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The President Calling On Justice Department To Consider Making Mass Shooters Eligible For Death Penalty; Texas And Ohio: Communities In Fear, Anger, And Pain; Mass Shooters Posted Online What's On Their Mind; Media And Internet A Big Factor In Hate Crimes; Cesar Sayoc Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison; Hate In The United States. Aired 11p- 12a ET
Aired August 5, 2019 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
With the nation grappling with the senseless violence that has killed 31 people in El Paso and Dayton, President Trump declaring that hate has no place in America. Despite his own history of racism and division.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: We need to put those words in context of the president's long history of bigoted and racist statements. And ask whether he repudiates his own past comments and actions.
The president calling on the Justice Department to consider making mass shooters eligible for the death penalty.
Any changes would, of course, have to be passed by Congress but the directive comes as the FBI conducts its own threat assessments in an attempt to head off future mass attacks.
Let's bring in now Shimon Prokupecz, and Daryl Johnson, he is a former domestic terrorism analyst in Homeland Security under President Barack Obama, who is the author of "Hate Land."
Gentlemen, good evening. Thank you so much for joining us.
Shimon, I'm going to start with you because new details tonight about the gunman in Dayton are coming out about his Twitter feed.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes.
LEMON: What do you know? PROKUPECZ: Yes, so this is interesting, Don. You know, we've been
going through his Twitter feed and you should assume that law enforcement has as well. He doesn't write much on his Twitter feed. There are some selfies of himself, but he did spend a lot of time reviewing other tweets, retweeting folks, liking tweets, specifically, more of the left-wing and anti-law enforcement, anti-police-type tweets.
Some of the tweets he -- that he retweeted, it was about support for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. There's a tweet that he re- tweeted where it says that millennials have a message for the Joe Biden the Joe Biden generation, hurry up and die.
He did on the day of the El Paso shooting, he did like several tweets about that shooting. He also liked posts and tweets expressing hate toward ICE agents.
So, you're seeing someone that it's just not really clear here in terms of what could have possibly still motivated him in the shooting, in the Dayton shooting, and certainly it's something for law enforcement that they are considering and looking at.
And we also know that, of course, they found writings in his home during search warrant where we expressed killing people. But all of this law enforcement is using to try and paint a picture of, perhaps, a motive here, but it's still very much unclear, Don.
LEMON: Listen, we know, we've covered too many of these instances, Shimon, and we got to figure it out. But any left or right, it's wrong, it's terrible, it's awful.
Daryl, I want to bring you in here. You warned in 2009, in 2009, the leaked memo of the threat of white wing extremism, the political backlash to that was swift. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano had to backtrack. But you were right.
DARYL JOHNSON, FORMER SENIOR DOMESTIC TERRORISM ANALYST, DHS: I don't get any satisfaction in knowing that I was right. I was just doing my job, Don. I studied these movements and groups pretty much since I was 15 years old and turned it into a career. So, I saw a cycle that was about to emerge and I tried to warn law enforcement to prepare for it.
LEMON: Why does it seem so difficult for people to come to terms with the fact that there's a serious right-wing threat within our borders?
JOHNSON: Well, you got a whole host of factors. This is like a political minefield when you talk about domestic terrorism. You're talking about very polarizing issues in America like gun control, abortion, and other types of issues like this.
So, you're also talking about people's, you know, brothers, people's fathers, people's sons. So, I think it comes kind of hard for people to recognize that they may have an extremist relative.
LEMON: Shimon, the Justice Department is considering pushing for a new law that would make mass shootings a capital crime punishable by death. But these mass shooters are often looking to be killed by a cop. Sometimes they're looking for fame. Is this a type of proposal to make it look like that you're doing something without actually doing anything about guns at all?
[23:05:03] PROKUPECZ: It's a really good point, Don, and in many ways, people may look at it that way, but I do think the people at the Department of Justice do want to create, try to create some kind of new law such as this, perhaps.
But you're absolutely right because in most cases, the people who make up their mind, who consume all kinds of details and information and they get radicalized and they decide that they want to go ahead and commit these horrendous terrorist acts, they are intending to die. They expect to die.
So, having a death penalty attached to wanting to commit this kind of crime, one can argue doesn't make a lot of sense. So, we'll see. There is a move to do something. Perhaps, this is one piece of it. Maybe there will be more. But, no, you're absolutely right, this wouldn't really -- does it really deter anyone? Unclear.
LEMON: Yes. All right. Daryl, you know, you heard what Shimon reported about the shooter in Ohio, his social media history part of it, at least.
Six of the nine people killed, though, were black. The police chief there said they haven't seen any indication that race was a motivation but they're still going through the evidence. What's your thinking here?
JOHNSON: We're going to have to let the investigation take its course. I mean, I've heard references in the news that he had a, like, a hit list of people at school, particularly girls that he wanted to sexually assault. So that may point to some sort of misogynistic motivation.
Then we've got the Twitter feed that shows he may have embraced some sort of anarchist-type beliefs. Then we've got, you know, the victims being all black could point to a racist belief.
One thing that I think is very interesting in this day and age of the internet is oftentimes these troubled individuals will grasp on to any type of extremist ideology and they don't realize that these are opposing viewpoints that we look at the political spectrum.
So, we call that in the intelligence and law enforcement community the third position, where someone embraces both left and right-wing extremist ideologies as part of their belief system.
LEMON: And I just have to -- mostly black, not all black. The victims there. But I understand you were saying. Shimon, listen, the president said that he has directed the FBI to identify and address domestic terrorism and hate crimes. But what does that look like, especially when the president's own rhetoric may be contributing to the problem?
PROKUPECZ: It's a concern, and I know in talking to people in law enforcement, certainly on the local level, there is a lot of concern because of the temperature in this country. The rhetoric. All of the people feel divided and everything that's out there right now, what people are consuming, it's really difficult for law enforcement to catch all of them.
But, you know, the FBI is trying to work with the local partners as well as with the ATF, other law enforcement officials, to try and figure out how can we get ahead of this problem?
You know, one of the things that we learned, that I learned about today was that there was an arrest, just to give an example, out of Texas. It was a 19-year-old man who had thoughts about a mass shooting. He told his grandmother about it. He had weapons. He had an assault rifle. And the grandmother went to the local police and reported him.
And then what happened is he wound up getting arrested. But what's interesting, he didn't get arrested for possessing a weapon. He didn't get arrested for having the thoughts of committing a mass shooting and killing dozens and dozens of people.
What he ultimately gets arrested for is lying on an application to purchase the weapon. He lied about his address. He lied about where he was living.
So, these are the kinds of things that we're seeing law enforcement try to do. They have to find other ways to get these guys off the street. And so, this is what they're doing.
They're trying to get to people, to the family members, to the community and say, hey, if you see something weird with your family member or with someone in your community, you got to tell us and I think that's what one of the big campaigns is going to be for law enforcement. Come to us, tell us something is wrong.
LEMON: Shimon, Daryl, thank you very much.
JOHNSON: You're welcome.
LEMON: Police in Dayton trying to determine a motive behind the deadly rampage while six of the nine victims are African-American, the police chief says he hasn't yet seen any evidence that race was a factor.
And we're reporting tonight that the shooters retweeted extreme left wing and anti-police posts, as well as tweets supporting the violent protest group, Antifa.
So, let's bring in now Twyla Southall, whose brother, Derrick Fudge, was killed early Sunday in the city's Oregon district.
Twyla, I'm so sorry that we're talking under these circumstances. Thank you so much for joining us. How's your -- tell us --
TWYLA SOUTHALL, DERRICK FUDGE'S SISTER: Thank you for having me.
LEMON: How are you doing? And I want you to talk to me about your brother, Derrick. You were just with him on Saturday.
[23:09:55] SOUTHALL: Yes. You know, I am -- I am doing OK. I think it started sinking in a lot more today when we went to the funeral home to view the body and to make arrangements, and you know, the last time I had saw him, as you referenced, was Saturday in Springfield, Ohio.
We were at the C.J. Brown Reservoir having a family cookout, reunion, and I drove from Columbus and family members, some of them flew in from out from out of state. And many of them from Springfield were there. And we were enjoying the day. It was a beautiful day. We were playing cornhole and volleyball. Some went fishing.
One of my aunts was sharing her testimony that she was -- she had just received the diagnosis on Tuesday that he was cancer-free.
So, we were celebrating life. And to see Derrick was, you know, I had not seen him in a little while, and we were sitting down talking, as I was eating, and he was sharing with me the things that, you know, had been occurring in his life and had gotten a new car and his dog was in the car. He loved his dog, Lucy Lou.
He was excited about his granddaughter. He has one son and one granddaughter. His granddaughter's upcoming birthday, he was going to be painting her bedroom for her.
And he was just telling me, you know, where he was in life because he's had a few bumps in life. He's been knocked down a few times, but the good thing about him is he kept getting up and he kept trying. And it was good to see him on the upswing and happy about life.
And I didn't know that that was the last time I would see him smiling and alive. I probably would have stayed and talked a little longer with him, but I am glad that that is the memory that I do have with him and it is -- and it is a good memory.
LEMON: Sorry. Your story is very familiar to me, having lost my sister. You never -- you never imagine that that's the last time that you're going to see them. Never in a million, million years.
SOUTHALL: Never. And my condolences to you.
LEMON: No, thank you. It's not about me. As you were describing it, it just brought it home because it was very similar experience that I had recently. And, you know, you said -- I've been reading, and I've been hearing about him that he would give you the shirt off of his back. You said he had some knocks --
SOUTHALL: Yes, he would.
LEMON: -- but he kept getting up and he was one of the kindest people that you could ever meet. SOUTHALL: He would. And, you know, in all honesty, he didn't have a
lot, but what he had, he was willing to share and to give just as, you know, that is a good description of him. That he would give you the shirt off of his back. He was a kind guy. He was a good guy. And I just, you know, it's such a tragic end to a life that, you know, he was enjoying living.
LEMON: His son was with him that night. How's he doing?
SOUTHALL: Yes, he was. My nephew, he's -- we're with him, you know, he's doing about as best as can be expected. He actually came to the funeral home with us today which I was not expecting because he literally was with him. He was side by side when my brother got shot and he was the one who --
LEMON: What did he tell you about that night, Twyla?
SOUTHALL: He told me that they had come out of one of the clubs and they were standing outside near one of the taco stands and he said that as they were standing there that he saw the gunman come from around the building and he had the mask on and my nephew said that he thought it was surreal.
He did not, you know, he didn't really think the guy was really real. You know, that it was legit. And he said that the guy -- the gunman had a gun in his hand, you know, lifted it up and started shooting and my nephew still was kind of, you know, taken aback, not knowing what was going on.
His fiance was there with them, too. And she told me she got down immediately and told everyone, get down, get down. And eventually, my nephew did get down but he just didn't -- I don't think he processed it immediately.
But once the gunman passed by them, actually walked over my niece to go by them thinking, probably thinking he had shot her, and when he got across the street and they said that the gunshots seemed to have died down, then that's when my nephew said, listen, let's go because, you know, it was pandemonium. It was just crazy.
So, he said, let's get out of here because people are running and so they started getting up but my brother didn't get up. He said that he, you know, reached down, it's one a.m., it's dark, he said, dad, let's go, and he said that when he looked down at my brother that his words were that it was like my brother was trying to breathe as a fish that is out of water.
[23:15:02] He was -- his breathing was labored and it was -- he was struggling. So, my nephew bent down to see what the problem was and to help him and he said that as he bent down near my brother, he began to see blood coming from what appeared to be the back of his head.
And he realized that he had been wounded, likely shot, and then he -- he really kind of lost composure and he said he fell on my brother and he was holding him in his arms because I think he was realizing that the life was leaving him.
And then the police came over because they were there as has been reported and they tried to -- he said at that point, my nephew said it was like they were trying to pry me off of my dad because he was -- he was clinging onto him realizing that, you know, his life was leaving him at that point.
So, it's very sad and I think of all people he probably is definitely the most impacted and we are praying really hard for him and trusting God to strengthen him and to bring him through. Not even I can imagine really having to live through what he has -- you cannot unsee that. You cannot unlive that. That's a memory that's forever going to be etched in his heart, unfortunately.
I am so happy that my brother was with his son. His only son. But I am not happy that my nephew was with his dad because my nephew will forever have to live with that memory, and it is -- it is a horrible memory. But I am -- I am grateful that my brother was with the son -- the only son he has, like the light of his life.
LEMON: Twyla Southall, very simply, thank you.
SOUTHALL: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you. Thank you. Bless you. Bless you, bless you. And your family. We'll be right back.
[23:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Law enforcement officials investigating a four-page document posted to 8chan that they believe was written by the El Paso shooter. The manifesto is filled with white nationalist and racist language. Hatred towards immigrants and Hispanics. Blaming immigrants and first- generation Americans for taking away jobs.
It's language that we have heard before on Fox News.
So, let's discuss now. Brian Stelter is here. Former Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez, and Mehdi Hasan.
Good evening, gentlemen.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Good evening.
FMR. REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D-IL): Thank you.
LEMON: Brian, what we saw in El Paso, in that shooter's manifesto --
LEMON: -- has a lot of similarities to what we hear on Fox News. Tell us about that.
STELTER: Yes, and not just on Fox News. Certainly, from other right- wing talk shows, from radio, from fringe corners of the internet, but Fox talk shows sometimes mainstream this idea of an invasion. Even sometimes this crazy conspiracy theory about whites being replaced in America.
The history of America involves progress, but sometimes we see that as loss. The table keeps getting bigger. People keep joining the table. The message on Fox sometimes is you're losing something. Here are just a few of the recent examples from before the recent shootings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Latin American countries are changing election outcomes here by forcing demographic change on this country at a rate that American voters consistently say they don't want.
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: In some parts of the country, it does seem like the America that we know and love doesn't exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people and they're changes none of us ever voted for and most of us don't like.
Of this, my friends, you can be sure, your views on immigration will have zero impact and zero influence on a House dominated by Democrats who want to replace you, the American voters, with newly amnestied citizens at an ever-increasing number of chain migrants.
CHRISTIAN WHITON, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER FOR NATIONAL INTEREST: We're seeing this in Europe. We're seeing it here. And they're attempting to replace us with citizens that they think -- future citizens -- that they think would be more amenable to voting for them.
DOUGLAS MACGREGOR, RETIRED U.S. ARMY: The more of these people that can be brought in illegally, as well as legally, the better it is for the Democratic Party because their goal is to transform the United States into a facsimile of California.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Now let me be very clear, we do not know if the attacker in El Paso heard all of that, but we know that millions of people do every single night.
LEMON: Which makes people think that immigration is bad. People coming into the country is bad.
STELTER: That you're under attack, that you're under threat, that you're being invaded.
LEMON: How do you control the demographics and I think the giveaway is in the language. Trying to control the demographics of the country. That's not -- that's not what America -- that's not America.
STELTER: The history of America, the table keeps expanding.
STELTER: But there's this perception with white identity politics, with Fox benefits from primetime, that that is a dangerous thing.
LEMON: And it is identity politics.
STELTER: That's what it is.
LEMON: Mehdi, but you know, are you surprised to see that kind of language used in the shooter's manifesto, echoes language anybody can hear on Fox News or conservative media any day of the week?
MEHDI HASAN, COLUMNIST, THE INTERCEPT: I'm not surprised anymore because we've been seeing it for so many years now. One of the paradoxes of media coverage of this shooting has been that media organizations like CNN and other big organizations say, look, let's not try and, you know, publicize the shooter's, quote/unquote, "manifesto," let's not give it coverage, let's not put it out in full.
The problem is, of course, that the content of that quote/unquote, "manifesto," could be heard any night of the week on Fox News primetime. As Brian just pointed out and the clip you just showed. So, what do you do there? You don't show the shooter's manifesto but you can hear Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson and the rest say it to millions of people on a daily basis.
Brian makes the point that we don't if the shooter watch Fox News? But you know who did watch Fox News? Do you know who we do know for a fact watched Fox News? Cesar Sayoc, the pipe bomber, the MAGA bomber, who was sentenced today to 20 years in prison.
[23:25:06] His lawyers told the court that he watched Fox News religiously. Religiously.
LEMON: We're going to talk -- save that fought. Because we're going to talk about him in a little bit, if you will, Mehdi.
Let me bring in the congressman. You know, Congressman, following the shooting in El Paso, Senator Elizabeth Warren called Fox News a hate- for-profit machine that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists. Is she right?
GUTIERREZ: She is absolutely right. Look, I remember as a member of Congress, Don, I showed up on the program to try to articulate, to bring some balance, to bring some authenticity to the immigrant voice and what they would do to me was you'd hear my voice but you wouldn't see my face because they would just show these scary figures crossing the border. They would show murder and mayhem, instead of showing me.
And so, I refused to go back on. Tucker Carlson knows. His people used to beg me. I said, no, I'm not going to be a foil for this anti- immigrant rhetoric. They really don't want it.
Let's remember, who was Donald Trump's best friend in the media? Roger Ailes was his best friend in the media. I mean, the president of the United States, who created him, who gave him a spot-on Fox News and friends in the morning, who would promote his anti-immigrant diatribe? It was Fox News.
So, look, even -- and I think it's important that we connect these dots --
GUTIERREZ: -- because the birther movement, who gave sustenance, right, and who gave credibility, if you wish, to an outright lie, if it wasn't Fox News. Because the strategy to me was, look, he's the President of the United States, Barack Obama is a Muslim that was born in Africa, he wasn't born here, and therefore, he should go back where he came from.
It's the same rhetoric we hear today. And, look, when we look at people who have been murdered, so whether it's black people in the Carolinas that go to church and are murdered or Jews that go to the synagogue in Pennsylvania, and now, Latinos shopping in El Paso, we know that there is one common thread, and that is the demagoguery and the hate-filled speech of the President of the United States.
LEMON: Yes. And we're going to be right back, but Mehdi, hold your thought. We're going to talk about something that you want to talk about.
Gentlemen, standby. Right after the break.
[23:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: New tonight, the man who mailed pipe bombs last October to people he saw as critical of President Trump has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. Cesar Sayoc pleaded guilty to mailing 16 crudely improvised explosive packages to the Clintons, to the Obamas, and several members of Congress. He also sent devices to CNN offices in Atlanta and New York. Law enforcement intercepted the packages and no one was injured luckily.
Back with me now, Brian Stelter, former Congressman Gutierrez, and Mehdi Hasan.
Mehdi, I promised you we would get to it, so stand by. I want to go to Brian first to get the reporting here.
So Brian, Cesar Sayoc's attorney argued that he was in the grip of Fox News when he mailed those improvised explosive devices, and he said, "He began watching Fox News religiously at the gym, planning his morning workout to coincide with "Fox & Friends" and his evenings to dovetail with "Hannity."
And that he was "an avid follower of President Trump on Twitter." What does that tell you?
STELTER: Yeah, this was not a man who watching the newscast on Fox. It was the pro-Trump talk shows that he really loved. And this is an example of a man who was radicalized and then led to commit extreme violence, to try to kill. Now, these bombs, thank God, did not go off. Today in court, he profusely apologized, said he was sorry. But this is a frightening example of the new normal.
I do not blame people at Fox News for violent acts nor do I think people at CNN or MSNBC or other outlets should be blamed for violent acts. However, we have to recognize that these sorts of things do not happen in a vacuum. They happen in an environment. That's what we're seeing in El Paso as well. These sorts of attacks happen in a media environment, in a technology environment, and political environment. We cannot be blindfolded to that reality.
LEMON: Yeah. Mehdi, what did you want to say about Cesar Sayoc and what you have heard so far?
HASAN: Well, yeah, Cesar Sayoc is a prime example of what you were discussing before the break about the role that Fox News plays. We talked about social media. Trump talked about social media, 8chan, YouTube, and the radicalization of these angry white men. We need to talk much more about Fox News, the "news network" playing that role with Cesar Sayoc.
I mean, Kirsten Powers used the analogy earlier on your show, that Trump is like the arsonist who shows up to your house and wants to put the fire up. Fox News is worse. Fox is the arsonist that turns up and wants to continue fanning the flames. That's what they've been doing since Saturday and Sunday. Watch their shows today. They called the El Paso guy -- "He's not a white nationalist. He's an environmental extremist," they said on "The Five" earlier this evening.
I mean, this is the kind of running interference for white nationalists. They are like the Anwar al-Awlaki of the white nationalist movement. They basically hate (INAUDIBLE), sorry to say, especially in the prime time show. But even in the straight news shows, they talk about invasions as well.
So we really need to focus on this because Fox is making money out of racism, profiting off of hatred. What was it Toni Morrison said, Don, that the function of racism, the very serious function is distraction, and you see that with Fox.
LEMON: Congressman, here's what some of what we heard from --
GUTIERREZ: They make money.
LEMON: Go on. What did you want to say?
GUTIERREZ: No, no, no, please.
LEMON: OK. This is some of what we heard from the president today. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have asked the FBI to identify all further resources they need to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism, whatever they need. We must recognize that the internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts.
(END VIDEO CLIP) [23:34:58] LEMON: Congressman, we have seen the president's Twitter account. His campaign refers to an immigrant invasion in Facebook ads. He said some, you know, of the right things today, but when you look at the bigger context, are we being gaslit here?
GUTIERREZ: Look, absolutely. Here's what's going on, and we have to be real. This president of the United States today said that we need to condemn -- please, audience, check his words today, prejudice and bigotry, and we need to strike out against those.
Well, you know what, Mr. President? Take a look in the mirror. Stop trying to fool the American people with your false words today of empathy and your false words of encouragement that you're going to do everything you can to protect Americans. You are doing everything you can each and every day to divide us and to pit one of us against the other.
Don, we all know there are basically two kinds of campaign. A campaign of promise and of hope for the future of the electorate and the American people, and a campaign that says the reason your schools aren't good, the reason you're paying too much taxes, the reason you're out of a job, the reason there's so much crime and so much drugs on your street, it's those immigrants, it's those invaders.
He calls people readers. Those are the exact kinds of words. And so when he talks about Baltimore and he talks about immigrants, it's always with this filled language of animals, right? Of people that are animals. Not people, but we are animals.
You know what? We die and we bleed and we love this country like everyone else. But they want to say demographic changes are coming and they are coming. But they want to say, I am the way to the future to stop black and brown and Muslim and different people.
And lastly, Don, God, a country that cannot protect people that are worshipping in their synagogues, in their mosques, in their churches, and can't protect children going to elementary school and middle school and high school, that's not a country that I'm going to say that I'm really proud of.
GUTIERREZ: I want to change and transform America. Unfortunately, I don't believe anything is going to change until November of 2020, until we set a correction course. Who the president of the United States is and people that are going to have the -- how would I say, the will to take on the National Rifle Association?
LEMON: That's got to be the last word, congressman. Unfortunately, I'm out of time. Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.
GUTIERREZ: Thank you, Don.
[23:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: President Trump vowing today to take action to prevent mass shootings and blaming mental illness, the internet, video games. The question now facing the country, how to identify people who want to carry out massacres and what can be done to stop them?
Joining me now is sociologist James Densley, who studied mass shootings. He studied mass shootings. Most recently, he's part of a project funded by the Justice Department. We are so glad that you're here, James. Thank you so much.
You studied every mass shooting since 1966, and you laid out in Los Angeles Times op-ed four factors that most mass shooters have in common. And here they are. You say early childhood trauma or exposure to violence, a crisis point leading up to the shooting, studied the actions of other shooters and looking for validation, ability to carry out an attack.
So, those are the -- what they have in common. If you can identify these commonalities, then can we stop these massacres from happening?
JAMES DENSLEY, SOCIOLOGIST: Yeah. Thank you for having me on the show tonight. That's exactly the idea behind identifying these four themes that are consistent across these -- the narratives and the life histories of these mass shooters.
We feel that each one of these four components is an inflection point, and it's an opportunity to intervene. If we recognize it as such, then hopefully we can avert some of these just terrible tragedies.
LEMON: So, James, do any of the four shared traits you found apply to mass shooters identified as white supremacists?
DENSLEY: Yeah. So, to give you some background, myself and my colleague, Jillian Peterson, who is a psychologist, we've been looking at all cases where somebody has shot and killed four or more people since 1966. And in that history, we do see examples of hate-related violence and people who are motivated to mass shootings based on some sort of ideology.
But what we also notice is that sometimes the ideology is quite flimsy, it's quite thin. And in many ways, they are sort of grasping for something to make sense of their lives and to sort of justify the violent behavior that comes next.
And so these are individuals who are very vulnerable. They're already often in crisis. And it's the ideology that kind of can tip them over the edge or it can give them some sort of meaning in life that they are searching for.
LEMON: James, we learned just tonight that a Twitter account that appears to belong to the Dayton shooter shows re-tweets of left-wing and anti-police posts. He also re-tweet a support for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. He even liked several tweets about the El Paso shooting. What does that tell you?
DENSLEY: Well, I think it tells us that there's more going on here than perhaps the sort of conventional narrative that there's one factor that we can pinpoint to blame for a mass shooting.
[23:45:04] And that's kind of the reason why we wanted to highlight the four themes. And as much whether somebody is radicalized to the left or radicalized to the right, we have to take a step back and wonder what got them to that point in the first place.
And this is where we see the early exposure to violence since childhood. We see a sort of tangible crisis point in people's lives, some sort of loss or some sort of grievance. And they're searching for something. And if they can find meaning in the words of a politician or in the writings of a prior mass shooter, they will latch onto those types of things and that can drive them forward.
LEMON: Hey, James, I have just a couple seconds left. You say one way to prevent a future mass shooting is to eliminate the ability to carry out a plan. Would increasing gun control factor into that?
DENSLEY: Absolutely. Absolutely, it would. At the end of the day, without ready access to guns for vulnerable individuals, the risk is there, and there are things we can do which don't infringe upon people's Second Amendment rights, but which do take a bite out of gun violence. And we can do these things. We know what they are. We just have to have the political will and the courage to do them.
LEMON: James Densley, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.
DENSLEY: Thank you very much.
LEMON: We'll be right back.
[23:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Is rise of overt hatred a product of the tools of social media and the internet? Well, CNN hate sites -- can that be stopped -- can hate sites, excuse me, be stopped? Here's CNN's Sara Sidner.
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Don, what's been made clear is that we have a problem, and one of the problems is online. There are places on the Web that are not in the dark Web. These are open public spaces that white nationalists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis and racists are going to encourage each other to violence. And that is exactly what was happening on 8chan.
SIDNER (voice-over): Minutes before the chaos and terror unleashed on families shopping at Walmart in El Paso, the accused gunman may have spelled out why he waged war on innocence, a hate-filled manifesto railing against immigrants, calling it the Hispanic invasion.
The post also praises ideas set forth in another manifesto written by the person identifying himself as the Christchurch, New Zealand shooter, who massacred 51 people as they prayed in two mosques in March.
And months later, police believe another racist suspect posted an open letter minutes before shooting up the California synagogue. All of them posted in the same place, 8chan, a public website that is a racist virtual paradise.
KEEGAN HANKES, RESEARCH ANALYST, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: I think 8chan is among one of the more influential sites that plays a role in radicalizing young men when it comes to far-right extremism.
SIDNER (voice-over): It is just one of many open forums that host hatred. The 4chan, Gab, and a neo-Nazi site "Daily Stormer" are favorites of white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
JOANNA MENDELSON, SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE RESEARCHER, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: What we have now are attacks that are not only designed to kill, but they're designed to be replicated online, spread their poison across the internet and to inspire others.
SIDNER (voice-over): These websites and forums use companies that provide infrastructure for the sites to run smoothly online. Cloudfare, run by chief executive Matthew Prince, serviced as the "Daily Stormer" until 2017, when he faced pressure to drop it after the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Last night, Cloudfare dropped 8chan, calling the site lawless and that it caused multiple tragic deaths. And another service provider, Voxility, earlier today also dropped 8chan.
8chan has not responded to CNN's inquiries. One of the administrators said on Twitter that, "We will be moving to another service ASAP. Please excuse any down time."
For their part, law enforcement is grappling with how to keep up with these forums. In July, the FBI put out requests for bids for social media monitoring companies so investigators can mitigate multifaceted threats. But if the sites are shut down, it could make it harder for law enforcement to monitor.
JOSH CAMPBELL, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: The FBI can't troll through websites. There has to be a predicated investigation. But even if they could, they would be hampered by the fact that there was so much garbage out there on these sites. Also, rarely do the shooters telegraph in advance the carnage that they are about to cause.
SIDNER (voice-over): In a congressional hearing on domestic terrorism this year, Homeland Security officials were asked about how to deal with these sites. Their response? An uncomfortable silence.
REP. MIKE ROGERS (R-AL): Do you have any recommendation for what can be done to address the viral hate speech and incitement of violence found on fringe sites like 8chan and Gab? This is for any of you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No suggestions for us? That's scary.
SIDNER: Experts who have been studying this for years say that ultimately there has to be a multifaceted attack to try and deal with this problem. And we have to be clear the government just can't go online and stop speech. We have the First Amendment.
The Supreme Court said itself that hate speech is protected free speech. What is not protected, that is inciting violence, and we are seeing that happen in places like 8chan. That needs to be dealt with.
[23:54:57] Law enforcement can't predict necessarily when speech is going to turn into action. Don?
LEMON: Sara Sidner, thank you very much. Be sure to tune in on Wednesday. Chris Cuomo will moderate a live "CUOMO PRIME TIME Town Hall." "America Under Assault: The Gun Crisis." It is Wednesday night at 9:00. Thank you for watching. Our coverage continues.