Matthews: ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ Should Be Banned, Gun Rights Are Not ‘God-Created’

MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews went on a ghoulish tear Thursday night responding to the Thousand Oaks, California bar shooting, bashing religion by telling Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA) that “thoughts and prayers...should be outlawed” because it means that you don’t “give a damn” about the victims and that gun rights (as enshrined in the Constitution) do not come from God.

After he brought on Speier (who was shot fleeing Jonestown), Matthews pleaded for gun control concerning handguns like the “semiautomatic Glock, which goes beep, beep, beep, beep” that the gunman used. His reasoning? Get this. It’s because “[i]t doesn't take any intelligence or skill or talent, to use one of these guns to just kill people.”

 

 

Speier obviously agreed, lashing out at Congress (read: Republicans) because “moments of silence are about all that Congress has the guts to do and it's not good enough.”

Matthews interjected to ask if she meant “thoughts and prayers” and when Speier confirmed that’s what she meant, Matthews lost his noodle as Speier joined in as they bashed a tenet of world religions in moments of crisis:

MATTHEWS: I’m sorry. That should be outlawed. I know it's well intended in some cases. 

SPEIER: Well, no it isn’t. It’s —

MATTHEWS: It's a throwaway line by a staffer who knocks off some script, some product, some wordage for somebody political to make it sound like they give a damn.

Speier also suggested, without evidence, that the victims' families “don't give a bloody you-know-what about our moments of silence and the thoughts and prayers” and argued, despite California having supremely strict gun laws, that “[w]e have to do something real in this country around the gun violence.”

After Speier briefly invoked the issue of mental health, she didn’t quite go as far as to note that it was the state that had failed because it had cleared the gunman and thus allowed him to buy firearms. Possessing arguably the country's strictest gun laws, California has universal background checks, may issue, a 10-round magazine limit, purchase limits, no reciprocity, a so-called assault weapons band, and the ability to revoke someone’s registration.

In addition, the issue of the Trump administration altering the ability of those with mental illnesses was backed by none other than the ACLU. So, Chris and Jackie, call your offices.

Nonetheless, Matthews lashed out at one of the chief hallmarks of the Constitution as not endowed by God (click “expand”):

For the President, it seems like just another cultural button to push. You know, like moving the embassy in the Middle East. One of these things like it’ll get him some votes in the evangelical community. He says things like protecting your Second Amendment rights. The culture war you're up against is brutal. They just push these buttons and these people: “Oh, yeah, amen. Amen to that, Mr. President. You're one of us. You're one of us.” It's horrible. Not even about actual safety. It's not about people shooting each other, plugging 12 people in a bar. It's about this almost neo-religious notion of the Second Amendment, as if it's God-created.

To put it simply, Matthews seemed to either discard or overlook the Declaration of Independence. How convenient.

Speier agreed and lamented without evidence (especially in California) that domestic abusers, felons, and the mentally ill are allowed to run roughshod with guns thanks to gun shows or online purchases. Again, both Matthews and Speier had some issues with the facts in this segment.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on November 8, 2018, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
November 8, 2018
7:33 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: According to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, Long was known to law enforcement, which carries a lot of information. Known to law enforcement. Doesn’t that tell you a lot? According to Gun Violence Archive, a not for profit organization that provides information on gun related violence, this is the — you're not going to believe this — 307th mass shooting in the United States this year alone. A mass shooting represents an incident where four or more people are shot in the same incident. Well, California's incoming Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom hailed the heroism of the sergeant who lost his life in this incident, but condemned the country’s gun culture. I'm joined right now by U.S. Congressman Jackie Speier, a friend of this show, author of Undaunted: Surviving Jonestown, Summoning Courage and Fighting Back. She represents California's 14th district just south of San Francisco. Jackie, thank you so much, Congresswoman, for joining us. When I listen to that father, as a father myself, you know, we talk about statistics and numbers like that, and we often forget or we don't know, this is a real person, a real son, a real daughter. A human being who's now gone forever to their parents. And I do it because if somebody is a nut, or a nut has a gun, a gun with a nut, whatever it is, somebody with an attitude, a bad life experience, whatever it is, the easiness with which we get a semiautomatic Glock, which goes beep, beep, beep, beep. It doesn't take any intelligence or skill or talent, to use one of these guns to just kill people in their face and they're doing it now with some rapidity in this country. 

DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSWOMAN JACKIE SPEIER (CA): So, you’re right. The moments of silence are about all that Congress has the guts to do and it's not good enough. You know, in addition —

MATTHEWS: You mean, thoughts and prayers. 

SPEIER: Yes, thoughts and prayers. 

MATTHEWS: I’m sorry. That should be outlawed. I know it's well intended in some cases. 

SPEIER: Well, no it isn’t. It’s —

MATTHEWS: It's a throwaway line by a staffer who knocks off some script, some product, some wordage for somebody political to make it sound like they give a damn. 

SPEIER: The 12 families who lost loved ones, that father we just saw, don't give a bloody you-know-what about our moments of silence and the thoughts and prayers. We have to do something real in this country around the gun violence. You know, not only have we had all of these mass shootings, we’ve had six this month. Six, and we haven't even gotten to the middle of November yet and we’ve had 12,000 people this year who have been victims of gun violence and are now dead and 3,000 of them have been children. 

MATTHEWS: Well, the NRA is laying off, apparently. They're so complacent they have won this battle. Well, you know this stuff, congresswoman. They don't even spend a lot of money anymore fighting gun safety people. 

SPEIER: No, they don't because they whisper into the President's ears, and you know, first he says I am absolutely going to do something, then they show up at his doorstep and spend a lot of money on his election to the presidency, and he, you know, salutes them. We have to have more guts in Congress to do really rational things. I think one of the issues we have to look at is the mental stability of individuals. Right now, the law requires you to be mentally defective, such a high standard and meanwhile, we know that there are 75,000 Americans who are severely mentally ill in this country who get SSI and President Obama tried to at least have them not be eligible to have guns. We couldn't even do that. 

MATTHEWS: For the President, it seems like just another cultural button to push. You know, like moving the embassy in the Middle East. One of these things like it’ll get him some votes in the evangelical community. He says things like protecting your Second Amendment rights. The culture war you're up against is brutal. They just push these buttons and these people: “Oh, yeah, amen. Amen to that, Mr. President. You're one of us. You're one of us.” It's horrible. Not even about actual safety. It's not about people shooting each other, plugging 12 people in a bar. It's about this almost neo-religious notion of the Second Amendment, as if it's God-created. Your thoughts. 

SPEIER: Well, the Second Amendment says you have the right to own a gun. It doesn't mean that you have the right to not close loopholes that exist in the law and there are plenty that we should be shutting down. The fact that you’re a — you can still buy guns on the internet or at gun shows even if you're a felon, even if you have committed domestic violence, even if you're mentally ill is crazy. We have to do some rational thinking here and deal with this in a manner that makes sure everyone feels that their guns are not taken away from them if they're law-abiding people, but those that shouldn't have guns, those who should have a pause and not have their guns for a period of time, we need to address it because there's too many lives lost. 

MATTHEWS: You’re a young woman. Do you believe anything will be done by the congress now that the Democrats are back in power? 

SPEIER: Well, you have —

MATTHEWS: You have a comfortable edge of people, 35 seats, maybe 40 picked up. Are you going to be able to use that to put gun safety laws in force? 

SPEIER: We'll be able to pass gun safety legislation in the House. Now, the question is what happens in the Senate?


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