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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

TV Anchor Falsely Reports Rape; Woman Saves Cop Under Attack; Shooter`s Wife in Denial?; Michael Vick: I`d Love a Pet Dog

Aired December 16, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, an elaborate lie spirals out of control. Cops say a famous WABC weather woman made up a story about being attacked by a Hispanic man. Heidi Jones allegedly told police the man dragged her into a wooded area in Central Park and tried to rape her. Cops say she later admitted it was all a fiction. What was she thinking?

Plus, a chilling 911 call surfaces in the surreal school-board shooting. A frantic woman begs for help. Meanwhile, the wife of the now- dead crazed gunman is coming to his defense. Is she making excuses for someone cops call a would-be killer?

Then, NFL quarterback Michael Vick says he`d love to bring home a dog one day soon. This is the guy who was convicted of running an illegal dog- fighting ring that cops say electrocuted, shot, drowned and slammed dogs to their death. Are you kidding me? We`ll debate it and take your calls.

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Give women hope! Rape is not a joke! Give women hope! Rape is not a joke! Give women hope!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Give women hope! Rape is not a joke! Give women hope! Rape is not a joke! Give women hope!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Give women hope! Rape is not a joke! Give women hope! Rape is not a joke! Give women hope!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, an uproar over what cops call a false claim of attempted rape that has activists like this up in arms. These women are fighting for justice, and they`re fighting for our justice system to take rape seriously. But they just got a big slap in the face.

Cops have arrested a famous TV personality and say she admits making up a false attempted rape report. Tonight cops say WABC meteorologist Heidi Jones admitted she lied about being attacked by a man in Central Park. If so, why would she do that?

Here`s Jones doing the weather on WABC, one of the top stations in the country. This is a woman at the top of her game, even subbing on "Good Morning America." Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning, Heidi.

HEIDI JONES, WABC WEATHER WOMAN: Good morning, Chris. And good morning, everyone.

We`re watching the middle of the country. This front will be a focus for severe weather across Nebraska, Kansas, even into portions of Nebraska. Rain across the southeast.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, talk about a cold front. Now this meteorologist`s career is under a storm cloud. OK, I`ll stop. That`s -- no more puns on that. She`s been suspended from her job.

Heidi Jones told the cops that a man attacked her behind the bushes in Central Park. So why did she wait two months to report this alleged attack? Cops say Jones blamed personal problems, but anything she was going through before this has to pale in comparison to this current scandal.

Her lawyer says the public should not rush to judgment and that she will plead not guilty. So what was going on here? Was this some cry for help or some selfish, immature plot to get something that she wanted? What`s your theory? Give me a call: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to Sonia Ossorio, executive director of New York City NOW, National Organization for Women.

Sonia, your organization launched a protest campaign that`s all about take rape seriously. How does this alleged lie about being attacked affect your cause?

SONIA OSSORIO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW YORK CITY NOW: It completely undermines the whole campaign to take rape seriously. You know, she perpetuated in one single instance the classic rape myth that lots of women lie about being raped. And the truth of the matter is, nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is that most rapes never see the light of day. They`re never reported. The majority of women suffer in silence and never seek justice. And the heartbreaking thing about it is the reason why, the single biggest reason women do not report being raped, is fear of not being believed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Now, what could have been going on in the life of Heidi Jones to make her do what cops accuse her of? Here she is on WABC. Cops say Jones told them a Hispanic man attacked her while she was jogging in Central Park September 24 but Jones didn`t report it for to months. When she did go to the cops, she said the suspect had threatened her a second time.

Cops say they didn`t believe it from the start, and her story quickly fell apart, and then she admitted it was all a lie.

Now I want to talk to somebody who actually has been raped and has become one of my heroes for being so outspoken. Katie Callaway Hall was raped and terrorized by Phillip Garrido, OK. This is -- that`s the sicko monster right there. This is the same guy who allegedly raped Jaycee Dugard and held her prisoner for 18 long years.

Katie, great to see you again tonight, as always. Heidi Jones...

KATIE CALLAWAY HALL, RAPE SURVIVOR: Nice to see you, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, great to see you. Heidi Jones reportedly claimed personal problems made her do this. What is your reaction to this alleged fake attempted rape report?

CALLAWAY HALL: Well, I can`t imagine any personal problems that would -- that would, you know, make this OK. I think women have made great strides in -- in our society in the last 20, 30 years to gain the believability factor. We have finally been taken seriously with rape and sexual assaults.

And I think that someone in a position like Heidi Jones and a prominent public position should take her position responsibly. People look up to her as a role model. That, you know, she shouldn`t be out there crying rape.

In my case, when Phillip Garrido got out of prison early in 1988, he hunted me down. And I reported him to his parole officer, and they didn`t believe me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ooh!

HALL: And you have no idea what that feels like, you know. And so for -- for someone to just take this so lightly and so insensitively, you know, for the women who have been raped and sexually assaulted, I think it`s just unconscionable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, her attorney is reminding us, saying, please refrain from jumping to conclusions about these unproven charges against her that are being discussed in the press. She`s not going to make any comment, and she intends to plead not guilty to any criminal charges.

Debra Opri, her mom is coming to her defense, saying that she never used the word "rape." Does that make a difference?

DEBRA OPRI, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: It does make a difference because she...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You can go ahead, Debra. And then everyone else can respond.

OPRI: OK. Yes, it does make a difference in the sense that she had a ghost figure of who she accused. It wasn`t a specific, identified individual.

But, you know, to all of the rape victims out there, this was an atrocious instance that occurred, and she should have to, as part of her plea bargain, go to educational courses and speak to these individuals, and, you know, frankly, her career is over. If this was an emotional outburst to the point where she was seeking attention, it`s now in the eyes of the public, and her life has been forever altered. And it`s just an unfortunate thing.

Criminally-wise, it will be a misdemeanor, filing a false police report. If there`s no prior misconduct or conviction, it will go away quickly. But it`s a very unfortunate instance for rape victims.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, you see there, let`s go back it to that marathon picture. OK? She`s an avid runner and an athlete. OK, well, we`re going to get back to it. Here`s like sort of a photo. There she is running the marathon.

Do you find it interesting from a psychological perspective, Brian Russell, that she is this really toned athlete who runs these marathons, and she said while she was jogging, she was attacked by this man? Is there a correlation there psychologically?

BRIAN RUSSELL, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: I think all that says is that`s probably why she chose the particular context that she chose to tell this lie. I think that personal problems do not make people do things. Personal problems make people feel certain ways, and they may feel like doing things, but they don`t make people do things.

And so this sounds to me like a conscious, narcissistic attention ploy. And I`m -- I`m troubled by the fact that it`s only a misdemeanor. Because I think we don`t do enough in this country to come down on people who make false allegations, which many times do as much damage to -- to others as the crime that they falsely accused someone of.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. Because this provokes fear. I`ve got to tell you, she`s talking about being attacked in Central Park. I walk my dogs in Central Park. Had I not known that this was an allegedly false charge, I would be scared. I would be perhaps too scared to walk. And there`s hundreds maybe thousands of women in this particular park who would be similarly afraid. So there`s just one repercussion right there.

Here`s my big issue tonight. Was this some kind of sympathy ploy? Some have suggested that Jones did all this to get sympathy. So what was Heidi hiding?

These are photos from her Twitter account and also her own Web page called RunWithHeidi.com. She looked like she had everything in the world going for her. But we`re hearing that friends say she was deeply unhappy, personally and professionally.

I just got to ask again -- go back to Brian Russell -- from a psychological standpoint, what would motivate a woman who seems, on the face of it, to have everything, everything going for her: money, career. She`s fit; she`s attractive. She said that there was some kind of personal problem for which she was seeking sympathy. What could it be?

RUSSELL: Well, oftentimes a little bit of narcissism in someone`s character helps them get far in life. We`ve seen it with politicians. We`ve seen it with celebrities, because they feel that they belong in the elevated position that they aspire to. And they do everything that it takes to get there. But oftentimes, as we`ve seen, it`s not enough for them.

And they still keep feeling like they`re entitled to more and more and more. And if they`re not getting it, if people aren`t delivering on what they feel they`re entitled to, then they can -- they can rationalize and justify going to extreme lengths like telling -- fabricating a lie like this to try to get where they think they deserve to be.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And again, we don`t know the entire story. I mean, I really kind of, in some weird, way feel for this young lady, because I was in local news for many years. I mean, when I worked in New York City as a local news reporter, I was a functioning alcoholic. I had yet to get sober. And so I know what it`s like to have, like, a face that you present to the world and then have another side that`s behind the mask that is filled with insecurities. So I do have compassion for her on that front.

But, again, the problem is there are women actually being raped out there every day and some are saying tonight, this is a huge betrayal.

Stay right there.

On the other side we`re going to talk to another rape victim, Liz Seccuro, who was sexually assaulted when she was a 17-year-old college student, about this alleged hoax.

We`re taking your calls, as well: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Plus, a police officer struggles with an attacker until a very brave woman swoops in out of nowhere to save him. You will not believe this video, and I`m going to talk to this female hero who comes into this scene and saves this cop.

Also, the wife of the school-board shooter is coming to this guy`s defense, as a chilling 911 call from inside the building surfaces. You won`t believe what this lady has to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have visual of him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody`s OK? Everybody`s OK. Who was shot? The gunman was shot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. KATHRYN SMERLING, LICENSED CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER: If someone tries to rape her, that she might be sexually desirable and perhaps she wanted to entice someone else that -- show someone else that she was sexually desirable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a top TV weather anchor is off the air, accused of lying to police and claiming she was attacked in Central Park.

Heidi Jones` career was skyrocketing. She was even filling in on "Good Morning America." Now she faces a year in jail, potentially, if she`s found guilty of making up a false attempted rape report. And the big question tonight: why on earth, if she did this, would she do it?

We`re going to go out to Liz Seccuro, who is another advocate for rape survivors, one of my heroes, as well. She was sexually assaulted when she was a 17-year-old college student.

Liz, thank you for joining us tonight. Your reaction to this alleged false attempted rape report?

LIZ SECCURO, RAPE SURVIVOR (via phone): Well, thanks, Jane, for having me, as always. You`re one of my heroes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you.

SECCURO: You know, my feelings run the gamut. The initial kick in the face was, oh, my goodness! How dare you? Because you know, there is an entire nation out there who believes that there`s this huge rate of false accusations, when, in fact, it`s actually a very, very, very, very low number. And so now she`s -- if anything. Now she`s become sort of this Tawana Brawley, Audrey Seiler, runaway bride type person.

But then if you look at the -- and like you said, seemingly really together, great job. It`s not as if she wants attention. She`s on television daily.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, wait a second. Just because you`re on TV doesn`t mean you don`t want any more attention.

SECCURO: I know. No. Network TV is tough. Network TV is tough. I understand.

But, you know, on the flip side, I do feel as though there is some sort of pathology, an underlying pathology. She needs some help.

But at the end of the day, what would I ideally like, as a rape victim myself? When you walk into a police station and tell people what has happened to you, you are always met with doubt. You are marginalized. You are given the side eye always.

And now this woman, I think she needs to go on national TV and make the rounds and apologize, because it`s just made it that much harder, once again, like the Duke accuser and like the other women that I was talking about, who talked about being kidnapped or assaulted or this, that and the other thing, to find any justice.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You make so many good points. And I will say this: in 12 step they say there is no mess you can`t clean up. And if, in fact, she did make this up, as the cops say, there has got to be some way for her to make amends. And perhaps she can turn this around. And perhaps she can go and do a national tour and talk about what led up to this and why it`s so -- just as we`re going to talk about Michael Vick later and how he`s been speaking to students about the horrors of dog fighting. There -- there are ways sometimes to try, anyway, to make amends. It doesn`t erase the past, however, in this case or Michael Vick`s.

Barbara, New York, your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Hi, Jane. First if I might applaud you for your years of sobriety. You are outstanding.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you.

CALLER: I am furious. This woman should be absolutely ashamed of herself. My friend was brutally raped many years ago, and to this day she dreams about it.

She was in the spotlight. She had a lot of options. She had more options that many, many women have. There were probably many people she could have reached out to in her distressed state. So I`m sorry to say I`m a very compassionate woman, but I have no compassion whatsoever for her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. The only reason I say I have compassion is that one thing I`ve also learned in 12 step is never compare your insides with somebody else`s outsides. And people who look really great on the outside can be a mess on the inside.

And again, Brian Russell, think about this. I`m just going to take a second, think about what this pathology might be before you answer. Heidi Jones` co-worker told the "New York Post," they`re all pretty upset about it where she works, saying things like "outrageous lie," "flabbergasted to learn the deception." They feel that their trust has been shattered, and they also feel betrayed.

And the "New York Post" reports that security guards were so worried about her that they often offered to escort her home.

So I guess my question, Debra Opri, when you involve other people in your lie, isn`t that really sort of compounding the lie?

OPRI: Let me say this. I represent victims and criminal defendants and people every day who are in really a bad place. We must not condemn this woman. We have to attempt to understand why she did it. And she needs help.

And the best help she can give herself and the best help she can then give others is to go out like Michael Vick did and talk about it. Because this woman obviously got to a place in her life where it was a cry for help. This doesn`t make it right. This doesn`t make it an excuse. But we have to understand as citizens what went wrong with her so it doesn`t happen to others.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. So -- exactly. We need to understand the pathology behind this if, in fact, she did it.

And cops say that Jones told them the two passersby, tourists, came to her aid in the park and scared off the attacker. Cops say among the details she gave them was that the suspect was Hispanic -- uh-oh. That the suspect was Hispanic in his 30s or 40s.

So I`ve got to ask Brian Russell, let`s add that to the picture, why bring his ethnicity into this lie?

RUSSELL: Well, oftentimes, Jane, when people make up lies, they draw on truth. And so if you recall the Chandra Levy case, her story, her lie sounds very similar to the truth of the Chandra Levy story. So I was thinking that perhaps it grew out of that.

And you know, it`s almost like a little kid gets sent to his room, and he`s upset at his parents. And he thinks, "Well, if I killed myself I bet they`d feel bad about sending me to my" -- you know, it`s like if you`re not getting where you want to be through the normal channels, then you think of perhaps creating some sympathy for yourself that might get you somewhere you want to be, back-channel.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re talking about having a big pity party.

RUSSELL: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that maybe then you feel like you`re the victim, and of course, most people who do bad things feel that they`re the victim when they`re doing, which is one of the ironies. Thank you, fantastic panel. We`ll stay on top of that one.

The wife of the school board shooter is speaking out. And oh, boy, she was fired right before her husband went on this terrible shooting rampage. An now, guess what? She`s defending him!

Plus, I`m talking to a courageous woman who rescued a cop. It was all caught on tape. You won`t believe this heroine.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, harrowing video of a Dayton police officer, Ohio, attacked by a suspect in a routine traffic stop. Nothing routine about how it ended. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SCUFFLING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. That woman with the big circle over her face was just passing by on her way to a birthday party and said, "I need to help this cop." What a hero.

I`m honored to be joined tonight by Angela Pierce, that Good Samaritan in the video.

Angela, we here at ISSUES love you. You represent what we always talked about: solutions. So take us back to Saturday night and tell you -- tell our viewers what you saw and what you did.

ANGELA PIERCE, GOOD SAMARITAN (via phone): You want to know what happened that night?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. What did you see that made you pull over and try to help this cop? And help this cop.

PIERCE: Because I was, like, he couldn`t defend himself. And I seen the guy reaching for his gun, and I told my auntie, I said, "Can you please just pull over so we can help?"

And she`s like, "No, no, no."

I said, "Well, let me out." And I just took off running up the street, and I just started hitting him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. And were you terrified?

PIERCE: No. I didn`t even think about it. I didn`t even think about what he could have had. I didn`t think about what he could have done to me. I didn`t think about that. I just went and tried to help him. That could have been my father or my grandfather that needed some help. I would want somebody to help my dad.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I love your attitude. By the way, this guy has a history of assaulting cops, so you did put your life in danger. You did something very heroic. After the fact sometimes, people get, like, all shaky. Were you shaky after the fact?

PIERCE: No. I went to the party, but I didn`t even stay long. I wasn`t really -- I just went on about my day. Like I just did a good deed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Dayton cops say that you did a very good deed, but they are kind of doubtful about whether citizens should get involved. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SGT. LARRY TOLPIN, DAYTON, OHIO, POLICE DEPARTMENT: Don`t get me wrong. I`m not endorsing the citizens that participate in this manner, but under this particular circumstance, it is very commendable of her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Angela, isn`t it true that when the other cops arrived, the backup, you were initially handcuffed yourself? Tell us about that.

PIERCE: Yes, I was. For a hot second. And then the officer said he told them that I was the one who helped them. Then they took the handcuffs off of me. Then I started getting high-fives and everything.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re absolutely awesome. I mean, what was going on? Get us into that fight. This guy is really out of control, and you went up and you were with hitting him where? On the head?

PIERCE: All in the head.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. And, like, you were just punching him, punching him, punching him. Did you look at the cop while you were punching him?

PIERCE: I was trying to. I just kept on swinging, because I didn`t want him to, you know, get me or nothing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you`re running into this. I would have been running in the other direction, to be honest with you. But you`re running right toward him, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. Angela, way to go. We love you. You are a hero.

PIERCE: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Next, the first school-board shooter goes on a rampage. It`s not funny. And now his wife is defending him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: A chilling 911 call surfaces in the surreal school board shooting. A frantic woman begs for help. Meanwhile, the wife of the now-dead crazed gunman is now coming to his defense. Is she making excuses for someone cops call a would-be killer?

Then, NFL quarterback Michael Vick says he would love to bring home a dog one day soon. This is the guy who was convicted of running an illegal dog-fighting ring that cops say electrocuted, shot, drowned, and slammed dogs to their death. Are you kidding me? We`ll debate it and take your calls.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my gosh, he`s firing.

911 OPERATOR: Ok.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s firing.

911 OPERATOR: Ok.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s firing, I don`t know (INAUDIBLE) --

911 OPERATOR: Are you secure?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody is down. Somebody is down.

911 OPERATOR: They don`t know who`s down?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don`t know.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, sounds of sheer pandemonium as gun fire erupted at a Florida school board meeting. Fifty-six-year-old Clay Duke shot at board members from point-blank range Tuesday before blowing his own brains out. Incredibly nobody else was hurt, thankfully.

The dead shooter`s wife is now speaking out. You won`t believe what she`s saying. For starters, she insists the people her husband shot at were never in any real danger.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REBECCA DUKE, CLAY DUKE`S WIFE: He`s a military man. He`s been trained in guns. He knows how to use them, ok? He knows about them. Now, as close as he was, seriously people, he was that close, if he really wanted to shoot somebody, they would have already been dead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is it me, or is she kind of smiling? And when did she become a mind reader? This shooter`s wife also says that he was bipolar and pushed over the edge by money problems. Astoundingly, she`s also placing part of the blame on the school members he shot at.

I will get reaction from the superintendent who stared down the barrel of Duke`s gun in a moment. Is it possible the shooter`s wife is trying to justify his insane homicidal behavior?

Let`s revisit exactly what went down. And we`ve got to warn you this video is disturbing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn`t worth it. This isn`t --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please don`t. Please don`t. Please.

CLAY DUKE, GUNMAN: I`m going to -- don`t you understand?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Just before the shooting, Duke spray-painted a large V on the wall. Police say he was fixated on the film "V for Vendetta". Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentlemen, I want this terrorist found. And I want him to understand what terror really means.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, boy. Duke`s wife says he was taking his bipolar medication so was he aware of what he was doing? What do you think of his wife`s strange defense of her now-dead husband? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

And we`re going to start with one of the heroes of this whole thing, superintendent of schools for Bay County, William Husfelt. Sir, so glad to have you on the line.

WILLIAM HUSFELT, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, BAY COUNTY, FLORIDA (via telephone): Well, I`m just thankful that I`m even able to be on the line with you, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. You are lucky to be alive, sir. There are fan pages popping up calling you a hero.

But I`ve got to start by asking you what do you make of the widow of this crazed gunman defending him and saying, oh, he didn`t try to -- he`s not trying to kill anybody. You were staring down the barrel of his gun. What do you think?

HUSFELT: Well, and you know, I`m not even going to second-guess what anybody else is saying about that. I was there, and it`s just a terrible thing to have to be involved in for all of us.

We`ll -- we`re just trying to get back to some normalcy. It`s -- you know, it`s something that -- you know, it`s something -- right now it`s very hard to focus on anything else because it`s just something we`ve lived with just for 48 straight hours. And I`m just thankful to be alive and don`t want to guess what anybody else is saying or thinking about. I just want to get on with life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you`re a better person than I am. I`ve got to tell you, if somebody shot at me and missed and then the person`s wife started saying, well, you know, he didn`t mean it, I would be absolutely outraged. You`re a man of incredible calm and grace.

Now, you actually talked to this guys which I think is extraordinary. On the fan page it says something about you`re saying, "I signed the papers, let them go." So what were you trying to do there, sir? Hello?

All right, we`re going go out to Alexandra Hill, who`s a reporter for WJHG. She has actually talked to another hero involved in all of this. And that is the security guard who came in and shot this guy in the leg. So Alexandra, what can you tell us tonight?

ALEXANDRA, HILL, REPORTER, WJHG: Well, to start, I spent the day with Mike Jones, and he is one humble man. He is known by our community as Salvage Santa for the work he does during the holiday season, repairing bicycles and bringing gifts to unfortunate children. Everyone loves him and he came in and really saved everybody`s lives in the school boardroom.

But one of the most poignant moments today in speaking with him was when he recalled the moment when he realized that everyone was ok and the superintendent who you just were speaking to, was unscathed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE JOHNS, DIRECTOR, SAFETY & SECURITY, BAY COUNTY SCHOOLS: When I was planning my engagement and I saw that first shot and I knew the superintendent. He fell backward and all the board members fell backwards and then he and I engaged in a gun battle, that I had lost the superintendent and I had let him down.

I love him and the board and I love the school system, and that was the only thing on my mind. When the superintendent came up from behind that counter and Franklin Harrison and he came and hugged my neck, that`s when I lost it like I am now, just crying. I cry at chick flicks, too, you all.

But just to see him, it was like seeing a newborn baby for the first time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I want whatever they`re drinking down there in Panama City because it`s turning a lot of people into heroes and humble people. Thanks so much, Alexandra. Stand by.

Now, Duke -- Clay Duke, the gunman told the school board he was mad that his wife had lost her job as a teacher and shortly after he started firing at them.

Here`s his wife`s attempt at an apology.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

R. DUKE: I`m sorry that you had to go through this emotional roller coaster, and I know that you`re so extremely busy with business, but let`s face it.

You kind of did business as usual. And you really didn`t stop to think what you were doing to somebody else. You`re dealing with teachers` lives. Teachers don`t get paid that much and this was my livelihood.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s unbelievable. This woman is actually blaming the people who were at the end of this guy`s gun. I find it outrageous. But there`s something even more outrageous.

DEBRA OPRI, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Can I jump in?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Yes. Jump in.

OPRI: Ok. I`m angry because this woman if she were testifying on her husband`s behalf in front of a jury, they would run her out of that courtroom. That`s number one.

Number two, these people in this town are reluctant heroes and it is unfortunate this man, despite the fact that he was in the military this man was wielding a weapon. And if you`re holding a weapon, you intend to use it. So this wife should disappear from television, she should be quiet and be appreciative she`s not getting charged with something.

As far as these individuals who were in there, I feel so badly for them because we are in a society today where people are desperate and there`s no help for these individuals. That man should never have had the opportunity or the ability to be there wielding a weapon to begin with.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Now they`re talking about having armed guards in all these meetings.

OPRI: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And maybe a metal detect. Superintendent Husfelt, do you feel that now we`ve got to turn every school board meeting into an armed camp?

HUSFELT: No, no. We`re not going to do that. You know, we still live in a free country. And I feel so sorry for his family having to deal with this and all of us. But it was -- it was a tragedy. And you know, it`s -- you know, it`s by the grace of God that we were able to survive this, but we`re not going to turn this country into -- or we`re not going to turn this county into some kind of TSA system.

We just -- you know, this would have happened -- this would have happened no matter what kind of security we would have had. He would have had another plan.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Now here`s --

HUSFELT: He had planned this out. He would have done this no matter what we would have done. We could not have prevented him from doing what he was doing. He had meant to do this, and I believe, unfortunately for all of us, he got exactly what he wanted and no one is more upset or wishful that it hadn`t happened than myself.

But God blessed me with another chance and a great witness to be able to talk to people about it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I really love your attitude.

Here`s my big issue -- is it possible the gunman`s wife is a co- dependent enabler? I`m not trying to diminish the anguish she must be enduring. She lost her husband. But we can`t ignore all these excuses she`s making for her husband who came this close to killing a lot of people.

It`s absolutely outrageous. We`ve heard from her, Brian Russell, forensic psychologist, a co-dependent is somebody who`s kind of hooked on the person with the bad behavior and rationalizes, minimizes, justifies and basically enables them to continue their bad ways. You think she`s coey (ph)?

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BRIAN RUSSELL, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: It`s possible Jane. She`s clearly a troubled woman. She`s got a vested interest in trying to have her husband`s memory not be that of a homicidal maniac. She`s blaming the victim, that`s insane. What brand of insanity it is I`m not 100 percent sure.

The guy may have been bipolar. He may have been on or off his meds, but he obviously premeditated and planned this out, which means his mind was probably working well enough to know it was wrong.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. The scariest part: a fan page for the crazed shooter that calls Clay Duke a martyr for class warfare. You know, there`s always got to be some kooky group of people who have to get together and rain on this really beautiful story of heroism.

Thank you so much, expert panel.

Michael Vick, a shocker. He wants a dog. The quarterback was convicted of operating a gruesome illegal dog-fighting ring. Could a pet be a big step in his rehab process or a disaster for the dog? What do you think? Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

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MICHAEL VICK, CONVICTED DOG-FIGHTER: Dog-fighting is a terrible thing, and I did reject it. I will redeem myself. I have to.

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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, NFL quarterback Michael Vick says he loves animals and would like a dog as a companion. Really? Listen to this from the grio.com.

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VICK: I would love to have another dog in the future. You know, I think it will be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process. I think just, you know, to have a pet in my household and to show people that I genuinely care and my love and passion for animals, I think it would -- you know, I think it would be outstanding. And, you know, if I ever have the opportunity again, then I will never take it for granted.

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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right now Vick cannot bring home a dog until his probation ends in two years. Boo hoo.

This is a man who was the mastermind and the money behind a massive, bloody dog-fighting ring, a man who took part in murdering pit bulls without a second thought.

Look at this National Geographic video. Look how violent dog- fighting is. And this is just in general. We can`t even show you the worst of it. Ok? We can only show you a tiny little fraction on television.

Vick had absolutely no problem watching it all go down for years at his very own home. He and his buddies brutally executed dogs who didn`t perform well, shooting them, electrocuting them, drowning them, sometimes killing them by slamming them to the ground. It`s all right here in the old criminal complaint. Ok?

But today Mike says he is a changed man. And he thinks getting a dog could help his rehabilitation. Is Vick really concerned about rehabbing his tattered image perhaps? He says his daughters would like a dog and they don`t understand why they can`t have one. Well, guess what, dear? Your daddy needs to explain why your family can`t have a puppy.

Now, I do believe in redemption, I believe in second chances. Vic`s done his time in prison. He`s been out speaking to schools about his terrible decision. I think that`s commendable. And you know what? He has been given a second chance. He`s back making millions in the NFL.

Ok. We`re going to start with my very special guest and my dear friend Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States.

Wayne, you`ve been working with this athlete. What`s your take on all of this?

WAYNE PACELLE, PRESIDENT, HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, Jane, as you said, I mean the crimes were terrible, they were unconscionable. It was right and proper that he was convicted of federal crimes for illegal dog-fighting. This case has shined a spotlight on the issue.

At the end of his incarceration, he approached us and said he wanted to help against the problem of dog-fighting; that he wanted to combat that problem.

I thought about it a lot and I thought really the biggest problem we`re facing is street-fighting, the very sort of problem that Mike Vick got involved in when he was 7 and 8 years old. We have worked with him. We have gone to more than two dozen cities, spoken to thousands of kids about the evils of dog-fighting and the problems of animal cruelty.

We`re seeing animal protection clubs formed at these inner city high schools and public schools. I think it`s been very positive.

What he did is terrible; there`s no dispute about that. But this is an issue of protecting animals in the future. And endlessly flogging Michael Vick is not going to save an animal. But putting him to work in communities to save animals and educate people about the problem with dog- fighting especially with at-risk kids is the way to help the problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And by the way, the video you are seeing, those are the dogs that were taken from Michael Vick`s dog-fighting operation and many of them have been put in good homes.

You know, Wayne, you and I go way back, I consider you a friend. We agree on almost everything. On this particular issue we`re going to agree hopefully to disagree, because while I totally applaud the work you`re doing with Michael Vick and the fact that he`s talking to schools, I believe redemption goes only so far.

For example, I wouldn`t give somebody who has abused a child a job at a day care center. That`s the analogy I use.

PACELLE: Well, we`re not advocating he gets a dog right now, Jane. He can`t get one legally. We`re saying he`s been going through counseling. He`s been speaking to kids twice a month every month. And he needs to interact with animals.

We`re hoping to bring him to our "end dog-fighting classes" in the cities with kids bringing their pit bulls so he can interact with animals. If he continues to hit these markers, then if his daughters want a dog two or three years down the line, I`m saying that we should be open to the possibility, but not that he should absolutely get one under any circumstance.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. We`ll that`s the newest argument.

Look at this adorable dog that was rescued from there.

Michael Vick claims he`s a new man and that prison has changed him. Listen to this from CBS`s "60 Minutes".

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VICK: You know, I hate to use our culture as an excuse, but it is what it is. That`s what happened and that`s the way I thought about it growing up, that this is something we do.

I love animals. I love dogs. I love birds. I love all types of animals. But this was just the way we were brought up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m delighted to be joined by Jim Gorant, the author of this amazing book "The Lost Dogs" which tells the story of the dogs at Vick`s bad news kennel and the fighting operation. Jim -- we`re going to check on more of that National Geographic video -- how bad was it for the dogs at his kennel?

JIM GORANT, AUTHOR, "THE LOST DOGS" (via telephone): Well, it was bad. I mean it`s -- you know, all these dog-fighting operations are similar, and the dogs are kept -- it was a bare minimum. They feed them just enough to keep them healthy and they force them to fight. And like you said they kill the ones that don`t perform. It was really a business and a process by which these dogs were treated as, you know, the product of the business in a way.

And, you know, it`s odd to hear him say how much he loves animals. It`s a common thing among dog-fighters. In one sentence they`ll talk about how much they love these dogs, in the next sentence they`ll talk about how they force them to fight in these circumstances.

But it`s hard to take that at face value when you know what he`s done. I mean part of the problem I think is that people don`t really know the details of how involved he was. The charges actually that he was convicted on were for financing a dog in an animal fighting venture.

And there`s this general consensus out there that Vick just supplied the money. That`s not true. I mean he was arms deep in this process of abusing and killing these animals.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and once again, the animals that you`re seeing - - we`re showing you some pictures of those animals -- have been adopted into good homes, a lot of them. Even though they`re pit bulls, they`ve proven that this breed can be very, very loving. More in a moment.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael your image as a role model -- are you worried about how you`re perceived by the public and by kids?

VICK: Yes, always. But like I said, the most important thing is for me to do my job out on the field and win football games for this organization. And, you know, (INAUDIBLE) that`s how it`s going to be.

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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Convicted dog-fighter, Michael Vick, wants a dog. He`s now with the Eagles, so he`s been allowed back in the NFL.

Our viewers have been commenting like crazy on this story on Facebook.

Daphna says, "Anyone who is responsible for hanging, electrocuting or shooting dogs should never be allowed access to dogs again. All things considered, it`s a very small price to pay." I agree.

Pat in Texas, your question or thought, ma`am?

PAT, TEXAS (via telephone): Hi, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hi.

PAT: Thank you for taking my call. I`m an animal lover as you are and an animal rights activist. And I think what Michael Vick did is inexcusable and deplorable and he should never ever have another animal. If he wants to be close to dogs, let him volunteer at a shelter. Thank you for taking my call.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wayne, what do you make of it?

PACELLE: I think that`s exactly what the next step is. I think he`s going to interact with dogs in a public setting.

And I do think that, you know, if you look at the laws, Jane, HSUS has supported laws to prohibit people who are convicted of felony animal cruelty from having animals for a certain period. But if they do get counseling and if they do show that they`ve completely turned around, I don`t think we should be closed.

Animals have a healing quality to them. And I think in the broadest sense, this Michael Vick case has illuminated the issue of dog-fighting case for America. Now we want to use it.

The dog issue of him is one dog. The big issue with Vick is putting him in communities and talking to these kids at risk. That`s the most important thing we can be thinking about when we`re talking about Michael Vick.

Thousands of kids are now being reached on this issue. We`ve never had a conversation with them before. Now we`re having a conversation about animal cruelty.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I mean I think that part is good. I`m just drawing the issue at whether this guy should get a dog, and my answer is still no.

But here`s my big issue tonight. Is Vick the victim of a double standard? We all love dogs, but there are many, many other animals out there that are being treated with extreme cruelty as we speak.

Now I want you take a look at this photos of pigs on factory farms. This video was so upsetting we couldn`t show you the video. We had to show you the still picture.

Yes, that`s how pigs are kept in farms in America today, millions of them. They`re kept in gestation crates so small they can`t even turn around. If somebody did this to a dog for one week that person would face animal cruelty charges. And yet because it`s a pig, we`re willing to turn a blind eye.

I have to go back to Wayne. Shouldn`t we have compassion for all animals? Not just the ones we label as pets?

PACELLE: Jane, we did this investigation and yesterday I did a press conference. Smithfield Foods kills 17 million pigs a year and many of them, the sows are housed in crates where they cannot move.

Now we got a lot more traffic yesterday at our Web site about the one dog that Michael Vick might get in two or three years than about the 17 million pigs who are going to die this year after living a life of depravation and confinement.

So I think this is an important debate to have about Michael Vick and his dog. But the real issue is dog-fighting in our communities and factory farming, the other issues of animals being subjected to cruelty right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think it`s something we all have to look at. And we have to ask ourselves, are we showing love for some creatures and apathy to other creatures? Do we have a double standard? And are we part of the problem?

So, I do hope that all of this discussion opens everyone`s minds to how we treat not just dogs, but all animals in America.

Thank you so much fabulous panel for joining me tonight on ISSUES.

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