tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN October 6, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT
not giving a damn one way or the other. new details tonight on the man who shot and killed nine people on an oregon college campus before turning the gun on himself. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. online clues about the killer appear to be from the person who knew him the best. his mother. we have the very latest for you. plus, our cnn democratic debate less than a week away and this is shaping up to be the most unpredictable race in a very long time. the $10 billion man not going away not any time soon. i want you to listen to what he tells our chris cuomo. >> i'm not going anywhere, chris. i'm leading every poll. i'm leading every state. i'm not going anywhere. plus, hillary clinton coming out swinging now if vice president joe biden jumps into the race, things could get
pretty interesting. when it comes to interesting you can't just beat this, former governor jesse ventura joins me tonight exclusively. i want to get to breaking news in politics tonight. cnn's chief political correspondent is dana bash. she has the very latest for us. dana, what's going on? >> this is reporting that comes from gloria borger who is getting from a source close to the vice president that there is going to be a family meeting in his home in delaware this weekend, and there's going to be a lot of discussion, continuing discussion about whether he will, in fact, take the plunge into the presidential race, but gloria is reporting that this weekend the conversation will finally be conclusive. when i say finally, it's because as we all know, we have been reporting from multiple sorts these are discussions that have been ongoing for quite some time. but this weekend could be the actual time where we know, and it is announced, what joe biden will do. >> is it a discussion, and is there a decision that will follow or we don't know, dana?
>> we don't know. for sure we don't know. but all signs are pointing to that, and i think it's becoming more and more clear from sources i'm talking to, sources gloria and jeff zela,000,000 ami and oe are talking to, it's clear inside the biden camp he has to do something soon. you know, never mind cnn's debate next week, but just even people and especially people who want to get behind him, they are getting impatient, so it is time for him to make a decision, and he certainly has been around long enough to know that he knows that. >> dana, i want to turn to the republicans now because donald trump is a front-runner as we have been discussing. this morning he was on "new day." tonight he was on fox. so what is he talking about? he's been a lot of places lately. >> he has. and, you know, the top of the news is always the most interesting to see what he says, particularly when you're talking about foreign policy. and he was asked about if he were president, what he would do
vis-a-vis russian president vladimir putin and the fact that they are now very much in syria. listen to what he says. >> if somebody wants to go hit isis, that's okay with me. we owe $19 trillion and you know what, we're going to get bogged down now in syria? we just went through afghanistan, we're going through it now. iraq, which is a total disaster. a total disaster. and i said, you and i have had this discussion, we should never go to iraq. i'm the most militaristic person there is. you have to know when to do it. iran has taken over iraq. i said that would happen. i should get points when people think about voting. i should get points for vision. >> but here's the problem with that, don, is people at the pentagon, others on capitol hill who are really looking into what russia is doing with their strikes inside syria, it's not going after isis, it's going after mostly u.s.-trained, cia-trained rebels who the
united states is hoping will fight back successfully against never mind isis but against bashar al assad, so it is very complicated and some of donald trump's rivals say he just doesn't get it. >> yeah, i want to hear more about that because he is -- he has said to me and other people that russia should handle isis, let's let russia handle isis. how do other republicans view that, dana. >> i think the most interesting response today was from the senate armed services chair john mccain who has had kind of an interesting reaction to donald trump in that, of course, remember there was a big dustup when donald trump questioned john mccain's war hero status, and since then mccain has been quite careful not to actually go after donald trump, which is out of character for john mccain, but on this issue it was pretty clear what he was saying to wolf blitzer today. listen to this. >> i just wish that he would ask the pentagon for a good briefing so he would have a good, or
maybe call up someone he respects like general petraeus or general keen or one of these people and get a good in-depth briefing so he would have a better understanding of the situation. i just don't think he has that now. >> again, there he was talking about the fact that he doesn't believe donald trump is right when he suggests that vladimir putin is getting involved in syria to help combat isis. it's more about trying to defend the dictator in power there, bashar al assad, and so that's why he simply thinks, or says in a pretty cagy way that donald trump should pick up the phone and maybe not watch tv for his information. >> dana bash with the breaking news and more of the breaking news tonight, as there is a meeting at vice president joe biden's house this weekend and we may learn something this weekend about whether he's going to jump into the race 37 dana, thank you very much. i want to bring in ryan lizza, cnn political commentator, scotty, news director of the tea party network, and georgetown
university, former dnc director of communications. good evening to you. how are you going? >> not bad, dan. >> the new reporting about joe biden's family meeting this weekend. do you feel like we're getting close to a decision here? >> oh, i mean, i wouldn't even pretend to know. i don't think anyone can or should pretend to know what exactly's going to happen. look, the calendar tells us that we're going to probably get decision at some point relatively soon. these things take time. campaigns take time to build up. the vice president and i think his team are very aware of that, but you make these decisions in your own time, and i think everyone agrees that he has earned the right to make this decision in his own time. i think everyone should sit back and wait. >> i've heard, ryan, he's probably the only person that could enter the race this late, and even now it's late. >> i think that's right. look, he's a sitting vice president, and sitting vice presidents on the democratic side especially usually are able to capture their party's
nomination. i think part of the reason he's going through the motion, at the very least going through the motions here, is that he feels a little pinched that hillary clinton has stolen the establishment democratic support that if you serve two terms as vice president usually goes to you if you want it. and, look, i'm not going to pretend to know what joe biden's thinking here, or what it portends that he's having this family meeting that has been leaked out, but i do not see a clambering in the democratic party for this guy to get into the race. you know, maybe i'm missing it but i don't see a draft movement. i don't see democratic elected officials arocross the country demanding that he get in, and i don't see the signs of success that you would typically see for someone jumping into a race like this. so i am still going to be very
surprised if he does it. >> yeah, the passion is just not there, you don't believe. i want you -- >> i don't see it. do you? do you see any senators -- >> i saw it -- >> party chairmen? >> i saw it a little bit earlier before when everyone, when people were concerned about hillary clinton's poll numbers. now that it appears to have stabilized i don't hear many people talking -- >> democrats don't care about the benghazi committee and e-mail thing. he can't run a campaign against her on those issues. >> go ahead. >> 25,000 people were at bernie sanders' rally this week. 25,000 reasons why joe biden needs to get into this race. he was on "stephen colbert." we had this debate. the politico articles. even if the establishment which i do think that they are, pushing for him to get in the race -- >> who is? >> -- to save the democrats, i think this is definitely hollywood for sure is going goodness gracious, we might have to be going up against trump, hillary is not going to do a good job against him. their only saving grace right now is joe biden. >> name a single elected official in the democratic party that's clambering for joe biden
to get in the race? >> that probably helps him. if he haven't learned anything in this election season, this is an anti-establishment so the fact -- >> he's a sitting vice president. >> politicians aren't -- >> scottie, you say that -- >> so your case is he should resign then run? >> in a matchup, she dud beoes donald trump. by a small amount. >> what polls? you can sit there and look at a different poll. new hampshire, almost everybody beats him. i think the issue is how much -- >> how does an anti-incumbent move help joe biden? >> the same reason bernie sanders is the anti-establishment candidate. >> at least sanders is a socialist and independent, he's not even a democrat. he's got some outside er cred. >> he's running as a democrat. >> mo, to ryan's point, is there anyone in the democratic party, do you see people clambering at all for joe biden to get into this race? >> look, i think -- yeah -- >> stephen colbert. >> i like that the dnc -- i worked for hillary clinton last
time. >> mo's being very -- >> i love joe biden. i love joe biden. joe biden tugs at my heart strings. he makes me smile. he's uncle joe. now, is that enough for people to then abandon, you know, the two candidates who sort of surfaced to the top now? i don't know. here's what i do know is if you look at democratic primaries over the past generation or two, they feel very much like this. where you've got a front-runner and got somewhat of an anti-establishment strain within the party. bill bradley versus al gore in 2000. howard dean in 2004 versus john kerry. more often than not, that doesn't take hold at the end of the day. you have a little bit of lift like joe bradley overtook al ge gore in september of 1999. >> you're going way back, aren't you? yesteryear. >> my point is there is a pattern here. >> yeah. >> and it feels very much like that.
i don't know whether or not there's room for joe biden in this race, but -- >> let's talk about the republicans now. let's leave that alone. we'll see. we'll talk more about that. there will be discussions all over the network. let's talk about donald trump now. getting a lot of questions about when he's going to drop out of the race. here's what he told my colleague, chris cuomo, today. >> i'm not going anywhere, chris. i'm leading every poll. i'm leading every state. i'm not going anywhere. okay? >> good to here. >> i'll answer a little bit differently. i fwagave a very honest answer. i said, look, if i have no chance and i collapse and they take that as, oh, maybe there's weakness in trump in terms of the answer. there's no weakness. i'm not going anywhere. i'm leading every poll. ais i'm going to win and make our country great again. i'm not getting out. i'm going to win. okay? >> i have heard him, scottie, answer this question on a number of digit netwo of different networks. he's at the top of the polls. why is this question popping up? >> if jeb bush had as much of a lead as donald trump does, this
would not be an issue. here's the thing. his answer saying if he would ever get out, it wasn't about himself. he was remarking on guys that have 2%, 3%, 4% in the polls. why are you in there? how pathetic are you to stay in the race? you're hurting the actual presidential race. i think he was sending a message to those guys saying have a reality check, stop sitting here taking little grannies' money and wasting them. you're never going to be president, stop hurting the political process. >> you sound like the "snl" sketch this weekend. i don't know if you guys saw it. >> loved is. >> ryan, think about it, he's only spent, what, about $2 million on his entire campaign. >> yeah. >> he thought he was going to have to spend upwards of $15 million on campaign ads over the summer, alone. he's got plenty of cash to stay in for the long haul. >> we'll see. i'm skeptical based on what he's reviewed and based on reporting from "bloomberg" and other magazines, i'm skeptical he
actually has the amount of money necessary -- >> the cash on hand. >> the cash on hand. the liquidity to self-fund all the way through the convention and general election. some people argue you need half a billion dollars. does he have half a billion dollars in cash to fund that? look, if he's the nominee, i'm sure he can figure out a way to raise money and there will be party support. likely not going to happen. he's not going to be the nominee. i do want to agree with scottie on one point, i do think the press is jumping all over him unfairly on this question of him dropping out. i mean, he was asked a question about what would happen if, you know, he basically failed and he said he would get out. it's driven the news cycle for a couple days to me in a sort of head-scratching way. i don't know why everyone keeps asking about that. he's at the top of the polls in the early states, so -- >> and mo, speaking of "snl" which i mentioned, we saw kate mckinnon's hillary clinton say she hopes trump gets the nomination just so she could take him down, i think she said mount his hair on the wall in
the oval office. do you think the real hillary clinton if she gets the nomination she'd want to run against donald trump? >> i think it is the teem of most democrats across the country. >> and journalists, not to mention journalists. >> and i think house candidates hope donald trump is at the top of the ticket. i think senate candidates hope donald trump is at the top of the ticket. >> why? >> look -- >> if we're being honest -- >> cleompletedy disagree. >> why do you disagree? >> i completely disagree. if trump is at the top of the ticket, you're going to have all those people that -- you know, the 30% right now going to be motivated to go to the polls, the majority of those are evangelic evangelicals, conservatives, faith based. those are all the people. all the john mccains better be scared right now, as he's up for re-election. every house seat better be scared especially if they're sitting here trying to debate mccarthy who's going to be the new speaker. these guys have to realize the impact. it's not just the white house. if trump gets in, it will be the
trickle-down effect of conservatives down to the janitor of the house. >> yesterday we were discussing, we were discussing donald trump sending marco rubio the water. i don't know if you remember that. hillary clinton sent gop candidates a copy of her book "hard choices" so they could read up on her accomplishments. do you think this is a play autoof taut out of the trump playbook? >> is that actually a book? >> no, i don't think it's a play out of the trump playbook. look, you know, trump was cute in sending the water to marco rubio. it's a nice little very trump-esque jab. i don't know that it accomplishes anything other than get him a headline. but, you know, hillary sending this book i think it does send a -- you know, it reinforces the accomplishments message that she's out there pushing that she was a very consequential secretary of state and it actually gets the message out there -- >> what did she accomplish? >> these little ploys and these little tactics.
you're actually furthering a message or you're not and i'm just not sure what donald trump was trying to do. >> scottie, i'm going to get you a copy of the book then figure out -- >> i have a copy. i hope to earn her amazon rating. that's why she sent them the pictures of the book, themselves. >> don't forget the democratic presidential debate is one week from tonight in las vegas. everyone is invited to watch. we hope you all tune in. it's going to be great. when we come right back, the man who shocked the political establishment when he won the minnesota governor's race back in 1998. jesse ventura still has surprises up his sleeve. there he is. he joins me live in living color and exclusive right after this break. here at the td ameritrade trader group, they work all the time. sup jj? working hard? working 24/7 on mobile trader, rated #1 trading app in the app store. it lets you trade stocks, options, futures... even advanced orders. and it offers more charts than a lot of the other competitors do in desktop. you work so late. i guess you don't see your family very much? i see them all the time.
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donald trump insisting to cnn he's not dropping out of the gop race and he is in it to win it. of course he is. he still leads in the polls, but his support is slipping a bit. joining me now, in an exclusive interview, the man who surprised a lot of political observers when he won the michigan governor's race. in 1998. jesse ventura, host of "off the grid" and author of "the new york times" bestseller, "american conspiracies." welcome back. it's always a pretty boring conversation when we talk to you. that's sarcasm. how are you doing? >> well, don, did you say michigan or minnesota? >> i think i meant to say minnesota. i may have said michigan in there. if i did, i apologize. >> yeah, you better mean minnesota. >> sorry about that. so, listen, welcome back.
you were governor of minnesota. >> thank you. >> from 1999 -- >> there you go. now you got it right. >> i got it right. you know a thing or two about being a political outsider. you were the ultimate political outsider. what do you think people are seeing in donald trump, ben carson, even bernie sanders? voters looking for something different. >> that's what you're seeing. people no long eer trust the career politicians, no longer trust the status quo because they've screwed it up so bad. i loved listening to you talk to those other talking heads about donald trump could be the destruction of the whole republican party? i throw my hands up in the air and cheer. i hope it happens. and i hope bernie sanders is the destruction of the democratic party. because i wrote the book "den--s time to break up the two-party dictatorship. >> you're an independent. and so you don't identify with republican or democrat party.
>> completely. >> why do you want them to be the skunk at the garden party? >> because we deserve more than two choices. i'm fiscally conservative but i'm socially liberal, so how do i fit into their choices? we need more than two voices out there. you know, the last national election 64% of the people didn't even show up. that's nearly 2/3. that should tell withdrew somethi you something. it tells you the people are dissatisfied with two-party system and it's time for america to change. >> let's talk more about the issues because you told me last time we spoke that you thought trump's immigration policy, you said it's ridiculous. you're a navy veteran. >> it is. >> do you think he could make a good commander in chief, though? >> i don't know, but i'll tell you what, how come we're so adverse to getting out of the middle east? now everybody said we can't leave syria. that's a civil war going on in
syria. what the hell are we doing there? you know, we invaded iraq. iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. destabilized the whole area. now you got what's going on there now and we've spent $1.7 trillion down this sewer over there. don, what do we have to show for it? >> you know, you kind of -- i think you and donald trump probably agree because he says let russia take care of syria and let syria fight it out. you believe that's what should happen? >> well, the point, why are we there? what's our dog in the fight here? why is the u.s. involved in this? >> we want the middle east to be stabilized. we want to help people, some of the -- >> we destabilize -- how can we want -- wait a minute. how can we want it stable when we caused it all with our invasion of iraq? there wouldn't even be isis today had we not gone into iraq under false pretenses, under
lies. iraq wasn't involved in 9/11. you know, i took a lot of grief because i questioned 9/11. the reason i did is when we decided to go into iraq, i said iraq had nothing to do with it. well, i've been vindicated. my aren't you people talking about the 28 redacted pages of the 9/11 report that have saudi involvement paying the hijackers of 9/11 which changes the whole scenario, doesn't it? >> we're going to get into conspiracy theories because you have a new book and that's what it's about. i want to continue on with this. you think that the -- >> this ain't a conspiracy theory. these are the redacted pages of the 9/11 report that i am not allowed to see, you're not allowed to see. but i've spoken to senator graham and congressman ok. they're on the intelligence committee. they've read them. they've assured me there's nothing in them that deals with national security. it's strictly the monetary ties to the upper echelon of the
saudi arabian government on the day of 9/11. >> so do you consider yourself, because, you know, there's a group of people who are 9/11 truthers. do you consider yourself a 9/11 truther? >> no, because i don't belong to any organization. i do my own independent. when i go to mexico off the grid, i don't watch tv. i read books and i educate myself and i get up, i love reading history, i love reading alternative history. not the stuff we get in our schools but many other books like "war is a racket" by major general butler, two time congressional medal of honor winner. that's the type of reading i like to do and i believe you need to be a vigilant citizen, hold your country's feet to the fire, and don't just go along to get along. >> okay. so we're going to take a break. you also told me last time that you would like to be donald trump's vice president. i wonder if you still do feel that way. don't answer. we'll talk about that after the break. other things, your book, and conspiracy theories beyond 9/11
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back now with former minnesota governor, jesse venn chavenn ventu ventura. "american spears", second edition. everyone, get the second edition. you told me you'd like to be donald trump's vice president. do you still feel that way? >> no, i never said i wanted to be or anything like that. i was doing that when i was talking to roger stone, one of his operatives on my internet show and i laughingly said, can you imagine how the republicans what they do if trump were to pick me, the ultimate independent, to be his v.p.? and roger and i had a laugh over it and, of course, it went ballistic. >> you know you can't just say things like that. >> beamed across the world. why not? >> come on, because people pick it up. >> the point -- the point -- well because you guys deserve to be made fun of. you're nothing but entertainment mostly, anyway. >> oh, thank you very much. >> beyond that -- >> no, you talked about it here, too. you talked about it on this program. i did ask you about it and you,
you know -- >> i -- let me be serious -- don, let me say this. i've known donald trump now for 25 years. i respect him. and if he were to ask me, i would give him the due respect to consider it out of my respect for him. do we differ on issues? certainly we do. but we feel the same on other issues. you're never going to get along with somebody 100%. you learn that in the world of politics. any time you make a decision, somebody's not going to like it. >> yeah, well that's an adult who's been in politics. a lot of people don't know that. especially the newbies. what about bernie sanders? you said you like that bernie sanders is shakes up the democratic party. would you consider being on bernie sanders' ticket? >> i love what bernie sanders is standing for because one of the big problems in our country is the division, the money disparity between rich and poor. it's gotten totally out of hand. and the rich can't be rich without the poor people.
trust me. and bernie sanders' message is to lower that gap which should be lowered. you know, they talk about a minimum wage. i came out on my show and talked about a maximum wage. why should anybody be able to make over $100 million a year? you can't live off $100 million a year? >> okay. so, listen, i want to ask you, can i ask you -- >> think about it. >> we live in a free market -- we live in a society, though, where this is a free society. shouldn't you be able to make as much -- if you invent something, jesse, if you invented the iphone, say, like something that is innovative -- >> yes, you should. >> -- and changes the world, shouldn't you be able to make as much money as possible off of it? >> sure, sure you should. but let's look at walmart for a moment. you got the walton family that makes billions of dollars every year each and every one of them, yet the government has to subsidize their employees. so technically they're making money off the government because
we're paying the freight when if, what, if they don't make an extra billion they're going to not get their wheaties this week? come on. >> yeah. people should -- >> you know, if somebody's making -- if someone's making $500 million a year, you think they can't survive on $400 million? >> yeah. the employees should make a living wage. enough to be able to pay their bills and to live. i agree with you on that. let's talk -- >> you should make -- anybody that works a 40-hour workweek, i don't care what you do, if you work a 40-hour workweek, you should make enough money to where you don't have to be subsidized by the government. >> yeah. let's talk about your book, it's a second edition of your bestselling book called "american conspiracies." >> sure. >> why are you so interested in conspiracy theories? >> well, because they're interesting. they're better than fiction. because it's real people. people i generally deal with in my lifetime. so i can put names to faces and it's no author's imagination. and with our government, and
national security, man, you get about one a year to where they're lying about something. and covering it up on the basis of national security. like the new one in this book that really grinds at me is the p.o.w., m.i.a. issue. as a military person, i served, myself, you're led to believe if you're captured the u.s. will do anything to get you home. not true. if you become a political liability, kiss your ass good-bye. they ain't coming for you. and we show that in the book. >> you believe that there is more to corporate and political decisions than the government wants us to know. why would the government want to keep so many secrets? >> why do they want to keep secrets? ask them. i mean, we pay for them. they should keep no secrets from us. they operate on my taxes. i have every right to know what they're doing with my money. don't i? >> of course. >>, li so, listen, you talk abo
some of your conspiracies -- of course you do. if i answered all your questions, we'd be here for ten hours. you talk about stolen elections in your book a lot. said the 2000 election, 2004, and almost 2008. explain that. >> well, the election won't be stolen by voter fraud. it will be stolen with these computer machines that count the ballots now. because you can hack into them like you can any computer, and that's where elections will be stolen. we need some things don't improve with age. we need to stick with paper ballots where you fill in the blank with a pencil. i mean, after all, you've been doing that since first grade. if you're not capable of doing that, you probably shouldn't be voting, should you? >> okay. >> but the point is, voting -- let me put it to you this way, don. would you go to an atm that didn't offer you a receipt? >> i don't think so, no, i wouldn't. >> well, a voting machine doesn't offer you a receipt. you have no way of knowing
whether you push that button for your candidate if it was recorded to your candidate or not. you have no way of knowing that. you have to trust the machine. >> and if you write it with a pencil or with ink, you know that's where it's going because that's what you marked. so -- >> well, that's what you marked and you know it can be recounted. when they pull out -- they won't just give you a tab like off an adding machine and tell you 5,000 votes for this guy and 4,000 for that. you will count them one at a time. we've had close elections in minnesota in the last decade, but we were able to solve them because we still vote with paper ballots that need to be counted one at a time. >> i have to go. you have a lot of answers but have a lot of questions as well. unfortunately, i can't answer all of them. again, we'd be here all day. i love having conversations with you. your book is called "american conspiracies." thank you very much. i'll see you here soon, okay? >> thank you, don. always a pleasure to talk with you and someday we'll do the ten
hours. >> thank you very much. coming up, new details on the oregon gunman who killed nine in the umpqua community college campus, on that campus. that's next. active management can tap global insights. active management can seek to outperform. that's the power of active management. when you're not confident your company's data is secure, the possibility of a breach can quickly become the only thing you think about. that's where at&t can help. at at&t we monitor our network traffic so we can see things others can't. mitigating risks across your business. leaving you free to focus on what matters most.
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new details on the oregon college gunman including a passion for guns that may have run in the family. cnn's sara sidner has more. >> reporter: hours after the umpqua community college massacre the mother of the 26-year-old gunman shown here talking to police broke down. >> she was bawling, and she looked really upset, and, i mean, i can't blame her. i mean, this is insane. >> reporter: now there are new details about what she knew about her son's mental health and access to guns before he went on a rampage killing eight students and a teacher. a series of online posts linked to his mother, laurel harper, reveals he had a developed mental disorder on the autism spectrum and there were plenty of guns of all types in the house. in a post from at least three years ago, harper boasted about her arsenal of weapons on a yahoo! answers discussion thread about state gun laws saying, "i keep two full mags in my glock
case and the ars and aks all have loaded mags. no one will be dropping by my house uninvited without acknowledgement." police say they found eight guns at the home she shared with her son and six at the crime scene. she made clear her son was familiar with gun laws, in an answers.com posting, someone asked a hypothetical question, who police would charge if people shot simultaneously at one person, she posted in part at the very least they would be charged with accessory to murder, at the worst they'd be charged with felony murder, citing, "my son who has much knowledge in this field." she and her son shared more than a knowledge of guns and gun laws. they also showed a developmental disorder, asberger's according to posts linked to the e-mail. my son has asperger's, he's no babbling idiot. he is intelligent and is working on a career in film making. my 18 years of experience and
knowledge about asperger's syndrome is paying off. i'm a nurse." another post, "i have asperger's and i didn't do too bad. it can be done." bears similarities to adam lanza, sandy hook shooter, who killed 27 people before taking his life. both lived with their mother, had an interest in guns and were believed to have asperger's. cnn's multiple attempts to have reach laurel harper have been unsuccessful but the shooter's father told cnn he was surprised his son had access to guns. >> i had no idea he had any guns whatsoever and i'm a believer that don't buy guns, don't buy guns. you don't buy guns. >> sara sidner is in oregon for us tonight. sara, thank you very much for that. harper shared her son's interest in guns but how much responsibility, if any, lies with the parents in a situation
like this? let's discuss with wendy walsh, cnn human behavior expert, and an adjunct professor at cal state university. and also liza long is a mental health advocate who wrote "i am adam lanza's mother." good evening. this is such a horrible, horrible sensitive story. i appreciate both of you joining us. wendy, if she knew her son was troubled, should laurel harper had so many guns in the house in his presence? >> well, of course not. this we know, and hindsight is 20/20. but how much did she know how troubled he was if she, herself, has asperge r's? i'm also the parent of an asperger's child. we have to say it over and over again there's no direct correlation between asperger's and violence. silicon valley is searching hard for asperger's employees because they're such hard workers in tech community. guns probably not a bad idea if mom's got the obsession, too. >> should the mom be held responsible, then, in some way
for this? >> no. you know, we do the best we can, but it's an interconnected village of many pieces that help us raise our children including the media, the gun laws. there are many, many people involved in the life of every american as they're being raised. to say that one parent should be entirely responsible for the entire adult actions of their child is really unfair. >> liza, we'll get your side and talk to dr. wendy after this break as well. coming up, should parents be held responsible for the violent acts of their children and what can they do to get help? we'll be right back.
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there's only one invokana®. ask your doctor about it by name. father of the oregon shooter asks how his son got so many guns. killer's mother reportedly shared her son's passion for guns but who's responsible for the deadly violence on that college campus? back with me now is wendy walsh and liza long. liza, i'll get to you now. the similarities to the newtown shooter striking. adam lanza killed his mother but the oregon shooter's mother, laurel harper, is still alive. is she to blame for what happened? >> oh, absolutely not. and when dendy said it so eloqu, we have to stress that mental illness is not really correlated
with violence in most cases and people with mental illness are more likely to be the victims rather than perpetrators of violence. this mother shared a hobby that millions of americans share with their children. there's no way she could have predicted that her son's psychological problems and psychiatric problems would have led to this horrific tragedy that has affected so many. >> so we know that there's no correlation between violence and asperger's. understand that. and mental illness in many cases. but if someone does have issues in the home, if your child has an issue, is it a smart thing to have weapons around that child? i'm not saying she's to blame for it but i'm questioning her judgment as a mother. >> right. well, i mean, tauls eait's alwa to question the judgment of a mother in hind sight, right? if we long at the total picture, i'm speaking of a mother of a child who has a serious mental illness and has had violent behavioral outbursts. i will say for myself, no, i would not have guns in my home because my son has bipolar
disorder and the risk of suicide is just too great. but i think as we talk about guns we have to look at the risk for any family not just when there's mental illness in the home. again, we can't know that this mother could have seen signs just like with adam lanza that her son would be violent or had those tendencies. we just don't know that she saw that. is it smart for any parent to have a gun in the home? that's a question very up more for debate in our country right now. >> did you remove all weapons from your home? >> i never had weapons. i will say, i live in a gun culture state in idaho. i have hunted in my life. i've enjoyed it. because my son's issues were appare apparent to me from an early age that was nothing hafs going to be in my home. >> you removed sharp objects in your home as well? >> absolutely. yes. yes. absolutely. >> don? >> twogo ahead, wendy. >> don, can i remind you perfectly neurotypical children have violent outbursts. it happens sometimes under
stress especially with hormones and teenagers. also i want to remind people asperger's is not a mental illness. it's a developmental disability. invisible disability where a child or young adult is not neurotypical but they're fascinating because of that. >> explain to -- go ahead, liza. >> i'm sorry, don, i do want to take just a little issue with that, wendy. as a mom whose son was at one time diagnosed on the autism spectrum, i do believe that our labels are sometimes somewhat artificial and that in this case the young man based on my reading did, in fact, have some psychological problems. he had been on medication. had been on psychiatric care. >> i think -- >> i think he had a developmental disability. it's honestly painful for moms like me because my mom has bipolar disorder, a neurobiological brain disorder. to say asperger's is somehow different, we're having this
discussion about children who all have problems who have not neurotypical. we should be on the same side on this. >> i'm totally on your side. i think this young man in the shooting had many diagnoses. >> right. >> the label of asperger's is a piece on the spectrum although it's been removed as being part of the autism spectrum. i think that it's very complicated and there can be many layers of diagnoses. but i do want people to understand that just being labeled asperger's doesn't mean you're prone to violence. >> absolutely. >> liza, after this happened when the sheriff came out and said he wasn't going to name the shooter? that upset you. why is that? >> it did. and i know that many of your viewers might have difficulty understanding, so i'm speaking, again, as a mother of a son who has a mental illness, and for me, i thought that that type of behavior, not recognizing that chris mercer also was a victim, his mother, laurel, is also grieving, not only the loss of
her own child, but also having to comprehend the huge magnitude of this tragedy that her child brought about. i mean, it's almost like stigmatizing people with mental illness. saying, oathering them saying we're not going to say their nails, not going to include them as victims. for me as a mother, i see these tragedies through a different lens. in fact, i will say it's frustrating for me that it seems like the only time we talk about mental illness is in the context of these very rare mass shootings that only account for maybe 1% to 3% of the gun violence depths in the united states all year when 61% of gun violence deaths are suicides. and that to me is a huge tragedy in the context of this tragedy we should also be talking about. >> wendy, it is hard to get help, you know, if you have -- go ahead. when you have a child who has a developmental issue or any sort of issue. >> it's often hard to even get the testing and get the diagnosis and parents struggle so much to reach out because
basically the laws don't match the budget in most states. secondly, once a child has been diagnosed to even be able to access the services needed, i mean, i spent two years fighting with the school board trying to get the services that my child needed. so i can imagine parents who are dual working, english as a second language, struggling to get the services they need. besides educational services, mental health services, don, are so hard to get. there's so much stigma associated with them. there's very little budget. when the mental hospitals system was closed in the 1980s, the thinking then was that we would take it to the communities. but the budget didn't funnel to the communities. the community health services are not there for communities to reach out to. >> wendy, liza, thank you very much. i appreciate both of you joining us. learned a lot. thank you. >> thank you. >> we'll be right back.
that's it for us tonight. i'm don lemon. i'll see you back here tomorrow night. "a.c. 360" starts right now. good evening. thanks for joining us. we have breaking news tonight from one end of the country to another. water still rising and more dams failing in the carolinas. and new developments in roseburg, goregon. we begin with that. late word from police there. they're playing close attention to whether the gunman's mother, avid gun collector, herself, bears responsibility for the shooting rampage that took nine lives at umpqua community college. they tell us they're aware of the mother's social media postings and electronic window perhaps into her thinking about firearms, crime, her son, and possibly his state of mind. additionally, we'll get the thoughts on all this from frankly remarkable woman who survived the shooting outside roanoke, virginia, just a few weeks ago. that shooting, of course, caught on live television.