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Democratic National Convention: Kentucky School Shooting Victim Speaks Out About Youth ViolenceAired August 15, 2000 - 1:25 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: We're back in Los Angeles now and at the Staples Center. In a few hours, this hall will be filled with Democratic delegates. Over the course of four days, they're going to be hearing from people from all walks of life, telling their real-life stories of personal victory.
And one of those people in the spotlight: Missy Jenkins. Her story is a real profile of courage. Two-and-a-half years ago, Missy was shot at her high school near Paducah, Kentucky. The shooter, Michael Carneal, opened fire at a prayer meeting. Three young people in that group were killed. Missy was left paralyzed, but she's spent the time since learning to walk and speaking out about youth violence.
Missy joins me now.
You were supposed to speak tonight. They called that off.
MISSY JENKINS, PADUCAH SHOOTING VICTIM: Yeah.
WATERS: And you're disappointed.
JENKINS: Yeah I am.
WATERS: What was your message to have been to this convention?
JENKINS: I wanted to do was tell all, you know, kids all over America in high schools it's so important to tell whenever they hear that something is going to happen in their school, you know. That is what happened in my school. He told, but nobody listened. And it's so important to go tell an adult.
WATERS: You do this at schools in various parts of the country. I notice this "recognized, report, reduce" pamphlet you brought with you. You're telling kids what specifically?
JENKINS: This right here is a program that was started by -- started by FCCLA, Family Career Community Leaders of America. And it is called "Stop the Violence." And it is students taking on prevention.
What it is is that students are able to go into their schools and teach each other and try to prevent violent in their schools.
WATERS: How are you doing?
JENKINS: I am doing really well.
WATERS: You wrote in an article that I read in "Christianity Today" that -- the question you wanted answered was: Why did Michael Carneal shoot you? Did you ever get an answer to that question?
JENKINS: No I didn't. But I feel that what happened to me has been for a reason. I feel like it is being used for good. That helps me now.
WATERS: Have you determined what the reason is?
JENKINS: I think -- a lot of people told me I've been an inspiration to them. I feel like possibly, maybe, I feel like it is on so many levels: to help violence; to assure other people that people in wheelchairs can do more than just sit in a wheelchair; these is just so many things.
WATERS: Life in a wheelchair, I am sure, has changed your life to a certain degree. How has your life changed generally since this tragic accident?
JENKINS: I found out what I want to do with my life. It also it gives you the feeling that your life can be changed at any second. You know, you need to cherish what you have because walking I never thought would be taken away, it could happen any second. I thought I was invincible when I was a sophomore, just 15, and it shows that your life can change very quick.
WATERS: And Michael Carneal, your feelings about him? if you have feelings about him?
JENKINS: I forgave him for what he did, but it is only for me. It was so that I could go on, move on, and be able to, you know, walk again. That's my main goal. I want to walk, and I want to live my life the way I did before.
WATERS: And do you bring -- your schoolmates who died that day, how has that affected your life?
JENKINS: That -- you know, that was such a terrible thing that they had to die you know and all that, and it really upsets me that he felt he had to use -- you know, take his problems out on that. You know, a gun is not the answer. It did not make his problems any better.
WATERS: It still brings your emotions up.
JENKINS: Oh, yeah.
WATERS: Missy is going to college this fall. Much good luck to you.
JENKINS: Thank you.
WATERS: Thanks for coming in here today.
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