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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Gun-Toting Neighbor; America Votes 2008: Who's Ahead; Inside the World of Autism: Finding Amanda
Aired November 19, 2007 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: In a moment, we will explore the legal ins and outs of deadly force with CNN's Jeffrey Toobin.
Before we do, though, Gary Tuchman sets the scene.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Joe Horn saw it right outside his window.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: Pasadena 911. What is your emergency?
HORN: Burglars are breaking into a house next door.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: A burglary at his next-door neighbor's house in the Houston suburb of Pasadena. It was 2:00 in the afternoon.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HORN: I have got a shotgun. Do you want me to stop them?
911 OPERATOR: Nope, don't do that. Ain't no property worth shooting somebody over, OK?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: Three minutes into the call, and the 61-year-old was getting increasingly upset as he watched the two men.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HORN: I'm not going to let them get away with it. I can't take a chance on getting killed over this, OK?
911 OPERATOR: No.
HORN: I'm going to shoot. I'm going to shoot.
(END AUDIO CLIP) TUCHMAN: On September 1, Texas strengthened a law giving civil immunity to people who defend themselves with deadly force, not only in their homes, but in their cars and workplaces. But this was a neighbor's house, and the 911 operator warned Horn 13 times during the call to stay inside his home.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HORN: OK. He's coming out the window right now. I got to go, buddy. I'm sorry, but he's coming out the window.
911 OPERATOR: No, don't. Don't go out the door.
Mr. Horn? Mr. Horn?
HORN: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) They just stole something. I'm going out the window. I'm sorry.
911 OPERATOR: Don't go outside.
HORN: I ain't going to let them get away with this (EXPLETIVE DELETED) They stole something. They got a bag of something.
911 OPERATOR: Don't go outside the house.
HORN: I'm doing it.
911 OPERATOR: OK?
Mr. Horn, do not go outside the house.
HORN: I'm sorry. This ain't right, buddy.
911 OPERATOR: You're going to get yourself shot if you go outside that house with a gun. I don't care what you think.
HORN: You want to make a bet? I'm going to kill them.
911 OPERATOR: OK? Stay in the house.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: Joe Horn would have won that bet.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: I don't want you going outside, Mr. Horn.
HORN: Well, here it goes, buddy. You hear the shotgun clicking and I'm going.
911 OPERATOR: Don't go outside. HORN: Move, you're dead.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: Miguel Antonio Dejesus and Diego Ortiz, two men who had previous minor scrapes with the law, were killed.
CAPTAIN BUD CORBETT, PASADENA POLICE DEPARTMENT: One of the two suspects -- at least one of the two -- was carrying some property which was dropped in the front yard of the residence that -- that was being burglarized.
TUCHMAN: As for Joe Horn, he said in a written statement the shooting is weighing heavily on him. A grand jury will now decide if he should be charged with a crime.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.
KING: Joining me now, Jeffrey Toobin, CNN senior legal analyst and a former federal prosecutor.
Jeff, let's start from the beginning. This is fascinating stuff, when you listen to these audio recordings. But Joe Horn has not been charged. Do you think he will be? And, if so, does he have a defense?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, on the letter of the law, it sure looks like he's guilty of probably something, and perhaps even just murder, because think about what he did.
He had -- warned repeatedly not to use his -- not to go out and use his gun. He's told that these there -- there are non-uniform, there are plainclothes officers in the area. And he takes a shotgun out there, which sprays, you know, shot all over the place.
I mean, he engaged in incredibly dangerous behavior, and he killed two people. But, you know, I hate to engage in regional profiling, but this is Texas. And you can see, a lot of people are going to be sympathetic to him.
KING: You mentioned, this is Texas. It is an American tradition, but certainly a frontier tradition, you have the right to protect your own property. Have you ever heard of a right to protect your neighbor's property?
TOOBIN: I never have, but this is why there are grand juries, because grand juries can decide, under all the circumstances, that there's not a -- there's no right to -- that -- that -- that there's no case to be made here.
Certainly, on the facts of these cases, this does not appear to be anything like self-defense, which Texas law and every state's law allows. But, again, the grand jury made say, hey, let him go.
KING: You mentioned the -- the operator at the top. The operator was one cool customer.
KING: He repeatedly said, don't go out is there, sir, repeatedly said, there are police officers out there, repeatedly said, don't get your gun. Do not do it.
If this case were to go to trial, how much of a problem would that be, the cool and repetitive nature of the warnings?
TOOBIN: You know, we -- we often, in the press, sometimes criticize 911 operators. But, boy, I have to say, I was so impressed by -- by this operator here.
I think it's a big problem for Joe Horn, because this operator is giving precisely the rational, intelligent advice that you would hope someone like this would give.
KING: And let's listen to a little bit more of it here. In another part of that call, Joe Horn actually references a new law on the books in Texas that he thinks gives him the legal right to get that gun and go outside. Let's listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HORN: OK, but I have a right to protect myself, too, sir.
911 OPERATOR: Yes, you do.
HORN: And you understand that.
HORN: And the laws have been changed in this country since September the 1st. And you know it and I know it.
911 OPERATOR: I understand that.
HORN: I have a right to protect myself.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KING: "You know it and I know it."
Jeff, he's actually talking about the so-called castle doctrine. That was a state law, not a national law. But it went into effect in Texas on September 1. Could Joe Horn use this in his defense?
TOOBIN: I don't think so, because it refers to a property owner. It refers to self-defense on your property, your own castle. That's why they call it the castle law. This is not an attack on his -- on his property. This is an attack on his next-door neighbor's property. KING: And we talked about the operator's demeanor on that call. You just heard Joe Horn there. His attorney has suggested his client was afraid for his safety.
Do you get that sense from listening to the call? And, even if so, is that a defense?
TOOBIN: No. I mean, I read the full transcript, heard this call. He does not appear to be someone who's in a panic. It's a very cool and rather chilling determination to go out and use his gun, against the instructions of the 911 operator.
KING: This is a fascinating episode, a potential legal case. We will keep track of it. Jeffrey Toobin, thanks very much.
TOOBIN: OK, John.
KING: OK, holiday travel now, and you might have guessed it's already a big mess.
Passengers got stuck today in Dallas when two of DFW Airports three control towers -- yes, it's that big -- when two towers had a major communications meltdown. That sent a ripple through the system, as did fog in Atlanta, and clouds at O'Hare, and heavy winds in New York.
Think it can only get worse by Turkey Day?
Let's get the lowdown now from CNN's Chad Myers with, as they say on the radio, traffic and weather together. Air traffic, that is.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Ah yes.
I'm afraid it is going to get worse. Look at all the planes that are still in the sky right now. I have a computer that counts them for me: 4,560 planes still in the air, over 4,000 people -- 4,000 planes still not landing yet because they got late starts, two-hour delays in Newark, two-hour delays in La Guardia almost all day long.
As you said, Dallas was down. O'Hare was down about two hours late all day long. So, these planes are now finally in the air, but they are going to be at their destination much later than they had hoped for.
Big storm coming through Seattle and a windy day and a snowy day across the passes into Idaho as well, into Montana.
Move you ahead to Wednesday, because this is the biggest driving day. Wednesday is the largest day where people are going to be on the road. Today, a lot of people were flying, tomorrow, too. But, on Wednesday, you get off work, and you drive to grandma's House. That's exactly what's going to go on. A lot of cold air through the Plains and a lot of rain from Chicago down through and into the Deep South.
Now, if you are going and staying the weekend, you need to know how things are going to change. Today, in New York City, temperatures were up to almost 60 degrees, by the weekend, down into the 30s. That same cold air is going to be in Atlanta, tomorrow almost 75, and, by Saturday, 32.
So, you're going to have to pack a couple sets of clothes, some warm clothes and also, obviously, some cooler clothes. In Phoenix today, it was 88. By Saturday morning, it will be 46.
And then for Denver, you guys are going to get snow as well. Today, in Denver, it was 76.
Pueblo, Colorado, was 82 degrees today, and, on Friday morning, they will be below 20.
Even Denver up to 76 today, and down to 20 by Thursday.
So, cold air is coming in. It's the big cold front that will change your forecast, and it may, John, change your drive home, rather than your drive there. It looks like we will probably get everybody where they need to be by Wednesday and Thursday, but coming home Saturday and Sunday could be a trick.
KING: You are the great fount of optimism. When you say Saturday and Sunday, the temperatures are going down.
KING: Are you expecting the hazardous stuff -- snow, sleet, messy stuff, Saturday and Sunday, or just cold and crowd?
MYERS: Without a question, there will be snow across the Great Lakes, lake-effect snows, and a fairly major storm system coming out of the Great Lakes and coming out of the Gulf of Mexico running up the East Coast just to spoil more plans.
MYERS: Don't shoot the messenger, John.
KING: You cook a mean turkey, right?
MYERS: I do. And I have 17 people coming to dinner.
KING: If you're stuck in Atlanta, go to Chad's.
Chad Myers, thanks so much. Take care, Chad.
MYERS: All right. You bet.
KING: Up next: new developments on the campaign trail. Do voters know something the pundits don't? We will run some new numbers and see what they reveal about where the presidential race is going next.
And later: a video that millions of people saw. We're using it as a jumping-off point into the world of autism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANDA BAGGS, AUTISTIC (through translator): The way I naturally think and respond to things looks and feels so different from standard concepts or even visualization, that some people do not consider it thought at all.
It is only when I type something in your language that you refer to me as having communication.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: A remarkable look inside the world of Amanda Baggs, and maybe someone close to you -- 360 tonight.
KING: So, why is Mitt Romney smiling? Maybe he saw the latest poll numbers out of New Hampshire -- a new poll done by CNN and local WMUR showing him with a growing lead over John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and -- get this -- Ron Paul. Fred Thompson not even making the graphic, with just 4 percent of likely Republican voters.
Big new developments, as well, on the Democratic side in Iowa, and that's not all.
Here to talk about it, David Gergen, veteran adviser to presidents from Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton.
David, let's start with that New Hampshire poll numbers showing Romney opening a lead and Fred Thompson falling off the map.
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Well, those -- those are the two big stories out of this, because Romney has opened up 33 points, down -- and McCain and -- and Giuliani down in the high teens. That's a solid lead for Mitt Romney.
It means, if he comes off an Iowa win, he could get a big win in New Hampshire, and then his -- his -- his bandwagon will be rolling.
I thought the other news here, John, was that -- that Rudy Giuliani had fallen some in -- in New Hampshire. He was down around 24, 25 the last time this poll was taken. He's now down to around 16.
And Fred Thompson, boy, he just went through the floor. He's down in the low tiers. He's down -- he's number six in the preferences in New Hampshire. It's hard to see where this campaign goes. He's just -- he's -- people just don't think he's gotten out of his lounge chair.
KING: It sure looks that way. He's betting it all on South Carolina. We will see if that works out. But let's stay in New Hampshire and follow up on your point about...
KING: ... about Rudy Giuliani. He slipped some, despite his first week of television advertising in the state. He went up with a second wave of advertising today focusing on his leadership, including his crisis management in 9/11.
John McCain in second place in a state he needs to win, challenging Rudy Giuliani today on that very issue, with the endorsement of the former New Jersey Governor and 9/11 Commission Chairman Tom Kean.
Let's listen to Governor Kean.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS KEAN (R), FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: I just happen to feel, in this world we live in, with the dangers abroad all around us and the dangers here at home, that we need the very best. And the very best, I believe, is John McCain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Done, David, in Boston, so they would get coverage up in New Hampshire. Does it matter?
GERGEN: Well, it matters some.
I think what's striking out of this poll, when you get into the internals out of New Hampshire in this poll, the CNN poll, is that, on the issues, Romney has now a big lead, up in the 40 percent area, about the person who would be best to handle the economy, to handle taxes, and to handle immigration.
Where McCain does well is on the war in Iraq. If that's the primary issue, he does the best there. And where Giuliani gets -- the one place he gets high marks is on terrorism and handling terrorism. So, the Tom Kean endorsement, coming from the 9/11 Commission, as co- chair of the 9/11 Commission, could conceivably help McCain on the terrorism issue, and -- and maybe take a little bit of the luster off Giuliani. We will see.
But I think the big, big news is that Mitt Romney is rolling up this lead now in New Hampshire and seems to be ahead on a lot of these domestic issues.
KING: Well, let's turn now to the Democratic race.
And let's shift over to Iowa. A new "Washington Post"/ABC News" poll out tonight shows Barack Obama at 30 percent, Clinton at 26, John Edwards at 22 -- Obama with a little bit of a lead there, David, but essentially a three-way dead heat, Edwards slipping a bit.
What are the stakes in Iowa?
GERGEN: Well, it is a statistical dead heat, to be sure. But I think, if you're Barack Obama's camp, you have got to be pleased about the results of this.
You know, he's never had this kind of lead in Iowa. Yes, four points is just -- in a small poll is a statistical dead heat, but it's one heck of a lot better to be on the top of that four than on the bottom of the four.
And I think it shows that some of his -- I think some of the stumbles that Mrs. Clinton went through have -- are coming back to haunt her some. And he's putting a better team on the ground.
KING: And she's clearly worried, David. We have heard her in the past say Barack Obama is not ready when it comes to foreign policy. In a speech today out in Iowa, she seems to suggest he's not ready when it comes to the economy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is one job we can't afford on-the-job training for. That is the job of our next president. That could be the costliest job training in history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: He sells change. She sells experience. Who's going to win the argument?
GERGEN: Well, he's doing better in Iowa, but it's her worst state.
I -- you know, it's so interesting when she says that. I mean, it wasn't long ago that Bill Clinton was getting on-the-job training in the White House, and did a pretty good job on the economy. So, I'm not sure that argument is going to wash, as such.
I really think, increasingly, John, this comes down to who does the best organizing on the ground, who gets people out there on caucus night. And, on that, she does have some advantages. And that is that the Iowa caucus voters tend to be older, and she does well among -- she does better among the older voters.
Barack does very, very well among younger -- younger voters. It's hard to get them out on caucus night, especially if there's a football game on, as there will be.
KING: Seven weeks and counting to the Iowa caucuses.
GERGEN: Seven weeks and counting.
KING: David Gergen, as always. David, thank you very much. GERGEN: Thanks. Thanks, John.
KING: Well, the Republican candidates will face off next week, when Anderson hosts the second CNN/YouTube debate. It's next Wednesday, the 28th, 8:00 p.m., Eastern. Still time to ask the candidates a question. Just go to CNN.com/YouTubeDebates.
Wait until after the show.
Now John Roberts with what is coming up tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ROBERTS, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": Well, thanks, John.
Tomorrow, we bring you the most news in the morning, including fallout from record high gasoline prices. How much more will you be paying to get Thanksgiving dinner from farm to table?
Plus, maybe you would like to buy a hybrid, but you're not sold on the style. One man says you can turn any hot rod, even a Hummer, into a fuel-saving hybrid.
Wake up to the most news in the morning, beginning at 6:00 a.m., Eastern, here on "AMERICAN MORNING" -- John.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Just ahead tonight, 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta takes a rare journey inside the mysterious world of autism. His guide is a remarkable young woman who we believe will literally change the way you think about autism.
Sanjay's groundbreaking report, "Finding Amanda," is next.
KING: We say this rarely, but, tonight, we are certain you will see and hear things so startling that you will be thinking about this report for some time to come.
It's about a woman named Amanda and autism. Those who have been afflicted have been called many things -- unresponsive, unfeeling, even unaware. But, as you will learn tonight, that couldn't be further from the truth. And chances are, you or someone you know is affected by the disorder. Here's the "Raw Data."
As many as 1.5 million Americans may be living with the autism. A recent study by the Centers For Disease Control found that at least one child out of every 150 had some form of autism. And the economic cost, about $35 billion per year.
While there's really no cure for autism, once you meet Amanda Baggs, you will see there is much hope. She lives in a small town in Vermont, but thanks to the Internet, she's now known around the world. Here's our chief medical correspondent on this extraordinary journey, "Finding Amanda."
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is Amanda Baggs, rocking back and forth. She does not make eye contact. Her movements, erratic. Her behavior, eccentric. She cannot speak. And for most of us, this is precisely what we expect when we see a person with autism.
But Amanda and her friends will absolutely change your expectations.
(on camera): Would you define yourself as an autistic person, Amanda?
AMANDA BAGGS (through translator): That's the word for people whose brains look like mine, last I checked.
GUPTA (voice-over): As you will see, Amanda has a lot to say. Her brilliance is laced with a wry sense of humor. We first came across Amanda on YouTube, her appearance there so startling, I wanted to meet her. I had so many questions.
AMANDA BAGGS (through translator): The way I naturally think and respond to things looks and feels so different from standard concepts or even visualization, that some people do not consider it thought at all.
It is only when I type something in your language that you refer to me as having communication.
GUPTA: Amanda calls herself bilingual. For other autistic people, she has movements and gestures to communicate. But, for the rest of us, she made this video to teach us how it works.
She calls us neurotypical, meaning we do not have autism. She communicates with a keyboard and her computer, and for visitors, a voice synthesizer.
(on camera): So, you have seen the video. I wanted to meet the person who actually made this video, to better understand. Her name is Amanda Baggs. She lives right here, and she lives alone.
(voice-over): This is where Amanda made the video. She shot it, edited, and posted it on the Internet, all completely on her own.
Surprised? After all, some medical professionals have labeled her a low-functioning autistic.
(on camera): Part of the reason people watched it was because they were so stunned that a person who carries this label of autism, who doesn't speak, could put together such an astonishing video.
AMANDA BAGGS (through translator): I have put together several videos before, and not a lot of people watched it.
GUPTA (voice-over): But this time, she got through.
(on camera): Amanda, when you hear about people with autism that are institutionalized, that no one has really ever made a concerted effort to try and reach out to, to communicate with in some way, what do you say to -- what do you say to those people?
AMANDA BAGGS (through translator): Everyone interacts with their society. If someone is shut off from interacting with society, then someone else is shutting it off, because it sure doesn't seem to me that I have ever seen someone who doesn't interact with society.
GUPTA (voice-over): Amanda will be our guide to her world, with all its wonder and all of its frustration.
When Amanda hit herself, I was startled, but not surprised. It's a familiar autistic behavior. She must be so frustrated, such a bright woman, so trapped. And, yet, I wondered, how is it that Amanda has been able to reveal so much about herself and her autism?
She relies on the Internet. It's her connection to other autistics. There, she can talk, think and feel on her own terms.
I meet an autistic boy who has written and published part of a book.
(on camera): Was it difficult for you to learn how to read?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My first language was gestures.
GUPTA: In so many ways, Amanda is an inspiration to him. Amanda is our guide on a startling journey across the continent and into a world we have made so little effort to understand.
KING: When we come back, Sanjay's first stop on this amazing journey. He will introduce us to an autistic boy who met Amanda Baggs online and now looks to her as a role model.
D.J.'s story is next -- when "Finding Amanda" continues.
KING: 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta is taking us on an extraordinary journey tonight inside autism.
Before the break, we met Amanda Baggs, a young woman who is using the Internet to challenge the way the world thinks about this baffling disorder. She's become a hero to countless others with autism, including the teenager you're about to meet. His name is D.J., and he's extraordinary, too.
Once again, here's Sanjay Gupta. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
GUPTA (voice-over): The Internet is like a get-out-of-jail-for- free card for a new world of autistics.
D.J. (through translator): Amanda, I am so glad to talk to you.
BAGGS (through translator): I am glad to talk to you, too.
GUPTA: This is 15-year-old D.J. Saverese (ph). Like Amanda, he's been labeled low functioning by the medical community, or even mentally retarded.
(on camera): D.J., did you see Amanda Baggs' video, and what did you think of it?
D.J. (through translator): Yes, she hopes for freedom.
GUPTA (voice-over): Their paths are surprisingly similar. Both say they're bilingual.
(on camera): Was it difficult for you to learn how to read?
D.J. (through translator): My first language was gestures.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think?
GUPTA (voice-over): Like Amanda, D.J. has been in and out of institutionalized care, often unable to communicate their needs and wishes, sometimes suffering neglect or abuse, all because they couldn't speak. But a communication keyboard has changed both their lives.
D.J. (through translator): Good to see you. How have you been?
GUPTA: Both are sociable by nature. Each one spends time with friends on the Internet and in person.
I chatted online with D.J. and Amanda. D.J. shared his dream of bringing autistic people together.
BAGGS (through translator): That sounds like a good idea. What sorts of areas are you thinking of organizing about?
D.J. (through translator): Defining ourselves.
GUPTA: I asked Amanda how she felt about such a summit.
BAGGS (through translator): It sounds like a really good idea. It seems like people are always defining who we are, and we are not allowed so much to define who we are.
GUPTA: Defining himself, something D.J. has learned to do over the years.
As an infant, he was given up for adoption by his biological parents. He bounced around from foster home to foster home until the age of 6. D.J. was adopted by Emily and Ralph. Today they live in Iowa.
An indoor trampoline helps D.J. communicate with his loved ones without words. Ralph chronicled the family story in a book, "Reasonable People: A Memoir of Autism and Adoption."
D.J. wrote the last chapter. He types using facilitated communication, or F.C. With F.C., an aid holds one end of the pencil as D.J. holds the other end and types one letter at a time. The theory is that the facilitator's touch helps the person to focus and concentrate.
But it's controversial. Critics call F.C. a hoax, claiming it's actually the facilitator who manipulates communication. But D.J. has passed several tests verifying that he's communicating in his own words.
(on camera): Is it important for you to be able to talk? Is that something that's a goal of yours?
D.J. (through translator): Yes, but not sure I C-A-A-N.
GUPTA: Not sure I can.
(voice-over): But even without words and speech, just look at him. You'll see D.J. feel his surroundings. D.J. was fascinated by New York City: the sights, the sounds.
When I sat down with him and his parents, D.J. had trouble focusing and, like most parents, they became frustrated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you hang in there? Can you hang in there or not?
GUPTA: Lights and cameras can be overwhelming for anyone, but D.J. was most fixated by the microphone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You do not want to confirm stereotypes.
GUPTA: He reached for it again and again. Fixation is a common autistic trait.
D.J. takes medication for severe anxiety and a heart condition. But like Amanda, he's proud of his autism.
(on camera): What is autism?
D.J. (through translator): Yes, I don't treat myself as autistic. I treat myself as fresh thinking. Yes, I look different. I hope fresh ideas get people to ignore my autism.
GUPTA (voice-over): D.J. tells me that he first realized he was autistic in kindergarten when he saw that other kids could talk.
His parents worked hard to teach him how to read. Today he's a straight A student and aspires to be a scientist.
(on camera): Is autism something that should be treated?
D.J. (through translator): Yes, treated with respect.
GUPTA (voice-over): D.J. has watched Amanda Baggs' video, "In My Language," countless times. I asked him if he wants to grow up to be like Amanda.
D.J. (through translator): Yes, I desperately hope to get to live independently but I fear it.
GUPTA: Freedom. It's a major theme in D.J.'s poetry and Amanda's writing. So during our online chat, I asked him them, what does it mean to be free?
D.J. (through translator): To get to joyously live the dream.
BAGGS (through translator): Or to live things better than we dream.
GUPTA: In the meantime, Amanda has almost arrived at the conference for autistic people. But will it all get too overwhelming?
KING: When we come back, more than 2,500 miles from home, Amanda's journey takes an unexpected turn in the middle of the speech she traveled so far to give. Our special report, "Finding Amanda," continues in just a moment.
KING: When 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta first saw Amanda Baggs on YouTube, he knew he had to meet her. In her videos and writings, Amanda, who is autistic, shatters some of the most common beliefs about autism.
She's intelligent and insightful and has that wry sense of humor. But most of all, she has a deep desire to connect with others. That desire is the reason she agreed to travel all the way to western Canada, to a conference where she would face some of her greatest fears.
That's where Sanjay picks up her story.
GUPTA (voice-over): When you're with Amanda, you can't help but think, how much do other people with autism have to say? What have we been missing?
(on camera): I wonder how many other people who don't have a system like this or don't have some way of communicating are just never reached. I mean, it sounds tragic to me. To feel like...
BAGGS (through translator): It is because I have never met a person who has no communication.
GUPTA (voice-over): We watched as Amanda set out on a journey. She'll travel over 2,500 miles from her home in Vermont to Edmonton, Canada.
By any measure, it's a long trip, but for Amanda, she says it's one of the toughest things about being autistic.
BAGGS (through translator): Having to navigate a world that is on all levels built for the abilities and deficits of people who are not built remotely like me.
GUPTA: After weeks of preparation, Amanda finally departed for the big trip, flanked by her friends. First by road and then by plane.
Amanda's invitation to speak at the autism conference is exciting, she tells us, but it all makes her nervous. Speaking in public always comes at a high price for Amanda. Physical and emotional fallout is inevitable.
BAGGS (through translator): I gave a talk at a conference and, by the end of the talk, I went outside and chased shadows around for a while and somewhere in the process lost bladder control too and then froze for a while. And then when I could move again I was suddenly far less able to understand things, because at that point, it's either moving or understanding but not both.
GUPTA: Amanda has learned to recognize her body's limits but also her intense need to be around other autistics.
BAGGS (through translator): There's often a wider communication gap between autistic and non-autistic people.
GUPTA: Amanda recognizes many of the people here, and for many of them, Amanda is a shining inspiration.
ESTEE KLAR WOLFOND, AUTISM ACCEPTANCE PROJECT: When we start to see people like Amanda Baggs, other people might be low functioning, because she's using a device and she can't talk. And then you begin to start breaking down the barriers of those stereotypes.
GUPTA: Make no mistake, this conference is not for doctors or researchers. It's for autistic people. It's organized by the Autism National Committee. This year's title sums it up best: "Autism, Living Life to the Fullest."
Their issues are complex. Their goals here, though, are simple.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are trying to reduce all sorts of sensory overload.
GUPTA: Instead of applause, people are asked to simply stand up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Except for Amanda, who's just going to be waving her arm. Because she's going to be the one person who isn't going to stand.
GUPTA: Microphones are forbidden, because audio feedback can send many people here into a frenzy.
Presentations are frequently interrupted by autistic outbursts, and people are free to walk around during the panels.
The conference food is all gluten free. Many autistics avoid gluten, because they think it may worsen their symptoms.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Also to be allowed to feel good about ourselves.
GUPTA: People who fall into all categories of autism spectrum disorders have come from all over North America.
Amanda traveled here with Larry Bissonette (ph), a 42-year-old painter and subject of a recent documentary. It makes minutes for him to type a mere sentence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Your perception of autistics probably are changing. Hope under all of this external nonsense you can otherwise see accurately that my intelligence in my typing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): We've got sunlight on the sand. We've got moonlight on the sea.
GUPTA: Jordan Ackerson (ph), a good-looking, clean-cut young man, just graduated from high school in Michigan. During his senior year he ran for student council. He's just about to start college.
Twelve-year-old Darby and her parents hope to learn a better way to connect. She wears headphones to avoid over stimulation.
It's a rare moment for Amanda to merge her two roles: the online autistic community and physically being around people who better understand her gestures and her movements.
BAGGS (through translator): It's nice to meet people again that I've known online for a long time.
GUPTA: Amanda keeps her wooden cat with her at all times. She reaches for it and rubs it. It's familiar. It provides comfort as she makes her way to the new setting.
Finally, the time has come to give her presentation. Her panel is in one of the smaller rooms of the conference.
BAGGS (through translator): I have been given a massive number of psychiatric labels, both orally and on paper.
GUPTA: She talks about her life in a speech entitled, "Having a Voice in Decision Making, The Issue of Guardianship."
But soon the conversation turns from living alone and independently to how people can best be guardians to their autistic children. Amanda begins to get frustrated.
BAGGS (through translator): I really don't understand the point of my being here if all I'm going to be told is my situation doesn't apply.
GUPTA: Her frustration builds, her typing more staccato. She grunts to make her points, and finally she's on frustration overload.
BAGGS (through translator): There's another way to do it. Instead of defending guardianship by drawing these stupid lines between people you are all about not labeling. Well, you are labeling me.
GUPTA: Amanda wheels out of the room into the bathroom. We can hear her screams of anger through the walls.
GUPTA: The next day, we asked her about what happened.
BAGGS (through translator): The last straw was just being continuously seen as an exception to the rule. And I just got fed up and realized I had to either get out of there or make a public spectacle of myself, and I decided to get out of there.
GUPTA: Frustration and anger at not being heard, emotions common to all of us. Amanda doesn't dwell too long on the panel itself, but surprisingly, she's enchanted by the aftermath.
BAGGS (through translator): I got really upset and I ran into the bathroom, and I started screaming. And then a few of my friends came and started talking to me about what was upsetting me. And that's the first time I have ever had that experience, stereotypical female clumping in bathrooms phenomena before now.
GUPTA: Amanda Baggs has a special gift for finding the humor in stereotypes. But somehow, it makes it easier for all the rest of us to begin to see what we've been missing all along.
KING: You've now seen firsthand how Amanda Baggs is truly an amazing young woman. And what you saw tonight was just part of our story. You can see all of Sanjay's report, "Finding Amanda," on Friday at 10 p.m., Eastern, right here on 360.
Up next, a campaign endorsement like none you've ever seen.
Also, we'll tell you where Michael Vick will be eating his Thanksgiving dinner. Let's just say it's not over the river and through the woods.
And how Santa got stuck. It's our "Shot of the Day," when 360 continues.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Giving thanks, isn't that what politics is all about? OK, maybe not. But how about "Raw Politics"? Well, according to Tom Foreman, the answer is, yes, and no.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No matter what horrors you face on the highways this holiday, just be glad you're not on the campaign trail, where fists are flying.
(voice-over): First up, the Republicans. Jabbing John McCain and Rumbling Rudy Giuliani. McCain is looking better in the polls, spending turkey day in Baghdad, and now a co-chair of the 9/11 Commission has endorsed him.
TOM KEAN, FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: Nobody in my mind has done anything more to keep the American people safer than John McCrain -- McCain.
FOREMAN: Tomato, to-mah-to. Whatever you call him, all of that is directly aimed at stealing the security issue from Rudy.
For his part, Mayor 9/11 has a new commercial saying, "Hey, I'm still your guy."
Round two, the Democrats. Hard-nosed Hillary Clinton taking on Bashing Barack Obama. The Hill has said all along that the next president needs to be able to handle the war from day one. Now she says the economy will also require immediate attention. The Obamarama's counterpunch?
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My understanding was that she wasn't treasury secretary.
FOREMAN: Hey, I'm king of the world. Another empty deck chair on the Titanic. The top White House advisor on terrorism, Fran Townsend is quitting. No word on a replacement yet.
And we told you Chuck Norris was coming to Mike Huckabee's campaign. Check out the new ad.
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My plan to secure the border. Two words: Chuck Norris.
CHUCK NORRIS, ACTOR: Mike's a principled, authentic conservative.
HUCKABEE: Chuck Norris doesn't endorse. He tells America how it's going to be.
FOREMAN: Oh, really? Is that how it's going to be?
(on camera): Well, I've got a dollar here that says your boy Chuck can't handle one round of arm wrestling with our man John King. You know where to reach me -- John.
KING: Lucky for me, I saw Tom spend that dollar in the candy machine.
A reminder: a lot more "Raw Politics" next week. Anderson's hosting the second CNN YouTube debate Wednesday the 28th. This time Republicans fielding your questions, and there's still time to get yours in. Just go to CNN.com/YouTubeDebate.
And speaking of questions, poor Santa had some trouble over the weekend. What's going on here? That's our "Shot of the Day" coming up.
But first Erica Hill, from "HEADLINE NEWS," joins us with a "360 News and Business Bulletin."
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John, at least 280,000 people in Bangladesh are homeless tonight and hungry after last week's deadly cyclone. Some aid was dropped into crowds over the weekend but many left empty handed and furious.
The Bangladesh military now says more than 3,100 people are dead after the storm. A relief organization, though, says as many as 10,000 people may have been killed.
Two American security guards detained by Iraqi soldiers after the guard allegedly opened fire in a Baghdad neighborhood. The Iraqi military spokesman says the private security convoy was driving on the wrong side of the road when it opened fire and wounded a woman.
Suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick in jail tonight after surrendering to U.S. marshals. He said he wants to get a jump start on his prison term for a dog fighting conspiracy charge, three weeks before he is scheduled to be sentenced.
And due to higher gas prices and heating bills, more than a third of Americans say they're going to spend less this holiday season. But get this. According to a new poll of consumers, just 24 percent say they're worried about paying off credit card balances from holiday shopping. That's down from 33 percent last year.
I'm only hoping, for their sake, that it really is because they're spending less so they're not as worried.
KING: Spending less, charging less? I'm doubtful.
HILL: Yes, you're right.
KING: Stay right here, Erica. Time for "The Shot of the Day." Get this, a very rough weekend for Santa, and it's not even Thanksgiving. This is Conroe, Texas, and that's Santa repelling down a billboard as part of a holiday tree-lighting event.
HILL: Or not rappelling.
KING: Not rappelling. Or not. Stopped, because -- how else -- his beard gets caught in the rigging. Somebody throws him some scissors. No luck. Dozens of kids watching, Santa has to take off his beard and wait -- how embarrassing -- for the fire department to get a ladder and rescue him.
HILL: That is pretty bad. Good thing the kids know that the real Santa is working hard at the North Pole. He was just filling in, so of course, he wasn't used to the beard.
KING: Absolutely, yes.
HILL: That explains it all.
KING: Santa very busy with the elves, cooking turkey and making toys.
HILL: Yes, he is.
KING: We of course, want you to send us your "Shot" ideas. If you see some amazing video, tell us all about it at CNN.com/360.
KING: Up next, deadly cyber bullying. A teen kills herself after some mean postings about her on her MySpace page. Police say those postings were all a hoax. It's what's "On the Radar," when 360 continues.
KING: "On the Radar," tonight, your thoughts on the suicide of 13-year-old Megan Meier after she was cyber bullied on MySpace. We brought you the story on Friday. The Missouri teen thought a boy had a crush on her until some cruel comments were posted. Police say the boy didn't exist. They say it was all a hoax. They say the fake postings were actually the creation of a mother who lived in the neighborhood. That mother may not be prosecuted.
Elana in Laguna Beach, California, says: These people should not be allowed to get away with anything they did, much less be allowed to raise their own children thinking this is acceptable behavior.
But Margie in Chandler, Arizona, says: While I feel great empathy for Megan's parents, let this be a lesson for others. What were the parents thinking allowing their 13-year-old daughter to join and use a site that specifically asks that you at least have to be 16 years old to use it? Our duty as parents is to protect our children. They have to take some responsibility for using poor judgment and allowing her to use this Web site.
To weigh in, go to CNN.com/360 and link to the blog. We'd love to hear from you.
That does it for tonight. I'm John King in for Anderson.
For our international viewers, "CNN TODAY" is next. Here in the States, "LARRY KING" is coming up. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com