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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 5/24/22

Guests: Lina Hidalgo, David Hogg, Tony Plohetski. Joaquin Castro


There has been another mass murder at a school in Texas; 19 children and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary School today in Uvalde, Texas; Interview with Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX).


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Thanks, Chris. And thank you for that two hours of covering this for us. Really appreciate it.


O`DONNELL: There has been another mass murder, as you know, at a school in Texas, we are the unique American phenomenon of mass murder at schools, complete with television coverage, like the television coverage you are seeing tonight, began. All of that began in Texas.

In 1966, when Charles Whitman, a name that became one of the most famous names of the 1960s, went to the top of a Texas Tower, the University of Texas in Austin. And with his rifle, he aimed down at people walking across the campus and he shot and killed 16 of them. Before he was shot and killed by police.

Before going to the tower -- like many of the mass murderers who followed his footsteps, Charles Whitman shot and killed his wife, shot and killed his mother.

The mass murderer in Sandy Hook, in Connecticut, 46 years later, shot and killed his mother before going to the elementary school there to murder 20 kindergarten and first grade students, and six adults working at the school.

The latest reports indicate that as many as 18 children and three adults were shot and killed today at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The town of 15,000 people, about 60 miles from the Mexican border, with some reports indicating that the children were murdered, and were mostly in grades three and four.

The mass murder of children in Sandy Hook changed Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy`s focus in the Senate, where he has become the since leading expert on this uniquely American way of death, being shot to death at school.

Senator Murphy rose on the Senate floor today, without a prepared speech, and said this.


SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Mr. President, the 14 kids dead in elementary school in Texas right now -- what are we doing? What are we doing? Just days after a shooter walked into a grocery store, to gun down African American patrons, we have another Sandy Hook on our hands.

What are we doing? There have been more mass shootings than days in the year. Our kids are living in fear. Every single time they set foot in a classroom, they think they are going to be next.

What are we doing? Why do you spend all of this time running for the United States senate? Why do you go through all the hassle? The hassle of getting this job, of putting yourself in a position of authority, if you are answer is that, as the slaughter increases, and as kids run for their lives, we do nothing? What are we doing? Why are you here if not to solve a problem as existential as this?

This is not inevitable. These kids were not unlucky! This only happens in this country and nowhere else. Nowhere else to little kids go to school thinking that they might be shot that day.

Nowhere else to parents have to talk to their kids, as I have had to do, about why they got locked into a bathroom and told to be quiet just in case a bad man answered entered the building. Nowhere else does that happen except here in the United States of America. And it is a choice. It is our choice to let it continue.


O`DONNELL: The former governor of Texas, George W. Bush, while serving, refused to support the assault weapons ban of the 1990s that did help reduced mass murders. Since then, Republicans in the House and Senate have consistently refused to consider any legislation involving guns and ammunition.

Both Republican senators from Texas today issued thoughts and prayers statements which cannot easily be translated into promises to make sure that American mass murder remain the best equipped mass murderers in the world. Senator Cornyn and Senator Cruz are effectively promising people who elected them, in Texas tonight, that the next time a mass murderer actors a Texas school, that mass murderer will be as well equipped as every other mass murderer who has entered Texas public schools since 1966.


Senator Cruz told reporters today that his solution is, quote, going after felons and fugitives and those with serious mental illness, and arresting them, and prosecuting them, when I try to legally buy firearms. Now, virtually, none of the mass murderers in American schools were felons. None of them were fugitives. And those who have had mental illness cannot be arrested for mental illness, as Senator Cruz was suggesting. And almost all of them obtained their firearms legally -- many of them were gifts from their parents. Or they used their parents` guns.

Fifty-four years ago, on the day after Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Senator Robert Kennedy, whose brother, President John Kennedy, had been assassinated five years earlier, said -- no one, no matter where he lives, or what he does, can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on.

Why? Why is the question that President Biden asked tonight after he returned to the White House from Asia and addressed the nation from the Roosevelt Room.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I had hoped that, when I became president, I would not have to do this again. It`s another massacre in Uvalde, Texas. It`s an elementary school. Beautiful, innocent second, third and the fourth graders. And how many scores of little children witnessed what happened and see their friends die as if they were in a battlefield, for God`s sake? They will live with it the rest of their lives.

There is a lot we don`t know yet. There is a lot we do know. The parents who will never see their child again and never have them jump in bed and caught a little with them. It`s parents who will never be the same.

As a nation, we have to ask, when in God`s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? Winning in God`s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?

I am sick and tired. We have to act. And don`t tell me that we cannot have an impact on this carnage.

I spent my career as a senator and as vice president working to pass common sense gun laws. We cannot prevent every tragedy. But we know that they work and have positive impact. When we passed the assault weapons ban, mass shootings went down. When the law expired, mass shootings tripled.

The idea that an 18-year-old kid can walk into a gun store and buy two assault weapons, it is just wrong. What in God`s name do you need an assault weapon for except to kill someone? They aren`t running through the forest with Kevlar vests on, for God`s sake. It`s just sick.

I just got off a trip from Asia, meeting with Asian leaders. And I learned this while I was on the aircraft. What struck me on that 17 hour flight -- what struck me was that these kinds of shootings rarely happen anywhere else in the world. Why?

They have mental health problems. They have domestic disputes in other countries. They have people who are lost. But these kinds of mass shootings never happen with a kind of frequency that they happen in America. Why?

Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen? It`s time to turn this pain into action. For every parent, every citizen of this country, we have to make it clear to every elected official in this country, that it is time to act.

It is time for those who have obstructed or delay or block the common sense gun laws -- we need to let you know that we will not forget. We can do so much more. We have to do more.


O`DONNELL: Leading off our coverage this hour is NBC news correspondent Morgan Chesky in Uvalde, Texas.


And, Morgan, I know this is the part of Texas where you grew up. You were on the football team in your high school playing against that town. What are you learning there tonight?

MORGAN CHESKY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Lawrence, I think what we are learning is that this is a community, like so many others across America, that thought that they were safe until they were not. Right now, Robb Elementary School has become a massive crime scene, crime scene tapes surround almost every square corner of its campus. There is a mobile command unit put up so that investigators can continue to gather evidence as they learn more about this horrific tragedy.

But people from this community of only about 15,000, some of them want to return to the area where they can see the scene. And you can see the tears. Unfortunately, they now realize that their community has joined others.

As it stands right now, it`s still a very active investigation and there are things happening in multiple parts of this community. And as I say this to you, Lawrence, the investigation is happening here. A quarter mile away, there is a reunification site in a civic center, where some people are still waiting to hear word, potentially, on whether or not their trial is okay.

And in a hospital, the Uvalde Memorial Hospital, there are still people being treated who were hurt or wounded inside when the shooting took place. All of this is very fluid and every update that has come in from authorities has only brought more heartbreak to this tight-knit town.

This all began at about 11:30 this morning. That`s when the police in Uvalde first got the call of an active shooter here at Robb Elementary School. We are told this 18 year old, who grew up in this community, walked inside carrying a handgun, and potentially a rifle and started opening fire. We are also hearing that he may have shot his own grandmother prying to doing this.

We do not know the details of what took place inside the school, regarding the gunman. But we do know that when the shots rang out, teachers huddled students toward safe areas inside and told me incredibly quiet, as gunshots came from the gunman until, authorities say, he was shot. He was shot and killed by two officers who came near almost instantaneously response-wise. We know that both wounded officers are expected to be okay.

He is believed to be the only suspect, and the only person rather, who took it upon himself to do this crime. There are still a lot of unanswered questions. We anticipate another update from Texas DPS.

We will be asking about a motive. We will be asking about the acquisition of weapons. We have to know he was wearing body armor when he walked inside, Lawrence. As it stands right now, the heartbreak and pain is in every direction where you look in this small Texas town on the edge of the hill country. As you mentioned, yes, it`s not too far away from where I grew up. I have to tell you, driving into this community today, you could feel a sadness that I do not think you experience unless you cover a story like this. It is one I hope I never have to cover again -- Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: And, Morgan, I think -- I think you knew you would be covering stories like this, Morgan, but not necessarily -- you could not have known where you would be covering a story like this. And that you would be covering it so close to home for you.

CHESKY: Absolutely. Absolutely.

And just to paint you a picture of how tight this town is, I parked on the block here. As I was walking to the scene, there was a gentleman out front who I wanted to make sure that it was okay for me to park in front of his house -- and he said absolutely, he knew why I was here. And he said, by the way, one of the teachers killed in the school today was my niece. We since learned that she`s a fourth grade teacher here. And one of three teachers killed, 18 students killed, 18 elementary students killed here in Uvalde, Texas, today -- Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Morgan Chesky, thank you very much for your reporting through the day and tonight. We know you are going to stay with it. Thank you very much for starting us off this hour. Thank you very much, Morgan.

MORGAN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And joining us now is Congressman Joaquin Castro, a Democrat who represents the 20th congressional district of Texas, a neighboring community to Uvalde, Texas.

And, Representative Castro, we have heard once again from the two Republican senators, those representing your state of Texas, that they are in favor of absolutely nothing by way of regulation of any kind of controls on guns and ammunition, anything that could involve restricting the access to assault weapons by the kind of person who walked into that school today that killed those purple.


REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): Yeah, that`s right, Lawrence. It shocks the conscience that lawmakers who have a chance to do something, could change the situation, to improve things, would sit by and do nothing.

And, you know, the American people have made up their mind about what they want. You have 89 percent of Americans, so a large slot of Democrats and Republicans lose support something like universal background checks. We support closing the loopholes. The gun reform measures, overwhelming support for these things.

It is the members of the United States Senate, the Republicans, and, of course, Republicans in the House of Representatives who are not listening to the American people, and aren`t even listening to a big chunk of their own voters.

And, you, know that`s heartbreaking. A six-year-old an eight or old, my wife and I had a baby three weeks ago. Something take my kids to school, and dropping off in the morning, and picking up in the afternoon. And I thought about how those same parents who also drop their kids off this morning and Uvalde didn`t get a chance to pick them up. And that`s the last time we`re going to see them, you know?

And like other parents, I`m sure, when I have gone by my kids` school. I`ve stayed at the front entrance, and look at that building, and wondered what would happen if a shooter showed up and my kids school, and wondered whether most kids would even have a chance for surviving a getaway.

And that`s where we are in the 21st century America, because politicians, these hard-core conservative politicians (AUDIO GAP) they won`t do a single thing about it.

O`DONNELL: Representative Castro, you have a governor who tweeted that he was embarrassed that Texas gun purchases where number two to California, and by the way, California`s lead a state in the nation by tens of millions of people. No other state should be close to California in any number that exists.

And so, you want to Texas and the people of Texas to buy more guns than people in California have purchased. So it has been a cheerleader for the acquisition of exactly to do this.

CASTRO: There is no doubt that Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, has made Texas a more dangerous place for everyone. He`s made it easier for people to get all kinds of guns, understand, guns a semiautomatic guns a can kill 15, 20 people and a matter of under a minute, where you don`t even have a chance to respond.

And, you know, you hear a lot about Texas being a pro-gun state, there`s a lot of gun owners in Texas, and it`s true, there` are a lot of gun owners in Texas.

But I think the average Texan, when they think about guns, they think about having a gun in their home in case somebody breaks into their house at 2:00 in the morning. And they need to protect themselves, or their family members. Or they`re thinking about using their guns during deer season or bird season.

They don`t want people who are full of hate and dangerous to have a weapon of war in their hands where they can mow down 15 people in a matter of seconds. And yet, Greg Abbott has helped make that possible, even more possible in Texas.

O`DONNELL: Going forward, the House of Representatives have done everything possible under Democratic control, with Speaker Pelosi. United States Senate has 50 Democratic senators, two of whom seem to hold the 60 vote rule, which is a relatively young rule in the history of the Senate, as so sacrosanct but they wouldn`t do anything to change it, for any reason, including the possibility of passing any form of any of the legislation passed by the House.

CASTRO: Yeah, you know, this is another example of where you have huge bipartisan support for a piece of policy, like they`ll just take one piece, universal background checks, so it`s almost 90 percent. We should not put an arcane rule like the filibuster rule, it`s not even a law, it`s a custom.

We shouldn`t put that ahead of the health and safety and welfare of the American people. We literally have, as you can see from today, again, people dying because the Congress and state legislatures, by the, way has not taken action to help protect people.

O`DONNELL: Representative Joaquin Castro, thank you very much for joining us on those difficult night. Really appreciate it.

CASTRO: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And coming up, this week, the NRA actually plans to be in Texas. They plan to be in Houston, Texas, gathering there is Donald Trump is one of the schedules, because as of the Texas Senator Cruz, Governor Abbott, where they will all be meeting with the group that has made sure that American mass murderers are guaranteed to be the best equipped mass murderers in the world. Mass murderers that even the police cannot stop when they are in pursuit of them, as they were with this murder today.

We`ll be right back.




KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: While we don`t have all the details yet, we do know that there are parents who`ve lost children, families that have lost children, and their loved ones, of course, and many others who may have been injured.

So, I would normally say in a moment like this, we would all say naturally that our hearts break. But our hearts keep getting broken. Every time a tragedy like this happens, our hearts break. And our broken hearts are nothing compared to the broken hearts of those families. And yet it keeps happening.

I`ll just say that the people of Uvalde, please know that this is a roomful of leaders who grieve with you, and we are praying for you, and we stand with you. And it is difficult at a time like this to think about much else.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Harris County, Texas, Judge Lina Hidalgo.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

The NRA is scheduled to meet in your state at the end of the week for Memorial Day weekend. Apparently, Senator John Cornyn has just discovered that he was conflict in the schedule and will not be able to be there this weekend. They`re saying now -- his office is saying, he has to be in the D.C. for personal reasons on Friday. Those personal reasons didn`t exist before the shooting.

When we expect to happen this week with the NRA in your state?

JUDGE LINA HIDALGO (D), HARRIS COUNTY, TX: Look, I think that if the NRA had any heart, it would this convention. It`s right here in Houston, Harris County, just a few hours drive from where this tragedy unfolded. And what we heard from Vice President Harris is true.

You know, just this morning, we were having an announcement or our medical examiner released data that the percentage of homicides related to guns only increased in Texas. And here in Harris County, since the state has relaxed gun safety laws more and more.

And what normally happens in this convention is a part of politicians kissing the ring on the extreme side of a complete lack of safeguards when it comes to gun safety. In order to begin moving the needle in the right direction, again, we need to really call this out. We need to move beyond the sorrow. We need to run people that a policies, a position is that the NRA promotes, that they get politicians to promote, the funding are so out of touch, and are so dangerous, incredibly dangerous, for our communities.

O`DONNELL: The NRA and say corrupt organization that is falling apart financially and in many other ways. It`s been under legal threat.

It`s not the NRA anymore, because the Republican Party has completely internalized, as its own ethic, that NRA ideal of making sure that mass murderers have the very best equipment that anyone can buy the very best equivalent of murder at anytime they want to in this country.

And so, even without the NRA, so this would continue as a Republican position, especially now at this point where Republicanism is basically whatever Trump Republicanism wants. They take their guide from what liberals want, they must be opposed to, that stating of the NRA, I believe you also have this Republican position.

HIDALGO: And that`s why it`s still incumbent on leaders to recognize the vast majority of Americans can agree on basic gun safety policies. And this is moved to such absolutism but as far out of touch, and politicians from both sides need to hold firm on when needed to hear.

I mean, look, "The Houston Chronicle" just published an op-ed. And they asked in this context of a law and order frenzy, right, that`s over the country. What kind of a law and order state does so little to prevent the massacre of 18 babies in their own schools? So, that`s what need to call out. You can`t have a discussion about public safety without discussing a rule of guns, and these weapons of mass destruction.

And your heart just breaks. I mean, this morning, a mother joined us in our release of the data. She lost her baby to come violence, her young son a few years ago, and now, she`s having to watch this all over again. And so, this is not a time process of talking about this.


And unfortunately, it`s going to take both. It`s going to take the community. It`s going to activists and it`s also going to take those politicians, those leading voices, as you say, on both sides.

And so Democrats can`t afford to lose anybody to this pandering to the gun lobby, to the extreme sides, to the worst instincts of people. But we need Republicans too, to get in touch with their own moral compass about this.

O`DONNELL: Beto O`Rourke has said today that this is a result of Governor Abbott`s policies. This situation in Texas that enables an 18-year-old like this to be able to do this. It is a direct result of Republican policies.

HIDALGO: Look, it`s always hard to prove exact causation but the evidence is there. In the time that gun crime has gone up, that the percentage of homicides related to guns has gone up, that is at the same time as Texas has further eroded any kind of regulations that had any kind of protections it had when it came to common sense gun policies.

Just last year, the legislature passed permit-less carry over the objections of law enforcement. And it means that basically, anybody can carry pretty much any gun in Texas. And that kind of thing has only continued as folks have tried to pander to the extreme.

So, I think he is absolutely right. And we need to fight for common sense policies, to return to Texas and to the nation.

O`DONNELL: Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, thank you very much for joining us on this very painful night for Texas. Thank you very much.

Thank you.

We just had an update now. There have been conflicting death toll numbers throughout the night. We can now report that it is now 19 children and two teachers who were killed at Robb Elementary School today. That is the latest information we have coming from the Department of Public Safety in Texas right now.

And after this break, we will be joined by David Hogg, who survived a shooting like this in his high school. He knows what the survivors, what the second graders, the third graders, the fourth graders who were not killed today will live with for the rest of their lives. David Hogg joins us next.




SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): What are we doing? In Sandy Hook elementary school after those kids came back into those classroom, they had to adopt a practice. A practice in which there would be a safe word that the kids would say if they started to get thoughts in their brain about what they saw that day. If they started to get nightmares during the day, reliving stepping over their classmates bodies as they tried to flee the school.

In one classroom, that word was "monkey". And over and over and over through the day, kids would stand up and yell "monkey". And a teacher or a paraprofessional would have to go over to that kid and take them out of the classroom, talk to them about what they had seen, and work them through their issues.

Sandy Hook will never ever be the same. This community in Texas will never, ever be the same.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is someone who will never be the same, David Hogg, cofounder of March For Our Lives. David is a survivor of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

David, you are going through it again tonight. President Biden mentioned your school when he spoke and went through the litany of our recent memory of these events.

I had never heard what Senator Murphy said tonight about what those elementary school kids were told when they came back to school. Because they did eventually have to come back to school, Sandy Hook. And the safe word and of that, that these kids -- these elementary school kids in Florida will now be presumably told and instructed in Texas -- they will be instructed in a similar way when they come back to Robb Elementary School eventually.

What will it be like for those fifth graders, fourth graders coming back to that school?

DAVID HOGG, FOUNDER, MARCH FOR OUR LIVES: Horrible. I mean, I can only speak for my experience in Parkland, you know. There is no way to respond to something that never should`ve happened in the first place. There is no way to every bring a community back in the first place, to the way it was. There is nothing that is going to bring those kids back, you know.

When we started in Parkland, after the shooting, we started with the hashtag never again, saying that over and over again. And we said that thinking that the largest -- one of the largest school shooting -- or one of the largest school shootings in American history happening in Parkland, Florida hopefully could be the last. And unfortunately, it wasn`t.


HOGG: And now it no longer is one of those largest ones because now as we just got the recent updated death toll, you know, that many more babies, essentially because these aren`t even kids. These are babies that are dying, that our government is failing -- Democrats and Republicans frankly are failing, right.

We have changed power in Congress -- in the House and the Senate and in the White House and not a single gun law has changed, Lawrence. I don`t know what we do here.

You know, I think that the only thing that we can do is focus on what is just one thing -- just one thing that we can agree on as Americans. We know what we disagree on.

I`m not here to debate anyone. I`m not here to listen to your thoughts and prayers over and over again. I want to see, what is the one thing that we can do? Just one thing.

I am not saying it is going to eradicate gun violence entirely. That`s never going to happen in the United States so long as there are 400 million guns here. What are we going to do to even just save one life?

And I think what that can be is universal background checks, something that the vast majority of Americans support. And I think we can do it. We need Republican senators to get on board with it. We need to have a conversation about what can we agree on? And stop talking and debating what we can`t because these kids are (AUDIO GAP)

O`DONNELL: -- according to the current rules of the senate, 10 Republican senators to join on this universal backgrounds check proposal. That seems difficult tonight.

HOGG: Extremely, unfortunately. And it shouldn`t be. You know, whoever it takes -- I don`t care if it is me, I don`t are if it`s another senator. I don`t care if it`s a congressman, whoever it is. Somebody needs to have a conversation, not just with these Republican senators but with Republicans in general. And say, look, we have been doing what the NRA and these other groups have said for years, and regardless of whether or not you are a gun owner or not a gun owner, a liberal or a conservative, whatever you are, we all can agree as Americans that this should not be happening.

Kids should not be dying in their schools, in their communities on a daily basis. People should not be -- grandma should not be dying in their grocery stores, just like happened in Buffalo, right. That barely made it on the news because, unfortunately, that`s how common this is becoming.

We as Americans need to realize that our union isn`t just imperfect, it is severely broken right now because we can`t even do the basic duty of government, of ensuring the domestic tranquility as our founding fathers talked about.

And if we can`t do that, we have to figure out how to, either with the current people that are in power -- or by changing who is in power. Not just Democrats or Republicans, but morally just leaders, that don`t focus in getting partisan BS matches where they follow people like Marjorie Taylor Greene who follow me and harass us to raise money.

But instead, focus on what can we do as Americans, not Democrats or Republicans but as Americans to actually fix this issue because our future is dying with these kids every day. We have to figure out what we can do, even if it is small.

It is not going to completely eradicate it. But we can do one thing. If we can just do one thing, like background checks, that show future generations that we are working on this and that we are not going to fail them. Because that is what caused the shooting at my high school and that`s what caused this one.

O`DONNELL: David, I was so struck today to hear Senator Murphy say why, asked that fundamental question. You hear President Biden tonight say why. And from my own memory that that was the question that Bobby Kennedy asked in 1968, the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in what turned out to be six weeks before he himself was going to be assassinated.

And that question of why, why do we allow this gun violence -- Bobby Kennedy was complaining. He was complaining about gun laws in 1968. And here you have Senator Chris Murphy complaining about the same thing tonight. President Biden tonight complain about the same thing tonight.

It is unclear in whose lifetime this work is going to get done, if it is going to get done.

HOGG: It is going to be ours, Lawrence. It`s going to happen. We have to make it happen. We have no other option. Whether it is in Congress or in the states, every American that is watching this right now, regardless of what happens in Congress, if you care about this issue, if you are a mom, dad, brother, or sister -- if you are a human being that cares about this issue, I do not need you going out there every single day and talking about this issue. You don`t have to go out there and talk every single waking moment, thinking about gun violence.

All we need to do is what the NRA has done brilliantly for decades to bring us here. It`s not even just from funding these politicians. Frankly, it is because they show up in these state legislatures. They show up with a group of several dozen people that are very effective at pressuring these state legislatures into acting.

We can do that. If we had several hundred or just a thousand people show up every year at each state legislature and say, we want to figure out how we can pass pro gun violence prevention legislation -- that isn`t just laws because laws alone are not going to solve this. and I will fully admit.

] We have to address why somebody feels a need to pick up a gun in the first place. And the fact that two thirds of gun deaths are suicides.


HOGG: Lawrence, I have had many, many, many conversations with Republicans, very, very conservative gun owners, many of whom who have threatened me or vehemently disagreed with me.

And look ultimately what I say to them is like I am not going to try to change your mind here. But I think what I want to highlight is that we do agree. We need to end gun violence. So, let`s stop debating this issue and let`s start talking about what we can agree on.

Because the reality is the next Parkland is going to happen until we start acting. The next Newtown, the next Buffalo is going to happen, until we address the systematic injustice that drives gun violence, until we address the lack of gun laws, that enable people like the fascist in Buffalo, who is self proclaimed to be a fascist, to get a gun in the first place.

And the fact that as Americans, both Democrats and Republicans, are failing us right now.

We have to work to elect morally just leaders and demand that our current leaders act now, not in the Democratic or Republican interest but in the future interest of our union to create a more perfect country for all because I truly believe -- I had a conversation with former congressman Joe Walsh today on his podcast, a Republican.

We agreed on a lot of stuff, even around gun laws, right. There are many of us. I truly do not believe that we are nearly as divided as a country as we think we are. I`ve not had a single conversation with somebody, even people who insult me, vehemently that I`ve had where we don`t end up agreeing that while we may disagree on some aspects of gun policy or vice versa, we need to do something about gun violence.

So that is my message to Republicans -- and especially Republican senators tonight. I don`t care if you meet with me. I don`t care who you meet with. Meet with your other senators. Let`s figure out what is the one small thing -- even if it just saves one life -- I`m not saying it`s going to end gun violence entirely. What is one small thing that we can do to address this issue? Because that is how democracy works.

And improvement is better than nothing. And right now, what we have done for basically my entire life, is nothing. And until we work towards finding that one thing that we can work on together, again, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as human beings that care about the future of our union, that care about the future of our republic -- this is going to continue happening.

And I believe that we can address it. But we must come together and stop focusing on just blaming each other and focus on what can we do now. What can we do now to address this? That is what I care about.

O`DONNELL: David Hogg, thank you very much for joining us again tonight. We always appreciate it.

HOGG: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And joining us now from Uvalde, Texas is Tony Plohetski. He`s an investigative reporter with the "Austin American Statesman". Tony, we just got an update to the new total now of 19 -- 19 children in their school murdered today. What else has developed this evening?

TONY PLOHETSKI, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, "AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN": Well, Lawrence, in addition to those 19 students, authorities here on the scene are now confirming that two teachers are among the dead as well. Authorities still really trying to figure out what precipitated what happened here today, what possibly could have led the gunman on this killing spree.

But according to officials, he was heavily armed. They are still trying to figure out, of course, how he acquired his firearms and the rifle that they believe that he used. But authorities also confirming late this evening that that gunman also had body armor, which of course made subduing him by law enforcement, who came to this area, far more difficult. But of course, a law enforcement official ultimately taking the gunman down and killing him, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Tony, what are you expecting overnight and into tomorrow in terms of more fact development in the case and that will be made public?

PLOHETSKI: Well, authorities are, of course, going to be going through the scene painstakingly all night. But of course, the other extraordinarily tragic dimension of this, Lawrence, is they are also now going about the horrific process of identifying these victims and notifying their parents.

Of course, keep in mind that these are small children. They are not people who have things like tattoos or other ways to identify them. They are largely, according to law enforcement officials here -- what they are telling me is that they are having to, you know, use clothing, for example, to help identify the children. You know, what did you send your son or daughter to school dressed in?

So, it`s just a very, very tragic scene tonight.

O`DONNELL: Tony Plohetski, thank you very much for reporting for us tonight. Really appreciate it.



O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And earlier tonight, before his team`s game in Dallas, Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr said this.


STEVE KERR, COACH, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: I`m not going to talk about basketball. Nothing has happened with our team in the last six hours. We are going to start the same way tonight. Any basketball questions don`t matter.

Since we left (INAUDIBLE) 14 children were killed 400 miles from here and a teacher. And in the last ten days, we have had elderly black people killed in a supermarket in Buffalo. We have had Asian churchgoers killed in southern California. And now we have children murdered at school.

When are we going to do something? I am tired. I am so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I am so tired of the -- excuse my -- I`m sorry. I am tired of the moments of silence. Enough.

There is 50 senators right now who refused to vote on HR 8, which a background check rule that the House passed a couple years ago. It`s been sitting there for two years. And there is a reason they will not vote for it, to hold on to power.

So, I ask you, Mitch McConnell, and I ask all of you senators who refused to do anything about the violence and school shootings and supermarket shootings, I ask you -- are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of the lives of our children and our elderly and our churchgoers? Because that is what it looks like. It is what we do every week.

So, I am fed up, I have had enough. We`re going to play the game tonight. But I want every person here, every person listening to this to think about your own child or grandchild, or mother or father, or sister or brother. How would you feel if this happened to you today?

We can`t get numb to this. We can`t sit here and just read about it and go, well, let`s have a moment of silence, yes, go Doves, you know. Come on Mavs, let`s go. That`s what we`re going to do. We`re going to go play a basketball game.

And 50 senators in Washington are going to hold us hostage. You realize that 90 percent of Americans, regardless of political party, want that background check, universal background check -- 90 percent of us.

We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refused to even put it to a vote despite what we, the American people, want. They won`t vote on it because they want to hold on to their own power. It is pathetic. I have had enough.


O`DONNELL: Steve Kerr.

Tonight`s LAST WORD is next.



O`DONNELL: Here is the rest of what Senator Chris Murphy said today.


MURPHY: Why? Why are we here? If not to try to make sure that fewer schools and fewer communities go through what Sandy Hook has gone through? What Uvalde is going through?

Our heart is breaking for these families. Every ounce of love and thoughts and prayers we can send we are sending.

But I am here on this floor to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees and beg my colleagues. Find a path forward here. Work with us to find a way to pass laws that make this less likely.

I understand my Republican colleagues will not agree to everything that I may support. But there is a common denominator that we can find. There is a place where we can achieve agreement.

It may not guarantee that America never, ever again sees a mass shooting. It may not overnight cut in half the number of murders that happened in America. It will not solve the problem of American violence by itself. But by doing something, we at least stop sending this quiet message of endorsement to these killers whose brains are breaking, who see the highest levels of government doing nothing, shooting after shooting.


MURPHY: What are we doing? Why are we here? What are we doing?

I yield the floor.


O`DONNELL: Senator Chris Murphy gets tonight`s LAST WORD.