Absolutely Deranged: Matthews Leads Fact-Free Gun Control Panel Filled with Churlish Rhetoric

Despite the fact that Friday’s alleged gunman in the despicable high school shooting in Santa Fe, TX used his father’s shotgun and .38 caliber revolver, MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews shepherded through a discourteous opening panel of Democratic Congressman Joaquín Castro (TX), Moms Demand Action leader Shannon Watts, and Parkland, FL teacher Greg Pittman that showed an inability to grasp facts but rather an ability to hurl insults.

Matthews set the tone in his opening, declaring Santa Fe to be another chapter in “a common story now in America as is the absence of action by the country's leaders” as there was “intermittent gunfire across the country, [but] political silence here in the Capital.” 

 

 

He and Castro briefly sought common ground with pro-Second Amendment supporters by stating the need for parents to be more responsible in storing their firearms so as to keep them away from children, but leave it to Matthews having Watts to get him whipped into a frenzy.

Matthews teed her up by suggesting that “I don’t expect any action” on gun control because America is “a gun-tooting country” where “[w]e live with” the Second Amendment in “the way it’s interpreted by the Supreme Court” even though “I think it’s irresponsible.”

Without any citation, Watts claimed that “[t]here have been 20 mass shootings in the state of Texas since 2009, two just this week and all we’ve seen Greg Abbott do is make it easier for dangerous people to get guns.” In other words, typical classless behavior from a classless person. Search “Shannon Watts” and “Dana Loesch” and you’ll see why.

For people like Matthews, gun rights supporters are akin to evil cartoon characters. He replied to Watts by telling her that “all I hear is calls for open carry in saloons and restaurants, people want to walk through the malls with guns, toting guns openly.”

Instead of try and breakdown Watts’s lunacy, here’s her latest conspiracy theory (as always, click “expand” to read more):

Well, you know, we have something nothing other developed nation has which is the gun lobby and NRA lobbyists are always fighting for guns for anyone anywhere anytime, no questions asked. That's how they continue to sell more guns. There's $100 million loss in gun sales since Donald Trump was elected and the NRA is trying to figure out how to make up for that losses in sales. Part of it is to do things like arming teachers. If they arm just a fraction of America's 3.6 million teachers they could easily recoup the loss and get ready to hear those talking points tomorrow morning.

Just as Matthews did, Pittman suggested that the minimum age for purchasing a gun should be even high than 21 (whom people might remember as the teacher who's condemned one of his own students in Kyle Kashuv and compared him to Hitler for standing up for the Second Amendment):

It goes back, I think, to the access to be able to obtain the guns to begin with. It goes to raising the age, I think, to be able to obtain guns. How do these 17-year-olds, so many of these shooters, the shooter at our school was 19, who was able to legally buy the gun at that time. Florida raised the age to 21. Many of these states need to raise the age to 21 or perhaps older. Very easy to get guns. We need to extend background checks which wouldn't have prevented this[.]

The segment went personal as Matthews opined that Abbott’s comments about the shooting and promises to set up roundtables with both sides of the gun debate was “an act” and then nothing will happen.

“[I]t is a shame that the United States Congress has not done anything, anything to protect our students from gun violence,” Castro claimed. Naturally, Castro was never corrected as Congress passed both the Fix NICS Act and Stop School Safety Act. Townhall’s Beth Baumann published excellent pieces on each of them and it’s worth a read here and here.

The far-left Congressman continued moments later by smearing Abbott for “basically lip synching” in expressing his horror at the massacre and promise for action because “[t]hat man has stood by while tragedy after tragedy has happened and has hurt Texans and he's done nothing.” Accusing the Governor of essentially playing a role in the murder of his own citizens is an awfully lowball strategy. Just like with the Parkland students, this rhetoric helps no one.

Similarly, Watts was given another chance to spout off (click “expand” to read more):

MATTHEWS: What is it about America that has this headline, around the world, I mean, if you're in Tokyo right now where they don't have this or London where they really don't have this or Paris or anywhere in the world, South Africa, they don't have this kind of stuff, you go what's with America? What's with us? 

WATTS: Yeah, I mean it’s —

MATTHEWS: Are there that many angry kids 17 years old angry at the kids in class who don't treat them right and go out shooting at them? What combination of facts do we have that is nobody else seems to have?

WATTS: Every nation is home to disgruntled teens, to bullied teens. What we have that is different is easy access to guns in this country. If more guns and fewer gun laws made us safer, we’d be the safest country in the world. Instead, we have the highest rate of gun violence of any nation....[I]t is on our lawmakers to act. They could stop this. We know that in states with strong gun laws they have much fewer gun deaths and yet, these lawmakers are sitting on their hands. 

In going to commercial break, Matthews offered syrupy thank you’s to each of his three far-left panelists (again, click “expand”):

Congressman, I want to thank you. Greg, I don’t want to cut you off, but I want to tell you one thing, I'm so proud of the fact your students spoken out and I hope they keep speaking out because the one thing the gun lobby has going for it, all these years, is they're be obsessed. I think the people who want gun safety have to be equally obsessed and that means relentless and thank you. That seems to be true with your students. Thank you, U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro, a great guy to come on this show. Thank you for coming on this grim — by the way, you were going to come on anyway, but thank you for coming on despite this. Shannon Watts, keep up the wonderful work. You're a wonderful spokesperson and we need you. We really do. And Greg Pitman, again, sir, teachers are great.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on May 18, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
May 18, 2018
7:00 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Only in America. Let's play Hardball. [HARDBALL OPENING CREDITS] Good evening. I'm Chris Matthews in Washington or is it a good evening? Yet another school shooting three months after the massacre at a high school in Parkland. This time it's Santa Fe high school in Texas, 30 miles southeast of Houston. It's a common story now in America as is the absence of action by the country's leaders. Intermediate — intermittent gunfire across the country, political silence here in the Capital. This time, ten people are dead, nine students and a teacher, another ten wounded. This time, all hell broke loose before 7:30 app local time. Several witnesses said they heard a fire alarm go off, then shots rang out. 

(....)

MATTHEWS: What do you think should be done? Maybe this is a bad question. It's in people's minds, if a kid grabs his father's shotgun and his .38 revolver and heads out to shoot people, should the father be held accountable for the fact he left the gun sitting around the house?

DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN JOAQUÍN CASTRO (TX): That is a tough question. What I think we need gun owners to be much more responsible and I agree with some of the comments made by the Texas leaders even though Texas state officials have done little to stem gun violence, I agree parents need to be more responsible in making sure their guns are locked up and kept safe from their kids. 

MATTHEWS: The Lieutenant Governor is out there, talking about his solution is to have one door rather than two doors to the school. Is that it? The single door policy? That's going to deal with this issue? Do you think it’s that serious? 

CASTRO Yeah, I was really dumbfounded when I heard that comment by the Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick. He —

MATTHEWS: Let’s listen to it. We've got it here cause let everybody judge for themselves if they think this is a serious response or not. 

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: This has been going on too long in our country. 

MATTHEWS: We're going to get backing to that, but let me go onto Shannon. Shannon Watts, you're a founder of Mothers Demand Action. What action can we expect here? I mean, fairly, I don't expect any action. I think we live in this country. It's a gun tooting country. We believe in the Second Amendment. We live with it the way it's interpreted by the Supreme Court I think is irresponsible, but here we are. 

SHANNON WATTS: Well, you know, we have seen significant change on the ground even just since parkland. We've seen Republican governors sign sweeping gun reform into law, so we are seeing movement state-by-state. Red flag laws being based, laws that disarm domestic abusers, even states continuing to close the background check loophole. Texas doesn't have many of these laws. There have been 20 mass shootings in the state of Texas since 2009, two just this week and all we’ve seen Greg Abbott do is make it easier for dangerous people to get guns. I know everyone wants a cathartic moment in Congress, but it really is on all of us in November to elect lawmakers that will vote the right way on there issue and that will act. 

MATTHEWS: Well, just to make your point, all I hear is calls for open carry in saloons and restaurants, people want to walk through the malls with guns, toting guns openly. It always seems to be going in that direction, more guns in more places more openly. 

WATTS: Well, you know, we have something nothing other developed nation has which is the gun lobby and NRA lobbyists are always fighting for guns for anyone anywhere anytime, no questions asked. That's how they continue to sell more guns. There's $100 million loss in gun sales since Donald Trump was elected and the NRA is trying to figure out how to make up for that losses in sales. Part of it is to do things like arming teachers. If they arm just a fraction of America's 3.6 million teachers they could easily recoup the loss and get ready to hear those talking points tomorrow morning. 

(....)

MATTHEWS: Well, let me go to Greg Pittman because you've been through this before, sir, as a teacher at a school hit hard by gun violence and that do you think of politicians who openly say their entire philosophy is answered in fewer doors? And somehow, seriously, the guy shows up dressed like he's in the movie The Matrix with a long coat on. Well, you would think they would have noticed that behavior before and not have a law about it but common sense would have told them this is a troubled kid out to make a point. But I want to go back to this. What do you make of a politician, lieutenant governor of a state whose entire response to this is fewer doors?

GREG PITTMAN: Again, I think Chris, one of the things here with that, that's certainly might help in one way. But we go back to the problem of the question of the guns, back to the question you all raised earlier. A 17-year-old was able to obtain the father's guns. Why did the father not have them locked up? Why — again, there is some responsibility borne by both the father, the mother, the parents here with this kid being able to access guns. One of the big problems in our society is no one ever is responsible anymore. 

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

PITTMAN: Our politicians aren't responsible. They're not responsible to the people. The parents here aren't responsible. Somebody needs to be responsible for some of the actions and just the idea of limiting the doors, that certainly may help. I know at Douglas, we've tried to limit, they've tried to reduce access points, so they can better watch the students as they come in. They've gone to these clear bags, they’ve gone with these other things. Again, if they really want to get a gun in, you can still get a gun in. The same thing here not unless they search every single kid with everything they bring in. It goes back, I think, to the access to be able to obtain the guns to begin with. It goes to raising the age, I think, to be able to obtain guns. How do these 17-year-olds, so many of these shooters, the shooter at our school was 19, who was able to legally buy the gun at that time. Florida raised the age to 21. Many of these states need to raise the age to 21 or perhaps older. Very easy to get guns. We need to extend background checks which wouldn't have prevented this but back to some responsibility of the parents or someone on controlling guns. Whose fault is this supposed to be? It can't be no one's fault. Someone has to — to — to be responsible for this and I don't understand why the parents are never responsible anymore. That's one thing that we see at schools now. No one is responsible for anything. The only ones responsible are the teachers. The teachers are being asked to do everything. 

MATTHEWS: Well, Governor Abbott of Texas also said he planned to hold a roundtable around the state to discuss how to prevent further shootings in Texas. Here's the governor of the state. 

REPUBLICAN TEXAS GOVERNOR GREG ABBOTT: We will assemble all stakeholders to begin to work immediately on swift solutions to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again. We want to hear from parents. We want to hear from students. We want to hear from educators. We want to hear from concerned citizens. We want to hear from those who hold the Second Amendment right in high esteem. We want to hear from everybody who has an interest in what has happened today so we can work together. 

MATTHEWS: I'm sorry, but it — Congressman — it makes me convinced that politics is an acting profession. That was an act. Mike, let me ask you this because this is the question. Everywhere in the world, there are countries that have violence of course, but they don't have school shootings. We seem to have a lot of them. 

CASTRO: Yeah. 

MATTHEWS: You know, every couple months it happens and every couple months somebody like the governor says we’re going to have roundtables on it and we're going to talk about it and the pro-gun safety people like me I guess and the other people on the show say something, the pro-gun people say do nothing and we go back and think about something else the next two days. 

CASTRO: Yeah, I mean, Chris, it is a shame that the United States Congress has not done anything, anything to protect our students from gun violence. 

MATTHEWS: What does the NRA say to you? Do you feel their prevalence in your life? 

MATTHEWS: Certainly in Texas. 

MATTHEWS: If you go to vote — if you vote for gun safety, you know they're coming at you, right? 

CASTRO: Sure. I've stood at polls and asked for people's support and they've said before that they're not going to because the NRA said they shouldn't cause they’ve got a list of approved candidates, but Greg Abbott was basically lip syncing. That man has stood by while tragedy after tragedy has happened and has hurt Texans and he's done nothing. And when they have the roundtables I have the first suggestion for him. He should allow, under Texas law, local governments to take action into their own hands. Right now, Texas state law doesn't allow any local government to do anything about gun violence to make their own laws regarding any of this. He should free up local governments to do that, especially if they're going to sit on their hands and do nothing. 

MATTHEWS: Shannon, we're looking at the people here — the parents apparently are recovering. Well, they're not going to recover from this violence because it's a hell on Earth situation. What is it about America that has this headline, around the world, I mean, if you're in Tokyo right now where they don't have this or London where they really don't have this or Paris or anywhere in the world, South Africa, they don't have this kind of stuff, you go what's with America? What's with us? 

WATTS: Yeah, I mean it’s —

MATTHEWS: Are there that many angry kids 17 years old angry at the kids in class who don't treat them right and go out shooting at them? What combination of facts do we have that is nobody else seems to have?

WATTS: Every nation is home to disgruntled teens, to bullied teens. What we have that is different is easy access to guns in this country. If more guns and fewer gun laws made us safer, we’d be the safest country in the world. Instead, we have the highest rate of gun violence of any nation. 96 Americans are shot and killed in this country every day and we talk about it when ten people are killed at a time. But the reality is there's gun violence in communities all day long that isn't being addressed or seen or even reported on the news and these families are suffering and it is on our lawmakers to act. They could stop this. We know that in states with strong gun laws they have much fewer gun deaths and yet, these lawmakers are sitting on their hands. 

(....)

MATTHEWS: Texans aren't going to change, are they? Or anybody in this county. It doesn’t look like — it sounds like we'll be back here in a couple months with another one of these. 

CASTRO: I think that, as Shannon mentioned, I think things are changing. I think they’re changing too slowly, but I think, the public sentiment is changing in Texas also. Unfortunately, the politicians have not changed with the sentiment.

MATTHEWS: NRA still calls the shots? 

CASTRO: They still have a lot of sway, but I think that's waning also. I think they're losing power. 

MATTHEWS: I got to go to Greg on this. Greg, what were the reactions today of your students in Parkland who have been through this hell before — up front? 

PITTMAN: Again today, this afternoon, I was with my fourth period which is a class that I was with the day of the shooting at Douglas on the February 14th. And all the kids were very upset about it. They wanted to watch, they wanted to see what was going on. Some were very quiet but they were very interested, but also upset and it was bringing back, you know, some of the same feelings that we went through, the fire alarm goes off, everybody starts going out, starts the same kind of things that we did that same day and then — then so similar as to what we experienced. And so again, kids were upset by it. Very much and the other thing I'll just throw out, not only that, but before this, our kids, our teachers, our school is suffering from PTSD. Even the people that weren't in the building directly where the students were shot and teachers and others were killed, it has been a very slow process to get to where we are right now. We are definitely not healed. The school is not normal. There — we've got there — we joke or call it this new normal which is nowhere near what we used to be. It's very difficult. Three months out and then obviously this kind of brings it all back to life again for us and I can only sympathize with the community there and what they're going to experience because I understand what it's like and it's going to be a long, difficult road and they're going to need a lot of support and so, certainly I'm sure we'll try to help support but they'll need support from all around the country cause it's not an easy thing to deal with and then you go back. I mean, it's not like many other places that you're at some other random place. There is where the kids go to school, this is where we go to work, why we don't use that one building at school, we'll go to the school. I mean, and we've got three more years of kids before they graduate and the teachers obviously will still there be. So, it’s a long road ahead.

MATTHEWS: Congressman, I want to thank you. Greg, I don’t want to cut you off, but I want to tell you one thing, I'm so proud of the fact your students spoken out and I hope they keep speaking out because the one thing the gun lobby has going for it, 

PITTMAN: They will.

MATTHEWS: — all these years, is they're be obsessed. I think the people who want gun safety have to be equally obsessed and that means relentless and thank you. That seems to be true with your students. Thank you, U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro, a great guy to come on this show. Thank you for coming on this grim — by the way, you were going to come on anyway, but thank you for coming on despite this. Shannon Watts, keep up the wonderful work. You're a wonderful spokesperson and we need you. We really do. And Greg Pitman, again, sir, teachers are great.


Please support NewsBusters today! [a 501(c)(3) non-profit production of the Media Research Center]

DONATE

Or, book travel through MRC’s Travel Discounts Program! MRC receives a rebate for each booking when you use our special codes.

BOOK NOW
NBDaily Parkland School Shooting Santa Fe School Shooting Guns Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats MSNBC Hardball Video Government & Press Greg Abbott Chris Matthews Joaquin Castro
Curtis Houck's picture