Rachel Maddow debuted an Outrage-O-Meter on her show Thursday night, and quickly put it to the test with a story about the ongoing trial of James Holmes, who opened fire in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in July 2012.
Maddow opened her show with heart-rending footage of the Aurora trial. She highlighted the testimony of Brenton Lowak, whose friend Jessica Ghawi -- a 24-year-old aspiring sports reporter -- died in the shooting.
Here’s the part that set off the Outrage-O-Meter: Jessica's parents have been ordered by a judge in Colorado to pay $220,000 to the gun retailers who sold Holmes his weapon.
The parents unsuccessfully sued the retailers whose products were used in the Aurora shooting. Colorado state law requires that plaintiffs who sue the manufacturers or dealers of gun products pay the companies' legal fees if they lose.
"That's not a typo," Maddow said, adding, "The mother and father of the victim who died in the Aurora mass shooting have just been ordered to pay a quarter-million dollars to the gun retailers who sold the bullets that were used in the Aurora mass shooting -- the parents of the girl who was killed."
"If you, for whatever reason, sue anyone having to do with the making of guns and if, for any reason, you lose that lawsuit, you're going to have to pay -- big," Maddow continued. “It only goes that one direction, too.”
Ghawi's parents are appealing the decision.
CORRECTION: Initial references to "gun manufacturers" have been amended, as the parents' suit was in fact brought against the gun dealers.