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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
The Power of Hate Symbols; Interview With Ann Coulter
Aired October 4, 2007 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Whether it's a swastika or a burning flag or a noose, it symbolizes violent hatred. If it's an isolated incident, OK, but this is a trend, one we will bring OUT IN THE OPEN.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): A noose at the Coast Guard Academy? A symbol of hate among the men and women of honor?
Commandant, what do you say?
VICE ADMIRAL THAD ALLEN, U.S. COAST GUARD: I have an obligation to make it very clear to you what I consider to be acceptable conduct and unacceptable conduct.
SANCHEZ: Is it an isolated incident? No, because there's Jena and Grambling, other schools and offices. What is going on?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was very offended, because that's a racial slur against us.
SANCHEZ: Tonight the power of hate symbols.
Plus, white students smeared with mud, pretending to be black, is this funny? What were they thinking?
JIM BROSSARD, CUT DOWN MEXICAN FLAG: I want somebody to fight me for this flag. They're not going to get it back.
SANCHEZ: He's got the flag. Tonight, we have got him, and, also, the guy who flew the flag, the wrong flag.
(on camera): Who has really been in charge in this administration? Has it been George Bush or has it been Dick Cheney?
(voice-over): You think you know Ann Coulter. Wait until you hear the answer.
We will bring it OUT IN THE OPEN.
SANCHEZ: And hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez.
Tonight, the U.S. Coast Guard has flown in its top brass to stamp down what is no doubt an embarrassing incident for them, a black cadet seemingly being taunted with a noose. Now, it's important to point this out. The reason this is important is, it's not, not an isolated incident.
CNN's Dan Lothian is joining us now from the Coast Guard Academy. He's in New London, Connecticut.
Dan'o, what you got?
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Rick, Admiral Thad Allen was here early tonight. He is the head of the U.S. Coast Guard. And he was speaking to the cadets.
And he pointed out, by just the fact that he's here shows how important this is and how concerned he is, as you mentioned, concerned about a couple of nooses that were found on Coast Guard property over the summer.
I will talk about some of the details in just a moment. But, first, take a listen to how blunt he was in attacking this issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: As a leader of the Coast Guard, I have an obligation to make it very clear to you what I consider to be acceptable conduct and unacceptable conduct. And anybody that is involved in putting symbols of racism in anybody's workplace or personal equipment, in my view, that is conduct unbecoming of an officer.
I think everybody is really disappointed, shocked. And, you know, these things shouldn't happen anywhere, least of all at a service academy, where our mission is serve humanity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LOTHIAN: Now let's hit rewind a bit to how this all started.
It all began in mid-July aboard the Eagle, which is a Coast Guard tall ship. It is a training ship. It was off the coast of Mexico. And that's when an African-American student says that he found a noose inside his bag.
Then, the next month, in August, a diversity trainer here at the academy says that she found another noose inside her office. An initial inquiry into the noose aboard the vessel turned up nothing. And now, Rick, a full criminal investigation by the Coast Guard has been launched -- Rick.
SANCHEZ: Here's an important question for you, Dan. Do we have any indication they whoever did this knew what they were doing, or was trying to do as a prank, or maybe just based on ignorance?
LOTHIAN: That's a very good question, Rick, because at this point they still haven't gotten to the bottom of this. They don't know who put those nooses in both of those locates.
But I was talking to one of the diversity directors here and he told me that a lot of the students here obviously do understand what this symbol is, but he says, not everybody. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEN HUNTER, USCG ACADEMY CIVIL RIGHTS OFFICER: A lot of students don't understand or did not understand the significance or the historical significance of a noose. And, so, once it was explained to them by other students, then, of course, they began to understand and began to understand that this is a problem. It's not something to be taken lightly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LOTHIAN: Certainly a stunning statement to be said in 2007.
Now, I did have a chance to talk to some of the cadets. And they tell me they're disappointed. Some are angry. One African-American cadet told me though that he feels good that the admiral did come here, that they are attacking this issue aggressively. Others hope that this will be a learning experience and that they can move forward -- Rick.
SANCHEZ: Dan Lothian, following that story for us. We will get back to you, Dan, if there are any developments.
Meanwhile, I mentioned that this case does not stand alone, right? Let me show you what I mean when I say that. In fact, let's go over to the big wall. I want to break this down for you guys, if I possibly can, because there have been other incidents.
First of all, Jena, Louisiana, last year, a noose was hung from a tree. It happened after a black student complained that he wanted to be under that tree that we just showed you moments ago, and eventually the very next day there were a couple of nooses hanging under it.
Also, the University of Maryland, let's bring that one in. Last month a noose found hanging in a tree near a building used by a black student group there.
Now, High Point, Louisiana, let's bring that one in. Story there two weeks ago, four nooses were found hanging on a flagpole from a tree at that high school in North Carolina, I should say.
And then this is just last week, as a matter of fact. This is in Hempstead, New York. A janitor finds a noose hanging from a ceiling pipe in the police department's locker room there. And apparently it was directed at a black deputy chief.
It makes you start to wonder, doesn't it. What's going on?
Joining us now, Sherrilyn Ifill. She's a law professor at the University of Maryland. Also, she's the author of a book that is called "On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-first Century." Also with me is Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Boy, they do some good work out there, which tracks hate groups and their activities.
Mark, I am going to begin with you. Look, if this were just one incident, first of all, we wouldn't be doing this story tonight. But it's not. We're seeing a lot of these cases, like we looked at a little while ago. And we're seeing other hate crimes as well.
So, why do you think this is going on? Do you see a trend, and if so, why do you see a trend?
MARK POTOK, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Yes, I think there is a trend, Rick. I think, to a large extent, in fact, nooses have come to replace, in many people's mind, the burning cross as the kind of symbol of the Klan or of racial hate.
There's some real evidence that these cases have been gathering force. I know, for instance, that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a government agency, has seen a lot more noose cases in recent years than it did in the past.
At the same time, the EEOC reported about five or six years ago that in the '80s, they had had something on the order of 10,000 complaints of racial harassment in the workplace. In the '90s, that number had risen to something close to 50,000.
So, I think that this reflects something that's going on more widely in the country, a kind of worsening of race relations. And the noose has come really to symbolize that. At the same time, I should say that there are white supremacist groups pushing the idea of getting these nooses out there and frightening people with them.
SANCHEZ: But here's a question. And I think this is important. Do you think this is an effort by some people out there who actually are hateful and are intending to do this, or do you think there are just people out there who just don't get it; they're ignorant; they don't even understand the past of this country.
Sherrilyn, let me take that to you.
SHERRILYN IFILL, PROFESSOR OF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: Yes, I think that's a really important question. What's the motivation?
And I know some people like to say, well, it's just a prank. I think it's an especially important question when we're dealing with young people, because they do know that this symbol is powerful. They do know that they're going to get a reaction. They do know that it's going to be offensive and maybe intimidating to African-Americans.
Now, do they know the full history, the history of lynching in this country and why this symbol carries so much power and what it means about the communities where they lived? Lynchings happened in communities all over this country. Do they know about their own town's history? Do they know about their grandparents and their great grandparents?
I would say the answer is probably no. And one of the things I think -- I hope will happen, as these -- as we see these incidents proliferating is that, you know, it's wonderful for Commandant Allen to come forward before the Coast Guard and make the statement he did. I think that's critically important, to set the boundaries of acceptable conduct.
But we also need not just to bring the hammer, but to open the conversation, to open the conversation about race, to open the conversation about a part of our racial history we don't talk about.
SANCHEZ: Hey, Mark, let me go to you, because I'm reading your magazine every week when you send it out. And I'm looking at it and I am seeing an awful lot of stuff. And I'm starting to wonder if there is really a -- are we as a nation going backward when it comes to our sensitivities with things like race?
POTOK: Well, I think that -- yes, I think that, racially, the country is going backward. I think that a strong argument can be made for the idea that, in the last 10 or 15 years, race relations have really worsened in this country, not improved.
We see that in a number of ways. Certainly the number of hate groups out there are growing. And I think that's a reflection of what goes on in...
SANCHEZ: Can you put your finger on it?
SANCHEZ: Go ahead, Sherrilyn.
IFILL: I don't think that's necessarily true.
I understand the figures that Mark Potok is referring to. And I don't disagree that racism is a problem. I think there's greater reporting that happens now, that people are more willing to report when these incidents happen.
And I think that we see that there are various instances in which, for example, the response of Thad Allen today was called upon by Congressman Elijah Cummings to make a strong statement. The conversations that happened at the University of Maryland Law School that were diverse -- excuse me -- University of Maryland, the undergraduate school -- that were diverse...
SANCHEZ: That makes sense.
IFILL: ... and made up of blacks and whites and so forth.
IFILL: We see that it is different.
I'm very resistant to the idea that it's the way it used to be. It really isn't. But we're having these incidents in instances in which people feel more comfortable reporting them. And very often, I think white students and white young people are engaged in these incidents because they feel threatened by the greater diversity they see around them and they're confused about how to deal with it. So, it's the progress that is happening at the same time that is pushing this reaction.
SANCHEZ: Mark Potok, Sherrilyn Ifill, my thanks to both of you.
SANCHEZ: We will get you back. I'm being told that we have got something else coming up. Thanks again to both of you.
IFILL: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Up next, a graphic history of what the noose represents, lynching and, what's worse, direct racism. Or is it ignorance?
Boiling mad over the Mexican flag. A man goes and rips it down. Tonight, he's here with us to tell us his story.
Oh, and this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: You made a comment just now, or just recently, where you said, if we took women's right to vote away, we would never have to worry about a Democratic president?
ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, "GODLESS: THE CHURCH OF LIBERALISM": Yes.
SANCHEZ: You believe that?
COULTER: Think of that. Well, that is a fact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Whoa, many would say. Take away women's vote? Wait. You got to hear her out. And she offers other gems.
Stay right where you are for Ann Coulter.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back.
You know what I try to do for you here every day is find some of the videos, no matter where they are, that I think you would want to see.
Well, take a look at this one. These are some Louisiana college students who smeared themselves in mud, and then taped themselves reenacting the assault in the Jena Six case. Then one of them posted the images on Facebook.
These were students from the University of Louisiana-Monroe, which is about 65 miles north by the way of Jena. Now I have got to give you a warning. What we're about to show you may be kind of tough to look at, because this is graphic. Frankly, I also think that what we're about to show you is important, even if it is graphic, because what was that about history repeating itself? Well, this is something we spent a lot of time thinking about. This, what you're about to see, is about lynching.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Southern trees bear a strange fruit, blood on the leaves.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): These are lyrics from a poem, later a Billie Holiday song from the 1930s.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze.
SANCHEZ: You still hear that song sometimes. But that may be all you will ever hear this long, shameful era that started in the 1880s in the United States after the Civil War.
Now, the origin of the word lynch, perhaps it comes from a guy named Lynch, known for dispensing brutal justice. But there's no doubt that, in this country, lynching lasted until the 1960s, yes, that recently. There were nearly 5,000 deaths in all but four states, mostly in the Deep South. Mostly, the victims were black.
Lynching doesn't just mean death in a noose at the end of a rope, but also burning alive, beating, drowning, shooting, sometimes all of the above.
It happened to men and women, to boys and girls. It happened to people who, often for no reason whatever, were accused of murder, rape, robberies, or just insulting a white person.
Society seems to have forgotten how long it lasted, how many died, but, once, it was front-page news, well-documented, well- photographed. And, in those pictures, the mob smiles. The mob rules. Like a swastika or a burning cross, a noose no longer symbolizes anything but hate, brutality and evil.
SANCHEZ: You know what's interesting? It seems that some young people especially just don't understand the message that that noose conveys. Some of the words that you were just listening to, they don't get.
We have just gotten some pictures in we want to share with you now. This is at a high school in Columbia, South Carolina, today. This is a couple of 16-year-olds, one black, one white. They put a noose on a tree. They apparently were mad at some black kids who took away their football the other day. The two are charged now with disturbing the school, but not specifically with a hate crime.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEON LOTT, RICHLAND COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA, SHERIFF: I would think it would be farfetched to say it's a hate crime. Again, I think I would describe it as something stupid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we knew what they were talking about. I mean, Jena Six is just -- it's barely over with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Joining us now is Marc Lamont Hill, professor of urban education and American studies at Temple University. And also with us is Suzan Johnson Cook, who served as a presidential adviser on race relations during the Clinton administration.
Here's what some would say. And many who would look at this would say, you know what? These are just ignorant kids. They don't know what is going on.
Is that a fair excuse?
SUZAN JOHNSON COOK, FORMER CLINTON ADMINISTRATION ADVISER: Oh, it's not a fair excuse. We have to learn each other's history.
And I think it's morally unacceptable and it's certainly sickening to those of us who have to watch it and relive it. We have stories in our history that just tear us apart. And it continues.
SANCHEZ: How does it tear you apart when you -- in fact, go ahead. Hey, Ellie (ph), do me a favor. Get a shot of the noose.
You guys, go ahead. Turn around. I want you to look at that. When you look at that noose, what does it mean to you?
MARC LAMONT HILL, PROFESSOR OF URBAN EDUCATION AND AMERICAN STUDIES, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY: It's a reminder of the deep and dark legacy of white supremacy. It's an agent of domestic terrorism against black bodies. And it's a reminder of America's extraordinary capacity to be indifferent to our suffering in the service of a white supremacist project.
Black folk don't forget that. It's imprinted in our collective memories, our psyches, our hearts, and our consciousness.
SANCHEZ: One of the things as a minority that bothers me is ownership, when I feel like someone is trying to tell me they tell me -- they pull my strings, because there may have been a time when somebody in my ancestry probably had to deal with something like that. So, it's very insulting today. Do you feel that when you see this kind of thing? Is that what it represents as well?
COOK: It represents that all the way. It's insulting. And it's also degrading. And it takes us back.
I sat at my grandmother's feet when they talked about stories that this happened in her generation. So, it brings back reminders of hatred and murder.
SANCHEZ: But it's a threat as well, isn't it, professor? Isn't it also saying, listen, this is what can happen to you if you misbehave?
HILL: And that's exactly the point. It's absolutely a reminder of our dark past. But it's also an agent of domestic terrorism right now.
When you see that noose hanging, you know that your body hangs in jeopardy the same way thousands of black bodies hung in the balance for the last 200 years here in America.
SANCHEZ: Here's something that is interesting about this conversation. And I think a lot of people at home who are watching this right now might relate to this.
It's the question as to who you prefer who comes at you at racism, the guy who does it subtly or the guy who does it blatantly, the guy who holds the noose or the guy you never see holding the noose?
COOK: But there's an assumption you have to prefer one or the other. You don't prefer either one of them. Subtle racism or overt racism, it's still racism. And I think what we have to talk about is, where does racial reconciliation begin to happen? Why do you have prefer either one of them?
SANCHEZ: The reason I ask the question is because of this. Somebody like this, who may be ignorant enough or racist enough to use that as a symbol, for whatever reason or whatever it is he is trying to convey as opposed to the guy who doesn't do that. There's a subtle racism that we deal with in our society today. Address that...
HILL: Right. But the key is not to think of racism as individual acts of bad will. It's about systemic issues and structural inequality.
That noose is an extension of a broader project. When we look at the noose historically, it wasn't just about killing black people. It was about denying people access to the (INAUDIBLE) of American democracy. Even though the laws were in place, we weren't going to let them vote. We weren't going to let them have access to housing and education and so forth.
This noose was a sign of that intimidation. It still happens today. The same people who hang nooses in Jena will systematically deny black folk access to jobs, housing, health care, and all these other things when they graduate from college.
SANCHEZ: That's exactly what I was getting at, but they do it without ever showing a noose. They do it without ever showing that they are in any way overtly hateful or racist, right?
COOK: But the impact is still the same. We still feel it no matter how it's done. We had an incident recently that we talked about that happened. Whether it's ignorance, or whatever, it's still racism. And we still feel the impact however it's done.
SANCHEZ: Here's an important question for you. You never really felt this in your lifetime.
And you never really felt this in your lifetime, because you're too young.
How do you know what the real effect is if it was never really part of your life?
HILL: Well, because it was never part of our life, because I see that noose and it still conjures up those same feelings of terror and fear and hatred.
SANCHEZ: But why does it conjure it up there? Was there somebody in your family who told you about it?
COOK: Absolutely. We have collective -- black folk, all people have collective memories. We share memories about the past through communication.
And, so, grand-mama, mama, great-grand-mama, they tell these stories about what the noose symbolized for them. And it symbolized the same thing for us. And also even though the noose isn't necessarily our primary object of terror, there are other things that do that for us, like flashing police lights in urban areas. All these things generate feelings of terror for black folks.
SANCHEZ: That's interesting.
COOK: My parents talked about it and my grandparents talked about it very much. And we were part of the oral tradition. And so we didn't have a lot of television. So we watched and we told stories about what happened in generations.
SANCHEZ: Oral tradition, something maybe we all need to understand and get into a little more before it goes away.
My thanks to both of you. Marc Lamont Hill and Suzan Johnson Cook, thank you.
COOK: Thank you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MILDRED GONZALEZ, WIFE OF U.S. NAVY OFFICER: I'm scared like to go back. I'm scared for my life, my son's life and not be able to see him anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Her husband will be fighting for the United States in Iraq. But she may be about to be kicked out of the U.S. because her papers aren't in order. How is that fair?
Also, the guy who ripped down the Mexican flag and the one who is flying it both with us.
SANCHEZ: Our "Immigration Nation" segment tonight focuses on one family. He's a sailor who is about to go back to the war for the third time. She is his wife who is about to get kicked out of the country, leaving no one to take care of their little baby boy.
Here is their story now as told by CNN's Thelma Gutierrez.
PETTY OFFICER EDUARDO GONZALEZ, U.S. NAVY: I work in the fly deck. Some people consider it to be the most dangerous job in the world.
THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the third time in four years, U.S. Naval Petty Office Eduardo Gonzalez is going to war.
E. GONZALEZ: Defending the country that is trying to kick my family out is something that always runs through my mind.
Go. Go. Go.
GUTIERREZ: Gonzalez is a U.S. citizen. His wife, Mildred, is not. And she's facing deportation, wondering who will care for their 20-month-old son.
M. GONZALEZ: I'm scared like to go back. I'm scared for my life, my son's life, and not be able to see him anymore.
E. GONZALEZ: This is the type of situation that the government doesn't really get to see. They're tearing families apart. And it hurts. It hurts a lot.
GUTIERREZ: Mildred Gonzalez came from Guatemala to the United States illegally when she was just 5. No one knows how many military families face deportation. And there's no protection for them.
LT. COL. MARGARET STOCK, U.S. ARMY RESERVE: What's most important when we're fighting a war is to support the war fighters.
GUTIERREZ: Margaret Stock, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, teaches immigration law at West Point Military Academy. She argues, military families need to be shielded from the threat of deportation. STOCK: We have got people fighting overseas who are facing the impossible situation of having family members facing deportation back home.
GUTIERREZ: Others disagree. Mark Krikorian from the Center for Immigration Studies lobbies for tougher laws on illegal immigrants, and says military families shouldn't have special treatment.
MARK KRIKORIAN, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: What you are talking about is an amnesty for illegal immigrants who have a relative in the armed forces. And that's just -- it's outrageous.
E. GONZALEZ: He needs to understand that I'm trying to make his country better, my country better. And it should be her country, too.
GUTIERREZ: Mildred Gonzalez has a stay on her deportation until June. Eduardo says when he returns from the Persian Gulf he faces a tough battle on the home front with immigration officials to keep his family together.
Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Jacksonville, Florida.
SANCHEZ: We do have another disturbing racially charged incident to tell you about tonight.
Police in Washington are checking this one out to see if it's a hate crime. It is a black student at a high school for the deaf in Washington, said he was held against his will while his captors drew the letters KKK and swastikas on him.
A source tells CNN tonight that this started as a friendly war game competition between two groups of students. But what was at first just horseplay got out of hand, eventually leading to one student being held against his will for 45 minutes. After he was let go, he went to the police.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROSSARD: I took this flag down in honor of my country with a flag -- with a knife from the United States Army.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: He was boiling mad. Then, what about this guy? They're both next. We will talk to them.
Also, Ann Coulter on woman voters, who is really at charge at the White House, and immigration. This may surprise you.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back. Tonight, the story of a man who's enraged by a flag. I want you to watch this tape. This is a Mexican restaurant; this is in Reno, Nevada, where the Mexican flag was flying on a pole above, key word here, above, the U.S. flag. Well, that got this guy so angry, so outraged, he pulled out a knife. All right, now watch the thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM BROSSARD, CUT DOWN MEXICAN FLAG: I took this flag down in honor of my country, with a flag -- with a knife from the United States Army. I'm a veteran. I'm not going to see this done to my country. If they want to fight us, then they need to be men, and they need to come and fight us. But I want somebody to fight me for this flag. They're not going to get it back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: By the way, we looked into this, just so you know, for the record. Federal guidelines, by the way, say that you should never fly two flags on the same pole. They should always be flown at equal heights on separate poles. But common sense will tell you, if you're in the United States, you shouldn't put the flag of another country above the flag of the United States, right? That's just commons sense.
Joining us now, the guy who wielded that knife. His name is Jim Brossard, he's got one heck of a beard going and he's good enough to talk to us.
He Jim, thanks so much for joining us. Why were you so angry at that moment when that happened?
BROSSARD: Well, thank you for having me on your show, Rick, it's a real honor to talk to you about this subject. What had happened is I was listening to a radio talk show, KOH-AM 780 and a listener was on there with Bill Manders and had been outraged about this incident. I did not just whip out a knife, but instead, I carefully chose a knife that was perfect for this application. I was very enraged, as you might say, but well in control of my actions.
SANCHEZ: Oh no, you look like you knew exactly what you were doing. Had you been walking by this or driving by it for some time and it had been kind of stewing in you and you finally said, you know what, I'm sick and tired of it, I'm going to do something about it?
BROSSARD: You know, Rick, I had no sight of it until it was reported over the radio. Actually, within about 10 to 15 minute area, from the time it was reported, I was down there cutting the flag off of there. The only thing that slowed me down, is my vehicle was out of gas and I didn't want to run out afterwards, so I stopped and got some gas.
SANCHEZ: What were you, Jim, trying to say when you did this? What the real message behind the anger, here?
BROSSARD: The real message is that, you know, people just don't do the things to our nation, that have been occurring. The lawlessness that's been occur(burp) -- pardon me -- that's been occurring, the fact is that this surrounded an incident that took place over identity theft. The McDonald's restaurants around town, ICE agency, here, local came in and arrested a lot of illegals.
Now these flags were put up in protest of arresting the illegals. It seems to be common place that illegals want rights, and in the United States of America, actually, there are no rights available, because in fact they are here breaking the law.
SANCHEZ: Let me ask you a question. This might be an interesting question for you. If that flag had been an Irish flag or a Canadian flag. Would you have ripped it down?
BROSSARD: Absolutely. It has nothing to do about nationality. I am not a racist individual. I'm simply a good American.
SANCHEZ: Well but, when I'm talking to you now, I'm kind of getting the sense that you got all hyped up because you were listening to somebody on the radio talk about this issue. What were they saying?
BROSSARD: It was a young lady from the area, who is absolutely floored that they would have the American flag subordinate to another nation's flag.
SANCHEZ: You know, I'm wondering if you didn't -- there's two things you probably could have done, here. One of them, you could have dealt with the flag, the other thing you could have gone and talked to the people who put up the flag. Did you ever find out who they are?
BROSSARD: Well, shoulda, coulda, woulda and hind sight is always 20/20, but in reality, Rick, the problem with our nation today is that people always question themselves on their actions. I don't think that I've done anything to physically harm anybody. In fact, I know I haven't.
SANCHEZ: You know, the funny thing is, you know, I'm watching you now, and you seem like a very mild-mannered guy.
BROSSARD: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: And we watch you on that video and there was nothing mild-mannered about you.
BROSSARD: Takes a lot to make me.
SANCHEZ: What if I tell you this, though, this is important, the guy who put up the flag, or the guy who was responsible for that flag being there, is the guy who had bought that restaurant. He says when he bought the restaurant the flags were in the wrong order to begin with, and he ready didn't know. Do you accept his apology?
BROSSARD: That's not something I'm in a position to do. Under the circumstances, he was informed through the day. I have several individuals that will contest to the fact they had conversations numerously through the day with him. And so he was well aware of his actions and in fact he has put himself in a quandary because he's told the opposite of what is actually true. SANCHEZ: Well you know, what's interesting about this is as I talked to you, and I think as a lot of people listening to you, what they're hearing is a general frustration about what's going in this country. And it seems to me that you're real angry of the Mexican invasion, as some have been calling it. What are you showing me there, by the way?
BROSSARD: I am showing you the actual flag.
SANCHEZ: That's the flag?
BROSSARD: Yes, I intend to encase this flag. It's going in my living room and will be honorably displayed along with this in formation.
SANCHEZ: Hey, what if the owner says, you know, that's my flag, it's my property, and I'd like to have it back. What would you say to him? And he apologizes for having them out of order?
BROSSARD: It's a national symbol of our country, he knew well, I believe in my heart he knew well what he was doing and intentionally did disgrace our flag.
SANCHEZ: But wait a minute, how do you know what's in -- it's not about what's in your heart, it's what is in his heart. If he's a fellow human being, comes up to you, Jim, and he says, I'm really sorry, I didn't know, the other guy had put it that way? Would you not accept his apology?
BROSSARD: Under the circumstances, no, because it's a situation where this is happening all over the country.
SANCHEZ: And you're just upset about it. Jim Brossard, my thanks to you, sir, for taking the time to talk about us. Hopefully we'll get a chance to talk again if this situation...
BROSSARD: I want you -- can I say one more...
SANCHEZ: Sorry about that. The guy on the bike -- all right, watch him, there. He's just in the wrong place at a wrong time, and guess what. There's a train coming. We're going to show you what happens in this case.
Also, is she really criticizing Republicans? Coming up, Ann Coulter, perhaps like you've never heard her before. Stay with us, we'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: All right, Rick's Pics for you now, this is one of those where you get to follow the action. We're going to start right here. This is a train track in London. Watch what happens to this fella on the bike. Bang, now he goes over the side. Now he's down there. He hears a train coming and he has to make a decision if he can get himself up. He stays down there, now he's going to try and drag the bike out of the way, but he says forget about the bike and runs away and moments later, this happens. There comes the train, goodbye to the bike. By the way, as you're watching him, you think maybe he might be inebriated? Yeah. That's what police thing too and they say they are looking for him.
Here's another one. This is a surveillance tape from a convenience store in Indianapolis. Now, watch what happens. This guy has somebody try to rob his store and you know what the first thing he does is? He goes and locks the door, so the guy tries to get out and he can't get out.
So then he tries to get a stick to club his way out. He still can't get out. So the convenience store owner comes back and confronts him. They confront each other. Finally they start to square off. Doesn't seem like -- and finally they're just stand and look at each other. The strangest thing you've ever see. What do I do? What do you do?
Finally the other guy goes away. He's going to call 911 now. This guy is picking up the cash from the ground, now starts to use his body to muscle his way out the window and out door and eventually he does get away. The guy goes after him with a stick. Police say they're still looking for him. He got away with $160.
And there's this story we're following for you. A look at what many Americans are doing these days? You know what they're, they're hanging it up and they're going for happiness over success. Whatever that means -- success. We call this "Life after Work" and we call the guy who brought us this story, Ali Velshi.
ALI VELSHI, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This production of "Joseph and Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" doesn't look different and that's how Jim Sisto likes it.
JIM SISTO, ARTISTIC DIR, FAMILY RESIDENCES: The thing about this group that is most amazing to me is their drive to exceed and do well, despite any obstacle that life or God or whoever throws at them.
VELSHI: And what you might find really amazing, is that everyone in this production is developmentally or physically challenged.
SISTO: The participants in our program are varied, people with physical disabilities, people with mental health issues, people with developmental disabilities.
VELSHI: Sisto is the artistic director for Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, it's an organization that houses and teaches more than 3,000 mentally challenged adults in Long Island. Sisto took what he thought was a short detour from graphic design in 1989 when he took a job at the center and tested out a theater program. The result surprised everyone.
SISTO: My biggest surprise with the program was the apparent change that came over so many people so quickly, people who could be aggressive, stopped being aggressive, because they knew if they did cross over that line, that they were no longer able to do this thing that they loved so much. People were able to manage their symptoms for the first time in their life.
VELSHI: Ali Velshi, CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Are there things that you say that you say because you just want to shock?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Hold that answer and stand by for an electrifying -- what, you get tasered? It's a conversation with Ann Coulter.
And then later, remember when we used to dissect frogs when we were in high school? We don't have to do that anymore. We're going to tell you why. Stand by.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back to OUT IN THE OPEN, I'm Rick Sanchez. Ann Coulter has got a new book out and what you're about to see is her very first CNN interview talking about it. Conservative? Yep, yes. She's conservative. But as you listen to her, there are also areas where you begin to, well, wonder, you know, contextually speaking. Anyway, I digress. Here we go. The title of this book is "If Democrats had any Brains, they'd be Republicans."
Are there things that you say that you say because you just want to shock? You made a comment just recently where you said, "If we took woman's right to vote away, we'd never have to worry about the Democratic president."
ANN COULTER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Yes.
SANCHEZ: You believe that?
COULTER: Think of that. Well, that is a fact. Usually I just toss off, you know, I think the 19th amendment was a rash experience. That's actually the explanation of that point. Since FDR, I think, the only Democrat who would have won if only man voted in America, is Lyndon Johnson.
SANCHEZ: But you're a woman.
COULTER: I'd sacrifice. I'll give it up if they will. Apparently it's mostly single women. But I'm telling you, I mean, if you can tell me that, you know, left-handed, you know, brunettes under 5'7" would only vote Republican, I'd say they're the only people who should have the vote.
SANCHEZ: Do you ever apologize?
COULTER: I would. I mean, I apologize in my private life, but I certainly have not, and I don't think I should have, for any of my public commentary, thus far.
SANCHEZ: What about the 911 widows. Do you think you maybe you may have made them feel bad and you were a little insensitive?
COULTER: Oh no. Um, well, I think they made, you know, George Bush feel bad. They were cutting campaign commercials for Kerry, they were blaming the 9/11 attack and their husband's death on George Bush, they were...
SANCHEZ: They could make a pretty decent argument for that, I mean, you know...
COULTER: Well, I could make a pretty decent argument for liberals not putting out victims to make their points for them.
SANCHEZ: But if you're saying -- let's go ahead, let's talk issues, now, let's about that situation with the Iraq war.
You have Richard Clarke, who's in the White House saying, look, these guys were saying that the Clinton administration was obsessed with bin Laden, that they had -- that they were just overwhelmed with this and they didn't want to pay attention to this.
And then you've got the PDD that says that bin Laden is determined to attack the United States and my husband died in 9/11 and I say why didn't my administration take those things into account? Why did they make that mistake? That's a decent argument.
COULTER: Right, but it was answered fully in the full August 6, PDD, because it is preposterous to read that and think that there was any warning of any sort, it's like saying, bet on a horse in the next six months because some horse is going to win.
SANCHEZ: But what about Richard Clarke argument. I mean, you've got a guy who's working for two other presidents before that, who knows his stuff, knows bin Laden, knows al Qaeda, and when he gets in the -- when these new guys get into office, the first thing they do, he says, is they treated me like I was the guy who wasn't -- they weren't going to listen to.
COULTER: Right. Yeah, he was demoted. I'm not sure...
SANCHEZ: Shouldn't they have listened to him?
COULTER: No, I think -- I think what you have sour grapes from someone who was demoted.
SANCHEZ: Who's really been in charge in this administration? Has it been George Bush or has it been Dick Cheney?
COULTER: You know, I don't know, I'm not in the White House. Um, I suspect they are working pretty much hand-in-hand. I'm very glad Dick Cheney was there. I don't think Dick Cheney is running it without George Bush's approval. I think he's a very powerful vice president.
SANCHEZ: Well, let me turn that question around. Do you think if Dick Cheney weren't there many of the decisions that have been made would not have been made?
COULTER: Oh, that's a good question. Really, I have no way of knowing. I certainly think Cheney has been salubrious influence (laughing) I do think so.
SANCHEZ: Let me ask you a question about immigration. Why don't we have a plan as a government, but yet we have a lot of people complaining on both sides of the aisle? It is a crisis.
COULTER: I have a plan.
SANCHEZ: What's the plan?
COULTER: We build a wall.
SANCHEZ: Just build a wall?
COULTER: Well, there are other aspects of my plan.
SANCHEZ: You mentioned a little while ago, and that was interesting, you said, "we need to come up with a way where we decide who comes into our country and choose them."
SANCHEZ: Right? Screen them.
COULTER: Right, and by the way, you can ratchet that up, you can ratchet it down. It says nothing about immigration, generally, we might want to have a lot more immigrants than we're getting now, but we ought to be choosing them.
SANCHEZ: But what you said, "we maybe ought to have a lot more immigrants than we have right now." We'll have people on one side of the argument saying, ah-ha, see she's for amnesty.
COULTER: Oh, no they won't.
SANCHEZ: She doesn't want to get rid of immigrants over here. But, you know what I'm saying.
COULTER: No, I'm very much against illegal immigration. I mean, that is just letting borders get out of control. You have no control, whatsoever. And I don't think -- I mean, I do think you ought to be picking immigrants on the basis of what they can bring to the country and not, you know, whether they live within walking distance.
SANCHEZ: So, what you're saying is that we should have some kind of process that allows us to find out who's coming into the country?
SANCHEZ: Yeah, but at the same time, what the process now seems to be, well...
COULTER: Is a disaster.
SANCHEZ: Right, and by the way, you go ahead in, but if we catch you, then we're going to try and get you out of here.
COULTER: No, worse than that, the hoops that legal immigrants, that we should be, you know, applying to them to come here. The hoops they have to go through to come here are preposterous. So, to come here legally it is extremely difficult for immigrants we ought to want and to come here illegally it's a little too easy.
SANCHEZ: Ann Coulter, thanks for being with us.
COULTER: Thank you, great to be here.
SANCHEZ: You think your street has potholes? Well, be glad you don't live here. Where's here? We'll tell.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back, we think this is an important enough subject that we spent a lot of time talking about it tonight. The idea of hate crimes, nooses, lynching. There's a new music video that caught our attention. In fact, take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN MELLENCAMP, MUSICIAN (singing): Oh, Jena, take your nooses down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: The new John Mellencamp video specifically refers to Jena Six case. Mellencamp tells CNN that this isn't an indictment of the people of Jena, but rather as a condemnation of racism in general. He says that he's going to perform the song tomorrow at the concert in San Francisco. We'll be keeping watch on that.
Also, here's an update on that disastrous landslide in San Diego that we've been following.
Residents of 75 houses that were evacuated are finally back home today. More than 100 homes were evacuated yesterday when the ground under a boulevard simply just gave way. It was amazing to watch, swallowed two homes completely. This is a neighborhood of about, oh, I'd say million dollar homes. It has a history, by the way, of landslides. And the history, we're told, dates back to the 1960s.
Well, here's a reason for a squeamish high school kids to rejoice. Japanese scientists have managed to breed see-through frogs, and to do so, all they got to do is show them like this. You see, you see everything inside, no need to dissect them anymore, so they don't have to die. Way to go, frogs.
I'm Rick Sanchez, thanks so much for being with us. Larry's next. Hasta manana.
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