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Driving the Gun Debate; SNL Spoofs Gun Proposal; Students Hear Controversial Sex Talk; Fewer Blacks Follow Robinson's Path

Aired April 15, 2013 - 10:30   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for being with us. Checking our top stories at 30 minutes past the hour.

This is the pageantry of a national holiday in North Korea. The communist nation did not, however, mark the day by test-firing a missile.

Secretary of State John Kerry urging Pyongyang to end its threats to the United States and South Korea and show it's serious about ditching its nuclear program.

The Supreme Court hears arguments today to determine if companies can own a part of you. At issue is whether a company can patent a human gene. The decision could have a major impact on research. Many of the known human genes are patented by universities and pharmaceutical companies, but the American Civil Liberties Union argues gene patents are unconstitutional and actually hinder research and First Amendment rights.

A NASCAR race turns tragic when a man shoots himself to death during the NRA 500 in Texas this weekend. Police say the man's body was found in the back seat of a pickup truck. No other information is immediately available.

If you're planning to visit the National 9/11 Memorial in New York City anytime soon, you will now have to pay $2 to reserve a pass online or by phone. The cost is waived for victims' families or for those showing up for same-day passes. Still, many people are quite upset about this, saying no one should be charged to pay their respects.

Gun control versus gun rights: whether it's images of Newtown families and Gabby Giffords or a surge in gun sales on fears the Second Amendment will somehow be overturned, the sides remain sharply drawn in the debate. But as the Senate prepares to take up a bipartisan bill, the committee and Bill Maher says the discussion up until this point has been very one-sided.


BILL MAHER, COMEDIAN: After the tragedy at Newtown, there was talk about banning assault weapons. That's completely dead. And then the other thing they wanted to do was limit the number of clips in a gun. That's completely dead.

So now we're down to background checks. This is the problem with the gun debate, is that it's a constant center-right debate. There is no left in this debate. Everyone on the left is so afraid to say what should be said which is the Second Amendment is (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


COSTELLO: Oh, the Second Amendment is BS. Bill Maher also talking about the Manchin/Toomey compromise on background check, legislation President Obama said was progress even though it doesn't have his proposed assault weapons ban. Liberals aren't happy with the bill, conservatives don't like it, but comedians like the comedians on "Saturday Night Live" they love it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And if our bill passes, no individual can purchase a handgun from private dealer without being asked, "are you a good person"?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're also hoping to limit the amount of ammunition you can carry in magazines. We did not do that, though. Is this bill what we wanted? No, no. Is it what the NRA wanted? No. But does it at least help in some small way?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, probably not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are confident that this bill will pass the Senate and it will then go to the House of Representatives where it will immediately get shot down.


COSTELLO: Pretty funny, you have to admit.

Joining me now Maria Cardona, CNN contributor and Democrat strategist and Will Cain, CNN contributor and analyst for "The Blaze." Good morning to both of you.




COSTELLO: Let's start with Bill Maher's premise Maria. Is it time we talked about the Second Amendment and whether it still should be part of our Constitution?

CARDONA: I actually do think so, Carol. And I brought this up right after Newtown when we first started talking about this. For this reason -- when the Second Amendment was ratified by our founding fathers it was when this nation was a frontier land, it was when the citizenry was I think rightly scared of perhaps a government that could come and topple them.

And so what did they have, they had public arsenals. What was it meant for? To make sure that every person had the same access and the same right to be armed in the same manner as the government. That is completely impossible today, Carol, unless those that are supporting the Second Amendment believe that every person should be armed with a nuclear arsenal.

So the reasoning doesn't exist anymore, but it has given way to a gun culture that has made it so difficult to even have this conversation.


CAIN: Yes.

COSTELLO: So, Will, I can only imagine if indeed the U.S. Supreme Court was debating the Second Amendment. Can you imagine?

CAIN: I -- I can imagine the left taking up Bill Maher and Maria's point of view and I can promise you what will happen if you do. Bill Maher thinks that he's losing the debate because his point of view is not being represented.

The left is losing the debate on gun control because it fails upon the merits. You lose the assault weapon debate, you lose the magazine debate, you lose even the background check debate because you lose on the merits.

Now, I'll give Bill Maher one piece of credit here. And that is he's being honest. And Maria is as well. But I think much of the left would like to revisit the entire premise of the Second Amendment, not these little side measures that would have no effect but rather the existence of the Second Amendment.

And I can promise you this, Maria and Bill, if you want to take up that -- that mantle, you will just get a bigger ass kicking than the one you have been getting over these small measures. I promise you that's what will happen.

Now just a quick correct -- historical correction here on the Second Amendment. The idea that the Second Amendment is passe seems to me so myopic and absurd. Look, ask the people of Syria right now in dealing with their government whether or not they would like a bigger access to personal arms. But you know I know what you're going to say that's Syria, this is the United States.


CAIN: Well and that's an absurd comparison. Do we only have to go back 80 years to find tyrannies in democratic republic that turned into tyranny? This is not passe. We have not reached the point of civilization that we don't have to worry about this.

CARDONA: It is -- it is -- it is passe, Will. And I will give you there's no question that the reason why this debate is where it is and we're not getting to where we need to be on making sure that we fix gun violence in this country is because people are afraid to have that conversation. Because to your point, yes, liberals are afraid of it because they know that this has become such an ingrained gun culture.

But at what point do we face the reality, Will, that in this country over 3,000 Americans -- and I think that's even actually a lot more than that -- are killed a year at -- because of guns versus other civilized countries where they have more sensible gun violence measures in places? Those numbers do not exist.

So at what point do we have that conversation? I think we need to have it now, regardless of ass kicking politically or not.

CAIN: Well two responses to that. First of all, it ignores the statistics that both gun violence, violence overall and mass shootings are down. They are down over macro statistical periods since the 1990s. They are going down. So we can't pretend like we are reaching some apex of violence because everyone in the United States owns a gun. It's simply false.

Secondly, I just think you're treading a very, very dangerous path when you're attempting to convince the American people, you have nothing to worry about, you no longer need to worry about the concept of force, you no longer need to worry about the concept of tyranny.

COSTELLO: Nobody's saying that.


CAIN: That's the point of --


CARDONA: Yes exactly nobody's saying that, Will.

CAIN: That's the point of the Second Amendment. You are saying that.

CARDONA: Nobody in fact is saying that, no.


CAIN: You have questions, you have questioned the need for the Second Amendment. And that's the reason for its existence.


CARDONA: No. What I'm saying -- what I'm say is that the reason the Second Amendment existed 200-plus years ago does not exist anymore today. We cannot be armed with nuclear arsenals, Will, the same way that our government does.

CAIN: No one's arguing that we should.


CARDONA: So let's figure out reality. COSTELLO: Ok sadly -- sadly, I have to end it here and be thankful that neither of you are armed. I'm just kidding about that. Maria Cardona --

CARDONA: I don't know.

COSTELLO: That's terrible. Maria Cardona, Will Cain, thanks so much.

CAIN: You bet.

CARDONA: Thank you Carol.

COSTELLO: Still ahead, another contentious question for you this morning -- "Do scare tactics prevent teenage pregnancy?" or tweet me @carolCNN.


COSTELLO: Now is your chance to "Talk Back" on one of the stories of the day. The question for you this morning, "Do scare tactics prevent pregnancy?" If you believe the answer to that question is yes then maybe your kid ought to meet Pam Stenzel.


PAM STENZEL: I would have girls in my office every day saying, "Pam, I didn't know." And if somebody would have told me that this was going to be the result of the choice I was making, I'd have made a different choice. No one told me.


COSTELLO: Stenzel travels the world talking to high school students about abstinence. Have sex outside of marriage she says and you will pay with deadly STDs. Here's her message for mothers who give their daughter's birth control pills.


STENZEL: What's birth control protects you from? Pregnancy. That drug, that hormone that this girl is taking has just made her ten times more likely to contract a disease than if she were not taking that drug. This girl is going to end up sterile or dead. Thanks, mom. Glad you cared.


COSTELLO: Stenzel was invited by a religious group to speak at a West Virginia High School last week, sparking anger and some tears according to the "Charleston Daily Mail". One student said, quote, "It was slut-shaming. She picked on girls who were sexually active. There were several girls who left the assembly crying" end quote.

If you think scare tactics only come from conservatives, think again. In New York, the city that hands out condoms to high schoolers they've come up with their own scare tactics to prevent teenage pregnancy. Take a look at these ads with cute little kids saying things like, "Dad, you'll be paying to support me for the next 20 years" and "Honestly, mom, chances are he won't stay with you and what happens to me?"

Planned Parenthood blasted the ads saying they shame and stigmatize teenagers instead of helping them. The question for you this morning -- "Do scare tactics prevent teenage pregnancy?" or tweet me @carolCNN.

We wanted to hear from those at that high school in West Virginia, George Washington High School in West Virginia, where Stenzel recently spoke. Katelyn Campbell is the student body Vice President. She skipped the speech in protest, but she did watch it online. Good morning and thank you for being here.


COSTELLO: Good morning. Why did you decide to skip Stenzel's speech?

CAMPBELL: Well, the night before the assembly, a teacher called me with -- who was really concerned. She said, you know, I was instructed not to tell anyone about the assembly, but this is the nature. And she read to me a bit of the flyer that stated that the purpose of Stenzel's speech was to explain God's plan for sexual purity.

So I started to spread the word amongst students that this suddenly was going to occur so if they wanted to they could opt out.

I'm personally offended by what Pam Stenzel said to our student body on the basis that I believe as a woman it's my choice whether or not I want to have sex. And I believe in a public school setting that we should be informed as to how to best to protect ourselves if we do make the choice to have sex.

COSTELLO: She did say in her speech that she wasn't there to tell you when to have sex or not to have sex. She was just there to present the dangers that came with sex.

CAMPBELL: When I listened to the video of Pam Stenzel speaking at our school, the one thing that stuck out to me was that anytime she mentioned birth control she spoke in a manner which suggested that it was ineffective. And by that token, she did not condone the use of birth control and she basically said that if you aren't married and are having sex that birth control isn't going to help you. So I believe that she misinformed the student body at my high school.

COSTELLO: Do you think this sort of thing works though with your fellow students? Do you think that it would make some of them think twice about having sex while they're in high school?

CAMPBELL: I mean the nature of her speech was so hyperbolic that most people thought it was a joke. I mean there's -- I know one student walked out and said, was that a satire? Like was that real? So I think there were some people who took it very seriously and there were girls who were crying in the assembly because they were so upset and felt that they had been so insulted by her.

But I think a lot of students got that it was misinformation. But by that token -- I mean she's spoken in middle schools. The whole reason that I brought this up as an issue is because, although I might have known what she was saying was wrong, is a younger or another student who hasn't had the fortune of being as informed as I have been are they going to take her seriously?

COSTELLO: And just a final question for you, Katelyn, what would work? I mean if parents want to prevent them from having sex when they're not ready, what would work?

CAMPBELL: I mean my belief toward sexual education is that abstinence is the best policy and it's the best way to prevent yourself from catching an STD or getting pregnant, but I believe parents should educate their kids on birth control so if they do make the choice to have sex that they're at least being safe in that process.

I mean it's my choice as a woman whether or not I'm going to have sex, and it's a man's choice if he's going to have sex. But if that's the case, they should be educated that abstinence is the best method.

COSTELLO: But told the truth in other ways, too. We got that. Katelyn Campbell, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it.

CAMPBELL: Thank you.

COSTELLO: You're welcome. Sorry about that long delay. I know it's kind of annoying.

Jackie Robinson -- he broke Major League Baseball's color barrier 66 years ago. But fewer black athletes today want to follow in his footsteps. We'll take a look at the reasons why.


COSTELLO: The Jackie Robinson baseball movie "42" is a big hit.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you going to do if one of these pitchers throws at your head?



COSTELLO: The movie came in number one at the box office over the weekend, earning more than $27 million. Today marks the 66th anniversary of Robinson breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier. All the players will be wearing the number 42 today.

But as our Jason Carroll reports, fewer black athletes are following in Robinson's footsteps.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He endured insults, threats, pressure at every turn, but Jackie Robinson would not be denied his place in history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want a player that doesn't have the guts to fight back?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I want a player who's got the guts not to fight back.

CARROLL: A new movie called "42", Robinson's uniform number, winning praise from players like Robinson Cano, the Yankee named for the trail blazing Brooklyn Dodger.

ROBINSON CANO, NEW YORK YANKEES: He's the guy that we're here for. And if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go. Let's go. Let's go.

CARROLL: Accolades not just from the pros.

JAYLEN JUNIOUS, HIGH SCHOOL FRESHMAN: He was an inspiration to my African-American culture to start playing baseball.

CARROLL: The appreciation is it there for Robinson breaking the color barrier 66 years ago and opening the door for generations to follow. But the reality is, few African-Americans are choosing to do so.

WENDY LEWIS, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL: He would be very disappointed the group that he so well represented and fought so hard for is not represented at the levels that it used to be.

CARROLL: Why is major league baseball so disappointed? In 1986, African-Americans made up 19 percent of players in the majors. Now that number is down to just about 8.5 percent. Robinson's daughter says her daughter would have been worried about other statistics beyond the sport.

SHARON ROBINSON, JACKIE ROBINSON'S DAUGHTER: I think he would be very concerned that our black kids aren't graduating from high school or they're not going to college. and that would be more of a concern to him.

CARROLL: But there's still the question of, why fewer black kids are playing baseball? Do any of you play baseball?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basketball is my sport because I love the fundamentals.

CARROLL: Not just that, but the perception there is a quicker path to the pros.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think people switch to basketball because it's easier to make it to the NBA.

CARROLL: And then there's the Jordan factor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody thought if they could be like Mike it would be a great thing so everybody started picking basketball instead of baseball.

CARROLL: Sounds about right to this center fielder, Jaylen Junious.

JUNIOUS: They don't see a lot of African inspirations to play baseball, they're not going to feel that. They want to play baseball too.

CARROLL: Major League Baseball has created a diversity task force to recruit more African-Americans. Cano says it's equally important to remind the young of the legend. That's why today all Major Leaguers will wear Robinson's number.

CANO: It means a lot and it's a privilege and bless to wear the number 42.

CARROLL: 42, a number that will ever stand for a man who transcended ethnicity and race.

Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.


COSTELLO: And if you haven't seen the movie yet, please go see it. I saw it this weekend. It was terrific. We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: "Talk Back" question for you today: Do scare tactics prevent teenage pregnancy?

This from Phoebe, "Why are we calling real life scare tactics? It's simply telling the truth. Although taking birth control pills don't normally lead to death." Come on Phoebe.

This from Ashley, "Teens need to be scared of the dangers of unprotected sex." True. "I commend Pam Stenzel for her efforts. sexually active teens should be made to feel bad for their actions."

This from Mark, "My wife and I had a baby at 46. That was scare tactic enough for our teenage daughter." Thank you for that levity.

Please keep the conversation going or tweet me @CarolCNN.


COSTELLO: Thank you so much for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello.

CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with John Berman.