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Trayvon Martin`s Death

Aired March 21, 2012 - 21:00   ET


DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Good evening. We are live tonight. We`re doing something a little different because this has been a very disturbing day.

Do you see this young man behind me, this guy? Nice looking, 17-year- old, Trayvon Martin, dead -- shot dead by a neighborhood so-called volunteer named George Zimmerman. Now, Zimmerman was armed with a gun. Trayvon, now, he was armed with Skittles and iced tea, but wearing a hoodie. Oh, there you go. And he was a dangerous dude.

No law was apparently broken -- come on now, Florida -- and that is why the nation is outraged. Tonight, thousands protested through the streets at the million hoodie march in New York for Trayvon, and the response from you all, my viewers, has been overwhelming in the Internet.

So, we are starting tonight with a special edition of on-call.

I have a guest up first on the phone, actor comedian D.L. Hughley. You were on "Loveline" last night and you said some things that were so chilling to me, I asked you to come on and share them with my audience.

Would you mind reviewing that again with us?

D.L. HUGHLEY, ACTOR/COMEDIAN (via telephone): Well, basically, I said that, basically, any parent of a young black male, that is his greatest fear like -- or his or her greatest fear. Not only -- I think all parents reasonably have some amount of fear for their children.

PINSKY: Of course.

HUGHLEY: But they generally fear that something will happen to them, but not that somebody fears their children so much to the extent that they will hurt them.

PINSKY: OK, I`ve got to stop you, because a chill goes down my spine when you say that. So, you, as a dad, when your sons go out, your fear is them, because they`re black, are going to scare somebody and then that person is going to hurt them merely because of the color of their skin?

HUGHLEY: Well, when my son was 19 years old. And I told you this story last night. He went to take a watch that I`ve sold to my jeweler who I been doing business with for 15 years. And the jeweler -- the guard at the jewelry store pulled a gun and had my son laying down on the ground.

PINSKY: Just because he had a hoodie, did he not? You told me not. And you also said something else, you said you tell him no hoodies.

HUGHLEY: Right, I did tell him that. And, obviously, young people can kind of wear what they want to wear and do it --

PINSKY: You would hope so. D.L., you would hope so, right?

HUGHLEY: But it`s not the world we exist in. So, I think all you can ever do particularly for a parent of a black male, is to prepare for them for the world you know exists. And even --

PINSKY: That doesn`t the ideal, man. That doesn`t make you sad?

HUGHLEY: You know what? It makes me aware. It`s like it makes me kind of -- this is the country we live in. For people who pretend like -- most people have no knowledge of it because it never knocks on their door. But ultimately, even if Trayvon had been stealing, even if he had been shoplifting, is the penalty for shoplifting --


HUGHLEY: -- death?

PINSKY: No, it`s not.

HUGHLEY: Is it death?

PINSKY: No, no.

HUGHLEY: Even in Iraq -- even in Iran, they cut your hand off, Afghanistan, they cut your hand off. Here, you can -- even if he was about to break into someone`s house, even if that were, should he die for that?

PINSKY: No, no. Obviously not. I want you to know. Thank you for joining us, I know you`re busy tonight. I asked you to come right in to share those thoughts with us.

I think that`s where the entire country is sort of beside themselves, don`t you think?

HUGHLEY: I don`t -- I think the reasonable people are. But if you go on to any of these Web sites, when you want to know what America really thinks, you should really talk to them when no one else is around. Go into some of these chat rooms --

PINSKY: All right. Well, listen, here`s the deal, D.L., that`s why I`m inviting somebody on tonight at the opening of my show, I`m going to let you go. I thank you. I hope this horrible tragedy makes people think by changing something. I don`t know what. And we`re going to take a little journey. I mean, I feel like we need to go somewhere in this program, and hopefully if not just raise awareness, maybe change our thinking about this or create some activism.

But joining me now, speaking of activism, Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Jane, come on in here.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Hi, Dr. Drew. Good to see you.

PINSKY: Jane -- you`re scaring me. You`re scaring me. You`re armed with Skittles and an iced tea.


PINSKY: And an iPod.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: These apparently are dangerous weapons.

Well, I want to explain. The reason I`m wearing this is that everybody saying, well, he had a hoodie on.

Now, according to his girlfriend, OK, he had come back from the 7- Eleven, Trayvon Martin, to buy Arizona iced tea, as well as Skittles. He`s on the phone. He`s got an ear bud in his ear, which they found and he`s talking to his girlfriend and he says, "Somebody is following me". She says, "Run." And he says, "No, I`m not going to run. I`m going to walk fast."

But she says that he put on the hoodie because he was being scrutinized and he wanted to --

PINSKY: Now, you look scary to me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He wanted to protect himself.

PINSKY: Now, you know, I`ve got to be careful around you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I mean, really?

PINSKY: I know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There was a supermodel arrested for being an alleged drug lord.

PINSKY: Yes, a couple of days ago.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And she was walking around in a hoodie. Do you think that George Zimmerman would have stopped her and said, hey, what are you doing here?

The idea he has the audacity to think that he has the right to walk up to somebody in a street in America and say, what are you doing here? There`s something fundamentally wrong.

PINSKY: And, by the way, packing a heat, packing a gun.


PINSKY: I mean, that`s just outrageous.

Let`s take some calls together. Can we do that?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sure. Absolutely.

PINSKY: This is Gregory in Pennsylvania calling. Gregory, what`s going on?


PINSKY: Good. You`re actually from this town, right?

GREGORY: Yes. I was born here and I have family that reside there right now.

PINSKY: What are your thoughts? Go right ahead.

D.L. Hughley challenged us to hear from, you know, from America. Let`s hear it.

GREGORY: Well, I am thankful that wasn`t my family in that situation. My heart goes out to Trayvon and his family. And I`m just trying to understand why this Zimmerman guy isn`t locked up right now.

PINSKY: Yes, I know.

The other thing, did you see Trayvon`s mom?


PINSKY: Didn`t that break your heart, that poor woman?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It broke my heart. I will say that this is a horrible tragedy. But if we as a nation can learn something from this and we can grow and we can do a little self-reflection, because Dr. Drew, don`t you think a lot of people, in some way, or shape or form, judge people based on their race, their age, their gender?

PINSKY: Of course. Bu this is such a -- I don`t want to get into that on this particular show. But it`s so complicated because on one hand, we`re frisking kids in wheelchairs at the airport and on the other hand, we`re walking up to guys in hoodies with guns and kill them. I mean, where is the sanity in this country, is what I`m asking.

George, did you get to ask your question -- or, Gregory, did you get to ask that question?

GREGORY: Yes, I did. OK. Thank you.

OK. But where is the justice here? I mean, I`m sure if it was the other way around, the African-American would be already sentenced to death.

PINSKY: And, you know, and Zimmerman is running around. We`re going to talk later on the show about this "Stand Your Ground" law and whether it`s appropriate. Why Florida? What`s going on in Florida?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, Florida does seem a vortex, it`s Orlando, we know home of the Casey Anthony case.

PINSKY: Right. Everything -- half the stuff we report on is from Florida.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what I find interesting, you think back to the Casey Anthony case, how they grilled her, how they spent hours investigating that. And, yet, in this case, they seem to very quickly say, nothing to see here, move along, move along.

PINSKY: Crazy.

All right. Here`s a Facebook from Keith. He says, "Blacks have always been treated unfair. Justice can send us to jail but can`t save us." Well, evidently not.

Sandy in Tennessee, what have you got there?


PINSKY: What`s going on?

SANDY: I heard the 911 tape, where they told Mr. Zimmerman not to follow that young man.


SANDY: At that point, he should have stopped and let police handle it.

PINSKY: Yes. But he was one of these wannabe cops. He was -- I think he was paranoid. I mean, calling the cops all the time, preoccupied about people coming into his neighborhood. Apparently, he did something the neighborhood appreciated, he solved something somewhere.

But at what cost, guys? Really?

SANDY: Really.

My son is 16 years old. He`s a skateboarder. He is white. He wears a hoodie.

PINSKY: Are you afraid for his safety?

SANDY: I am.

PINSKY: Yes, you should be. I mean, Jane can`t go out in the street like this. I`m not kidding.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m not in the demo. Unfortunately, nobody`s scared of me because I`m not in the demo.

SANDY: Unfortunately, the Florida`s "Stand Your Ground" law -- I lived there for 12 years.


SANDY: I was there when Casey Anthony was going on. Unfortunately, that law should be used to protect your home, not just to go out into --

PINSKY: Yes. Great point. That is a great point.

So, if somebody were actually breaking into your home, right? If you had reason to really believe something horrible was going on, that would make some sense.

But if -- we`re really going to challenge this law tonight in some later segments. Thank you for calling.

I`m going to go to Facebook. Melinda says here, if George, I want to ask this one, "If George had a bloody nose and had grass stains all over him" -- from the struggle, he says occurred, he`s alleged that this kid attacked him or something -- "would Trayvon have bruises and defense marks on this body as well as the gunshot wound?"

Did you hear that part where George Zimmerman apparently has a blood nose and --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, in the police report --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- the cops say George Zimmerman has a bloody nose and laceration on his back.

Now, here`s the thing, however. On the 911 call, George Zimmerman is heard saying shortly before the shooting, oh, he ran away, the guy`s getting away. He`s running in the other direction.

So, that doesn`t make sense. If he`s running in the other direction, how can he --

PINSKY: He`s not attacking him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- claim then that seconds later --

PINSKY: What happened whether he run and tackled him or something.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, he might have pursued him.

Now, the other thing is, and this gets back to why I`m wearing this, is if you`re going to attack somebody, really, are you going to have an ear bud in your ear?

PINSKY: It`s a really good point.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, and you`re going to be -- you`ve got this and an ear bud? I can barely, I`m walking around here with an ear bud, I got this, I don`t know what I`m doing. If I`m going to attack somebody, the first thing I`d do is drop all this stuff, right? There`s no evidence any of that happened because he was -- the phone records show that he was on the phone with his girlfriend.

PINSKY: And, by the way, he still had -- the tea and stuff with him, right? You can`t really fight somebody hanging on to skittles.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Because remember, George Zimmerman said, oh, he`s got something. He looks suspicious. He looks like he`s on drugs.

This is the leap that this man made, that this youngster looked like he was on drugs and had something.

PINSKY: Put this picture back up there. Does this kid look like he`s on drugs to you?

Put it back up there. He`s a drug addict. Yes, he`s using, you can tell. I mean, that`s somebody who`s trouble.

No, come on now.


PINSKY: Jane, thank you for joining. I appreciate.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thanks so much, Dr. Drew. And I appreciate what you`re doing to look at this issue.

PINSKY: We`re going to keep on going tonight. And we`re going to next talk to Trayvon Martin`s -- we`ll talk about Trayvon Martin`s killer. He remains a free man as outrage swells.

We`ll take a look at the controversial law we`ve been talking about here, the "Stand Your Ground" thing.

Stay with us. We`ll keep talking about this.


TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON MARTIN`S FATHER: If Trayvon had been alive, he would be right here on these steps with you guys rallying for justice. Trayvon Martin was you.


MARTIN: Trayvon Martin did matter.


MARTIN: I just want New York to know that we`re not going to stop until we get justice for Trayvon.



PINSKY: Welcome back.

This kid, quote, "loved basketball, loved music, loved to baby-sit and wash cars. He was just a normal kid."

Those are the words of the mother of Trayvon Martin, a teenager who gunned down in cold blood last month after a candy and iced tea run. His killer is 28-year-old George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain who says he shot the unarmed teen in self-defense.

A neighbor`s call to 911 reportedly captured what seems to have been Trayvon`s final moments. It`s just chilling. Listen to this.



CALLER: It sounds like a male.

DISPATCHER: And you don`t know why?

CALLER: I don`t know why. I think they`re yelling help but I don`t know.

Send someone quick, please.

DISPATCHER: Does he look hurt to you?

CALLER: I can`t see him. I don`t want go out there. I don`t know what`s going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re calling the cops.

CALLER: They`re sending.


PINSKY: George Zimmerman, the assailant is not charged -- a fact that has outraged so many of you. Tonight, the NAACP is calling for the resignation of the Sanford Florida police chief, whose agency is overseeing this investigation.

Now, I`ve got some e-mail comments for you guys. I`m going to try to sprinkle them in throughout the show tonight. We are live. Again, we`ll take calls, because this has really affected people.

I know myself -- I`m having so many different emotions flooding over me but helplessness and sadness keep coming back.

Here`s Sondra, "The shooter should be put in jail. He killed an unarmed child in cold blood."

Here is Cindy, "That this guy was even on patrol for the neighborhood watch is extremely scary. Who is going to watch the watch?"

Susan, "The loss of this young man is a colossal tragedy. Everyone should be outraged no matter what color you are."

Joining us to discuss this, attorney Tanya Acker. Also, conservative columnist, Pamela Geller, via telephone. And Steve Kardian, former detective.

Steve, you were a detective. What do you make of this? Why is this guy still free?

STEVE KARDIAN, FORMER DETECTIVE: He shouldn`t be free, Dr. Drew. We look at this "Stand Your Ground" law. It says, you may use force to meet force. You may use deadly physical force if you believe to prevent death or serious bodily injury.

Even if Trayvon caused those injuries to Zimmerman, he would have only been arrested for a misdemeanor. So, it doesn`t make sense.

There`s also what we refer to as primary aggressor. I believe in Florida, it`s called the primary Initial Aggressor Doctrine. He will not, should not have that option to use self-defense.

PINSKY: So, he can`t -- there`s no standing your ground if you come after somebody else basically what we`re saying.

KARDIAN: Not if you`re the initial aggressors. In New York, it`s called the primary aggressor law. If you start to fight and I beat you up, I`m the loser. If you start, then I beat you up --

PINSKY: That makes some sense, finally some sanity here.

But, Pamela, you say this law, the "Stand Your Ground" thing, is a good thing? My understanding is that so called justifiable homicides have like quintupled under this law.

PAMELA GELLER, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST (via telephone): Once again, we`re looking to make exception which makes bad law. We don`t know what happened because we`re still in America, innocent until proven guilty, OK? There`s no way you can pass judgment until we know.

And, by the way, if this guy did kill him and it was cold blood, don`t you think that`s gong to come out in a court case? I just don`t understand. This is a good law. Law abiding citizens should be able to defend themselves in the event, OK, that they`re being threatened by a criminal with a gun.

PINSKY: Hold on. I`m sorry to interrupt you, but Tanya here is itching to say something. She`s reacting to every word coming out of your mouth right now.

TANYA ACKER, ATTORNEY: I think it`s fantastic, frankly, Drew, that Pamela thinks that, innocent until proven guilty. I wish that George Zimmerman had thought that Trayvon Martin is innocent until proven guilty. I mean, it`s interesting that we`re having about rights and, you know, the right to protect yourself.

What about the right to leave your home, go buy iced tea and Skittles without having -- without being victimized of somebody else`s suspicions, whether or not those suspicions are because of race or paranoia? What about my freedom to simply go get something to eat without somebody assuming that they can shoot me down because they think I`m going to commit a crime?

PINSKY: Do you have kids?

ACKER: I do not have kids.

PINSKY: Did you hear what D.L. Hughley said?

ACKER: I did. I did.

PINSKY: I don`t know what to do with that.

ACKER: It gave me chills.

PINSKY: Chill down my spine.

ACKER: I don`t have kids but it was funny, on Sunday night, we had family and friends over, and one of the people over was a young African- American man. He`s about 12, and, really, you know, one of the first times I got very nervous about this well-behaved kid being accused of something that he didn`t do and then being taken down the same way that Trayvon Martin was taken down.

PINSKY: Just because he looked a certain way?

ACKER: He looked suspicious.

PINSKY: And, by the way, what D.L said that was a new twist on an old theme, is not that he looked suspicious, is that he scared somebody.


PINSKY: He scared somebody.


PINSKY: That is a special kind of sick, pernicious racism, I`m sorry. That`s what that is. I never thought about that.

ACKER: What`s disturbing about it, this law allows somebody to kill you because they`re afraid of you.

PINSKY: Got to go to break. We`re going to be right back after this.


SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN`S MOTHER: You probably don`t understand how much you guys mean to us. But it`s the support we need. We need this kind of support. Our son was not committing any crimes. Our son is your son.


FULTON: We want you guys to stand up for justice and stand up for what`s right. This is not about a black and white thing.




CROWD: I am Trayvon Martin! I am Trayvon Martin!


PINSKY: That is Trayvon`s parents and our hearts go out to them, they`re at the million hoodie march. Thousands gathered tonight, in memory of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed African-American teen, who was wearing a hoodie, carrying iced tea the night he was shot and killed by so-called neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman.

Now, photos sent by you -- photos sent in to us by people supporting Trayvon by wearing hoodies. We`re going to show those throughout the episode. So, send those photos of people wearing hoodies. We`re all going to wear hoodies now to normalize hoodies. So people won`t be afraid of people with hoodies, although Jane Velez-Mitchell kind of scared me a little bit.

The man who organized the march joins me by phone. His name is Daniel Maree

Daniel, how did you get this idea?

DANIEL MAREE, ORGANIZER, "MILLION HOODIE MARCH": Hi, Dr. Drew. Thanks for having me.

PINSKY: No, no. Listen, hey, I want to say, thank you. Thank you for doing that march. It was a great move.

MAREE: Oh, thank you. I appreciate that. I can`t take all the credit. I got a lot of help from my colleagues at McCann and a lot of my friends from Amnesty International, friends within the Occupy movement. It was definitely a group movement.

PINSKY: And how was the reception? What was it like out there?

MAREE: It was unbelievable, unlike anything I have ever seen. I didn`t know what to expect. And it just -- went beyond my expectations. Like so much, and to be able to stand with the family of Trayvon Martin and to see the grief in person was just -- was unbelievable. I could see that they were really impacted by the amount of people that turned out. So, it was really inspiring.

PINSKY: And, Daniel, my hope is this was a group, the people we`re looking at there, that cut across all racial barriers, socioeconomic barriers, was this a reunified cross cultural group of Americans?

MAREE: Certainly. At the organizational level, the people that helped me organize this are a diverse group of individuals. Starting with Thenjiwe McHarris at Amnesty International, Sharon Panelo (ph) at McCann (ph) and Candice and Michael and Gillian (ph), I mean, these are people of different races and colors and creeds.

PINSKY: Daniel, I`m running out of time, my friend. Let me say again, thank you for doing this. We`ll talk to you again. I hope there will be future events. So, please keep this going.

Don`t you think -- every city ought to do something like this.

MAREE: Absolutely. Thank you.

PINSKY: Good luck, my friend.

I also have Meg Strickler who was there.

Meg, I have very limited time. But how was it out there today?

MEG STRICKLER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTY (via telephone): I got chills while I was there. It did absolutely span all generations and all races and all genders.


STRICKLER: And we united to make a difference. We used social media to make a difference and it was an amazing, amazing march.

PINSKY: Tanya, does this make a difference? Does this show of support at least make a difference? I mean, it doesn`t bring a life back. It doesn`t resolve the grief of these poor parents. But does it make a difference?

ACKER: It doesn`t bring him back. But it certainly reinforces the notion that, you know, this American community, we are bigger, we are healthier than the George Zimmermans who might be suspicious of kids in hoodies. We are a better community than that.

And hopefully, this is going to help rally people to try to fix some of the wrongs and maybe make us less suspicious of each other perhaps.

PINSKY: And, Meg, thank you so much for reporting in. We`ll check in with you again.

And, Tanya, thank you for joining me throughout this show.

Next, George Zimmerman`s dad has something to say about his son. You`re going to want to hear that. He defends him, of course. But we`ll take that on after the break.



PINSKY (voice-over): Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino washed up on the "Jersey Star." The reality star now in rehab for prescription medication addiction, a viscous cycle of partying, insomnia, and addiction to sleeping pills. Tonight, "The Situation`s" situation. Details about the drugs he was taking both prescription and illicit.

And reality TV`s party culture glorifying addiction, even pushing cast members into it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This guy looks like he`s up to no good or he`s on drugs or something. It`s raining, and he`s just walking around looking about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. This guy, is he White, Black, or Hispanic?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He looks black.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see what he was wearing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. A dark hoody, like a gray hoody and jeans or sweatpants and white tennis shoes. He`s a black male.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How old would you say he looks?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s a button on his shirt. Late teens. Something`s wrong with him. Yes. He`s coming to check me out. These (EXPLETIVE DELETED) they always get away.


PINSKY (on-camera): Yes. Something is wrong with him, George Zimmerman. You scared the hell out of him. Reminder that we are live tonight, and we`re trying to work our way through this story that makes no sense. I hope gives the same degree of outrage and sadness and fear to everyone who`s watching.

According to police records, George Zimmerman called 911, 46 times as of January 2011. Many of his calls reported suspicious Black males in his neighborhood. I think the guy was paranoid. He obviously had a deep seat of racism, and he was dangerous and carrying a gun.

Joining me to discuss this, Nicci Gilbert, she`s an entertainer and an activist herself. I have Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels. I also believe I have Pamela Geller. Pamela, are you there in the studio for us? There you are. Thanks, Pam, for joining us. Appreciate it.

PAMELA GELLER, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: I am here. Thank you so much, Dr. Drew.

PINSKY: All right.

GELLER: Thank you.

PINSKY: I want to go to Curtis first. Zimmerman, overzealous guy, racist, paranoid, how do you prevent that kind of guy from being a vigilante?

CURTIS SLIWA, FOUNDER, GUARDIAN ANGELS: Could be all of that, Dr. Drew, with all the furniture upstairs rearranged in the wrong rooms. You have a group like the Guardian Angels where we`re international, now 17 countries, 140 cities, and all throughout the United States. We don`t carry weapons, but we do physical interventions. We make citizen`s arrest.

So, you have to bet (ph) out the person. You check their background. You see how they socialize, culturalize, and most importantly, with our patrols, you patrol as a group with a patrol leader, secondary leader, so there`s checks and balances. In this case --

PINSKY: All right. So, the fact --

SLIWA: He was basically a self-appointed block watcher.

PINSKY: Right. He`s a lone ranger, and he had a gun. These are both very, very dangerous aspects of this particular case. Nicci, I want to go out to you. He, apparently, has a mixed racial descent himself. He has some part of him is African-American and Mexican descent, Mexican-American. Does any of that make any difference?

NICCI GILBERT, SINGER, ACTRESS: You know what, I don`t think it makes any difference, whatsoever. The bottom line is the dispatcher told him to stay in the car. He broke the law the minute he got outside of the car. I`m more concerned -- I`m concerned about George Zimmerman, but I`m more concerned about the police officers who allowed George Zimmerman to shoot this guy, to murder this baby in cold blood.

It`s very obvious. We hear him screaming on the 911 tapes. It`s very obvious that something was wrong with George Zimmerman. But my question is, what`s wrong with this country when you allow a 17-year-old baby to be shot in cold blood, and all the facts are there. We`ve got the 911 call, we`ve got the neighbors, we have everything there. And let him go, no problems here. It was self-defense.

PINSKY: Well, and Nicci, your point is well taken and the reason he goes, he walks free is, apparently, no law broken. And Pamela, you defend that law. We had you on the phone a few minutes ago. I know you always have something interesting to say, so, please, what`s your take on this?

GELLER: First of all, let me extend my heartfelt sympathies to the Martin Family. This was a terrible, terrible tragedy. But we also know that Florida crime has dropped significantly since the implementation of this law. And people commit murder, and they use the insanity plea, they use crimes of passion. So, it`s not the law.

And I beg to differ with Nicci. I don`t think the country allowed this boy to be killed. I don`t think anyone is responsible for what happened except George Zimmerman who, as you pointed out, is African- American and Hispanic. We don`t --


GELLER: Wait, wait. No, no. I didn`t talk over anyone, please.

GILBERT: Go ahead.

GELLER: Thank you. You know, my point is, let`s take for example the terrible, horrible massacre at the French-Jewish school in Toulouse. Now, those Jewish children were mowed down by a Jihadi, as we know. If someone at that school had had a gun, those children might be alive today.

And so, the idea that you`re going to cast aside a very good law because a bad thing happened is, in my opinion, illogical, irrational, and very dangerous.

GILBERT: I don`t necessarily --


PINSKY: Go ahead, Nicci. Go ahead.

GILBERT: I don`t necessarily think this is a conversation about casting aside a law. What I think this is a conversation about is right or wrong, bottom line. And it was wrong, flat out, for George Zimmerman to get out of his vehicle and shoot that baby in cold blood. It was flat out wrong. This isn`t about race, this isn`t about a law, this is about what`s right and what is wrong.

And what is the message that we`re sending in America if we allow this man to go free and not stand in front of a judge and jury so they can determine whether or not he was right or wrong.

PINSKY: And Nicci, let me go to a caller.

GELLER: And what message would you be sending? OK.

PINSKY: Go ahead. Go ahead.

GELLER: But what message would you be sending to criminals if you removed a law which said you can defend yourself?

GILBERT: I`m not talking about moving a law. I`m talking about --

GELLER: If your life is threatened, you can defend yourself. If this guy murdered this kid in cold blood --


GELLER: I didn`t know you were the judge and the jury in this.


PINSKY: I`m going to turn your mike off in a second, ladies. Play nice. I`m going to go to Melanie on the phone. Hang on. I want to remind -- just a quick reminder, though, the stand your ground law only applies if you`re not the aggressor first. So, that`s an issue that`s at issue here and may end up with this guy in front of judge and jury, as you`re saying, Nicci.

Melanie, you`re on the line from Florida. What`s going on there? What`s going on with your state, by the way?


PINSKY: What`s going on in Florida?

MELANIE: Well, I know that I`m outraged. I can`t really speak for everyone else, but the death of Trayvon is a terrible injustice. And it`s obvious that George Zimmerman was the pursuer, and Trayvon was scared of him following him, which is evident by the comments he made to his girlfriend. He was unarmed with only Skittles and tea in his hands, and George had the gun.

Self-defense in this case that applies to Trayvon and not George. I hope George is arrested and sentenced to life in prison. You don`t follow people and shoot them just as so they look suspicious to you.

PINSKY: And take that up with your governor and the police force there on the ground in the town where this all went down. Curtis, do you have a comment about that at all?

SLIWA: Dr. Drew, it`s simple. The cops at the scene could have said, when in doubt, book him out. That means, lock him up, let a judge decide who`s right, who`s wrong, because clearly, even if you came into last second and didn`t know the fact, you would say he`s a dead Black youth who didn`t commit a crime. He`s a guy with the gun, a self-appointed guardian, let`s lock him up.

Let the judge decide. Let the criminal justice system take over this matter, and we wouldn`t have a million hoody march, we wouldn`t have the racial tension that`s been created, and justice would have been done.

GILBERT: Absolutely. The laws that protect the citizens. We`re talking about laws. Let`s talk about the laws that would have protected Trayvon Martin.

PINSKY: Pam, let me read you a Facebook. This is from Christine. It says, "Why are people calling this racial? It is about an innocent boy shot by someone who needs to be arrested. What the hell is the holdup here?" Pamela, what do you think about that? Is this racial issue and why shouldn`t we expect that the judge and jury would make the assessment of this particular situation?

GELLER: Again, I think this is all speculation. I`m very uncomfortable with deducing when we don`t have the concretes. Racial, it`s difficult, because he was African-American and he was Hispanic. So, I don`t know what his motivation is. I wasn`t in his head. Why can`t we trust law enforcement to investigate?

Why is that such an outland -- we`re all sitting here on this television show, he should be thrown in jail, throw away the key. It`s like the oxbow incident. That movie is like the mob --

GILBERT: I never said that. I never said that. I said --


GELLER: I`m just saying why -- I mean, we don`t know what happened. Do you believe you have all the information? Do you think you know everything that went down?

GILBERT: I heard the 911 call. What I believe is that I know that Trayvon had a bag of skittles, a hoody, and an Arizona iced tea, and he was shot down.

GELLER: I understand, but George Zimmerman didn`t know that. And there are other witnesses, there are witnesses that looked like he was reaching for something. What I`m saying is, we don`t know. What is this knee jerk reaction?


PINSKY: Pamela, we will get the facts. Nicci, thank you. Curtis, thank you. Pamela, thank you. And, I hope we all learn something here. There is another layer of racism that getting exposed here.

I hope that`s what we took away this conversation tonight that African-American males and the parents of African-American males have to fear when their kids go out into the world for fear of triggering, not suspicion and not profiling but just fear, and that the fear of this young healthy male, who happens to have darker skin evokes lethal force.

Thank you, guys. I got to switch gears. We`re going to talk about the Jersey Shores, "The Situation," it`s a bad day for him, too. We`re going to explore whether reality TV could be responsible for one of the stars` addiction problems. Take a look -- well, we`ll be right back. stay with us.


PINSKY: All right. I have to switch gears now. And I feel like I`m having like a little emotional roller coaster here tonight, but we have another story that pertain to a topic that I cannot let go of, which is another star, another celebrity going to treatment and for prescription drugs.

Now, this is something that we`re probably going to hear more about soon when Whitney Houston`s autopsy reports are revealed. Hold that, please. And, it`s something that I have an opportunity to talk about tonight, and I really can`t not talk about it, so we`re going to switch off what we`ve been talking about.

And, believe me, that`s not a story it`s going to go away. So, please, send your questions and your e-mails and your Facebook, and if you want to call in, we can start tomorrow again with call-ins if you want, but let`s keep that conversation alive.

Now, this story is about Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, star of the "Jersey Shore." He has admitted to addiction to, apparently, sleeping pills. I`m sure there`s more than that. So, one of the questions I`m getting into here is, does reality television enable or encourage or precipitate drinking and drug abuse or even addiction amongst its cast members?

Joining me, Anna David, executive director of But before we go to her, I want to talk to Jen Heger who is the managing editor for Radar Online. You, apparently, have some exclusive information for us?

JEN HEGER, MANAGING EDITOR, RADAR ONLINE: Yes. exclusively broke this morning that Mike "The Situation" had a prescription pill problem, and this is why he went to rehab. We are told that his prescription drug of choice is Xanax.

PINSKY: OK. So, Xanax, that`s not a sleeping pill. That`s what we call -- I drive my executive producer crazy with this word. It`s benzodiazepine, which basically just means a Valium-light drug (ph). So, the Xanax, and are there sleeping pills, too?

HEGER: There is Ambien involves also.

PINSKY: So, Ambien is a sleeping pill. Again, a very close relative of the Xanax. And by the way, these two -- let me explain to people. When people take -- they`re both very short acting, very intense, we call tensely binding medicine, and they begin creating an addiction very quickly.

So, within three or four hours after taking a dose, you need to take it again because not only is whatever anxiety or sleeplessness that you were having that you took the medicine for happening, but now you start having withdrawal. So, you take more, more withdrawal, more and now you`re in deep.

And people have seizures. People stop breathing, which you hear plenty of stories about that. And, my understanding, Jen, also, is this wasn`t his first treatment.

HEGER: No. His father, who is known as "The Confrontation" --

PINSKY: Hold on. I thought "The Situation" was just sort of something that came out of "Jersey Shore." You mean, his dad before the "Jersey Shore" called himself "The Confrontation"?

HEGER: Yes. His father goes by the name of "The Confrontation."

PINSKY: And "The Situation" was "The Situation" before the "Jersey Shore"?

HEGER: This is correct.

PINSKY: OK. All right.

HEGER: So, "The Confrontation" gave a video interview today where he said that his son went to rehab at age 27. This is about three years about.


HEGER: For unknown substances, but he said he was partying out of control. And his father, "The Confrontation" said, one of his biggest regrets was that he sent his son, "The Situation," to go live with his other son in New Jersey after he got out of rehab, and then, he subsequently went and became a cast member on the "Jersey Shore."

PINSKY: Got it. Anna, now, these reality shows like surreal life, somebody places -- where people are really encouraged to drink, right?


PINSKY: Bachelor.

DAVID: -- with the real world. I mean, that really is the real alcoholism.


DAVID: It is, you know, the people who get the most airtime or the people that are acting out in crazy, crazy ways. And, of course, they want airtime. And I think fame is just as bad. We talked about this before. It`s just as bad as addiction in terms of sort of freezing your emotional development. And the two in conjunction with each other, bad combination.

PINSKY: And then by the way -- now, so, he goes into treatment now. I`m sure they`re going to want him to get back to work in a month. This guy should take a year off.

HEGER: Absolutely. He needs to take time off. And he`s already said that he is coming back to do season 6 of "Jersey Shore." Would you, as a doctor, recommend, Dr. Drew, he go back?

PINSKY: No. But Jen, I can`t tell you how often I`ve treated a celebrity. We have them for 30 days, but even go to sober living for 30 more days, and I`m saying, please, take a year off. No, but I have a tour. I have a record -- I have recording. I have -- whatever.

HEGER: He`s gotten used to the lifestyle.

PINSKY: They make a lot of money for themselves and other people, and they don`t want to lose their career. I understand that, but they`re going to lose their lives if they don`t take care of this addiction.

HEGER: I think that what`s he doesn`t realize.

DAVID: And also, in your book, you talked about how reality stars are the most narcissistic of all the celebrities that you surveyed.


DAVID: When, you know, ratings have not been good this season for the "Jersey Shore." So, this is sort of like here`s a last gasp, you know? Reality starts know their shell (ph) life is. Basically, not much --

PINSKY: I don`t think they know that.

DAVID: Apart of them knows --

PINSKY: They are fearful, like many celebrities, of losing their celebrity. But I want to show you some footage here. Here`s what some have said was an actual paranoid moment from "The Situation" on the "Jersey Shore." Take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you being weird?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know. I feel like somebody`s about to jump out of one of these tents.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re all right here. What are you talking about?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I keep hearing noises.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because we`re in the woods?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mike is a schizo right now. He`s so paranoid. He`s freaking me out. He makes me feeling not normal. What is wrong with you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mike, what are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no, I keep feeling like something`s behind my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) tent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the wilderness, OK? A bear can come out, anything can happen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing, Mike?


PINSKY: Yes, that agitation, excessive motor activity, restlessness, there`s probably drug withdrawal, probably -- Xanax or Ambien withdrawal will do that.

DAVID: Or cocaine use. That`s lot what I looked like on cocaine.

PINSKY: I would not have wanted to be there.



PINSKY: -- particularly speed, actually, will make you paranoid, but drug withdrawal will make your paranoid.

HEGER: That`s exactly what I thought it was --

PINSKY: Drug withdrawal.

HEGER: And it looks like drug withdrawal, the perspiration, the talking, the eating.

PINSKY: Right. But let me say something here, every night -- not every night, often -- only too often, I have to get on this program and talk about how another celebrity is dead of prescription drug abuse. At least, we have someone who is attempting to deal with this problem.

He doesn`t understand how long it takes, but at least, he`s getting treatment, at least, he`s in professional hands, at least this isn`t somebody -- at least we`re not talking about him being dead, which is what would have happened had this gone on for much longer.

DAVID: True. I mean, overdose can happen at any time. I mean, I don`t want to be overly morbid.

PINSKY: Especially with pills.

DAVID: But with pills, you never know. It`s great that he is, you know, going to rehab and trying to take care of it. I think it`s a real challenge to be a celebrity and have the humility to stay sober.

PINSKY: Humility is the big point here. We`re going to talk about that and the confusing messages "The Situation" sent out to his fans today. So, stay with us.


PINSKY: OK. I am back with my panel. I`ve added Bob Forrest to the panel. I want to pay out what I promoted before the commercial that basically "The Situation" tweeted this morning that he was not having trouble, then later on, he came clean and said I`m going to have treatment.

OK. But, I want to get off that on (INAUDIBLE). You guys were getting very heated about something during the break. What did you say?

HEGER: This entire cast needs be rehabbed. I mean, this entire cast of the "Jersey Shore" needs to be in rehab.

PINSKY: Bob, agree?

BOB FORREST, RECOVERING ADDICT: The culture celebrates insanity, narcissism, craziness, and it`s always fueled by alcohol and drugs. If you watch any of these TV shows from "Bad Girls Club" to "Jersey Shore" --

PINSKY: Even "The Bachelor."


DAVID: They have to be.

HEGER: Celebrity news magazines like buy into it because that`s who gets on the cover.

PINSKY: So, there`s a lot of positive reinforcement for behaving badly. And then, by the way, healthy people aren`t very interesting, guys, let`s be fair. I mean, they really aren`t. I mean, crazy people acting crazy is what humans like to watch.

HEGER: And we know now, as you alluded to, you know, the season 5 ratings for "Jersey Shore" were much lower. Well, now, we`ve got "The Situation" coming out of rehab. We have a very pregnant Snooki. I mean, are we going to see her drinking down at the shore this summer?

PINSKY: If we do, I swear to God, I will press charges for child abuse. Bob, you join me on that?

FORREST: Yes. This is celebration of craziness. It`s got to end, but like you said, it`s very evocative. People love watching it. I watch "The Bad Girls Club," I hate to tell you. It`s madness.

PINSKY: But Bob, is there a side of this that`s encouraging? Here`s a guy that`s gone to treatment. We`re not -- you said you sat here, what, three weeks ago and said, within six months or four months, we`re going to have another one dead of prescription pills. This one missed it so far.

HEGER: So far.

PINSKY: Jen has got a bad feeling.

HEGER: I have a bad feeling. I think the fact that he had already been to rehab one time that we did not know about, and he still went on to the "Jersey Shore." I mean, I`ve been -- ever since I watched that interview with his father today, the fact that he would put himself in that situation, no pun intended.

DAVID: I don`t know. I mean, people go to rehab -- people put themselves in situation, someone (ph) go to rehab six, seven, eight, nine times, and they can get clean.

PINSKY: Bob, how many times? How many times?

FORREST: Twenty-four times. Let`s be honest, when you enter into the rehab where (INAUDIBLE) is stop/start, and the stop/start is where the danger begins.

PINSKY: What do you mean?

FORREST: You`re stopped, you`re sober, you go back and use, you die.

PINSKY: Right, because people -- let me explain that to the audience, which is that you`re used to a certain level of tolerance. You`re taken up here and you stop, you withdraw, your body adjusts to normal, and then you start back up again up here, and that might be enough to make you stop breaking, makes the heart stop, make you aspirate, those kinds of things and people die.

DAVID: And Joey Kovach (ph) from the "Real World" who ended up going on "Celebrity Rehab," he got sober in the middle of the "Real World" and came back and he couldn`t hack it, and he had to leave.

PINSKY: Joey Kovar (ph).

DAVID: Kovar.

FORREST: Yes. He was kind of boring is what the report. Why? It`s because he wasn`t crazy, he wasn`t drunk, and he wasn`t insane and doing coke.

PINSKY: Can we report -- I mean, Joey is doing fantastic. He`s amazing right now.

DAVID: So, he`s really boring now.

PINSKY: He`s really boring, but he`s really a cool guy.

HEGER: MTV has some responsibility here to their viewers. You know, there are teenagers that look up to these kids on the "Jersey Shore" as role models. And I think to have "The Situation" come back for season 6 just leaving rehab is extremely irresponsible.

PINSKY: Well, guys, my biggest concern is not just that the role modeling, it`s that this guy could end up dead, which is your bad feeling. And you know, again, if I -- I don`t know this case particularly, but the kind of thing we`re hearing about here usually takes six months of humility, quiet, focus on recovery, get well.

Got to take a break, you guys. Thank you, Anna. Thank you, Jen. Thank you, Bob. I know you got stuck in traffic, so thanks for making it at all.


FORREST: Thank all for watching. We`re going to keep this conversation going. See you next time.