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California High School Shooting; Pastor Withdraws From Inauguration; The Oscar Nods; Hollywood's Role in Gun Violence; Early Flu Season Grips U.S.

Aired January 10, 2013 - 14:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Brooke Baldwin continues our CNN NEWSROOM coverage right now.


The worst flu season in three years rocks the country. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me live on what to expect over the next month.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.

Showdown at the White House. Find out what happens when Joe Biden meets the NRA and movie execs about gun control.

Plus, one group wants to see pictures of Osama bin Laden's body. Now a court is hearing its case against the president.

And --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nominees are --


BALDWIN: The glitz, the glamour, the controversy. Some big names left off the Oscar list. You'll hear them right after this.

Here we go. Top of the hour. Breaking news. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

We have a school shooting in Taft, California. At least two people shot. A shooter is now in custody. Want to go straight to George Howell.

I know you've been digging on this story. Just glancing at my e-mail, we've just learned that all schools -- this is Kern County, California -- all schools right now are on lockdown, with the exception of this high school, which has been evacuated.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Brooke, yes, we're talking about Taft Union High School. Now, that's about 45 minutes away from Bakersfield. And that's where we're getting a lot of our information right now from our affiliate KERO TV there.

According to their reporting, they have taken calls from students who were apparently hiding in closets, Brooke, while this was happening. We know at this point, according to their reporting, that at least three victims in this case at Taft Union High School. We also know that the shooter, apparently, was taken into custody around 9:20 on the West Coast, 9:20 a.m. So, the Kern County Sheriff's Office apparently went door-to-door, room-to-room, trying to secure the school after they got information about this. Again, 9:00 a.m. on the West Coast.

We have been able to confirm through the Kern County fire captain that at least one person was treated with minor injuries. There have also been unconfirmed reports that this happened outside the school on a side street. Some report that it happened inside the school. Again, these are early reports that we're getting. We're still sifting through a lot of the information.

But again, we can confirm that a least one person treated for minor injuries. A shooter taken into custody. And at least three victims in this case.

BALDWIN: OK, so to run back to one of your points, we don't even know if this shooting happened on campus, in one of the classrooms, somewhere nearby. This happened, as you mentioned, this shooter, we don't know if this person was a student.

HOWELL: Right. And I think that's a very important point to make. Again, early reports, we know that it's a shooting at Taft Union High School. So we're still trying to sift through to understand whether it happened in the school itself or whether it happened outside the school. But again, we can confirm that there are victims in this case and, you know, the police department --

BALDWIN: Injuries.

HOWELL: Injuries. Yes, injuries,

BALDWIN: Injuries, thank goodness.


BALDWIN: And nothing worse than that.

George Howell, stay on it. Let us know if you learn any more.

HOWELL: We will do it. Thank you.

BALDWIN: Appreciate it very much.

HOWELL: Of course.

BALDWIN: Happening right now, the most controversial here and perhaps confrontational meeting Vice President Joe Biden will have as his task force figures out what it do to curb gun violence. Here he was, the vice president and his group talking with the National Rifle Association representatives. That is happening right now at the White House as I speak. Earlier, he talked with sports men, talked with hunter groups. And all of this talking, according to the vice president, he says will lead to some action. He did set a firm deadline of next Tuesday to give his proposals to the president and Biden says there is one recommendation he keeps hearing comes up, comes up, needs to be made. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is a surprising -- so far, a surprising recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background checks. Not just close the gun show loophole, but total, universal background checks, including private sales.


BALDWIN: We should also point out that the NRA meeting that's happening right now at the White House, it is closed, but you have to wonder if the group is trying to get the vice president to open up on this statement he made just yesterday when he was meeting with victims groups.


BIDEN: The president is going to act. There are executive orders, executive action that can be taken. We haven't decided what that is yet. But we're compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and all the rest of the cabinet members, as well as legislative action we believe is required.


BALDWIN: Biden said "executive order," meaning some rules could happen without an act of Congress.

Also happening today, another task force member, Attorney General Eric Holder, is meeting with executives from Wal-Mart, the largest seller of guns and ammunition.

Now to this. The pastor selected to give the benediction at President Obama's upcoming inauguration is backing out. The Reverend Louie Giglio was receiving harsh criticism over a sermon on homosexuality that he preached back in the 1990s. CNN's belief blog editor, Eric Marrapodi, is on the phone with me now.

And, Eric, this is all over something he said, what, 20 years ago?

ERIC MARRAPODI, CNN BELIEF BLOG EDITOR (via telephone): Yes, at least. Mid 90s is when he preached this sermon. And, Brooke, I think it's important to point out that a lot of people were upset when this sermon first circulated earlier in the week. It pointed out that he thought homosexuality was a sin, he thought it was something that keeps people from God and comes short of the mark of God's best plan for people's life are some of his words from that sermon. And he thought that people could change their behaviors and attitudes about homosexuality through coming to Jesus, which is a fairly common, I would even go so far as to call it a boiler plate mainstream evangelical belief in the 1990s when he delivered that. Since then we've seen a number of evangelicals shift their position on that and go more towards a position that says orientation is not something you choose.

However, Giglio withdrew his acceptance of the president's invitation to give the benediction at the inauguration because Giglio, for the last decade or so, has been one of the biggest voices on ending global slavery, at least in the Christian community. And he said he didn't want this to be a distraction from that main focus of his ministry if he was to continue on and give that benediction. And so he withdrew and said, hey, look, I don't want to do this, I don't want this to be the focus of my small piece of the inaugural ceremony.

And, Brooke, as you know, the president has changed his position on gay marriage.


MARRAPODI: He is now for it and supportive of it. So there was a lot of folks in the LGBT community who were very upset about his selection in the first place.

BALDWIN: Eric Marrapodi, thank you.

I'm going to cut you short because I want to get straight back to this school shooting. Again, the shooter apprehended. Multiple injuries.

I have Ray Pruitt on the phone with me. He's a public information officer with the Kerns County Sheriff's Department.

Ray Pruitt, you with me?

RAY PRUITT, KERNS CO., CALIFORNIA, SHERIFF'S DEPT. (via telephone): I'm here. I can barely hear you, but I'm here.

BALDWIN: All right, I'm going to speak up for you because your information is vital to us. Tell me what you know.

PRUITT: This morning we did have a shooting at Taft High School in Taft, California. A student was shot on campus. That student has been airlifted to a hospital in Bakersfield. We do have a suspect in custody who's also a student. And we have recovered a firearm.

BALDWIN: What kind of firearm?

PRUITT: A shotgun.

BALDWIN: A shotgun. Any other injuries beyond this one student shot on campus?

PRUITT: No. There were some initial reports that we might have a second victim, but it doesn't appear at this point that we do. We are still in the process of searching the school and securing the school. So that process is ongoing.

BALDWIN: Where are the students at Taft -- who were attending Taft High School? Where are they now?

PRUITT: Well, I believe there are still some students on campus. We're still searching building to building because we want to clear the school just to make sure that we don't have any suspects outstanding. But my understanding is we still do have some students on campus.

BALDWIN: Ray, take me back, as you mentioned, this one student shot on campus. Was this inside of a classroom, inside of a building?

PRUITT: It was inside of a science building, but I don't know if it was in a classroom or a hallway. I don't have that information.

BALDWIN: Had classes -- was this mid-class?

PRUITT: I don't know. It was sometime this morning, but I'm not sure what time it was this morning or if they were in a classroom or a hallway, between classes. I don't know.

BALDWIN: So, again, just to confirm, one victim, the one student, injured, airlifted to a hospital. So one single -- one single injury?

PRUITT: That's the information that we have at this point, yes.

BALDWIN: And, again, I know this is very, very early, but any kind of preliminary connection between the student who was shot and the shooter -- the student shooter?

PRUITT: We don't have any information on that at this point.

BALDWIN: Final question. Other schools in the area on lockdown? What's the status?

PRUITT: That I don't know. I don't know if we lockdown any of the other schools in the Taft area or not.

BALDWIN: OK. Ray Pruitt, PIO, Kern County Sheriff's Department. We're going to stay on this. We thank you so much for calling in. Give us a call back if you do hear anything else. But that is some new information we got there from this school shooting. The fact that the shooter was a student, used a shotgun. This happened in the science building early this morning. And the victim -- the victim who's been injured and airlifted to a hospital also a student. More on that. CNN, back in a moment.


BALDWIN: A nine-year-old girl may just be the biggest surprise of Oscar season.


QUVENZHANE WALLIS, ACTRESS, "BEAST OF THE SOUTHERN WILD": It all goes quiet behind my eyes. I see everything that made me. Flying around in invisible pieces. I see that I'm a little piece of a big, big universe.


BALDWIN: She has got a huge first name, despite her pint sized figure. She is Quvenzhane Wallis. She is the youngest nominee ever for best actress. She never acted before in her life. In fact, she was five when she got the role of Hushpuppy in "Beast of the Southern Wild."

Let me bring in Rotten Tomatoes' senior editor, Grae Drake, in Los Angeles.

Grae, great to see you. Welcome.

GRAE DRAKE, SENIOR EDITOR, ROTTEN TOMATOES: Hello. I've been up forever already.

BALDWIN: I bet you have. And we appreciate you staying up with us, because this is equally important here for folks in the afternoon. So, Quvenzhane. Does she have a real shot at winning?

DRAKE: Hands down unequivocally yes.


DRAKE: Because that movie was made by her. And I've got to be honest, I'm not sure I even still understand the movie and I saw it quite some time ago.

BALDWIN: Explain it to us.

DRAKE: Oh, I wish I could, Brooke. She plays Hushpuppy, this girl at the center of Louisiana right when a hurricane hits, and her family and everyone she lives with basically goes under. And everyone abandons them. And it's her journey. And it's gorgeous. The cinematography's spectacular. By the way, snubbed of best score, which is something to watch for when you go see it. And she, at five years old, it's only downhill from here for her. And what heartless Academy nominee -- what heartless Academy member, rather, is going to vote against this amazing little girl that carried an entire movie on her back?

BALDWIN: That's incredible. How do you even do that at five? How do you do that when you've never acted before? I've read all about it. I know, I know, I need to see it.

One movie that I absolutely loved and it got snubbed for best director, "Argo." Ben Affleck. Not nominated. What's going on?

DRAKE: Right. His prior affiliation with J-lo has come back to haunt him.


DRAKE: Now -- I know, not true.

BALDWIN: But, "Argo." Why not?

DRAKE: Because "Argo" has gotten a lot of other nominations, including best supporting actor for Alan Arkin (ph) and best adapted screen play, among others. But, Ben Affleck, not on the list of best director, which is really bizarre because a film like "Argo," where you already know the ending, was really created by his way of making tension -- there's -- this movie, all direction.

BALDWIN: I couldn't breathe the whole time. I couldn't breathe. I was so nervous.

DRAKE: Exactly. Yes. I felt like I too was in the movie in Iran as a hostage. Like it was a spectacular job of direction. And the only thing that I can figure out is that he's an actor turned director and the Academy is trying to do him a favor by separating him from his fellow actor turned director, Clint Eastwood, so he doesn't end up talking to furniture in a few decades.

BALDWIN: Grae, Grae, Grae. Well, Kathryn Bigelow, she didn't act, right, and she was snubbed, "Zero Dark 30." No dice.

DRAKE: Another snub. And "Zero Dark 30," very similarly to "Argo." You already know the ending and it is quite an achievement in direction. This movie has so much tension and is this incredible slow burn up to an enormous finish that I think was made largely in part because of Kathryn Bigelow. She's already won for "The Hurt Locker." We already know she's spectacular. But she should have been recognized, again, for this. And I say shame on the Academy for that one.

BALDWIN: The host, Seth McFarlane, amazing with voices. I'm sure you saw this since you've been up since the crack of dawn, but I want to get your reaction to his jokes this morning. We're going to play something. And my question to you is, did he swing and connect or was this a swing and a miss? Roll it.


SETH MCFARLANE, HOST, OSCARS: I read "Amour" was co-produced by -- in Austria and Germany, right? And the last time Austria and Germany got together and co-produced something, it was Hitler. But this is much better. Much better.

EMMA STONE: Much better.

MCFARLANE: I highly recommend it.

STONE: So much better.

MCFARLANE: I highly recommend it.

For best achievement in directing, the nominees are, David O. Russell for "Silver Linings Playbook," Ang Lee for "Life of Pi," Steven Spielberg for "Lincoln," Michael Haneke for "Amour," and Benh Zeitlin for "Beast of the Southern Wild." These are five people who are the very best at sitting in a chair watching other people make a movie.


BALDWIN: And? How'd he do?

DRAKE: I'm going to say he's -- he's one for two. Now, I think making a Hitler joke during the Oscar nominations was a daring, daring choice. BALDWIN: Oh, yes. Yes.

DRAKE: I know. But I know that it's not going to be hard for you to imagine that I can get behind that kind of humor and I think the Academy needs that kind of pizzazz this year. And having him announce the Academy Award nominations was a really good move. They haven't done that for 30 years. And I think that this was like foreplay for the big act that's going to come in a month. We've got to -- we're knowing what we're getting into, OK.

BALDWIN: I was going to go with audition, but we can go with that.

DRAKE: Both of those things. They're really the same thing. And I think he's going to be great. I think that he is going to inject some life into this ceremony and we can look forward to a little bit classier version of a "Family Guy" episode because, don't forget, that Seth McFarlane is also a singer. He sings standards and he knows how to put on a good suit and class up the joint just a little bit. So we're --

BALDWIN: We know he can be classy, but I'm thinking classy and "Family Guy," a bit of an oxymoron. But I have faith in Mr. McFarlane.

Grae Drake, thank you. Rotten Tomatoes. Come back. We appreciate it.

We're going to talk more Oscars, I promise, in just a little bit.

And speaking of Hollywood, Joe Biden is meeting with movie executives tonight about gun control. And I'm going to speak with the former chairman of the MPAA, the Motion Picture Association of America, who says he once lost his congressional seat after nine terms because of his vote on assault weapons. Don't miss this interview.


BALDWIN: Tonight, the presidential gun task force, formed after the December killings in Newtown, Connecticut, will meet with members of the video game and entertainment industry. And they will be asked for their input on how to cub gun violence.

And that brings me to a public service ad. Watch this.












UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a human being.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For the children of Sandy Hook.


BALDWIN: OK. And there's a little bit more of that ad as well, but basically this ad points out with some of these celebrities here, they're pushing for more gun control, but the critics say that they, in Hollywood, are adding to this gun problem. Some of them taking part in some of the violence on the silver screen.

And I want to turn now to Dan Glickman, former chairman from Kansas, and the former chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, the group that assesses what rating a movie should have among other things.

Congressman, welcome.


BALDWIN: Let me just show -- as I was mentioning, there is another part of the clip that plays off of that PSA. Watch this part.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not too soon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: it's too late.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do I do. I just --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before we all know someone who loved someone on that list.


BALDWIN: Congressman, what do you make of that clip? Does this group have a point?

GLICKMAN: Well, look, you just showed the Oscar awards hoopla right before this particular spot. The fact of the matter is, is that there are all sorts of movies -- good movies, bad movies, entertaining movies. And by and large, I think Hollywood does a pretty good job of letting parents know through its ratings system what kind of movie is coming out, whether there's violence or sexual conduct or other kinds of things so that parents can then make the decisions of whether their kids should go to see the movies or not. And if you look at the Oscar nominees this year, movies from "Lincoln" to "Beasts of the Southern Wild," to all sorts of things, it's just great diversity in product. And, yes, there are some violent movies. There's no question about it. But I don't think the abundance of movies that are put out by the entertainment industry are that violent or cause violence in a handful of kids.

BALDWIN: But, Congressman, and I hear you and I hear your opinion, but I had a movie critic on just two days ago, was talking to me about multiple violent movies. He'd just seen "Texas Chainsaw 3D" and the fact that it was rated "R" and he was saying basically MPAA should be rating these as NC 17 and it only sort of reaches that stature if it's over sex. That was his opinion.

I do want to point this out as, you know, you served the good people of Wichita, Kansas, for nine terms. You lost your bid for re-election in 1994. Tell me why you think you weren't re-elected.

GLICKMAN: Well, there were a lot of reasons, but one of the reason was is because I did vote for the crime bill of '94, which had the assault weapons provisions in it. And I would vote for it again. I thought it was the right thing to do.

But it was -- it's a very politically sensitive issue, particularly in rural areas and in small towns where most gun owners are very law abiding and see this issue as a threat to them and their ownership and enjoyment of guns. And there's no question that there are types of guns and types of ammunition that shouldn't be in the hands of a lot of people, particularly mentally deranged people. And I hope that the issue doesn't go away.

But it is a very politically sensitive issue. It has to be done carefully. It has to be done without making -- demonizing or making enemies out of people who own firearms.

BALDWIN: So, you voted in favor of this assault weapons ban?


BALDWIN: This was back in '94. And here's my next question. If Biden's plans are released and then, of course, they go on to Congress, realistically, congressman, do you think that there is a big difference now versus 1994? And if so, what is it?

GLICKMAN: Well, certainly the shooting of the children at an elementary school gives some human character to this whole problem which I'm not sure we've had.

BALDWIN: But we've had human character for years, sir, with all due respect.

GLICKMAN: Yes. Although kids -- you know, innocent kids being shot adds something to it. But let's be honest about it. This is a politically difficult subject, particularly in some parts of the country. It has to be handled with care. I think there is a way to deal with firearms legislation and to do it sensibly and responsibly and get it through the Congress.

And one way is to make sure we don't demonize the opposition that there's either only good or only bad in this situation. But to recognize these are complicated problems. But we really, as a society, need to deal with the issue. And I think if it's done carefully through the White House, through Congress is it's done in a way that is -- we don't take advantage of calling somebody just terrible names because they own and possess firearms. I think there's a chance that we can get things done. I think that people are more sophisticated today than they might have been 20 or 30 years ago.

BALDWIN: Thirty seconds, congressman. What would you say tonight if you were in that meeting with the vice president?

GLICKMAN: Well, if I were the vice president, I would say, folks, where can we come together? Where are the kinds of things that we can do to keep guns out of mentally deranged people? What can we do sensibly to prevent people from having military-style weapons that they don't need either to protect themselves or to engage in legitimate hunting operations.

BALDWIN: Congressman Dan Glickman, former chair of the MPAA, thank you.

GLICKMAN: Thank you very much.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, after former NFL player Junior Seau killed himself, his family gave Seau's brain to science. Well, today, the results are in and scientists have found some abnormalities. I'll explain.