Sen. Tim Scott addresses media's labeling of mass murderers

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," June 19, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, GUEST HOST: Breaking tonight, a national outpouring of grief over a senseless tragedy claiming the lives of nine innocent people as we learn new details about the man charged in this crime. His sick scheme and his reported confession.

Welcome to "The Kelly File," everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum in tonight for Megyn Kelly. And over the past 48 hours, we have seen communities across the country stunned. The children, grandchildren, friends and loved ones of the Charleston victims beginning to speak out now. Often in incredibly powerful ways. Here is Chris Singleton, who lost his mom.


CHRIS SINGLETON, SON OF CHARLESTON SHOOTING VICTIM: My mom was a God fearing woman. She loved everybody with all her heart. And to the other families, I'm sorry about what happened. Obviously, you guys are devastated as we are, but I know for a fact that things will get better as time goes on. I just want to thank you guys for reaching out to me.


MACCALLUM: We're going to hear more from that impressive young man and Tim Jackson lost his 87-year-old grandmother.


TIM JACKSON, GRANDSON OF SHOOTING VICTIM: Just hard to process that.  My grandma had to leave earth like this way. It's just really, really hard and it's challenging because I don't believe that she deserved to kind of go this way.


MACCALLUM: And the Pastor of the Emanuel AME Church is being remembered as a force in that community.


WILLIAM GREGORIE, EMANUEL AME CHURCH TRUSTEE: He is the one minister, the one leader that brought that kind of zeal and energy to our church.  And he will be extremely missed in this community and especially as the leader of our church.


MACCALLUM: By all accounts, he was an amazing person, the nation and law enforcement now turning their full focus on the case at hand of this alleged shooter. Last night, we learned from a woman who spoke to one of the survivors that the killer allegedly allowed one woman to live so that she could tell his story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He told one of the elderly members, he asked her, did I shoot you and she said, no. And he said --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He asked her if he had shoot her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. And she said no. And he said, good.  Because we need a survivor because I'm going to kill myself.


MACCALLUM: It's the policy of this program, not to name names or show the faces of mass murders, but we are interested in getting to the bottom of this new debate that has now sparked over the issues of violence and race in this country.

Mike Tobin joins us now live from Charleston. Mike.

MIKE TOBIN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: And Martha, just a short time ago, we heard from the mayor of Charleston describing the suspect as heinous and hateful. This is video has surfaced, shot by one of the victim himself, showing the suspect in the church surrounded by the very people he would gun down in cold blood just a short time later and reports surfaced quoting anonymous law enforcement source saying that he almost waved off his own attack because the people in that church were so nice to him. Now, there were indicators in the run-up that he was hateful, he troubled and he could do something violent. One of the few friends he had took away his .45 caliber handgun, but ultimately gave it back to him when he sobered up.  A few friends he had said they did hear the hateful racist language coming from him and ramping up in the days leading up to these murders. Here's Joseph Meek.


JOSEPH MEEK, FRIEND OF DYLANN ROOF: He told me that I mean, that the black people were taking over the country and that that he wanted it to be segregation.


TOBIN: And buried in the reports about his February arrest for trespassing is an indication of strong drug use. Found on his purse was a drug called, suboxone, that's something that people use when they're hooked on opiate. It's available by perception. It's also available on the black market -- Martha.

MACCALLUM: Much more to this story. Mike, thank you very much. So, while the city of Charleston focuses on healing and forgiveness, some on the media are engaged in intense exchanges over how to characterize the shooter and the role of race in this story. One "Washington Post" columnist today writing, quote, "Shooters of color are called terrorists and thugs. Why are white shooters called mentally ill."

Joining me now for more on that, Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina. Senator, welcome. Thank you and our thoughts are with you and the whole community there. I know it's a very difficult time for everybody in South Carolina right now, so let me start with that.

SEN. TIM SCOTT, R-S.C.: We certainly appreciate your prayers for our state and certainly for the Charleston community at large.

MACCALLUM: Let me talk to you about what we just mentioned in terms of this editorial. How do you -- what do you make of that characterization? Is it true in your mind?

SCOTT: Well, I think what's true is that we have a man who committed a heinous crime and it seemed like his heart was completely filled with hate and it scrambled his mind. I think those pundits who are out there trying to figure out why he did what he did perhaps as a good line of conversation for someone, for me, what I am looking at is a community that is suffering because of his actions. That there are nine people that have lost their lives. For me, what's important is that A, our law enforcement did a fantastic job of bringing this guy in. Charged. I look forward to seeing how our community comes together and deals with the challenges. I'm optimistic that we'll have a very strong response from the community here in South Carolina in Charleston. How you label the victim, how you label the perpetrator or is not top of the mind for me.

MACCALLUM: Understood. You know, there is all this discussion, when we look at these issues as to whether or not, you know, people, what is terrorism, is it accurate to call him a terrorist, but you make a great point. Because I think the most important thing right are these victims and their families and what is quite clear to everyone is that this was an evil, evil act on the part of this young man and questions will be raised down the road about whether or not he was mentally ill, whether he was part of a larger organization, whether this is part of a bigger picture. But for now, it seems fitting that we stay focused on those who were lost as you point out, sir. And I guess, you know, keeping with that. The President pretty much immediately went to the issue of gun control, bemoaning the fact that he would never be able to pass real gun control legislation at the federal level. What do you say about that, Senator?

SCOTT: Well, I think the President is off base on this one, to be honest with you. The fact of the matter is that what type of gun law, what have made this situation not occur. Frankly, he was already breaking gun laws that currently exist when he went into a church with a gun, when he asked a person charged with the felony, he had a gun. So the laws were already broken to suggest that there's somehow a way for us to specifically stop this occurrence with gun legislation seems to be in consistent with the facts as we know them on the ground. He had a handgun. This is not an automatic weapon, so there's really no conversation to be had, that somehow the gun laws that we have are not working. The fact is that, had the gun laws been enforced, frankly it's not enforcement issue. But, had it the guy obeyed the gun laws, we would not be here, but the challenge is that laws are created for a just society. This guy was not trying to be part of a just society.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I want to go back to the issue that was in that editorial for a moment though. Because there was an effort it feels right away to sort of make this a part of a bigger, very troubled history that has existed. This is a black church. It was attacked by a young man who has espoused thoughts of segregationism and white supremacy. So, when you heard about this crime and when you heard about it now, do you see it as a part of that continuum and part of that difficult history or as something that appears to be separate from that?

SCOTT: Well, I think the fact of the matter is that people all around the country and all around the world struggle with different types and different levels of prejudice and certainly racism is a real fact. It is not been eliminated. But we have made so much progress. What I hear in the question very often is not an analysis of the individual, but an attempt to drag us back to yesteryear. I think it's very important for us to say, A, yes, this guy's activities and motivations were racist without any question. Racism was in his heart. And he said he needed to do something towards black folks and he carried out a vicious attack. But to try to put that label on South Carolina and or on people at large, I think is inconsistent with experience that so many of us have had here in South Carolina. We made so much progress that we should be talking about. But unfortunately, in the midst of a tragic situation, people's minds go in all directions and understandable to some extent, but I'm trying to focus on facts and helping my community restore, heal and come back together.

MACCALLUM: Yes. It's a wonderful community, Charleston, it's a great American city and you know, when you hear that heartbreaking part of the story, that he almost didn't do it because the people in that church were so nice to him. It really does break your heart. Senator, thank you very much. Good to have you with us today. Senator Tim Scott.

SCOTT: Thank you very much.

MACCALLUM: So, President Obama last night went to a Beverly Hills fund-raiser and he again spoke angrily as the issue of gun control as we were just talking about with the Senator.

So, up next, Chris Stirewalt does some fact checking on what the administration has done on this issue and what it has not.

Plus -- an amazing story of one woman's brave role in helping to capture the Charleston shooter. What a dramatic story this is. You're going to hear directly from her in a moment.

And then the teenage son of one of the church shooting victims had a moment yesterday that could teach the whole country how to better handle faith and forgiveness.


CHRIS SINGLETON, MOM KILLED IN CHURCH ATTACK: I just say love is always stronger than hate. So, we just love the way my mom would, then the hate won't be anywhere close to what love is.




OBAMA: We don't have all the facts, but we do know that once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. At some point, we as a country, will have to reckon with the fact that this type of violence does not happen in other advance countries.  It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And at some point, it's going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it. And for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.


MACCALLUM: That was President Obama yesterday commenting on the tragedy in Charleston, expressing sorrow for the victims and then turning to the issue of gun control. Even while his critics were asking when it was too soon to start that conversation in the wake of this horrific crime.  The President then traveled to two California fund-raisers last night and raise the issue again, this time, with some big names from Hollywood.

Joining in and joining us now, Pia Carusone senior adviser for Americans for Responsible Solutions and she was a staffer for then Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. And Lars Larson, conservative radio talk show host. Good to have both of you with us now.

And you know, the President, Lars, let me start with you. He talked about the fact that he believes that this is an outsize problem in the United States and that he believes that that is at least in part due to lacks gun laws. What say you?

LARS LARSON, CONSERVATIVE RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, two thing, first of all, it's not because of lack of laws. And I'll get to that in a second. But secondly, the President says this doesn't happen elsewhere.  That's absolutely categorically and provably untrue. The worst mass shooting in world history happened in Norway with tough gun laws. Three of the worst school shootings were in Germany which has tough gun laws. Great Britain has extraordinarily tough gun laws. Great Britain has a much higher, much higher rate of violent crime than the United States. The President is just factually off base.

Secondly, about gun laws, the President's been, you know, banging on this drum for the last seven years because he's had a number of these incidents, 12 or 14 of them during his tenure. And the fact is, there were already laws being broken that the President could enforce by picking up the phone and calling his Attorney General Loretta Lynch and say, listen, get out there and start enforcing these laws. I could give you a couple of examples. It was illegal for this shooter, this killer, to go into that church with a gun. It was illegal for him to carry a concealed weapon. It was illegal for him to buy a gun because he was already facing a drug accusation. That would have prohibited him from clearing a background checks.

MACCALLUM: Right. Absolutely. Yes, that's true.

LARSON: So, the President is wrong.

MACCALLUM: Pia, do you believe the President is wrong in this case?

PIA CARUSONE, AMERICANS FOR RESPONSIBLE SOLUTIONS: Well, the President was talking simply about mass shootings, which yes, occur very, very frequently in this country and as he said, don't occur as frequently in other developed nations. This is a fact of life in this country that needs to be addressed, but --

MACCALLUM: But they do --


That's the issue.

CARUSONE: They do. I never said they don't.

MACCALLUM: Maybe they happen to a greater extent here.

CARUSONE: Exactly.

MACCALLUM: But you know, I don't really see how that's relevant when you kind of break it down the way that Lars has mentioned, Pia, and that is that we have laws on the books that are now enforced. So, you know, to say that, you know, some other effort other than enforcing what's on the book is going to make a difference and I don't even know frankly if those would make a difference in this case we just saw.

CARUSONE: Well, absolutely. Look, there's a lot that needs to happen. We need to enforce the laws that are on the books. We need to pass common sense laws that protect responsible gun owner's rights, but also go after the loopholes that allow people to get weapons that shouldn't have them. But it's also about your family and community. You know, this is a person that was clearly, you know, suffering from serious mental illnesses. He had delusions of committing this horrible crime and starting a race war and yet, his family, either his father bought the gun for him.  But people know that this person had a gun and he shouldn't have it. So, this isn't an answer just simply of the government regulating our laws.


MACCALLUM: Yes. I think that -- of your equation is probably the most instrumental in this argument. The only people, Lars, who had any inkling that he was up to anything would have been his family and his friends who may have had some clues. Ad we heard from the one young man who said that, you know, he thought that he was going awry, something was wrong. But who, I mean, really, who thinks that the person that they know is capable of this?

LARSON: Well, even when they do, Martha, the problem is I've heard from plenty of families who say, we called a police. We said, our son our daughter, usually or son, is at risk of doing something crazy and the police will say reasonably there's nothing we can do until that person has actually broken the law or has demonstrated that he's a danger to himself or others. Let me tell you one law that I loved -- take on that helped put people at risk in that church on Wednesday night. There's a law in South Carolina that says that law-abiding citizens cannot legally carry a concealed weapon in a church. Gun free zones are dangerous places to be.  Virtually all of the mass shootings in America have happened in gun free zones and where there are people who are lawfully and legally armed, these kinds of shootings have been stopped and quickly --

MACCALLUM: All right. We have to go. So, I want to give Pia a quick chance to respond to that since you put it.


MACCALLUM: Go ahead, Pia.

CARUSONE: Let me just say -- let me just say I don't think that's necessarily true. Most people are not able to respond that quickly to an instance where there's war, literally war --

MACCALLUM: They don't have a chance. If they can't have a concealed weapon. They don't even have a chance.

CARUSONE: Well, okay. But, you know, let me just say one thing though. There is something that can be done about stopping a family member or friend that you think is about to commit a crime. It's called the gun violence restraining order and more and more states are considering this.  So, yes, you know, we talked about how big the laws are et cetera and I think that's just the way of really debasing the conversation, but the truth is, there are other laws that can be passed and thought of to help address this problem. California has done it with the gun violence restraining orders. This is a case where South Carolina were to have that law, this could have made a difference last week.

MACCALLUM: Possibly, if the people around them, you know, prone to, enact it.

CARUSONE: Absolutely.

MACCALLUM: Thank you very much, Pia and Lars.

LARSON: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Good to speak to you both.

CARUSONE: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So, while this gun control debate rages on, the President is pushing back against questions about why he personally hasn't done more to make this happen. While speaking at Beverly Hills fundraiser last night, he mentioned the gun issue and said, quote, "When I ran in 2008, I in fact did not say I would fix it. I said we could fix it." Collectively as a group in Congress and in the White House.

Chris Stirewalt joins me now. He is Fox News Digital Politics editor.  He covered the 2008 campaign and has tracked the President's efforts on this. So, Chris, what did he found? How is he doing?

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS DIGITAL POLITICS EDITOR: Well, as evidenced by his frustration, as evidence by the rueful statements that he made, both in Washington and out in Beverly Hills, not well and he knows it.  Remember, we started this process in 2009, in April of 2009 in Binghamton, New York, there was a mass shooting at an immigration center. It was a nightmare and there was an all democratic Congress and the President did not use that moment. That was the first time, first incidence of these kinds of mass killings that took place during his presidency. He had an all democratic controlled Congress. And he didn't pick it up then and we didn't hear a lot about it the whole time until we got to Newtown, Connecticut.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, I remember the President saying after Newtown, that there was sort of a, you know, potent mix of things that went into that. That, you know, violent video games that we have seen time and time again, that these young men are spending hours and hours sort of indoctrinating their brains with this stuff. Combined with mental illness, with drugs that are taken from mental illness. And I think there's going to be a lot that we're going to learn about this man in South Carolina, that he had a history of drug use which we're starting to learn as well.  And then you combine with that, the access of somebody who's already got those two boxes checked, getting access to a gun, but I hear precious little from the President about the other two legs of that stool -- Chris.

STIREWALT: Well, remember, it is very hard for people who are in government and who believe in the power of government to ameliorate the problems of the world, for those people to say that there are things to which government cannot speak and cannot address. And the shatteredness and brokenness that people of all political persuasions identify in our society, in our culture that this leaves this void, that leaves this space, where not only people feel this way, but that their friends and neighbors don't take action to prevent it. That is a reality that it is very hard to talk about a government program that --

MACCALLUM: Yes. It's great point and, you know, I think about the campaign in cities across this country to stop terrorism. If you see something, say something. And maybe we need a similar creed to live by when it comes to people within our own communities and sometimes in our own families.

Chris, thank you very much.


MACCALLUM: Great to have you here today.

So, less than 24 hours after the Charleston shooting, people were trying to place blame on gun laws that we've talked about tonight. And on the media as well and in one case, even on the confederate flag.

Howard Kurtz is next on why the rush to point fingers here.

Plus, the young man who shot up that church might still be free today if it were not for a brave decision by one sharp-eyed woman. She will share her story, next.


DEBBIE DILLS, HELPED CAPTURED ALLEGED SOUTH CAROLINA SHOOTER: I don't know why I paid close attention. I'm calling it divine intervention. I believe God had a plan in it. And I was able to catch up behind him and get right behind him and get his tag number. And the Kings Mountain police, and the Shelby City police caught him within a matter of minutes.



MACCALLUM: A North Carolina woman Debbie Dills is being hailed a hero in this story as the world learns that she spotted the alleged Charleston shooter's black Hyundai on the highway nearly 300 miles from the crime scene. Debbie Dills trailed him for 35 miles until the police captured him. Earlier, she told her story on "Fox & Friends."


DILLS: Watching Fox News "Fox & Friends" yesterday morning, I had paid close attention actually the night before when I actually heard about the church shooting and my heart went out to those people there. And I don't know why I paid closer attention. I'm calling it divine intervention. I believe God had a plan in it. And as I was driving to work, I was running late. I actually think -- I look over and I've seen the car and it looked familiar to me and I wondered why. And now, as I look back -- it was because of the pictures that I've seen on the news.  But I actually went past him and I've seen the South Carolina tag on the back of it. And I've seen the white tag on the front of his car. And the bowl haircut.

I got a little nervous, I'll be honest with you. I'm not a hero and I'm not brave. I got a little nervous, but I just started talking to the Lord about it. And then I got off of the exit to come on into Kings Mountain and I started thinking about it, what if it was really him. I wasn't sure it was him. And I didn't want to get anybody else in trouble or be overreacting. So, I called my boss and he said, well, we need to call somebody. And he got on the phone with the Kings Mountain police and he stayed on the phone with me and he told me to get back on the interstate or the 74 bypass and that's what I did. And I was able to catch up with him and get right behind him and get his tag number.

And the Kings Mountain police and the Shelby City police caught him within a matter of minutes and it was him. So, I'm not the hero. God is the hero. He just used me. If we are a willing vessel, he can use us, but we got to open up our hearts and our minds and I don't know why he chose me and he chose Todd and he chose us to do this. But he's got to be glorified in all, in everything. And he's going to get the glory one way or the other and I hope it's through me and I hope he's pleased with me. I want him to be pleased with me more than anything else.


MACCALLUM: How about that? So, just ahead, we will have the powerful message from a teenager who lost his mom in the attack. And then, Dr. Ben Carson got national attention for his response to the shooting in Charleston.

Up next, we'll show you why Rich Lowry and Alan Colmes take on the debate.


DR. BEN CARSON, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I hope we the American people can come to the understanding that we are not each other's enemies.  The enemies are those who are stoking the flames of division.



PATRICIA STARK, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Live from America's News headquarters, I'm Patricia Stark. Prosecutors resting their case today, in the Colorado theater shooting trial, they concluded by arguing James Holmes methodically (ph) planned and executed the 2012 massacre and that he was mentally competent. Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Defense attorneys will start presenting their case, next Thursday. The attack left 12 people dead and 70 others injured.

Honda confirming another person has been killed by an exploded Takata air bag. This is the eight known death worldwide due to the air bags, which can explode with too much force, sending shrapnel into the passenger compartment. Last month, Takata agreed to double the number of air bag inflators being recalled to 33.8 million. That made it the largest auto recall in U.S. history. I'm Patricia Stark, and now back to the Kelly File.

MACCALLUM: So last night on "The Kelly File," Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson weighed in on this week's shooting in Charleston, calling for Americans to fight against the dividing forces, trying to separate us as a people, calling for national unity. Watch this.


CARSON: You know we have a war on women, race wars. Income wars, age wars, religious wars, anything you can imagine. We have a war on it and we're giving people a license to hate people who disagree with them, to try to destroy their lives, to even try to destroy them. A house divided against itself cannot stand it. I hope we, the American people can come to the understanding that we are not each other's enemies. The enemies are those who are stoking the flames of division, trying to divide us into every category and weakening us as a society. We have to come to the purveyors of division in all of those different categories including race. And it's going to be up to us, to people, to begin the focus on the positive things, on the things that we have in common and stop listening to those who are stoking the fires of division. As long as there are people with small minds, you're going to have these kinds of problems. But we cannot generalize and say because this happened, you know, the whole place is going to pot. And let's be optimistic and let's look at the ways that we can solve these problems together.


MACCALLUM: Interesting more last night from Dr. Ben Carson, joined now by Rich Lowry, the editor of the National Review. And a Fox News contributor and Alan Colmes, host of "The Alan Colmes Show." Alan, I want to start with you. Dr. Ben Carson has a way of, you know saying things and sort of pointing fingers without exactly saying who he's pointing the fingers at, but here's what I take away from what he said. He basically talked about people who are pushing the war on women and he talked about people who are pushing the race divide in this country. And when I hear what he's saying there, I think about the Democratic National Convention last time around. I think about the war on women issue, which worked very well for them in that time. And then I think about all the cases we've had across this country, that seem to a very quickly become about race issues. You know, to the expense of the facts in some of the cases that we've been talking about in recent months. What do you think?

ALAN COLMES, HOST, "THE ALAN COLMES SHOW": I think Mr. Carson does point fingers and he's the worst possible messenger to say, stoking the flames of division. He wants to see he is doing that, get a mirror. This is a guy who called President Obama a psychopath, when asked by Newsmax to clarify that. He called him a liar. He said ObamaCare is the worst thing that's happened in America since slavery. If that's not stoking the flames of division, I don't know what the. Ben Carson is not the person for the message he delivered last night on the show. He's the worst possible messenger for that because he hasn't lived by it.

MACCALLUM: Rich, what do you think?

RICH LOWRY, NATIONAL REVIEW EDITOR: Well, I think he regrets some of those comments. And he says in the future, he is going to be a little more careful in politics (ph) in his words, but his basic point is correct. I mean, the left lives on a divide and conquer political strategy where it plays to certain constituency groups and part of the play there is stoking fears. And you look at this shooting, no one supports it. No one supports the shooting. It's not about the confederate flag, it's not about white privilege, it's about the hatred and evil of one man and that's it. But immediately, you know, the bodies aren't cold and you have people out there scoring, trying to score political points of it and it is frankly disgusting.

MACCALLUM: Yeah, will the NAACP has said they want to ban the confederate flag. They don't want to be flown anywhere. There was a dispute in the media that happened with Congressman Mark Sanford and a reporter who wanted him to, you know basically say that they weren't going to use the confederate flag anywhere, in any way shape or form in South Carolina anymore. So that does make it sort of about this larger issue instantly before the bodies are called as Rich says Alan. Is that fair? Is that appropriate this time?

COLMES: Sure. I mean, you just said Mike Huckabee said today, that if only they had concealed carry, there somebody had that might have helped solve the problem. If that's not playing politics with it or taking a political stance, if promote one's own agenda on the heels of this tragedy, I don't know what is. You can't just leave liberals for this. This is clearly something that both sides and by the way, of course the confederate flag contributes to it. Guns contribute to it. Mental illness has to be mentioned here. You have that trifecta and you've got a very bad situation. When you put all those together, you can't discount any of those elements in this kind of situation.

LOWRY: But Alan, whatever you think of the confederate flag and I'm not a fan of the confederate flag or the confederacy. There's nothing about the flag itself that incites people to commit mass murder. Otherwise, confederate war memorials would be inciting mass murders all over the country.

COLMES: What I said was.

LOWRY: It doesn't happen.

COLMES: What I said was.

LOWRY: This is a bizarre one off committed by a sick loser.

COLMES: I said you -- that is one of the number of things in what is a toxic cocktail.

LOWRY: Of a flag, Alan.

COLMES: And you can't discount. You can't.

LOWRY: A flag doesn't.

COLMES: I said it's one of a number of.

LOWRY: I know. I know exactly.

COLMES: Mental illness including (inaudible). A flag gracious (ph) I said.

LOWRY: A flag doesn't cause.

MACCALLUM: Yeah, but.

LOWRY: A flag doesn't cause someone to sit in a prayer meeting for an hour, and then stand up and shoot people.

COLMES: I didn't say that.

LOWRY: That's the very hint of it.

COLMES: I never said that.

LOWRY: A very hint of it. Saying its part of a cocktail.


LOWRY: It's completely.

MACCALLUM: Yeah, well, the problem.

LOWRY: Absurd.

MACCALLUM: The problem with that is saying -- but Alan is saying that you know somehow, the people of the states -- somehow anybody who, you know, as Mark Sanford said, the confederate flag for some people is a symbol of the history of the state and tradition.

COLMES: And it's just.

MACCALLUM: But just -- this some mention of it. You know, sort of suggest that there's some blame to be cast, you know, on the state, on the south for the state of things in the world today, and that is what contributed to this young man's ability to pull off this heinous crime. Do you think that's true?

COLMES: Yes, it's a part of a culture in that state, which Jon Stewart points last night. You've got roads in state, named after members of confederacy who didn't want black people to actually be able freely travel on those roads.

(CROSSTALK) COLEMS: It's not just flags.

MACCALLUM: And that's why the show commented to that Alan, right? That's why he did it.

COLMES: I never said that's why he did it. I said this is part of a culture, part of a one -- a number of different elements that make up a toxic cocktail that creates an atmosphere, where this becomes possible.

LOWRY: Well, Alan, the names of roads and flags do not cause people to commit mass murder. Otherwise, South Carolina would be a blood bath.

COLMES: You're taking what I'm saying at the context.

LOWRY: Just what is happening in every single -- no, you continue.

COLMES: You're taking me totally, out of context here.

LOWRY: No, no. You continue to suggest that it's part of the reason. Its part of the cocktail, as you put it. And that's just nonsense. It's otherwise, this would be happening all the time because I don't know. People ride down Bedford Forest highway, wherever, and they go kill someone. That does not happen. That is completely.

COLEMS: This was an accident waiting to happen, sadly.

MACCALLUM: Yeah, but is it.

LOWRY: What do you mean?

MACCALLUM: But they condemn.

LOWRY: What is that isn't mean?

MACCALLUM: Gun laws and do we condemn the confederate flag or look do we closer to the people who may have had, you know and I'm not blaming his family and friends. I want to make that perfectly clear. But they seem to be maybe the only people in this entire circle who could have prevented this because there's no gun law on the books that could have prevented this from happening.

COLMES: Right.

MACCALLUM: Except perhaps, as you know, as you pointed out at the beginning of the segment, the possibility that if someone who been able to stop him, that may have stop it.

COLMES: I think we look at all of the things. You have to look at all of the things you just mentioned, not any one thing in isolation.

LOWRY: But Alan, just think of the language that was used. This was an accident? It just sort of happened?

COLMES: No, no, no.

LOWRY: It just sort of went off.

COLMES: You can.

LOWRY: Look at these all cocktails. It's sort of.

COLMES: But if you continue in the segment. LOWRY: No, It's a response.

COLMES: You continued to the segment.

LOWRY: No, it should be safe.

COLEMS: And take me out of the context.

LOWRY: If you continue to say, one man has responsibility for this. You had the sick loser who sat there and stood up and shot those people.

COLMES: And there number of things in the.

LOWRY: Like any excuses and to blame it on some environment or other factors is completely wrong.

COLMES: You are totally missing my point.

LOWRY: Completely wrong.

COLEMS: And taking slivers of what I'm saying, out of context that it's for our own political agenda.

LOWRY: It's completely in the context.

MACCALLUM: Well, let's leave it to the audience to decide, based on what everybody said on both sides, men. Gentlemen, thank you very much.

COLMES: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Good to have you here tonight.

LOWRY: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So, we are less than 24 hours after the Charleston shooting, that people were trying to place blame on gun laws and we've had discussed it here and on the media and on the confederate flag. Howard Kurtz is next on why the rush to point fingers. And then, the son of one of the victims speaks out. His powerful, powerful message from this young man, which maybe says more than any of us could say on our own, when we come back.


CHRIS SINGLETON, MON KILLED IN CHURCH ATTACK: To the other family, I'm sorry about what happened. Obviously, you guys are devastated as we are. But I know for a fact that things will get better, as time goes on.



MACCALLUM: Well, in the wake of any tragedy, people of course look for answers, but in recent years, we've seen an accelerated rush to blame. Consider the case of State Representative Todd Rutherford and his Fox News theory. We're going to first air his original remarks, and then the follow up last night on the O'Reilly Factor, watch.


TODD RUTHERFORD, SC STATE HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: And he did so based on some ill-gotten belief on some wrong belief that it's OK to do that. He hears that because he watches the news and he watches things like Fox News. Where they talk about things that they call news, but they're really not. They use that coded language. They use hate speech. They talk about the president as if he's not the president. They talked about church goers as that they're not really church goers, and that was is this young man I could -- that's why you can walk into a church and treat people like animals when they are really human beings.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST, "THE O'REILLY FACTOR": So you know that he watches Fox News?

RUTHERFORD: No, what I said is.

O'REILLY: No, no. You said.

RUTHERFORD: They watched the Fox News.

O'REILLY: He watches Fox News.

RUTHERFORD: I said again, things like Fox News and so, again, the rhetoric that he spoke on that in the church when he talked about women.

O'REILLY: Getting that church.


O'REILLY: To our commentary here. What you're doing?

RUTHERFORD: It's about people raping white women, about black people raping white women. He didn't make it up. He didn't just generate that out of the sky.


MACCALLUM: Unbelievable. Howard Kurtz is the host of Fox News Media Buzz. Howard, I don't know where this man is coming from. He obviously does not watch a lot of Fox News. I can promise you that.

HOWRAD KURTZ, HOST, "MEDIA BUZZ": For Todd Rutherford to make this fictional attempt to link Fox News horrible tragedy is reprehensible. Now, I recognize, he was very emotional. He lost a friend in that church but, I shouldn't even have to say this. We don't know what the shooter every watched Fox News. When people on Fox criticize President Obama, they're not acting as if he's not president. I have no clue what Rutherford means when talks about describing church goers as if they're not really church goers. This Martha is the worst kind of politicization.

MACCALLUM: Yeah. I mean, where does this come from in terms of, you know this sort of sweeping generalizations and this rush to judgment that we see really across the board? And you know, you can -- we talked about the White House and their reaction and the immediate sort of pointing the finger at gun control issue, which you know, people are very divided about in this nation, of course. But as Rich Lowry said before, you know, before the bodies are cold, before we have figured out who we lost in these situations, there seems to be an effort to kind of attach it to one's cause.

KURTZ: This was a heinous act by a lone psychopath who was a white supremacist and it just pains me that people in the (inaudible) profession you know have this irresistible urge to assign blame. As you said to me before by -- it has not even been buried, and there's a history of this on both sides. So for example, President Clinton faulted Rush Limbaugh for creating what he called the climate of hate that he said led to the Oklahoma City bombing or hopefully to it. Some liberals blame Sarah Palin in the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and the killing of six others because she had produced a political map that had crosshairs on it for democratic members of congress. It's just is -- it's taking a tragedy and milking it and exploiting it and politicizing it because ultimately, you're not really paying respect to the victims, you're just trying to score points for your side.

MACCALLUM: You know, start by the young man who we played several times in this show, who lost his mother. And I think about the people of Charleston who have done anything but, you know sort of makes sweeping generalizations about this young man and about why he did what he did. You know and I just think it's instructive, really, to everyone because that community has not been divided by this. They've been brought together by this, Howard.

KURTZ: Yeah, what a contrast between the people in the community, and ordinary people and some, I emphasize some, politicians and commentators where, as we've seen in some of these other cases, but particularly heartening in this one because of what happened in that church, an 87-year- old woman among the victims. If somebody -- if the shooter from mass murderer has any discernible political philosophy -- often they don't. Often they just incoherent kind of stew of hatred, there is a tendency then to say, aha. This is because of this belief system where that is, it is ugly, it's appalling and it has no place in civil discourse.

MACCALLUM: Yeah, I mean, so, what do you do? You know, as members of the media, which is your beat, how do you avoid this?

KURTZ: Well, I would like to see a little bit of self-restraint on the part of people in our profession. And even if you're going to have to debate about is it gun control, mental illness where we have to do, I mean, at least have a decent interval, before we get into that sort of thing because that's a political debate, maybe that we need to have. When it erupts on the air waves and the blogosphere, you know moments after, an hour after, you know nine people dead. All they were doing was going to church to pray or to study the bible. I just think it shows us or some of us at our worst and those of us who don't believe in this sort of thing, we ought to call it out.

MACCALLUM: Agreed. Howard Kurtz, thank you very much. Good to see you today Howard.

KURTZ: Same here, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So next, the powerful message for everyone, from the son of one of the victims.


SINGLETON: My mom was something else when I was playing ball. She -- one game when I was here, she whisper -- I live there and she -- when I was on deck and she is like, "You know I'm saying a prayer for you, right?" I was like, "Mom, don't you think I already did that?" She was like, "You can never have too much prayer."

(LAUGHTER) SINGLETON: So that's one thing she did for me. I will always remember.




SINGLETON: I just think about her smile. She smiled 24/7. That's what I'm thinking about to push me on.


MACCALLUM: It's a remarkable scene last night. And the young man whose words have really guided us through this program, tonight. He displayed incredible composure and this was hours after his mother was murdered, as he was surrounded by his baseball teammates last night at Charleston Southern University. He discussed his beloved mom, Sharonda Coleman Singleton. He explained why he believes that in the end, love truly does conquer all.


SINGLETON: First of all, I just want to say thanks to everybody that looked out for me, tried to contact me. I may not have contacted you back but, I just want to thank everybody that reached out to me. As far as my family, I mean, we are mourning right now, but I know we'll get through it. My mom was a God fearing woman. She loved everybody with all her heart. And to the other families, I'm sorry about what happened. Obviously, you guys are devastated as we are. But I know for a fact that things will get better, as times go on. It's surreal, right now. It's surreal. Nothing changes for me, you know. I'll probably just going to push myself a little harder in everything I do. Just -- every time I need some good, I'll probably give her a little wink or something in the sky. I just think about her smile. She smiled 24/7. That's what I'm just thinking about to push me on and do stuff like this. This church is such a family, you know? I've been going there since sixth grade. When I moved here but, I feel like they're older than me, they are really old seem like but, as like I'm everybody's grandson. We will get through it, our church will get through it in some time, but I know for a fact that everybody will press on.

My mom was something else when I was playing ball. She -- one game when I was here, she whisper -- I live there and she -- when I was on deck and she is like, "You know I'm saying a prayer for you, right?" I was like, "Mom, don't you think I already did that?" She was like, "You can never have too much prayer."


SINGLETON: So that's one thing she did for me. I always remember. But right now, I'm making sure my brother and sister are good. And after that I will think about other things. I just say, love is always stronger than hate. So we just love the way my mom would, then the hate won't be anywhere close to what love is. We've come together as a community. Try to get past these things. You know, a tragedy has happened, but life's going to go on and things will get better.


MACCALLUM: Very clear she raised an amazing son. I don't know why these things always happen to such incredibly special people, at seems time and time again. And after that was done, after he was done speaking, his entire team surrounded him and they all prayed together. He and his sister later spoke a little bit more, saying that they have already found the strength to forgive their mother's killer.


MACCALLUM: Thanks for watching this Kelly File Special tonight, continuing coverage throughout the weekend. I'll see you Monday morning on "America's Newsroom." I'm Martha MacCallum and this is "The Kelly File."

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