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Day of Remembrance Held for Victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting; Influenza Season Well Underway; Golden Globes Held; Victims of Gun Violence Interviewed

Aired January 14, 2013 - 07:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome, everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning, Newtown one month later. We're live this morning in the small Connecticut town marking a month since the gunman opened fire inside Sandy Hook Elementary School.

You'll recall he killed 20 first graders. He killed six staffers. He killed his mother. We're looking this morning at how the community today is recovering, the future of that elementary school and plans to prevent another tragedy.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Then, the flu epidemic spreading as vaccines run low in some areas. This morning, we're talking to the CDC to get the absolute latest.

Plus, Hollywood celebrates its own at the Golden Globe Awards. We've got the surprises and the snubs. Plus, the moment that's heating up Twitter. Jodie Foster's very passionate speech and this interview that literally caused gasps.


QUENTIN TARANTINO, DIRECOTR: If somebody is out there actually saying it when it comes to the word (EXPLETIVE DELETED), that the fact that I was using it in the movie more than it was used.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And in just about 15 minutes, we will find out the Car of the Year from the Detroit Auto Show. Will history be made in a Motor City?

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: We got a packed show for you. Lyn Finelli from the CDC, Colin Goddard, he survived the Virginia Tech shooting, Pam Simon, she survived the Tucson massacre, Roxanna Green, her nine-year-old daughter Christina was killed during that Tucson massacre. Senator Chris Murphy will join us. Former presidential candidate and Ambassador John Huntsman will be our guest. West Virginia senator Joe Manchin is with us. Former Florida Congressman Connie Mack joins me, and actor Steven Michael Pozatta from "Breaking Bad."

It's Monday, January 14, and STARTING POINT comes to you live with special coverage from Newtown, Connecticut. We begin right now. Morning. Welcome, everybody. We're coming to you live this morning, as I said, from Newtown, Connecticut. Life in this small town changed forever a month ago today. Today is the day of remembrance for those 20 children and six adults who were gunned down at Sandy Hook elementary school a month ago. Today at 10:30 eastern time the Stratford Connecticut town council will vote on a proposal to name a new school after Victoria Soto, a teacher who was killed in that shooting. Then at 11:00 a.m. eastern the group Sandy Hook Promise unveils its plan to honor the victims, a national grassroots effort to address gun violence. They'll be joined by families of victims and survivors of other mass shootings.

Last night at a public forum some 200 Newtown residents debated the future of the Sandy Hook school building. Some were calling for its demolition and a construction for a memorial. Other folks said, no, it should stay standing as a symbol. The Newtown massacre re-ignited the gun control debate as well. Newtown police chief weighing in on that.


MICHAEL KEHOE, NEWTOWN, CONNECTICUT, POLICE CHIEF: A ban on assault weapons, restrict those magazines that have so many bullets in them.


O'BRIEN: The family of Noah Posner, the six-year-old killed in the Sandy Hook shooting, is also calling for tough new gun laws. Tomorrow Vice President Joe Biden and his task force are expected to deliver recommendations to prevent gun violence to the president.

Susan Candiotti attended last night's meeting about the future of Sandy Hook elementary school, and really what that conversation is even having on the community. First, here's what Newtown's first selectman, who is kind of a mayor, essentially had to say about gun violence.


PAT LLORDRA, FIRST SELECTMAN, NEWTOWN CONNECTICUT: I think it's -- for many people like me who have long been an advocate of better controls over access to those kinds of weapons, this simply elevates our passion on that issue.


O'BRIEN: Susan Candiotti joins us now. Passion on the issue, I think that's what we've been seeing not only here in Newtown, Connecticut, but across the country.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, passions and emotions not only on gun control debate, but also about what to do about Sandy Hook Elementary School. And certainly we heard people talk about it on all sides.

A lot of emotional moments as well, touching moments. For example, one parent who recalled telling the child that she was going to a meeting to decide the future of Sandy Hook Elementary, and the child responded why are adults deciding? It's our school. Certainly, Soledad, there is time to heal, and there's a lot of time to decide what to do next.

CANDIOTTI: St. Rose of Lima church lost nine of its youngest members at Sandy Hook. A vigil drew thousands that first night, and then there were the funerals.

DEACON RICK SCINTO, ST. ROSE OF LIMA CHURCH: I was this far away from the families. It was palpable what they were going through.

CANDIOTTI: How well are people healing?

SCINTO: There's still a lot of pain, a lot of grief. When it's going to go away, I don't know. It might not ever go away.

CANDIOTTI: Arriving daily to ease that pain, something that astounds Deacon Rick Scinto and fellow parishioners.

It's a month later. What are all these boxes doing here?

SCINTO: These are the gifts. These are letters. These are prayer cards coming in from all over the country, all over the world.

CANDIOTTI: Thousands of pieces of mail carefully sorted for each victim, including the shooter's mother and the killer himself.

What is this all a sign of?

SCINTO: This is the world putting their arm around Newtown and saying that we're here for you, in some way.

CANDIOTTI: Like a huge banner that reads "We're with you, Newtown" filled with signatures hanging from an overpass. It's all the way from Tucson, Arizona, the site of the Gabby Giffords mass shooting. Down the street from the elementary school a bouquet marks the spot where a makeshift memorial once stood, now dismantled, composted, now preserved for a permanent memorial.

In this community people turn to each other for strength, many with the same question.

SCINTO: The main questions are, why? Why did this happen? How did this happen?

CANDIOTTI: Seeking answers month one may ever have.


CANDIOTTI: And for now there are no perfect answers about the future of Sandy Hook Elementary. This is the first of many public forums to come.

O'BRIEN: As you say, there's plenty of time to come. A lot of healing has to take place here. We're only one month in. We're going to be talking with other folks who have survived mass shootings in the past and get some of their advice for what the people here in Sandy Hook should be doing as they face tough days ahead.

Also, we'll talk to Connecticut senator Chris Murphy about gun control laws not only in the state, but across the nation. Of course, you're going to want to tune in to CNN at 8:00 p.m. tonight. Anderson will be live from Newtown, hosting a special edition of "AC 360."

We want to get an update now on some of the other stories that are making news today. John Berman has that. He is back in New York. John?

BERMAN: Thanks, Soledad. Today doctors are wondering when we'll be over the peak of this season's flu epidemic. This map shows the latest CDC data on flu outbreaks. You can see 47 states have widespread activity. The CDC is saying that they won't know when we'll hit the peak of the flu activity. Some pharmacies having trouble keeping up with the demand for the flu shot. They're running out while they wait for manufacturers to send more as more people get the message really, this is one serious flu season.

Dr. Lyn Finelli is the head of the Influenza Response Team at the CDC. So Lyn, we showed that map right there, 47 states right now with widespread activity. We also said the CDC won't say when we'll hit the peak. What are the signs that it has peaked?

DR. LYN FINELLI, CDC INFLUENZA RESPONSE TEAM: Well, the signs that it has peaked is this past week we had a little bit of a decline in activity. Now, this decline in activity represents a composite of all the activity in the U.S. and may reflect the fact that the parts of the states that were early in the season, like the southeast, are starting to decline, while other parts of the U.S. really haven't declined yet, and actually the west hasn't picked up quite a lot yet. So they've still yet to see a lot of activity out west for flu season.

BERMAN: And 75 percent of part-time workers don't get paid leave. That means a lot of people who may be sick are still going to work. How does that affect the transmission of a virus like this?

FINELLI: Well, that's hard to say. But the CDC does recommend that if you are sick, stay at home. If you are sick, limit contact with other people.

BERMAN: Let's talk about the vaccine right now. Can you still get it this late in the season?

FINELLI: Yes. I think if you're persistent, call your provider, call pharmacies, call your local health departments. Health departments are working with providers, with pharmacies, and with drug stores -- I mean, with supermarkets to make sure that we maximize the number of people vaccinated. This includes sharing vaccine among providers and referring people to places where vaccine is available.

BERMAN: One of the things we hear a lot is that this vaccine is 60 percent effective. Is that a high number? FINELLI: Well, even vaccinations that are 60 percent effective can confer a lot of benefit. This includes reducing the amount of serious disease, reducing hospitalizations and even deaths, including reducing antibiotic use and missed work days.

BERMAN: So the message you are saying is go get that vaccine, even if it is just 60 percent effective?

FINELLI: That's correct.

BERMAN: Dr. Lyn Finelli from the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, thank you so much for being with us.

FINELLI: Thanks for having me.

BERMAN: Nine minutes after the hour right now. In the U.S. backing France's fight against terror in Africa. The Obama administration moved toward approving limited support for France's military campaign to fight terrorists in Mali on Sunday preparing surveillance drones and other air intelligence equipment for possible deployment, but not troops. The president also announced the U.S. lent limited technical support to France's attempt to rescue an intelligence agent held hostage by an Al Qaeda linked group in Somalia. That attempt was unsuccessful.

A dress rehearsal in Washington as preparations for next week's presidential inauguration kick into high gear. Stand-ins for President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden watch the presidential escort from the capital's east steps, including the U.S. army band, the old guard drum core, and honor guard members from each branch of the military.

In exactly one week hole Soledad, Zoraida, and I will be live on the National Mall for the presidential nomination. I'm the one in the middle. Our coverage begins at 5:00 a.m. eastern.

New this morning, big royal baby news. The duke and duchess of Cambridge, their baby is due in July. That's according to St. James palace, a spokesman also saying that Kate's condition is continuing to improve following her stay in a hospital for what the palace said was severe morning sickness. She is believed to be around 13 to 14 weeks pregnant now.

Hollywood, the 70th Golden Globe awards, they did not go according to script. Never do. Ben Affleck won the award for best director. Take that, Academy voters. His film "Argo" upset "Lincoln" to take the top prize for best dramatic film. CNN's Nischelle Turner has more on the big winners and best moments from the Golden Globes.


TINA FEY, WRITER/ACTRESS: It's getting sloppy in here, everybody. Look how drunk Glen Close is.

(LAUGHTER) NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Golden Globes are usually one big irreverent party, and co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler kept the zingers coming.

AMY POEHLER: Kathryn Bigelow is nominated tonight. And when it comes to torture, I trust the lady who spent three years married to James Cameron.

TURNER: The drinks and jokes were flowing, but there were, you know, awards to be handed out. Guess who had the best reason to celebrate.

FEY: "Argo."

TURNER: The Iran hostage thriller earned the night's biggest prize, best drama, and director Ben Affleck, who didn't receive an Oscar nomination this year, was a winner as well.

BEN AFFLECK, DIRECTOR: I don't care what the award is. When they put your name next to the names that she just read off, it's an extraordinary thing in your life.

TURNER: "Lincoln's" Daniel Day Lewis and "Zero Dark Thirty's" Jessica Chastain took the top acting awards, and but saluted their directors, Steven Spielberg and Kathryn Bigelow.

DANIEL DAY LEWIS, ACTOR: Stephen Spielberg, you've given me an experience that I will treasure until the end of my life.

JESSICA CHASTAIN, ACTOR: Kathryn Bigelow, you have done more for women in cinema that you take credit for.

TURNER: No misery at the "Les Miserables" table. The film won best musical or comedy and earned honors for Hugh Jackman and supporting actress Anne Hathaway.

ANNE HATHAWAY, ACTOR: Thank you for this lovely blunt object that I will forever more use as a weapon against self-doubt.

TURNER: On the TV side, Showtime's "Homeland" took top drama honors, "Girls" won comedy series and a best actress Golden Globe for its creator and star Lena Dunham.

LENA DUNHAM, ACTOR: This award is for everyone who felt there wasn't a place for her.

TURNER: Jodie Foster was honored with the Cecil B. Demille achievement award provided the night's most emotional moment.

JODIE FOSTER: I will continue to tell stories, but it will be my writing on the wall, and I want to be seen, to be understood deeply, and to be not so very lonely.

TURNER: And former president Bill Clinton surprised everyone when he came out to salute "Lincoln." In the end they laughed, they cried, and, of course, the party continues.

POEHLER: Good night. We're going home with Jodie Foster.


TURNER: It was a good show. It was also a good night for Ben Affleck who seemed genuinely shocked at both his win for best director and the win for "Argo" for best drama. We'll have to see if the momentum for "Argo" carries over to the Oscars in the best picture race.

John, something audiences didn't see happened back stage in the press room after "Django Unchained" writer and director Quentin Tarantino won for best screenplay. "Django" has come under scrutiny for its liberal use of the n-word, and Tarantino was really candid in his response about why he used it so much.


QUENTIN TARANTINO, WRITER/DIRECTOR: If somebody is out there saying it when it comes to the word -- that the fact that I was using it in the movie more than it was used back in the antebellum south in Mississippi in 1858, then had he might have -- then feel free to make that case, but no one is actually making that case.


TURNER: Now, there was an audible gasp in the pressroom after he said that. It was a jaw-dropping moment. After Tarantino left, Don Cheadle came into the room, and he said before any questions were asked, "No n-word questions please," also using the word. I'm not sure what was going on backstage in the press room, John, but that's going to be a talker today as well.

BERMAN: Between the Tarantino moment and the Jodie Foster speech, a huge amount of buzz about the Golden Globes. Nischelle Turner in Hollywood this morning, thanks very much.

Let's go now back to Soledad who is in Newtown, Connecticut. Soledad?

O'BRIEN: All right. John, thank you. As we continue our live coverage of the one month anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, we're going to talk with two people who survived massacres, one at Virginia Tech, and the other in Tucson, Arizona. We've been here talking to the community. We'll have their perspective when we come back. You're watching a special edition of STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: Good morning, welcome back everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're here this morning in Newtown, Connecticut. It's one month since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In just a couple of hours a group of Newtown residents called Sandy Hook Promise will unveil a grassroots initiative to reduce gun violence. The group is going to be joined by families of the victims, of survivors of other shootings, including Colin Goddard and Pam Simon. Colin was shot in the Virginia Tech massacre. Today he works for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Pam was shot on the Congress on your corner event in Tucson, Arizona where the gunman opened fire. Today she's involved with Demand a Plan, a gun reform advocacy group.

It's nice to have you both with me this morning. We certainly appreciate it. The meeting today is with Sandy Hook Promise. It's -- there are several meetings that will be unfolding today and over the next several days. I know that you have met with them. What kinds of questions do they have of you?

PAM SIMON, SURVIVOR OF TUCSON, ARIZONA, SHOOTING: More than anything else we know what it feels like whether all the media is gone and you're left to live your lives without the very precious people. And so we're just here in any way we can help with their healing.

O'BRIEN: You were injured, as I mentioned, in the shooting that was perpetrated by Jared Loughner.

SIMON: Correct.

O'BRIEN: It's the two-year anniversary of that shooting.

SIMON: It was on Monday, January 8th.

O'BRIEN: Every time there is another shooting, is it just like reliving trauma all over again for you?

SIMON: It opens the wound again, yes, and just redoubles our commitment to do exactly what they are doing here in Newtown. It's coming together having conversations about how can we make this a better world for our children.

O'BRIEN: The police chief did an interview on NBC yesterday, and he said here's what he would like to see. Ban assault weapons, restrict those magazines that have so many bullets in them, shore up any loopholes in the criminal background checks. That's what he told NBC News. This is obviously what you are interested in as well. What do you think should be done outside of the law? What should be done with the school site? Virginia Tech, they turned that classroom facility into a center for peace. It's an emotional date for the people now.

COLIN GODDARD, SURVIVOR OF VIRGINIA TECH SHOOTING: I think it takes something so negative and turns it towards something so positive, to work to prevent these situations from happening again to other people. Who knows what they'll do here. Just last night we had some folks. It was more conversations from fathers and parents and mothers saying my kid survived. He is not talking to me about it. Is that OK? Just tell them that, yes, hey, there's no formula to get over these things. Everyone deals with them differently. The fact that he was playing with his friends, for example, is great encouragement that he is able to at least get it off his chest with those he is comfortable with.

O'BRIEN: Is that helpful for you, to be the voices of it happened to me and here are the steps that I took as rocky as those steps may be? Do you find that also helps you?

SIMON: I think one thing that has been very helpful to every survivor that I have talked to is to do something that contributes to positive- ness, and I have been very honored to work with Christina's parents, Roxanna and John Green, and the Christina Taylor Green foundation. And Roxanna has brought a little angel that she will give to each of the families here, and this is --

O'BRIEN: I have to imagine that's going to be such a help, tangible things to help people. You used to be a middle schoolteacher, and now there are lots of conversations about arming middle -- arming teachers or teaching teachers how to take down a gunman. What do you both think of those proposals?

SIMON: Well, teachers have a lot on their hands already, and I think that as a teacher myself, I think there's probably some other solutions, but the important thing is that we put everything on the table and open it to discussion. Jared Loughner happened to attend the same junior high that I taught in. It was before he was mentally ill. So there's a lot of work on many issues that we have to look towards.

GODDARD: We didn't come here to talk about guns. I think that idea is pretty ridiculous, and those people here think the same thing. I'm here to do the same thing I did after morning Illinois university after the shooting happened, and the Sean high school after the shooting at aurora and Tucson as well. Just to tell people what it's like to be a human being that goes through something like this. Be an example a few years down the road of saying, you know, I'm one example of someone who is able to be OK with this. There are many ways that you can find your own way too.

O'BRIEN: And showing that path for people that don't really know that there's a path to find yet has to be very, very helpful. Pam and Colin, thank you for talking with us. I certainly appreciate your time and appreciate having you.

SIMON: Pleasure to be here.

O'BRIEN: We'll be talking more about that issue, what happens next for the folks here in Newtown, and also efforts to curb gun sales and also magazine sales. We'll speak with Connecticut senator Chris Murphy, and we're back in just a moment.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Welcome back to STARTING POINT, everybody. I'm Poppy Harlow in for Christine Romans today minding your business this morning. We are waiting for the Detroit auto show to announce the car of the year. The finalists, three of them, the Cadillac ATS, the Ford Fusion, or the Honda Accord. We'll get you that as soon as we know it.

General Motors flexing its new muscle car, the company rolling out the 2014 corvette sting ray. It looks pretty cool. It will be in showroom this is fall. GM not yet revealing a price tag, but the 2013 corvette goes for about $120,000. This, though, we're told is a totally different car. It shares only two parts with the 2013 corvette.

We have the car of the year for you. The truck of the year is the Dodge Ram 1500. We're just waiting to find out the car of the year -- the Cadillac ATS.

And a quick market check for you guys. U.S. stock futures trading mixed, Dow and S&P 500 futures up slightly, NASDAQ futures down. Trading is expected to be pretty light today because we've got a lot of big corporate earnings coming up later this week. The focus is going to be on the big banks. JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, therefore, Bank of America and Citigroup come out Thursday, and we'll hear from Morgan Stanley on Friday.

Now back to Soledad live in Newtown, Connecticut. Soledad?

O'BRIEN: All right, Poppy, thanks very much.

Ahead on STARTING POINT this morning, as we come to you live from Newtown, Connecticut, we're seeing just where this community stands one month after the deadly school shooting here. We're going to take a look at gun control controversy that has now erupted in the wake of the violence here with Connecticut senator Chris Murphy.

Then it's a slippery hunt. We'll tell you why hundreds of people have descended on Florida to try to track down pythons. You're watching STARTING POINT, and we're back in just a moment.