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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Keeping Guns Out of the Wrong Hands; Inside the Mind of a Shooter
Aired August 7, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, does America have a gun problem? Six dead in the Wisconsin temple attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You would never think this would ever happen to your family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Twelve dead in the Aurora shootings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got seven down in Theater 9. Seven down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Six dead in the Tucson shooting that nearly took the life of Gabby Giffords. Are we ignoring the warning signs? Is America doing enough to keep guns from getting into the wrong hands? A no hold's barred debate on one of the most important questions facing this country.
Plus, Mitt Romney blasts the president on welfare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I'm president, I'll put work back in welfare.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He'd ask the middle class to pay more in taxes. It's like Robin Hood in reverse. It's Romney Hood.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Tonight, the campaigns square off.
And a day at the beach turns terrifying. My primetime exclusive of the survivor of the Cape Cod shark attack.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT. Good evening. Our big story tonight, inside the mind of a shooter. Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged gunman in the Tucson shooting that killed six people and nearly killed Gabby Giffords, entered a not guilty plea in a federal court today. Loughner being possibly medicated to treat his schizophrenia but a judge ruled him competent to stand trial.
What comes after news that the psychiatrist who treated the alleged Aurora shooter James Holmes was so concerned about his behavior that she mentioned it to colleagues only six weeks before the attack that killed 12 people. An ABC News reporter yesterday even contacted university police.
And in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, authorities say tonight they're investigating links between a white supremacist movement and the man they say was a lone gunman in Sunday's temple shooting. Wade Michael Page. The FBI said Page was never the subject of investigation, although he was mentioned in a small number of files going back seven years.
All three shooters bought their guns legally. And my response to that is why were they allowed to? Surely, there must be new controls put in to stop people like this from getting guns in America.
Well, joining me now for more on our big story, criminal defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, David Kopel of the Independence Institute, also adjunct professor on Advance Constitutional Law at Denver University, and Dan Baum, author of the forthcoming "Gun Guys: A Road Trip."
Welcome to you all.
And let me star with you, Alan Dershowitz. We're seeing a pattern here of people who are clearly mentally disturbed in some way, lawfully purchasing handguns. We saw it with Jared Loughner. With James Holmes in Aurora. With Wade Michael page now. All buying handguns. Perfectly legally. All clearly in some way deranged mentally.
What can we do about it?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, first of all, it's very dangerous to try to preventively detain people based on predictions of what they're liking to do in the future. That leads to tyranny in many kinds of societies. Second, you can't ban the kind of music, for example, that may have inspired this racist to kill. What you can do is limit the availability of guns.
Now limiting the availability of guns is not going to solve all the problems but when you think of what you can do with the least negative impact on civil liberties of Americans, gun control is clearly the right direction to go.
MORGAN: Yes, I mean, David Kopel, my question for you really is this. I just don't think it's good enough for people who are pro-guns and get agitated about anyone who wants gun control to simply react to all these incidents by saying, there's no need to do anything. Because as there are more of them, the need to do something becomes more and more urgent, doesn't it?
DAVID KOPEL, DENVER UNIVERSITY: I think that's exactly right. But what we want to do is do something intelligent and thoughtful and not just lash out at this scapegoat and percent k persecution of law- abiding gun owners. So for example, in Colorado, after the Columbine murders, the people and the state legislature enacted eight different laws. Three of those were to strengthen protections against cutting -- guns getting into the wrong hands.
Five of them were to protect gun rights so that law-abiding gun owners would have -- be able to exercise their rights. And we know that those laws save lives. For example, in December 2007, a evil person went to a mega church in Colorado Springs with 7,000 people inside and he was armed and he was stopped and shot according to the pastor because there was a security -- a volunteer security guard there. Just a parishioner, who is lawfully carrying a gun to protect the church. She stopped the murder.
And according to the pastor, boy, have saved over 100 lives. So I think we can do things on both direction. We can strengthen the rights of law-abiding people to own and carry and use firearms for lawful protection. And we can continue to improve ways to try to try to keep guns out of the wrong hands. Such as after Virginia Tech when both sides came together and enacted good laws to help mental health records more properly get into the FBI's database about persons who are prohibited from owning guns.
MORGAN: Dan Baum, how do you make it harder for crazy people to legally buy weapons that they can go and do crazy things with?
DAN BAUM, AUTHOR, "GUN GUYS: A ROAD TRIP": The first thing you do is you do no harm. And whenever something like this happens, there's an immediate call for more gun control. Like Mr. Dershowitz and the editorial board of "The New York Times" and the usual suspects. And then the National Rifle Association gems up its hideous machine and we have the usual screaming match.
What nobody ever seems to do is listen to gun owners. Forty percent of American households own guns. Very, very few of those people commit crimes with them. And I just spent two years driving 15,000 miles around the country talking to gun owners. And what I picked up was gun owners identified very strongly with their guns. Now you can like that or not like that. But they take a tremendous amount of pride in being able to live alongside these very dangerous tools and not hurt anybody.
And when you come along somebody like Mr. Dershowitz, who does not look to me like a big gun guy. He comes along and tells the ordinary law-abiding gun owner, you can't be trusted with this kind of gun, you can't be trusted with this much ammunition, you can't be trusted to buy guns under these circumstances. The reaction is, well, to hell with you. And what you get is this resentment.
There's a tremendous amount of resentment among gun owners that every time something bad happens, they got tarred.
MORGAN: Let me bring Alan in there, because you've had a few whacks at him.
DERSHOWITZ: Right. I like the fact that your guest can tell who a gun owner is by just looking at him. And he can tell by looking at me, by hearing my name, by knowing what city I live in, whether I'm a kind of gun guy or not. But let's think about his example.
KOPEL: It's by what you've written, Alan. You've made that very clear.
DERSHOWITZ: Very few gun owners -- very few gun owners commit crimes. Let me give you another analogy. Very few people who speed 90 miles an hour kill people. But the vast majority of people who kill people on the road have been speeding or drunk or driving while drunk. The same thing is true with guns. The vast majority of gun owners don't kill. But people who do kill tend to kill with guns and often with illegal guns.
And I agree that we don't want to scream and yell about it. I'm not unhappy being on the same side as "The New York Times." What we're trying to do is limit the access of guns to people who don't need them. Yes, Americans love guns. And, you know, the analogy is almost as if -- and I know, I've read your writings. You think Americans are just bad people. You think Americans are just violent people. And you can't change people from being violent.
Well, if they -- if you can't change people from violent, you really think Americans have a love affair with violence, then you really do have to take the guns away. Americans also have a love affair with speeding and with drunken driving. And we can't stop them from thinking about those things. But we can stop them from speeding, even though very few speeders kill. We can stop them from having --
KOPEL: You know, it's a --
DERSHOWITZ: -- access to too many guns because guns in the hands of people like this do kill. We have to use a little common sense. The fact that we have more guns than any country in the world today and have more violent crimes than any country in the world today has to have a correlation. I believe it also has a correlation.
BAUM: Alan, that's dead wrong. You don't know your statistics.
DERSHOWITZ: But if you're right that we have crimes because Americans are violent people --
MORGAN: OK. Alan, let me --
DERSHOWITZ: -- that's an argument in favor of taking away guns.
MORGAN: Let me bring in --
DERSHOWITZ: Not in favor of letting them have their guns.
MORGAN: Alan, let me bring in David Kopel. At what point do you try and say to Americans the right to bear arms according to your constitution doesn't mean the right for crazy people to really go into gun stores, buy hand guns, assault weapons, whatever it may, and go and blow up Sikh temples or movie theaters? What do you do about that culture?
KOPEL: Well, of course it doesn't mean what you just said. But we -- I think Americans look at the experience of England where we -- you went from a country with zero gun control laws in the early 20th century to now something that's acknowledged as having the most severe gun laws in the western world.
And in that period, you went from a very, very low crime area to a place where the crime rate really went up by 50 times and now according to a joint study by the U.S. Department of Justice and the British Home Office, the UK has a higher violent crime rate, significantly, than the U.S.
MORGAN: Yes, but let jump in --
KOPEL: According to the United Nations --
MORGAN: Hang on, hang on, hang on.
KOPEL: -- Scotland is the most violent country in the industrial world.
MORGAN: You used this -- you used this with me last time.
KOPEL: You have more violence because you have no self-defense.
MORGAN: You used this with me last time. It's completely untrue. The reality about the British gun situation is actually, particularly because of the new handgun rules brought in the mid-'90s after the Dunblane atrocity. In fact, gun crime and murders from guns are on a rapid decline throughout Britain. And, you know, I think --
KOPEL: We're talking about total crime.
MORGAN: Wait a minute.
KOPEL: Totally destroyed our --
MORGAN: You also throw at me -- you also throw at me Norway, and said, look, it even happens in Norway.
KOPEL: No, you're confusing me with John (INAUDIBLE).
MORGAN: The reality about Norway is, Norway had a massacre. Most countries at some stage have a crazy person who commits an atrocity. But Norway in an average year, the last audited figures, I think, from 2005, it had five killings from guns. America last year, what, 11,000, 12,000? There is a massive difference here.
KOPEL: Well, Dan, I think, made a point that other countries with no guns have higher homicide rates than the United States. But the point is, you think -- you're fixated on guns. In America, we look at the harms of guns like them being on the wrong hands and also the benefits like crime deterrents.
The reason that Britain has a much higher burglary rate than the United States and the most British burglaries take place when the families are home is because Britain has outlawed self-defense with a firearm. Studies of American --
DERSHOWITZ: That is ridiculous.
MORGAN: That is such a --
KOPEL: -- not to come into the house --
MORGAN: That is a such a fatuous argument.
KOPEL: -- because they're afraid of getting shot. You call something ridiculous but you don't even know the studies. They're very clear.
MORGAN: I do know the studies.
KOPEL: American burglaries were very --
MORGAN: I've lived in Britain most of my life. Of course I know the studies. Trying to draw some parallel between the burglary --
DERSHOWITZ: These are the worst -- these are the worst --
MORGAN: The burglary rates in Britain because we don't have guns. What would you suggest, we go and arm everyone in Britain to kill everyone that burglars their house? Come on.
KOPEL: In the United States, if we do that we have a lot fewer burglaries and hardly any home invasion burglaries. Yes --
MORGAN: We don't have 12,000 gun murders a year, do we? Let me turn to Dan Baum. Let's try and get it back to a more even keeled debate because it is incendiary. It does inspire a lot of passion. What is the sensible way of moving the two sides together? Where do you bring the "I want gun control" lobbyists to the "I don't want any gun control"?
Where is there a meeting of minds? I mean you could argue that Mitt Romney in Massachusetts actually brought in a meeting of minds and did actually move this debate sensibly. Now he -- he's reminded of it but he did. s BAUM: I think the first place to start is what do you want to achieve? Do you want to reduce violence? Or do you want to get rid of the guns? If you want to reduce violence, maybe we should just keep doing what we're doing because violence is about half of what it was 20 years ago. And homicide and other crimes of violence about half.
You'd have a hard time finding another time in American history --
DERSHOWITZ: So let me tell you what we're doing here.
BAUM: -- when crime has dropped this much. And this was a 20 years in which gun laws got looser. So --
DERSHOWITZ: But let me tell you what it is we're doing.
BAUM: Now, policing has gotten smarter. Sentencing has gotten tougher. There's all kinds of things that have gone on. So when people say, oh, you just want to do nothing about violence, I think that's a calumny, I think that's a lie. Because elected officials and police officials all over the country are doing a terrific job at reducing violence.
MORGAN: Let me bring in -- let me bring in Alan.
Alan, respond to that.
BAUM: It's a hard -- it's a hard week to make that argument. But violence is way down in the United States.
DERSHOWITZ: Can I respond to that?
MORGAN: Well, I mean -- let me just -- before we go to Alan, what I would say is, it's very good to have the debate. I think not having the debate is completely the wrong response. America has to debate this. Because you've had two of the worst gun incidents in the last 10 years in the space of three weeks. You know, you've got to talk about this.
DERSHOWITZ: Let me respond (INAUDIBLE). One of the reasons why crime is down in America is because we have the highest concentration of prisoners anywhere in the world. We have --
DERSHOWITZ: -- more prisoners per capita. Most of our prisoners are racial minorities. We have more people in jail not having been convicted of crime in pretrial detention. We have massively denied the civil liberties of people in order to reduce the crime.
BAUM: This is true. DERSHOWITZ: We have stopped -- where people are stopped on the street. We have a range of other violations. And so the question is how do you reduce -- we also have demographic changes that explains some reduction in violence.
BAUM: Right. Right. Yes.
DERSHOWITZ: How do you reduce crime -- wait a minute, let me finish. How do you reduce crime in the way that minimally violates civil liberties and the answer to that is gun control. It is the single most effective way to reduce crime. Now the argument that a person at the temple with a gun stopped the killing of 100 people is absurd. There should have been a policeman who has a gun. Policemen should have guns. Standing at the temple. Preventing that.
We don't want vigilantes. Look what happened with George Zimmerman. We don't want people walking around in synagogues and members and in temples and in schools and on airplanes and at homes with guns which are used to commit suicide, to kill their children, to accidentally commit crimes and to accidentally commit violence.
The pervasiveness of guns in our society is destroying America. That is common sense. And all these phony studies, and they are the worst example of academic misconduct. These studies, they prove nothing. They confuse correlation with causation. They assume that they can demonstrate that the -- that the presence of guns stops crime. There is no way of proving that empirically. These are phony junk science studies. Common sense --
KOPEL: Should I dismiss the studies and count on Alan Dershowitz --
MORGAN: I'm going to have to -- I'm going to have to reluctantly draw it to a close. It's been a fascinating debate. Let's keep having the debate. The important thing in America is to keep talking about this and try not to get overexcited about it. But to try and be pragmatic and, you know, in the end, I suspect there has to be some kind of limitation to the sheer volume of guns you have out there. There has to be.
But for now, Alan, David, Dan, thank you for joining me, I appreciate it.
DERSHOWITZ: Thank you.
MORGAN: Next, the profile of mass shooters. I'll talk to the doctor who tells all of us what unlikely traits they have in common.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ERIC GRABOWSKI, MANAGER, THE SHOOTERS SHOP: He was unrememberable, not memorable to any of us. He didn't -- you know, there are two types of people you remember, longstanding customers as well as people who rub us the wrong way and then they don't buy a gun here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was the gun shop owner who sold the weapons to Wade Michael Page. All his weapons were sold legally. So how can anyone have predicted that he might go on a killing spree?
Joining me now is Dr. Michael Welner. He's examined mass shooters from New York to Honolulu, and also does pioneering research on defining evil in crime.
Dr. Welner, thank you for joining me. It's a really complex issue. Because there are many issues around guns in America. But this particular one of crazy people doing crazy things, what can you do to try and red flag these people?
DR. MICHAEL WELNER, CHAIRMAN, THE FORENSIC PANEL: Well, homicide, murder, is a byproduct of many different qualities. And you can't generalize about murder but you can generalize about mass shooting. Look, mental illness wasn't just invented. Neither were guns. And yet we've seen a proliferation in recent decades of mass murder. And why? Because there's a social payoff.
There is the vehicle. Through hyper exposure of news coverage and relevance of a person who's unremarkable as has just been described. Or failing. Who had high expectations of himself. We don't see homeless, mentally ill doing this. We don't see people with chronic conditions. We see people who are unremarkable. Whose -- who crawl into the cracks because they are not obviously ill even if they have a psychiatric condition.
Who recognize there's a social payoff. That we will talk about them on your show. Or their perceived grievance. People who know they can go in an instant from being unremarkable to relevant at the very least and notorious jokers or anti-heroes or, in the example of Page, the person in the white supremacist movement who actually got up and did something, which in my experience in dealing with the white supremacist community, you have plenty of folks in these chat rooms who grouse about nobody getting up and doing something.
And then someone will say, I will rise above and I will become relevant to them. It is a social phenomenon of people seeking relevance.
MORGAN: But tell me this --
WELNER: That we reinforce. And so the next person inspired by watching how we cover it basically chooses shock value, recognizing that if they're shocking enough and creative enough, so you eliminate guns, they'll pick bombs. MORGAN: Right. I mean, look, to me, that's always a very simplistic argument. If you had that argument with terrorism, for example. We said about al Qaeda. OK, they blew up the World Trade Center but you know what, if they weren't doing that, they'd be doing something else. We're going to leave them alone to do their thing.
You can't just leave these people to do their thing. You can't just say, well, if it wasn't guns, it would be bombs. My issue about Page, for example, is this. There is a man who was thrown out the army for misconduct. He had a criminal record. He was in a high profile -- relatively high-profile band full of skinhead white supremacists, who were spouting vile stuff about anybody nonwhite in America.
You've got a clearly dangerous criminally minded, unstable character, with a vested interest in doing exactly the kind of thing that he did. How do we flag out people like him? Because the media within a few hours of his name coming out can tell you all about him and the American people can say, here are 20 reasons why he shouldn't be given a gun. Yet he was able to walk in I think two weeks ago and purchase the gun that caused the mayhem.
What do we do about that?
WELNER: Well, two things. First of all, he was able to purchase the gun because he wasn't obviously disturbed. And secondly, there are thousands of people whether we like it or not, who think like him. And who may be even more venomous and vituperative in what they have to say. He became invested in the social payoff.
The reason I mentioned bombs is merely to say bombs are an instrument of spectacle. When something is blown up, people notice. And the guns in the idea of mass destruction, if guns are not available and someone is motivated to mass destruction --
MORGAN: But Dershowitz (INAUDIBLE). In all these cases, don't you just have to make it as difficult as you possibly can for people of this kind of mentality who may not be flagged up under the current system to acquire these kind of assault weapons of handguns and so on? I mean why do you really need to have a handgun or an assault weapon of the type that they're using to commit these things? Unless it is to do harm?
WELNER: Mass shooting is an end point in an individual who may have mental illness and who may not. At some point, others recognize them as either troubled or just invested in the idea of destruction. But when they become determined to embark on a mass murder, they're quiet, they're private and they make sure that they're not going to be detected.
MORGAN: Final question, though, I mean, from all that you have seen, all the cases you've been involved in, and so on, do you think there is a coherent argument to just have tougher gun laws in America?
WELNER: I don't agree. I don't agree. I think, for example, just in terms of -- I think that there is sufficient evidence of instances in which -- simply put, mass shooters pick soft targets. They pick areas where they know folks will be unarmed, will be helpless and dough defenseless.
MORGAN: So -- again, I come back to the al Qaeda analogy. So do terrorists.
WELNER: That's exactly right.
MORGAN: Right? But we don't just leave them alone. We go off after terrorists with all the power of the federal government. We have the FBI, the CIA, MI-6 in Britain. Whatever it may be. You go after everything you can.
MORGAN: Their bank accounts. Their this. Their ability to get weapons. All these things.
MORGAN: New laws are brought in. We go through airports. We have to go through a million different things now because of what they did. I don't see the same treatment of these gun outrages that is applied to terrorist attacks.
WELNER: In my professional opinion, and I've worked on terrorism cases, there are two different forces at play. Terrorism is a culmination of an organized activity that is not done in isolation in the same way as these mass shooting phenomenon or carried out by folks. If they have an ideology, it's cosmetic.
MORGAN: Dr. Welner, thank you for joining me.
WELNER: Thank you.
MORGAN: Coming up, welfare versus Romney hood. The latest battles in the Obama and the Romney campaigns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 1996, President Clinton and a bipartisan Congress helped end welfare as we know it by requiring work for welfare. But on July 12th, President Obama quietly announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements. Under Obama's plan, you wouldn't have to work and wouldn't have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Making welfare a major campaign issue of the election. That's a new Romney ad today blasting President Obama for creating a culture of dependency for people receiving benefits from the government. But is Romney right? With me now is Ben Labolt, Obama 2012 press secretary, and Tara Walls, senior communications adviser to Mitt Romney.
Let's start with you, Tara Wall. Why are you going all out then against President Obama over this?
TARA WALL, SENIOR ROMNEY ADVISER: Well, it's actual fact. I think that if you look at these regulations -- this executive order by President Obama, it absolutely dismantles and guts bipartisan legislation signed by President Clinton. And it undermined essentially the very fabric, the very essence of welfare reform, by taking away, dismantling, gutting those work requirements, work requirements that have actually gotten people back to work, that has brought poverty down, and that has actually decreased the case loads of welfare by 50 percent.
So it absolutely does gut it. And I think it's worth pointing that out. I think it was done in the still of the night, if you will. It is very valid and shows, again, a clear distinction between a President Obama and a -- what would be a president Mitt Romney.
MORGAN: OK, let me bring in Ben Labolt. Ben Labolt, there you are. Apparently, you're dishing out all sorts of handouts to people who don't deserve it. Guilty?
JOHN LABOLT, OBAMA 2012 PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I'll tell you who disagrees with that, Piers. It's President Clinton's former chief of staff, John Podesta, who made clear today that this latest attack is false. And it's hypocritical. The entire purpose of this program is to move more people from welfare to work. If there's a state that can design a more effective program and prove to the federal government that they can move 20 percent more people from welfare to work, we'll act on it.
The governors who requested this are Republican governors in the states of Nevada and Utah, who said they could design more effective program. You know who supports more flexibility for states to do this? It's Governor Romney when he served as --
MORGAN: I was about to jump in here. Let me just read Tara this, which is, quote, "increased waiver authority, allowable work activities, availability of partial work credit and the ability to coordinate state programs are all important aspects of moving recipients from welfare to work." Would you go along with that?
WALL: Well, there's nothing wrong with flexibility. Certainly, there is flexibility. There remains flexibility. There's flexibility written into the law. The point is, when you have flexibility, that doesn't do away with the fact that there are requirements. There are going to be requirements.
MORGAN: These were -- just to clarify, these were the words of Governor Romney in a letter along with 28 other state governors in 2005.
WALL: The letter -- actually, the letter absolutely actually -- the governor was actually -- actually was not asking for waivers. He was actually asking to strengthen those work requirements. And that is, in fact, what the Senate did do.
MORGAN: Ben Labolt?
LABOLT: Governor Romney in this letter would have undermined the work requirement. He goes much further than this.
WALL: No, absolutely false. That is not true.
LABOLT: They would have gotten rid of the time limits under which welfare to work says you can be on welfare. So under Governor Romney you could have been on welfare indefinitely. This is the same governor who provided free access to cars for welfare recipients. So this is the same sort of hypocritical attack we've heard from Romney throughout the campaign.
WALL: I think it's hypocritical for us to turn back the clock on time and put people back into a position of dependence. Welfare reform has created a culture of independence. Most Americans, those who have had to have a hand, from time to time, have applauded efforts, again in a bipartisan way, to create that work ethic, those work requirements that have, again, particularly with black families, that have brought down poverty in black families and increased employment and sustainability and dependency -- and I think eliminated dependency.
That is the difference. The question is why at this time would the president choose to do this and go around Congress essentially, and create another executive order, again in the still of the night, to do something that --
MORGAN: You both had your say on that. I want to move on to what President Obama said, in which he again targeted Mitt Romney's time at Bain. He was talking at a fund-raiser. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He'd ask the middle class to pay more in taxes so that he could give another 250,000 dollar tax cut to people making more than three million dollars a year. It's like Robin Hood in reverse. It's Romney Hood.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Tara, Romney Hood. It's got a certain ring to it, hasn't it?
WALL: I think I'd have to agree with Governor Romney when he called that Obama-loney. Listen, that's rich coming from someone making these remarks shuttling between 40,000 dollar a plate fundraisers. I think, you know, at the end of the day, it's clear that Governor Romney will not raise taxes on any Americans. And in fact, I think the tax center -- Independent Tax Center found that President Obama's plan would actually, in fact, raise taxes and have raised taxes on Americans.
That's the bottom line. It is a complete fabrication to say Governor Romney will raise taxes on Americans. He will not.
MORGAN: Let me throw one at you then, Ben, which is a different issue, which is that Harvey Weinstein threw a big star-studded fund- raiser for the president, whopping 40,000 dollars a ticket last night. Yet, despite all this, he's still being out funded by Mitt Romney, who's raising a lot more money.
What are you going to do about this? Because if Mitt Romney continues to raise considerably larger funds than you guys do, then he could do to you what he did to his Republican nominee rivals, which is blow them out of the water financially.
LABOLT: Let me take just one second to respond to what Tara said. A nonpartisan report came out last week that said Governor Romney would cut taxes on the top five percent of the population and raise them on 95 percent of the population. If you're a middle class family with kids, you'll pay 2,000 dollars more under Governor Romney. And the Romney campaign has not provided alternative data to dispute that.
In terms of the money race, you know, we knew after Citizens United that special interests would be able to contribute unlimited amounts to try to defeat the president this election cycle. You've got secretive oil billionaires, like the Koch Brothers, who are out there spending millions and millions of dollars on TV in an attempt to protect taxpayer subsidies for their oil companies that taxpayers can't afford and they don't need. They're making record profits.
Ultimately, we've had more than 2.7 Americans contribute to this campaign. And we're going to rely on that donor base of average contribution of 53 dollars across the country to put us over the finish line.
MORGAN: OK. Well, it's been good talking to you about the issues. I'm sure we'll be talking a lot more as we head to November. Thank you for now to the pair of you.
LABOLT: Thanks, Piers.
MORGAN: We'll have more on politics and the battle for the White House tomorrow night with Frank Rich. Coming up next, my prime time exclusive with a shark attack survivor, a quite extraordinary tale of life and death at the hands of a Great White.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's the problem?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A shark attack. He's bleeding. He's wounded. His whole ankle's been bit. He needs 911 emergency.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Is he on the beach now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's on the beach, out of the water, but he might lose his --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, I'm going to send them right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The incredible 911 call moments after Chris Myers was pulled under the water by a massive shark. It happened last week off Cape Cod. Experts believe he was attacked by a Great White. Chris Myers joins me now for a prime-time exclusive interview.
What an extraordinary tale of survival. I mean, you watch "Jaws" and those sort of movies and you think, well, the great thing is it will never actually happen in real life. You're in the water and this happens. A Great White comes at you. Tell me about it.
CHRIS MYERS, SHARK ATTACK SURVIVOR: Well, I was trying to make it out to a sand bar with my son who's 16 years old to do some body surfing. The sand shifts every year on Cape Cod. The sand bar's gotten quite far from shore. Apparently I was the only one on Cape Cod who hadn't heard about shark sightings locally. But we were working our way out tot he sand bar.
We had just decided that we probably weren't going to make it that far and decided to turn around. And it was at precisely that moment that the shark bit my left ankle. I felt like I was caught in a vice.
MORGAN: That moment -- because I never met anyone who's been bit by a Great White. When a Great White Shark sinks its fangs into you, what does it feel like?
MYERS: Well, people ask me if I knew it was a shark. And I figured it was either an elephant or a polar bear or a shark. So pretty quickly I got to shark. It felt like I was in a very, very heavy vise.
MORGAN: That you couldn't get out of.
MYERS: Right. And I started kicking at it with my right leg. Then it let go.
MORGAN: The pictures we're looking at are incredibly gruesome here. This is a huge, very dangerous sea creature that's come at you. You must have thought I could die here.
MYERS: I honestly am not sure I ever thought I could die. I think what I thought was my -- a shark has my leg. I think that's as far as I got.
MORGAN: Isn't that the first step to death? If a Great White Shark had my leg in the ocean, I'd be thinking, the chips are up, sunshine. Why did you stay so cool?
MYERS: I think the most surprising thing to me about this whole incident is that I didn't actually feel afraid.
MYERS: No. I felt worried.
MORGAN: Worried? My God, I'd be like -- a bit worried because a Great White Shark has got your leg.
MYERS: When the shark first bit my leg, I started kicking at it. Then it let go. The next thing that happened is it surfaced, almost like it was doing a little display. It surfaced. So there's -- you know, you're my son and I'm me. And the shark is right between us. We were -- my son and I were five feet apart.
The shark surfaced and arced. We saw his whole dorsal fin. We saw probably six feet of what looked to be a 10 or 12-foot shark. Mercifully, no teeth.
MORGAN: Was your son as phlegmatic about it all as you clearly were?
MYERS: It's harder for me to know what was going through his mind. He heard me scream when the shark bit and he turned around. And the next thing he knew pretty much the shark was right there between us. And then the shark disappeared as quickly as he surfaced.
My son told me that he was worried. So then we started swimming towards shore. I don't think we -- we didn't have a conversation. We just started swimming. And --
MORGAN: No, you wouldn't stick around to chat, would you?
MYERS: No, no, no, no.
MORGAN: I mean, you seem remarkably calm about this. And you clearly think you were calm in the moment. I find that extraordinary.
MYERS: It surprised me.
MORGAN: Yeah. Well, when we come back -- let's have a little break, while we discuss your calmness. I want to talk to Philippe Cousteau, who is want of the experts in this kind of thing. I want to talk sharks, about the prevalence of this kind of thin, and whether the reaction that you had to stay calm is the very best thing you can do. Because I would have been jumping for Great Britain in that ocean.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got no line. (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Oh Jesus. It's all mine. It's all mine. Get it.
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MORGAN: The surprise of a lifetime. A bull shark grabs the bait from a young woman fishing. It happened in South Carolina and in fresh water. Back with Chris Myers, who survived an extraordinary attack by a Great White off the Cape Cod coast, first attack on a human there since 1936.
Joining us now is an expert on sharks, environmentalists and CNN special correspondent Philippe Cousteau. Philippe, two very different reactions there to the appearance of a shark. One, the last one we just saw, would be my reaction, complete and utter blind panic and lots of screaming, and then the reaction of my guest here, Mr. Myers, who appears to have been just a little bit worried, and then calmly paddled his way back to the beach.
PHILIPPE COUSTEAU, MARINE BIOLOGIST: Well, certainly Mr. Myers' reaction was the appropriate reaction. In any type of crisis situation, panicking is never a good idea. But as you pointed out, it could certainly be a traumatic experience, to say the least.
MORGAN: Are shark attacks on the rise? Or is it simply that with the modern media phenomena, that when there is an attack like this, it gets such a huge play on the Twitter-verse, if you like, that it seems like there are a lot more?
COUSTEAU: People's fear of shark attacks -- and I spoke to a couple of folks today, and they said God, I would never get in the water. I'm so afraid of swimming in the ocean. It really is an irrational fear. In 2011, the International Shark Attack File reported about 75 attacks unprovoked attacks from sharks around the world. And only 12 of them were fatal.
So we've all heard the statistics. You're much more likely to die from a car accident, a bee sting, lightning striking you, any number of different things. So it's -- being attacked by a shark is something that is very unlikely. On the other hand, we kill in the neighborhood of about 100 million sharks a year worldwide. So sharks have a great deal more to fear from us than we do from them.
MORGAN: Is it true that sharks don't like the taste of human flesh? And if that is true, why do they keep gnawing it at?
COUSTEAU: We speculate that that's the case. The reason is because sharks tend to prefer to feed on animals that have a high blubber content, animals like seals or sea lions. Thus, many shark attacks are exactly what happened in Massachusetts, where the sharks will bite down and then release.
Unfortunately, the only way they can know what something is to taste it. That's bad news for us if we get bitten. But the reality is that most attacks are not fatal, because the sharks don't eat the person in the attack. They tend to bite and release, because it is not their typical food source.
So, you know, sharks are not quite the mindless killers that we all think they are. I've spent many hours with sparks of all different species, including Great Whites, under water. And we think often times the cause of a shark attack is a case of mistaken identity, in the morning or in the afternoon or maybe in some cloudy water. They see some thrashing and chance it. Why not?
MORGAN: Chris, you say you were swimming back with your son. When you actually got back to land, what was your reaction then?
MYERS: Euphoria. No, I mean --
MORGAN: Did you realize then the enormity of what you just survived?
MYERS: Yeah. I mean, when I said I was worried earlier, I think it came out a little bit wrong. Where I first got worried was when I had swum -- I was 400 yards from shore. When I got 200 yards from shore, I started feeling quite dizzy. I knew that my kick was strong. I knew that my lungs were strong. But I was beginning to worry that I was losing blood and that I won't be able to swim all the way back.
So then I was worried about my life. But I also didn't see too many options. I kind of scanned the beach to see -- it appeared people knew I had been bitten. But there was no one in the water, strangely.
MORGAN: You're surprising me.
MYERS: I just kept swimming, and my son kept swimming. We were right next to each other. I had his company. He had my company, and we just kept at it. When I hit the beach, my legs collapsed under me. The -- I couldn't walk on my legs. And people were very kind and took my shoulders and a doctor and nurse were on the beach and immediately started helping me.
MORGAN: And are you OK? How is your leg?
MYERS: I'm walking around. I'm in a cast on my left leg. The tendons are severed on the left ankle. The right leg just has a bunch of deep puncture wounds. It took 47 stitches to cover -- to close the different wounds.
MORGAN: The good news for you is that forever now you'll be known as the guy that survived a Great White Shark attack. There's a whole new career beckoning for you. Thank you for coming in.
It's been a fascinating experience to talk to you. And Philippe, thank you also for that expert analysis. Much appreciate it.
COUSTEAU: Always a pleasure, Piers. Thanks.
MORGAN: Coming up next, red, white and gold. Another banner performance by the Americans at the Olympics today.
MORGAN: Tonight's Pride of America is a 5'2" power house who is also pure gold. Aly Raisman showed the world today just why the Fab Five are so electrifying. U.S. gymnastics team captain won the floor exercise with an incredible performance that wowed the audience and the judges. It follows a bronze medal for the balance beam, making Aly the most decorated American gymnast at the summer games.
Before the games started, I talked to Aly, who made it perfectly clear what she intended to do in London.
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MORGAN: Is winning an Olympic gold for you the absolute number one dream?
ALY RAISMAN, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: Yeah. Definitely winning the Olympic gold. It just gives me chills thinking about it. And I've been dreaming about that ever since I was a little girl. So to be able to accomplish that is just so surreal. And I -- every day when I'm in the gym, that's all I think about.
MORGAN: Is it, literally? For all seven hours of the day, you're think of that gold medal, the podium, the American anthem?
RAISMAN: Yeah, definitely, especially in the car ride to and from gym. I find myself spacing out a lot, just visualizing what the Olympics would be like and just having such great role models.
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MORGAN: Well, mission accomplished. She willed it and she did it. Congratulations to Aly Raisman, to Gabby Douglas and the rest of the Fab Five. They're all the absolute Pride of America. That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.