One South Carolina Republican is against moving the Confederate flag from Statehouse grounds, maintaining that the compromise reached in 2000 to move the flag from atop the Statehouse itself "settled" the matter.
State Rep. William Chumley instead opined that the focus is on "the wrong thing here" before seemingly pointing the finger at the nine victims of the massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston last week for not defending themselves.
"We're focusing on the wrong thing here. We need to be focusing on the nine families that are left and see that this doesn't happen again," Chumley told CNN reporter Drew Griffin. "These people sat in there, 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."
An obviously astonished Griffin responded, "You're turning this into a gun debate?"
"You said 'guns,' " Chumley went on. "Why didn't somebody, why didn't somebody just do something? I mean … you got one skinny person shootin' a gun, you know? I mean, we need to take, we need to do what we can."
"Are you asking that these people should have tackled him, these women should have fought him?” Griffin asked, once again seeking clarity.
"I don't know what, I don't know what the answer was," the lawmaker responded. "But I know it's really, really horrible for nine people to be shot, and I understand that [Dylann Roof] reloaded his gun during the process. That's, that's upsetting."
Watch the CNN interview below: