Martin Bashir | July 20, 2012
>>> you know, soothing words are nice, but maybe it's time that the two people who want to be president of the united states stand up and tell us what they're going to do about it. because this is obviously a problem across the country. instead of the two people, president obama and governor romney, talking in broad things about they want to make the world a better place , okay, tell us how.
>> well, the shock of a movie house massacre's still fresh, but new york's tough talking mayor mike bloomberg saying the time for soothing words is already over . he's placing the onus on the two candidates running for president now.
>> just going and talking in generalities doesn't give the public the information they need. this country is in very big trouble and we need to two candidates telling us how they're going to take us out of this.
>> both have expressed their condolences, but it's what they say about this tragedy over the next 100 days or so that we're concerned with at the moment. so, let's bring in our panel, jonathan capehart, who joins us live from washington , also, in the nation's capitol, and here with us in new york, ari melber of the nation. chastising the president, mitt romney , as if to try to take the shock of this incident to get him to take this more serious. both have taken this more serious with regard to gun control . will this work?
>> you would hope so. mayor bloomberg is being very characteristic mayor bloomberg . blunt, to the point. he didn't just make these comments willy-nilly on his own. he was there in the radio studio for his weekly friday show. when you have something this tragic in the news and something involving guns, which mayor bloomberg is leading this effort. i can't remember xakly the name of the group, mayors against guns, it includes 600 mayors across the country who have been working hard to try and change gun laws and so what you saw there in that clip and what you're hearing from mayor bloomberg is a frustration of many, many years of trying to get washington to do something about this and having nothing come of it.
>> yeah, and he came out very early and strongly. karen , one of the reasons most people are reluctant to speak about the political implication of what has happened today of this event in aurora, colorado, is because of the fear of perhaps sounding unappropriate or crass or opportunistic. let me play this for you.
>> we have been at war with the very pillars, the very foundation of this country. and when you know, what really gets me is a christian is to see the ongoing attacks on christian beliefs and then some senseless, crazy act of -- takes place.
>> and that is representative gomer. what do you make of what was said there?
>> that's obviously disgusting and purely inappropriate in a moment like this. plays into a will the of other dog whistle politics we will talk about in another day. in a time like this, i actually applaud mayor bloomberg because i think on the one hand, yes, let us say our prayers for people who lost their lives and their families and loved ones , but think about what we've been through the last couple of years. we've got between shooting with gabriele giffords, the death of trayvon martin, then this horrific incident, when are we going to pay attention to the fact these crimes are happening on our streets every day and we're not paying attention to those issues and both sides could be doing such a better job. i think part of this conversation, i hope we will get there. we may not. we may go back to the usual back and forth politics. instead of actually standing up to the likes of the nra , who jonathan mentioned, actually the group is mayors against illegal guns and has been working to get mayors to stop being a part of that group and mayors are the ones on the front lines every day of seeing gun violence .
>> you bring up a very good point. let's go to ari on this. so, why is it that we feel it's uncomfortable to discuss the plitization of gun control right now? what is that part of what we think that keeps us from doing that?
>> the notion of avoiding politics here has been fueled in a political context. i think it's true when you look at these kinds of tragedies, in news, politics and government. we deal with tragedies, really bad things and this is terrible.
>> all the time.
>> the first thing obviously is the human element. looking at what happened. looking at safety and deal iing with it as an emergency. but after that, the next two things that happen and i think most people would agree on this if we take a step back. you think about justice. right? you want to get the bad guy . you want to have a system that meets out some sort of justice even though we'll never bring these people back. and then, most people also think about policy. when you look at hurricane katrina or 9/11 or the worst things that have happened, we looked at what did we know, what did we do as a society and government? in this area of guns, e.j. dion has a post that this is one area, because of the politics itself, because the nra has a great influence on both parties. we've been told over and over there's a rule we can't do that third thing. that after we deal with the human and justice part, we can't deal with the broader part. i think that's a mistake because we have to have that debate, that discussion and whether you look at the assault weapons ban , which worked for ten year, then expired, or other questions about common sense gun control what mayor bloomberg is saying is what others say. when do we talk about this if we're also stopped?
>> you bring up a very good point. we look to politics for solutions. solutions might be policy is what you're saying here. as we go to this, reflect on what ari just said. people are seeing these numbers. 71 injured. perhaps the largest shooting in the history of the the united states and they want a solution and an answer. tell us what you think about ari's perspective.
>> i agree and part of the problem is the national rifle association . both democrats and republicans are enthralled to that very well funded lobbying group , so if you want to know why mayors against illegal gun, thank you, karen , and other groups have been trying to do something about the sourn scourge of gun violence , if you want to know why they haven't gotten anywhere, look to the nra . they spend lots of money keeping politicians in line, both here in washington and across the country, to ensure that what they view as you know, protecting second amendment freedoms, aren't enfringed, yet there are people on city streets , in rural areas and unfortunately, in movie theatres , who are being victimized by people who are bastardizing the right to bear arms.
>> karen , i want to get your reflection on ari's point and i want to show this chart of a gallup poll that shows the reflection of what people want when it comes to policy, laws. over the last 20 years, when we look at the numbers, support for stronger gun laws has shrunk from 60 to 29.
>> well, i think part of that is probably related to oth issues moving to the front like the economy. as we're saying, an incident like this kind of makes us take a step back. i saw one account that suggests that the expiration of the weapons ban might have prevented this individual from having one of the the types of guns that he has. i'm sure from the policy standpoint, that will be one of the kinds of things that will be looked at in terms of the question of what could we be doing to prevent someone like this, who is so irresponsible with their guns. it's so unfortunate that our politics has become so polarized because we should be able to have a conversation about public safety , what's in the best interest of our police officers having what they need to keep us safe and protecting second amendment rights, what we're saying is there's got to be a better balance. we've had so many instances that continue to happen that show us we need to be having this conversation because the problem isn't going away by the the fact we just ignore it.
>> that part of the conversation happened right here. thank you.
>> thank you.