tv PBS News Hour PBS January 13, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. funeral services were held today for nine-year-old christina taylor green-- the youngest victim of the mass shooting in arizona. >> suarez: and i'm ray suarez. on the "newshour" tonight, we have the latest on the investigation behind the attack, including new details on suspect jared loughner. >> woodruff: then, tom bearden gets reaction in tucson to last night's call for national healing and a new era in civility. >> thousands of people from all sides of the political spectrum turned out to hear president obama's message of reconciliation. >> suarez: congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz talks about the moment her friend representative gabrielle
giffords opened her eyes in a tucson hospital yesterday. >> woodruff: and we get a broader reaction to the president's speech with reporters from public broadcasting stations in new york, ohio, california, and oklahoma. >> suarez: plus, jeffrey brown, just back from haiti, details the growing frustration over the slow pace of reconstruction a year after the devastating earthquake. >> one year after the earthquake this is the larger reality for so many of the people. tent camp on what was once the city's soccer stadium. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> suarez: the first of the victims of the tucson shootings was laid to rest today. at the same time, doctors reported new progress in the recovery of congresswoman gabrielle giffords. hundreds of mourners gathered at st. elizabeth ann seton catholic church this afternoon, where the service for nine-year-old christina green was held. the third grader had been inspired by an early interest in politics to visit saturday's congressional event, where she and five others were killed. and president obama invoked her memory at last night's memorial service in tucson. >> she saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the
cynicism of vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted. i want to live up to her expectations. i want our democracy to be as good as christina imagined it. i want america to be as good as she imagined it. all of us, we should do everything we can do to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations. >> suarez: the tributes continued at today's funeral, with a display of the largest flag recovered from ground zero in new york, after the 9/11 attacks. the somber scene at the church today contrasted with growing hope at the hospital where representative giffords opened her eyes for the first time yesterday.
today, her neurosurgeon dr. michael lemole called it a major milestone. >> she's still holding her own, following simple commands, and for me that tells me that higher brain center is working. you heard from the president she is now starting to open her eyes spontaneously, and i'm glad you heard that from him because it really puts a human side to this progress. >> suarez: the doctor went on to say: "we're wise to acknowledge miracles." the outpouring of support outside the hospital continued to grow today. what started with just a few flowers, cards and candles the day of the shooting, has turned into an ever expanding tableau and visitors keep coming night and day to take part in the vigil. meanwhile, new details emerged about jared lee loughner, the alleged gunman. an ex-girlfriend from high school days said today loughner seemed stable when they dated, but she also pointed to potential warning signs. >> he had a temper problem. he used to scare me sometimes and that's kind of why, the reason i left him because he kind of made me feel
uncomfortable at times. >> suarez: and, pima community college, where loughner attended classes starting in 2005, released 51 pages of campus police reports. they showed that officers were called on five separate occasions to investigate outbursts in class and other incidents. in the first report, from early february of last year, after hearing a poem about abortion, loughner asked: "why don't we just strap bombs to babies." the incidents accelerated last fall. a september report described loughner as "incomprehensible, his eyes jittery, his head awkwardly tilted" and "unable to fully understand his actions." the next week, officers went to tell loughner he had been suspended. he stared in silence for an hour before finally saying, "i realize now that this is all a scam." school officials told loughner and his parents he would not be re-admitted until he had a mental health exam to show he was not a danger.
he never returned, and the college never referred the matter to the sheriff's department. >> no. it came to light as this investigation occurred. >> suarez: today, investigators reported a new development. a man walking his dog near the loughner family home found a black bag containing ammunition. investigators said they think it's the bag loughner was seen with on the morning of the attacks. the accused gunman is currently being held in a federal prison in phoenix. although jared loughner has so far refused to disclose much information to investigators, a growing portrait of his problems and his mental state continues to emerge. we get further details now from two reporters working this part of the story. david farenthold of the "washington post" joins me here in the studio, and kirk johnson of the "new york times" is in tucson. kirk, let's start with you. the release of documents from the college would seem to
indicate they knew far while they had a problem in jared loughner. >> they certainly knew they had disruptive presence. if you look at these documents that were released, they show a pattern of disruption in class, and that's the word that is most often repeated in the reports. the reports usually say that these incidents don't rise to the level of threat or action at that time. and that seems to be a major element in why they... nothing was done for so long during the year, that the threshold of what would trigger action just wasn't exceeded most of the time for anymore these incidents. >> suarez: just to reiterate that point, kirk, a series of events, disruptive, inappropriate or just sometimes odd but nothing that would
indicate this man might have been a danger to anybody. >> certainly there were people around him who felt that. we've talked to people-- students, co-students, a girl who always wanted to sit near the door when he was there because she feared something in him. and others thought that one day he might do something extreme or violent. but many others that we've talked to didn't see that. they saw kind of crazy. but with a thread of shyness and quietness and a kind of goofyness. >> suarez: was the college's response improvised or did they have specific policies regarding this kind of thing? and do we know whether they were followed? >> as far as we can tell they were followed. the reports seem to suggest that they adhered to a certain threshold of what they were looking for and what the standards of the university in action required and when they...
they often required him to be confronted with what his actions were and those were some of the strangest languages you quoted in your introduction. one incident in particular he was... he said simply that because it was in his head the teacher should accept it and give him a good grade. it was totally self-directed. >> suarez: david, let's look further back to high school, often a rough three or four years for teenagers. what do we know about that time in jared loughner's eyes? >> well, we've talked to friends who see that as kind of a breaking point in which he came into high school out of junior high school as someone who appears to have some small problems with bullying. he was picked on but it seems like he was not out of the mainstream of his junior high school. he took music lessons, played in the jazz band, he was part of the larger group of the high school and friends say starting
around 10th grade that starts to decay. he had a goal friend sort of cut off other friends and he and his girlfriend broke up. he wound up with no social connection. then you see later on in high school towards junior year or senior year an incident in which he's caught in the school having drunk a large amount of alcohol, a large amount of vodka the night before. she shows up at school at 9:00 a.m. obviously drunk and has to go to the hospital he's so drunk and he tells the responding police officer that he drank because his father was upset and yelled at him. so you're starting to see somebody who goes from sort of a... at the margins of high school society to dropping off that society. in the ent end he doesn't finish high school in the place where he started. he ends up at an alternative school. and you're seeing the beginning of somebody who is sort of losing the connection and the feeling of obligation to follow the rules of somebody else, the roots of somebody and by the time he gets to community college the last couple of years can't go a single class without disrupting it or yelling something out that doesn't make
any sense. >> suarez: but he did have friends in high school who were willing to talk to you about what kind of kid he was at that time. >> and they were things that are very typical. monopoly night, or they would go to ihop in the weekends or go on vacation together, things like that. so they remember the things that a normal kid and a normal family did and then they sort of start to feel more isolated in the last few years. even those high school friends we talked to report about a year ago or more they got a text message or some other note from him saying out of the blue "you're not my friend anymore." >> suarez: so there is a timeline. you got to talk to people who knew him during high school and then saw him or ran into him years later and noticed a difference? >> noticed a difference. one of the people we talked to had been very close to him in junior high school and early high school and they wound up in the same community college together and he said jared sometimes would be very... seek out social interaction, want to hang out with him and there were
other times when they'd pass him and jared would try to ignore him. so he saw this kind of untraveling. to him no one sensed the danger that was obviously lurking in there. to them they just saw this as a person who was pushing them away, who was becoming harder to talk to. so the social bonds, the few that jared came into community college with, the few he left high school with, those started to dissolve. >> suarez: but, again, as in what was just described by kirk, perhaps some incident but nothing that was so far outside the margins that it really rattled people. >> right, well you see in the difficulty of being one of these schools and trying to think about where do you draw the line people in some of his classes were terrified of him. i talked to a math professor who said he was afraid to turn around and write math problems on the board because he feared when he turned back around he'd see jared with a gun. so that vibe was being given off but there was nothing overt. i guess there were code words, things you have to say that indicate a plan of violence or a threat of violence and loughner
never said those things. he never went over the line until the very end of last year when the combined weight of all these things caused the community college to suspend him. >> suarez: so if the school recommended he get some kind of help, do we know whether the the laufer if family followed up on that recommendation perhaps with an eye toward him being able to return to school? >> so far we know they didn't but there's been very little communication with the family. the incident that led to us... that precipitated his suspension at the end of september was pretty much end of their contact with him. two officers went to the loughner house and it sounds like a very bizarre scene they were apprehensive enough that they asked for two officers to have backup in the neighborhood close by. they went in and mr. loughner... randy loughner, jared's father, brought them into the garage and there they read the letter that
was sort of the end for jared at the community college and many people we talked to said that was... that could have been a pretty significant psychological turning point or break for him because he was very attached to the school apparently. >> suarez: kirk johnson is in tucson, david farenthold in washington, gentlemen, thank you both. >> woodruff: still to come on the "newshour": the presidential call for civility and reconstruction frustrations in haiti. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman. >> holman: the toll from floods and mudslides in brazil grew drastically overnight to at least 400 people killed. more than 50 others were missing. heavy rain sent tons of earth plunging down mountainsides north of rio de janeiro before dawn on wednesday. the mud and water swept away everything, including entire homes. in one rescue, a woman leaped into the torrent, but had to let go of her dog to cling to a lifeline.
she was pulled to safety. floodwaters in australia's third-largest city began to recede today, leaving behind extensive damage. more than 30,000 homes in brisbane-- the capitalf queensland-- were swamped by a surging river overnight. helicopter rescue teams like this one fanned out today across stricken areas upstream. the death toll stood at 25, but officials said it's expected to grow. and in sri lanka, the monsoon rains kept coming, adding to the flooding disaster there. more than a million people have been affected, with 23 dead and at least 325,000 forced from their homes. the long-ruling president of tunisia appealed for a cease-fire today and he offered concessions to quell growing riots. at least 23 people in the north african country have been killed in clashes with police over the last few weeks. we have a report narrated by jonathan rugman of "independent television news." >> reporter: this was tunis today-- a capital city in chaos.
where a protestor falls to the ground after being shot and injured by police. tunisia is a normally peaceful tourist destination is facing its biggest political crisis in decades. this was the central city of daouz where demonstrators say police shot dead two people among them a university professor lying face down in his own blood. and what began as a protest by the poor has turned into an uprising spearheaded by the educated middle class against life in a police state. in the capital today's standoff with the army would have been almost unthinkable a few weeks ago. these pictures were filmed on a mobile phone but not broadcast in tunisia itself where the internet is censored. "we are young cultivated people, we are artists, and we were beaten in front of the national
theater." at night, the violence has continued despite an official curfew. around 40 people are thought to have died with the u.n. talking of the indiscriminate killing of peaceful protestors. but the leader in the firing line is president ben ali whose posters are being destroyed. he's ruled this country of 10 million people for the past 23 years. tonight the 74-year-old president took to the airwaves to address his people telling them he'd ordered his security forces to stop using firearms against protestors he also demanded a cut in food prices and said he would not run for office again in 2014. the question is whether that will be enough to stop these protests. and if they continue whether the president's own army turns against him. >> holman: and in west africa, u.n. officials in ivory coast reported they're coming under attack by forces loyal to president laurent gbagbo.
he's refused to step down since apparently losing a november election. at least six u.n. vehicles were attacked today, and one was burned. angry crowds also menaced other u.n. workers as they passed. lebanon's political system struggled today to form a new government. prime minister saad hariri's ruling coalition collapsed yesterday when cabinet ministers from hezbollah and its allies resigned. hezbollah has the backing of syria and iran. hariri leads a pro-western bloc. in u.s. economic news, the tide of home foreclosures may peak this year. the listing firm realtytrac estimated today that lenders will repossess 1.2 million homes during 2011. that's up from just over a million foreclosures last year-- the most ever recorded. about five million borrowers currently are at least two months behind on their mortgages. on wall street, stocks struggled after new claims for unemployment benefits hit their highest level since october.
the dow jones industrial average lost 23 points to close below 11,732. the nasdaq fell two points to close at 2,735. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: now, reaction to last night's memorial service and the president's remarks. we begin with a report from "newshour" correspondent tom bearden who was at the tucson event and spoke with members of the community afterward. >> reporter: there were many more people who wanted to attend the memorial service than the auditorium could hold. so officials directed the overflow to the nearby football stadium, where people watched on the scoreboard screen as the temperature steadily dropped. the crowd of about 15,000 is somewhat subdued. the biggest applause lines came when the president introduced the people who had come to the wounded congresswoman's aid. >> these men and women remind us that heroism is found not only on the fields of battle.
they remind us that heroism does not require special training or physical strength. heroism is here, in the hearts of so many of our fellow citizens, all around us, just waiting to be summoned as it was on saturday morning. >> reporter: mic denfield watched with tears in her eyes. she teaches writing at pima community college, the school that suspended accused gunman jared loughner. >> yes, i'm tearful. i'm in such pain over the death of the child too. it was like the crowning thing on a whole tragedy. this child... our whole future is the child. i teach those young adults. i love all of them. they're going to go forth in the world. they're going to do the most tremendous things.
is it emotional? oh, yes. to have the president come... the president of the united states is so incredible to me, so yes, tears. yay. i'm glad i feel. i hope everybody feels it. i hope you do. >> reporter: dennis palmer was having trouble with his emotions, too, particularly when the president talked about nine- year-old christina taylor green, one of the people who died in the burst of gunfire on saturday. >> in christina, we see all of our children. so curious, so trusting, so energetic, so full of magic. so deserving of our love. and so deserving of our good example. if this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let's make sure its
worthy of those we have lost. >> it just hit home for some reason. i can't explain it. you know. i can't explain it. it was just something that hit home with. personally, i just wanted to show my support for the victims that lost their lives on saturday and for myself, too, just for a personal i wanted to be part of what was going on tonight so i could personally deal with what happened this last saturday. >> reporter: one of the most emotional moments of the night came when the president delivered the news about congresswoman gabriel giffords. >> right after we went to visit, a few minutes after we left her room and some of her colleagues in congress were in the room, gabby opened her eyes for the first time. ( applause )
gabby opened her eyes for the first time. ( applause ) gabby opened her eyes, so i can tell you she knows we are here. she knows we love her. and she knows that we are rooting for her through what is undoubtedly going to be a difficult journey. we are there for her. ( applause ) >> reporter: retired architect lorenzo cotton said the president's speech was powerful. >> i thought the way he made it personal for all the events-- personalized it, the people that got injured and then the touching part where he let the nation know that congressman giffords had opened her eyes for the first time, so it was just a >> reporter: much of the president's speech called for a greater level of civility and on this night, many in the crowd we spoke with agreed. >> suarez: now with more on that news the president delivered about the congresswoman's recovery, here is jeff brown.
>> brown: it was during a hospital room visit from her closest friends and colleagues in congress when representative giffords demonstrated her latest signs of progress. florida congresswoman debbie wasserman-schultz was in the room at the time. you describe this as feeling like a "miracle." tell us what happened. >> well, i was... we all were so full of joy to be able to be by the bedside of our good friends gabby and never expected anything like what happened. we were just talking to her like girlfriends talk to each other and urging her on and encouraging her recovery and at one point senator gillibrand, kirsten, was holding her hand, rubbing her hand and gabby was rubbing back with her thumb and kirsten was talking about "gabby you've got to get better quick. we're going to go out for pizza like we did a couple weeks ago." then i said... we vacations with them for the last couple summers
so i said to her "gabby, you've got to get better as quick as you can because we're expecting you back in new hampshire this summer." and right when i said that she... her eyes started to open just a little bit with slits but definitely you could see she was struggling to get them open and mark, her husband, said "oh, gabby, honey, if you can see me, give me the thumb's up sign." and she didn't respond with the thumb's up sign, she... her eyes closed again. they opened... she kept trying a few more times, got them open a little bit more, a little bit more. mark kept encouraging her own. we were talking, tears reaming down our face and mark finally said "honey, if you can see me her eyes were open a little bit more. "give me the thumb's up." and suddenly her arm flew up, she touched his arms, he said "honey, touch my ring if you can hear me." she did. we were just overcome with emotion. it was... the doctor... i'm sorry the doctor got very
animated. he said "this is incredible progress." he whipped out his blackberry, furiously typing on it. it was an incredible moment. it was. >> suarez: you said this took the doctors by surprise as well, right? i think you said last night it appeared to be the power of friendship. >> when we left the hospital room and they ushered us out and said "okay, enough excitement for one period," we went out and talked to dr. lemole, the one who's been so wonderful on t.v. explaining what's going on and he said "look, i usually discount emotion and the impact of emotion or friendship but we clearly witnessed the power of friendship here." and so we were very happy that our girlfriend power could make a little bit of a difference. >> suarez: you were at the service last night where president obama spoke. it was interesting from the outside to watch the crowd, to watch the event, and the mix of sobriety and cheering. how did it strike you?
>> well, it was ultimately somber and hopeful. i think president obama... he literally helped heal the nation heal the tucsonians who were so badly wounded in their hearts and spoke to the hope of our... the future of our democracy. it was really... it was an evening that you left with a full heart. and hope for better civility and better civil discourse. and, you know, i know that colleagues of mine on both sides of the aisle, many of us feel like we need to lead by example going forward and trying to set an example for the kind of dialogue. we can debate vigorously and vigorously advocate our principles. but we need to stop treating our opponents like our enemies.
>> brown: debbie wasserman, thanks very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: now, we turn to our public media colleagues for more reaction to last night's memorial and the president's speech. dick pryor has anchored the "nightly oklahoma news report" for 20 years on oeta. he covered the 1995 bombing and joins us from oklahoma city. julie philipp is news director of wxxi in rochester, n.y., and host of "need to know rochester." jose luis jimenez is with us from kpbs-san diego. he is the social media editor for "fronteras; the changing america desk"-- a consortium of seven south western radio stations. and karen kasler is capital bureau chief for ohio public radio and television. we want to thank you all four for talking with us. dick pryor, i want to start with you, what are people in your viewing area around oklahoma
saying about what the president had to say last night? >> i think people here were very impressed by what president obama said. obviously they were listening first and foremost to hear how he compared to what president clinton said in 1995 following the oklahoma city bombing. the speech was different, the atmosphere was different. it was a lot longer. president clinton spoke for nine minutes and the atmosphere in the arena was different than it was in oklahoma city. it was much more solemn here. i believe the president did all of the things he needed to do and that's what people were looking for. >> woodruff: it was interesting that the crowd at times broke out into applause and cheers. there was almost a sense of relief about that. julie philip, what about in western new york? what what are you picking up there? >> really it is a very general positive reaction to his speech. i think new yorkers, rochester, people here in general have a sense that they want their elected officials to act more like grown-ups and when he first came up to the podium and you coulder what seemed to be the students screaming and whistling
and interrupting him he very gently turned that around and calmed things down and was very solemn and reminded people what the occasion was all about. and he acted in a very adult manner and a very civil way and i think that went over very well here. >> woodruff: and on the other side of the country, jose luis jimenez in san diego, you're so close to tucson, or closer than our other guests tonight. what do you think people where you are expected and what was the reaction? >> well, yesterday we turned to our social media platforms and we asked people what they wanted to hear from the speech and the first thing they said is that they wanted politics set aside. they also said they felt wounded and they wanted to hear words of wisdom that they wanted to heal. today turning back to our social media platforms people are basically saying that he hit the mark. using words like "hope "and unity" to describe the speech and that he focused more on the survivors and victims of the tragedy as opposed to some of the other elements of it.
and that's also been reflekted in the larger social media sphere. you see people posting direct quotes from the speech on social media platform which is seems to indicate it did resonate with some people. >> woodruff: jose jimenez, staying with you for a moment, what are some of the quotes people are posting? >> a lot of people are taking the inspirational quotes. basically when obama used the nine-year-old as an example to use her memory to go forward, to build an naeshg she would be proud november the future. that seems to be one of the main quotes that you're seeing a lot being posted on social media platforms. also the call to civility. to continue talking about the issues but to put the discourse in a much more civil manner. >> woodruff: and karen kasler, to you in columbus, ohio, what are you picking up? >> well, here in ohio, we're no strangers to big events being held in arenas and that sort of
things. we have ohio state university in columbus so the pep rally atmosphere in a way was not a surprise to i think a lot of people in ohio. and once again i think you had kind of a split amongst people who like president obama, they liked his speech. people who don't like him don't like his speech. and if you read facebook and social media and twitter and then you also listened to talk radio here in ohio you heard that split, you heard that very obvious difference between people who thought he had a wonderful speech, a lot of calls for unity and civility and a really soothing, healing kind of speech. others saying it was divisive for him to have spoken at this event and they felt like this was a political opportunity for him. so a bit of a split decision here. ohio is solidly republican state now so in a way that's not too surprising. >> woodruff: dick pryor, back to you in oklahoma, were you picking up that split? is that what you're sensing there, too? >> absolutely. but i think only the harshest critics would have criticized president obama's speech here in oklahoma. i think the people here were
looking for those things that were comforting to the victims. we know what that feels like in oklahoma. he needed to reach out to the families and comfort them, to honor the victims, to applaud the heroes and also to validate the community and let everybody know in the community that the entire nation shared in their grief. president clinton did that very effectively. president obama did it as well in very human terms. his connection when he was talking about the victims, i think, was very powerful. >> woodruff: julie philipp in rochester, new york, when the president talked about a need for civil discourse, for civility, for a country as good as little christina green would have imagined, is there a sense that that's realistic? >> well, i think that new yorkers right now are riding this little ripple of hope that, you know, things will get better. we have a new governor, andrew cuomo, and he spent some time in his inaugural address and his state of the state talking about how political discourse needs to
be more civil. and there was sort of a general overall positive response to that. so there is this little ripple of hope that things are going to change. and i think the president's speech might have reinforced that a bit. although it's probably far too soon to say that rip is turning into a wave. >> woodruff: and to san diego, again, to jose jimenez, is it your sense that what the president talked about when he talked about the need for more civility, to that those are just nice words or do people really believe that that can take place? >> well, i think yes, they are nice words. and i think people wanted to hear those nice words at this moment. >> and getting back to what they're telling us, they have hope for the future that perhaps his words will inspire to change but i think they're also realistic of the climate we're in and they're not expecting a miracle to happen overnight. that this might take time but they're still hope tlfl could be some change coming forward. >> woodruff: karen kasler, the same thing. is there a sense that it's words
that the president means well but that the split cal reality is very different or how do you see it? >> i know there are a lot of people in ohio who have gotten very sick of what they feel to be overblown political rhetoric. we had very bitter congressional campaigns in november and our gubernatorial campaign was very divisive. you had both political parties pouring a lot of money into these campaigns. a lot of people saying they were very frustrated with the negative tone coming out of both candidates on both sides. so the idea of bringing a little bit more civility has been talked about quite often. and so i think there's a lot of people who really would like to see this happen, whether it can actually happen and if it would take something like this for this to happen is really the question. >> woodruff: julie philipp, again in rochester, do you think people have an understanding of what it would take to make our public discourse, our political discourse more civil to bring back the kind of humility that
the president referred to last night? >> well, it would take politicians continuing to act like that on a regular basis and that's something that really has not happened here in a long time. even after 9/11 when there was a very great sense that the country needed to come together and that politics needed to be put aside, that didn't last very long. we, too, had some very divisive elections. one of the local representatives luis slaughter, had a brick thrown through her office during the health care debate last march and there was a brick thrown through the local county democratic headquarters at about the same time. i think there's a lot of skepticism over wlp a speech is going to change things. it's going to take a lot of behavior changes in the legislative chambers across the country. >> woodruff: jose jimenez in southern california, what do you think the perspective is there? there that really could be
change in the way politicians talk to each other and conduct their business or that this is just a moment in time? >> i think people are hoping that this will be abopportunity to bring some change. again they feel this climate, they feel that in this climate they're in right now there's a lot of rhetoric but not a lot of things getting done. in the end of the day people want solutions to problems. if it takes this tragedy in tucson to make change the culture to perhaps start fomenting some change to actually deal with some of the solutions then i think people will feel good about that. >> woodruff: but karen kasler, it sounds as if you're saying the columbus, ohio, perspective is that maybe some people don't want the two parties to work together. how do you see they? >> well, republicans run every statewide office in a while and we heard john kasich, former congressman, talking about we need to work together because we
have a huge budget deficit in ohio. that remains to be seen whether both sides can work together. but it's not just lawmakers and politicians and even people on one side or the other. you even have reports out. for example, there was a report out this week from f.b.i. data showing background checks for handgun sales in ohio were up 65% for the monday after the shooting over a year ago. 65%. that was the largest increase in the nation. you have gone right back the saying that means one thing, anti-gun activists saying that means something else so the discourse goes even beyond the political realm into all the other issues that surround the shooting. >> woodruff: and pick up on that. we heard the same thing around phoenix on arizona that gun sales have picked up and ammunition sales have picked up dramatically since this incident out of apparently a fear that guns may be taken away. i want to come back to julie philipp on that question. is there a sense that maybe it's
time to look at gun laws? the president didn't refer directly to that but he did talk about in so many words we can't afford to just ignore this violence and be passive about it. >> yeah, i think i read a report where gun sales went up in new york as well. there was an editorial about this is the time to look toward the... at the gun control laws and maybe strengthen them a little bit. but then somebody mentioned that the people who subdued the shooter in tucson didn't have guns so that this debate over we don't need stricter laws is moot when you have people that saved the day didn't have to use guns so that's where it was going here. >> woodruff: dick pryor, i want to come back to you on this point and this question of whether it's just dreaming that we can have political conversation discourse in this country that's more civil,
that's more respectful of one another. >> well, i heard from people in are hoping that that will happen. i think people in oklahoma learned following the oklahoma city bombing that you can't rush to judgment. you can't fix blame too quickly because there are many factors that can conspire to cause a tragedy such as this one and, indeed, i think that's what happened in tucson. so people are not going to go out and immediately say we need to have gun control laws or people are not going to say we need to automatically change our discourse in the public sphere. but i do think there are people here that realize that there's a combination of all of those factors. i heard people say words do matter. we do need to tone down the rhetoric because people who have mental illness-- and that's really a big concern here-- are more likely perhaps to go out and do something like this. i talked to the mental health commissioner at oklahoma just this week and she said "i think that is one thing that oklahoma and all other states need to take a harder look at is not just the rhetoric, not just the
access to guns but it's how we deal with our mentally nil our states because that's such an important concern." >> woodruff: we are well to be reminded of that. dick pryor in oklahoma city, thank you. julie philipp in rochester, new york, xxxi, jose luis jimenez san diego and karen kasler in columbus, ohio. we thank you, all of you. >> my pleasure, thanks, judy. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> suarez: finally tonight, haiti one year later. this week the government raised its death toll estimate from last january's earthquake to more than 316,000. jeffrey brown has just returned from haiti. in tonight's report, he looks into the slow pace of reconstruction in the capital and in a nearby city, at the quake's epicenter. >> reporter: on a recent morning
in the haitian city of leogane, young students worked through french grammar. their old school was destroyed in last year's earthquake. fortunately, classes had ended for the day and no one was injured. now, the lessons go on here: in a new building of concrete, wood and tarp funded by the aid group save the children. the students told us they like their new school. this girl said she feels safer here. it's a wonderful scene. but there's also this: where do you live? ( speaking french ) >> reporter: you live in a tent now? is that hard to live in the tent? ( speaking french ) >> reporter: so it's really hot all time. one year after the earthquake, this is the larger reality for too many of leogane's people-- a tent camp on what was once the city's soccer stadium. this community came into being on january 12, 2010. the question now is whether it and so many others will become a
permanent part of life here. some 25 miles from the bustle of port-au-prince, leogane was once a quiet city of about 120,000 people, known for its colonial architecture and cobblestone streets. but the epicenter of last january's earthquake was right here in leogane. an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 people died. and almost 90% of the buildings crumbled or received serious damage. among them: haiti's oldest church, st. rose-- a local landmark. just the floor and some pews remain under a temporary plastic roof. most public spaces have been transformed into communities of the displaced. saint-hubert emerson, a teacher, lives in a one room tent-shack with his wife, five-year-old daughter, and two others. >> the spaces that we're in are just not suitable. this is a soccer field. this is not made for people to live.
>> reporter: are people being patient or are they growing angry? >> ( translated ): people are starting to get angry because they see the news and they hear the news on the radio and they know how many billions of dollars have been given here and spent here. but their day-to-day situation is just getting worse and worse. >> reporter: one place emerson can not look to is city hall, now a mere facade with rubble piled high. >> as you can see, this is what we have now, as an office. >> reporter: mayor santos alexis presides over what he admits is a barely functioning city government. and he's frustrated with the pace of aid. >> i'm not satisfied. earthquake happened one year ago, it looks like it happened three months ago. nothing was done really. all i can see is another bunch of s.u.v.s driving around, but nothing else. >> reporter: s.u.v.s is a pointed reference to the cars driven around the country by international organizations and aid groups.
>> don't get me wrong. i thought usaid was very helpful and some of the other organizations very helpful. but totally it's not enough for them to help the kind of problems we are seeing here. >> reporter: much of the anger and confusion a year later involves money. nigel fisher heads the united nations' humanitarian operations in haiti. so if people say, "where is the money that has been spent? where has it gone to? what can i see?" >> well, you see now a lot of camps that don't look in great condition but tens of millions every month have gone into making sure that those function. we're now in a situation where people are, if people are not going home, we'll have to start replacing the tents, the tarpaulins, keeping the water supply and sanitation going. >> reporter: but as to moving beyond emergency measures to big projects, including housing that, fisher, says has gone more slowly than hoped. the international community pledged some $6 billion for haiti's rebuilding.
but just part of that was targeted to 2010. so far, around a billion has been dispersed. the funds are overseen by a commission co-chaired by former president clinton and haitian prime minister bellerive. >> a lot of the projects were approved by the commission in the latter part of the year. the money has to get, once the project's approved, the money has to get from the donor to the implementing agency. that agency cannot start, for example, the bidding process for contractors until they get the money. so that caused a delay. >> reporter: the result, claims the aid group oxfam, was a year of indecision. on leogane's streets, fingers are pointed everywhere, most especially at the government. >> ( translated ): since the earthquake leogane has just become like a pile of garbage, the government has no respect for us. >> reporter: in the capital, port-au-prince, the presidential palace looks just as it did
right after the earthquake. across the street, the downtown plaza, the champs de mars, remains a huge tent camp. all told, an estimated one million people still live in camps. while many of the roads have been cleared, rubble remains an enormous problem. of the 25 million cubic yards of debris, only 5% has been removed. there are some signs of life: one is the reconstructed iron market-- a project financed by the cell phone company, digicell. days before the re-opening, would-be shopkeepers lined up to secure stalls inside. in leogane, too, there are signs of rebuilding, if only tentative ones. temporary t-shelters are starting to replace tarps and tents, allowing some who have land, to move back. this man took the basic frame
and did his own makeover. and, amid the wreckage, small businesses have popped up all over. but haiti's reconstruction mantra is build back better-- not only better to withstand earthquakes, but also an acknowledgement that even before the earthquake this was the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. >> i was just six or seven when they paved that road in the front. >> reporter: standing in the ruins of her grandparents' home in leogane, regine barjon, says the only way haiti can build back better, is to reform its farming sector. the rich agricultural land in this area is dominated by sugar cane. but the industry largely dried up when local farmers couldn't compete with cheaper, subsidized imports from the u.s. and europe. it's a huge problem nationwide: haiti imports more than half of its food.
barjon took us to the one refinery still functioning, barely, where she's trying to develop a partnership between the haitian government and her company, biotek haiti. she says it can jumpstart the industry and the local economy. >> this relates a great deal to the reconstruction process because if this mill is up and working and operating the way it ought to be, we will create 32,000 jobs. >> reporter: the mill is also set up to produce electricity as a byproduct of refining sugar. >> we need energy, we need to create jobs, we need to make, first and foremost we need to invest in haitian economic self- sustenance. and if haiti, which was exporting sugar some 20, 30 years ago, is now importing sugar, we're never going to get that. >> reporter: the project is under review by the government and barjon says she's frustrated by the slow pace. but patrick delatour says haiti's government should take its time with big decisions. a year ago, the "newshour"
talked with delatour, an architect and haiti's minister of tourism. he'd just lost his parents in the quake, but was already making blueprints for long-term rebuilding. today, looking at haiti's overcrowded and devastated cities, he believes getting the policies right is more useful than getting caught up in a blame game at the one year anniversary. >> i am mostly concerned that within the next five years whatever new government comes in, we find the legal and administrative structure in place to start the process of reconstruction. so that at the end of five years we have the result and we can see new villages coming out, people coming out of the camps. and in my mind, from what i estimate on the comparative basis, rebuilding haiti and rebuilding port-au-prince is a 20 year years construction program. if we make wrong decision right
now, that will affect the life >> reporter: but can people here wait that long? and how long before the world turns its attention elsewhere? haiti's people, having endured so much for so long, may well wonder: will the future look like this? or, as they say here, si dieu vieux, god willing, more like this. ( singing ) >> woodruff: jeff's reporting from haiti continues tomorrow night with a look at the struggle to contain the country's latest health emergency: an outbreak of cholera. >> suarez: again, the major developnts of the day: the first of the funerals for the tucson shooting victims was held. hundreds of people turned out to remember nine-year-old christina taylor green, the youngest victim. the toll from floods and mudslides in brazil grew to at least 400 dead. while floodwaters began receding in brisbane, australia where 30,000 homes were damaged.
and the long-ruling president of tunisia appealed for a cease-fire to quell growing riots against his government. and to kwame holman for what's on the "newshour" online. kwame? >> holman: you can find video dispatches from jeff's reporting in haiti on the rundown blog also there's an update from margaret warner, currently on assignment in south korea. yesterday, she interviewed the top american commander in korea, general walter sharp. here's what sharp had to say about the threat of a missile or nuclear attack from pyongyang. >> warner: your civilian fwhosz week, secretary gates, in beijing said that north korea is now becoming a direct threat to the united states and is within five years of developing a missile that could actually hit the continental u.s. presumably or perhaps with a nuclear warhead. how does that complicate your mission here? or does it? >> it's all part of the capability that north korea has
and what we have to be prepared to do is to be able to... number one, deter but if deterrence doesn't work be prepared to respond. and that includes the capability that if our national level decides us to do, to be able to not allow north korea to shoot a taepodong missile or an sbi continental ballistic missile. >> warner: so you're saying you have to capability and the forces here to take out their missile sites if that was the decision from the top? >> i'm saying the alliance has that capability to be able toll do that. >> holman: all that and more is on our web site: newshour.pbs.org. ray? >> suarez: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm ray suarez. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you on-line. and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks, among others. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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