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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  August 6, 2019 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, ll >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight, after tragedy, what comes next? as america mourns the weekend's killings, a look at whatan be to keep firemans out of the hands of who intend to do harm.t and the behind the talking points linking mental illness to gun violence. then a looming threat from beijing as the pro-democracy protestors in hong kong rage on, chinese officials signl the potentr a military crackdown. plus, remembering toni morrison. reflections on the life, literature, and legacy of the nobel-prize winning author. >> the future was right there, at your fingertips.
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and i was so happy to be among what i hadn't had when i was in ohio-- african american intellectuals. and that was the company i wanted to keep. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's "pbs newshour." n major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> kevin. >> kevin! >> kevin. >> advice fol-life. life wanned. learn more at
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>> babbel. a language learning app that uses speech recognitndn technologyeaches real-life conversations. daily 10-15 minute lessons are voiced by native speakers and >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the debate over inns in america is intensi tonight, after mass shootings in that killed 22 i peopleel paso, texas, and nine in dayton, ohio. so are the investigations. the f.b.i. today joined the investigation of the dayton gunman, connor betts, who was killed byice. agents said he had shown interest in committing a mass
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shooting. >> we have uncovered evidence throughoucot thse of our investigation that the shooter was exploring violent ideologies. we have not seen any evidence t th events in el paso influenced him at this point. again, we have lots of evidence to go through >> sreenivasan: president trump plans to visit dayton and el paso tomorrow. his opponents, in turn, plan to protest his rhetoric on race anm gration and to demand action on gun 's democratic mayor, nan whaley, said today she backs bothentiments. >> his rhetoric has been painful for many in our community, and i think that people should stand up and say they're not happy, if they're not happy that he's coming." i'm disappointed wh his remark i mean, i think they fell really short. he mentioned, like, gun issues, one time. i think watching the president over the past few years on the issues of guns he's been-- i hen't know if he knows wha believes. >> woodruff: ohio a republican governor, mike
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dewine, urged mandatory background checks for virtually all gun sales. he alscalled for court action to prevent potentially dangerous erople from getting guns. we'll hear about f gun control legislation, after the news summary. the f. last month's mass shooting in gilroy, california, was domestic terror. it turns out the gunmaa target list of religious institutions, federal buildings, courthouses and the two major political parties. he killed three people andun d 13 at a popular food festival, before killing himself. the chinese currency stabilized today after sliding on monday to an 11-year calmed wall street, and stocks made up almost half of monday's losses. the dow jones industrial average gained 311 points to close at 26,029. the nasdaq rose 107 points, and the s&p 500 added 37. meanwhile, china's central bank
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denied manipulating its currency to gain advantage in a trade fight with the u.s. instead, it warned washington to pull back from the brink of greater economic damage. but white house economic advisor larry kudlow argued the chinese are bearing the real burden. >> china's slashing its prices, that'silling their profits and their companies. production and supply chains are moving out of china. we have elasticity of demand. our importers can shop elsewhere outside of china. that's hurting china. >> woodruff: presidentalso played down fears of a prolonging trade fight and vowed again to protect american farmers after beijing .ssaid it will stop buying agriculture products. president trump has frozen all of the venezuelan government's assets in the u.s. in a new blow at president nicolas maduro. the sanctions also mean that
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u.s. companies and individuals could face penalties for doisi ss with maduro's government and his top supporters. this is the latest u.s. move to aid opposition leader juan guaido in his bid to oust maduro. the united states fired off a new warning to turkey today not to attack kurdish forces in northeastern syria. the mainly kurdish syrian democratic forces have fout against the islamic state, or isis, but turkey regards the kurds as terrorists. u.s. defense secretary mark eshr said today that a turk invasion would be unacceptable. he spoke en route to japan. >> we want to sustain the continued defeat, at least of the physical caliphate of isis, right? that becomes a question, if they ve in and the s.d.f., is impacted. we're obviously holding thousands of fighters, isis fighters, and so those are somoe that somhe things we risk
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if there's a unilateral incursion into into northern syria by the turks >> woodruff: in ankara, rkish president, recep tayyip erdogan again talkedf military action insisting that control of the syrian border region is critical to turkey's safety. >> translation: it's our country's top priority to drain the terror swamp in syria's north. turkey cannot feel safe as longf tces in our south, which are growing like a cancer cell, and is being grown with the heavy weapons of our allies, is not eliminated. >> woodruff: militar delegations from the u.s. and turkey have been meeting in ankara this week, trying to netiate a settlement. north korea says that it keeps testing missiles bectase the uniteds is inciting military tensions. the north fired two more short-range missiles into the sea early toda the fourth such st in two weeks. in a statement, pyongyang defended the tests and cited us. weapons sales to south
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korea, and a joi.-south korean military exercise. back in this country, former alka senator mike gravel h officially dropped out of the 2020 democratic presidential race. he said in a video today that hl ack vermont senator bernie sanders for the nomination. gravel is 89. he did not actively campaign or appear in any of the democratic de and nobel prize-winning novelist toni morrison has died in new york after a brief illness. she pioneered american multi-culturalism in her novels, and was the first african american woman to winobel prize for literature. toni mrison was 88 years old. we'll explore her life and legacy at the end of our program. c still e on the "newshour," grappling with the scourge of mass shootings. what can be done to stop them? the facts behind the polical talking points linking mental illness to gun violence.
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a turn to hong kong and the risks faced by the pro-democracy protestors there. plus much more. >> woodruff: we return now to el paso anhow that community continues to grapple with the ekend's deadly attack. our dan bush is there. he has been reporting from botho sidef the border today. first, we know you have been talking to people in el pa uso. te a little of what they're saying. >> so i'm here right next to the walmart, judy, where the shooting took place. you can see, maybe, behind me, people from y the communve been trickling now day after day to pay their respects, to drop it's a community that's trying to cope with this tragedy. i spoke to one woman who is working inside the walmart at the time, who said she felt so
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defenseless, crouched in an transcribics aisle she decide to ake up shooting permit. another mother n the scene of the shooting, said they bought their eight-year-old son a bullet-proof backpack to take to school. the el stpaso school ct begins just a little later this month. people are really trying to figure out how to mov forward. and at the same time, the latino community, judy, has bee into the national debate over race and president drum' drumdod trump's rhetoric. people feel they have been ttargeted by the presidor his words on immigration. >> woodruff: bulletproof backback. and, dan, whatt ab the mexico side of the border on juarez. what are people saying there? >> it's interesting, judy. there's a mixed reaction on the other side of the border. i spoke to a of people there
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who said that they were not that surprised bythe shooting. they said that there are so many mass shootings in america, that them, they've come to accept this as a regular part of american laie. they that they do resent president trump's attacks on mexicans, on latinos, generally. but to them, the political debate playing o in the u.s. doesn't really impact their lives in a concrete way. and another thing-- w thmart actually is a popular shopping destination with many people on the otr side of the border who said that for some goods, like shoes, a c somethes, it's actually cheaper to come here there's a bus that goes right from the center of juarez to thisalmart for about $1.50. a lot of people said they're going to continue to do that because these two cities on the either side of the rio grande river are sonn interted. one man told me, judy, he is going to be back here as soon as he can >> woodruff: so interesting. dan bush.
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thank you for youreporting. dan bush there in el paso, on the border. and all this ads to an urge question being asked this week: what arse lawmak in washington doing to deal with gun violence. tor lisa desjardins is her explore where things stand. lisa, i know you have been talking to a lot of peoplwhe. are they saying about whether there's any movement at all on this issue? >> a sign tt one thing a little different came from the republican leader of the u.s. senate in a statement las night. mitch mcconnell said the president reached out to him, and mcconnell said these words, that the president encouraged him and republicans in the senate to engage in bipartnsan discussf potential solutions to help protect our communities. and then added, without infringing on americans' constitutional rights. you see there the political balance. but this is new from senator mcconnell, saying he has now directed tome fourttee chairs who oversee this area of law, including guns and mental heinth, to find some of bipartisan agreement. now, judy, at the same time, there is a somewhat bipartisan bill that has already been
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passed by the house of representatives. it is a bill that would increase ckground checks, make mandatory background checks at most gun shows, for example. it has eight republicans supporting it. one of em is pet king, and he has this message for senator mcconnell: >> i believe it's essential thao se mcconnell allow this to come to a vote.'t just suppor he has to get behind it. just thereto come to a vote. and i think if anything good can come from the horrible ag dheefs weekend it's that we can get this legislation passed. >> but, jy, speaking to senator mcconnell's office loday, they said there's no chance that he wring that bipartisan-- somewhat bipartisan background check bill up fair vote becau the president h threatened to veto it. it is not clear if he will allow anyouackground check toe for a vote. talking to the other senators involved in trying to find a bipartisan agreement is not re dly clear whatection they're going to go in yet. >> woodruff: interesting because the prident suggested the other day maybe some kind of
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background checks he could support. so, lisa, i know you've been looking at all the legislation ideas that have been out there. what exactly has been proposed so far? >> i looked at every bill that has come up this new congres 8,000 bills on every subject has been proposed. look at how many include guns. 110 bills contain the wo."rd "g of those, judy, only five bills have seen committee action. d some of those aren't really about the gun debate. they might just have funding for a gun program involving education or sometng like that. so there really is not very much action, honestly, on guns. most of it is being driven by democrats. t it's interesti know the most popular of those bills are the background check bill that passed the house, a also a republican bill on concealed carry that would allow someone with concealedarry permits in one state to have them in every state. that is also not moving. so you see the partisan divide. >> woodruff: from your talking to people. >> and know congress is not i town right now, but does anything stand chance of
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passage? >> i will say senator lamar alexander's spokesperson tonedod me t he has taken this as a mission, as a task from senator mcconnell, to find some kind of bipartisan plan that can i had to balance that, judy with others i spoke to, key bipartisan voices here who would make a difference who told me on the phone-- they didn't want their names used-- they didn't see the room. another month from now until senate return and the voice of one person if if new town didn't change anything, they're stilliscouraged. i saint aren't you making this fatfait accompli and adding to e problem? they said maybe but they don't think change is comin yet. >> woodruff: a lot of people are going to be discouraged by that. >> they are discouraged now, that's >> woodruff: lisa desjardins, thank you very much. as has happened before in the aftermath of gruesome mass shootings, one again this week, two principal andompeting
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narratives have emerged as people try to grasp how such things can happen. as amna nawaz reports some point to guns and their easyccs. others, voices on the right, including prstident trump day, urge a greater focus on mental health treatment saying that could identify potential shooters before they >> judy, guns kill an average of 100 people each day in this country,bout6,000 a year total. for a look at the role guns play in our les, and in violence we live with i'm joined by mr. garen wintemute. an emergency medicine physician where he is the director of violence prevention researchra pr his research for decades has focused on injuries and the prevention of firearm violence. dr. wintemute, welcome to the newshour. thank you for make the t tme. i waask you about the laws because you have looked extensively at them. in the wake of mass
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shootings, people want congressional action. they want legislation.on what is beingon the federal and state level to reduce gun violenc >> i think one promising strategy is the extreme risk protection order, or as weall it here gun-violence restraining order. it has a number of virtues. it is effective. it is very tightly focused on people who exhibit high-risk behavior, such that there is a threat in the near future. it's temporary. it is designed to lessen risk at a time of crisis.od we are in the wake of a series of mass shootings. and is important tooint out that e.r. p.o.s, as we call them, while thhoey wereht to be primarily useful for prevention of suicide, were generally enacted at the state level following mass shootings and have been and are being used in efforts to prevent ss shootings. >> i want to be clear about these.
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these are the same as the so-called "red flag" laws people have heard so much about recently? >> it is the same. thoagz of us whhework in field don't like the term "red flag laws," so we use a term that actually describes what we're talking about. at can i ask why you don't like it? inaccurate about it? >> sure, first off, it's as we say, very nonspecific. red flags about what, bugs in the basementrn? this con me the most: it is a term that inspires fear, and we don't want to make people afraid. we want them to feel empowered. so we use terms that describe what the intervention is and convey a sense that this is something that people can do, which is precise the point. >> there are two additional bills that had some kindf bipartisan support. one is expanding background check to include every gunale or transfer and the other is conceal carry related, states allow a conceal carry would recognize permits from other states. would either of those contribute
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to reducing gun ce in america? >> le m take expanded background checks first. there is very good frefs our work othernds tha other and thag access to firearms by people prohibited from having that cess, substantially reduces their risk of violence in the near future. we and others have identified a seriescrf ce flaws in the way background-check arpolicies written and implemented that i think need to be fixed in order for them to have their maximum effectiveness. i will give you one example. there are at least ninof these. prohibiting events very ofte are not reported, even when they are required to be repted. mass shootings in sutherland thrings, texas, in charlottesville, scarolina; at virginia tech, all occurred because shoers who were prohibited persons were able to pass background checks and acquire their firearms because the prohibiting events were not
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in the dat the background checks were run on. reciprocity, let me use recent events. both texas and ohio, where we have had mass shootings just inf the pas days, are places where concealed carry, at least one with open carry, where i's hard for me to imagine that among the people wisely running away from that shooting scene were a substantial number of people whoere themselves armed. we have this collective adolescent fantasy, if i may, that an armed civilian is going to step up and prevent these events. the data show that that almost never happens. and the reason i said that it might be counter-productive is this: states vary widely in their criteria for issuing c.c.d.w. permits. some states set the bar quite high. others set it quite low. high-bar states, request good noton, without just as soo have people with low-bar permit
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inside their borders. >> you mentioned states having different rules. that means guns can move across different state lines asw well. much of a problem is that? and is there one piece of legislation you think could have an immediate effect to reduce gun violence, what would that be? >> i think one of the things i would put at the top of the list would be to expan background checks and at the same time make them much more thorough andct efe. i have to say, however firearm violence is a very complexle pr and the correct answer to "what's the one thing" is the is no one thing. we need to do a nch of things simultaneously in order to have the effect we want. >> dr. garenintemute of the university of california davis. thank you very much. >> thanks for having m >> and to help us assess the role mental health plays in gun violence and gun-related deaths, p turn to jeffrey swanson. he is a professor chiatry and behavioral science at duke university school of medicine. his research was part of a report released today by the
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national couil for behavioral health, titled, "mass violence in ameri solutions."mpacts and professor swanson, welcome. back to the newshour. i want to begin with what theai president hasin the wake of this latest round of mass shootings. "mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun." hohould we understand the overlap between mental illness d people who perpetuate gun violence. >> mass shooting, we're in thisi al nightmare. everybody wants it to stop. and mass shootings are sfro htening and irrational and we want an answer to why they happen, and what the president said is a very simple answer-- it's mental illness. and i understand why he said that because it resonates with what lots of people already believe out mental illness. but the facts are that the vast majority of people with mental illnesses are not violent towards other people. they never will be. and our rept just released today would suggest the
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prevalence of mental illss ong perpetrators of mass shootings, or mass violence, is about the se as it is in he general population. it's a very complexbl p. "fix mental health" is a slogan. it's not a solution to anything. if it is, it's a solution to a quite different public health problem which is the problem of peep wmental illnesses out in the community who need better minutial health care. >> let me ask you something we thard from other people oe president's team, look, in order to be someone who carries out ck, yound of heinous at have to be mentally ill in some way. what do you say >>to that? yeah, i understand that, too, to say someone who goes out and ma bacres ach of strangers, you know, that's not act of a healthy mind. it might be a person who is alienated and troubled and angry and resentful, who's marinating in hate; someone who is indifferent d hopeless, who
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has all kinds of problems with all kinds of causes. but it doesn't mean that they have one of the mental illnesses defined by psychiatrists as, you know, a disorder of thinking or mood, like schizophrenia or bipola disorder or depression. tens of millions of americans have these illnesses, and the overwhelming majority of them are not violent towards other people. they'd loveto have a conversation about improving mental health care, and it's too pthere's a mass shooting.hen there are many solutions, i think, that we could ta about try to address mass shootings. mental illness isone contributing factor. many, and,ust one o you know, if we cured mental iolence, our problem of in society would go down by about 4%. so it's not that there's no retionship at all. it's not quite the place you would start but we can certainly talk about it. >> lou me ask about one of the proposed solutions we've heard about so far which are
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these so-called red flag laws, the idea that you can identify someone who is potentilly violent in advance and make sure they either don't have a weapon or take away the one that they have. what do you make of those possible solutions? >> well, i think thre a good idea. i think they're an important piece in the puzzle of gun violence prevention because ite fa that we have a kind of a disconnect between the laws th are designed to prevent certain peop fromccessing guns at the point of sale and actual risk. there are lots of people who are prohibited from guns, because they had an involuntary commitment 25 years ago, and they aren't posing a risk t anyone. meanwhile, there are lots of people who do pose a risk, angru ive people who would pass a backgund check because they don't have any gun-disqualifying record. so a tool like this is focused not on mental illness. it's focused on behavior
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indicators of risk. if you're a neighbor and the person next door is acting in a really threatening, menacing way and is massing fearms, in many states there's nothing you can do about that if thatyoerson, know, isn't criminally accused, hasn't done anything or committed a crime. one of thetes that has an extreme risk protection law, yo can reach outw enforcement. they can investigate it, and if there's probable cause thegecan a civil court order to remove that person's firearms temporarily for their ow good. it's not criminalizing. and you can do the same thing if your family member, under mo of these statutes, let's say a relative of yours is in aal suicrisis and has guns. you know, your loved one is, let's say, dressed and bereaved or drinking heavily and has guns and, you know, this might save their life because lots of people attempt suicide. if they use ag else, they are very likely to survive. if they use a firearm, it's so lethal, that they alm never survive. we just want to stop so many
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people from dyingld. we c focus on limiting access to lethal means. and i think thisaw actually is one of the few things that can find some common ground and bridge the gap between people who want co do guntrol and people who think that it's people a not guns who kill people. >> common ground. something we're all looking for these days. professor jeff e swanson, duke university school of medicine, thank you very much. >> thank you for havinge. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour, what if anything could break the political gridlock stalling gun degislation? sitting down witcratic presidential candidate, governor steve bullock of montana. plus, remembering the life and legacy of nobel prize-winning author toni morrison.
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but first, china'sentral government strongly condemned today what it calls extreme violence from protestors in hong kong. the condemnation came after a day of clashesnd a general strike that disrupted public transportation and blocked major roads. jonathan miller of independent television news has the story. >> reporte the most violent, most sustained popular challenge to theommunist party of china in decades was today met with beijing's strongeston denunciatis in nine weeks of turmoil. "don't play with fire," the spokesm council warned.ate he branded the ringleaders "deranged," as he threatened "a blow from the sword of the law" lay in store for them. their insurrection was "doomed," he said. >> translation: i must warn all criminals not to misjudge the situation and miinake our restfor weakness. they must not underestimate the firm determination and tremendous strength of the
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central government and the people of the whole country to safeguard hong kong's prosperity and stability. and to safeguard the fundamental interests of the country. >> reporter: yang guang offered no solutions and did not address grievances. instead, he reminded hong kongers who was boss. >> translation: the people's liberation army is a incomparably strong and powerful force for safeguarding the security of every inch of the sacred territory of the motherland. >> reporter: last week, the p.l.a.'s hong kong garrison released this video, showing its troops training to confront protestors. asked today if he could rule out intervention, yang guang said china would never allow any turbulence that would thaten nationalty. hong kong law provides for the p.l.a to deploy if the territory's semi-autonomousth government hite panic button.
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yesterday's disturbances ane resulted i148 arrests, police firing 800 tear gas cannisters and 140 rubber bullets. rubber bullets were not used byi the p.l.a. at ananmen square 30 years ago wn the army killed thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators. today, three masked hong kong protestors held a press briefing to decry what they called "the lack of self-discipline" by the police. they apologised for the "inconvenience" yestereay's day-long strike had caused. >> the pursuit of democracy, liberty and equality is the inalienable rights of every citizen. we, therefore, call on the government to refrain from exterminating our right toue puhese universal values. >> reporter: as hong kong cleaned up after yet another long weeke of chaos, many
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returning to work spoke of their enduring support for protestors. >> chaos is caused by the government, not the protester. i think they tried every peaceful means with the laest march since hong kong returned eovereignty to china. we had two millione marching and government still doesn't listen. >> reporter: it's true. less than two months ago, a third of hong kong's population marched peacefully in protest against a reviled extradition bill, and now it's transformed into a fully-fledged civil resistance movement, defiantly rejecting the lengthening reach of beijing, who is deaf to hong kongers' demands, unsympathetic, and whose patience has n worn thin.
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>> woodruff: and now we turn back to guns in america. and we look at the politics. joining me is former u.s. representative carlos curbelo, a republican who reprented florida for four years, until 2018. congressman, thank you very much for joining us. i want to ask you first why you are speaking ou t onthis issue. you did serve in congress. you were defeated by someone else who had a stronge record on gun control, if you will. a woman whose father had been killed in a gun accident, in a gun incident. so what has-- whatom haslled you to continue to speak out about it? >> judy, good for me, this issue stopped being a partisan issue a long time ago. while i was in congress, we had the pulse shooting in orlando, florida. and after that, i joined with seth molten, a democrat from massachusetts, to introduce a buy"on of the "no fly, no legislation which could have prevented that tragedy had it
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been in place before then. then, of course, we had the horrible massacre in las vegas. and, again, came together with t democrats to t get a bipartisan solution-- universal background checks, 72-hour waiting periods, raising the minimum age to 21 for all gun purchase red flag laws -- these are commonsense solutions that will iave liv our country. and mental health say major chal mnge, btal health cannot be used as an euse to refuse to act on gun reform. >> woodruff: and we havet j heard narks my colleague, introducing a psychiatris at duke university who said the research shows most gun violence is not committed by people who are-- who areilentalll. but i want to drill down on what kind of legislation, what changes can be made practically
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in this-- in this current politil environment. what can happen, do you think? >> well, in the wake of this horrwele tragedy, ave seen some republicans come out strongly in favor of red flag laws. senator lindsey graham, who chairs the senate judiciary committee sprepared to move that legislation. we've also seen some house republicans join the legislation that would require universal background checks. it would close all of the loopholes when it comes to universal ckground checks. >> woodruff: but right now-- >> so this is a good sign. the question is, judiy, whether republicaneadership in the senate will allow this alation tgileation to move forward. when i was in the house, we worked hard to try to have the legislation come to the floor and itidt. >> woodruff: my colleague lisa desjardins right now, senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell, said he is not
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going to but putt that background check legislation on th floor, ostensibly because, he says, president trump would veto it, wouldn't support it. so what is it that's holding-- holding back the president? what's holding back oth republicans? >> well, the president in hiss remad say that he was in favor of stronger background checks. so the white house wiavll to explain why he would veto unersal background che legislation. i can tell you this, judy: last november, a lot of republicans lost because of this issue, especially in suburban america. voters are losing their patience. they want to see action on gun reform. they understand it's a constitutional right. they don't want to confiscate anyone's gubz. they just want laws that keep guns out of theands of dangerous people. that's reasonable. it's common sense. and if senator mcconnell wants to keep his majority, he should really consig r allowme of this legislation to move
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forward. >> woodruff: if that's the case, though, congressman, why do we not hear from more republican members who say they're changing their minds, that they're prepared to vote on this? >> well, we have seen somene stats recently, judy. but the reason why a lot of members ofongress don't act or don't compromise or don't move becaus the center is they fear a primary challenge. and without question, this is a potent issue in republican primaries. the n.r.a. is a very powerf organizatio but what i can tell a lot of my former republican colleagues who-- many of who are my friends-- is that there are other organizations out there, like everytown, u.s.a., that are willing to come out and support republicans that take a reasonable approach to gun reform, that support some of these obvious measures that do not diminish second amendment rights but do keep innocent eeople safer. >> woodruff: is th
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something about the way the arguments are being made that you think could be shifted, could be changed that would bring more crent opponents on board? >> i think, unfortunately, it's going to take political pressure, and we've already seen some republicans reacting, colleagues who when i was in congress wouldn't evenonsider universal background check legislation or red flagat legin. some of these members of congress have made strong statements in thewake of this tragedy, and hopefully, those statements will turn into votes, and we can heal on this issue. we can start taking stepsto solve this issue. and, by the way, judy, it's nott just f sake of gun reform. the american people want to s their congress work and compromise and find commo ground. if we get a compromise on gun rerm, that will hp start to restore a lot of the trust and
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confidence that ame have lost in congress and in government more broadly. >> woodruff: former congressman carlos curbelo of florida, thank you very much for joining us. we appreciate it. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: we now continue our series of conversations with democratic presidential candidates.e stllock is the two-term governor of montana. d he joins me now. governor bullock, thank you for being here.ou >> judy, thankor being here. >> woodruff: you are the governor of a state a little over a million people, very red, very conservative. donald trump won is oer 20 points. why should democrats support you? i'm thei think, yeah, only one in this race that won in a state where trump won. he took montana by 20 points. one by four-- 25% to 30% of my
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ters voted for donald trump. if we can't win back some of these places we lost we're not going to win. and it's also more than that. even with what is right now a 60% republican legislature, we've been able doocrat that you can get meaningful things done that impacteople's eryday lives. and people want both the economy and d.c. to work for them. outside of washington, d.c., i think i have a little bit of different perspecti than most information here. >> woodruff: you have called yourself progressive and favored things likehe earned income tax credit. you were able to expand medicaid in the state of montana. but there are other democrats ane bernie sande elizabeth warren who say the country needs big and body after donald trump, things like the green w deal, like medicare for all. >> yeah, and i call myself i"progressive" and belie because the wore of that word, really, is "progress." we need to beble to make a meaningful difference for people's lives. we can't just talk about the challenges. we have to actually, first, be able to hear americans and
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addrals those nges. so i want to make sure as i'm proposing things, it's not like with medicare f all. i don't discount it because it's, like -- it couldn't get it drngl necessay. i do discount it in as much as i don't think that's the bestli solution and the most progressive solution is to make sure everybody has healthare that's affordable. and you can do that without upending what's been about-- it took about 70 years tot to where we were when the affordable care act passed. les build onhat. let's not just rip it apart. >> woodruff: guns, upper most in our minds right now, as you. kn your own family has been touched by gun violence. you talked about your then-11-year-old nephew being shot to death on a school playground, what, 25 years ago. when you campaigned in 2016 you were against universal background checks. now are you for them. why the change? >> things like universal background checks, it's not just
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ldmocrats that say they w like this. i mean, n.r.a. members say this makes sense, ands a gun owner-- i mean, i'm calling on other gun owners to say, "we a want to keep our communities safe." we can do it in ways tha with-- as an example, universal background checks. >> woodruff: but you acknowledge your position changed. >> absolutely. >> woodruff: in people pooem are saying president trump' language, hirhetoric, has contributed to part of what's going on. how do you see i >> yeah, certainly he is-- you know, i would never wanto put the blood of people all across this country on one person's but for him to say we have to speak with one voice when it comes topeing out against racism and white nationalism and bigotry, when so much of the language that he's used over this last two and a half years has included racism, equivocating on white nationalism and bigotry. so you can't say this just the day after shootings when
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haven't lived it for last two years.half i do think, you know, white nationalistsllight think, this guy, if he equiv cates on charlottesville, he has my back. i don't think that helps at all with what we are as a country. >> woodruff: campaign finance-- you have been waging a legalattle against so-called dark money. this is money from donors who aren't identified. you recently won a lawsuit against e trump administration having to do with foreign money, transparency. my question is without a constitutional amendment to overturn the supreme court's asitizens unites" decision, whic you know lifted restrictions on corporate political spending, is there a way to keep dark money out of american politics? >> oh, ihink there absolutely is, even in montana withaub two-thirds rcan legislature, we passed a law that if you spend on our elections, i don't care if
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you're a, 501-cou have to disclose all that spending ibun contons. >> woodruff: you would then support an amendment to overturn-- >> i would see the 28th amendment passed. >> citizens united. >> absolutely. >> woodruff: we know you are tonight in washington scheduled to attend a closed-door fund-raiser as a registered lobbyist a a cohost, jay driscoll, supported by the center for republican intaeght. he has lobbied 35 or so clients just this year, my of whom give corporate money but don'tlo di. >> yeah, but they certainly don't give corporate money to me. i mean, the fact that we could be even having this conversation i what i wantto as as the sunshine and transparency. and as much as many of the presidential candidates now have supere pacs, s may even take corporate pac money. i've said no pacs, noal super-pacs haves, and
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disclose completely under, you know, the allowable rules so that we can have this conversation, so that one individual helping out a fund-raiser certainly isn going to be influencing my everyday actions. and i think that it's-- to me, e more nefarious is the lack of transparency and sunshine. >> wdruff: the violate-- you don't support the green new deal, which critics say isoo radical. but if climate is an existential threat, why not do something dramatic? >> oh, no, and we do have to take bold and immediate steps. i mean, i'm from thet. w our fire seasons are 48 days longer thant wey were about four decades ago. so rejoining paris, the auto industry didn't want want the removal of these fuel-efficiency standards. investing iinvesting in technold resech so we can get more renewables on to the grid. we know-- the scientists say we ve to be carcon neutral not as
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a country but a world by 2050. i think we could do it by 2040 or even earlier. >> woodruff: all right, we will leave it there. governor steve bullock, thank you very much. >> thank you for having me, judy. >> woodruff: and our series of conversations with the democraticresidential candidates continues tomorrow ieth billionaire philanthropist tom >> woodruff: finalltonight, an appreciation of author and nobel laureate toni morrison who died last night. jeffrey brown looks back atow s helped to transform modern american letters. this tribute is part of canvas, our ongoing arts and culture coverage. >> as editor, m teacher, ant of all, writer, toni morrison changed and enhanced american literature. in 2012, on the campus of howard university, where shebeen an undergraduate, she looked back
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to her younger self just starting out in the world. >> i was so confident and capable. the future was, you know, right there, right at your fingertips. and i was so happy to be among what i hadn w had when i in oh-- african american intellectuals. and that was the company i wanted to keep >> brown: she worked as a book editor first and was nearly 40 when her first novel "the bluest eye" was published, followed by other, boo 11 novels, children's books, and essay collections that made her reputation bringing to the fora distinctly african american story rooted in t history and legacy of slavery. written in a powerful voice like no other. >> i w trying make up for the hand saw, beloved was making her bay for it.
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>> beloved was published in 1987 and won the pulitzer prize. a 1998 film version starred oprah winfrey as a mother who escapeher kentucky master and, upon capture in ohio, killed her own daughter rather than have e her forced back into a l slavery. morrision spoke to t newshour's charlayne hunter-gault when the novel first came out. >> i read an article in a 19th century newspaper about a wman whose na margaret garner. it was an article that stayed with me for a long, long time, and seemed to have in it, an extraordinary idea that was worthy of a novel, which was this compulsion to nurture, thro ty that a woman has to be responsible for her children, and at the same time, the kind of tensions that exist in trying to be a separate, complete
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individual. >> brown: in a recent documentary film, "can the the pieces i can," morrison spoke of her role as a writer. >> i wanted to speak to and to be among it's us. so the first thing i to do was to eliminate the white gaiss. ule little white man that sits on your sr and checks out everything you do and say, sort of knock him off. and you're free. now i.wn the wor i mean, i can write about anything to anyone, for anyone. >> brown: morrison w awarded the nobel prize for literature in 1993, the first african american woman to win. praised by the academy forher "visionary force." and she was given the presidential medal of freedom, the nation's highest civilian
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honor, by barack obama in 2012. morrison was on the bestsaler list ain in 1997 for her novel "paradise" set in an oklahoma town calledan ruby. the newshour's elizabeth farnsworth talked to her of the riod when freed men left rlantations, sometimes unde duress. >> the isolation, the separateness is always a part of anytopia, and it was my meditation, if you will and interrogation of the olidea of paradise, the safe place, the place full of bounty where no one can harm you. but in addition to that, it's based on the noti of exclusivity. all paradises, all utopias are defined by who is not there, by the people who are not allowed in. >> brown: in 2005, morriso wrote the labreto for marg get garner, an opera based on the
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story from which he wrote "beloved." se graves.eni at the time morrison told me how moved she was by the experience. r>> te's some other thing, which is a kind of restoration, redemption that the opera can offer via its music, its words, its singers, and its stage, to the audience so that when you leave, you know more, you felt more, and you felt more deeply. but somehow you are more human than you were, or you feel more human, more humane, more capabld than you when you came in. >> brown: "more human, more humane, morele cap words that expressed what toni derrison herself created in a literature that sly affected her readers. morrison died monday in new york. shldwas 88 years and joining us now is one of
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many writers who luwere iced by toni morrison, tracy k. smith is the former poet laureate of the united states. her latest volume is "wade in the water." tracy, it's nice to talk to you ain. first, talk about toni morrison, the writer. what stood out for you in the language, the stories she told? >> well, i feel like what stands out for me the amazing vigor andhe resourcefulness, beautiful esthetic sense that drives her work, the way eat can be moving forward and deeper nto a world that is made up of characters, voitions, and then suddenly we're in what almost feels like a spirit level. her work activates a beautiful human urgency that stemfrom the social conditions that her characters-- her characters live
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in and are touched by. but it never stops being poetry. itnever stops being a living language. and i think that's something that's been hugelyto inspirin so many writers, myself included. >> brown: d what story did she tell over her life as a writer? >> i feel like morrison provides uus as americans with a vocabulary for acknowledging and grappling with the effects, the ongoing effects o slavery upon all of us, no matter who we are. she reminds ust t the lives of blacks who are often the center of that story exist on a mythic scale that were central to what america is, what itie bs itself to be, and what it might actively be pushing against as
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well. it's a story that lives in history, but i think it takes art to bringe hosestions and those realities into an urgent kind of contactewith who are as people. morrison used to talk about, you know, crossing the mere air that sits between yourself another person and how difficult that is sometimes. but it's the language of literature and ar uthat helpss to do that. it pulls us out of oursels and makes us beholden to other people who might be strangers to us. brown: you were talking about the influence she had on you and so many writers personally. tell me a little bit about that. au knew her as a-- you were young writer. she's there on campus. what is that like? ywho was she to? >> oh, gosh, i remember-- i remember in my first year on c thispus, i was given a
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classroom that sat in what was essentially a vestibule outside of toni morrison's office. and on maybe the third or fourth week of cls, shealked through that space on her way into her office, and my heart stopped. i knew she taught here, but i had never seen her.t and i f this huge welling of awe and gratitude, just arrest me. and i thoht oh, this is-- i'm in the presence not only of greatness, but i'm in the presence of the real. e i'm in the presenc, you know, the living word, logos, in a way. s andrst she was so gener present and devoted to her students and had a really beautiful way of breakin down hhat sense of awe and making herself useful toe young people that she was teaching. but she nevertopped bein great. >> brown: that's for sure. tracy k. smith on the life and work of toni morrison.
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thank you very much. >> woodrtof: she nevered being great. and that is the "newshour" for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs >> major funding for t pbs newshour has been provided by: >> babbel. a language learning app that uses speech recognition technology and teaches real-life conversations. daily 10-15 minute lessons are voiced by native speakers and are at babbel. >> financial services firm raymond james. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide.or >> carnegieration of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and securior. at carnegi
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>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank yo. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by dia access group at wgbh >> you're watching pbs.
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