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The Heritage Foundation - "Istook Live!" - Transcript

Interview

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Location: Washington, DC

Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01) released the following statement today regarding the senseless shooting in Aurora, Colorado last night:

"My thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost their loved ones because of senseless violence last night in Aurora, Colorado. This tragedy is not only heartbreaking --it is incomprehensible. We should unite together as compassionate Americans to comfort those who are mourning. It is my prayer that we will cling tightly as "one nation under God' and lift each other up in ongoing prayer, as well as, bringing physical comfort and support during this heartbreaking time."

Below is a transcript of my discussion with former Congressman Ernest Istook on his show, Istook Live. Some of my comments in this interview have been taken out of context. Below is the full transcript in context:

ISTOOK: As promised we have a member of congress that is a former judge. Congressman Louie Gohmert represents the first district of Texas. We are happy to have him with us because everybody is concerned about what has happened with this shooting. Let me see if we have him here. Louie?

GOHMERT: Ernie, always good being here

ISTOOK: We were going to talk about other things but since you are a former judge and you dealt with criminal cases on the bench…. I don't know if you ever had something that was such a crime that is senseless as we seem to be seeing with this theatre shooting with at least a dozen people killed evidently in Aurora, Colorado. What? What is your experience, with the way we have so many twisted people in our society?

GOHMERT: Well it… some of us happen to believe that when our founders talked about guarding our virtue and freedoms that it was important … you know… whether it was John Adams saying that our Constitution was only for people with "moral and religious people' and "wholly inadequate to the governments of any others.' Ben Franklin, "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom, as nations become more corrupt and vicious they have more need of masters'. I mean it goes on and on… you know… George Washington, "of all the disposition and habits that lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.' We have been at war with the very pillars, the very foundation of this country… and when… you know… what really gets me as a Christian, is to see the ongoing attacks on Judeo- Christian beliefs and then a senseless crazy act of terror like this takes place.

ISTOOK: Now, in this case we don't know much about the individual. Now, about the suspect all I've heard is is he 24 years old, his name is James Holmes. Obviously, he had hom…

GOHMERT: What I am saying…

ISTOOK: We don't know…

GOHMERT: Don't misunderstand my statement … don't misunderstand. My statement - by saying that it is terror…

ISTOOK: Oh, No, I didn't take it that way.

GOHMERT: I'm not saying that at all, it could be anybody. We know that… we know from Norway, it could be anybody. But, it is a terror act. When you go in and start terrorizing people like this regardless of what your background is

ISTOOK: Right… it doesn't have to be Islamic terrorism, there is domestic terrorism

GOHMERT: That's right… exactly. But it is a terrorist act….but… You know, when people say, where was God in all of this? Well, you know, we don't let… in fact we've threatened high school graduation participants that if they use God's name that they're going to be jailed, we had a principal of a school, and a superintendent or a coach down in Florida that were threatened with jail because they said the blessing at a voluntary off campus dinner. I mean, that kind of stuff… where is God? Where, where? What have we done with God? We told him that we don't want him around. I kind of like his protective hand being present.

ISTOOK: In this case I know, after the aftermath of the Oklahoma City Bombing, and the 180 + people who were killed there -- the fact that we were a community of faith in Oklahoma made a huge difference in the reaction. Now, not everybody is that way -- and there will be -- I mean, I noticed a column posted up on the Washington Post saying -- "Well, what would be the effect of this on gun control laws?" And, you know it's interesting, of course after the Virginia Tech shootings people focused more on saying, well what about the mental health laws because you were supposed to have safeguards in place to make sure that somebody who had a mental health issue was picked up on this insta-check issue before they could buy a firearm but they were not putting that information into the system. And, I don't know if some gaff like that might be some part of the situation?

GOHMERT: Well, and I know -- before we ever had conceal carry in Texas, there was a senseless shooting, years ago, in Killeen Texas, in a restaurant and if we'd had concealed carry permits at the time -- there was a woman who had to leave her gun in her car --and if we'd had concealed carry, the guy would have been stopped before he could have killed so many people. And, I don't know what the laws all are in Colorado, but -- ya know what we've found over and over again is when people are authorized to carry…

ISTOOK: Colorado does have concealed carry permits

GOHMERT: It does make me wonder, you know, with all those people in the theatre, was there nobody that was carrying? That could have stopped this guy more quickly? I mean, in Tyler Texas, we had, in my hometown, we had a shooter come in over a domestic matter and just start shooting people, and it was a guy with a concealed carry. He got killed, but his shooting at this guy caused him to run and no doubt saved a lot of lives. He was a real hero.

ISTOOK: Sure, and in fact, and I think, just looking at information from the gun owners of America, that 2 ½ million times a year guns are used in self-defense.

GOHMERT: Wow, that's quite a figure

ISTOOK: That's a huge figure. But that's theirs. That's about 68 hundred times a day which means that the number of times that they defend people is far greater than the times that they are used to take a life. Ah, but again, there are so many unknowns; I don't want to get too far afield on this, this Colorado shooting. But, but what was your experience as a Judge, when you were on the bench? This is Congressman Louie Gohmert. When you were on the bench, what was your experience with people who had mental health issues that were involved in crimes of violence?

GOHMERT: Well, it's always a problem and there are some people that require medication, and when they are on their medication they are not a problem whatsoever. But you can't require them, you know, to keep taking their medication, and because you can't follow them around. You can commit them to mental health facilities, but then they put them on their medications and they do fine and then they release them, then you, you know. We had an engineer who was just a wonderful guy, but when he got off his medication -- ya know, it came in --our friend was out at a major intersection -- eight lanes both ways --he's running naked between the cars. When he was on his medication, he was a great functioning member of society. But, ya know, I might mention something else that had not been public yet, most of us that follow the military know we have had an extraordinary increase in suicide in the military --and it's just heartbreaking. And, I've sat with families around their kitchen tables and they are going "we never saw this coming -- ya know, we didn't know." And there was a study commissioned…

ISTOOK: And, Louie, we're gonna have to finish...

GOHMERT: Well, let me say this very quickly -- but its six thousand personality index profiles. And, what they found, and I don't know if they will make it public -- one of the participants told me " the results may not go public'; but, all of the people who committed suicide, within their thousands of people studied, were part of the 2-percent most atheistic members of the military . We've lost our faith.

ISTOOK: Thank you, Louie Gohmert -- Congressman from the First District of Texas.

Congressman Louie Gohmert is the Vice Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. Prior to being elected to serve in Congress, Louie was elected to three terms as District Judge in Smith County, Texas. He also served as Chief Justice of Texas'12th Court of Appeals.


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