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tv   Charlie Rose  Bloomberg  October 29, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT

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>> romar studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. -- from our studios in new york city. >> amy poehler is here. she is an actor and comedian. she is much more. she was a cast member on
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saturday night live. now she is the star of parks and recreation. she has written a book called "yes, please." this cost them maybe $150,000. by purchasing yes lease, you commit to the following. i hereby promise to purchase the book and to read it. >> i wish you could keep reading that. that sounds nice when you read that, charlie. i put my life savings in that ad. but if they think amy can deliver.
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here you are at the ripe old age of something deciding it is time to write my memoir. i have so much to tell. >> i find myself stuck in the middle of life. young children, parents still alive. really busy. career luckily flourishing and feeling juicy. i have a street level of respective, not a birds eye view. a lot of people who read our people who have perspective looking back over a long life or young people on the verge, ready to step into the next thing. i was interested in -- >> what is it like in the middle of it? >> it is chewy. it is flavorful. there is a lot of confusion over who you are and what you're supposed to do. >> you and i went to a dinner with norman layer. were you writing the book then,
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or did that inspire you to write the book? >> i was writing it then, and norman is a friend of mine, and i would speak about our books, and i would kind of laughed. it felt silly to talk about my memoir. he encouraged me and reminded me everybody is voice is distinct. i approached it less as this is my life and more this is how i am feeling and thinking. it is personal stories, and my goal was to be funny and truthful, which is hard to do. >> really? >> to be truthful and funny at the same time? i think so. >> do you think being funny
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helps you with being truthful? >> i think writing as yourself was an exercise for me i hadn't done, where i had to figure out the parameters of what i wanted to share and how i wanted to share it. i was so used to writing a character. i was writing scripts for parks and recreation, the show i am on, and it was like water being able to write in someone else's voice. >> i had to make a speech. i reached out. >> he must have been delighted. was he too busy? >> he was prepared. he said to me -- >> i am going to nail him. >> he said, i am in the midst of practicing for something. he said, i have tina and amy
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writing jokes for me. >> set gave us some good fingers for the golden globe, and he tried to return the favor. >> who came up with it? >> that was the head writer, and he is an ex weekend update writer. it was kathryn bigelow tonight. i haven't been following the controversy, but when it comes to torture i trust someone married to james cameron. i just saw, what was the name of the movie? i just saw gravity. george clooney would rather float into space than spend five more minutes with a woman his own age.
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he is a lot of fun, that one. >> the gift of being able to be funny. did you have that, or did you learn that? >> thank you. when you say that i don't even know -- it feels funny to respond to that, but i found myself liking to perform at an early age. i write in the book i was doing a performance of "the wizard of oz" when i was in fourth grade, but emotionally probably four. i got a laugh. i remember this feeling of really liking it, leaning into it, and wanting it again and again. i think i had to learn how to be a better performer. >> you learn timing. >> you learn how to work with other people, to go against -- our first natural instincts are
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not always great. you have to sift through the first layer. you go through your instinct. it's not always great. >> you also learn it is instinct, timing, and it is also a craft. >> i have gotten better at knowing how i can deliver a joke. i don't know if i know what a great joke in general needs. to read something and know i can deliver this, or if i tweak this, it will come better out of
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my mouth. that is what weekend update helps with, it is doing joke after joke and learning what is working or, i am going to fast and i need to personalize this moment. that kind of stuff is certainly learned. >> it also seemed the ability to feel the funny of it. you tell it with a certain upness. but the audience can't be nervous or worried for you. they have to feel relaxed. the performers feel like they are in control and everything is going to be ok, even when they are on the wire and the audience gets excited. >> yes, please. what does that mean? >> it means two things for me. one is saying yes has really
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given me pretty much everything i have in my life. it is the idea of agreeing and seeing what happens next. i like to say yes to things, including being asked to read a book. please is added because as i have gotten older i realized you cannot do it alone. it is a privilege to be able to do that. it is a statement and a question. it is a title my kids can say. they like to say it around the house. >> was it hard to do this? >> it was. i read about it being difficult. i don't know if it is self-indulgent, but i enjoy peeking behind the curtain in work and in art. i like the people who don't
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pretend things are easy. i find with a lot of writers people treat them like beautiful golden eggs. i like the effort. i like showing my work. >> didn't you say it was like a screwdriver trying to pick out it? >> any time somebody asks how the book is doing you immediately start to live. i would say it is like rushing dirt from a fossil. they realize it is like hacking away at a freezer with a nice i spent. pick.h an ice >> did tina help you? >> she was much too busy to help with the writing, but i reread
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her book. i read a lot of nora efron. >> when you read a great writer, you think, i can never do this. >> it is really discouraging. when you are writing a book, you don't want to read any other books. i try to inspire myself in many different ways. >> you said something interesting to me. you were talking about improv and feeling the applause. what happened after that? did you say, i know what i want to do? >> i came from a blue-collar family.
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i live in a suburb outside of boston, so i thought, that's fun. i like to show off and get attention. then i tucked it away and was a kid in school. learning and being just a suburban kid. i never acted when i was young. then when i got to college, i joined an improv group and started understanding this idea of ensemble and getting the show on time and all that fun stuff. it was a gradual build for me. >> you weren't thinking of a professional life at that time? >> i was thinking of being a teacher. >> it turns you on.
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>> it's truly dangerous. it is an alchemy that is very dependent on the other and active listening. >> what do we mean by improvisation? it was inspired. >> it is from nine to nine. >> a differ from hour to hour. a lot of times improvisation is short games, and we do long ones. it is really fun. >> you say sketch comedy gave that. i assume you tell me what that
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means. >> for some people it is their looks. for some people it is their brains. for some lucky people it is both. my willingness to transform, i funneled that into writing. i don't have to worry as much about being pretty, which is every young person's unfortunate
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burden. who am i in relation to the rest of them? i escape from my own face. >> no need to do that. you also said improvisation is like the military. you leave no man behind. >> remember the times you are in battle and you never forgive them. >> it is like pushing you under a truck or something else? >> it's like running away. it's like deserting. if you are in a scene that isn't going well and you turned your partner and their eyes are like, where are we going? and you think, i love you forever, and if you look at someone, and they are gone, do
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you think, where did you go? >> is it as easy as it has ever been? you are doing scripted shows. >> to improvise right now is a little more difficult for me because i haven't done it in a while. i get a little in my head because i am not as loose as i used to be. definitely not as sharp. i'm a little more tired. it's like a muscle i haven't worked in a while. i have been doing a lot of written stuff in parks and recreation films. i improvise all the time.
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it's like dropping in on a sunday night and just playing and getting in there, and the audience is happy to see you, but they are also expecting, so you have to show them a good time. i like that feeling about not treating anything too precious and having a place where you can stop him. >> you said you knew you were going to be on saturday night live. you phrased it this way. did i know i was going to be on saturday night live? the answer is yes. >> i kind of did. >> you develop a currency. the community knows someone has got it. you don't know when it is going to hit. >> i didn't want to sound like i was riding or being immodest, but there was a voice inside of me that believed i could do it, that show and think, i think i am going to do that. that feels not so far away for me. that being said, never in my wildest dreams could i imagine i would be doing what i am doing
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now. if i was asked to draw a blueprint of my life, it would have stopped in my improv group in college. >> when you got to saturday night live, you and tina, was that instant chemistry? >> we met in chicago. we met in the early 90's in a place called improv olympic, io, and we were on a team together. we had performed for many years before we were on snl. when i arrived in chicago it was steve colbert and amy sedaris. chris farley had just left. mike myers had just left. the comedians working there were really special. i felt like i was part of something special, even though i was waiting tables. >> chicago became that.
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>> it is conveniently removed in a way that allows people to not feel the l.a. pressure to get cherry picked into doing shows. you kind of do the work. it is a theater town. >> was there chemistry between you and tina? >> right away. we like each other, and we saw talent in each other. >> it clicked in terms of timing? all of those things? >> for sure. we had been sitting or standing next to each other for many years. >> and seth became part of your circle. >> we started as n.l. together. snl together. >> he was a writer? >> he was a cast member. in our first show, it was two weeks after september 11 in 2001. it was a strange time to start a
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job on a current comedy show. we kind of dug in, and we were figuring out where the bathrooms were together. we were getting the lay of the land. people were saying comedy was dead and we would never laugh again. of course we did. >> what did you come away with? confidence, experience? >> saturday night live is like comedy camp. you learn how to write, produce, think on your feet, get used to live television, not get too precious about your jokes. >> not be too precious? be willing to -- >> cut yourself. -- cut your stuff.
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when you work with different writers. let's say your show is three minutes over. you have to deliver a 21 minute episode. you are three minutes over and you say, this could go and this could go. people are like, i think that's funny. you are like, at this point everything is funny. that is what snl gets you used to. we call it, killing your babies. your perfect joke has to go. there isn't time. recreation parks and come up? >> that happened in 2008. we are finishing our seventh season. that started in 2000 and eight. my son was born. we had gone off to work and search the american reboot of the office.
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he called me and said, i have got this idea of this show. you're going to love the way we shoot. it is really fun and lose. he said, read the scripts. see if you like it. like you read the scripts? >> i thought, i have got to do that. >> this is when leslie is answering a phone call. >> leslie knope. stop right there. fluoride protects your teeth. he is an idiot, and if you believe it, so are you. >> you talk to that person like i talk to you. >> what are they going to do? kick me out of office. why did it take me so long to realize this? there are no consequences to my actions. nothing bad can happen to me. i am like a white male senator. [rings] fluoride is going into the water. hello, mom. because all it does is prevent
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cavities. i expected more from you. >> why has the show been so successful? is it the conceit of the show? >> i think people grew to care and love the characters. i think they wanted to see them every week. we always talked about the shows we love and that i always loved characters you could imagine on the weekends. i think it is populated by beautiful weirdos. i think the characters are people we wanted to check in. it is about a character who is not very cool.
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>> tell me about this thing called smart girls at the party. you were talking at an earlier moment. >> it's a website. it's a big idea that came from a small idea. we interview regular girls about what they are interested in. they treated as seriously as a charlie rose style show. i sat with young girls in the studio and asked questions about writing and being a sister and what it's like to be alive. and what are you curious. what happened is it is starting to grow.
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now we are starting programming that is a celebration of being yourself. there is an anticipation of all the crap that comes with it. >> good for you. the book is called "yes, please." a surgeon, a public researcher, and a harvard professor. he has been a staff writer since 1998. his new book considers how madison might handle the inevitability of aging and dying. it is called, being mortal. medicine, and what matters in the end. what is your schedule -- one book every three or four years? you are still operating? >> i am still doing 120 cases a year.
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i have a research institute that is help system innovation. my love is still what i get to do by observing carefully. >> it is analyzing and writing in a series of ways. >> i often am writing about things that confuse me. why are health care costs the way we -- the way they are? why are we mismanaging what happens to them? the writing has been my way of exploring. it gives me an excuse to call people up. >> how do most people think about that? >> we don't like to think about it much at all.
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>> we don't like to think about it much at all. there is this great study by a woman at stanford. she is a psychology professor. she put pagers on people and track them over years of their life, more than 20 years. her team would page them and record what their desires and motivations and fears were over time. basically she found if you are far away from death -- let's say say you have 20 years to live. we act like we are going to live forever. it is about achieving things and getting more stuff. when we become aware we might have a limited time on this earth, we suddenly care about family, about being connected to people we love. we tighten in.
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that change is pretty dramatic. it ends up, at the same time you have people who are happier as they get older. they have more perspective and getting some connection to people they want to be connected with and not trying to chase the next thing. >> at the same time there is this argument about people who have this certain proximity. they begin to seek out the scientific means we have now to prolong life. >> why not? the medicine is giving incredible capabilities. it can be as simple as they
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replaced a knee replacement that adds 10 years of mobility and made a huge difference in people's life. on the other hand, i did a study with my team. we found the most likely week you're going to have surgery in your life is the week before you die. the most likely day is the day before you die. that is when it adds the least value to your life. if anything, we find that aggressive treatments when the likelihood of benefit has become really tiny, you are getting all the harm, all the pain, all the suffering. and making decisions that lead you not to sacrifice the quality of life turns out to actually -- it actually does not shorten your life.
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in many cases, in the studies it lay-ins your life. -- in many cases, in the studies, it lay-ins your life. >> there are two fundamental points. >> the first fundamental point is people have priorities in their life besides just living longer. we care about whether my brain works or whether i get to spend time with my dog or whether i get to be home instead of in the hospital. >> whether i am in pain or not. >> the second fundamental thing is the most reliable way to find out what people's priorities are is to ask them. we don't ask them. less than a third of patients in a cancer trial have looked at people who had on average four months to live. less than a third of doctors asked, what are your fears and goals? the ones who did have that conversation had less suffering. >> if you have that conversation you suffer less. >> people often choose.
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they will stop chemotherapy earlier. they will end up spending less time in the hospital. they will start hospice sooner. they tended to live 25% longer by reaching that decision. >> can you tell when death is coming within 48 hours or 52 hours? >> no, there is always uncertainty. i tell the story of my father. my father was diagnosed with brain cancer in his brainstem and spinal cord. i had seen the way i had taken care of my patients. he had seen the way he had taken care of his patients. >> how old was he? >> right around 70. it was an incurable tumor. i asked those questions about, what are your priorities? what is the understanding of your condition?
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he said, i know i am going to die, but i don't know when. what are your worries for the future? he said, i fear this is going to make me quadriplegic. that he would be in terrible pain. what are your goals if time becomes short? to keep doing work that makes a difference. some way to stay connected. those were the things we worked on maximizing. he held off undergoing surgery as long as he could build his surgery himself. he underwent radiation there be.
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it made his life worse. when chemotherapy was taking away some of those priorities, he actually stopped the chemotherapy and lived longer than we thought he might. >> why do you think he might? >> when he stopped some of the medications, the side effects were less. when we had a hospice nurse who focused every day on what do we need to have the best possible day today, let's worry about your day today, what he ended up identifying was that he was falling several times. each fall was making sure he would be in bed for two or three days and get weaker or weaker. >> why do old people fall? no sense of balance? >> you lose some sensation in your feet. you also sometimes can't take care of your feet.
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i saw this patient in their 80's who said, surely the most important thing is the fact she has a lung nodule and her chest x-ray, and that could be really dangerous. look at her feet. she has got calluses. she was wobbling when she walked. she has medications that are going to make her dizzy and dehydrated. no one is taking care of her feet. i checked in on her a year later. she hadn't had any falls. therefore she didn't die in six months. we don't teach that. ask the average doctor what are the three most important things to keep someone at risk of falling from falling. they couldn't tell you. >> is there an argument for putting someone in a nursing home or not? >> yes, we all reach a point in
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our lives if we are able to avoid what my father faced with a sudden catastrophic cancer, that we will become frail and begin to need help. it might be because we cannot remember everything. we may be physically disabled. the argument against these places, they have inherited our medical values. those are health, safety, and survival come first. when we live in our own home, we make choices all the time that well-being and life is bigger than just surviving and being safe. my wife's grandmother was admitted to a nursing home because she was having falls. in the nursing home they wouldn't respect her privacy. she would have her roommate.
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she wouldn't get to stay connected to the church she was part of. they didn't make it possible to see the friends she would have. suddenly she had what i read about is called the three plagues -- boredom, loneliness, and helplessness. she had no purpose and she was miserable. places that let people make choices, even ones that are not supposedly safe, like, i want to have a drink, or an alzheimer's patient only on pureed foods. what is the biggest complaint? that they won't eat improper food. i have read they are hoarding cookies. let them have the cookies. the fear is they won't live as long. the studies show that giving people more purpose in their lives, they live longer.
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>> it seems to me the essence is to ask people what they want and what they need and what makes them happy. that is the crucial question. try to understand where they are because it is their life. >> it's hard. when i have to ask my father what he really cares about, he asks, what outcome for you would not be acceptable? what are you afraid of? those are tough conversations. he continued to do surgery when his left hand got paralyzed. the normal conversation was, you have to give us the keys. his was give us the scalpel. you cannot operate anymore. >> what is interesting is this
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thing about my mother. my father died instantaneously when i was away. he was exercising and collapsed of a heart attack and instantly died. my mother had lung cancer, so they made the diagnosis. near the end, i flew to north carolina. i remember saying, do you want to have a conversation? i realized, in her own mind, she just wasn't there. i said, what would you like? then we had the conversation like you are suggesting. >> you knew the facts. how are you going to have that conversation. i found families and clinicians that are good at these have
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three words they use. we usually give the facts like, you have a 90% chance of dying in the next five days. i am worried your time may be short. what people want is the meaning behind the data. that is what we have learned not to do effectively. >> what if you decide all these things i fear are here. i am lonely. i have no purpose. all these things that you used to do, everything that interest me. my wife is deceased.
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my children have grown and are away. i cannot move. the person says, because of those things, i am ready to die. they say that all the time. >> and we argue we have all these reasons to live. you can say, that's ok. and there are possibilities to change that. i describe an experiment in the nursing home in upstate new york where they decided to give all the people who lived in the nursing home and let them have their own pet, not bring a dog who happens to walk through, their own pet. it could be a couple of parakeets, cats, dogs. the fascinating thing is dealing with the regulation of, you cannot have birds. it is unsafe. they overcame that. there was a man who lost his wife. he got a broken hip in a car crash.
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he was depressed, nothing to live for. they gave him a pair of birds. said you have to help take care of these birds. >> they need you. >> having a chance to take care of these birds, he ignored them. he started noticing one of them was having trouble and reported it to the nurse. by the week after that he accompanied the nurse on rounds to be able to feed the other animals. within three months he was returning back to function enough that he went home. >> the book is called "being mortal." what matters is being able to ask a question and express your own wishes and other things. back in a moment. stay with us. ♪
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>> the president of the center for justice.
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he served as the speechwriter for bill clinton from 1999. it is called the second amendment biography. i am pleased to have michael waldman back. >> we would be in a lot clearer place if the sentence was clearer. it is only 27 words. it is a militia necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. we have been wrestling with what that means ever since. >> give me the interpretation. >> we are now debating gun laws and gun safety.
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it is the first time we have had that debate with the second amendment on the tip of everybody's tongues. the supreme court never ruled the second amendment recognizes an individual right to gun ownership until 2008. that was the case justice scalia wrote. it said what it really recognizes is an individual's ability to protect themselves in the home. the dissenters said it was actually what the second amendment was saying was less individual and more about society. it was more about militias. >> let's talk about it. well regulated militia being necessary to the security of the
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free state? >> it turns out for the framers that was really important. those militias were at the heart of their policy. every adult white male was in the militia for their entire adult life. they were required by law to own a gun and keep the military weapon at home. when the constitution was debated, they thought those were really important as a bulwark against authoritarianism. they were worried the new central federal government was going to be like that. they wanted to protect those. that was the motivating force. >> being necessary for the security of a free state and the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
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>> "bear arms" principally had a military meaning. these days we aren't all in a militia. the country has evolved. it turns out when you look at the second amendment, the way we understand it is not the product of some pristine text, but always the result of rough-and-tumble of political advocacy and public argument. over time we understood it differently. it is the case that until recently the experts didn't think the second amendment represented an individual right to government. warren burger, appointed by nixon, he said the idea the second amendment recognizes an individual right he said was a fraud on the american people. that seems like ancient days. >> tell me about the heller
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decision. >> the heller decision was in 2008. it was written by justice scalia. it struck down a law that made it hard to have a handgun in your home. basically close to a ban. justice scalia said he was only going to follow original intent. this was his idea, that the only legitimate way to understand the constitution was to ask what it meant at the time to the framers, to people at the time. scalia says this opinion was the vindication of originalism. i went back and looked at the actual records of the debate over the second amendment, and it told a surprising and different story. you can look at james madison's notes from the constitutional convention. the records of the ratification convention with a few exceptions
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or the debate at the u.s. house of representatives on the floor, and there is not a word about having a gun for self-protection or hunting, all the things we think about. it was all this question about the militia. madison's original proposal had a conscientious objector clause. it said if you had religious scruples about bearing arms you don't have to do the service. >> if you look at the original intent you will discover that they meant for someone to be able to have a gun in their own home. that was a constitutional right. they never discussed the idea. all the conversation had to do with militias. >> that's right. it is important to be clear there were plenty of guns in colonial america, in the revolutionary period.
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they had guns. early americans had the right to defend themselves, but there were also gun laws. gun safety and gun control laws. at the time of the bill of rights, it was illegal to have a loaded weapon in your home in boston because they blew up. the gunpowder was very dangerous. from the beginning there was a sense of individual rights and collective societal responsibility. i don't think the evidence suggests that they were writing that into the constitution. >> what is the debate today? >> what changed is the role of the national rifle association.
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in the 1970's, the nra pivoted sharply and refocused as arguing the second amendment said an individual right, that any infringement on the second amendment was trampling on freedom. they waged a classic 30-year constitutional campaign. they moved public opinion. of course it refers to an individual right. that is a common view. only eventually did they go to court. it felt like a ripe apple from the tree. it wasn't very controversial. you have to win in the court of public opinion before the court of law.
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>> they won in the court of public opinion? >> they won in the court of public opinion and then the law. >> you do the election, and then you change. >> we backed candidates. they backed scholars. they even fought to change the position of the justice department, which over many years republicans and democrats had said this wasn't an individual right. this kind of broad public constitutional argument, if you think about it, it's how we got civil rights. it's how the fight over voting rights and campaign finance is happening, and it's the way we look at the second amendment changed. it's a classic story of a campaign for change. >> how would the debate be played out in terms of the second amendment? >> it's really interesting.
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the heller opinion was very dramatic. it was the first time it was an individual right. it was the original intent, but consequences have been less dramatic than people expect. the court said if you strip away all the historical trappings of what scalia wrote, it said, yes, it is an individual right. but it didn't say what the limitations were, but there could be limitations. that is up to the rest of us. there have been dozens of cases where people challenge existing gun laws since 2008, and overwhelmingly the courts have upheld the laws. they say, yes, it is an individual right, but there are rights society has also. we have a compelling public interest in strong gun laws. it may turn out while it seemed
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like an earthquake, this may really ratifies the common sense approach a lot of americans have, which is they think they ought to be able to have a gun, but they also think there ought to be rules. >> it is a biography of the second amendment. thank you for joining us. see you next time. ♪ >> live from pier three in
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san francisco, welcome to "bloomberg west" where we cover innovation, technology, and the future of business. let's get a check of the bloomberg top headlines. health-care workers have been treating ebola in west africa were welcomed to the white house by president obama. >> because of the work being done by folks like this, in the three affected countries we are already seeing a difference.

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