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tv   Crossfire  CNN  December 13, 2013 3:30pm-4:01pm PST

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specific teacher, never did fin that teacher, but did open fire, again shooting at least two, possibly three students before taking his own life. students immediately went into the lockdown situation at their school as police, s.w.a.t. activated their active shooter protocol, trained to go directly to the threat. we do understand there was a security guard at the school at the time who immediately also took action. what kind of contingency plan did this school have for events like this? >> certainly since columbine, which was back in 1999, and flat canyon, another school shooting here in 2006, there have been extensive training for active shooter situations. we've talked to several students
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who said they have done lockdown drills number time. prepare for other sit wall street by going into the moss security area in the classroom. >> ana, it's stephanie again. we know that the shooter took his own life. do we know anything else? any of the background between the students and the teacher? >> we've been talking to a lot of students and parents, and while law enforcement officials are not giving us any specifics as far as confirming the identify, only that he was a tonight at the school. i just spoke with a tonight who tells me he is a very good friend of the shooter, he's 100% he knows the shooter and described this individual as
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somebody who was well liked, had a lot of friends, kind of a geek but in a likable way, was part of the speech and debate team, and perhaps had a conflict with whom he was targeting. >> >> that you you, hanna, a year of inaction. with us tonight democratic strategist donna brazil and kevin madden, both cnn political commentators. kevin, let's start with you. yet another terrible tragedy. we've seen some action in washington on steps to improve gun safety and gun control. and my question to you is the senate has acted, the administration has taken some steps to increase funding, to remove the stigma of mental health issues, to put an atf director in place to keep guns off the streets.
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why hasn't the house moved? tell me about the dynamics. >> that's a good question. you mentioned it earlier. when it's about gun control, it's a pretty partisan debate, one where it elicits a lot of different emotions from different sectors of the ideological sector. in the area of gun safety, there's bipartisan agreement, and folks who care about mental health issues, funding, school safety, gun safety. oftentimes when it veers away and becoming very partisan, it just becomes very difficult. >> donna, i think in the wake of these tragedies. there's often an understandable, but knee-jerk reaction to want to solve for this tragedy, to pass laws that would have prevented this tragedy, but we know that tragedy to tragedy,
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they're different. it's a complex, constellation of variables and factor. so it is possible legislatively, or should we have, as kevin is suggesting, talk about the mental health preventative things we request do beforehand? >> look, i think we need to have a broad conversation, a conversation that starts with gun safety laws, a conversation that starts with the accessibility of mentality health services, facilities, counselors. i teach on a college campus. it's very important that you have personnel available to help to talk to individuals. but the one thing we soon stigma advertise is mental health patients. look, we know that clearly 9 of% of people who receive the treatment, near not violent. so it's important we increase the availability of beds,
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counselors, public safety officials. we have a full conversation. but remember we can't solves all the problems in washington, d.c. they have ton solved in our churches, schools, synagogues and around the kitchen table, so to speakivities what can we do -- kevin, you mentioned we get into problems here at washington. donna mentioned this has to be a multitiered apreach. how do we purr is into action, we're actually acting up front to prevent tragedies. >> the more likely trajectory is when you make incremental reforms on areas where you agree, mental health funding or school safety. maybe overreach, that's a big bill where it binges in a lot of parties and disagreements, that thanks the dynamic.
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i want to agree with donna, there is a more important forum for this. kitchen tables, inside managee american health foreign minister, that is probably where i expect there's a public debate >> i completely agree. it seems as if we identify the need to sit around and have they conversations about mental health, about resources, access, the intensity surrounding these events dies down over time. and there really isn't a way to keep the month tum going to source these problems. how do we come up with a way to motivate people around their kitchen tables, maybe even in washington, to keep these issues at the forefront.
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>> it dies do unin washington and maybe in the national conversation. after all, in a few weeks we'll be consumed about the super bowl. we're always distracted. but in places like newtown. rite here in washington, d.c., with the navy atshooting, the weej will not go away. we're losing a lot of kids all the type. it's i'm for us to xwrar our children and talk to our children. i tell people i have 18 nieces and nephews. i'm not aurchie. i text them. we have to have in touch with or first are first and our family. next weep bring in a pair of
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tonight on "crossfire" we're following breaking news. this afternoon's shooting incident at a colorado high school. the gunman, a student who brought a shotgun to his school, is dead. we're told three people are being treated at local hospitals, at least two of them are students. cnn's ana cabrera is outside the school in suburban denver. what do we know about the investigation of the shooter? >> reporter: we do know this investigation has now turned to the shooter's house, his car, anywhere else he may have been recently in which he could have perhaps stored things, items that might give clues into this
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investigation and motive and what the plan was leading up to today the 12:33 when he walked in with a shotgun, not even trying to conceal it, and apparently was targeting a teacher. he schedule for a teacher by a specific name, but eventually opened fired. we're still working to get more information about the shooter. the sheriff's department, which has taken the lead on this investigation up to this point is not releasing the shooter's identity, but they do confirm he is a opportunity at the school. as we've been talking to students at the school who were inside and learning more about this situation as well, we're learning that the shooter is believed to be a student who is a senior here, who is well liked by many, who is part of the speech and debate team, and so as students have been talking to us, they did not see this coming. stephanie, s.e.? >> anna, what is the reaction in the community been like? have parents of other students?
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just folks in the town? how have thb el reacting? >> reporter: is just so shaken. you never think it's going to happen to you, is one of the reactions that we heard from father as he was able to reunite at his daughter here, where parents and students are still reuniting at this horrible situation this morning and this afternoon. of course, in the in littleton, colorado. most people remember littleton, colorado, as the place where columbine happened, back in 1999. and then of course just a little over a year ago, there was the aurora theater shooting in which several people were killed and dozens of people were injured. so it's all happened in and around this community, unfortunately these tragedies, these shootings like this are not unfamily, but yet a lot of people have told us today, you prepared for something like
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this, we've heard of something like this happening, but you just don't expect it to happen to you directly. >> thanks, ana. today's shooting once again raised question about how our nation deals with mental illness. dr. jeff guardier is here with us. how can parents sort of cease out from their own kids whether they need help, whether they're hurting or maybe they're just stressed and need to be left alone? what are the distinct differences? >> what you're asking about are the early signs. well, we find that if the kids all of a sudden, things they like to do, they stop doing it, they stop going to school or stop taking their piano lessons, or stop playing sports, they become introverted and isolated. they stop communicating. one of the things i see all the time is they begin to in some
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ways stop taking care of their hygiene. parents know when something is wrong, but in many ways they're in die nile. it's easy to understand that. the last thing you want is for you are child to have some mental health issue, knowing in this country we're not taking care of the mental health issues of our children very well. >> doctor, a question for you. what was does the stigma of mental health have to do with how the students are treated? are they scheduling for help? are their parents open to looking for these problems and can get them the help? tell me about the city mar we're still dealing with, unfortunately, across this country. >> like you said unfortunately i think it playing a tremendous role. if you tell someone you have depression, they don't look at you the same way as if you tell them you have heart disease. until we can overcome that,
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mental health will not be as accessible as we would like it to be. >> dr. bober, take me into this school. how would you suggest or expect the school to deal with the students here? these are not 5 and 6-year-olds. these are high school kids. do you deal with trauma involving high school kids a little differently? what kind of conversations do you think are going to happen over the next few weeks? >> we know anytime you deal with trauma, you do it in a developmentally appropriate context. but in general, you want to sort of let them decrease at a time the conversation and talk about things on their own terms. we know in the early stages, we don't want to retraumatize people by forces them to speak about it. >> dr. gardere, i have a question for you again. we talked about the things that
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parents need toby looking for, that teachers need to be looking for, but these troubled teenagers deal with their friends and classmates every single day. what's your advice to their classmates? >> well, i think classmates should look at some of same things the parents look at. certainly that isolation that i talked about, but i think more than anything else since we're talking about peer relationships, if you feel that person, somebody is troubling them, that they're not talking about it, they have some anxiety or nervousness, but the biggest thing that you see is the anger and the rage. what we saw in this particular case allegedly, this shooter said i'm looking for this particular teacher. what they do is they find one particular individual, or some individuals who become symbolic for a lot of the conflict that is going on in their lives.
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these are teem erms who, and then these take that rage out. i would say the number one then to look for is the anger. good advice, and there's constituent a lot more we need to know. we'd like to thank you both for joining us. our guests donna brazil and kevin madden are still with us. guys, reaction. i mean, you have kids, kevin. this must be something you think about as a parent all the time. >> i think it's most important to look at a tragedy like this, not through the lens of partisanship, but of course through the lens, like donna said earlier, i have to look at it as a father, you have to look at it as an expectant mother. i think what's most important is children need to know they can come to their parents to talk to them when they face problems or pressuresivities that's something as a father i would focus on. i think oftentimes many children
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don't have that outlet or may not feel comfortable that they have that outlet, a guidance counselor or teacher or parent. that's something i think is important to address, you know, encouraging kids to express when they and not stigmatizing. that's something i took away that was a really important point that one of the guests made about stigmatizing mental health. we shouldn't criminalize it. so many people who are seeking treatment are often thrown in jail. we have so many prisoners right now all across america who need mental help, assistance. and we are treating them like criminal when they're really, you know, they need medication in some cases some of them need counseling. so i think we need to have a broader kochb. tomorrow we will pause, president obama, mrs. obama will pause to remember and mourn the victims of sandy hook.
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but this is an opportunity for us once again to have a more deeper conversation where advocates of gun rights and advocates for gun safety should sit down and say, okay, here are some of the common sense thing we should do. that includes the mental health services. >> i think person to person is the best way. friend to friend. mother to daughter. father to son. >> you had brought up earlier what i thought was an interesting point. we talked about this before. it always seems like jarod loughner, adam lanza, there are erie similarities in terms of the profile. >> young, white, withdrawn. we need to figure out why that is. sow donna's point, sometime we wait too long to deal with these mental health issues. by the time they're into the prison system and by then we have to deal with that but it is almost too late.
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we need deal with it up front. removing the stigma is step number one. finding a way to talk to each other in washington and state camdens across the country and communities and churches is number two. as much as we say this is something that needs to be dealt at a local level, it does need to be addressed in washington. and mental health is an area that i hope we can find agreement on but we have to find agreement on other things too. this has to be all hands on deck looking at every option. putting aside our differences to find these things that we can get done. >> and you made an interesting point about growing communities. maybe outpacing resources being able to come up with those resources. >> that's right. and every community has different strains on their public services. and i think again, that's an area where promoting mental health is not a partisan issue. it has to do with people working together.
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we're back with donna brazile and kevin madden. in terms of how we deal with the rhetoric around this, and the conversations we need to have and i think we had a pretty good one at this table, all things considered. i'm a gun rights activist. what do you tell me to change my
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mind on this issue? >> you know, i have always respected the second amendment. but i also believe we must make sure we have responsible gun laws, gun safety laws. that we can find common ground. on back ground checks or some other way. i want to end with this. there is been 27 shootings since newtown sandy hook. the families of newtown have access to spend tomorrow in acts of kindness. let's have acts of kindness. not just newtown but chicago and new orleans and all across this country and let's pray for those suffering only the to ensure those families will recover. >> well said. >> well said. one last question to you. you know, building off what s.e. asked donna, how do you convince somebody on the other side to find agreement. we do have to change our rhetoric. one side has to stop accusing the other of infringing on the
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second amendment and the other side has to stop accusing the opponents of not wanting to do enough to protect our kids. and the bottom line is we have to find a washington solution. what is that washington solution? don't just say mental health. >> i think the washington solution begins the genesis of the solution begins in places like donna said before. in living rooms, kitchen tables, mental health forms. i think there's growing agreement on thing like mental health. that the washington solution will have some sort of bipartisan agreement there. and i think again, that is, if we want to find consensus right now where we can build upon, that's an area where i think there would be agreement that you can use it. that's a legislative victory that you could achieve and everybody could show there's progress being made in washington. >> i home that happens. s.e., maybe you and i should have that conversation too. >> maybe we can solve this together. >> thanks to donna brazile and kevin madden.
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>> join us monday for another edition of "crossfire." erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com good evening. breaking news. another deadly school shooting. this one in colorado. almost a year to the day since the deadly newtown connecticut shooting sthat left 20 school children dead. three students were wounded this afternoon. one seriously at arapahoe high school in centennial high school after a gunman also a student at the school opened fire with a shotgun. >> it was terrifying. she came running down the stairs saying someone had been shot them all ran into a room and she went into shock and now we're all just terrified. >> according to the sheriff, t

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