MSNBC Live guest host Phillip Mena and NBC reporter Garrett Haake admitted on Monday that they do not have all the facts yet when it comes to the Odessa gunman who shot and killed seven people and injured an additional 22 on Saturday, but that did not stop them from condemning Texas' new gun laws that "loosened restrictions."
After giving an update on the victims' medical conditions, Haake implied that the AR-15-style weapon used somehow made the victims' wounds worse and the surgeons' jobs more complicated than if it had been another type of weapon, "when you see gunshot wounds from high-powered rifles like you saw in this case and in El Paso and so many other mass shootings, they tend to be wounds that take quite a bit of time and surgical expertise as well to heal properly."
Mena then asked about the gunman and what is known about him. Haake admitted that they do not know everything about him, "The gunman is a source of frustration, quite honestly for investigators and for those of us trying to cover this. We know bits and pieces." Haake said he was not going to report the gunman's name right at the exact moment MSNBC put a picture of the gunman's face along with his name on screen. After that blunder, Haake reiterated, "And we know that he used an AR-style weapon, but we’re not able to connect all the dots just yet... but we understand there are things in his background that might have precluded him buying it legally."
Despite admitting to not having all the facts, Mena then asked Haake about how Governor Greg Abbott defended Texas' new guns that coincidentally went into effect at the same time as the shooting. Haake reported that Abbott told him that these new laws were designed to make people safer, citing one that allows for more armed marshals in schools, but Haake was not buying it. Turning from reporter into gun control advocate, He opined that if more guns made the community more safe then, "Texas ought to be the safest place on planet Earth. There are more guns in this state than any other state in the United States, but you had the governor defending that and a lot of attention being paid to these state laws in Texas after this shooting."
Not only did Mena and Haake not have all the information about the gunman, they cited the new laws as if they would have made a difference in this case, which they would not have.
Here is a transcript for the September 2 show:
MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson
10:16 AM ET
PHILLIP MENA: West Texas is in mourning today after another mass shooting in the state left seven people dead and 22 injured, including a 1 1/2-year-old baby. The rampage comes just four weeks after 22 people were killed in a racially charged shooting in El Paso. Police in Odessa say a man fired at an officer during a traffic spot, he then took off to a nearby town, firing at random passers-by along the way until law enforcement was eventually able to kill him. This shooting happened hours before new Texas gun laws were set to take effect, laws that relaxed regulations. At the White House yesterday, President Trump talked to reporters about whether new gun legislation could be coming down the pike.
DONALD TRUMP: We're looking at a lot of different things. We're looking at a lot of different bills, ideas, concepts. It's been going on for a long while. Background checks. I will say that for the most part, sadly, if you look at the last four or five, going back even five or six or seven years, for the most part, as strong as you make your background checks, they would not have stopped any of it. So it's a big problem. It's a mental problem. It's a big problem.
MENA: NBC’s Garrett Haake joining me now from Odessa, Texas and Garret, I understand you have information about the survivors that are being treated at the hospital there?
GARRETT HAAKE: Yeah, Phillip, that's right. The hospital staff here, they are continuing to work on patients. This hospital here in Odessa was the hospital that took the most patients on Saturday and slowly folks are getting upgraded out of their conditions, here at this hour, there is still one person in critical condition here, one patient in serious condition and eight in fair. Of course, that little girl who shot and hit by shrapnel was one of the patients here, she ended up getting airlifted to another hospital in Lubbock, Texas, but when you see gunshot wounds from high-powered rifles like you saw in this case and in El Paso and so many other mass shootings, they tend to be wounds that take quite a bit of time and surgical expertise as well to heal properly.
MENA: Those are just the physical ailments. Speaking nothing of the emotional pain too. Garret, what more do we know about the gunman here and how these horrific events unfolded?
HAAKE: The gunman is a source of frustration, quite honestly for investigators and for those of us trying to cover this. We know bits and pieces. We know he is a 36-year-old man from here in Odessa. We know his name, although I don't plan on reporting it this morning. We know he was recently fired from his job. And we know that he used an AR-style weapon, but we’re not able to connect all the dots just yet. We don't know, for example, whether his recent termination from his job was part of his motivation or whether it was just the traffic stop that he was subject to, set him off. We don’t know yet how he acquired that weapon, but we understand there are things in his background that might have precluded him buying it legally. We are still trying to put the pieces together, as are police. I was in the news conference with the chief of police from Odessa, a special agent of the FBI helping out with the investigation here. They were equally frustrated by the fact that there is no obvious motivation here. This is really the biggest question I think for authorities as they continue to investigate: what set this man off and started him firing first at public safety officers who pulled him over, then apparently randomly as he drove down the interstate here midway between Midland and Odessa in West Texas? We just don't know yet. .
MENA: As we mentioned earlier though, new gun laws in Texas, they took effect yesterday largely loosening gun restrictions. You asked Governor Abbott about those new laws. What did he have to say about that?
HAAKE: Right, so these laws going into effect yesterday was coincidental. They were passed in June, signed by the governor subsequently and they were set to go into effect September 1st, but given the timing they drew an enormous amount of attention. These are things that loosened restrictions on places where Texans can carry guns, on restrictions on Texans how they are supposed to store their weapons. I asked Governor Abbot about this yesterday and he said these are laws designed to make people in Texas more safe. He pointed specifically to a law that would allow for more armed marshals in schools. This is a fundamental disconnect between people on both sides of this debate. The question about whether more guns would make people more safe. If that were the case, Texas ought to be the safest place on planet Earth. There are more guns in this state than any other state in the United States, but you had the governor defending that and a lot of attention being paid to these state laws in Texas after this shooting, Phillip.