A South Carolina state representative, who has come out against removing the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds, suggested on Tuesday that the nine people shot in Charleston could have tried to do more to defend themselves.
“We’re focusing on the wrong thing here,” State Rep. William Chumley told CNN after explaining that his constituents have told him that the flag should not come down.
“We need to be focusing on the nine families that are left and see that this doesn’t happen again,” Chumley continued. “These people sat in there, and waited their turn to be shot. That’s sad. But somebody in there with the means of self defense could have stopped this. And we’d have had less funerals than we’re having.”
“You’re turning this into a gun debate?” CNN reporter Drew Griffin asked Chumley. “If those nine families asked you to take down that flag, would you do it?”
“You said ‘guns.’ Why didn’t somebody, why didn’t somebody just do something?” Chumley asked in response. “I mean, you’ve got one skinny person shooting a gun, you know I mean, we need to take, and do what we can.”
Griffin then asked Chumley if he meant that one of the victims should have “tackled” or “fought” the suspect.
“I don’t know what the answer was,” Chumley said.
“But I know it’s really, really horrible for nine people to be shot and I understand that he reloaded his gun during the process,” he continued, referring to the suspect in the shooting. “That’s upsetting, very upsetting.”
Watch the interview via CNN: