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CNN NEWSROOM

Newtown Conspiracy Theories; 47 States Hit by Flu Epidemic; Costa Concordia Officers Face Charges; California Student Shoots; CES Unveils New Tech

Aired January 12, 2013 - 19:00   ET

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


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon. You're in THE CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm going to get you up to speed on the headlines right now.

Italy's consul general has survived an assassination attempt in Benghazi, Libya. Gunmen targeted his armored car as he was leaving the consulate. No one was injured but it's just the latest attack targeting foreign missions in the city.

Four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya, were killed in September, in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

France's military is carrying out operations in two hot spots in African. "Reuters" is reporting more than 100 people have been killed by French airstrikes in northern Mali. France has come to the aide of Mali's fragile government in its fight against Islamic militants.

Meantime in Somalia, two French soldiers were killed in the attempt to free a French intelligence agent who may also have died in the raid.

Syrian activists say government air forces are back in action and pounding the outskirts of Damascus. A week of bad weather grounded most planes.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)

LEMON: The rebels are claiming victory in the fight for an airbase in the north. The fighters say they seized weapons and ammunition after the battle. Activists say that at least 108 people were killed today in the civil war.

Internet trailblazer Aaron Swartz has died. A relative says Swartz committed suicide. He was only 26 years old. As a teenager, Swartz was involved with developing Reddit and RSS. After dropping out of Stanford University, he focused on battling Internet censorship. Swartz was facing legal trouble related to his activism and had blogged about his battle against depression.

At a time when the gun control debate is seemingly everywhere and showing no signs of fading, the debate will receive even more fuel Tuesday when the Obama administration releases its plan to reduce gun violence. The proposals will come from the task force headed by Vice President Joe Biden. The president called on it after the Newtown school shooting to come up with some answers, to what until now has seemed like an unsolvable question. How do we reduce even in the horrible incidents of gun violence that are shaking this nation? The answers are not easy and the political will has been lacking in both parties.

But Newtown seemed to have changed the equation. The deaths of 26 innocent people, including 20 children seem to have pierced the nation's consciousness.

We don't know what Biden's report will say, but we are told the Obama administration will try to pass an assault weapon's ban. The NRA, of course, will oppose it. They sent a representative to one of Biden's meetings but afterwards called it a disappointment. And gun rights supporters instead want to focus more on mental health, videogames and school safety.

Come Tuesday, we'll know what the boundaries are for what looks to be a bruising political debate.

One chapter that no one could have predicted in the aftermath of Newtown is the conspiracy theorist questioning what happened on that day. We all know the web is full of people who use the Internet to spin their theories about practically everything.

But CNN's Anderson Cooper uncovered a university professor who questions whether the Newtown tragedy ever occurred.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It turns out that one of the people who is peddling one version of this conspiracy theory is actually a tenured associate professor at Florida Atlantic University, a state university that gets taxpayer money. His name is James Tracy.

This is a picture of him. This is what he looks like. James Tracy is his name. He claims the shooting did not happen as reported and may not have happened at all.

Here is what he wrote on his personal blog, and I quote: "One is left to inquire whether the Sandy Hook shooting ever took place, at least in the way law enforcement authorities and the nation's news media have described."

Tracy makes the case, if you want to call it that, that news organizations and the government may have worked together to dupe you, the public, in order to gain support for gun control laws. He even is suggesting that the government may have hired trained crisis actors to aid in this ruse. That's right, trained crisis actors.

He is not convinced the parents whose children were killed are really who they say they are. In his blog, Tracy, again, a professor, suggests they may have been, and I quote, "trained actors working under the direction of state and federal authorities and in coordination with cable and broadcast network talent to provide tailor-made crisis acting", end quote. Tracy even cites a company called Crisis Actors that provides actors to use in safety drills and the like. Apparently, that is supposed to bolster his case. Now, by the way, there is such a company and they are appalled by his comments.

In a statement, they said -- and I quote -- "We are outraged by Tracy's deliberate promotion of rumor and innuendo to link Crisis Actors to the Sandy Hook shootings. We do not engage our actors in any real-world crisis events and none of our performances may be presented at any time as a real-world event, or as a real-world event."

Now, when a local reporter caught up with Tracy and asked him about this outrage his theories might trigger, here's what he said. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: You had 20 families that were mourning that buried children. Are you concerned about that at all?

JAMES TRACY, FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY: Well, I think that the entire country mourned about Sandy Hook, and yet once again the investigation that journalistic institution should have actually carried out never took place as far as I'm concerned.

I think that we need to as a society look at things more carefully. Perhaps we as a society have been conditioned to be duped.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Now, I don't even really know what that means, what he is saying, what the words coming out of his mouth mean.

To suggest that reporters on the ground didn't work to find out what happened there on the ground is beyond crazy. Everybody asked questions. That's what we do.

Journalism isn't a perfect science, of course, but to suggest it somehow means the shooting didn't happen, that 20 children weren't killed, that families didn't suffer and aren't still suffering is beyond comprehension and obviously deeply offensive to many.

As we said, Tracy is not the only one spinning conspiracy theories on YouTube and online. This is from a Web site whose name I'm not going to use because I frankly don't want to give them extra traffic. Some are even claiming that 6-year-old Emilie Parker killed in Sandy Hook didn't actually die.

Now, as proof, they point to a dress, the dress she was wearing in a family phone before the shooting. It's the same dress that Emilie's little sister wore when President Obama met with victims' families. So, the people online, these conspiracy theorists are saying that's actually Emilie on President Obama's lap.

It's a sickening claim, obviously -- there's no other word for it. There's another one on another Web site I'm not going to name either. They even use an interview that Noah Pozner's mother, Veronique, did on this program to make its point.

Here's some of that interview before I tell you the absurd theory. Watch the conversation I had with her first.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: How are you holding up? I mean --

VERONIQUE POZNER, MOTHER OF NOAH POZNER: Most of the time, I'm kind of numb, you know. I think about -- and I think every mom out there can relate to the fact of how long it takes to create a baby, those nine months that you watch every ultrasound and every heartbeat, and it takes nine months to create a human being, and it takes seconds for an AR-15 to take that away from the surface of this Earth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Now, this Web site says that Veronique Pozner appeared way too composed, that she wasn't crying, her eyes weren't red, and that's not how a grieving mother looks, which I have got to say is just among the most ridiculous things I have heard.

I mean, I have interviewed so many people in grief. I have experienced grief myself. To say there's one way that someone should grieve is beyond ignorant. Now, unless, you frequent these types of conspiracy Web sites, you probably never see them.

And again we wouldn't mention them.

But James Tracy, here he is again, is, as we said, a tenured professor at a public university. Taxpayers pay part of his salary. In Newtown and beyond his comments are triggering intense outrage as you can imagine.

In a statement, Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra took aim at Florida Atlantic University, saying: "Shame on you, too, FAU, to even have someone like this on your payroll. I can assure you sadly that the events here in Newtown unfolded exactly as are being reported, with the horrible outcome the violent death of 26 innocent people, including 20 children."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: "A.C. 360" airs weeknights at 8:00 on CNN.

And tonight at 10:00 Eastern, we are looking at the new gun control measures expected to be put forward by the White House. We're going to talk with members of Congress, a former law enforcement officer and a survivor of the Columbine shooting.

Plus, a gun store owner on how new gun control laws could impact his business.

Also, a suburban Atlanta mother, her home being burglarized, shoots the intruder when he discovers her and her twins hiding from him. He survives, and now, gun rights advocates are using the case as an example of why Americans should have high weapons.

We're going to talk with the sheriff investigating the case.

That and more tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN.

A lot of people across the United States are sick this evening and I mean a lot of people. The CDC says, bottom line, it's flu season. But this epidemic is hitting us hard and hitting us wide, nearly the entire nation is reporting wide-spread flu activity. And while it's small comfort to people like me who are dealing with the flu symptoms right now, the number of cases seemed to be dropping.

A little while ago, I spoke with a doctor who specializes in infectious diseases. Here's our conversation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. JAY VARKEY, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST: The flu vaccine, although it's the best tool we have to prevent influenza, is not 100 percent effective. So based on if information we have so far, it appears that if you get the flu vaccine, you are 62 percent less likely to see a doctor for the flu. You may have been in the not so lucky --

LEMON: Not so lucky.

VARKEY: -- thirty-eight percent.

LEMON: OK. So then, does this work? I took it a little bit late, this is Tamiflu.

VARKEY: Tamiflu does work. So, it works best if taken within the first 48 hours of your symptoms.

LEMON: OK.

VARKEY: But it -- you know, it's not a magic pill. So, it would reduce your symptom. Make you a feel a little bit better a little bit faster.

LEMON: OK. I had this on the desk. And everyone is like remove the cap. This is part of the thing. So, this is tea, honey, lemon. Does that work?

VARKEY: I think it will make you feel better. I don't think it's going to do much for the virus.

LEMON: All right. So, if I hear one more person, honestly, to tell me to wash my hands, Doctor, I'm going to slug them, because I wash my hands all the time. I use antibacterials. That's not it. It's just flu season.

VARKEY: And you are right, you can do all the right things. You know, more than anything you wash --

LEMON: It's ridiculous, we tell people that every year, wash your hands, wash your hands. It's like, really? Come on people.

VARKEY: Well, we like to protecting the other people that you are working with, but you're right, it didn't keep you from not getting sick and didn't keep you from somebody coughing or sneezing on you, as unpleasant I might sound.

LEMON: What about those hand sanitizers, which I used. I don't believe they were -- actually I think it works in reverse. I think if you got a good germ on you and you build up an immunity, if you use all those antibacterials, does that -- doesn't that hurt instead of help?

VARKEY: Well, it depends on the sanitizers. So, most of the alcohol- based hand sanitizer --

LEMON: Right.

VARKEY: -- if use properly should work as well as soap and water. But for certain bugs, which that's not advised for. For influenza, I would say use something. If not soap and water, then use an alcohol- based hand sanitizer.

LEMON: OK. I didn't read this and I'm sure the (INAUDIBLE).

Forty-seven states now reporting widespread flu activity, right?

VARKEY: That's right.

LEMON: The CDC actually says the vaccine is still the best tool out there to fight it. Do you agree with it?

VARKEY: I agree wholeheartedly.

LEMON: Did they hit it this year --

VARKEY: They did. It's a very good match. But, unfortunately, even on years where it's a great match, it doesn't work 100 percent of the time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Wash your hands. That was Dr. Jay Varkey. He is an infectious disease expert at Emory University here in Atlanta.

And just a few hours ago, the governor of New York expanded the public health emergency from just New York City to the entire state and we're hearing reports from vaccinations clinics and emergency rooms all over the country packed with people either sick with a flu or hoping to prevent it.

CNN's Athena Jones is at a flu clinic just outside Washington, D.C. -- Athena.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Don We are just a few miles outside of Washington, D.C., in Falls Church, Virginia. Virginia is one the states where the flu was widespread, and so clinics like this one had seen a lot of extra activity.

We spoke to one of the doctors here earlier. Let's listen to what he had to say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the last couple of weeks, I have seen an increase in demand for people coming in, either thinking they have the flu or requesting flu vaccination.

JONES: So there you have it, Don, a lot of activity at this clinic and doctors say that nationwide, there's still millions flu vaccinations available. Some 135 million doses were manufactured and only about 112 million people have gotten the doses. Folks are urging people to go out and get the flu shot.

There's a myth out there that getting a flu vaccination could actually give you the flu. Doctors say that is not true. But that you shouldn't get the flu if you are ill with a fever, if you younger than 6 months old, or if you have an allergy to chicken eggs, which is the medium used in these flu shots. Or if you had a past reaction to the flu shot.

Otherwise, folks should get it. The very young, the elderly and pregnant women, anyone with a previous medical condition, or who has their immune compromised should go out and get the flu shot as soon as they can. And if anyone is wondering, President Obama has gotten his -- Don.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Thank you, Athena. Appreciate it.

It's the biggest scandal to hit cycling and now new reports of a possible confession, why Lance Armstrong may come clean just days from now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Lance Armstrong has always denied he ever cheated, denied he ever used performance-enhancing drugs on his way to becoming the greatest cyclist in the world. But it looks we are now just days away from hearing him confess to what he always claimed said he never did.

Here's CNN's Nick Valencia.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LANCE ARMSTRONG, CYCLIST: I've said it for seven years. I've said it for longer than seven years. I have never doped. I can say it again, but I've said it for seven years. It doesn't help.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Help may be something Lance Armstrong will need a lot of to redeem his reputation after the "USA Today" reports Armstrong will, quote, "admit to doping throughout his career."

The newspaper does not name their source, but says it's a person with knowledge of the situation.

"USA Today" says the former seven-time Tour de France champion's admission, which had been widely rumored for weeks, is expected to come in a Monday interview with Oprah Winfrey that will be taped for air Thursday.

As for why he's doing this now, the journalist who broke the story says Armstrong had no choice.

BRENT SCHROTENBOER, USA TODAY (via telephone): With all the evidence that's come out against him, it's hard to deny it anymore, and he's making a calculated decision for himself personally. It's also I think a business decision for him because it's affecting his charity, Livestrong. All of his sponsors have fired him.

VALENCIA: Armstrong has kept a low profile at his Austin home since the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released thousands of pages of evidence of what it said was a sophisticated and brazen doping program. But it's Armstrong's repeated denials over the years to protect his name that has angered so many, including former teammates found guilty of doping themselves.

REPORTER: Did you see Lance Armstrong using other performance- enhancing drugs?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At times, yes, different training camps.

FLOYD LANDIS, FORMER TEAMMATE: We all took, really no difference between Lance Armstrong and the majority of the Peloton, you know?

VALENCIA (voice-over): The difference may be that few from his former entourage have fallen from grace as hard. Already without tens of millions of dollars in endorsements, late last year, Armstrong, a cancer survivor, was forced out from Livestrong, the cancer charity he founded.

And now, if he comes clean, Armstrong could face some legal repercussions.

In the interview with Winfrey, Armstrong is not expected to give great detail, but the confession could give him a shot at resuming his competitive racing career.

SCHROTENBOER: If he wanted to get his ban reduced, the rule book says no less than eight years. Right now, he's 41. So eight years from now, he would be 49. And I don't know how interested he would be in competing at that age.

VALENCIA (on camera): CNN's calls to Armstrong's attorneys for response to "The USA Today" report have gone unanswered.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: All right, Nick.

People are hunting pythons in Florida today, including our very own John Zarrella, who told us why the state is holding a month-long contest to kill the reptiles.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: People are hunting pythons in Florida today. And they can win prizes. It's part of a month-long contest called a "Python Challenge", designed to tackle the problem of the exploding python population.

Well, John Zarrella joins us now by phone because he is out python hunting in the Everglades, like a real man.

How many pythons have you seen, it ain't today?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): No, no pythons, Don. We are right now on Tamiami Trail which bisects the Florida Everglades between Miami and Naples. And we are actually closer I think now to Naples than we are to Miami.

We are out here with Justin Matthews, he and his brother-in-law have come across from the west coast of Florida to be in this Python Challenge.

You know, it's an invasive species, it's a constrictor, it is not a venomous snake. But they can get 15-20 feet long and they have no natural enemy out here in the Everglade. Since they were introduced here, they, kind of, taken over. So, it's critical that they get a handle on these snakes out here in the Glades.

And we had an opportunity earlier today at the kickoff event to talk to Justin and to talk with an officer from the Wildlife Commission about what they are hoping to accomplish.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTIN MATTHEWS, PYTHON HUNTER, NATIVE WILDLIFE REHAB FACILITY: You can go out there for days and days and days and not see one python. I don't care how much experience you have. It is going to take some luck.

JORGE PINO, FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATIVE COMMISSION: If we remove one snake from the ecosystem, we have done a good thing. So, imagine if 700 people out there and they all bring one snake. That's 700 less snakes that we have out in the ecosystem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZARRELLA: But, you know, the reality is that you are talking about millions acres in the Florida Everglades. They don't know exactly how many snakes are out here. Estimates are up to 100,000, maybe more, maybe less. Nobody is really quite sure. But they do know that they are a problem, they are a nuisance, and if they can at least control them -- nobody ever expects they will be able to eradicate them, because they have a strong hold here. But if they can control them, this is a way of doing, that will be a major, major help.

And again, Don, no snakes so far, we are still looking and fingers crossed but as it goes, a couple hours ago, not terribly optimistic.

LEMON: Hey, John, how big of a problem is it? Most of us go to Florida, now and again, snow birds that sort of thing, down in Miami and the Keys, you live there. Do you see these things?

ZARRELLA: No, see and that is an excellent point, we were talking about it earlier here, the fact of the matter is, you know, there's so much written about them and so much publicity about them, that people think they are everywhere when you come down here. Not like the alligator where you can go out and there's a million of them in Florida. And you can see them just about any public place you go to.

But these snakes, no, not at all. They are -- they are very much a snake that likes to hide, they don't like to be out. So, it's not like it's portrayed in a lot of ways.

They're not everywhere. Let's put it that way.

Yes, I remember my first trip down to do a story at the space thing that -- the launching of the space shuttle and I said, look at those statues of alligators and he said, you want to go out there? That's not a statue, they are everywhere. You can see the alligators. You can't see the snakes.

ZARRELLA: That's exactly right. In fact, Don, one time when I was up at the Space Center, they had to call up the wildlife folks, because that is a wildlife habitat, because an alligator was in the parking lot under a car of one of the NASA employees.

LEMON: Yes, Florida, weather is beautiful, but you never know what critters and varmints maybe lurking near you.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Thanks, JZ. Be safe. Have fun, too.

ZARRELLA: You got it.

LEMON: All righty.

You know, it's been an Italian landmark since it ran aground one year ago tomorrow. Now, there are plans to finally move the Costa Concordia.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Half past the hour. Let's get you up-to-speed on the headlines right now. Get your flu shot, that's from the director of the CDC who says it's not too late and it can still prevent the flu epidemic from hitting you if it hasn't already. Officials in 47 states are now reporting what doctors called widespread flu activity and that is an epidemic people.

Companies who make the vaccine say there's plenty available if you want to get a shot.

The man known as the "American Taliban" has won a legal battle, allowing him and fellow Muslim inmates to gather for daily prayers. John Walker Lindh is being held in a federal prison in Indiana. A federal judge ruled yesterday that the prison warden was violating Lindh's rights by not allowing his religious activities. Lindh attended a terror training camp in Afghanistan and later pleaded guilty to supplying services to the Taliban.

President Barack Obama plans to award the Medal of Honor next month to a former U.S. Army sergeant. Clinton Romesha, who now lives in North Dakota, will be recognized for his courage as -- at a combat outpost in Afghanistan. He helped fight off an estimated 300 enemy fighters who had surrounded him and his fellow soldiers.

A new poll finds that Congress is still extremely unpopular in the eyes of the American public. The approval rating for our elected representatives in Washington now stands at 14 percent, according to a new Gallup survey, 81 percent disapprove. That's actually an improvement from August when it stood at 10 percent.

The brother of ailing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he is recovering well from his latest surgery. Chavez is being treated for cancer in Cuba. He has been unable to return to Venezuela for a planned inauguration ceremony for his fourth term. The 58-year-old Chavez has not been seen in public for about a month now.

Tomorrow marks one year since the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground in Italy, killing 33 people. As residents on the island prepare to mark the somber anniversary, survivors are pushing for changes so that a tragedy like theirs will never happen again.

Miguel Marquez reports.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: ... survivors are pushing for changes so that a tragedy like theirs will never happen again. Miguel Marquez reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A world turned up side down. A luxury cruise liner strikes a massive rock. It shudders to a stop, begins listing heavily and starts to sink. DEAN ANANAIS, SURVIVOR: The fear that was basically, terrifying, because especially what really terrified is, well how - when panic started -

MARQUEZ: Dean and Georgia Ananais and their two daughters were among the 4,200 plus passengers and crew on board the "Costa Concordia." Thirty two people died that night. The Ananais family waited over five hours for rescue said their goodbyes thinking they too would perish. One investigation found the ship's captain, Francesco (INAUDIBLE) failed to order abandon ship in a timely manner.

GEORGIA ANANAIS, SURVIVOR: If they had trained the personnel, and gave the word, everyone wanted to get on those life boats, I guarantee you everybody would have survived.

MARQUEZ: While changes to procedures and technology have been made to the cruise line and across the industry, some say the changes, it's not enough. Industry watchers of cruise critics says standards of employment, training and evaluation of cruise line staff at all levels can be better and be made more consistent.

Any day now, an Italian prosecutor is expected to request that nine Concordia officers and crew including the ship's captain face criminal charges. Today the "Costa Concordia" is a fixture on the landscape on Google Earth, it looks like a surreal man-made island. The cruise line hopes to raise and remove the ship this summer.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Almost 60 degrees in Detroit, 70 here in Atlanta and snow storms out west. You know, it's been another weekend of weird weather across parts of the country. Meteorologist Jenny Harrison gives us a preview of what's ahead. Jenny.

JENNY HARRISON, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hello. I have to say the eastern part of the U.S. is coming out this current weather pattern a little bit better than the west. You can see quite clearly this dividing line. So very warm across eastern regions out towards the west. We got temperatures way below the average, in fact as much as 30 degrees below average. Meanwhile, ahead of this system, temperatures actually in some areas about 30 degrees above the average.

Now, this system of course, is not just standing still, it's moving its way eastward. We will see some rain showers and thunderstorms along the line of that front. But really the main story is going to be this cold air, it's going to continue to filter across much of the midwest and eventually into the southeast. And by Monday, just the eastern fringes, just managing to hold on to those above average temperatures.

Now, of course, during this cold spell, we have had some very nasty winter weather to contend with. Have a look at this video coming out of North Dakota. This is actually on Friday, as much as seven inches of snow fell in a very short space of time and you can see, of course, with winds as well, and winds were gusting to about 30 miles an hour. Not a nice situation at all.

And then, just hours earlier, really on Thursday night, this is the picture coming to us out of Spokane in Washington. So really the same system, but, of course impacting Spokane first of all and this again in a very short space of time. There was a fresh layer of snow, but it just turned so icy in as many as 20 cars were actually involved in a huge pile up. You can see the damage that was done there. Thankfully there were no reports of any injuries.

But as we look again, what will happen in the terms of the temperatures over the next few days, you can see here that New York City still staying above average even by Tuesday. But coming down in Washington so 43 as you can see there. And Cincinnati is going to feel quite chilly after you've been seeing, so 38 for your high on Tuesday and still a bit above really across the southeast and then out across the west. It's going to take a little bit longer for these temperatures to rebound.

So you can see with an average of 44, Denver on a Tuesday, just about managing to reach 39 and in Phoenix, we've got 57, so again, a little bit below par. But things are steadily getting better out across the west, Don?

LEMON: Thank you, Jenny Harrison.

Coming up, we are learning more about a teenager who stormed into a California school with a hit list and a plot to kill students who had bullied him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: A North Carolina man who is deaf is recovering from stab wounds after police say his sign language was misinterpreted for gang signs. Back in Burlington, North Carolina, witnesses say the 45-year- old victim was walking down the street, communicating in sign language when another man saw him and began to stab him, neighbors were shocked at what they say happened next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have no voice now from screaming stop, stop! Leave that man alone!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was not one, two. Three, four, five, his hands and his face.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not fair. That man is an innocent man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole neighborhood knew him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whoever did it I hope they suffer for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, police say the suspect is charged with assault with a deadly weapon, with intent to kill and an assault on a handicapped person.

A wounded student is in critical but stable condition after being shot at a California high school this week. The 16-year-old accused of shooting him will be charged with attempted murder. Police say the suspect believed he had been bullied.

Kyung Lah reports at how the suspect's plan allegedly came together.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What happened inside Taft Union High School began as a plan the day before in the mind of a bullied 16-year-old boy. Authorities say it was here at him home just a few blocks from the high school where the boy gathered his brother's shotgun and two dozen rounds then walked into the science building midway through first period.

SHERIFF DONNY YOUNGBLOOD, KERN COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT: We have video of him entering the school, trying to conceal the shot gun. We have the video shows that he's extremely nervous.

LAH: Officers say the boy walked to the front of his classroom and opened fire, striking a 16-year-old classmate at near point blank range. The students began to flee. Trying to hide in closets and run out of the room, another shot, this one missed its target, another 16- year-old boy. Morgan Allbrege was in the classroom and tells TV station KVAK that the gunman began calling out a name.

MORGAN ALLBREGE, STUDENT WITNESSED SHOOTING: After he asked for a student three times. The student popped his head up from behind where he was hiding and apologized.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He apologized for what?

ALLBREGE: For bullying him, freshman year.

LAH: Then the classroom's teacher Ryan Heber stepped in between the 12 gauge shot gun and the fleeing students. The well-liked teacher spoke to the boy like his friend and investigators say the boy told Heber, "I don't want to shoot you." Meanwhile the school's counselor, Kim Fields, helped to distract the gunman while the rest of the 28 students escaped.

YOUNGBLOOD: This teacher and this counselor stood there face to face, not knowing whether he is going to turn that shot gun on them, their conversation whatever they said compelled him to put the firearm down.

LAH: Heber who was also a graduate of the high school was hit in the head by a small shot gun pellet, something he did not notice until it was all over. Heber always thinks of others first says he's father who he now calls his hero.

DAVID HEBER, RYAN HEBER'S FATHER: There was no pain or anything like that. No, he is fine. Physically he is absolutely super. Mentally, he is dealing with the day. He said is it's the worst day of his life. Which you could imagine it would be. LAH: Kyung Lah, CNN, Taft, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Coming up, super thin. Amazingly huge and ridiculously expensive, we will show you the jaw dropping televisions of the future.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: OK, a cyber security tip for you today, and it comes from the Department of Homeland Security, if you have the software called Java on your home or work computer, you might want to consider uninstalling it. Federal anti-hacking experts says the software has a glitch that could leave your computer vulnerable to outside attack. One scenario, a hacker could steal your identity or install harmful programs on your systems. Hundreds of millions of people and businesses use the Java software. The company that makes it, Oracle said "Oh, they are working on a fix."

Let's hope it happens fast.

We got a peek into the near future this past week. The consumer electronics show, or CES just wrapped up in Vegas. It's considered the super bowl of gadgets, featuring all the cool designs in tech, smart electronics, phones, appliances, and some huge leaps in the device you are watching right now.

Some incredible new televisions. Super thin screens, incredible picture and much more. Laurie, Laurie Segall of CNN Money's tech pro, I need - do we need more clarity for people to say "Hey, look, oh, that zit or come on?"

LAURIE SEGALL, CNNMONEY TECH REPORTER: It may be difference for us, but yes in the future, we are going to be even clearer on the air. You know, the innovation happening in this realm is just so insane, Don, our gadget reporters everyone came back saying these are the TVs of the future and it's coming very, very soon.

LEMON: So it's OLED, what is OLED?

SEGALL: OLED, it's all the rage now. A lot of companies are building this kind of technology and essentially it lets manufacturers take televisions and make them a lot more thin, make the contrast more - much more vivid.

LEMON: Look how thin that is, Laurie.

SEGALL: I know, I mean look at that. Also, that one, this is the LG 55 inch TV that got a lot of attention, as you can imagine, because take a look at it. The width is less than a quarter of an inch and it weighs 16 pounds. So you know, it's also kind of expensive. These are you know tens of thousands of dollars. This one I think is about $12,000. So we are definitely going to see a lot of it in the future, Don. LEMON: I had a plasma television for a long time, and I just got that - well about a year ago, that Samsung, the LED, whatever that really thin clear one.

SEGALL: A lot of people are going to be kicking themselves because all this stuff is coming out now, you know,

LEMON: Well, I first got it and DVRs and showed mine, the first thing I did was make an appointment with my dermatologist. it's ridiculously clear. It's clearer than in person.

SEGALL: And wait until we get to the next ones, Don, it's just going to get worse.

LEMON: OK. So we are all thrilled about high definition TVs but now we are getting Ultra HD. Tell us what ultra HD means.

SEGALL: Yes, I mean, you are going to be make another dermatologist's appointment right after this comes out. So Ultra HD, I think you had SC, you had HD and now we are going into the future, and this is ultra hd, that means the resolution is much, much better. They are also called 4K TV. So what that means is this is 4,000 pixels. So this is four times the amount of pixels in a normal HD television. So you're looking at it right there. You can just see how great the resolution is. Also, it's the kind of thing you can stand very close to a TV and with normal televisions, it is a little bit blurry, but with this kind of TV the picture is going to be clear.

But I will say, you mentioned this being expensive. These are the kind of TVs that are going to be so expensive because the tech is so new. I mean Sony has one for 10s of thousands of dollars and then one manufacturer is selling a 110 inch HD, 4K television for $300,000. Don, I don't know. Unless the TV is cooking and cleaning for me, I'm not sure I would pay that much for it. You'll never know.

LEMON: What is it? 100 inches?

SEGALL: It's 110 inches. It's big, it's huge, but it's also $300,000.

LEMON: This thing back here, I don't know. This plasma behind us. That's huge.

SEGALL: Who knows, maybe we'll replace. The future looks very clear.

LEMON: What - what is it then? What's the rage? Remember it was plasma and then it was L.E.D. and then it was - it was something else. What is the rage now?

SEGALL: Say it again, Don?

LEMON: What is the rage, plasma or L.E.D. or I don't know?

SEGALL: Look, when we talk about OLED, this is kind of the future of that. You know, this is the next step. This is what people are going to be looking for and this is what manufacturers are making and this is what they are investing a lot of their money into, Don.

LEMON: Is anybody going to come up with a better way to do 3-D, I have 3-D on my TV, it's not bad, but you know, the dumb glasses and you fall asleep with them on.

SEGALL: You capture it perfectly. You say the dumb glasses. Who wants to sit at home and put on these glasses and watch the 3D TV. So that is why a lot of the 3-D TVs have not been selling out. They haven't really taken off but there's one company. It's called Visio, and they are actually trying to build 3-D televisions - you're able to watch without the 3D glasses. That's the future. This is a couple years off, but, you know, our gadget reporter (INAUDIBLE) he went there and he tried it out and he said this is definitely the future, Don.

LEMON: I can't wait, thank you, Laurie, good stuff.

SEGALL: Thank you.

LEMON: Appreciate it. All right.

The reminders of superstorm Sandy for many can be found simply by looking out the window. It hit the northeast more than two months ago and it is being called the hundred year storm, but now some experts say this may just be a sign of what is to come.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: It was just over two months ago that Superstorm Sandy devastated the east coast and brought New York City to a standstill. Experts say it's a snapshot of what can happen more often. Climate change threatens to make future storms even more dangerous. Raising the question, is there anything we can do to protect ourselves?

We dispatched a team of CNN reporters across the country to investigate. Jason Carroll went into the New York City subway system to tour one of the stations that was badly damaged.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRANK JESKY, NEW YORK CITY INFRASTRUCTURE OFFICER: The electrical systems. The fare collection systems. The lighting systems. The stairways, the ventilation systems, the elevators, the escalators. They're all pretty much ruined from the water, from the surge damage.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Less than 48 hours after the storm struck, New York City's chief infrastructure officer Frank Jesky took us down into the subway system.

JESKY: We'll take a quick look over there.

CARROLL: To what looked like a scene from a science fiction movie. Something beyond imagination.

Believe it or not, these timbers washed in from the ocean or the bay.

CARROLL (on camera): This timber right here. So this washed in from -

JESKY: All of this debris that you see washed in from the tidal surge.

CARROLL (voice-over): This station, the end of the line for the city's number one subway train is called South Ferry. Three years ago, it was brand-new, built at a cost of $500 million. Now it's in ruins.

CHAD MYERS, CNN SEVERE WEATHER EXPERT: Sandy broke records for the biggest waves in New York Harbor, for the biggest surge in New York City and for the lowest pressure ever north of North Carolina. What was the impactful part of Sandy was the surge at 12, 15 feet. That surge had never been seen in New York City before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we were here, the water was just below this mezzanine level.

CARROLL: Nearly a month after our first interview -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see the rust on this stair threads.

CARROLL: Jesky, this time, dressed in a suit and tie, took us back underground.

JESKY: It wasn't a rebuild as some of our other stations are rehabilitated. This is a brand-new tunnel station that was built. They've been taken back to the shops.

CARROLL: Just rebuilding South Ferry station alone could take up to a year or more at a cost he's not even willing to guess about.

JESKY: We'll start taking components or pieces of the station down. The finished surfaces. The finished ceiling. The acoustic pieces of it. The signal systems will have to be rebuilt. All the conduits and the piping will have to be opened up and drained.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: That's Jason Carroll reporting. Be sure to check out "CNN Presents, The Coming Storms." Coming up at the top of the hour.

(INAUDIBLE) at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, my interview with former Cincinnati Red Pete Rose. We talked, of course, about baseball and his current ban from the hall of fame and about his new reality show in which he stars with his fiance. So naturally, I asked about their future.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Season one, are we going to see a marriage or a wedding?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We haven't seen it so -

PETE ROSE, CINCINNATI RED SKINS: We've not seen any episode we taped. All you guys -

LEMON: You guys know if you got on one knee and popped the question and there was a big wedding, come on.

ROSE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No?

ROSE: Why you put me on the spot like that? I got people from TLC standing right here, ready to knock me in the head.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: I think I just put Pete Rose in the dog house. Sorry. Tonight Pete Rose on this year's baseball hall of fame. The snubs. And if he thinks the league will ever allow him into Cooperstown. Set your DVR. Make sure you join me, 10:00 p.m. Eastern tonight.

The White House has received a lot of crazy petitions but the latest one has an idea only Darth Vader could love.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The White House will try almost anything to create jobs, but it won't build a Death Star. A recent petition asks for just that. The White House said no. They said building a Death Star would cost about $850 quadrillion and they offered this argument. "Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?" If you didn't get that, you don't really know about "Star Wars."

OK. A car drives up to a fast food restaurant with no driver. Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In under five seconds he can turn himself into a car seat.

RAHAT HOSSAIN, STUDENT: I built this car seat costume.

MOOS: And now he's riding his car seat to fame.

HOSSAIN: So this is how the costume looks.

MOOS: 24-year-old Rahat Hossain is the star of a prank sweeping the internet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yo.

MOOS: Called the drive-through invisible driver.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god.

MOOS: Arriving like a ghost driver, he stunned workers at over 50 fast food restaurants in Virginia and Maryland.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really?

MOOS: Really.

HOSSAIN: I'm overwhelmed, you know.

MOOS: Overwhelmed at how an oddball prank has become a sensation. The last time we saw anyone turn himself into a car seat was when the border patrol released this photo of someone smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico sewn into the upholstery. And now this -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello? Are you serious?

MOOS: He's serious all right. This criminal justice student is serious about becoming a magician.

(on camera): Originally, Rahat considered try to get reactions from motorists on the open road. But his costume limited his sight so much that he figured it might be dangerous.

HOSSAIN: Basically, the eye hole is right there. A mesh material where you can actually see right through.

MOOS (voice-over): His hand-made, mostly cardboard costume topped with an actual car seat cover consists of heat and headrest.

(on camera): I could almost sit in you.

HOSSAIN: Right.

MOOS (voice-over): He takes his hands off the wheel on the straightaway right before he pulls up to the window. Leaving workers looking for the missing driver or calling for an Instagram photo.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Instagram.

MOOS: One thing that well behaved car seat absolutely must not do is crack up laughing.

HOSSAIN: I was trying hard to keep a straight face. I was like -

MOOS (voice-over): Although at the end, he did break character.

HOSSAIN: Just throw it in here. I'm a ghost.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, well.

Throw it in there?

HOSSAIN: Yes, I'm a ghost. Just throw it. Thank you.

MOOS (on camera): What, no seat belt?

HOSSAIN: No seat belt at all.

MOOS (voice-over): Double take make way. For the triple take. At the takeout window.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you serious? MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Now to "CNN PRESENTS." 2012 is now in the record books as the hottest year ever for the continental United States. Experts say climate change is a big reason. And last year is just a sign of what's to come. Not only higher temperatures but more extreme weather. Storms even more damaging, even more dangerous. Climate change helped make Sandy one of the most devastating storms ever to hit the East Coast.

And just this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced proposals designed to prepare for big storms. But what is the rest of the country doing to prepare for the next disaster? We dispatched a team of CNN correspondents across the country and around the world to investigate how bad storms, these storms can become and what we can do now to plan when the next big one hits.