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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Blade Runner in Court; Wanda Sykes Discusses Racism, American Culture and Current Comedy Show
Aired February 19, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, what really happened. Oscar Pistorius said he didn't mean to kill his girlfriend. Prosecutors say it was cold-blooded murder. The man they called blade runner told me this about his temper when I talked to him a few months ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OSCAR PISTORIUS, OLYMPIC TRACK RUNNER: I think I'm still learning and I'm sure I'm going to learn a lot more lessons throughout my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Now I'll ask his track rival and friend, what could have possibly gone so terribly wrong?
And a mass killer's obsession. Shocking new revelations about Adam Lanza. Were there warning signs before the slaughter at Sandy Hook? I'll talk to a forensic psychiatrist who says we can stop such mass shootings.
Also inside the Navy SEALs. The man who trains them for their top secret missions. Tonight he's telling me his story.
And the last time she was here, Wanda Sykes said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WANDA SYKES, COMEDIAN: I'm, like, over the top. You know, there's nothing that I can't say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Which is of course exactly why we've invited her back.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. We begin with breaking news on a spectacular fire in Kansas City, Missouri. An entire city block is in flames. Early reports is that a car hit a gas main which caused a leak that turned into an inferno. Local hospitals are reporting at least 19 injuries so far, seven of those critical and firefighters are battling the blaze as I speak.
But now to tonight's big story. A dramatic day in court for Oscar Pistorius. The man the world knows as blade runner, says he and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp were in love and couldn't have been happier. He said he thought that he was shooting an intruder in the house. Prosecutors, meanwhile, say that Steenkamp locked herself in the bathroom after a heated argument and Pistorius then shot her dead.
While each side try to make its case in that Pretoria courtroom, Reeva Steenkamp was laid to rest in an emotional ceremony. Listen to her uncle, Mike Steenkamp.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE STEENKAMP, REEVA'S UNCLE: We are here today as a family. But there's only one thing missing. It's Reeva.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: CNN's Robyn Curnow is in Johannesburg with more on this.
And, Robyn, very emotional scenes both at the funeral for -- I'm sorry. We're going to throw straight to -- our correspondent there.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Piers. Well, we did hear from Oscar Pistorius for the first time. His version of events, his story. And it's all here in this 11-page affidavit where he paints a picture of being fearful of terror, of horror of an intruder coming into his house. He basically says -- his defense arguing that he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder and that's why he shot at her.
However, for the state, they say that's no justification for shooting somebody through a bathroom door. They say this was premeditated murder. They managed to convince the magistrate who agreed with them, which makes his bail hearing even more difficult.
The onus now is on his defense team tomorrow in that court to prove exceptional circumstances, that he deserves bail and, of course, many people watching with great interest because Oscar Pistorius is a hero in this country. And they desperately want to believe this version of events.
But as -- as was said in court today, facts are facts. And it doesn't look that good, if you look at it as a one, two, three, ABC fact. This is difficult times and strenuous times for Oscar Pistorius. Back to you.
MORGAN: Robyn Curnow, thank you very much.
Want to turn now to a man who knows Oscar Pistorius' story very well. Blake Leeper is a U.S. paralympian who competed against Pistorius in five races in London this past summer in the 400-meter individual.
Pistorius took the gold and (INAUDIBLE) was right behind him with silver and Blake Leeper joins me now Blake, thank you so much for joining me. I would imagine everyone in the world of Paralympics and indeed Olympians all over the world are all in a sense a complete and utter shock. What is your reaction to what's happened?
BLAKE LEEPER, U.S. PARALYMPIAN: Yes, thanks for having me. Like you said, complete shock. Knowing Oscar and competed with him for the past couple of three years, there's something that I wouldn't relay him to. So when I heard the allegations and I heard him and the situation, I was in complete shock. I truly was.
MORGAN: You've described Oscar as a role model, a mentor, an inspiration and a brother. Do you still feel the same way given everything we now know?
LEEPER: Yes. Because I can only relate to the times that I spent with him. And the times that I spent with him, he went out his way to help me out. And even though we was competitor, he understood what the biggest mission was, and that was bringing awareness for disability of people around the world. And he helped me out. And he's the reason why I'm here today. He's the reason why he inspired me to want to compete and compete on a high level until it gets to the Paralympics Games.
MORGAN: I interviewed Oscar about three months ago. It was I think the last interview he did really for any television of any substance. He was very charming. He was very softly spoken, very polite, but I did remind him at one stage about the blowup at the London Paralympics when he lost to a runner who had the longer blades. And his behavior frankly trackside was explosive and pretty unpleasant.
And this is what he said by way of response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Now here's what's interesting about you. Because you seem such a lovely guy, you're polite, you're charming. You're a poster boy now for running around the world. And yet there was a little moment, a little flash, Oscar, in the Paralympics when you lost in the 400, I think it was, to this Brazilian wonder guy.
MORGAN: And he had -- yes, (INAUDIBLE). And he had longer blades than you. And afterwards, in the trackside interview, you went absolutely Tonto basically saying the same stuff about him that Michael Johnson says about you.
PISTORIUS: No, that's very different. I mean -- and I agree. You know, it wasn't maybe the right time. I think -- I think I'm still learning, and I'm sure I'm going to learn a lot more lessons throughout my life.
MORGAN: I'll have to give you a bit of take on Twitter for that outburst. (LAUGHTER)
PISTORIUS: I saw that. It's OK.
It's all right. We all make mistakes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I mean, it was an extraordinary different Oscar Pistorius that I interviewed to one that we saw blow up trackside. What it told me was he was a ferocious competitor but that also he had a temper.
Were you aware of that side of him? Or were you surprised when you saw that trackside interview?
LEEPER: To be honest, I was surprised. But you got to understand that it was high emotions. You know, in a competitive nature. And he's a really competitive person. I mean, this shows that regardless if it was the Olympics or the Paralympics, that he really still wanted to win. So that it shows that he was a very, very -- extremely competitive person. And emotions were running high. You know? Understand? Running 200 meters and giving all you got, you may -- oxygen level doesn't get to your brain as quick as possible.
So I mean, I kind of understand where he was coming from being upset. And people just got to realize that he just loves to win and he loves to compete. And the fact that he showed emotion means how bad he really love to compete even at the Paralympics Games.
MORGAN: I mean it also showed a volatility, though, that many wouldn't assume existed if you just interviewed Oscar as I did. He seemed so mild mannered in every way. But he showed me that he did have a temper to him. And maybe another side to him. We now know a lot about his kind of adrenaline kicks, whether it was driving cars at high speed or owning guns at home and so on.
I mean, did you feel you knew the real Oscar or did he keep himself pretty close?
LEEPER: For me, I just know him on a competitive nature. And that was on the track. And when I see him on the track. I never associated him as having a bad temper or that type of nature, to be honest with you. So when I did see it, yes, I was shocked. But I just being briefly with him, I never seen him on that type of capacity.
MORGAN: There are allegations that they found steroids in his house which again none of this has been confirmed yet publicly. But the suggestion being that he said he was keeping them for friends. We don't know if that's true or not. But would you be very shocked if it turned out that Oscar himself had been abusing steroids?
LEEPER: Yes, I would. Like you said, they're allegations. So we don't know and I don't know myself. But I know he works hard. And I know he's progressed over the years. And I know that he's a hard worker and, well, like I said, only time can tell what truly is the true story of it.
MORGAN: I talked to him briefly in my interview about female admirers. Just watch a clip of what he said back to me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: How are you dealing with the millions of women that have been attracted to you since your Olympic appearances?
PISTORIUS: I haven't had much time to think about that. But I'm seeing somebody in South Africa. She's a -- she's a great girl. And just -- yes, just taking life as it comes. Start training in 2 1/2 weeks. So my mind's in the right place still.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I mean, that clip there just reminds everyone again what an appalling tragedy it is, most of all, obviously, for his girlfriend who was killed. It wasn't the girl that he was talking about in that interview. We think he met Reeva about three weeks later. But clearly he was popular with women. And there doesn't seem to have been much suggestion of any big problems with relationships.
Did he ever share anything with you?
LEEPER: Never -- he never went into detail to -- with me about the situation. Most of our conversations that we did have was about track life and how we could better ourselves on the track and, you know, better ourselves as humans off the track. So when it comes to relationships, we never did ever go into much details about that situation.
MORGAN: And, Blake, finally, I mean, do you think that you'll ever see Oscar run again?
LEEPER: Personally, I don't know. You know what I'm saying? I wasn't there, I don't know what happened. And I don't know what the future beholds. Only thing I can do is just pray for Oscar and pray for the victim and the victim's family. And only time will tell what will happen to the future.
MORGAN: Do you believe it?
LEEPER: To be honest with you, that's not up to me. I wasn't there. And I don't know the situation. I just know personally that he was a very good person to me and he went out of his way to help me out as a mentor and I could tell that when he was associated to me, that his heart was in the right place.
MORGAN: Blake Leeper, thank you very much indeed for joining me.
LEEPER: Thank you so much. MORGAN: Joining me now is Robert Shapiro, he's one of the nation's most prominent attorneys. He defended O.J. Simpson. He's certainly no stranger to high-profile cases.
This one, Robert, it's a fascinating case because we're now in a position, I think -- we listened to Oscar Pistorius' statement today -- of believing his pretty convoluted, many would say implausible version of events, but up against that, the prosecution saying it was premeditated murder. And I find myself a bit torn, having met and interviewed him. I find it hard to believe that he would cold bloodedly, premeditatedly plan the murder of his girlfriend.
I'm not saying it didn't happen. I'm just finding it hard to believe. What is your assessment so far?
ROBERT SHAPIRO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This is a very unusual case. In America, no lawyer would make the statements or have the client in this case, Oscar, make statements under oath as to what took place. But in South Africa, we have a totally different system.
First, his main role right now as a lawyer is to try to keep him on bail, get him out of the police station and get him out of the horrible jails that exist in South Africa. And in order to do that, he has to convince the judge of something more than being a flight risk and being a danger, that there are exceptional circumstances here that would warrant him being released on bail.
And so we've had what we would call in this country a mini preliminary hearing where the judge is hearing evidence in advance as to what took place. And I think his story has a lot of compelling issues that -- to be resolved.
MORGAN: Is it credible? From a legal point of view, would you think it's credible?
SHAPIRO: From a legal point of view, if it's believed, it is absolutely credible. So this comes down to a question, and in South Africa there are no juries. So a judge is going to make the ultimate decision on this case. As to whether or not the judge believes him, it's not a reasonable doubt case as we would have in America, but simply his story.
There's no other witnesses. There's going to be forensic evidence. There may be some other types of circumstantial evidence as the things that may have led up to this, but ultimately the judge is going to look him in the eye and say, do I believe you?
MORGAN: And we don't actually know yet what the other evidence may be. There may be witnesses, we're told maybe neighbors who heard screaming earlier in the evening. That may or may not be true. All that will come into play, won't it?
SHAPIRO: Absolutely. And, you know, Piers, my experience tells me it's never good to speculate as to what the evidence may be in a criminal trial. MORGAN: Robert Shapiro, it's going to be a fascinating case, as you say. Very impressive to hear so much detail now, but it's all out there and it's going to be fascinating.
SHAPIRO: I think so, too. And it's just a horrible human event for everybody.
MORGAN: Awful. I enjoyed meeting Oscar. He seemed a lovely guy. But obviously everyone's sympathies really have to be with his girlfriend who lost her life. And I hope we get to the bottom of it.
SHAPIRO: Without a question. So --
MORGAN: Thanks for joining me.
SHAPIRO: You're welcome. Thanks for having me.
MORGAN: Still ahead, the forensic psychologist who says he sees a parallel to Oscar Pistorius and O.J. Simpson.
And coming up next, disturbing new details about Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza. His mental illness and what could be his shocking motive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barrel shotgun. Have the shells, a .12 gauge shotgun. You don't need an AR-15. It's harder to aim, it's harder to use. And in fact, you don't need 30 rounds to protect yourself. Buy a shotgun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: President Joe Biden today talking about self-defense. Tonight we're learning much more about one of this country's most shocking mass shootings. The Sandy Hook massacre gunman Adam Lanza. "The Hartford Courant" and PBS Frontline have uncovered new information about his home life, his mental state. Joining me now are two reporters from "The Hartford Courant" Josh Kovner and Alaine Griffin. Welcome to you both.
JOSH KOVNER, REPORTER, "THE HARTFORD COURANT": Thank you.
MORGAN: What are the main discoveries that you made about Adam Lanza, do you think?
KOVNER: His progression into darkness from a skinny kid, bushy haired, Cub Scout, computer geek. He had problems. He had Asperger's. He had a sensory issue where he couldn't process pain. But there were no overt acts of violence until he was 20. Christmas time, 2012, and there was this descent. And that's probably the most compelling part of this.
MORGAN: And Alaine Griffin, are these warning signs that should have been picked up by any authorities, do you think, or is he one of those that we've seen so many cases of, who slipped below the current radar?
ALAINE GRIFFIN, REPORTER, "THE HARTFORD COURANT": Well, I think if you look at Adam's life, you know, he started off in school. There was sort of this -- he was in and out of schools. He was in public school, parochial school for a little while, he was taken out of public school. He went to high school for two years, then he left high school at 16. He went to college for a year, went out of college, went to community college, dropped out the first semester. And then he fell off the radar.
I think once we had some high school officials tell us that once he fell off the radar and he was no longer sort of, you know, under the jurisdiction of the school where they were able to sort of see his progress, he fell out of focus for people. And he fell under the radar, and I guess the increased isolation is what happened in Adam's life.
MORGAN: I mean, the radar that he should have of course been picked up by was his mother, Nancy, who he ended up killing. For your report, you spoke with Marvin Lafontaine who was a friend of Nancy Lanza's from New Hampshire. Let's take a listen to what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARVIN LAFONTAINE, FRIEND OF NANCY LANZA'S: One of the activities at the overnight weekends was shooting .22s at an rifle range. That's the first exposure the kids had to a firearm. And they thought, it's fun. Target shooting is fun.
KOVNER: Did Adam shoot?
LAFONTAINE: Yes, they all did. And Adam aspired to be like his uncle.
LAFONTAINE: Yes. He was in the military. She was very proud of that. She allowed him to believe, yes, you're going to be like your uncle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Josh Kovner, you have a mother here who we are finding more and more about. Someone who knew her son was disturbed, knew he was obsessed with these violent video games. Encouraged him to go to gun ranges to use the guns and so on.
How much responsibility should she have on her shoulders? And she's not here to defend herself. Let's make that very clear. She was a victim, too. Should she have done more, do you think, to get him treatment?
KOVNER: Well, she bears a lot of responsibility. She's a mother. I think any mother would say that they bear a lot of responsibility for their child. You know, we have shooting sports. For a healthy kid, it's fine. And maybe early in his life, maybe it was okay. They shot as a family. She was born on a farm.
But I think the implication of your question -- and I agree with it -- is that as he struggled more, as he struggled to find his place in the world, as his contemporaries went on to college and went on to jobs and he ended up basically sitting home, it starts to get unhealthy perhaps. And I think she should have regulated the activity a little bit more.
MORGAN: And Alaine, tell me more about what we know about how the guns were stored and also tell me, if you can, about this suggestion that he was trying to emulate and indeed compete with and beat other mass shooters including Anders Breivik who killed 77 people in Norway?
GRIFFIN: Yes, well, "Hartford Courant" reporters Dave Altimari and Ed Mahoney today reported that investigators did find news articles that talked about the massacre in Norway. It's a theory they're looking at, that perhaps he did emulate the Norway shooter. It's just a theory at this point. Just something they're looking into. But finding those news articles in the home is something that is definitely part of their investigation.
MORGAN: And in terms of where his mother kept the weapons, what do we know about that?
GRIFFIN: Well, you know, we talked to -- one of the thins about Nancy Lanza, she didn't let too many people into her home. It was something that we heard very often from people, that she just kept people sort of at arm's length toward the end there. And from what we did hear from people that had been in the home, they weren't too sure of where they were stored. We did hear through early reports that they were possibly in the basement. But as to how they were kept and whether or not they were locked up, we have not been able to actually get that concrete just yet.
KOVNER: I think our colleagues are hearing from law enforcement that she did have the means to lock the guns, and I think they were locked sometimes and perhaps not locked others -- other times, maybe when they were going to go to the range, maybe they weren't locked. A contractor who worked inside quite a bit during 2010 and 2011 said he never saw loose guns. But I would submit that a kid is going to go kill his mother and 20 children and six adults, if he's bent on doing it, he's going to get to the guns.
MORGAN: Yes, I completely agree. And as Joe Biden said, he even talked later in that speech today about advising his wife to just have a shotgun and to fire it into the air to scare off intruders. You don't need to have AR-15 assault-style rifles because the consequences can be appalling, as we saw. Alaine Griffin and Josh Kovner, thank you very much.
GRIFFIN: Thank you.
KOVNER: Thank you. MORGAN: Now I want to turn to an expert on mental illness and criminal case. He's Dr. Michael Welner, a forensic psychiatric and chairman of the forensic panel. He works on some of the most complex cases in America today including mass killers and athletes who run afoul of the law. Welcome to you, Mr. Welner.
The more that we are gleaning about Adam Lanza, it seems to me that he was a horrific accident waiting to happen.
DR. MICHAEL WELNER, CHAIRMAN, THE FORENSIC PANEL: I think what we need to learn about the mass killers in waiting is that they are in waiting, and when they decide that this is a fantasy that they really embrace, they do everything they can not to be detected. And if he had Asperger's or if a developmental disability, the significance of that to me is that it would make it much more difficult for others to connect with him, it would have been easier for him to isolate in his own ideas.
And for mass killers who choose this life path -- because that's exactly how it happened for Breivik and others -- they are invested in isolating themselves. Breivik has written about having no contact with anyone for an entire year. And that is part of the equation. Whether someone has a major psychiatric diagnosis or not. This is not an impulsive crime. It's an end point.
And the significance of Breivik, of course, we have yet to learn, but the mass killers are aware of others who have come before them. And what distinguishes Breivik is his manual and how descriptive he was to leave a legacy for others to follow him. That is why he is the most deviant and the most awful, the most -- really the most depraved example. It's not the numbers. It's the fact that he has given instruction for others to follow when they read about him in one way or another.
MORGAN: Some people think the media play a part in responsibility by overreporting these things, by sort of inadvertently glamorizing it. Do you go along with that?
WELNER: I feel strongly that way. I think that for someone who's disappoint at his lack of relevance, the media's inclination to humanize people who do the unthinkable is unavoidable. Perfect example, the Fort Hood massacre. Nidal Hasan after he wiped out an entire segment of Fort Hood, traumatized those who did survive, his life was deconstructed. His grievances were humanized and all that.
Well, what about Anwar al-Alaki who supposedly inspired him? He was knocked out by a drone and no one gave his conflict or his personal issues a second thought. So, the same crime can be conceptualized as a terrorist that we don't humanize. And that people who do shocking things are humanized and the Adam Lanzas of the world who are alone and disappointed and cannot fit in, play off this in a way that we don't but they do.
And this is why we not distinguishing this as a perversion, as unacceptable, by reading people's manifestos and giving them relevance when they wrap it around something we can relate to, that it's all about their vanity, we perpetuate it. We have perpetuated this phenomenon. That's why it's exploded in the United States and the Western world. And we have to stop it, and we can.
MORGAN: Dr. Welner, food for thought there. Thank you very much for joining me.
WELNER: Thank you.
MORGAN: We did ask for a comment from Adam Lanza's brother and father, but they denied a request from CNN. Frontline's "Raising Adam Lanza" airs tonight at 10 p.m. It can be viewed online at pbs.org/frontline.
Coming next, I'll talk to a man who not only stars as a Navy SEAL on the big screen, he trains them in real life and knows all their secrets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bomb!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That's from the movie "Act of Valor," which starred actually Navy SEALS, America's most elite, and secret fighters, the men who, of course, took out Osama bin Laden.
Joining me now is Rorke Denver. He trains the SEALS and has written a book about them, "Damn Few, Making the Modern SEAL warrior." Welcome to you, Mr. Denver.
RORKE DENVER, AUTHOR, "DAMN FEW": Thank you, sir. I appreciate you having me, Piers.
MORGAN: there's a lot going on in the moment which I think comes into your sphere. I want to try and get through these quite quickly.
MORGAN: First of all, have you seen the film "Zero Dark Thirty"?
DENVER: I have.
MORGAN: What is your take on it? How realistic is it? I found it utterly compelling, but was it realistic?
DENVER: I think Kathryn Bigelow makes great movies. I think you feel present. I think they're well made. And I love the cinematography. The tactics of the SEAL component in the movie were strong. I don't think they were perfect. I think it is very hard to do that.
But I think it pays homage to the folks that do deserve credit in that operation. And that's the CIA and intel folks that really helped find the target. When SEALS know where a target is, and we can fix them to a point, that part of our job, actually executing the mission, is what we do and what we excel at.
So it really paid great attention, I thought, to the folks that deserved the credit.
MORGAN: I know that traditionally the SEALS abhor any kind of publicity, the same reason the SAS do back in my country, because it doesn't really help anyone to be publicizing what they do and how they do it. How do you feel about the fact that we're seeing a lot of glamorization, if you like, of the SEALS, a lot of books coming out, the big "Esquire" profile of the man who claimed to be the guy that shot bin Laden and so on?
How helpful is that, in reality, to the SEALS and their operations?
DENVER: I think we'll have to see long-term what effect or impact it will have on our capacity for work and our ability to execute our missions. I haven't seen anything that has put us in harm's way, tactics revealed that could cause teammates and brothers and our community to be in harm's way on target.
Most of what you've seen has been a narrative on individual missions and capabilities, which I think the public has at least a sense of what we do and accomplish on a battlefield. And so I haven't seen negative results yet, but this story will continue. We'll see where it goes.
MORGAN: You were a very experienced soldier, lieutenant commander, platoon commander, training leader for 14 years. You led 200 commando missions, getting a bronze star for valor. What do you think of the gun control debate? Because it seems to be centered right now on whether military-style weapons have any place in civilian hands. What is your view?
DENVER: You know, it's a challenging issue. I mean, I think as a SEAL, we utilize weapons of those nature, you know, tactical weapons and the most advanced weapons systems in the U.S. arsenal as tools of the trade. They're one of many tools we leverage for success on the battlefield. So as a soldier, as a warrior, the use of those weapons are fundamental to who we are.
As a citizen, as a husband, as a father, the conversation is interesting. I believe in our Second Amendment rights. As I look at the conversation and the dialogue that exists now, I don't believe the weapons are, frankly, the issue. I don't think any more than you would use your car to run down a bunch of kids standing on the side of the road would you use any type of weapon to execute these atrocious events we've seen of recent.
So I think it's more of a mental health issue and looking at the nuance of that than the guns themselves.
MORGAN: You see, when people throw the car analogy at me, I say, hang on, because cars are incredibly highly regulated in America. The drunk driving death rate has absolutely plummeted since they brought in tough laws around that, for example. You have to use insurance and liability and so on and so on. They're well regulated.
What is wrong ideologically with guns being regulated the same way?
DENVER: Well, there are regulations on gun. State by state that changes and they're affected. But I do think they are a tool. And an infinitesimally small number of people that are using them for the wrong purpose, in their hands they are dangerous. But I don't think the bulk of gun owners are doing inappropriate or the wrong thing with those weapons. And the regulations, you know, are what they are.
MORGAN: But you really believe -- and I totally respect the Second Amendment. I sort of agree with Joe Biden today, that you can pretty well defend yourself in America with a shotgun. You don't need to have these AR-15 assault rifles, which I used myself to try to show people that I have used one. I couldn't believe the power. We've got a clip actually of me using this.
Let me play this again just to remind people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barrel shotgun, have the shells, the .12 gauge shotgun. You don't need an AR-15. It's harder to aim. It's harder to use. In fact, you don't need 30 rounds to protect yourself. Buy a shotgun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Sorry. That was a clip of Joe Biden, not me firing. But the point I was going to make was, having fired one, I could see that these can fire up to 100 bullets in the right hands. You could certainly get that kind of capacity out of it. I don't understand why people need them. And I don't understand the argument that the answer to America's seemingly out of control gun crime is simply to flood the streets with more guns.
DENVER: Again, as I look at the issue, I really see the weapons, the guns as a tool within that conversation. And again, in SEAL training and what we use on the battlefield and how we use them, they're advanced versions of those weapons systems. And we use them with tremendous care and capacity and focus, and do so guided by principles that we believe in.
I think the debate does not come down to the specific use of that tool and the details of what that weapon's capable of. And if you look at the vice president's comments, I do think there are shotgun configurations that shoot multiple rounds as well. It just really becomes a tool. As I look at that topic, I feel the conversation more drifts towards dealing with the individual that could wield a weapon in a negative light.
We found on the battlefield -- one thing that I write about in "Damn Few" is that evil finds a way, bad finds a way. So if the guns weren't in the system, I sincerely believe those mentally unstable or unhealthy people would find a way to perpetrate heinous acts.
So to me, the guns themselves, the tools themselves are not the issue. It's the mental health status and the people that would use them. That's my concern.
MORGAN: I mean, there are many countries around the world, though, that have a lot of people with mental health issues, that have bad, evil people, with evil intent, Britain, Germany, Australia, Tokyo. The difference is they don't have the guns. They can't get access to them.
Criminals in places like Britain can't get their hands on guns. And that is why the gun crime rate is so low. When I speak to people like yourself, I have such huge respect for the service you've given.
DENVER: Thank you.
MORGAN: Many members of my family have served in the British Army. I have total respect. I totally understand why you would need these weapons.
DENVER: I appreciate that.
MORGAN: Particularly with the high capacity magazines and so on, on battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, whatever. I just don't get and I am not hearing a coherent why they should be so easily available to the likes of Adam Lanza and the killer in Aurora, to just walk in to Walmart and take one off a wall?
DENVER: Again, as I look at the places I've traveled in the world -- and I'm with you in that I've traveled to a large number of countries in the world, and a lot of the most dangerous places in the world -- and a lot of those spots are where the civilian populous in the nation isn't armed and they're challenging dangerous places and they're ugly in many ways.
So I really believe the conversation goes beyond the individual tool, and that it gets into other parts of the discussion. And I think as the discussion unfolds, we just need to take our time and really look at results based impact to make good decisions.
MORGAN: Rorke Denver, thank you very much for joining me.
DENVER: Thank you for having me.
MORGAN: When we come back, outrageous, outspoken and opinionated, that's why I've invited her back. Actress and comedian Wanda Sykes. Welcome back to you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WANDA SYKES, COMEDIAN: Wait a minute. Isn't reverse racism -- isn't that when a racist is nice to somebody else? Isn't -- that's reverse racism. What you're afraid of is called karma.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Wanda Sykes on her HBO comedy special talking about racism. It's one of many tough topics she's never afraid to tackle. Actress and comedian Wanda joins me now. Welcome to you. How are you?
SYKES: I'm doing great.
MORGAN: I love the new hairdo.
SYKES: Thank you.
MORGAN: Just wanted to throw that out there.
SYKES: Thank you. Yeah. I have people who fix me up. So I let them do their thing.
MORGAN: Fantastic. Now last time I spoke to you, we were discussing whether America was more or less racist because of Barack Obama becoming president. You said some interesting stuff about it. But what I wonder is when you watched him or heard about him playing golf with Tiger Woods, I was imagining the imagery of the best golfer in history and President Barack Obama, two black African-American men -- there they are at the top of their game. It can't be bad.
I mean, racism must have gotten better in America for this to be possible.
SYKES: Yeah, you look at that and you have to say yes, things have gotten better. Definitely. But you still have craziness out there. You still have people who are extremely racist, but luckily enough, they're broke. You know. Really, you look at it -- you know, they don't have -- even though they try in this election with the money and everything. But it's more about greed as opposed to race, I think.
MORGAN: The most extraordinary story, I was going to ask you about, was this Michigan nurse, Tanya --
SYKES: Oh my God, yes.
MORGAN: -- suing the hospital she worked at for 25 years, Hurley Medical Center, because a patient's father asked that no African- American nurse take care of his baby, which is about as pure racism as you can possibly imagine. So it is still there, isn't it?
SYKES: Totally. But I assume that those people probably don't have a lot of money, you know, really. They would have had private nurses and everything, and wouldn't have to go through this. On this issue, you have to blame the hospital. Because the hospital, they're allowing this. Who does that? If that's the case, when I was in a hospital, I wish I would have made that request. Not for no African-American nurses to take care of me, but I just wanted some women with big breasts. I would say only women with Double Ds could come take care of me. And if Cedar-Sinai would have granted my request, that would have been great.
MORGAN: You also said last time that you thought it was more difficult to be gay in America now still than to be black. You still think that?
SYKES: Yes. Yes.
MORGAN: Do you? Because I feel it's moving very, very fast now, the gay issue.
SYKES: Well, we still can't -- there's not equality across the board. There's still -- I believe probably over 30 states where you can be fired because you're gay or lesbian or bisexual. You can be fired. We don't have equal protection. We can't marry. I mean --
MORGAN: Don't you feel it's moving quickly?
SYKES: I won't say quickly. It's moving. And we are very grateful that that's happening. We're very grateful that we have a president in the office who is trying to push that forward. But no. It's still not -- there's still not equality.
And here's the thing. OK, I should put it this way, with black, you see that I'm black and you can automatically go, eh, I don't like her because she's black. That's even.
But being gay, when they see that you're gay, then it's -- then they can really make a decision of, boom, this is what I don't like. So that's the thing. You know, when they see me, racists get confused. They don't know which way to hate me. Oh, God, my head's going to explode. She's black and she's a lesbian. There's so many reasons why I hate her. Which one? Which one?
MORGAN: You should become a politician. Then we can hate you for all sorts of new reasons.
MORGAN: Let's have a break, come back and talk about Oscars. Two types of Oscars, Pistorius -- I want to get your take on that story, but of course the great event on Sunday here in Hollywood, involving trinkets.
MORGAN: Back now with outspoken comedian Wanda Sykes. This Oscar Pistorius thing, do you believe him?
SYKES: Do I believe him?
MORGAN: Yeah. SYKES: I find it hard to believe that you think there is thieves in your bathroom. So they're already in your bathroom, so -- but you're going to shoot through the door? What? Why? They're already locked up in your bathroom. Just -- it just is kind of hard to believe, especially --
MORGAN: It is also hard to believe that he cold bloodedly planned her killing, I think anyway.
SYKES: You never know, man. He's probably real sensitive, you know. And maybe one day he looked and she was out there with his scoops, you know, picking up something, you know. Just you know you want to laugh at that. Go ahead.
MORGAN: I'm not going to laugh at that. Inappropriate.
SYKES: She was probably scratching her back with one of his scoops. Come on, you know that. She probably just --
MORGAN: I'm going to move you on to the other Oscar before I get into trouble here. The Oscars on Sunday, are you a fan of the Oscars or is it just a load of the whole theatrical drivel, do you think?
SYKES: If it is a good show, I love the Oscars. If the movies are great, it's a good show.
MORGAN: The movies are quite good this year, I think. What was your favorite movie? I liked "Lincoln."
SYKES: You know what's so funny, I did. The first 20 minutes of "Lincoln" -- you have to get past the first 20 minutes. The first 20 minutes, you feel like someone is reading you a book, like, oh, sweet God. Then it kicks off. I love "Django Unchained".
MORGAN: "Argo " was very good, I thought. "Silver Linings Playbook" was very good. Some good movies. What about Seth MacFarlane as host? I'm quite excited by the thought of him causing a lot of problems.
SYKES: Yes, I think he's going to do a Ricky Gervais. I think he's going to do it. So that's going to be fun to watch.
MORGAN: Do you ever fancy hosting it?
SYKES: I don't know.
MORGAN: Whoopi Goldberg did it. Ellen Degeneres -- only two women have ever hosted it alone.
SYKES: It is me. I go off the rails at times.
MORGAN: That's why I like you. That's why I like you hosting the Oscars.
SYKES: Yeah, I would --
MORGAN: I hate it when it is all controlled. I like mayhem.
SYKES: I would drop some bombs, I'm pretty sure. Not F bombs. But I'm sure -- yeah, because I hate hypocrisy, so I would just so run through it.
MORGAN: You aren't currently dropping bombs all over America on your tour, from Dominican Republic to Las Vegas. For tour dates, go to WandaSykes.com, click on Wanda's calendar. Sounds fun.
MORGAN: What is on your calendar? The dates?
SYKES: I have a lot of things going on. Like you said in the -- I don't know the dates exactly. They pretty much just tell me when way to head, go to the airport.
MORGAN: The one thing I wanted to ask you before we go, Clive Davis coming out as bisexual, the record tycoon. What is your immediate, very short reaction?
SYKES: First of all, 1:00 in the morning, there he is, this is a good time to say you're bisexual, because, you know, 1:00 in the morning, everybody's --
SYKES: Right, 1:00 in the morning, everybody is bisexual. It makes sense, you know? I got to tell -- once, like, a girl can be bisexual, but I think once a guy is bisexual, I think most women will tell you, no, you're gay.
MORGAN: Well, I'm happy for him whatever he is.
SYKES: Me too.
MORGAN: Wanda, nice to see you. See you again soon.
MORGAN: Wanda Sykes. We'll be right back.
MORGAN: Before we leave you tonight, quite possibly the dumbest and most dangerous marketing move in American history. This is what All Around Pizza in Virginia Beach is offering customers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All they have to do is show me that they're carrying a weapon, or they can show me their concealed weapons permit, and they can get the discount.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: Imagine a restaurant packed with people, families, children, all carrying firearms. What could possibly go wrong with that? The only thing such a brilliant wheeze that more businesses should be doing it across the country.
To which I say, you, sir, are a complete and utter idiot. That is all for us tonight. Now "AC 360" with Wolf Blitzer in for Anderson Cooper.