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Aired January 23, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST (voice-over): A teen is accused of gunning down his mom, dad, and three younger siblings in a calculated and brutal attack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s horrific. The first time that I`ve been to a crime scene with this much destruction.
PINSKY: Who would do such a thing, and why?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clearly that he was frustrated with his mother.
PINSKY: And what did video games have to do with it, if anything?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The suspect was involved heavily in violent games.
PINSKY: His uncle is talking to us here exclusively, telling us what he knows.
Later, the breast-feeding baby doll. Want one for your child?
Plus, should a preteen girl undergo a breast reduction to avoid taunts and teasing?
Let`s get started.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Welcome, everybody.
My co-host for the week is attorney Lisa Bloom, the legal adviser for avo.com.
Why -- the question today -- would a 15-year-old boy allegedly shoot and kill his parents and three younger siblings?
The teen`s uncle may be able to answer that. He is here with us exclusively in just a moment. We`ve got lots of questions.
But first let`s get some background on the story from CNN`s Kyung Lah.
Kyung, what happened? What do you know?
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what I can tell you, the sequence of events that we`re hearing from our conversations with investigators and the complaint, Dr. Drew. What we know is that this all began after an argument with his mother. After that, according to the sheriff`s investigators, the boy waited until his mother went to bed. He then took his father`s .22-caliber rifle. He shot her in the head according to investigators.
He then woke up his 9-year-old brother, who was sleeping in the bed with his mother.
He showed the 9-year-old brother, according to investigators, his dead mother`s face, then shot his 9-year-old brother, walked across the hall and then shot his 2-year-old and 5-year-old sisters.
This is all coming from a criminal complaint.
At this point investigators say he switched out weapons, pick up an AR-15, waited for his father to come home. When his father walked by him, he then shot him in the back with his own AR-15.
At that point, he reloaded, put the weapons in his family`s minivan, and then drove to the family church. At this point, it gets a little fuzzy as far as timeline. Investigators say he contemplated going to the nearby Walmart because he wanted to, according to their conversations with him, murder more people in a populated area and cause more damage, then die in a gunfight with police.
Instead, he went to church. At that point he started having conversations with his girlfriend there. She notified her grandmother, who notified the church, and they wrapped it all up, Dr. Drew, by calling 911 and figuring all this out.
PINSKY: Oh my goodness! Thank you for that report.
With us now is Nehemiah Griego`s uncle Eric Griego. He has not spoken to anyone publicly about the case yet.
And, Eric, listen, as I was hearing about the case, I was thinking about you. I`m just so sorry you have to sit through that and hear this over and over again. And I know your family`s got to be suffering.
But I do appreciate your being here, and I hope you can help us answer questions. I mean, this is all in the wake of other violence we`ve been focusing on, gun violence in recent months and recent weeks.
Tell me about your nephew. Was he a kid who was prone to violence?
ERIC GRIEGO, UNCLE OF TEEN ACCUSED OF MURDERING FAMILY: Well, let me start by saying we the family was really trying to wait until we buried our brother and sister and, you know, nieces and nephews. But the frenzy around this has just gotten to a level of ridiculousness that we just felt like we had to break the silence and start defending the facts.
And sadly, even your own reporter got several of the facts wrong. Everything -- every last bit of what has been said was taken from a -- was taken from a -- what I would consider coerced confession from a 15-year-old boy in the middle of the night without a lawyer, without an adult present. And it has been systematically released by the sheriff, often inaccurately.
And even that last portion that, with all due respect to your reporter, where she said that his girlfriend`s grandmother notified somebody, that`s absolutely wrong. Nehemiah mentioned it to a pastor, who then -- who was a former law enforcement officer, who then took him back to the residence and called the sheriff`s department.
So, first of all, what`s happening here, Drew, and it`s very -- it`s terrible. Obviously, our family`s devastated.
But to use this young 15-year-old very troubled boy as a sort of -- the pound of flesh as the symbol of a pawn in this debate over guns and over a political careers is just -- it`s so disturbing to me --
LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY: Eric --
GRIEGO: -- that the family just had -- the family had to step forward and say something about it.
BLOOM: Eric, this is Lisa Bloom. And my condolences to you and your family for this --
GRIEGO: Thank you.
BLOOM: -- horrific loss. There`s no question, though, is there, that your nephew did take the lives of his five family members including three children?
GRIEGO: We don`t dispute that. I mean, we`re -- we think he should be held accountable. Obviously, we`re deeply saddened by it. You know, a family member --
BLOOM: Why did he do it, Eric?
GRIEGO: I wish we knew. We haven`t even asked that question. And for a sheriff, a law enforcement officer of a major American county to report on the news, which was carried internationally, that it was because he was angry at his mother, he was -- you know, it`s a level of irresponsibility that`s unimaginable.
Everything you have said, not one piece of outside evidence has corroborated -- it`s what he said in this sort of diatribe when he was with an investigator in the middle of the night.
GRIEGO: We`re not delusional that he did this. And we`re sad. And we want to know what was wrong with him --
PINSKY: Well, let`s get at that.
GRIEGO: -- that we didn`t pick up --
PINSKY: Yes, let`s get at that, because for me as a physician there`s sort of two big categories. One was that there was something going on with him long term. And I need you to tell me that -- I`ve heard you say that`s not the case. So please, I want you to say that tonight.
And that this is something uncharacteristic. And if it`s terribly uncharacteristic, then you`ve got to think about things like a medical problem, drugs and alcohol, or perhaps a psychotic depression. I mean, sometimes when people get so depressed, particularly teenagers, they disconnect from reality and do things, think things that are so bizarre and so uncharacteristic none of us can get our head around it.
Where does he fit on this spectrum?
GRIEGO: You know, we don`t know, Drew. What we do know is that as recently as Christmas when we all gathered as a family he was upbeat, he was smiling, we have pictures. We were planning on celebrating our birthdays together, his mother and my birthday fall around the same time as the Sunday that this tragedy happened at our house.
And so, he has no history of crime. He has no history of involvement by family and community services. He had no shooting animals or, you know, abusing his brothers. It just wasn`t there.
BLOOM: And it`s just amazing to hear that because for the rest of us to think that someone who seemed so normal, nice kid, could react in this way --
PINSKY: It`s scary.
BLOOM: Eric, there`s one part of this story, I`d love for you to corroborate. And that is that he called his 12-year-old girlfriend and that he sent her a cell phone picture of his dead mother and said he was going to go to Walmart and shoot more people and she talked him out of it, this 12-year-old girl talked him out of that.
PINSKY: Is that true?
BLOOM: Talked him into going to the church. Is that true?
GRIEGO: That`s absolutely false.
BLOOM: Oh, wow. OK.
GRIEGO: We don`t know about -- I have not seen the picture. It`s based on something he said and it might be based on evidence we haven`t seen.
I can tell you for sure from what we understood from the detectives, the young lady was egging him on every step of the way.
This conversation about Walmart, whether he said it or not, he might have said it, they have it on tape. The detectives probably released that tape. But it`s also the conclusion to Grand Theft Auto. It`s the scene where you have a shootout at Walmart --
BLOOM: She was egging him on to kill people? Is that what you`re saying?
GRIEGO: She was -- they were exchanging texts for hours and she was with him every step of the way from what the investigators told us.
GRIEGO: So what`s happening again, guys. I know you`re -- Drew, you`re a physician and you`re a lawyer, Lisa, but what`s happening is a selective public media prosecution --
BLOOM: That`s why we`re asking you the questions, Eric.
PINSKY: That`s why -- because it`s not all fitting together for me, either. And that`s why I want to really -- and listen, I appreciate you being here.
And I know it`s in the heels of a tragedy. You lost your brother. You lost nieces and nephews. It`s breathtaking. I --
BLOOM: And we know that people are innocent until presumed guilty and that everything that`s in a police report is subject to dispute.
PINSKY: When the judge got -- I`ve got to take a break, Eric. I`m sorry. I`m going to talk to you some more in a second. When the sheriff got there and said it`s because of violent video games, I was thinking where`d that come from too? That`s another thing that`s bizarre.
So, you`re --
GRIEGO: Also something he mentioned in passing, Drew. He mentioned it in passing. We have no idea if it`s true. There`s no evidence of it.
PINSKY: OK. I also understand that he also was restricted, your brother was very much restrictive in terms of --
BLOOM: There`s a lot of questions.
PINSKY: There`s a lot of stuff. I`ve got a panel standing by that`s got questions as well.
Eric, please stay with us and I hope you all stay with us as well.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARI BRANDENBURG, DEFENSE ATTORNEY, BERNALILO CO.: We`ve never had a case like this as far as I know in the state of New Mexico. So this -- I can`t compare this to any other case. There will be different arguments made at sentencing. There may be different evaluations by psychologists or medical personnel. I mean, I can`t anticipate on what the defense will do. But it`s different when you have a juvenile charged versus an adult.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Welcome back.
I`m here with attorney Lisa Bloom from avo.com, my co-host all this week.
That which you were listening to was the district attorney in New Mexico talking about 15-year-old Nehemiah Griego, who`s accused of killing his parents and three young siblings. I have a panel including forensic psychologist Cheryl Arutt, attorney Darren Kavinoky, host of "Deadly Sins" on Investigation Discovery, and I have Eric, who is the uncle of the boy in question here, Nehemiah.
And, Eric, you told us a lot about what you felt was wrong about the police report. Help us understand what you do know. What is it the story -- the family would like us to know about this story and what happened here?
GRIEGO: Well, we are still trying to figure out what went wrong with Nehemiah. Clearly, I don`t think anybody has any real doubt based on what was the physical evidence and what does seem to make sense about the case that he did it. We`re heartbroken.
But you know, for us, and the reason why we`re stepping forward, is this 15-year-old boy with his 15-year-old brain, somehow this made sense to him at this moment, which we can`t understand, but everything that we knew about the kid, he was an accomplished musician, an amazing drummer. He was active at his church, very active in youth ministry. He was a very good athlete, wrestler, loved to play basketball. All the things you expect from a kid.
And part of our concern is in this rush to judgment in the media, this feeding frenzy because of the larger gun debate and the tragedy in Connecticut this poor, incredibly troubled 15-year-old is being essentially publicly crucified and made out to be something -- maybe because we don`t want to accept the fact that this could happen anywhere, that we all missed the signs.
GRIEGO: Our family missed the signs. His congregation missed the signs.
PINSKY: Yes, Eric, that`s the part I`m hoping -- that`s why I want to cover this story, so people can -- at home, we can raise awareness of what to look for, and things can happen to your kids even when you don`t expect it.
Again, to me, based on what you`re telling me and the evidence that`s sort of trickling out, I keep coming out with psychotic depression or something of that order. And that can happen.
Again, for parents at home, if you see a kid suddenly painting his or her fingernails black, not eating or not sleeping or sleeping too much, changing their clothing, changing their pattern of friendships, pay attention. It can happen fast. They can go from that to a state where they really are not in this world.
And if there are substances involved, and then it starts to make even more sense.
I`m going to go to Cheryl Arutt, who`s a forensic psychologist.
Cheryl, does this make sense to you? Is that where you would go with this?
CHERYL ARUTT, PSY.D., PSYCHOLOGIST: What you`re saying, Dr. Drew, makes sense to me. It`s so hard for any of us to make sense of a crime like this. And I feel terrible for Eric and his family.
When we`re talking about an adolescent where we haven`t seen signs of him being troubled before, so many questions come to mind. And yes, this could be a psychotic depression. This could be something where -- you know, we know that depression changes the brain even if it doesn`t get to that level. And when you have someone who`s an adolescent, there is so much impulsivity, and the part of the brain, as you know, the prefrontal cortex that we`ve talked about that isn`t quite mature enough to really stop and fully appreciate long-term consequences to actions the way an adult`s might.
But I am worried about what he may have seen in terms of some of the things that he seemed to be saying. You know, kids emulate what they see. And to say, if he did say I want to go to a Walmart and die in a gunfight and do this, or to see this as a viable option when you`re really, really angry at somebody -- there are kids who can slip over that edge. It`s concerning. It`s really concerning.
BLOOM: Well, it certainly is.
And, Eric, as a member of the family are you concerned that he had access to guns? This is a family with a 15-year-old, three younger children. There were rifles, and the AR-15 assault weapon that all of these children I think had access to, that they weren`t locked away. The ammunition was not kept separate from the gun. Those kinds of child safety measures were not in place.
GRIEGO: You know, my -- our family has very different views on guns and so on. All I can tell you is what I`ve heard from his siblings, which is I wasn`t aware there was guns in the household, is that they lived in a semi-rural area. My brother worked a lot. He was incredibly active in the community.
The irony of this whole -- of this whole tragedy is my brother himself had a very troubled past that he overcame and has helped hundreds -- the people have come out of the woodwork to say your brother saved my family, saved my life, help me turn around my own addiction, my own troubled past.
BLOOM: Your brother was a gang member and became a pastor, right?
BLOOM: So you have that history of kind of redemption and overcoming violence in your family.
GRIEGO: Exactly. And why he --
BLOOM: Does that inform how you feel about your nephew?
GRIEGO: Well, that`s exactly what we feel about him. And we know that the justice here is that my brother`s wishes would have been not that we make this kid an example and lock him away forever and there be no good come out of this, but instead that he have a chance to change lives the way my brother`s lives changed.
And the reason why there were guns as I understand it in the household is because my brother was gone and he really believed that Nehemiah as the eldest need to protect the family.
Now, we may disagree with that. But that was his -- and whether they were locked or accessible and --
BLOOM: Can people overcome a history of violence like that? This level of violence. Can they be reformed?
PINSKY: It depends on the situation. I`m a little bit --
BLOOM: Killing five family members? At 15.
PINSKY: Listen, if he was so psychotic that he did not know what he was doing, and if that`s really what someone decides he has, yes, that is something that somebody can do in a moment of craziness.
BLOOM: But in 10 years could it be safe for him to walk around amongst us? Twenty years?
PINSKY: This is -- I know it`s hard for people to distinguish. As compared to some of the other cases we`ve been talking about, this is one where that`s possible. I don`t think necessarily. So, possible.
I`ve got to take a quick break.
Kyung, I`ve got some questions for you, our reporter, when we get back. We`re back in just a second.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF DAN HOUSTON, BERNALILO COUNTY, NEW MEXICO: I could tell you that the suspect was involved heavily in games, violent games. It`s kind of what he was into, and was quite excited as he got the opportunity to discuss that with our investigators.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: But according to our guest, Eric, the uncle of this young child, he was not. And there are a lot of things being reported that are apparently inaccurate.
Welcome back, Lisa Bloom, my co-host this week from avo.com.
This teen you`re looking at is charged in the deaths of his parents and three young siblings. And what you watched before there was the sheriff discussing the impact of video games, which we`ll maybe get into in a minute.
But, Kyung, I want to go to you first. You got all of your information from the police, just what`s on the record.
A, you`re hearing now what Eric is saying. Can you reconcile that for me?
B, I`m hearing he did not -- was not in any way involved with violent video games.
And, C, I`d also heard -- again, I`m also hearing stuff in the vapors -- that the guns were being provided to the 15-year-old because of some of the unsavory types that his dad had to work with, he wanted to be sure he knew where the guns were in case something happened.
LAH: Well, going to, first of all, a little bit about what Eric said. Those are similar things what we`re hearing from the church. The church described him -- and this is a church of 16,000 people. It`s its own mini city.
What I kept hearing from people who knew this boy is that he was a quiet boy but he was deeply involved in the church. He was a wrestler. He`s someone who had a lot of friends, very affable. He was quiet but if you spoke to him he would grin.
Now, on the day after those murders, what you hear from the pastor, from the chief security person at the church, is that he was different. He was dark. That there was something very different about this boy.
They were not aware that he was playing any violent video games. Everything I heard at the church was that the video games were something that his father didn`t want him to ever be allowed to play. That he was home-schooled, that he was a rather sheltered child, that he was a very young 15-year-old.
So that`s what we`re hearing from the church community who watched this young boy grow up.
What we`re hearing from the investigators, from the people who talked to him after they discovered the bodies, from the district attorney`s office is that video games is a component. And I can tell you, Drew, from having covered Aurora, Colorado, from the Clackamas shooting, to Newtown, all of those shootings that I was at, the thread of video games is out there.
PINSKY: Yes. But, Kyung --
LAH: Whether it`s a narrative that society just leans on, we don`t know.
PINSKY: But to cause it -- to put the association to a causation -- I reviewed as much literature as I could find on this today, and it is confusing and it`s inconclusive. There`s some stuff that looks compelling and some that does not at all.
Darren Kavinoky, I want to bring you in here. You`ve not had a chance to ring in on this. What do you make of all this?
DARREN KAVINOKY, ATTORNEY: Yes, thanks.
On the video game point, I think it`s -- it`s a difficult thread to say that because he played video games it has any correlation to behavior. And, frankly, I thought we`d dealt with this back with that Judas Priest litigation in the `70s or `80s, that notion that listening to satanic music would inspire people to do horrible acts.
You could say that in each one of those killings that the killer ate breakfast that morning, so we could somehow by implication indict breakfast cereal --
BLOOM: Well, I don`t think breakfast cereal is the same thing as games that encourage boys to sit for hours and hours and shoot and shoot and shoot to solve all their problems with people`s heads exploding, very bloody, gory.
And I disagree, Drew, if I may briefly. I think there is research that shows --
PINSKY: There is.
BLOOM: -- the media has powerful influence, especially on kids.
PINSKY: Inconclusive what I saw.
Eric, you have something --
KAVINOKY: There may be influence. But if we take a healthy person and put them in front of those video games it`s not going to have the same impact.
BLOOM: Some of these boys play for many, many hours.
PINSKY: Listen, my sons play video games. They seem pretty good. But, Eric, go ahead.
BLOOM: It doesn`t affect everyone. But it affects a lot of children.
PINSKY: Eric, please.
GRIEGO: Drew, we don`t know whether played them or not. They weren`t allowed in the home. Could he have played them some -- but the only reason I make the point is he said in passing that he considered going to Walmart and having a bloody shootout.
That is the closing scene from "Grand Theft Auto". So whether he saw the game and thought wouldn`t that be cool, mentioned that in passing, the salacious way that the sheriff decided to use that to say this kid was -- you know, you were next. He killed his family and you were next is my point.
BLOOM: I don`t think anyone`s saying it`s the only factor.
GRIEGO: They`ve been so reckless --
GRIEGO: They`ve been so reckless in how they put this out. And the real issue is why did this happen to a seemingly normal, relatively well- adjusted boy that thousands of people missed the cues? Why did that happen? And not the intricacies of what happened. They`re dead. It`s tragic. We`re devastated.
And yet the fascination of the local and sadly many of the national media is how much of a monster was this kid, how --
PINSKY: Well --
GRIEGO: He sent pictures and he talked about going to Walmart. My God. I mean --
KAVINOKY: Drew, fundamentally, there`s one other problem in this case, and that is that he`s being tried as an adult. They`re wanting to prosecute him as an adult. And that takes him out of the juvenile system, which is based on rehabilitation --
KAVINOKY: -- puts him in a system that`s geared toward punishment and --
PINSKY: Right. And I would be against that myself. If he has a condition that is treatable and you can expect a good prognosis.
I`ve got to take a break.
BLOOM: Right. He`ll be out at 21.
PINSKY: More on the story and your calls after this.
PINSKY: Welcome back. We`re speaking about a 15-year-old boy accused of killing his parents and three young siblings. His uncle, Eric Griego, is with us. I`m going to go right out to phones. I have Marisa in Pennsylvania -- Marisa.
MARISA, PENNSYLVANIA: Yes, Dr. Drew. I feel that we`re missing a major component here. I think this young boy was very swayed by his testosterone involving this so-called girlfriend. Sometimes, when they`re young like that and they have a girlfriend, they`re very persuaded by a passion or something this girl might have felt and compelled him to do this. This is a young boy, and they get very testosterone and involved emotionally.
LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY: OK. But I think we have to be -- Marisa, I think we have to be careful blaming a 12-year-old girl for the actions this boy took, right?
MARISA: She`s very persuasive in this.
BLOOM: How do we know that?
MARISA: How do we not?
PINSKY: Eric, I`m going to have you respond to it, and I would say that -- again, this is all complete speculation, but the quality that this -- your nephew had of detachment and bizarre thought and complete sort of disconnect from his reality, that`s not caused by the sway of another adolescent, is it?
ERIC GRIEGO, HIS NEPHEW IS CHARGED IN DEATH OF FAMILY: Well, sadly, the hard evidence that we have seen is that the caller`s absolutely right. The young girl who`s trying to -- who just today testified to police and they decided they`re not going to charge her, the evidence we saw from their phones was that she, in fact, was egging him on. She met him at the church afterwards.
If she was really so concerned at what he talked about doing and everything that he had just done which she would have been aware of through those texts, that she still wanted to be with him, it completely belies what she`s saying, which is she was mortified and she told her mom. It`s just not true. She egged him on. That`s what we saw.
BLOOM: What did she say, Eric? I`m just curious. What did she say - -
GRIEGO: What`s that?
BLOOM: What did she say in the texts to egg him on?
GRIEGO: You should do it. I can`t remember the exact wording, but the tenor of the conversation was very much that kind of bravado and him trying to show off and him sort of, you know, being blustery in the texts and so on. And, there was no that`s crazy, don`t do it. You know, she had several hours where she could have talked to her mom or called the cops or done something. She did nothing.
BLOOM: She`s a 12-year-old girl.
GRIEGO: No. We`re not putting the responsibility on it. The point is the rush to judgment for this kid and the rush to sort of say, oh, well, you know, it had to be all him. He had to be some sort of psycho to do this. There are many, many factors. It`s not as easy as saying he was a sociopath or not --
GRIEGO: There was the young girl. There was --
PINSKY: I don`t think any -- we`re helping you build a narrative here where he`s not a sociopath where he had an acute medical event that disconnected him from his reality. We have myself. We have a forensic psychologist who are willing to sort of build that sort of possibility here.
Neither she nor I would put that on a 12-year-old. And we can`t -- again, HLN cannot confirm nor deny it. Let`s go to a call real quick. Susan in Oregon.
SUSAN, OREGON: Hi. As a psychotherapist and social worker, I wanted to address the issue about a 15-year-old being tried as an adult, especially -- I completely agree with what you guys are saying about the mental health issues. And there`s lots of reasons for behavior, but we don`t treat any other child as an adult in any other circumstance in our society.
And it`s bizarre to me and disturbing that we want to lock up a 15- year-old with hardened criminals --
PINSKY: I would say, Susan, though, there are some --
BLOOM: Thank you.
PINSKY: Well, Lisa would agree with you on that.
BLOOM: I agree with you. So, we`re in the minority. Most Americans think this young man and others like him should be tried as an adult.
PINSKY: But there are certain circumstances where children by 15 are so characterologically destroyed that the probability -- I mean, think about an animal that was severely abused and is now biting everybody. It`s very unlikely, not impossible, but unlikely and create tremendous amount of resources to bring that person back. Go Darren and then Cheryl. Darren, go.
DARREN KAVINOKY, ATTORNEY: So, Dr. Drew, the rationale, though, for treating juveniles and putting them into the adult system is usually grounded in the fact that in juvenile court systems, there`s usually an out. That is, that the juvenile court system will only have jurisdiction over the child until they reach the age of 21 or 25 or some relatively young age.
So, they get put into the adult system so that there isn`t that outrage that this person is released when they`re very, very young. Fundamentally, though, the answer is not then to call a child an adult. They`re not. It`s like that joke about, well, how many legs does a dog have if you call a tail a leg?
The answer`s always four. It doesn`t matter if you call a tail a leg. A leg is still a leg. A kid is just a kid. Keep them in the juvenile system and change the law so that kids can remain in that system for a longer period of time. That`s the answer.
PINSKY: Darren, Cheryl, do you agree or disagree?
CHERYL ARUTT, PSY.D., PSYCHOLOGIST: I could not agree more. I think that the prison system and the mental health system so desperately need more of these bridges and these supportive transition kinds of programs. We do not need to be treating somebody whose mental capacity and brain is not going to be mature until he`s 27 or 28 --
BLOOM: OK, but Cheryl, Cheryl, I agree with you, but let me play devil`s advocate, then, on behalf of the majority of Americans who want to see him tried as an adult. He gets out at 21. Do you want him to come live next door to you?
ARUTT: Well, Lisa, this is what I mean by one of the bridging systems. I think we need to have a system to evaluate so that there isn`t so much of an out if they are, as Dr. Drew was saying, such a hardened criminal that they continue to present a danger to society. We`ve got to have something in between you`re out at 21 or 26 --
BLOOM: How about 25?
PINSKY: Well -- but professionals presumably would make these assessments.
BLOOM: But it`s never going to be 100 percent.
KAVINOKY: If you put him in prison with hardened criminals, it is 100 percent that he`s not going to --
BLOOM: That`s true. That`s true.
PINSKY: That is true, too. So guys, we`re going to have to hold it right there. Thank you, Kyung Lah, Darren Kavinoky, and Cheryl as well, thank you. And Eric, Eric, my friend, I`m sort of speechless with what you must be going through with all this. And I want to, first of all, send our thoughts and prayers to you and your family and thanks and gratitude for trying to set the record straight and give us a chance to chew on this a little bit. We appreciate it.
GRIEGO: Thank you, Drew.
PINSKY: All right, guys. Now, we are going to change gears entirely in the upcoming segments here. We`re going to deal with some stuff that we picked up that we`ve been putting out to you guys online and you have been grabbing on to it voraciously. So, we felt we really had to get at some of this.
One was the recommendation by a school allegedly that a child should have a breast reduction surgery because she was getting bullied. And later, a breast-feeding doll that`s out. Would you like your child to have one? There is the commercial. It`s awesome. Stay with us.
PINSKY: OK. Now, as I said, we`re making a hard turn to topics about moms and kids making headlines. I`m back with my co-host, Lisa Bloom, Avo.com, mother of two children herself. Cheryl Arutt, a psychologist, who she is a mother of two.
Our first story is Tammie Jackson. She claims her 13-year-old daughter was being taunted because her breasts were so large. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAMMIE JACKSON, SAYS SCHOOL RECOMMENDED BREAST REDUCTION: That I could transfer my daughter to different schools but since her boobs are so large that she`s going to always get teased. And then, she told me the only suggestion that she could make is for my 13-year-old daughter to get a breast reduction. It makes me feel like now you`re telling me it`s my fault or it`s God`s fault the way that he made my daughter?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Wow. Tammie Jackson and --
PINSKY: I know, Lisa, you`re beside yourself, but I have Tammie, herself, and the school district superintendent on the phone with us right now. First, I want to talk to Tammie. Tammie, you actually met with the school district this morning. Where do things stand now?
JACKSON: Well, as things stand right now, they are claiming that they`re going to -- they have programs in place, and, they are going to provide programs for my kids. And that was basically it.
PINSKY: So, this whole thing about the breast reduction got tabled?
JACKSON: Well, they did apologize for the comments that was made.
JACKSON: The school board apologized to me.
PINSKY: And you`re satisfied with that?
JACKSON: Well, no, I`m not satisfied with that. I will be satisfied once the bullying stops at the school, once they can put a stop to the bullying.
PINSKY: Let`s hear what the superintendent, Clive Coleman. He`s the superintendent of Riverview Garden School District in Missouri. Clive, please you ring in here on the allegations.
VOICE OF CLIVE COLEMAN, SUPERINTENDENT, RIVERVIEW GARDENS S.D.: Well, I want to say that we are concerned about bullying and we take it very seriously. I, not only met with Mrs. Jackson, I spoke with her when she first -- when I first received this information.
I want to emphasize once again emphatically that the discussion and the information or the allegations presented by Miss Jackson, as I said before, was a conversation that Mrs. Jackson is alleging occurred between her and another employee that she is denying that actually it took place.
PINSKY: Has that employee -- has the employee been counseled or educated --
COLEMAN: Well, we educate all employees to make sure that the conversation involving medical decisions beyond the purview of their expertise --
COLEMAN: -- is held with professionals outside our district. We don`t have and we do not make recommendations involving plastic surgery for any reason whatsoever.
COLEMAN: If a parent has a situation involving that, then we will allow a parent to make that decision.
PINSKY: Of course. Clive, I`m going to interrupt you and ask now for Tammie`s response. Are you cool with that, Tammie?
JACKSON: No, because the conversation I had, I understood her very clearly. I understood what she said. She said that my 13-year-old daughter should get a breast reduction. She also said that she knew someone that had got a breast reduction at an early age also.
BLOOM: Tammie, this is Lisa Bloom. Let me just talk to you mother to mother. First of all, I tend to believe you because I don`t know why you would make up a story like this. You`re not asking for money. I can hear the emotion in your voice. And I, too, as a mother would be completely outraged if somebody at a school suggested that my little daughter should have surgery to avoid bullying. I don`t care if she`s got three heads growing out of her shoulders.
JACKSON: Thank you.
BLOOM: The bullying should be stopped and her body does not have to be changed.
PINSKY: But Clive says he`s taking that seriously. Cheryl, anything to ring in here with us?
ARUTT: As a mother, I would feel outraged as well. And I think what`s so important is that we look at this bullying issue and we look at teaching kids more about acceptance and respect for one another. I look at things like young kids are watching something called "Annoying Orange." I don`t know if you`ve seen this. It is absolutely a model of bullying, and all of the behaviors we don`t want to see our kids do.
And, I just think that we really need to work on that shift and work on the respect and the pro social kinds of skills.
PINSKY: We all agree. I think we are all in agreement about that. I think Tammie, Clive, we`re all on the same page. I`m going to go check out this website and see what`s going on. It`s stunning to me. You know, young people are talking about how disconnected they do feel from the consequences of their behavior socially on others and it just gets reinforced --
BLOOM: But you know what, and girls, we`re so judged for our bodies. We`re too small, we`re too big, we`re too thin, too fat. I mean, this is outrageous. And a 13-year-old girl is so precious. I mean, that is such a tender time for her. So, I`m glad her mom is sticking up for her.
PINSKY: The other girls can be horrible and the boys can be horrible.
BLOOM: And adults can be horrible.
PINSKY: Yes. But I do appreciate, Tammie, you speaking out about this. And Clive, thank you for making your position clear. I think we get it. And I think the school is doing what it needs to do --
COLEMAN: Exactly. And if I could, before you close, I want to make sure that Miss Jackson understands that the district will work to support her with dealing with her issues. When Miss Jackson actually spoke with me, she asked what did I think about a breast reduction. There`s no way in the world.
I have a daughter. I could not, as the superintendent of a school district, even fathom someone asking me that question.
PINSKY: Right. Fair enough.
COLEMAN: You know, as far as I`m concerned, we will do what it takes to make sure that she`s receiving the best service.
PINSKY: So, the message is, right, leave the medical decisions to the medical team and let`s all get on this bullying issue.
BLOOM: It`s a teachable moment.
PINSKY: All right. Next up, do you have footage of the doll I want to talk about in the next break? Can we show that for a second? Let`s get that up there because you all out there have been sounding off about this on our Facebook by the hundreds and hundreds. You saw this and you had an opinion. We`ll be back with it and your calls after this.
PINSKY: And a reminder that you can see mom, Tammie, and her daughter, both of them who had been involved in that breast reduction controversy we were just talking about, they will be next Wednesday on "Evening Express." So, check out what goes on there and see how this thing has progressed.
My co-host this week, Lisa Bloom, she`s back with me from Avo.com. I have psychologist, Cheryl Arutt, and also joining us now is Loni Coombs, attorney, mother, grandmother, and author of --
PINSKY: Yes, I know. "You`re Perfect and Other Lies Parents Tell You," and conservative columnist, Pam Geller. She has four daughters, herself. And the reason I`ve called in these moms is we have tons of Facebook posts about the next story, the breast milk baby doll.
Look at this video from the BreastMilkBaby.com. Pretty much shows you all you need to know and whatever you don`t get from this commercial. Lisa`s going to demonstrate in just a second. So, my question -- well, first of all, we have a representative of the doll`s manufacturer. His name is Dennis Lewis. He`s on the phone. And he calls himself the U.S. ambassador for the breast milk baby. So, Dennis, why? Why make this doll?
DENNIS LEWIS, SPOKESMAN, BERJUAN TOYS: Hey, thanks a lot for having me on. I think the best question is, why shouldn`t we have these dolls? All dolls should be breast-fed because all little girls should grow up knowing that the healthy, most -- the best way to feed a baby is by breast- feeding.
PINSKY: We all a thousand percent agree with you. I don`t think any of my panel will disagree the slightest with that. The question is, Lisa, you`re going to demonstrate for us.
BLOOM: I am. Look, I think this is a great product. Oops, I`m a --
PINSKY: You`re completely on board with it.
BLOOM: I think breastfeeding is a wonderful thing. I breastfed my children. And you know what, little girls like to emulate what they see their mothers doing. They see their mother breastfeeding a baby. They want to do --
PINSKY: Lisa --
BLOOM: OK. So, here`s what you do. You put the little bib on --
PINSKY: I`m not saying make a --
BLOOM: No, you put the little bib on, you put the doll -- not to the little child`s breast, and it makes the little suckling noise.
PINSKY: Loni Coombs, do you have an opinion about this?
LONI COOMBS, ATTORNEY: I sure do.
BLOOM: This is a healthy, natural part of life.
COOMBS: I absolutely do.
PINSKY: OK. Loni, go ahead.
COOMBS: We all agree it`s a natural part. It`s very important. I breastfed my child until he was almost 20 months, which is really a long time for, you know, by our country`s standards.
COOMBS: Yes. But here`s the thing. A six-year-old -- and these dolls are marketed to six-year-old little girls. At that time, what a parent should be teaching their little girl is they have private parts on their body that are special and you should not allow strangers to touch them. That`s the appropriate lesson at that time.
BLOOM: Loni, what does that have to do with this? She`s not exposing her breast.
LEWIS: But what does that have to do with our dolls?
COOMBS: Because now you`re confusing the issue. Now, you`re telling, put this little thing on where there are going to be these little flower petals over your nipples and it talks about the nipples and then you hold the doll there to that contact on the nipples and you breastfeed. Now, look --
BLOOM: Loni, I`m surprised at you.
PINSKY: I`m going to interrupt you for a second. I see Pam Geller bristling and reaching through the camera.
PINSKY: So Pam got something to say, too, I guess.
PAM GELLER, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Yes, I do. This, again, is robbing our children, robbing our girls of their childhood. I think this is akin to teaching sexual --
GELLER: -- sex education in first grade. It is a cheapening -- it is a cheapening of the culture. I breastfed all my children. I mean, what`s next? An anatomically correct dolls, a boy and a girl --
BLOOM: So, Pam, can I ask you a question?
GELLER: That`s organic and that`s natural --
BLOOM: Pam, if I had the little baby doll and I was giving it a bottle, that would be OK with you, right?
BLOOM: OK. So --
BLOOM: -- for kids to learn that breastfeeding is actually the healthiest thing for the baby and the mother. I mean, look, we use boobs to sell beer, cars, everything else. Everybody`s perfectly comfortable with that. But if we have a child actually -
PINSKY: Everybody, quiet. Quiet. Hold on. Hold it! Hold on. Lots of opinions. Lots of energy. It was the viewers that really generated this story. So, let me go out to them. Joanie in Nevada, you want to say something here?
JOANIE, NEVADA: I have 12 grandchildren.
JOANIE: I am astonished. Is the next thing going to be pretend period? And it`s going to give you a calendar and they`re going to say you can count to --
JOANIE: I mean, this is revolting, disgusting.
BLOOM: That`s actually a good analogy. That`s a better analogy.
GELLER: Can we expect our little girls --
PINSKY: Let`s say there is --
GELLER: Can we expect our little girls to play this on the playground with the little boys? It is robbing our children of their childhood. Why can`t we wait --
PINSKY: Loni, go.
COOMBS: Also, Dr. Drew, you know a very important part of teaching our children how to play is allowing them to use their imagination and creativity. We don`t have to give them every single thing in graphic detail.
PINSKY: OK. OK. All right. Let me go back out to Dennis. Dennis, I`m very uncomfortable with this whole thing, but let me play devil`s advocate for a second on your behalf and just say, you know, this is -- Lisa`s got a point. This is behavior we really need to be encouraging and it is the healthy alternative. Are we not doing enough to encourage and make this sort of -- make it --
BLOOM: Breastfeeding is OK. It`s healthy. It`s natural.
PINSKY: Is that what your goal is?
LEWIS: I mean, first of all, you know, I think we have to stop and think of something that -- I mean, breastfeeding always involves children. I mean, it`s natural. I mean, there`s nothing sexual about it. There`s no reason that there should be any taboo about it. We`re not robbing them of their childhood.
PINSKY: Dennis, I`m sorry. I`ve got to go out -- I`m running out of time. I want to go to callers. Dawn in California. Dawn, you have something to say?
DAWN, CALIFORNIA: I think that we`re just spending too much time on emphasizing a woman`s body as a sexual thing and that women should be encouraged to breastfeed and that, you know, it`s OK to teach that.
BLOOM: Breastfeeding is not sexual.
PINSKY: OK. Cheryl, the psychologist. I`m going to go out with Cheryl here. Cheryl, what do you got to say?
ARUTT: This country, in particular, is so squeamish about the things that women`s bodies can do, to paraphrase "Modern Family," turning food into a human, you know, and then making the food to feed the human. We sexualized breasts as if that`s the only thing --
PINSKY: It sounds more like family guy than modern family.
PINSKY: Let me put the thing on. Come on.
BLOOM: Go ahead. Come on. You can do it.
PINSKY: Why have gender -
BLOOM: You know what? Little boys could try it out. It goes right there.
PINSKY: While we`re doing this, I`ve got to go out to break. I want to thank my guests. We`ll be right back. I`m breastfeeding right now.
PINSKY: OK. As we said, this topic has generated a lot of energy out there. Amy in California -- Amy.
AMY, CALIFORNIA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Amy. What`s going on?
AMY: How are you?
PINSKY: We`re good. What`s going on there?
AMY: Oh, no. I just think this is absolutely disgusting. And I have no idea why any doll-making company would do that to our children. I think it`s sexual in nature and just --
AMY: -- kids.
BLOOM: Yes. I think it beats the hell out of Barbie.
PINSKY: You know, for a male, it has a sexual overtone to it, I think.
BLOOM: But it doesn`t mean it`s true, though. Breastfeeding is so far from sexual. I mean, it`s messy. You`ve got your baby there. You`re delivering nutrition. I know in our culture, men think of breasts, they think of sexual. But I`ve got news for you, there is another function. Feeding a child.
PINSKY: I just wondered where you were really going with this, Lisa.
BLOOM: Feeding a child.
PINSKY: Listen, it has been such a privilege having you here this week and to finish with you and the baby is just really a phenomenal.
BLOOM: I think it`s sweet.
PINSKY: It is sweet. And I certainly know we`ll see more of you here. So, thank you very much.
BLOOM: Thank you.
PINSKY: I also want to thank Loni Coombs, Cheryl Arutt, Pam Geller, Darren Kavinoky. We had a lot of guests today. Kyung Lah, Dennis Lewis, Clive Coleman, Tammie Jackson. Of course, we had Eric Griego here with the terrible tragedy that fell upon his family this week.
We`re going to keep trying to break that down and figure it out, understand what led to such tragedy so we all can be sure and vigilant that doesn`t happen in our communities, our families.
Thank you all for watching. Thank you, of course, for calling. And reminder that it`s "Nancy Grace" -- I think Rita seating in for -- starts right after this or right now.