought they knew what it would be like.
But nothing prepares you for this kind of situation. Here`s part of what he said tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The situation was surreal, it was something that I don`t think again, we prepared for and they tried to -- an active shooter, we talk about sensory overload, they just try to throw everything at you to prepare you for dealing with that.
What you`re seeing, what you`re hearing, what you`re smelling, and it was all of that and more. It was unspeakable, the carnage that we are seeing, the number of people who were injured and unfortunately already dead.
And the pure panic on the face of those individuals that were still in need and needing to be safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JANSING: He talked about trying to bring calm to the chaos and you could imagine what a chaotic scene it was.
He described very vividly about people screaming in pain, about trying to get some people out of there, but they were so afraid they didn`t want to leave.
So you really see very personally how this has impacted this community, these very brave first responders, we`ve heard from some of the people who were essentially first responders at the hospital.
And all of this playing out as the investigation obviously, Lawrence, is really in its very early stages with hundreds of investigators looking at three main scenes.
O`DONNELL: And Chris, when you talk about their training for this, the one thing that they can`t include in that training is any experience of seeing 14 dead bodies.
There`s nothing like that that you can put into training.
JANSING: And the -- he described, you know, you can still smell obviously the gunpowder in the air, you can smell the smell of shots.
And he said right away when they got there, he realized that it was what they thought it might be. And it was clear that there were a lot of people there who were deceased.
And you know, over the years, I`ve heard a lot of people in this situation trying to describe what it`s like. And of course, it is absolutely indescribable.
It`s worth repeating as obviously, as obvious as it may seem. This is their community, these are their friends, these are their neighbors.
These are the people that they go to church with. As you describe, a father of four, somebody who ran the local coffee shop who probably knew a lot of these folks.
So, they`re going into this situation where the decisions that they have to make and the training that they have to allow to kick in really is in an active shooter situation, a matter of life and death.
And he also -- what I thought was really interesting, he sort of alluded to the fact that there`s been some sort of bad things done about police and the way they respond to situations.
There was a little allusion to that. And you realize that in the grand scheme of things when you have a situation like this, how lucky people are to have someone who is willing to go in there and do what he was able to do that night.
O`DONNELL: Really heroic police work in this case, no question about it. Chris Jansing in San Bernardino, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.
We`re joined now --
JANSING: Thank you --
O`DONNELL: By Nbc News Justice correspondent Pete Williams. Pete, what do we know about the timetable on the acquisition of these weapons?
PETER WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Well, the -- we`re told that the assault weapons; the larger, long guns that you saw in that picture were bought three or four years ago, but not by Syed Farooq or his wife, the two big ones.
The two smaller ones, the hand guns were purchased by Syed Farooq we`re told. So there`s a question here of how did they end up with these two assault rifles?
Somebody legally purchased them, but it wasn`t Farooq or his wife. So, was that a -- what is called a straw purchase where you pay somebody to buy the guns for you or was it a simple matter of somebody buying them and then giving to them or what was the deal there?
They`re trying to figure that out. There`s -- remember, this was three or four years ago. Farooq has said he liked to do target practice.
So there may be a more or less innocent explanation for this, but they do want to try to nail that down. There`s nothing that we know in his record that would have disqualified him from buying the gun.
But perhaps it was a matter of he thought he couldn`t get it with a name like the one he had or they would raise questions. That`s something they`re trying to nail down.
O`DONNELL: Nbc`s Pete Williams, thank you very much for joining us tonight Pete, really appreciate it --
WILLIAMS: OK --
O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by Jack Rice, a former CIA special agent and terrorism expert. And Jack, we`ve learned an awful lot more since we last talked here last night.
Given all we know now, what do you think of the most important things we`ve been learning today?
JACK RICE, FORMER SPECIAL AGENT, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Well, I think what`s most important is that the FBI has really stepped up their involvement here.
They`re really looking at not just social media sites, they`re also taking a look at the computers themselves.
I mean, as Pete just put this, this is about trying to determine where the AR-15s came from, to see if there`s a connection there. But there`s also a need to find a connection.
Everybody wants to understand the motivation. Everybody wants to understand this, and I think that`s what the FBI is driving forward with.
There`s a reason they took all of those computers to Washington. They want answers now so they can follow up as quickly as possible.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what the sheriff said today about, were they targeting individuals, specific people during the shooting? Let`s listen to what he said about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They sprayed the room with bullets. So, I don`t know if there was any one person that they openly targeted. They killed 14 people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Jack, what does that tell us? Here`s someone going into his own work place to do this. But witnesses don`t get the feeling that he was targeting any specific individuals.
RICE: Yes, I agree. I mean, that`s what it sounds like to me as well. And I think we also have to realize this wasn`t a spur of the moment thing.
The idea to come in and bring in bombs. The idea to come in with this amount of weaponry. The idea of preparing with 1,600 rounds.
This is not something that`s done in five seconds. This was a planned effort. This was a planned attack. And so I think it`s important to realize there is something more behind this than one disaffected man who was angry at one particular person.
This was about something much bigger than that. That`s what people are trying to find answers.
O`DONNELL: So, Jack, just to underline the point. If the emphasis here was on the investigation of a workplace grievance of some kind, that`s where you might expect something more like an individual targeting going on here.
RICE: Absolutely. I mean, what makes this unusual is that you`re not targeting a particular individual, but typically where that has happened in the past if one person doing it.
The idea that somebody would actually bring their wife along to be the co- conspirator here sort of changes the entire dynamic anyway.
And then to come and take out as you put this rightfully so, 14 people, injuring more than almost two dozen more. This was not about taking out one person because you`re angry.
This is about something fundamentally different than that.
O`DONNELL: Jack Rice, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Coming up, a man who attends the same Mosque that Syed Farooq belong to will join us to talk about the man he knew.
And one Republican senator actually dared to show courage in Washington today. And this is what it`s come to in Washington.
This is what courage was today; voting to prevent terrorist from being able to buy firearms in America. Only one Republican senator was willing to vote for that.
That`s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLOS ORTIZ, FATHER OF KEVIN ORTIZ: The door and started shooting, he got hit, right at that time and they ducked, he ducked under the table, and then he tried to hide himself and tried -- there was -- as he said that they came back and were shooting some more and they actually shot us when they got shot in the legs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That`s Carlos Ortiz talking about his son Kevin. More about Kevin next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is of course the most wonderful time of the year, but we would be remiss not to take a moment to remember our fellow Americans whose hearts are heavy tonight.
Who grieve for loved ones, especially in San Bernardino, California. Their loss is our loss, too. For we`re all one American family. We look out for each other, in good times and in bad.
And they should know that all of us care about them this holiday season. They`re in our thoughts, they`re in our prayers, and we send them our love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Today, police announced the number of people wounded in San Bernardino massacre increased to 21, the number yesterday was 17.
They`ve increased that now to 21. That number includes the two police officers who were wounded during the shootout with the suspects in the SUV yesterday.
Kevin Ortiz was also wounded in the massacre, he was shot five times. Kevin Ortiz called his wife who he married just two weeks ago to tell her that he was hurt but he was going to be OK.
He then made the same phone call to his father. Kevin Ortiz is in the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, he`s in stable condition in the intensive care unit.
Joining us now, Pastor Cristian German, he`s a close friend of Kevin Ortiz and his wife. He`s also the youth pastor of Fontana First Assembly of God where the couple attends church.
Pastor German, you visited Kevin in the hospital, what can you tell us about how he`s doing and your conversations with him there in the hospital?
CRISTIAN GERMAN, REVEREND MINISTER: Sure, yes, I visited him today. I`ve seen him to be -- he was doing much better, he`s recovering from the wounds and he`s doing much better now.
O`DONNELL: And what does he remember about the shooting?
GERMAN: Very little. From what he told me, he says that they were at the company`s Christmas party when all of a sudden he heard pops in the hallway.
And after that, he said he saw somebody come inside the room where they were celebrating and the person -- the suspect was wearing a mask and he just began to shoot at everybody.
O`DONNELL: And what does he say about Syed Farooq, he worked with him, he knew him, how -- what was his reaction to discovering who was doing the shooting?
GERMAN: He doesn`t know --
O`DONNELL: He still --
GERMAN: He doesn`t know --
O`DONNELL: Go ahead --
GERMAN: He still doesn`t know.
O`DONNELL: So, no one has discussed with him what we know about the facts of this case, that`s not something that people are discussing with him at the hospital?
GERMAN: Right, they haven`t discussed that with him.
O`DONNELL: And is he asking about that? Is he asking questions about what we know about what happened?
GERMAN: No, not at all, he`s just very concerned about his fellow co- workers who he had seen them injured yesterday on the scene.
O`DONNELL: What was his wife`s reaction to getting that phone call from him when he`s been shot five times?
My understanding is, he made the phone call once a police officer was close to him, so that he could assure her that although he`s been hurt, he`s with a police officer and he`s going to be safe.
What did she say about what it was like to receive that phone call?
GERMAN: Well, in fact, she didn`t -- she thought it was just a prank call at first because he had called from a different phone.
So, she thought it was just a prank call until he was very serious and she recognized his voice and he had told her that he had been shot.
But that he wanted -- he wanted to let her know that he loved her and that he was going to be OK. And then that`s when the line cut off. And right after that, she called me, shocked, crying, very emotional.
O`DONNELL: And was -- did he make the call to his father with the same phone or with a different phone?
GERMAN: Yes, with the same phone.
O`DONNELL: And what did his father tell you about receiving that call?
GERMAN: I`m sorry, I couldn`t hear that last word.
O`DONNELL: What did his father tell you about receiving that call? Did he realize how serious this was right away?
GERMAN: Oh, yes, of course, he was really scared.
O`DONNELL: Cristian German, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate you taking the time and please give our best wishes to Kevin, we wish him a speedy recovery.
Very sorry for what he`s been through.
GERMAN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. Up next, a man who attended the same Mosque as Syed Farooq will join us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID BOWDICH, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, LOS ANGELES: We do not yet know the motive, we cannot rule anything out at this point.
Again, it would be irresponsible of me and it would be way too early for us to speculate on motive of why this occurred.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Nbc News is reporting tonight that according to authorities, Syed Farooq had been in touch with persons of interest in the Los Angeles area who have expressed Jihadist-oriented view.
Intelligence sources say that Syed Farooq was also in communication with individuals overseas who are also persons of interest to U.S. authorities.
Joining us now, Malcolm Nance; a former Counterterrorism Intelligence officer, combat veteran and the author of "Defeating ISIS: Who They Are, How They Fight, What They Believe."
Also joining us from the vigil at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino is Nizam Ali who knew Syed Farooq, they attended the same Mosque in San Bernardino.
Mr. Ali, thank you very much for joining us tonight. And first of all, I want you to talk to us about where you are at that vigil tonight. How have you been received there by people at the vigil?
NIZAM ALI, ATTENDED SAME MOSQUE AS SYED FAROOQ: Honestly, I mean, I just came here about 15-20 minutes ago and everything is fine, I mean I`m not getting -- you know, everything goes through, I`m being welcome, you know.
O`DONNELL: And are you aware --
ALI: Yes, a good response --
O`DONNELL: Of any organized attempt to have Muslims in your community attend this vigil tonight or are people just coming --
ALI: Yes --
O`DONNELL: On their own initiative?
ALI: No, there was actually from the Redlands community. Actually, right now, they`re having one of the speakers from the Mosque in Redlands, you know, speaking on behalf of the Redlands community, Muslim community, that is.
O`DONNELL: And we just heard the applause there for that. This is a --
ALI: Right --
O`DONNELL: A great -- it seems like a great coming together there tonight. Please tell us what --
ALI: Right --
O`DONNELL: You can about Syed Farooq, how long you have known him and any changes you might have observed in him over time.
ALI: First of all, I wanted to, you know, express my condolences on behalf of the community in San Bernardino. You know, I take this personally since I was born and raised here in San Bernardino.
This is my residence, this is where I was born, this is where I was raised. So first, you know, my condolences to the families and to those that are injured on behalf of the Muslim community at large.
As you were asking -- so I had met him in the Mosque. He used to come on lunch break to the Mosque, and I noticed, you know, we`re a very small, close-knit community here in San Bernardino.
We have about five to ten attendees per prayer, we pray five times a day. So, in any prayer, we have about five to ten people. So, everyone knows each other, you know, pretty much.
So we noticed a new person is coming in, this was about two years ago. And I noticed, you know, he`s coming frequently. So, I --you know, we try to be welcoming to newcomers.
So, I approached him and I said, hey, how are you? Where are you from? I noticed, you know, you`re coming more frequently.
So, he said, you know, I work in this area, I have lunch break so, you know, I`m coming for that reason.
So from then, you know, I started to, you know, engage in some contact with him and slowly -- I wouldn`t say I was a friend of his. We had acquaintances with each other.
I would meet him frequently, however, he never expressed any type of, you know, emotional breaks or anything like that. I know him as being a very respectful individual.
He was shy in the beginning, he was not somebody that was violent, he was not somebody that was emotional.
He was not somebody that I knew that was -- you know, he did not have any negative characteristics. I mean he was always respectful. I mean he was a really nice guy. And, to found this out yesterday, last night, to hear that this is the individual that did that, I mean it is shocking. It is heartbreaking. It is devastating.
There is no words I have, you know, to express and same thing with the members of our community. We are devastated. We cannot believe that a person like this, you know, would do such a thing.
So, at the time I met him, he was saying, you know, I am going to be getting married soon and you know, I congratulated him on that and after that, he got married and then he returned back with his wife.
O`DONNELL: Did he --
ALI: And, then I had --
O`DONNELL: Can I just ask you about his wife, Tashfeen Malik. Did he tell you how he met her? How he came to be connected to her in the first place?
ALI: What I remember is that he had mentioned, he met her online on some Muslim dating site or Muslim matrimony site or something along those lines, but I do not know anything beyond that. I know that he said that she wore a niqab, which is the face veil that is covered on the face.
So, other than that, I do not know anything about her. I believe he said that she was from Pakistan. And, I remember he was saying that he was going to go to Saudi Arabia to Mecca, you know, the holy trine in Islam to get married there.
So, I remember he was mentioning that I am going to go there and get married and bring my wife back. And, then, eventually, he came back, I think he was gone for a few weeks. And, then, I saw him again and, you know, I congratulated him.
And, he was saying, you know, I want to do some type of banquet here in my community, here in San Bernardino -- here in Riverside. Riverside was his community. That was his local mosque, which is about 15 miles-- minutes from San Bernardino.
So, and, I said, "Hey, let us do it in our mosque in San Bernardino." And, he said, "No, I suggest it would be better in my community. You know, it is my -- those are the people I grew up with and that I know." So, I said, "OK, fine." So, I made some food and we took it over, and you know we had a little banquet. And, that was it.
I would say, it would be a few hundred people attended, something like that. Then, after that, I heard that he had mentioned his wife getting pregnant. And, after that, you know, he had a baby about six, seven months back. And, after that, I started school. I am studying in Cal State, San Bernardino, myself.
So, my timing -- you know, my schedule became a little bit different than his. So, our interactions became less and less. I mean, like I said, I did not interact with him except at the mosque. Occasionally, he came to my house, you know, and things like that. But, I would not say that he was a friend of mine. You know, I was not someone that was as close with him as others could have been.
O`DONNELL: Malcolm Nance, I would like to get your reactions on what you just heard from Mr. Ali about this experience of knowing this guy and being so shocked, never seeing any hint of anything like this being possible.
MALCOLM NANCE, COUNTERTERRORISM EXPERT: First, I think it is absolutely brilliant that the Muslim community of San Bernardino is coming together to show unity of themselves and to show that what the true face of Islam is. But, speaking of Syed, the first thing that I see here is that, we see that within the people who are radicalizing, that they come in two different flavors.
For the most part, the ones that we all know about are the People who are, you know, completely withdrawn, start talking all the Jihadic rhetoric, start making calls for action. But, on the other hand, there is another type of jihadist, or someone who could be radicalized into jihad. And, that is the person who goes on self Hindra.
Hindra is the technical term that is used amongst Jihadist. It is actually a religious term to emigrate, like Prophet Muhammad did from Mecca to Medina. Well, amongst the groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, they mentally emigrate to a safe zone, where they live amongst themselves and essentially isolate themselves from the other community.
And, in this case, it is quite possible that, that could have happened where the entire Muslim community of San Bernardino and Redlands would have, absolutely, no idea that mentally this person has essentially gone off the reservation and has brought himself to a state of mind to where he believes other things and that action should occur.
O`DONNELL: Mr. Ali, have you had any experience seeing anyone else develop in a way that indicated you might be suspicious of some kind of radical tendencies?
ALI: Absolutely not. I mean like I said, he was a sweet guy. He was, you know, a very friendly person, very charismatic person. I mean, he was not a mean person. He would never argue, like I said, you know, he would never even -- I never heard him raise his voice. I never seen him in emotional state.
You know, I never seen him flip out for any reason, you know, based upon whatever circumstances, there may have been. He was always relaxed, always calm. And, to so that this person was capable of doing such a thing is -- like I said, there is no word -- I cannot find a word to describe it, devastating, surprising, shocking. I mean I cannot express the words. I cannot express the feeling.
O`DONNELL: And, let me just ask you more generally, Mr. Ali, about -- have you seen other people -- you know, there is articles in newspapers in America every day about American radicalization of Muslims and people out there could get the feeling. And, I think there are some political candidates, who want people to get the feeling that this is happening everywhere all the time in America.
And, that, you know, with your experience in being as religious as you are and as frequent a visitor to your mosque, surely you would come across people frequently, who were going through this kind of metamorphosis into more and more radicalization.
And, I am just wondering what you would say to people, who think that this is common in America and common in Muslim life in America. Just how much of this have you witnessed?
ALI: Honestly, this is the first case that I have seen it, you know, firsthand like this, knowing a person that close, seeing him two to three times a week. But, like a said, the frequency was a lot, but the duration was five minutes, two minutes. You know, how are you? What are you doing?
So, there is no -- I cannot answer you, you know, unfortunately, in the best way. I mean, in my opinion is that -- I would say that, it is a duty upon all the citizens, Muslims and non-Muslims alike that if we see such activity, if we see people that are headed towards this path, that we should notify the authorities to let them know this is the situation.
Had I known that this person was in this state of mind, and I had knowledge of such a thing, I would have been the first person to report it to the proper authorities to prevent such an atrocity from occurring.
O`DONNELL: And, just to clarify, I mean, what you are telling us is in all your experience in Muslim life in America, you have never witnessed anyone like this going down a road like this. And, it is not -- and I would take from that, the inference that it is very uncommon for American Muslims to witness this kind of aggression?
ALI: Absolutely. Absolutely. And, on top of that, I would like to add one more thing. He was -- We were, you know, discussing this in the mosque amongst the brothers that he was an example of the American dream, if you will.
ALI: He had a good job. According to what we have learned yesterday, he was making $77,000 he made last year, right?
ALI: He was making good money. He had a family. He had a house. He was successful in life. And, I remember six to nine months back, he had mentioned he was going to start his masters degree. He was going to pursue his masters degree.
So, this was an educated individual. He had a job with the county environmental development - Environmental or health department, sorry with, you know -- so, he was a professional individual. And, to see that transformation is just, you know --
ALI: Puzzling. I do not see the correlation.
O`DONNELL: Nizaam Ali --
ALI: So, definitely, something is not common.
O`DONNELL: Nizaam Ali, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
ALI: You are welcome.
O`DONNELL: And, thank you for your invaluable --
ALI: Thank you very much.
O`DONNELL: I want also thank you for your invaluable contribution to that vigil tonight. Your presence there tonight is very important.
ALI: You are welcome. My hope --
O`DONNELL: And, we are glad to see you doing that. Go ahead.
ALI: My hope to the community, you know, is that we -- my hope was coming out was, you know, that we do not get any backlashes from the community because of ignorance, because of, you know, stereotypes. Because, you know, such an incident happened here locally in our presence. And, this is something that is unacceptable.
So, my hope is that, you know, we ask God to give us the patience as a nation to go through this and give us the perseverance and allow us and enable us to go through this phase in life and become better people and understand, you know. And, we will move on in life. And, we hope we will become more united.
O`DONNELL: Again, thank you very much for joining us tonight and thank for being there.
ALI: You are welcome. God bless you.
O`DONNELL: Malcom Nance, thank you also for joining us tonight. I appreciate it.
NANCE: You are welcome.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, a profile in courage in Washington today. It is just shocking how low the bar is now on courage in Washington.
O`DONNELL: Today`s "Profile in Courage" in Washington is Illinois Senator Mark Kirk. He is the only republican senator who voted today to make it slightly more difficult for terrorists to obtain the tools of terror in the United States.
Mark Kirk was the only republican senator who voted to prevent people whose names are on the American government`s terror watch list from purchasing guns and explosives. That, that is what passes for courage in 21st century American politics. A republican voting to prevent people on the terror watch list from being easily able to legally purchase guns and explosives in the united states.
Every republican senator voting today voted to continue to make it as easy as possible for terrorists including people on the terror watch list to buy guns legally and easily, to buy explosives legally and easily. They voted to make sure that the United States of America remains the friendliest weapons supplier of terrorists in the world.
And, of course, the terrorists won today in the United States senate as they do every time any legislation about restricting access to firearms comes to a vote in today`s senate. Forty-five senators voted for Dianne Feinstein`s amendment to prevent people on the terror watch list from buying guns and explosives.
And, 54 United States senators, oath-taking United States senators, voted to make sure that people on the terror watch list can buy as many guns as they want and explosives and they did it. They voted for that, the day after the latest explosion of gun terror in America left 14 dead on the floor of the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California.
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SEN. CHRIS MURPHY, (D) CONNECTICUT: Members of congress get paid to change policy to make people safer. And, what is so offensive to those of us, particularly, who lived through Sandy Hook and watched communities live through similar episodes, is that it is not bad enough that we have not passed any legislation to try to address these epidemic rates of gun violence. But, in this congress, we are not even trying. We are not even making an attempt. That is offensive.
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O`DONNELL: We will be right back.
O`DONNELL: MSNBC News is now reporting that the suspects in the shooting tried to modify at least one of their rifles to operate in full automatic mode, which just would have meant pulling the trigger once and having the thing constantly spray gun fire.
We are joined by "The New York Times" Columnist, Nicholas Kristof and "The Washington Post" Eugene Robinson. You both written about this today, and Nick, it keeps coming back to the guns.
NICHOLAS KRISTOF,"THE NEW YORK TIMES" COLUMNIST: Absolutely. I mean the larger point is not what happened in San Bernardino. It is not what happened in Colorado, it is the fact that every 16 minutes in America, one life is lost to guns. And, we have to address that. There are no silver bullets, so to speak.
Maybe that is the wrong metaphor, in fact there are steps we know that could reduce the toll. And, if we could reduce the toll by 1/3, which experts think is a reasonable estimate, that would be 11,000 lives saved each year. And, yet we are not even trying.
O`DONNELL: And, Gene, you know, they will -- the opponents of the -- do- nothing people --
EUGENE ROBINSON, "THE WASHINGTON POST" COLUMNIST: Yes.
O`DONNELL: -- will look at a particular shooting and say, "Oh, well, the thing you just proposed would not have mattered." You know, they did a background check on the mother of the kid, who killed all those people in Connecticut. And, yet, they do not say that about seatbelts.
They do not say that when someone dies in a car with the airbags working and the seatbelts working that, that is somehow the fault of the seatbelt or the airbag or the government regulation.
ROBINSON: Exactly. They know full well that it would stop some incidents. It would stop some escalation. It would stop some individual killings. It would stop some suicide. You know, 2/3 about of the 33,000 or so lives that are lost in this country every year to gun violence are suicides.
And, studies have shown that many of those suicides would not happen if a gun had not been right there. Now, some people will kill themselves and find some other way to kill themselves. But, many people will not.
It is the fact that the gun is there enables the suicide. It is -- Well, we agree. So, you know, we cannot argue about this. But, I get tongue tied, because it is difficult to understand why we accept this level of gun violence in this country, a level that no other developed country accepts.
O`DONNELL: And, the republican, who would never understand what the Republican Party did today in the United States Senate was Ronald Reagan.
KRISTOF: That is right.
O`DONNELL: You quoted him in your piece today.
KRISTOF: Yes. I mean he saw gun violence firsthand. He experienced it.
KRISTOF: And, so, he was an advocate. He wrote an op-ed in "The New York Times" about the need for reasonable limitations on guns. And, yet that is something that, even though the party reveres Reagan in other contexts will not adopt his wisdom in this one.
I mean even when he was in California, he approved two-week waiting period to buy handguns. And, you know, I think that the car analogy used earlier is exactly right. People always say, "Well, you know, cars kill." Sooner, a number of people, we do not ban cars, but we do regulate cars to make them safer.
So, since the 1921, the auto fatality rate in the U.S. has been lowered by more than 95 percent, and it is not one thing. It is a million things. It is seat belts. It is air bags. It is graduated driver`s licenses. It is the guardrails. It is the liability insurance.
And, in the same way, there is no single way we are going to reduce gun violence immensely, but there are a number of steps, each of which will have an incremental effect and yet we are not doing it.
O`DONNELL: And, gene, they oppose every conceivable advance including technological advances. We saw the invention of that gun that will only work with the correct fingerprint.
ROBINSON: With the correct fingerprint. Exactly.
O`DONNELL: Somehow, they are opposed to that.
ROBINSON: Oh, no. We cannot have that.
ROBINSON: I do not know why. I mean you still get your gun, right?
ROBINSON: You still get to shoot it. I do not quite understand it. Well, I do understand it. It is fear of the NRA and fear of being opposed by the NRA and angering base voters in the Republican Party.
O`DONNELL: The majority in favor of this is gigantic. Most of the things we are talking about have over 75 percent majority supporting.
KRISTOF: Even gun owners.
KRISTOF: And indeed -- you know, I do think that liberals have sometimes adopted the wrong strategy here. I mean, I think that, that all the political capital devoted to the assault gun ban was probably misplaced.
I mean the real issue here in terms of fatalities is handguns. And, the steps that seemed to the greatest difference are things like safe storage requirements to reduce child accidents or suicides.
KRISTOFF: It seems like reducing access to people, who have domestic violence warrant against them, people who have problems with alcoholism and violence. And, those steps are the things that would make the greatest impact on reducing the toll.
ROBINSON: And, guess what, maybe people on the terror list.
O`DONNELL: Yes, maybe that.
ROBINSON: Maybe, we should single out terrorists as a class of people, who should not be able to purchase or get guns.
O`DONNELL: It does not get crazier. Nick Kristof and Gene Robinson, thank you both for joining me tonight on this report and I really appreciate it. We will be right back.
O`DONNELL: There is always good news even during our darkest times. And, there is some good news tonight. I will have a few words of good news next.
O`DONNELL: And, now a few words of good news. On "Giving Tuesday", you gave to the K.I.N.D. Fund, very, very generously. "Kids In Need of Desk," as many of you know is the program we created with UNICEF to provide desks for African schools, desks that are built in Malawi and delivered to schools where the kids have never seen desks.
The K.I.N.D. Fund also provides scholarships for girls to complete their high school education in Malawi. And, on "Giving Tuesday", you gave $132,296 to the K.I.N.D. Fund. And, that outpouring of generosity pushed the K.I.N.D. Fund across a very impressive threshold. The $9 million thresholds.
Since we first announced the K.I.N.D. Fund on this program, you have now contributed $9,131,755. You can donate desks and girls scholarships as gifts to people on your Christmas lists.
They will receive an acknowledgment of your gift from UNICEF. You can contribute at the LastWordDesks.MSNBC.com. There are simply no words to express how much we appreciate your support. Thank you.
And, now tonight`s "Last Word." A story of survival. Patrick Baccari is one of the lucky survivors of the massacre at the Inland Regional Center. He remembers seeing Syed Farook at the Christmas Party he was attending with his co-workers.
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PATRICK BACCARI, CA MASS SHOOTING SURVIVOR: He sat at the very end of the table that I was at. And, that is toward the back of the room. Somebody asked, "Where is Syed?" Well, I did not realize he was not there at the moment. About the next recess they gave us, I left to use the restroom.
In the restroom, I am getting ready to return, I hear explosions. The wall is pummeling. I look back at the mirror, I see I am blooded on my face. As I go to exit, not knowing what is going on, I could see the bullet holes hire on the wall. So, I told everybody, we are being attacked. Get on the floor. And, we just secured the restrooms, so nobody could enter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE INTERVIEWER: How?
BACCARI: I laid on the floor and put my feet against the door, and I had the other gentleman beside me do the same. And, I told the other one to get on the ground. But, he preferred to stand on the toilet the whole time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Did the gunman come into the restroom?
BACCARI: He was not going to be able to get in. I guess if he did, it would have been over our dead bodies. When the S.W.A.T. Team finally came and we opened the door and exited the restroom, I exited with everybody. Basically, tried to run as fast as we could away from the building and follow whatever procedures they wanted. I told them I was a medic and so other the guy, he was.
And, one of my good friends there, she was shot. And, so I tried to render her aid with what minimal equipment we had. I could see her wounds were life threatening, but you do not know. She got shot multiple time and we could see the bullets lodged under the skin on her wrist and that was not were the entries were.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE INTERVIEWER: (INAUDIBLE)
BACCARI: God helped us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Where do you go from here? --
BACCARI: Just take each day as cherished as can be.
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O`DONNELL: For the last few years, Patrick Baccari went to work every day in the same cubicle where Syed Farook worked. That is tonight`s "Last Word." Chris Hayes is up next.