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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  February 20, 2018 3:30pm-4:01pm PST

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face. >> i love curling. >> i know. >> look at that. tonight, student survivors taking action, confronting florida's lawmakers over guns. >> we are demanding change. we have stared down the barrel of an ar-15 ourselves. >> and at several high schools, walkouts in a growing show of solidarity. also tonight, it's been called america's safest school. high-tech cameras, panic buttons, and a hookup straight to the sheriff's department. is this the future? breaking news from president trump on the nation's gun laws as we hear from the white house for the first time since the massacre. and since those new mueller indictments against russians. wild weather from coast-to-coast. record cold in the west. record heat in the east, and a major flood threat in between. and here in
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pyeongchang, more medals for team usa. tonight, one of the breakout stars, adam rippon opening up about a hidden side of figure skating, a secret he is revealing about himself to help others. >> this is sh"nbc nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening from pyeongchang. i'm savannah guthrie in tonight for lester. it's been a day of hope and heartbreak for this movement of students left anguished and angry, but galvanized to force change after the latest school massacre in florida. right now over 100 survivors from marjory stoneman douglas high school are on their way to florida's capital to confront the governor over gun laws. these protests are showing no signs of slowing down. in fact, they're growing. a big show of solidarity today as students at several florida high schools got up and walked out, demanding their message be heard. nbc's kerry sanders starts us off tonight from tallahassee. >> reporter: students, survivors, and now
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activists. >> we are demanding change. we have stared down the barrel of an ar-15 ourselves. >> reporter: more than 100 from marjory stoneman douglas high school on an eight-hour trip to meet lawmakers and rally outside the florida state capitol tomorrow. >> now is the time to make compromise, to come together. >> stop gun violence! >> reporter: again today across florida, students walked out of class, demanding safety from gun violence on campus. >> it's so easy to get a gun nowadays. it's ridiculous. >> reporter: but this afternoon, florida legislators declined to hear a bill on banning assault weapons. students in attendance overcome with emotion. this as friends and family gathered for three more funerals, including 15-year-old peter wang, member of junior rotc. today west point honored his bravery with a posthumous appointment to the academy. >> i just prepared to die. >> reporter: it was only six days ago teacher dara hoss was
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teaching freshman english when she heard the first gunshots. at first you thought this was just the drill. >> i thought it might be the drill. and i went to shut the blinds. and then i turned to say turn the lights off. and when i turned, i saw my student. i saw him, and he -- he was bleeding. >> reporter: before it would end, three 14-year-olds in her classroom lay dead. >> it's so hard to grasp that i lost their sweet little faces. >> reporter: as we were with her, she got a text from the father of one of the victims, alex schachter. >> oh, my gosh. >> reporter: it was a poem alex had intended to submit for an upcoming assignment. >> "life is like a roller coaster. it has some ups and downs. eventually it all comes to a stop. you know when or how. but you will know that it will be time to get off." it's just not fair. it's not fair that they had to be taken.
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>> reporter: next month, many of the students gathering here in tallahassee will march in washington for gun control, and they'll have the support of some big names. oprah winfrey, george clooney, and steven spielberg all say they would donate a half million to offset the cost of that event. savannah? >> kerry sanders in tallahassee for us. and there is another movement going viral in the wake of this school massacre. some gunowners are posting videos of themselves destroying or getting rid of their firearms, clairing one less gun on social media. here is nbc's gabe gutierrez with the story. >> reporter: as she watched the horrifying images of the parkland shooting, gunowner amanda meyer of connecticut says she needed to do something. so she destroyed her handgun. >> i hope that some people are inspired by at least that they would go out and do the same thing. >> reporter: in north carolina, mike russell handed over his ar-15 to law enforcement. he bought it as a hobby, but --
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>> as i see more and more ar-15s being part of mass shootings, i don't want to be a part of that. >> reporter: on social media, some gunowners are getting rid of their rifles and posting pictures under the #onelessgun. >> i want to make sure this weapon will never be able to take a life. >> reporter: it all started with a facebook video viewed more than 17 million times of a self-described responsible gunowner with a fade tattoo with the right to bear arms. so moved by the florida shooting that he slice d his ar-15. >> now one less. >> reporter: the nra has called the ar-15 the most popular rifle in the u.s., owned by eight million americans. enthusiasts say it's customizable, accurate, and versatile. but it's become the weapon of choice in mass killings. marcos avalon is a certified nra instructor who says banning ar-15s is a mistake. >> it's a scapegoating. there will be another mass shooting right
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afterwards. i don't see where the solution is coming from with that. >> reporter: tonight there is a renewed debate among gun owners themselves over the extent of the second amendment when it comes to ar-15s, and whether the right is worth the risk. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, markland, florida. and facing pressure, the president made a major announcement late today about gun regulations, pushing for a ban on bump stocks, those devices that make it easier to fire rounds faster. he has said it before, but today's move comes as he prepares to hold a listening session with students, parents, and teachers impacted by school shootings tomorrow at the white house. well get details now from nbc white house correspondent kristen welker. >> keep our students safe. >> reporter: tonight president trump vowing to take action after the florida school massacre, which white house sources say impacted him personally. >> we must do more to protect our children. we have to do more to protect our children. >> reporter: the president asking for regulations banning
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bump stocks, the devices allowing some guns to shoot hundreds of rounds per minute. the president had already called for a review of bump stocks after they were used by the las vegas shooter. >> i expect that these critical regulations will be finalized, jeff, very soon. >> reporter: under fire from victims to do more -- >> shame on you! >> reporter: the white house now considering legislation that would strengthen background checks, but neither of those efforts would have stopped the florida shooter. >> the president is trying to do everything that he can. >> reporter: white house press secretary sarah sanders also facing questions tonight about the president's tweet blaming the fbi for missing warning signs about the shooter because, quote, they are spending too much time trying to prove russian collusion with the trump campaign there is no collusion. >> we would like our fbi agencies to not be focused on something that is clearly a hoax in terms of investigating the trump campaign and its involvement. >> reporter: that controversial tweet one of 18 in five days
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about russian meddling following the indictments of 13 russian officials by special counsel robert mueller, including blaming his predecessor. "i have been much tougher on russia than obama." so why has the president not imposed sanctions on companies doing business with russia? as congress called for. >> why hasn't the president implemented the sanctions which congress passed last year? >> look, frankly, that's not completely accurate. look, this president has been tougher on russia, far tougher. >> sanctions. >> well, there is a process that has to take place. and we're going through that process. >> reporter: those sanctions passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in response to russia's election meddling, and congress had asked for them to be imposed last month, but still no action yet from the white house. savannah? >> kristen welker, thank you. just as we saw during the election, it appears russian bots are at it again, moving quickly to stir up chaos and anger over the gun debate in
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the u.s. and using social media. nbc's jo ling kent explains how you can spot russians meddling in your feed. >> reporter: within minutes of the school shooting, russian bots went to work, seizing the opportunity to spread inflammatory messages on social media. jonathan morgan tracks russia automated accounts. >> they're interested in sowing discord amongst americans. therefore peer weir not focused on putting a unified front out to adversaries. >> reporter: morgan says these tweets are an example of russian-backed posts. >> they're saying in response to the tragic attacks like the one we saw in florida, teachers should carry concealed handguns on campus. >> reporter: they also coopted th the #parklandshooting, the use by russian-linked bots is currently up 1900%. and they're latching on to topics like gun control, mental health and false flag, that conspiracy theorists
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never believed happened. >> you can see they're immediately turning the conversation towards a conspiracy theory. >> reporter: twitter responded saying we detect and block approximately 523,000 suspicious log-ins daily, adding it's investigating in uway s to check. >> other countries as well as many small independent groups are trying to divide americans and create chaos. jo ling kent, nbc news, los angeles. tonight there is wild weather across the country. a mid-february burst of heat across much of the east. records falling from washington, d.c. to indianapolis with temperatures in the high 70s. but in the meantime, flood watches continue for the southeast and up into new england. more rain is expected for tonight. and in the west winter storm warnings at higher elevations. record cold from seattle down to sacramento. a little bit of something for
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everyone. here in pyeongchang, team usa is adding to its medal count thanks to freestyle skier brita sigourney. she captured bronze in the halfpipe. in ice dancing alex and maia shibutani won bronze. it is their second medal of these games. and as we marvel over all the beautiful figure skating we've been witnessing here, there is unfortunately a darker side to the sport. all the pressure can too often lead some of the athletes to eating disorders. and not just female figure skaters, but the men too. now skater adam rippon is telling his story in the hope it will help others. senior national correspondent kate snow has more. >> reporter: figure skating in 2018 isn't what it used to be. with all those jumps and the quads, smaller, leaner skaters can have an edge. >> with what's going on right now technically, there is a huge pressure to be as light as possible. >> reporter: until about a year ago, adam rippon says he thought
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he needed to be thinner to compete against younger skaters, secretly starving himself. there. >> would be days where i would just have a few pieces of bread and be like i'm good, i'll just have a coffee or two. >> a few pieces of bread for the day? >> yeah. >> reporter: some days he would throw in a yogurt or two. >> i was hungry, but i'm like i'm in control of this situation. i'm strong because i'm not eating anything. >> adam, that sounds an awful lot like what the experts call an eating disorder. >> right. >> reporter: eating disorders have always been prevalent among figure skater, especially women. last year two stars from the sochi games sought treatment. russian gold medalist yulia it wilitnitkskaya. brian boitano won gold in 1998. like most male skaters, he had unhealthy eating habit. >> even with my success, i questioned
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what more i could have done if i had a better diet, if i had the proper nutrition. would i have been doing quadruples consistently in competition. >> reporter: antonia balm says athletes who restrict their diets like ripon did are literally disintegrating, losing bone density. >> you have a young athlete who is pounding, landing jumps on the ice. and they have the bones that look like on a radio graph, look like the bones of an 87-year-old. these are not things to be taken lightly. >> reporter: about a year ago when ripon was barely eating, he broke his foot. team usa now has more dietitians on staff than ever before, and ripon worked with one of them. he says he became a better athlete. >> i think the conversation that we need to have is how do we realistically see what's competitive out there, but also be healthy. >> reporter: speaking out to help the next generation. kate snow, nbc news, pyeongchang. still ahead for us tonight, protecting our students.
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we're back now with the question parents are asking across the country, how can we make our schools safer. well, there is a school in indiana that's been called the safest in america, complete with state-of-the-art technology to keep intruders and shooters out. nbc national investigative correspondent jeff rossen takes us inside in tonight's "rosen reports." >> security breach! >> reporter: at southwestern high school in indiana, the kids drill. >> i see they're all running past this red line. what is that? >> the red line is a security measure. and that's in place because if we stand behind this red line, if there is a shooter at the door, they cannot see the children. >> reporter: and this is something schools can do right now? there is a red line on the ground. >> absolutely. >> reporter: but here they go high-tech too. the classroom doors
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are bullet resistant, and cameras, so many cameras everywhere. and it's not just school officials watching either. they're connected live with the sheriff's department ten miles away. authorities can track an intruder in realtime. every teacher here, you have your own panic button. >> we all wear a fob in case there is a security breach. we push this button and the entire alarm goes off in the school. >> reporter: and something else i want to show you real quick. when that happens, every classroom has a box like this hooked up to the sheriff's department. the teacher can flip help or flip safe if the kids are safe. >> reporter: in 2016, i tested it, playing the intruder. >> showing a male subject in a blue suit. >> reporter: if i was a real intruder, i couldn't get into a single classroom, they're all locked, every last one of them. but the biggest counterattack is yet to come. >> he is walking towards exit 14. i'm going to launch the hot zone. >> reporter: the school's secret weapon called hot zones. exploding smoke cannons hidden in the
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ceiling. cops can deploy them in an instant. >> reporter: whoa! there is smoke. it is cloud and it's meant to disorient the suspect. i mean, look at this. the smoke is filling the hallway. you can barely even see me. whoa. the other amaze thing is they're watching the suspect on realtime cameras no matter where the suspect goes, they can keep setting off these hot zones. so he stays blind. >> reporter: the system is expensive, $400,000. but school officials say worth it in this scary new world. jeff rossen, nbc news, shelbyville, indiana. coming up, why a college basketball powerhouse is being stripped of a championship title. also, the buzz over this surprise appearance. the queen side b you wouldn't accept an incomplete job from any one else. so why accept it from your allergy pills? most pills don't finish the job because they don't relieve nasal congestion. flonase allergy relief is different.
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tonight horrifying images out of syria where at least 250 civilians have been killed in just 48 hours in eastern guta. that's according to a human rights monitor. pro government forces are bombarding the area, including bombing hospitals and homes in one of syria's last rebel-held sections. yesterday was recordedly the deadliest day there in three years. big news tonight in the sports world. louisville must forfeit its 2013 men's basketball championship after an ncaa appeals court upheld sanctions against the school. it all stemmed from an embarrassing sex scandal that made national headlines. a staffer accused of hiring women to strip and have sex with recruits. and a royal surprise on the runway in london. the queen herself sitting next to fashion royalty. vogue editor anna wintour. in the front row, of course. the queen also toured the showrooms and presented an award for british design after that show. when we come back,
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that's the power of and. cities that could see snow in the morning. and fremont )s karen chen makes her olympic debut in just hours. now, her childhood coach reveals the secret to her success. next. right now at 4: does it put the public in harms way finally, tonight a new snowboarding event called big air kicks off for the men at the olympics. in big air, snowboarders launch off a large ramp and perform one complicated trick. even though the event is new, alaskan ryan stasal has pretty much been preparing for this moment his entire life. nbc's catie beck has the story. >> let's do it! >> reporter: on the slopes he is known as razzle-dazzle, a nickname earned for sticking tricks with stunning precision. >> puts it to his feet like a champion.
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>> ryan stassel first discovered his talent in kindergarten. >> this is kind of where it started. >> reporter: at hilltop ski resort in his hometown of alaska. >> it was kind of like a blank canvas, and i was the brush. and i was able to paint whatever i wanted. >> reporter: ryan, now 25, has had a board beneath his feet ever since. in sochi, he placed 14th in slopestyle. >> everything perfect. >> reporter: he went on to win the world championship title in austria. >> not even bending his knees. >> this is where i grew up. >> reporter: ryan's bedroom wallpapered with memory and victories. >> this is the last big one. i hope to add a 2018. >> reporter: but ryan has another career he loves just as much. when he is off snow, he is on the water. >> hey! >> reporter: spending every summer working as a commercial salmon fisherman in coastal clam gulch. it's a family business
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passed down three generations. >> it's what makes it so special. this is kind of how it's always been. family comes down. we're here for the summer. and we work and we enjoy the time that we have. >> reporter: setting nets, picking fish, selling the catch. it's life according to the tides. >> from the time he was young, he would always say it really is about the journey. >> reporter: a lot of people might think snowboarding, fishing. how are these two things similar? >> i do think that being a fisherman has given me a work ethic and a hard drive. that really translates to my snowboarding. >> reporter: a tough landing sidelined ryan in 2016. but he has climbed back to the top to the olympics. >> when i go this next time, it's for one thing and one thing only. i'm there to medal. i'm here to play. >> reporter: focused, fit, and ready, as snowboarders say, to just send it. catie beck, nbc news,
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anchorage, alaska. >> we're ready too. and a reminder you can catch all the olympic action right here at 8:00 eastern. that is nightly news for this tuesday night. i'm savannah guthrie in for lester. i'll see you tomorrow bright and early on "today." for all of us at nbc does it put the public in harms way? the new move in the south bay that has crime fighters ak right now at 4:00, putting the public in harm's way. a new move in the south bay that has crime fighters shaking their heads. the news at 4:00 starts right now. good evening. thanks for joining us for this olympics edition. i'm janelle wang. >> and i'm raj mathai. live to south korea in a few minutes but we want to start here at home. a controversial move by the santa clara county probation department. we have learned the juvenile gang unit will be cut by more than half, and the remaining officers will be transferred to a department department. the question now is could him
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pact the safety and rehabilitation of teenagers and the safety of the community? nbc bay area's damian trujillo joins us with the excrewsive lu details. >> reporter: when a minor leaves here they head over to the juveniles and the gang unit for juveniles has not been downsized or eliminated but only restructured but critics say that claim is false. they are breaking into homes and cars all across santa clara county. some of these suspects belong to what are known as crews or even gangs, but beginning monday the probation department will no longer have a specialized unit to deal with juvenile gang members. this could be life-threatening, and these are very dangerous young people who are organized and are attempting to harm people in our community. >> in a statement the probation chief told nbc bay area, quote, an internal decision was made by the juvenile

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