Holt: Shootings Will ‘Be Like Hurricanes,’ People Stuck on ‘Hamster Wheel’ if Gun Control Fails

On separate occasions during Sunday’s special edition of NBC’s Dateline on the Orlando terror attack, anchor Lester Holt equated mass shootings to hurricanes in the event guns aren’t corralled and could leave the American people stuck on a “hamster wheel” of violence. 

Prior to Holt’s first comment, Democratic Senator Bill Nelson (Fl.) was speaking to him near the scene and reminded viewers that “Americans cannot succumb to fear” and “these animals will ultimately do themselves in” whenever we decide to “dig down deep and face this” evil. 

It was at this moment that Holt interjected to wonder: “But we don't submit to fear, but do we at some point admit to a sense of helplessness that there — that mass — mass shootings are going to be like hurricanes, they just happen?”

Later on in the program and following a commentary by correspondent Josh Mankiewicz, Holt brought on former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw to make the hamster analogy about the American people: “Tom, we have seen this movie far too many times, even the conversations that follow are the same. How do we get off this hamster wheel?”

Brokaw seemed to not be aware of his comments earlier in the day about gun control (here and here) when he admonished elected officials and perhaps the media for not “deal[ing] with the facts”:

It’s already started and there's a lot of vitriol out there, a lot of bombast, but the victims in this case, the people who were killed, their families and the American people for that matter deserve better than that. Let’s just deal with the facts.

In a brief aside before trumpeting Mankiewicz’s emphasis that we shouldn’t always look to radical Islamic terrorism as the cause of these events, Brokaw opined that perhaps we should look more into them:

We don’t know that, but we need to have a rational debate about how we’re going to deal with this war, the likes of which we have never been involved in before. It's run by a shadowy group in the Middle East, very elusive, very clever and they have their eyes set on us. 

As I just mentioned, however, Brokaw quickly retreated from this train of thought to conclude that “the minority of the mass shootings have been triggered by Islamic rage, there have been so many other mass shootings in America as well, between San Bernardino and what happened here today tragically.” 

The relevant portions of the transcript from NBC’s Dateline on June 12 can be found below.

NBC’s Dateline
June 12, 2016
7:22 p.m. Eastern

DEMOCRATIC SENATOR BILL NELSON (Fl.): You remember Sandy Hook, my goodness, 26 people. Well, this is bad enough, but Americans cannot succumb to fear. If we'll dig down deep and face this, these animals will ultimately do themselves in. 

LESTER HOLT: But we don't submit to fear, but do we at some point admit to a sense of helplessness that there — that mass — mass shootings are going to be like hurricanes, they just happen? 

NELSON: No, we cannot have a helpless feeling. That's where it's so important, if you see something, say something. We have a great intelligence apparatus and if we can penetrate that — that network, if they make any kind of statement, then we can get them, but the fact is, that if it's a lone wolf, it's hard to be 100 percent.

(....)

7:47 p.m. Eastern

HOLT: Joining me now from New York is Tom Brokaw, Tom, we have seen this movie far too many times, even the conversations that follow are the same. How do we get off this hamster wheel? 

TOM BROKAW: Well Lester, I've been thinking about that a lot today, and obviously and appropriately this is going to be part of the presidential debate. It’s already started and there's a lot of vitriol out there, a lot of bombast, but the victims in this case, the people who were killed, their families and the American people for that matter deserve better than that. Let’s just deal with the facts. The teen’s claim it was acting on behalf of the head of ISIL, but we don’t know whether he was a freelance agent or some kind of a contract killer? It looks like he was just freelancing, also what was the role of his revulsion as described by his father of gay and lesbian behavior? We don't know what he was exposed to on social media and we don't know why, if the FBI interviewed him twice, he was able to get his hands on an AR-15? That’s a military assault weapon. It’s designed to do one thing, which to kill people. So, was he just like the two bombers at the Boston Marathon? So enraged by what he was reading and seeing here that he had to do this irrational act? We don’t know that, but we need to have a rational debate about how we’re going to deal with this war, the likes of which we have never been involved in before. It's run by a shadowy group in the Middle East, very elusive, very clever and they have their eyes set on us. It’s also worth remembering, as Josh just pointed out that, all the mass shootings — in fact the minority of the mass shootings have been triggered by Islamic rage, there have been so many other mass shootings in America as well, between San Bernardino and what happened here today tragically. 

HOLT: Tom Brokaw, Tom, thank you.

NBDaily Events Orlando Night Club Terror Attack Guns War on Terrorism Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Religion Islam NBC Dateline Video Government & Press Lester Holt Tom Brokaw Bill Nelson
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