tv Washington Journal CSPAN January 13, 2011 7:00am-10:00am EST
crime." and the director of the national alliance on mental illness. and a report on the gulf oil spill with an ap reporter. this is "washington journal." >> to be better in our private lives, better friends, neighbors, co-workers, parents. and if, as has been discussed in recent days, their death helped usher in more stability in our public discourse, let us remember, it is not because a simple act of stability caused this tragedy -- it did not. but rather, only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to the
challenges of our nation in a way that would make them proud. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] host: this morning on "washington journal" we want to get your reaction to president obama's call last night in tucson for more civility in public discourse. 202 is the area code for all of our numbers -- you can always send us a tweet or an e-mail. please allow 30 days between your calls, tweets and e-mails. flags are still have staff on top of the capital. also attended last night at the university of arizona, attorney general eric holder was there,
along with current governor of arizona jan brewer, former governor of gen napolitano, now head of dhs -- janet napolitano. quickly, the headlines. "the arizona daily star" -- a quote from president obama. here is "the arizona republic." here is "the denver post." "the washington post" -- "usa today" this morning -- and "the new york times" --
again, writing in "the new york times" this morning. i want to get your reaction to president obama's speech, specifically his call for more civility in public discourse. rhonda, a democrat. wilmington, north carolina. caller: how are you? host: go ahead, we are listening. caller: i am deeply saddened about what happened in tucson. i just wanted to say that the discourse is horrible right now between the democrats, republicans, and independents. and if people don't come together and start changing some of the tone and the rhetoric they are using in order to incite violence among people, it is just going to get worse. we have to come together as a country to resolve these issues without being violence. host: how would you suggest that happening? caller: they need to sit down like civil people, normal people
in every neighborhood in america and discuss the issues without saying things like reload and putting the scope of a gun on a map where people -- there are crazy people out there. that is my problem with it. host: steve is a republican in pennsylvania. caller: good morning. yes, we obviously need more civil discourse, and i think our politicians will probably try to do that. and i think what the problem will be is the media will continue will do their chart a course -- they will continue to try to build by sarah palin regardless of what she does. -- tried to vilify sarah palin. she was criticized -- criticized for not speaking out, then when she did after continual harassment by the media, she spoke herpes and she is vilified for that.
-- she spoke her piece. i do not agree with everything she says but certainly not everything the media says. they are certainly complicity. whether it be the people on the left who continually blame people -- things on people on the right and vice versa. but the president made a great speech last night. i think of the two years he has been in office it is the first time, in my opinion, that he actually looked presidential. he did a fantastic job. host: thank you for calling in this morning. this from "politico." john boehner turned down air force one ride to tucson.
bob, utica, new york. what do you think? caller: i think it has gotten out of hand. i thought it was a very good speech that he gave. but i don't think it has very much at all to do with what happened to this individual. not to say that we shouldn't take this opportunity to tone things down. but i happen to speak from personal experience -- as far as this person, from what i can
conclude, from what i have seen, he is totally mentally ill and delusional by the time he did this. host: florida,, on the republican line. caller: i think the president's speech was excellent and it was a kind of a call to both politicians on both sides that we as a nation have to come together. it is easy for the democrats to say that now that the republicans are in power. but politicians -- and there are a lot of very, very good man who have dedicated their lives to politics -- if they would just consider the best for the nation and not the best for the individuals to get reelected, our country would go places. i am just very excited about politics in general right now.
we are on the verge of a great prosperity and everything else in this country. i i'm very excited about what is going on in the country. host: sorry, i thought you had finished. suzanne in michigan. democrat. caller: yes. i really appreciate president obama and the way that his leadership shone last night. i also appreciate the discourse hear about stability -- here c civility and the with the public discourse has gone so awry. i just want to encourage everyone, if you have never read "democracy in america" by the total -- tookville -- the
d'toqueville. when you read this it gives you such a better sense of our community and the americans. and our goodness, our sense of volunteerism, our sense of pulling together. and civility is so important from our constitutional perspective, to flourish. if we do not be civil and our political discourse -- in our political discourse and our political ambitions, we are going to lose it. host: here is just a little bit more from president obama in tucson. >> the process of reflection, making sure we align our values
with our actions, that i believe is what a tragedy like this requires. for those who were harmed, those who were killed, they are part of our family. american family. 300 million strong. [applause] we may not have known them personally, but surely we see ourselves in them. george, dot -- we'd cents the abiding love we have for our own husbands -- we sense the abiding love we have for on husbands and wives. phyllis, she is our mom or granma. -- grandma.
judge roll, we recognize not only a man who prized his family and doing his job well, but also a man who it embodies america's fidelity to the law. in gabby, we see a reflection of our public spirit nest -- spiritedness, the desire to participate in the sometimes frustrating and sometimes contentious but always necessary and never ending process to form a more perfect union. host: back to your calls on more civility in public discourse. new york city. rose, independent line. caller: good morning, peter. as many times as i attempted to get through to c-span, i could
not have chosen a better time than this morning. my thoughts, my dreams, my sleep, was so roiled last night by the president's speech and by his a demonstration of the type of leadership this country needs. it is so simple, that he could it encapsulate it and the dreams and actions and ambitions of the child christina. this is not rocket science. these are basic values -- honor, respect, civility.
a democrat. caller: good morning. you asked how can we make this change, and i agree but a lot of the callers before me. it is common sense, it does not take a rocket science. i believe, not only with us, we have to show more stability -- civility and caring. but in congress, because if we see people disrespecting the president, saying you live -- you lie, and the name of the bill, the job killing health care bill. those things have to change. if they change how they sit -- republicans on one side and
democrats on the other. maybe they can not be such a -- voting in lockstep. i am just praying we do take this opportunity for the young girl, all of the children here in the united states, that what they read in the history books and everything about government, but then when they turn on the tv they see something else. host: we will leave it there. phil in kansas. republican. caller: good morning, peter. how are you today? i think like everybody, we really know what we should be doing. i think back to 9/11, when the president talk about the little girl being born on 9/11. i remember how i felt and my wife felt. we were on a train in arizona to the grand canyon, and we sat on the train with people from new
jersey -- i live in new jersey for a while. having lived there i thought, boy, new jerseyans can be irritating. that they did -- they did not seem irritating. they were my countrymen. look how long it lasted. it didn't last long at all. the key is that we each have to take responsibility. the problem that we have now is the most of us to see the other guy as the culprit. he is the guy who is the fire eater, the firebrand, he is the guy being uncivil, it is not me. but if we slice it down we find there is enough to go round. the only way to solve this problem is to take the high road. my wife and i talked about this last night. she said the way to take the high road is, i am sure on both sides there are people who are being wronged -- like sarah
palin yesterday, perhaps maybe what she should have done instead of setting up the defense, apologize, and in doing that i think the rest of us could see that that was the right thing to do. by comparison, the people who were of the accusers, who look small and petty by comparison, we bypass those people. we each got to take responsibility and we have to take the high road, otherwise we will be back in the same place we were within a couple of years of 9/11. host: farno tweets in -- phil mentions sarah palin. this is jonathan martin's column in politico. glendale, arizona. gary on the independent line.
what did you think of the president's speech last night? caller: i thought it was absolutely marvelous. i thought it was a fantastic speech. he is a fantastic speaker. i am a lifelong resident of arizona. this issue, this tragic event that occurred in tucson, we all have a tendency to try to place the blame. we want to place the blame somewhere. someone is responsible. and we are trying to politicize it. it is not a political issue. sarah palin's comments have nothing to do with it -- with this. we have to realize this is an event that occurred and the individual involved is tremendously mentally disturbed individual. anything could have triggered him. a week -- we are trying to place the blame, saying it was triggered by this event for that event. during -- when president kennedy
was assassinated, i was absolutely outraged over that event. this hits home because this is my state, my home, but i don't feel outraged, i feel just sorrel. -- sorrow. and i don't feel outraged at the individual who committed this atrocity. it was a result of a mental illness. if anyone is to blame, it is of the way we perceive or treat mental illness in this country. host: we will talk to the head of the national association of mental illness and little later about the mental illness health coverage and the laws. here is "the new york times" editorial this morning.
federal way, washington. sure when, democrat. -- sherwin. caller: my condolences to those who lost loved ones in tucson, arizona, and i, and president obama on a magnificent speech -- commend president obama. i believe we are at a crossroads in america o. this is the time, as the said in a poem often referred to, but we have to take the road less traveled. we have to be inspired by what president obama has called us to do as united states citizens.
so, i just say, god bless america. host: jonesville, virginia. floyd, republican line. caller: what do you think about the president's speech last night and his call for more civility. caller: i think we should all get along. but the one thing i think we shouldn't do is try to change the constitution to do away with free speech, because if we do that we are hurting. the guy who did the killing or hit the abortion doctor in new jersey -- if there is a nice tree behind you, take them and hang them for the world to see. it seems like the democrats don't want to think about that -- there have been a whole lot
of kids that will not step in mud puddles that have been killed in the womb. i think that is wrong. one thing that we need to change in america and get back to god. luke chapter one about abortion and think about it. host: a tweet -- "the new york times" this morning. more arizonans seeking to buy guns.
tennessee. tommy on the democrats' line. caller: thank you, c-span, for airtime and comcast, for your contribution. i would like to get to the point about civility first and then to obama's speech. the basic way we are going to be civil in this country is we are going to have to speak truthful to one another. to lie and to incite people to violence is not the way of doing it. to lie to one another in a debate and debased one another is not the way to do it. -- debase one another is not the way to do it. the number one lie, i think politifact said it, sarah
palin's death panel. where people are pushing people are around. it is un-american. look to our constitution. we cannot become a more perfect union if we are using civil disobedience and violence towards one another. host: calling from jamaica is cynthia. caller: how are you doing? host: did you see the president's speech last night? caller: yes. i watched a little bit. i had to work late into the night. i did watch a little bit. you know, the president said -- i like what the president said, but i would also like to hear -- when my race talk about
white people. the chip on their shoulders is so blatant. and when they talk about what the republican does, the o'reilly factor says, i know they know it is not true. the spin that they put on it to suit their purposes, it hurts us very much because our country is in a dilemma. we have problems. our political system has never worked. people like me look to america for how they work. most of all, when i hear my countrymen and women -- they take our political situation and involved in the american situation. -- involve it in the
american situation. i think we need to be civil to the white race. host: members of congress spoke on the floor wednesday and attributed to gabrielle giffords. you can see it. and if you go to c-span.org, you will certainly be able to watch the entire day's proceedings in the house of representatives. the next call comes from california. lillian on our independent line. the president calls for more civility in public discourse. caller: i would like to thank you for the opportunity to comment and my sincere condolences to the victims in arizona and their families. i very much appreciated president obama's efforts last night in a speech not to blame others for what happened in arizona. i think that was a key element of his speech. i am appalled that speaker boehner chose not to take a ride
on air force one and contributed to national healing and instead chose fundraising. i think that was very disappointing. i was very disappointed with sarah palin's video that she released, it was so self- centered and focused on her as opposed to what happened in arizona, particulate the victims -- particularly the victims and families. i am curious to win in america did we lose respect for other people's opinions and when did we lose respect for people with experience in a particular area? whether it is keep older men or glenn beck -- keith olbermann, people can say anything and it is treated as true. a lie is around the block three times before troupe has stood up from the table. maybe the media is responsible for it. maybe it is the public for not
demanding accuracy. those lies are allowed to stand. whether it is death panels or whatever, it has consequences, just as gabby giffords said, there are consequences to the words and they live out there whether it is on the internet or in the press, they live out there. they have momentum and a cause things to happen. host: thanks for calling in this morning. on our question, president obama's comments last night about more civility in public discourse. conn. shelley is a republican. caller: thank you. i did not see his speech. i just heard about it. i think it is interesting -- an interesting take. this started with a crazy guy who became obsessed by a woman who is a public figure and it ended up shooting her.
this has happened around this country to actresses and news anchors in various places. it had nothing to do with politics. and yet, before even this woman got to the hospital, the democrats were pointing fingers blaming the glenn beck, blaming sarah palin. three days of attacks blaming them for this guy's actions, which had absolutely nothing to do with politics. and then the president comes, and after his forces have been attacking people for three days over something they had absolutely nothing to do with, he talked about, we must be more civil. it is just a continuation of the attack. he is still blaming the other side. excuse me. host: all right.
let me show you this chart -- bush versus obama appropriations -- if it were to wall back to 2008, it would be this cost. 26% reduction in epa, irs enforcement would see 13% reduction, federal transit administration, 21%, energy efficiency and renewable energy would go down 23%, nurse training down 36%, as ec's budget 18%, indian health service, 26%, wildlife refugees, 12% less, small business administration, 43% less, 29% less four state
department, cftc, commodities futures trading commission, would have a budget reduction of 34%, national -- science reduct -- science foundation, 12%. host: democrat, you are on the air. what did you think? caller: it was very touching and i don't agree with what he said last night. what should be going on in the capital, they should work together and stop looking for power. a power struggle with them all and they are not looking for what is the best interest for americans. we should come together and work as one. host: rick is an independent from phoenix. caller: thank you for letting me talk on the air. first of all, my condolence to gabby giffords and all of the victims.
i am an arizona native. my first take on it is, while the shooting was a very bad, i actually support all of the gun laws in arizona because we actually have less overall violence in arizona because nobody knows who is carrying a gun. if somebody was carrying a gun, there would have not been 20 people shot that day. that shooter would have been shot early on himself. we uphold laws in arizona. we are a very civil and courteous people. it frustrates me that everybody says, no, you can't have a gun. it is a deterrent to violence because you do not know what is
going to happen. on obama -- i am sorry, but he is a joke. he is very political. i am an independent. i am a registered republican but i am independent. i vote democrat -- i did not vote for mccain, either. so, i am neutral on the political fence and i think we should all work together. but what i see going on on the political spectrum is ridiculous. host: that is rich in phoenix. -- rick in phoenix. harold from ohio. caller: of the president is supposed to be the commander in chief. i would hope that when the state of the union message comes, not only does he tellin to mix it up but i would bring in a well- known preacher and have them
hold hands as they say the prayer and then i would bring in some of the classmates of the little girl and have them as saying that god bless america and have all the congressmen and senators hold their hands tied so everybody can see and saying "god bless america." i have nine grandchildren. i do not know if i will be able to look them in their eyes in 20 years and say this is the country that was given to you. we've got to work together. host: sheila, philadelphia. democrat. caller: i just wanted to bend a little bit myself -- vent. i'm really sorry for that shooter -- god knows, he needed help. in our society we do not have the means to get the mentally ill health. i am sorry for the parents and relatives of all of the victims. that little girl's parents, my heart goes out to them. i can't believe what has
happened. but the responsibility -- the bible says our tongues are like a double edged sword and the rhetoric that has come from the right has been to instill violence, to institute violence. i am sorry, you are accountable for what you say. host: from the "politico" this morning. a vice-president joe biden makes his seventh trip to iraq since taking office -- that is from "politico." from "the washington post" -- house republicans heading to baltimore on a retreat for unity.
las vegas on independent line. president obama's speech, what did you think? caller: i thought it was a brilliant speech. i enjoyed it very much. i thought the energy was wonderful. i thought he took his time and spoke eloquently and kept it neutral and didn't try to play any politics it. i thought he had a stunning amount of tolerance. can you hear me? host: we are listening, randall, please go ahead. caller: i have been listening to a couple of people. one person was saying that they didn't think he did a good job and that there was all of this blaming going on, and i would just like to say that some of
that blame has to do with some of the past incidences where they realize that people have admitted or families have written in for the perpetrators, saying he was led astray by glenn beck, etc., so the first thing you think is, my god, this person has been influenced and maybe so or maybe not. but i still think the rhetoric all the way around doesn't need to be addressed. another gentleman talking about abortion -- i would just like to say that republicans had the whilst -- the white house and senate for six years and did nothing about it and i just wonder if that was just because they want to keep it alive as an apolitical issue and wonder if anything will ever get done about it. host: the front page of "of financial times" -- forecast deepened fears for food crisis.
last call on president obama's speech last night in tucson, pennsylvania, delores is a republican. caller: i think the president's speech was very good. however, until we do something about the mental health and laws in the country and the gun laws, we will continue to have this problem. one other thing that i do not understand is why an establishment like wal-mart, a family store, would even sell ammunition to that extent. that boggles my mind. but i do think we have to do something about the gun laws. thank you for calling in. three more quick articles before we get to our roundtable of the gun laws and the united states. vicki kennedy ruled out running for massachusetts senate seat -- rules out running for
>> this weekend on "american history tv" historians discussed the importance of their work on pop culture in boston. an oral history with washington, d.c.'s first member of congress -- founding member of the congressional black, -- black caucus. and discussion about the first state to secede from the union, south carolina. experience american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c- span 3. see the complete schedule online at c-span.org/history, where you can press the c-span colored button and have the schedules e- mailed to you.
>> lawmakers gathered on the house floor to pay tribute to representative gabrielle giffords and the other victims of the shootings in teased -- tucson. see what members said on line. follow the comments of your congressman, track daily time lines and read transcripts of every house and senate session. congressional chronicle, washington your way. >> middle and high school students, it is time to upload your videos for c-span's studentcam documentary competition. get your video on this year's topic -- washington, d.c., through my lens -- to c-span by january 20 for an opportunity to win $5,000. $50,000 in total prize is. c-span's studentcam documentary competition is open to grades 6 through 12. >> "washington journal" continues.
host: paul -- april 2007, virginia tech shootings. have there been any changes in federal gun laws or state gun laws since april of 27 -- 2007? guest: congress passed an act to basically encourage the states to send more records into the background check system. one of the lessons directly from the virginia tech, the shooter had actually been found by a court in virginia to be a danger to themselves and others but va -- which would disqualify him -- but va never said that record into the background check system. after virginia tech and congressional hearings, we learned that not only about 25% of the felony records not in the system, but they were missing about 80% to 90% of the dangerously mentally ill. carolyn mccarthy spearheaded it. it was signed three years ago to
the day of the tucson shootings. since that time, about a million more records of mentally dangerous people have gotten into the background check system. various states have taken steps to improve reporting. arizona, before virginia tech, had sent in zero records of dangerously mentally ill and now they said about 5000 but they are still missing 120,000. host: john lott, how would you change america's gun laws? guest: i think a lot of the rules we have right now are counterproductive. we have things like the background checks, maybe we can strengthen those but they have not really prove to be very effective. i do not know anyone who found that they could reduce crime and anyway. host: they prevented gun purchased -- purchases, haven't they? guest: 1.8 million denial's but 99.9% have been false positives.
people may be familiar with the no-fly risk -- list, senator ted kennedy was flat and not able to go and fly on a plane. the problem is virtually everybody who gets the night -- they used the term initial denials -- even those can go back to the system and by the gun once it is found out. in 2007, the last year we really have numbers for, there were 50 convictions. only about -- under 90 cases that they thought might be prosecuteda -- prosecutable -- host: you mention a lot of the current gun laws are counterproductive and. how would you change it? guest: make it easier for people to carry concealed. -- handguns. policing is the most important single factor for people to be able to stop crime. but please understand themselves that they virtually always
arrive after the crime has been committed. and many of the cases, how can you get somebody there with a gun faster because the amount of damage and harm done in many of the crimes is, in fact, related to how long it takes from when the crime starts and someone is able to get on the scene with a gun. host: john lott is a ph.d. from ucla. paul, what is your response to what he had to say? guest: first of all, the background check system, although it does have loopholes, it it has stopped 1.8 million people from buying guns. maybe some got guns other times. but people who have had outstanding murder warrants have been stopped. when the brady bill was first passed it required a background check. people said the criminals will not go in because they know there will be a background check. a lot of people with criminal records have gone in.
the argument that making the concealed carry laws easier and not help but -- helping to solve crime, i think arizona in the shooting in tucson shows it does not work. arizona allows anyone who has a gun to carry that gun hidden and loaded in public anyplace but only one of three states that does not even require a permit. but still on the shooting occurred, it did not stop the shooter from firing more bullets. if we had restrictions on the number of bullets he could have held in the magazine, that could have stopped some of the bullets from flying. but the fact that arizona basically allows any bike -- anybody to carry a gun, did not prevent or stop or deter the shooter. host: i question to both of you. what do you think about this. i did not know if it -- this is a blip or increase in gun or magazine sales following the shooting. guest: not surprised. just after obama was elected, people start buying. supplies are limited -- let us
by now. president obama in his first two years in office did not do anything to restrict gun sales but there was a great advertising campaign into thousand eight that he would take their guns away. most of the people buying guns already have guns. most of the people buying these extended magazine clips -- there is something that might be restricted in the future. something i hope they restrict. no reason to have a 30-round clip. it concerns me because, again, there are risks involved and having guns and i think if there are people buying guns that do not already have them, that is certainly something they should be concerned about. guest: well, i think there are people who have permit concealed handguns -- 1.5 million people in the u.s. that currently do. but i think it is important to try to increase the number that we have. a lot of states have training requirements. in arizona there was at least one person nearby but even it took him a little while to get
there. i would hope in the gun sales that we have -- one of the reasons why people are doing it is because they realize the limits for public officials to be able to protect others. if more people had taken a vantage of the opportunities they had in arizona and others to carry concealed, if somebody had been there, hopefully they could have stopped it. there have been a number of multiple-victim shootings that have been shot -- stopped by citizens with handguns. those denied the a lot of attention when they occur even all -- even though the overall case does. there have been many other types of mobile as victim public shootings, and i think in this case if somebody had been closer by about harm could have been limited. you mentioned the clips, for example. we had the assault weapons ban from 1994 until 2004. i do not know any academic studies by criminologists or economists showing they reduce crime and anyway. there were lots of predictions
by politicians -- when it sunset in 2004 and people from gun- control groups, that murder rates and robbery rates would soar after it sunset -- the murder rates are now down 70% from what they were in 2004. it just seems at some point, when we talk about these types of gun laws, somebody has to say, what about your predictions. you were predicting certain things. it did not happen. why would it be different this time when you are proposing to enact similar laws that you were predicting things would happen before, in this case? guest: they have seen an increase in the use of assault weapons. part of the problem is is tough to get research done because congress basically seals off much of this information about shootings. the clear think about tucson,
ariz., is that this individual had 30 bullets in the clip. that was a legal -- illegal. he was stopped after he had to reload. 19 people were hit on saturday. it is hard to hit 19 people with only 10 bullets. other people would of been hit, but there would of been less people hit or dying. host: gun rights groups donated $22.5 million in political contributions, 85% to the gop. total contributions from 1990 through august 2010 election cycle. the nra has been very quiet
since the shooting. tesco i think they often are for these types of things. but they seem to believe there are certain up corporate times when you do not comment on certain things in a political way after these even happen. you should let things calmed down a little bit. paul and i were on fox news on sunday talking about this. when i was called up, my first reaction was we really want to talk about gun control issues for 24 hours? it did not seem appropriate to meet to do that. host: you sent out a fund- raising letter. guest: we said we needed help to do the fight. host: the numbers to call in are on your screen.
our guests are paul helmke and john lott. richard is on our republican online. caller: hi, yes. mr. helmke, mr. lott. how are you? can you hear me? host: please go ahead with your comment. caller: i am an attorney. why is [unintelligible] the second amendment right now? why are is there even guns allowed in the country right now? guest: i can't find a country where we have banned guns were murder rates have gone down. people are familiar with cities
and how murder rates went up when those bans went into effect. murder rates in d.c. have fallen by 36% in two years, a huge drop. it is around the world. often people will say it is not a fair test in washington, d.c., and in chicago because people can get guns from neighboring places. there are gun bans for entire nation's and yet every single time, whether it is in the u.k., ireland, jamaica, island nations that cannot go and blame some nearby country for problems ends up having increases in murder rates and find crimes afterwards. if you could point to some country that has banned guns when murder rates have gone down significantly afterwards, maybe we could have a debate on this type of thing.
at some point, there is something fundamental that goes on. who is most likely to turn in the guns? the law-abiding good citizens are not the criminals. rather than reducing crime, we make it easier for the criminals to go and commit crimes. guest: we are looking for comment sense steps to take. homicide rates have dropped 50%, suicide rates have dropped 50%. what is the effect of the second amendment on this discussion? it is relevant. even with the cases of notes total gun bans, the supreme court made it clear that that right is limited, how they are sold, stored, carried, and what kind they are.
when we talk about high capacity clips or background checks, it is really not anything that should be -- guest: can i make one comment? homicide rates for australia have fallen for decades. as soon as they instituted their gun rules, they stopped falling. when you talk about the 50% drop, you are taking this long drop over 20 years. i just wanted to make that clear. host: you are not about the second amendment? guest: we are about reducing gun violence. we think the courts have interpreted the second amendment wrong. what is clear is that the supreme court even with recent decisions allow reasonable limitations. by taking the extremes of the
table, it allows us to have a discussion in the metal on where we draw the line on what type of weapons or what type of people or where you are taking things. host: if you could make one change in the gun laws, what would it be? guest: i would strengthen the background system to more easily spot the people who are dangerous. i would say that some types of clips should be off of the table. combine that with strengthening law enforcement, i think we can make a difference. caller: hello. i was raised in a hunting family. guns were always are round, and then learned how to shoot them, and that sort of thing. in this day and age, with all of these new clips -- i think the clips are the problem. and i also think the background checks are a problem. background checks are a problem for a lot of things, and i do
not understand why. host: when you say -- use a background checks are a problem? caller: they are because they do not do them right. at the beginning of the show, they mentioned all those documents that were supposed to be sent that were never send or something. even in things like bus drivers, when you have a pedophile problem, in michigan, twice in the last probably 15 years, there has been a problem with pedophiles even -- either in the foster care system -- host: let's stick with the gun issue. she talked specifically about the extended clips and the background checks. what are your thoughts? guest: i wish background checks or something that worked well. somebody who is willing to go
and plant these attacks will in advance -- planned these attacks will an advance, he bought these guns months ago in this case, background checks are not going to stop them from going and getting a gun. when you are talking about a tiny fraction of a 10th of 1% of people who actually are stopped, -- most of those are not really violent criminals. a lot of them are people who maybe 40 years ago had it a misdemeanor and try to go and buy a gun and did not realize it was an offense. so, criminals are just not going to gun stores and buying guns because they know they are going to be stopped from doing it. as far as the clip goes, look, we have had a lot of experience
with this. if you can find one study by a criminologist showing this has had a beneficial effect on crime, i would like to see it. with these magazines, what they are actually called, they are little, small metal boxes with a spring in them. they are very easy for people to go and make. if there are benefits to people having logger clips, benefits to everybody, but there is no reason to allow criminals to have them. guest: the only thing these extended clips are good for is killing more people.
if brandishing a 10 crown -- a 10-round clip scare's just as many people. this is a very simple narrow thing to make things better. guns start out as a legal product. if we could stop and figure out how they get into the hands of criminals -- but we don't focus on that issue. we don't deal with illegal trafficking or reporting requirements. maybe we ought to treat this as a consumer product like we do it toy guns or tobacco and other things to try to figure out how to make our country safer. right now, guns are on regulated. host: what kind of problems did you face when i came to criminals and guns? guest: i am a western republican. my community was seeing an increase in drugs and violence.
we were adding police officers, doing neighborhood policing, all of these things. all laws in the books to mr. dangers people from getting guns were [unintelligible] when i started hearing from my police officers the stories about how they're being out-shot by the criminals, people passing background checks because of the lack of information, that is when i started indoors in things. host: you were asked to -- if you would be asked to consult on how to cut down on gun violence, what would your advice be? guest: i think the more important thing is punishing people for the crimes they commit. if you want to go and punish somebody for murder, you have a high probability of a convention
in certain prison sentences they are going to face -- conviction in certain presence and it is they are going to face. guest: we want to prevent in the first place. i am all for throwing the book had these folks. having more guns around is not the answer. gabrielle giffords bones a gun. those shots are occurred so quickly, 30 rounds in about 15 seconds. nobody had time to react. guest: guns make it easier for bad things to happen but they also prevent bad things from happening. and that is inside the store you have to take into account. if you look at department surveys, 400,000 times a year right now americans commit crimes with guns. about two artists thousand -- --
year.2 million tons a that is four to five times more likely that people use guns to stop crime each year. what you have to look at is in these different gun control laws. just as with the gun ban, which is a very simple example of the gun-control law, who was most affected by that? law-abiding citizens in washington, d.c., or in chicago, not the criminals. when you make it harder -- my research finds police are the single most important factor, but when you disarming law- abiding citizens are relative to criminals, you can see an increase in crime. guest: trying to make it harder for dangers people to get guns, and that is trying to find the argument in the middle. host: you are on with paul helmke and john lott, good
morning. caller: john lott, i think your ideas are appropriate. i do think that the clips need to be of the mandated from the public. i don't think they need to be a part of anything about guns because they do cause more problems. you can rapidly fire off. consequently, i believe the bill in congress right now needs to go forward. it is not about limiting guns or the purchase of guns. certain types of fish ammunition are more used toward a person as opposed to going hunting and protecting yourself. so those two uses are the uses
for a person who has that gone. host: are you currently a gun owner? caller: yes. host: thank you. guest: let your congressional representatives know that. that is the sort of talk that we need to start having. we can have reasonable restrictions to make dangerous people to get guns. host: reasonable restrictions? what do you think about that phrase? guest: it is used for a lot of things. i think it is a catch phrase. it is always thrown up to justify any regulation that is put up there. i don't do second amendment stuff. that is not my issue. i am an economist by training.
my approach to this is in peril ". if you have a lot -- the one nice thing about the united states, in 50 states, you have different states trying different laws at different times. you can see what happens to crime rates. i look at that, and i wish there were simple solutions to these things. i wish we could find evidence that background checks actually stop crime in some way. but it does not do that. i don't mind the background check if it makes people feel better, but i just think people should realize it is not going to be a panacea as some of these other regulations are. if you want to go and then something, you have to ask yourself who is this going to affect? is it going to make more costly for them to go and get them? relative to criminals.
if it affects a law-abiding citizens more than criminals, you can opt what you would like to occur. host: you are on the air. we are talking about federal and state gun laws. called a " good morning. you keep infering the fact that if someone had been in that tucson shooting with a concealed gun that they would of been able to stop the shooter from maiming or killing the number of people that he did. if i am not mistaken, the retired military man had a concealed gun on him. guest: no. host: let her finish. caller: someone had a concealed gun, and they either chose not to use it or did not have time to use it. in fact, the shooter was subdued by the usual kind of methods physically. host: what is your point on
this? caller: he keeps saying that if someone had been there with a gun, and that the carnage could have been decreased. guest: there have been many multiple public shootings, some of which have been stopped by citizens with guns. in this case, there was a young man, 24 years old, who was legally carrying a concealed gun it in walgreen's nearby. it took a walk to get here. by that point, the person was not firing the gun anymore and he wisely chose to not go and fire his gun. the military gentleman she mentioned and send this guy to finish the job by tackling him. there was a large church
shooting that was stopped in colorado, a couple of mall shootings that were stopped. appellation law school that was stopped by to people with permit concealed handguns. you have mississippi, kentucky, pennsylvania school shooting. they were stopped by citizens who could legally go and carry a concealed handgun. when you look at the huge amount of news attention that occurs on these cases, when a citizen stops an attack with a handgun, only about 1% of news stories will mention this. guest: the tucson shooting -- the caller had a right. arizona has some of the loosest laws in the country with concealed weapons. you do not need a permit in arizona. anybody who has the gun can
carry the gun with them. that is the nirvana that john lott wants in terms of a concealed gun laws. the young man -- i heard him on tv talking about it. he did the right thing. it shows how close it is. he goes around the corner, sees someone with a gun in his hand, he did seas -- he decides not to pull his gun out. the person he thought was the shooter had already taken the gun out of the shooter's hand, so if he had made a mistake, we could've had an innocent person being killed. his first reaction in one of the interviews i heard was that he said yes i would've killed the person with a gun. the person that he saw with the gun was not the shooter. host: did you grow up in a gun-
owning family? guest: i do not own a gun to date. i did not grow up in a gun- owning family. host: did you worry about your safety as a public official? guest: in my first month of office, i had death threats. i learned if somebody was going to do your harm, it would be tough to stop them. host: do you own a gun today? guest: nobody even in my extended family that i knew own guns. i did not own a gun until after i started doing this research. my kids have toy guns. when i did my research, i realize these are benefits that
we not only produce for the owner of the gun but for the people that care. host: john is on our republican line. please go ahead. caller: this is all about the shooting in the tucson. it seems to me that the county sheriff [unintelligible] contact with his young man over several months -- not over several months but over several years. because his mother was part of the local [unintelligible] they added of the information and they got the proper laws out there, but they could've done something for this young man.
host: jared loughner -- should there have been some way of preventing him from owning a gun? from what we have been learning about him? guest: he did not get accepted it into the army because failing test for marijuana. guest: he just said he used marijuana. guest: he was not convicted of any crime. the question you have to ask yourself is where do you want to draw the line on these things? do you want to have a legal finding that somebody did something wrong? guest: this shows is obvious that we have drawn aligned to tightly. this was somebody who was too dangerous for algebra class, too
dangerous for the military, but that information did not get into the background check. we need to do background checks. guest: would you do it without having -- there is one thing i wanted to say before. i just want one case where a multiple victim public shooting was stopped with a person with a concealed handgun when the person shot somebody other than the bad guy. in just one case. rather than talking about hypothetical things that could go wrong, just one example where they shot the wrong person. host: back to the background checks, you ask where do you draw the line? guest: again, if i thought that these background checks mattered, i would spend a lot more time on trying to draw the
line on different places. if you want to go and make its director, fine, we can talk about it. -- if you want to go and make it stricter, fine, we can go and talk about it. guest: that is why congress brings in people who have dealt with this, the researchers and the academics. let's figure it out. right now, if you have a violent misdemeanor, that does not stop you. guest: a violent it -- a violent misdemeanor would be a violent crime. guest: that is how narrow our background check system is congress needs to admit we have a problem. we can try to do something about gun violence. let's have hearings and figure this out. host: you are on the
"washington journal." caller: i would like to say one thing. in arizona, if they had some of all laws that new york has, because we have the most rigid andhandguns in the nation, as far as arizona is concerned, i would not go after it magazines because of the problems they have on the border. the mexicans do not care how many bullets they fire across the border. in any case, i know it was a tragic incident. the thing is i believe the gun deal who sold this guy the gun knew him and he should have known that he was a little bit
mental or radical or whatever. somebody should have had -- because he got thrown out of school. the military would not accept him. i mean, people had to know this guy was not right in his mental state. guest: good point on the gun dealer. i heard a report yesterday where apparently of a gun dealer had concerns about the person but felt they were required to sell the gun because he passed the computer background check. the dealer does not have to sell the gun. we encourage dealers to look for signs of danger. there is no legal obligation for a gun dealer to sell to somebody even if they pass the background check. host: any response for that call? guest: i suppose we all wish we could go and determine whether somebody might commit a gun
crime beforehand. you are talking about less than 0.1%. it is pretty hard to go and know beforehand whether something is going to happen with it. the point is, these background checks, these other things are not successful. we are talking about virtually everybody who is flagged is a falsely and flagged. we see the problems there. maybe, you think psychologically some gun dealer -- they do not sell to people from time to time, but to go and say they should be able to guess beforehand, i wish we were all that magical. guest: 1.9 million people stopped with background checks. more of those people should be prosecuted. that is a failure in the criminal justice system.
part of our problem with a background check system is that we do not do enough of them. the states to not send enough records in. the bottom line on gun-control, we have not tried it. we do not have many gun laws on the books. guest: read the obama administration report from last year. they said it themselves there are 190 cases where it might be possible to prosecute. 122 of them they actually tried to do it. they admit that 99.9% are for false positives, people that were improperly a flack. host: our guests are john lott as well as paul helmke, who is the head of the brady center.
the next call is huntington, west virginia. go ahead. caller: wow. can you hear me? i have been waiting here for a while. what wanted to say is that i do agree with mr. paul helmke. one word -- risk. we need less crime with respect to these guns. they are a risk. i know a young man who went to school with my daughter. she felt compelled to go out and get a gun -- he felt compelled to go out and get a gun. he lost his leg from an accident. this guy might of gone somewhere in his life.
i had a brother who got stranded in louisville, kentucky -- host: given your examples, what do you think should be done about guns, 300 million of them currently in the u.s.? caller: we need to know how to get rid of 200 million of them. we don't need people are around on the street running all around with guns. i don't like guns. guns scare me. you need professionals that can get in there and make some serious rules and regulations, follow them, and in force them. guest: look, guns make it easier for bad things to happen, but the problem is, police cannot be there all the time to protect people. people use guns to protect themselves when the police are not there. what do you advise someone to do
wednesday or having to confront a criminal by themselves behave passively? the people who benefit from owning guns the most -- women and the elderly benefit more than men to come up and poor blacks, the people who live in violent crime areas. host: last call, doug, go ahead. caller: i would like to step back for the second and discussed a number of bullets in clips. i do a ton of work for a gentleman, and i knew him for some time. you might know the name, ruger guns. bill ruger was an advocate, of
course, for all types of guns, mostly for hunting. perhaps your guests would be able to help with this, but i recall -- i believe it was in the 1980's when mr. ruger came out in direct opposition to the rest of the gun industry, supporting a limitation on the number of bullets in a clip. i believe he recognized that there was no reason, ever, for a hunter or for a responsible gun owner, even if they were to protect themselves, to have more than 10 bullets in a clip. host: we only have a minute left. final words. guest: again, i guess we have two points. we have tried this before. are you going to be able to prevent criminals from getting longer clips? the only people that could be
prevented are law-abiding citizens. these are things that are very easy to make, just a small metal box we are talking about with a spring inside. look, when countries try to ban guns, you are not going to get into hired guns away from criminals. we have a huge drug-gang problem in this country. about a year ago, the obama administration said 80% of all the crime in the united states was a gang-related. we know how hard it is -- it is very difficult for them to get the weapons to protect drugs. if we cannot stop them from getting guns, somehow you are going to stop them from getting a logger clip, that is just not serious. guest: the only reason to get a 30-round clip is for killing more people. in 2004, you did not see many of
these in circulation. more people were killed in the shootout on tucson on saturday then the ok corral. this is a common-sense thing that we can do. host: as this conversation continues, c-span will continue to cover it. paul helmke and john lott, gentlemen, thank you for being on the washington journal this morning. in about 45 minutes, we will be looking at the final report of the bp oil spill. we will be looking at that final report. up next, we are going to be looking at some of the mental health issues and loss in the u.s. which will be right back. >> here is the latest news. usa today reports this morning that arizona makes it easier than most states to commit mentally ill people to
psychiatric care even against their will. the accused to sonde shooting suspect jared loughner's history probably would have been sufficient to commit him. some residents say they have had problems getting care. an update on former house republican leader tom delay, in remarks earlier today on nbc, he says his conviction on money- laundering charges was a politically-inspired case brought by prosecutors in the most liberal county in texas. he went on to say that prosecutors never proved their case against him. he is free on bond after being sentenced to three years in prison and 10 years' probation. turning to the of economy, dow jones report from london today that two leading credit rating agencies are warning the unit states on its credit rating, expressing concern over what they say is a deteriorating
fiscal situation that needs correcting. moody's says the united states will need to reverse an upward trajectory and its debt ratios to support its triple a rating. those are some in the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> to have this smiley and lead to a discussion on the war, economy, and america's future -- tavis smiley, beginning at 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. middle and high school student, it is time to applaud your videos -- upload your videos. do it by january 28 to win the grand prize of $5,000. c-span's student video competition is open to students
grades 6 through 12. >> "washington journal" continues. host: want to introduce you to michael fitzpatrick, the executive director of the national alliance on mental illness. our goal is to discuss some of the mental health laws and issues in the united states today. michael fitzpatrick, if we could, let's start with the national alliance on mental illness? guest: it is an organization that was formed largely by families originally predicted it is now a very diverse organization that focuses on the needs of people with serious mental illness. host: given the current laws and what happened in tucson, could jared loughner had been stopped from purchasing a gun or been
treated at some point given what we have learned about him over the last week or so? guest: arizona has one of the broadest civil commitment laws in this country. it is very easy to get someone evaluated in arizona. the standard for getting someone before and mental health professional is actually a broader and simpler process. mr. jared loughner could have been evaluated by a crisis program. host: in arizona? guest: in arizona. the college police could of called in a crisis team to evaluate him. at some point, the university could of taken that responsibility. we see this incident as a failure to intervene early and a failure to get treatment to mr.
jared loughner when he needed it. we understand that universities and community colleges are very busy. they see hundreds of thousands of students every day, but this -- he was involved in the campus police five times, numerous instructors knew he was having significant mental health problems. in arizona, it is relatively easy to pick up the phone and ask for intervention. host: where about his parents? he was 18 years old. guest: we are not clear of the role of his parents. the reality is, at any given day, half of the people in this country who have mental health problems received no treatment. the lack of knowledge -- in some cases, parents, friends, and
acquaintances have no idea what they are seeing. again, if they understand is a mental health problem, they have no idea where to get treatment. host: we have talked about this during our last segment, where you draw the line. let's say the professor had called this mental health team. what if this was an eccentric student who asked all the questions? at what point -- you know where i am going with this question. guest: part of the challenge in this country is a cultural one. very few people grow up with a psychiatrist. the issue is really early intervention, getting people help when they need it. there is a line. you do not want to have people evaluated all brought into the system prematurely or
unnecessarily. when you see situations like this, you see missed opportunities at a number of points of being able to intervene early and get this individual and help. host: michael fitzpatrick is our guest, the executive director of the national alliance on mental on this. ron is a democrat from vermont. caller: good morning. i was just wondering, if there are millions and millions of people undiagnosed with mental illness, why are there not exponentially more shootings? all want to say is stolen and hitler also agreed that gun- control works. i really have a problem with restricting gun laws.
host: if you would, take that and tie it to mental illness and the purchase of guns. guest: there are two answers to that. the vast majority of people with mental health problems are not violent. having said that, there are horrific incident that we all know about. there is a lot in this country that requires the reporting of individuals to the fbi, a national background check system. in this case, it would not reject it would not have impacted mr. jared loughner because he had never been evaluated. the issue for us is not gun control, per say. the issue is to identify and get people into treatment early when
they need it before these incidents occur. host: if someone has been institutionalized, are they allowed to purchase a gun? guest: under the laws, their name should be reported to the fbi. they would be stopped from purchasing a gun. postcode do you think people who have mental onus should be allowed to purchase a gun? guest: the challenge is getting people into treatment. our concern would be, whether it is policeman, returning veterans, or individuals treated for mental health and recover, they would be stopped from purchasing a gun. the current law that we have in place, if implemented, is restrictive enough. again, it is not guns. it is early intervention, getting people into treatment when they need it, and having a
degree of public discourse in this country or individuals like the jared loughner family, neighbors, acquaintances, and friends understand mental on this. host: minnesota, carol is on our republican line. caller: good morning. i have a lot of questions to ask about this. number one, the fact that this very, very mentally disturbed person shot a gun when he was under the influence of drugs, which i understand it to be marijuana. i would like to know if you could talk more about that and how that affects people with drugs. i think you are missing the point that a lot of the shootings -- i don't know if there are studies on this, but have these people been on drugs?
were they on drugs because of their mental illness? with using drugs like marijuana, cocaine, whatever? guest: if you look back at the number of incidents that have occurred in this country, in many cases, the individuals were just very, very ill. if you combined psychosis with substance abuse, there is a heightened risk of danger. as i said earlier, the research indicates over and over again, the typical person with mental bonus in this country is no more prone to dangerous than the average citizen. having said that, if you combined mental onus, psychosis, with substance abuse, there is a higher risk. there is a number of people in this country with serious mental illness who have no insight into
their mental illness, so there is a challenge to get them the treatment they need. what you need is a more pro- active system that intervenes early. host: as far as treating mental on this, what has the past 10 years brought this country? guest: i think it has brought a realization of what treatments work. there is a general understanding of what the ideal system would look like. if you look in 2009, during the recession in this country, i can give you a couple of examples. after virginia tech, the governor and the assembly passed legislation that brought as much as $43 million into the system to build up the system and make it more accessible and more robust. since then, because of the recession, most of that money has been cut because of the realizations of states and counties to run the mental
health systems in this country. arizona has the same problem. we do it report periodically of all of the states in this country. arizona had a 'c' last time. much of that money has been cut since then. that is part of the challenge in this country, making state and local governments accountable to the systems that they develop. citizens need to reach out to during times of difficulty. host: a federal law for health insurance parity for mental onus -- is that correct? guest: the parity of law from february of last year, the regulations were promulgated. we anticipate over time, millions of americans who currently do not have access to
mental health care because they can't afford it or because their health insurance companies are denying them coverage, will have insurance to allow them to buy mental health services the same way you would buy services for any sort of medical condition. we think it is a game changer and make a tremendous impact on velocipede boat in this country. host: according to the national alliance of mental illness, over 50% of students with a mental disorder drug out of high school. one-half of all lifetime cases of mental illness began by age 14. -- how do you get that figure? guest: is staggering. these are federal figures.
host: where does it come from? guest: the impact of untreated mental on this ripples across the workforce, families, ripples across having to spend money on jails and prisons in the communities across the country, homeless shelters, so it touches all parts of the community. on treatment onus is devastating for this country. the tragedy is we know what works and we know if you get someone into treatment, they can return to their lives in their community, and people can begin to spend the money in their communities the right way. host: david, please go ahead with your question. caller: good morning. it is nice to be on c-span. i have a little bit of experience with mental health issues because my wife suffers.
my major question is, you have to be a danger to yourself or others before you can be committed. it took a long time after i realized my wife was mentally ill until she was able to be committed and get some help. now, i am unemployed and she does not have health insurance, but fortunately, we have caring people who make her medication possible to be afforded. my main point is we should figure out another way to have people committed before they become violent. that just does not make any sense to me. thank you. guest: you make a tremendous point. i have two thoughts. i hear about your situation and think people around the country with serious mental on this are
being cared for by their families. it is very important -- education is important. that is an essential issue. the issues are around commitment have been talked about for years and years in this country. the standards in pennsylvania are the standards in many states. i know many states have talked about broadening of the loss. as i said earlier, the arizona outlaws are very broad. a person can be committed to be dangerous to themselves or others or persistently disabled war on willing and unable to accept treatment. the challenge for us in arizona was that you had both inpatient and outpatient capacities, and no one used it. it is really two things.
this is a robust discussion in every state. i think of the arizona incident will bring this forward. also, pay attention to finding those necessary early intervention services to get people treated when they need a. it takes years and years for people even with the most serious mental honest to find a treatment that they need it. host: yesterday in the wall street journal, the founder of the treatment advocacy center wrote an op-ed to come at a predictable tragedy and arizona -- an op-ed, "a predictable tragedy in arizona." do you agree with that? guest: i think it was a disaster. what we find is if we fast-track
it to 2011, much of the money spent on state hospitals is now spent on prisons and jails. the specifics you talked about earlier in terms of juvenile facilities being populated with a very high percentage of children and adolescents with mental health diagnoses. if you look at the jails, in prisons, you will find it is significant population of people who have very significant mental bonus diagnoses. you can build a community system. we know how to do it. there needs to be a will. in this country, it is too scattered. we have to find the necessary services. you need continuity over time, accountability for government to fund the necessary services that
work for people. host: you are not a fan of state hospital systems. guest: one of the challenges we have since 2009, 4000 inpatient beds have been done away with in the country. you need access to inpatient beds. we see people stacked up in emergency rooms who need to be admitted to care. they then transitioned to the community, and too often the system is not there to treat them. host: laura, you are on with michael fitzpatrick. please go ahead. caller: i really want to thank you all. this is a major issue i feel it is behind what happened in tucson, the lack of any follow up and medical treatment for
this young man. i have experience, like the color and pennsylvania, my husband, in and out of the west virginia mental health system, because he does have some income, although he is now qualified and competent but those over $60,000 in medical bills. it is $750 a day when you are committed to our state mental hospital, so he is right now in a facility in ohio that is a therapeutic community. he is doing the best he has ever been doing. in shows the difference in treatment. when he has come back out into the community, there is no follow-up care. he goes back onto his medications and start drinking, etc.
he has had a lot of animosity toward public officials. that lack of anybody at that college, you know, making any recommendations or follow ups, letting him fall through the cracks, something like this could be averted in the future if people could keep their eye out on individuals like this. host: we will leave it there. michael fitzpatrick? guest: absolutely. i think your situation, unfortunately, in too many communities is the norm these days. it is too hard to find the treatment that you need it. my heart goes out to you. it is unfortunate that we hear these stories too often. we need to continue to educate college officials, police -- they are on the front lines in these cases treatment on this appears in many cases between
the ages of 18 and 22 or 23. we need to be more proactive to get that early intervention. " the next call comes from baltimore, our democrat line. caller: good morning. i like to thank god for 30 seconds of the c-span microphone to be able to say what i am going to say. i think if anybody can hear me, we need to invest -- since we have been talking about investing in solar power and electric cars, why can't we get some people together and create some jobs for non-lethal?
if it was non-lethal plasma gun, or if we could create electric guns, to shock a person and he is in a coma for two and three days, but as far as shooting somebody's head off, i think that is crazy. my question to you, though, you have columbine, virginia tech, and there is probably going to be another one. i live in an urban neighborhood and we are tired of guns. we would rather place and our guns with education and books. host: any response for the caller? guest: i think the issues -- i sound like a broken record, but really getting treatment to people when they need it. when people become isolated, they become very ill, they are not treated or medicated, they
are not in the mental health system, no one knows, there are times when we run into situations when horrific incident occurred. we need to take responsibility in this country to give services to people who need it. we know which services are affected. host: they paranoid schizophrenic is obvious, someone who is depressed, and an alcoholic. is that guest: in many cases it is. the when you go back and looked but horrific incident, you can point to the fact that people have said to my new they were very ill. i knew they needed help. mental illness scare people. there is a lot of mythology around it. and we need to make getting treatment for mental illness
really as simple as a cardiac problem or a broken arm. the reality is that mr. leffler was essentially thrown out of loughner was- mr. klausne thrown out of school for this behavior. he should have been evaluated. host: next phone call from rick. caller: i am mentally ill and i was once admitted to the psych ward in chicago. i made a verbal threats and i was serious. if i would not have been in the sideboard, -- syed wardak i would have been in trouble. because -- if i would not have been in the psych ward i would have been in trouble because i made threats. host: and you said that you meant it. caller: yes, because i felt it.
i became irritable and aggressive and the next thing you know, i started thinking these thoughts. i told the doctor and the doctor let me get out of the psych ward. host: are you under treatment right now? caller: have a mental health nurse and doctor i am in contact with everyday. and host: are you medicated? caller: yes. host: prescription drugs, deneen. caller: yes. host: you are living in florida now. are you happy with the care there? caller: i am at the v.a. psych ward. it is in the -- it is the best in the world. host: was your diagnosis? caller: schizophrenic or bipolar. i can remember. host: thank you very much -- i cannot remember.
host: thank you very much. guest: this is what we have been talking about. finding the treatment, the nurse, the medication, if necessary. sometimes it takes 10 years for people to find a treatment that will work. host: why is that? guest: a little bit to do with a pervasive stigma of around mental illness. it is hard for people to go forward and get treatment for the first time. sometimes it is the lack of the ability to pay for it. our expectations of the parity bill, and sometimes the language in legislation will help solve that. the last piece is the availability of effective treatment. many states and counties have the treatment available and others, it is simply not. it is simply hard to find effective treatment that works. host: you said that you gave arizona a "c."
who got an "a" or an "f?" guest: nobody got an a." the states that have shown leadership, who did that seesaw that i described where you invest millions of dollars and then spend the next three or four years the funding those programs, a number of states. we had a number of states that got "b's." host: such as? guest: connecticut, wisconsin. there were a number of states. you can find a good mental health system in one county and move to the next county in the same state and find a system that does not look like the one
you just left. host: michael fitzpatrick is the director of the national alliance on mental illness. in pennsylvania, kerry, good morning. caller: i am a part of a great organization for families. i urge anyone with a mental illness to join. at what i am calling about is a lot of the stuff that you have been talking about. for many years, has been and i mantelshelf line and the two problems that our -- manned the health line and the two problems that our families had was a not getting enough help when someone recognized they were mentally ill. the other thing was housing. many times when some one estimate -- and up on the street, it is estimated that one-third of the homeless are mentally ill.
we have been trying to get a patient treatment program in our police departments throughout the county. we are a very large county. ourawe are working to train police officers because many times, the first party that our mentally ill family members encounter are the police. and too often, it is not the fault of the police. they do not know how to handle a mentally ill person. we are moving forward quite well in our county with the program. host: michael fitzpatrick. guest: absolutely, the police are the heroes as far as i am concerned, because they are on the front lines in dealing with people more and treated, and medicated -- and and medicated. it is very difficult to manage
of many times. thank you for all that you do in helping to get police trained of and understand how to manage. as i said earlier, many states will look at their civil commitment laws. i think that is important in situations like this. it takes too long to get people into treatment, no question about it. there needs to be early intervention. it is dangerous of all particularly for the person with the mental illness. if someone is psychotic, not realizing they are ill and on the streets. and finally, too often, when people are building their mental health programs, they forget that housing is what underpins the system. if you do not have a place to go that is affordable, safe, and something that you can live on potentially for the rest of your life, moving your to the
guest: that is very powerful. host: + cruses, new mexico, bob, republican line. caller: gentleman, thank you for being there today. first of all, jaret, there is no excuse for his actions. he should be in jail for the rest of his life. and michael, asim thank you. you are not quite clean shaven enough, in my opinion, for a director. my question is, do you believe that shock or electronic, chemical therapy is a sin? the reason i ask the question is because here in the loss chris as we have been ranked as one of the best cities in treatment. electroshock guest: there be, there is a large -- guest:
electroshock therapy, there is a large body of research. for a number of people it has been a lifesaver. host: it is making a bit of a comeback. it was and is used in the 1950's and then outlawed in the 1960's as cruel and unusual and then it has come back into vogue, hasn't it? guest: recently, there have been a number of high-profile individuals that have come forward and said it made a difference. it is a treatment of a laugh -- last resort, but it has been a lifesaver. as for the beard, it is cold out. host: [laughter] and mr. fitzpatrick is from maine. guest: that is right. host: next phone call. caller: i would like to know if being an atheist is considered a mental illness? host: why do you ask that question? caller: i just want to know. host: no.
wausau, wisconsin. caller: i would like to know how much pharmaceutical money mr. fitzpatrick takes to promote drug in people. host: do you think he has been promoting drug in people? caller: yes, i do. i think a lot of the mental health system, their first knee- jerk reaction is to chemically restrain somebody. real-life problems are not solved by pills. host: thank you. guest: i would agree. and you would agree. medications are certainly a part of people's recovery. many people recover from mental illness from medication. it is not part of many treatment programs. there are many that are. as i said, is housing, service centers, piehler centers -- peer centers. there are many programs that need to be available, as well as
medications. host: you have an association with pharmaceutical companies? guest: national alliance for the mentally ill take some pharmaceutical monday as part of its budget, like a lot of health associations. -- pharmaceutical money as part of its budget, like a lot of health associations. host: do you promote certain medications? guest: never. host: do you believe it plays a part in the cures, i guess? guest: yes, i have said that medicines can be part of the equation in recovering from serious mental illness. but there r other programs, housing -- but there are other programs, housing, and other treatment programs. host: melissa in illinois you are on the line with michael fitzpatrick. caller: i do not think there are a lot of people the realize just
how bad it is with the mental health issues in this country. an example is my own situation. being unemployed for so long, i got really depressed in june and i attempted suicide. but instead of getting the treatment, they put me in the criminal-justice system and then finally, being court order to get help, of being unemployed there is nothing to help me get the help. now i am looking at going to prison if i cannot pay for my counseling. it is even more frustrating now. host: larry, have you been diagnosed? caller: with depression, yes. i can see where a lot of people in this country are getting frustrated and people have -- and if people have a violent tendencies, it could make a lot of them worse. host: what is your advice to larry? guest: in many communities there
are very effective practitioners. there are mental health centers, mental health clinics. paying for those treatments can be a challenge sometimes. hopefully, the new law will help with that. but i would connect those traders -- connect with those treaters and never isolate yourself. get involved. it is important that you stay engaged. host: mr. fitzpatrick, this is a tweet. guest: there are many children that you find in schools that are learning disabled. some may have mental health issues, some may not. the important thing is to get an early diagnosis with a trained clinician to understand what the
issues are and are not. host: denison, texas, go ahead, jackie, you are on the air. caller: my mother was a paranoid schizophrenic and i grew up watching this system work with her. what people do not realize is these family members of this young man, they are caught up in a nightmare. they are part of a crazy world. when someone in your family has paranoid schizophrenia, they do not recover. they have good days and bad days. the system is not there to keep them in treatment and housing. they cannot stay with you all the time. but when they need it -- when they are ill they need housing. finally, the nursing homes is where these people and up. and these nursing homes, the best they can do is become a lockup unit.
they are not qualified to take care of these people. host: we talked earlier about the old state hospital system. would you be in favor of that? caller: i would be in favor -- my mother was part of the old state hospital system. she had a partial lobotomy. she went through the shock treatments. as bad as those things are, they are better than having her out on the streets when you cannot take care of her, you cannot live with her. your a part of her nightmare. and until you get the medication and help for her, you are living in a nightmare that they have. you love them, but you become part of a dysfunctional family. host: in your view, what has been the experience with the state of texas? caller: the state of texas is a disaster when it comes to mentally ill people. the way we would actually receive treatment after they passed laws so that i family cannot go and say, we need help,
put her name institution until you get the medication to straighten her out, the only option is the emergency room. it has to be a big disaster. she has to create a scene and be a big problem before you can get help. then when you go to a behavioral health unit, it is good for 30 days. at the end of the 30 days they will win release that person whether they are losing -- whether they are hallucinating or not. host: thank you. she guest: talks about the reality for many people. -- guest: she talks about the reality for many people. there are many situations that, as does not work. -- that the science does not work. tremendous not work for a variety of reasons. there needs to be an option of housing as well as staff and a
facility that provides 24/7 care. we absolutely believe in that. what she describes in terms of having to get treatment for her mother in the emergency room and having to or through this area of having to talk about the dangers, whether they exist or not, just to get her in the hospital is a national tragedy. people should be able to get treatment when they needed. host: you say true be available, but it does not sound like jackie's mother would have committed herself. guest: right. host:, she needs to be committed. are the laws effective in the states -- you talked about arizona as law, but what about other states? " jackie said, my mother is crazy or having a mental -- could jackie say, my mother's grave you're having a mental breakdown and have her committed?
guest: in many states there is a dangerousness criteria. what it requires is a fair amount of tenacity and almost gaming the system. the reality again, and until we find a cure for mental illness, until the treatments become more robust, there is a subsection, a small group of people who are routinely very ill and have no insight into their illness. if you need a system that effectively cares for and provide treatment for those individuals. host: how did you get into this topic? guest: i have a family member and i and also a social worker. by run mental health programs. i have been an elected -- i run mental health programs. i have been an elected official in my state. i have a professional interest
and a personal interest. host: what percentage of families in the u.s. have family members that if mentally ill? guest: that is hard to quantify. let me give you an example. in the last few days i spent a fair amount of time talking to the media at all over the country. and three-quarters of the folks i talk to have said i have a grandmother or a mother or a brother that have a serious mental illness. and anytime you go into a public reception, people come to me and say, we know what you're talking about. i can mental illness is pervasive. we do not talk about it perhaps the way we should in this country. it is something that affects a lot of people's lives. host: are the rates of mental illness and different in the states than they are in other countries? guest: think the rates are pretty similarly -- similar. culturally, how people deal with
it is different. how they organize service what about the government has control over, how they tcked outcomes is different. remember in this country, we have local control. we have states and counties deciding what the mental health system should be and whether they should be built up or in this environment, it should be cut. host: and you think it should be federalized? guest: i think the federal yarmulka should have more control in terms of -- the federal government should have more control in terms of measuring outcomes. too often we find services that are not effective. but it gets back to what i said earlier, untreated mental illness has an enormous impact across the community. we need to fund those services that are effective. host: last call for michael fitzpatrick in detroit. caller: good morning. thanks for c-span. i pray for the arizona sun --
senator and i do believe the killer was insane. however, i would like to know if you have any facts that are true about how many people have gone on social security for mental illness and how many of those you think are bogus claims, let's say, in the last 20 years just so that people could get money from the government and so the government could grow. host: we got your question. michael fitzpatrick, and the answer for that caller? guest: it is a tough question. one of the hardest things about social security for people with mental illnesses is getting them off of social security and going back to work. there are disincentives built into this and saw -- into the system. that is something that we look at on capitol hill to make it easier for people to go back to work. most people ought with a mental illness on social security, the vast majority will tell you that it would like to be back in their communities and go back to
work. host: michael fitzpatrick is the executive director from the national alliance on mental illness. thank you for being on the "washington journal" this morning. about 10:00 a.m., we will be going live to the senate for strategic and international studies. the director of the bureau and ocean energy management will be talking about u.s. offshore oil and natural gas development. however, coming up next, we will be talking about that with dina capiello with the associated press. we will be talking about the final report on the bp deepwater verizon spill. >> here is some of the latest news on c-span radio at 23 past the hour. economic numbers from the labor department show that more people applied for unemployment benefits last week, due mostly for the -- because of the end of temporary holiday jobs. a number of people seeking benefits jumped to 34 -- jumped 35,000 to the highest level in
december. home prices jumped. the index jumped over 1% in december, the largest increase in a year. wall street is reacting for their work -- to the reports and stocks are headed for a lower opening. and turning to the housing market, more than 1 million homes were repossessed last year according to realty track, and industry analysts say foreclosure crisis is likely to worsen in 2011. they said 5 million borrowers are at least two months behind on their mortgages and will probably miss more payments due to job losses and homes worth more than their loan value. >> this weekend on c-span 33's
american history tv, historians and pop culture. if visit to the bureau of engraving of to learn about printing currency. experience american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c- span3. klinsi the complete schedule on life at c-span.org/history. >> lawmakers gathered on the house floor to pay tribute to rep gabrielle giffords and the other victims of the shooting in tucson. i see what they said online with the c-span's congressional chronicle. it is washington your way.
host: this week, this report was issued, the gulf oil disaster and the future of offshore oil drilling. this is the national commission on the bp deepwater oil spill. donna capiello is with the associated press. what is the conclusion of the report? guest: it is two-fold. first, they said that the disaster was preventable, affordable and could happen again without significant reforms. -- avoidable and could happen again without significant reforms. then they listed 15 designations for the obama administration and congress to pursue. host: who is to blame, according to this report? guest: all three major companies working on the raid were named. bp, the operator of the well, trans ocean, the owner of their rigs that was leased by bp, and halliburton, another contractor in charge of a critical task on
oil wells, seven jobs. these are the barriers -- cement jobs. these are the barriers to keep oil from going where it should not. companies forree management failure, but the report went further and said, the climate, the whole thing going on out there. it is not unique to this one particular oil well, this one particular disaster. the oil industry is a bit overconfident. we have done this before and we can do it again and they got deeper and deeper. and we have a regulatory agency that was underfunded and not very well trained. it was spread around. it was not one guy. host: we have about 35 minutes with our guests to talk about the world's bill and the final report to the president. of the 15 -- the oil spill and the final report to the president.
of the 15 recommendations, the of them were more regulation? if guest: the majority. i lot of them would require an act of congress to do. there was a reorganization of the interior department discussed. let's have an interior safety department within the department that is headed by a guy that is not politically appointed, kind of like the fbi. there was a call to actually raise the liability cap on oil companies when there is a spill. and right now, there is a 75 million-dollar cap on what they ought to pay for damages. bp has waived that. they said they will get $20 billion out for people who have claims, but that also would require an act of congress, more funding for the bureau of the ocean management. more funding is called for and
better training. they found the people policing this industry did not have an effective idea of what is going on out there, in terms of technology. host: the two cochairs, here is what they have to say. >> it is a fundamental fact that the oil belongs to the people of the united states of america. the federal government should provide for safety and protection, but is also the landlord. a very real sense, we own this property and have the obligation to respond when it is abused. the fundamentals -- the fundamentals of this
investigation is that the deep water horizon disaster did not have to happen. it was both foreseeable and preventable. that fact alone makes the loss of the 11 lives, the serious rig, ando others on the rake the enormous damage that the explosion caused even more tragic. it to congress, we say, -- >> to congress, we say, it is time to exercise a serious oversight to the department of interior and the bureau of oceans management that has succeeded mms. oversight has not been exercised in the past to that agency. we recommend that resources be allocated by the congress to ensure that this agency is capable, is a batch for the people they are expecting and regulating every day -- is a match for the people they're regulating every day.
they have been underfunded and under matched. the efforts by secretary excellus are and michael brown, both of which we -- secretary salazar and michael brown, both of which we respect, they are going to have to have a system that allows more recruitment of able people, who unlike so many who revealed to us in the course of investigations, they did not understand the key technologies like centralizes and negative pressure tests. guest: those two comments showcase what they said here, which is, this is not just a problem of the world industry. of three rogan companies. that was something that was tossed out quite a lot -- 3 companies, that was something that was tossed out
quite a lot. i think blame was spread here. host: is report has been sent to the president. guest: yes. host: what happens next? guest: what happens next is that others will be looking closely to see what he says, in terms of what they will do a administratively. and then of course, it will be the hill. what is congress going to do? is congress going to keep this call for action? is this massive environmental disaster, the largest offshore oil spill in history -- in u.s. history, it will it be enough to keep the politics of this agency that has been underfunded and not well trained under all administrations that are democratic and republican, the same thing over and over again? host: dina capiello covers issues for the associated press. on top of that she has a master's degree in environmental
science and a biology degree from georgetown. how long have you been covering the environment? guest: my whole career. albany new york and then to houston, tx for oil and toxic refineries on in new jersey. host: we are talking about the oil commission report. caller: good morning. my question is, is there any possibility we can't drill in this country and get off our foreign -- can drill in this country and get off our foreign oil by it? can we slowly to make more prices reasonable for us because it is slowly going up not because of the national market, but the world market. guest: yes, the answer is yes. but the facts are that where the
oil is in this country is an increase -- is in increasingly harder places to get it. over the last 20 years we have gone deeper and deeper offshore. there is some definite promise in jail, especially in north dakota -- in shale, especially in north dakota and the west. and canada, we are thinking about importing. but our appetite for oil in this country still exceeds what we have domestically to supply it. but the report made clear that we are going to need domestic resources for many years to come until we get our cars on cleaner sources of fuel, etc. and i think what they are saying is, hey, let's go out and get the oil we have in our country, but let's make sure that we do go into these places -- i think senator gramm said earlier this week that it is kind of like
going to the moon in terms of technology. that we do it safely and responsibly and that our government is on top of what is happening out there. host: dallas, brian, republican line. caller: i would like to know why we cannot go to iran war and do some drilling. why there is no talk about half -- go to anwar and do some drilling. why there is no talk about drilling in places like china or the soviet union. what can we do about cutting down the cost of gas for people in this country? this is going to get really out of hand. guest: that is a concern that you bring up and it is a concern that i know many people on the hill, republicans and democrats from these gold states, have, which is, the more you regulate these industry, the more you increase costs for the industry, the costs are passed on to the consumer. you and me, we drive cars and
depend on fuel to get around. anwar, as you probably know, is a very touchy subject. i think the disaster is only going to make it touchier subjects. -- make it a touch yoier. is arctic thinking drilling. the obama administration already said that, that they were going to go back and look at it scientifically again. anwar always opens a political canavan and i think we will see it again -- a political can of worms and i think we will see it again this year. the problem with leakage, assuming that will make it more difficult to get drilling in anwar. host: remind us that this started in april of 2010 and what month did they finally get it count? july guest:.
-- get it capped? guest: of july. host: and what was the cost? guest: well, 11 workers were killed and more than 2 million gallons of the well was built. some of it was collected and other of it was burned. but there are still very small, michael, -- microscopic particles. i do not and will really know the repressions of this environmentally for a very long time until we see what it does to the food chain. there have been studies that show oil on the bottom of the sea floor because of the use of chemical dispersant, which prevented from getting too short, but help it to get to the sea floor. i think there is a question when we get to the civil case that will be filed by the justice
department, we will probably see things to come in terms of the future bill for oil companies. host: george, you are on the air with donna capiello. -- buy now capiello. . di -- dina capiello. caller: all of the oil that is mixed in with the new water, of the gulf stream and in florida and cuba, you will half water -- tension. have water retentio when you flood an area with a bunch of oil, you are changing the water tension.
i'd be interested to see the short-term and medium-term effects of that much water that is now part of the gulf stream in florida and cuba there. also, apparently, halliburton or bp brought the company that makes the retardant stuff that they are spring-on -- bought the company that makes the retardant stuff that they are spraying on just before it happened. and just before 9/11, you see a lot of bp stock being sold. for some, it is a win/win situation.
guest: on the chemical dispersant, the chemical dispersant that was used after the bp oil spill was actually preapproved under the oil pollution act. it was on a list those that could be used. i am personally aware of whether bp bought the company -- personally unaware of whether bp bought the company that produces the dispersant. that is something i have not heard of, but it was approved many months and years before this disaster. in terms of the gulf stream and other things that you mentioned, just a few points that do not go directly to where you were talking about. but there has been no evidence, as you probably are aware, that this got around the corner of florida and up the eastern seaboard, although, that was feared because of the currents in the gulf. since this disaster, the obama administration has taken action
on one thing, which is drilling in the eastern gulf. about two weeks before this disaster, president obama and secretary salazar announced they were considering expansion of drilling into the eastern gulf and off of the is -- and off of the eastern seaboard and have since pulled back on that in the wake of this disaster. that, obviously, would reduce the risk of any oil getting on to the west coast of florida and on to the eastern seaboard. host: jeanine, you are on the air. caller: two things. how responsible do you think the environmentalists and the federal government are for pushing these rigs to the 5,000 foot level where they are not manageable rather than just going offshore 500 feet? and did you hear recently that there is a natural lg in the gulf that is -- a natural algae
in the gulf that is eating up some of this oil and what is your opinion of that? host: before we get an answer, what are your thoughts about offshore oil drilling in california? i think she hung up, so we will not know. guest: i will take the low hanging fruit first. there is only one thing that it is pushing -- that is pushing companies into deeper and deeper water and riskier places to drill, and that is, our appetite tfor oil. our suppliers of oil have totally tapped out the easy places, the shallow waters that you mentioned. if you have ever flown over the coast of louisiana in a helicopter, as i have many times, it looks like a pin cushion down there in terms of how many wells are drilled and how many platforms there are. one thing on that, the only reason they're going there is
because we want it and we need it. and they are responding to that demand. on the second question, algae in the gulf, yes, i think people were surprised, perhaps the leia plug-delayed public more than researchers, on how -- perhaps the lay public more than researchers, how resilient the gulf is. there is a lot of pressure over millennia that makes oil. the gulf has proven to be resilient it is a very valuable assistance in the world in terms of shellfish and fisheries. but it is hammered by not only the oil and gas industries. there is also a problem -- there are also problems with hypoxia from fertilizer flowing down the mississippi valley into the gulf.
this report recommends that a big chunk, 80% of the finest that will be collected under the clean water act, the water pollution law, be used for golf restoration. that has been endorsed by the president. the big question has been whether congress will actually do it. it will require a little bit of tweaking of the clean water act to be done. host: mark, you are on the air with dinah capiello. mark, you know the rule. you have to turn down the volume. we will come back to you. in georgia, steve on the republican line. caller: would you rate the 10 biggest oil disasters bills and what are the chances of getting the internal combustion -- a disaster spills and what are the chances of it in the internal combustion engine back? guest: on the top of my head, i
wish i could rank the biggest oil spills that have happened in the last 20 years. i know a few, obviously, there was an oil well exxon valdez -- the exxon valdez in the 1990's and the gulf of mexico. but in terms of switching the internal combustion engine to other sources, everybody is on the same page that it will not happen overnight. obviously, the obama administration has endorsed strong fuel economy standards that will reduce the amount of fuel that we need to power those engines. but again, there are issues going to ethanol-based fuel, issues in terms of battery- powered and electric cars, and where you plug these things in. that was a whole nother can of worms, if we go to electric cars and we're putting those in to stop it in your garage, that is causing a whole coal-fired
power plant emissions problem. a slew of experts say that we will need oil for a very long time to come. host: what have we learned in the time since the exxon valdez for the long term -- what is the long-term effect on the shores of alaska or the bay in alaska? guest: what we have learned from the exxon valdez is that early on, we cannot predict all of the effects. we can do our best, but we are still seeing the effects of their that we did not expect to see. not too long before the bp disaster -- i'm not sure of the time line, but the government sent x on another bill because of damages that were discovered years down the road. we do not know what the long- term repercussions are.
and i think that for the people that live in the gulf coast, there is concern that this will be off the headlines and that people will forget because there is no oil on beaches and we are not seen these amazing shots of oiled.ns being loya it is going to be a real challenge, with all of the other challenges that have been discussed, you know, health care, and all of the things that are on the plates of our lawmakers to keep this on the forefront and say that it is necessary. host: this was released on tuesday of this week. what has been the industry's response so far? guest: industry has responded cautiously. they believe that the offshore energy agency should be better. it should have better regulation, better trained folks, be better funded.
they also supported and regulation for a safety institute. -- supported legislation for a safety institute. there is some devlin the details. the report recommends that it be modeled after the three mile incident in 1979. the oil industry said, we are not like nuclear. these are complicated operations. but they have generally supported and they want to get back to work. there is a fine line here that has the administration and as congress, whatever they decide to do, pursues regulation, pursues these changes and what the corresponding effect will be in terms of getting out and drilling again in the gulf. host: in minneapolis, democrats, good morning. caller: peter, you are one of my favorite host on this program. host: must be because my family is as originally from minnesota.
caller: that must be. it must be great to have a high quality journalist reporting on these things. guest: thank you. caller: so many of these things are left to ideological talking points and we do not know what the facts are behind these things. my question is, peter put up this morning a graphic there -- i think it was a graphic -- on the rollbacks of funding to various federal agencies going back to 2008 funding levels. how do you think the hopes for better regulation and better oversight of the drilling of the gulf is going to survive this onslaught of republican budget cutting? guest: that is a very good question. it is something that i mentioned
in this story -- in my story the day that this came out. as you probably know, after this bill last year, there was -- there was a lot of legislative effort to fix this disaster and institute some of these reforms and they passed a democratic-led house, but basically died in the senate. when this disaster was fresh, akmal it was the biggest. as you mention -- when this disaster was fresh, it was a big list. as you mentioned, with more republicans in the house, it is a tougher road. it is either senator gramm or commissioner wryly that mentioned that the agency could get more money from -- commissioner reilly mentioned that the agency could get more money by tweaking the language when they lease these areas offshore to actually include money to be diverted to
regulation. another step was more fees on industry. there are some things administratively that they can do in terms of helping funding. but with republicans keen on reducing the government's eyes -- government size, it is going to be a tough sell. i was told that in the meeting with commissioners after the report was released from republicans have supported some of the proposals and are more cautious on others until they get more details of the 380-page report. it will be interesting to follow this session to see what happens. senator gramm was asked a question at the event and he had a very interesting statement. he said he believes the impact of this disaster will override some of the things that have happened in the past in terms of the funding for this agency, the push back from the industry against more regulation.
so, more to come. host: and forgone in minneapolis, the article that you referenced was -- and for the man in minneapolis, the article that you reference was from the politico. the article and the chart were in there. next call, a toledo, mark, independent line. caller: i would like to know what the responsibility of the government is toward the people when there is a disaster like that. why weren't the agricultural people and the transportation people allowed to -- they should have been allowed to travel and not the people in their cars. host: we appreciate your call. thomas, rolling meadows, ill. on her republican line. dina capiello covers
environmental issues for the associated press. caller: thank you for taking my call. i have not had a chance to see the report, but i wonder if it might also include the possibility of a need to update and provide new refineries or the construction and rehabilitation of the infrastructure of those pipelines. guest: it did not address that. because you up -- because you ask that question, sure you understand those are the downstream aspects of the industry. oil and exploration are "upstream." this report is solely to look into the causes of the disaster and propose ways to prevent it from happening again in terms of offshore drilling. pipelines, as you know, in this country are not regulated by the same agency, nor are the refineries in terms of
pollution. that is regulated by the epa, osha, dealing with workplace safety issues. but it is interesting because when this first happened a lot of people were making connections between this incident, this producer company, bp, and some of the problems they have had with their pipelines and refineries. if i was in texas when the disaster happened at that refinery. that linkage is reflected in this report only in the sense that this is a problem with the whole industry's safety culture. and not just this one particular company, this one particular wealth. but unfortunately -- this one particular well. but unfortunately, no that was not part of that discussion. guest: a good question. that is a point that both
commissioner talked about, which is, before we start granting visas to these companies there should be some review of their safety and environmental policies, and perhaps that view should be broader than just their record on offshore drilling. coming into this, bp had recommitted to safety after some pretty high-profile incidents. the question is, perhaps congress should think about rewriting the offshore law that governs leasing to include a more comprehensive review of how this company has performed in other areas, not just the gulf of mexico. they are all over the world. before they actually grant them a lease. it is very hard to revoke elise, but that is to the question. host: lehigh acres, fla., a.j., go ahead with your question.
caller: i shot -- i saw a show that jesse ventura, the governor, did not invest in bp. and they were told not to use the dispersant because it was poisonous to the environment and they kept doing it anyways. i was wondering if possibly all of these birds dying in the air and the fish dying in the ocean bed -- might have something to do with the bp spill. guest: the dispersant issue, what i think you are referring to is, as i said earlier, the dispersant was preapproved under the oil pollution act, the federal law that was passed after exxon valdez. the bpa -- the epa initially said, yes, you can use it. then they said, wait, maybe there are safer alternatives and they issued an order saying, halt the use of the dispersant. basically what happened is that there were not that many
dispersant out there in large enough quantities to solve this problem. so they said, ok, do not use it again. it is sort of that yin and yang you are talking about. so far, all the research i have seen on the use of the dispersant has shown that it really does not exist anymore in the ecowas system, the water, the fish, the plankton -- in the ecosystem, but water, the fish, the plankton. the risk in using it -- and they said it was toxic -- was less than the risk of letting the oil released into the water and left and dispersed. . undispersed. i want to say that the commission address this and their use of it was justified.
there is talk of doing better reviews of these things and how they act because one thing i want to add to this, the one thing that made this unique about the dispersant was howard was applied. typically it is straight -- how it was applied. typically destroyed on the surface of the water. this was applied at the wellhead. this was a mild down. there's a lot of discussion about what happens when you use a chemical at this pressure, cold temperatures and how that will affect the ecowas system -- the ecosystem. as for the birds and fish, one of the biggest challenges to this, and it is a challenge the matter what your talking about. whether you are talking about air pollution events, water pollution events, things like that, it is sometimes hard to trace it back to that particular
incident. obviously, be piece build a lot of oil. we can actually -- bp spilled a lot of oil. we can actually trace that oil, its footprint. there is run off of oil into the gulf from the coast. obviously, when you see a picture on television of a pelican, you can probably say it is probably the will of bp and probably not a good thing for the pelican, but they are going to have to do some science. and they are doing that right now as part of the natural resources damages claim to get bp a bill for the damages that it has caused. it is teasing all of that out. host: will you eat the gulf seafood right now? guest: sure. host: not a problem with it? host: not a problem with it?