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PIERS MORGAN LIVE
Parents Turned in Their Son; Interview With Morgan Spurlock; Teen Rides 30-Foot Whale Shark
Aired June 17, 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: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world.
Tonight what would you do to stop a mass killer? I'll talk exclusively with a couple who made the ultimate sacrifice and turned in their only son. He bought an assault rifle. Police say he was plotting to shoot up a Wal-Mart and a movie theater.
Plus the "Inside Man." The filmmaker who blew the lid over fast industry with "Super Size Me". Now Morgan Spurlock is back and in "The Chair." Wait until you see what happens when he goes to work in a gun shop.
And the guy who did this?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once in a lifetime, baby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Yes, he hitched a ride on a 30-foot shark. He'll tell me what possessed him to do it. And Jeff Corwin tells you why you should never ever try this at home.
I don't suspect many of you were even thinking about it.
Tonight a new take on the -- on the toll of gun violence in America. Seven people were shot to death in Chicago this -- weekend alone. Police say a total of 41 people were shot in the city. In one weekend. Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden delivers a progress report tomorrow. White House efforts to reduce gun violence across the country were so far -- as far as I could work out, result in absolutely nothing.
And joining me now, exclusively two people who risked everything to stop what they fear could be a deadly mass shooting. Tricia and Bill Lammers turned in their only son Blake. He'd been committed seven times to mental institutions but because those commitments were not court ordered he's able to legally buy an assault rifle.
Police say that Blake confessed to a plan to shoot up a Wal-Mart and a movie theater. He'd been charged with three felonies and if convicted he could face a possibility of life behind bars.
Blake's parents Bill and Tricia Lammers join me now.
Welcome to you both. Tricia, let me start with you, if I may. This story, and the reason I wanted to have you both on, just about to me gets to the very heart of the real problem with the gun violence toll in America. And that is the appalling way the mental health system in America deals with people exactly like your son.
Tell me when you realized that Blake had serious mental issues.
TRICIA LAMMERS, TURNED IN SON, FEARED MASS KILLING: I wouldn't say that Blake really has serious mental issues. Blake has been hospitalized seven times. It started in 2008 when he was diagnosed with depression. At each hospital visit they diagnosed him with something different. They would change his medicine, they would keep him on the same medicine. We never really had a correct and steady diagnosis.
It was something different each and every time. And sometimes the medicine would affect him in different ways, make him manic, make him more depressed, make him suicidal, make him homicidal. So each, you know, hospital visit, you know, was a different diagnosis, which just, you know, led to the events that happened, you know, last fall.
MORGAN: And just to put this incident into proper perspective, Bill, we go back to 2009. So soon after he's first receiving treatment, as your wife just said, very, very different treatments each time he went in. In 2009 he goes into a Wal-Mart near where you live, I believe.
BILL LAMMERS, TURNED IN SON, FEARED MASS KILLING: Correct.
MORGAN: He was carrying a butcher knife and a Halloween mask. He told both of you that he'd picked out an employee and he hoped police would shoot him before he harmed the employee. He wasn't arrested. He was taken to an inpatient treatment hospital. And the reason that's so significant is that cut forward to last November, and he went to the same Wal-Mart where he had done this, and he was able to legally buy an assault rifle.
And by that time, he had been committed seven times to mental institutions and really --
B. LAMMERS: Correct.
MORGAN: -- should never in a million years have been allowed anywhere near an assault rifle. As his father, what do you think about the system that allowed this to happen?
B. LAMMERS: I think it's totally broken. There's no way that I think America should allow this to continue to happen. Seven times in a hospital, going to the same Wal-Mart that he had -- was carried out in handcuffs earlier with a butcher knife, and he can legally go in there, put the money on the counter, pass a background test, buy a weapon and ammunition. And be handed that rifle. Good luck, son. Have a good day. Something is wrong with that system. As a matter of fact I would say the system is totally broken.
MORGAN: And you only discovered what had happened. When I think, Tricia, you were going through his laundry, Blake's laundry, and you found a Wal-Mart receipt in his pocket that simply said shotgun $865.
T. LAMMERS: Yes.
MORGAN: As it turned out it was an assault rifle similar to an AR-15.
T. LAMMERS: Yes.
MORGAN: And he was clearly, from what he told police, planning to commit an atrocity?
B. LAMMERS: So we really can't get into the detail about what's going to happen in trial, because he hasn't been to trial for that yet. So we --
T. LAMMERS: But the bottom line is, there's --
MORGAN: Right. I'm --
T. LAMMERS: Yes. And the bottom line is, he bought -- he bought a weapon at Wal-Mart. The same --
B. LAMMERS: The same Wal-Mart.
T. LAMMERS: The same Wal-Mart that we pick up his medication. You know, if you write a bad check at Wal-Mart, you're on a bad checklist. Blake should have been on a list.
B. LAMMERS: Well, he should have never passed the background check.
T. LAMMERS: Yes.
B. LAMMERS: Seven times in the mental hospital. That's -- those people, they should not have -- be able to buy a weapon.
T. LAMMERS: And that things need to be changed --
MORGAN: And the point --
T. LAMMERS: Go ahead, Piers.
MORGAN: And the point is, Bill, isn't it, that if you look at the loopholes in the background checks system in America, he could have gone to a gun show. From all the investigations I've seen, he could have walked into a gun show, no questions asked, and bought the same kind of assault rifle there. And when you see Washington reacting in the way they did recently by doing absolutely nothing, not even tightening background checks. What do you feel, as responsible parents who did, you know, almost the unthinkable. Having to hand your son in, because you've just run out of options, what do you feel about Washington doing nothing?
B. LAMMERS: It's a -- it's going to happen again. I mean doing nothing is the worst thing that you can do. This -- we're just waiting for another mass shooting to happen. It's going to happen again and again and again. Something has to be done. And it's appalling to just see that Washington and gridlock and they can't pass anything. I mean --
MORGAN: I can't -- I can't buy a (INAUDIBLE) in Wal-Mart. I can't buy six packets of Sudafed in Wal-Mart.
B. LAMMERS: Right. Right.
MORGAN: I can't buy certain types of French cheese in Wal-Mart. All these are deemed --
B. LAMMERS: But you can buy a gun.
MORGAN: -- too damaging potentially to my health, but your son -- and let's repeat this again -- who had been to a mental institution seven times in the previous few years, but because he had never been court ordered to one of the institutions.
B. LAMMERS: Right.
MORGAN: Just didn't show up on the Wal-Mart background check. The same Wal-Mart he'd been in with a meat cleaver to try and harm an employee before. I mean, it almost defies belief, and yet we hear about these things time and again. What do you think it will take, Tricia, to wake people out of their slumber on this issue?
T. LAMMERS: Well, if the Aurora, Colorado, shooting didn't wake people up and the shooting that happened in California, that didn't wake people up, I don't think Congress and the government -- I don't think you can wake them up. Maybe something needs to happen to their family. Maybe if they had mental illness in their family, and their son or daughter was arrested, maybe then someone would wake up and see that things need to change.
B. LAMMERS: But we're here --
MORGAN: Because, Bill, I mean -- I think what I was saying, Bill, just before you answer as well. The Chicago situation this weekend over 40 people shot in Chicago.
B. LAMMERS: Right.
MORGAN: In over 20 different incidents. That is one issue involving gun violence. That is an issue involving mainly gang on gang related violence. And the fact that Chicago has quite tough gun control is utterly meaningless because they all just get in their cars and go outside of the state to neighboring states which don't have strong gun controls. So until you have a federal gun control that stops that happening, this will keep happening in places like Chicago, until they can enforce it properly.
But in terms of what happened to your son, what is so relevant is we saw exactly the same thing happening with this young man in Santa Monica 10 days ago. We saw it at Sandy Hook with Adam Lanza. We saw it at Aurora with James Holmes. Each time, disturbed young men who should never be allowed anywhere near these assault rifles and yet they're able to.
B. LAMMERS: Well, so it's probably the health care professional not able to report to the local authorities or to the ATF or the FBI that they just saw a patient that would harm the general public or themselves if they were to buy a weapon. So it's a failure of the healthcare system to not be able to report because they're too -- you know, the HIPPA privacy is too shielded and guarded information.
But yet we're enabling these people with some type of a mental handicap to go out and buy a weapon and use it on themselves or others. They're --
MORGAN: And, of course, it comes at a time when -- well, it comes at a time when the majority of Americans according to all the polls seem quite happy that the NSA can access almost all their private data.
B. LAMMERS: Right.
MORGAN: So you have a complete hypocrisy here. We have the same Republicans -- mainly Republicans, I'm not going to say just Republicans because some Democrats are doing it, too, but the ones who shout loudest about we can't infringe the Second Amendment in terms of background checks because of the information it may unveil, they're the ones saying, NSA should carry on doing what they're doing.
B. LAMMERS: So I don't really think anything's private any more. In the day of the Internet, everybody has everybody's information. Yet my son could go in there and buy an AR-15 and there was zero that showed up on his background check. So --
MORGAN: Absolutely extraordinary.
B. LAMMERS: I know.
MORGAN: It's extraordinary. Let's take a short break, Bill and Tricia. Stay with me, I want to get to the moment that you decided to turn in your son. It must have been a heartbreaking moment for you.
I also want to talk to Morgan Spurlock, who's with us, who's one of the shows he's done for CNN is where he actually goes and works in a gun store. I want to get his reaction to what you've been saying.
And later extraordinary story of a teenager who hitched a ride on a 30-foot shark. I'll talk to him and to Jeff Corwin.
MORGAN: Back with me now are Blake Lammers' parents, Bill and Tricia Lammers, who made the heartbreaking decision to turn in their son after he purchased an assault rifle. Police say he's planning a mass killing.
Bill, the moment that you decided as parents that you had to do something, that you had to shop (ph) him the police, effectively, is what you had to do. A heartbreaking moment for any parent. What did you feel in that moment?
BILL LAMMERS: Well, we -- our intention was not to go have Blake arrested. Our intention was to warn local authorities that our son, who everybody knew because he had been in and out of the hospitals several times, now has the -- has an AR-15 in his possession. And we just wanted to say this is probably not a good thing for him to have. Everybody knows his history, and it was a warning to the local authorities.
We didn't know that he was going to be picked up and the confession and - I guess the plot that he had told the detective, we didn't know anything about that. We just wanted to warn authorities that we thought it was unsafe for our son to have this weapon out in the community.
TRICIA LAMMERS: You know, Piers, when you live with a child -- sorry, Piers. When you live with a child that is depressed or does suffer from mental illness, you want to protect that child. And in 2009, he wrote a letter saying he was sorry that he was a failure, and sorry to disappoint us, and he went to Wal-Mart because he wanted the police to shoot him because he didn't want to live any more.
So when you find a receipt that your son has bought a weapon, the first thing you think is, your son is going to take his life. So I went to the authorities because I didn't want to lose my son. And heaven forbid, I didn't want my son to hurt anybody in the process of him taking his life. And I do believe that was his intention, that my son wanted to die. So I had to do what I did as a mother to save my son.
BILL LAMMERS: And so, the way it is right now, our son is in --
MORGAN: I was going to say, it's heartbreaking to hear this. Bill?
TRICIA LAMMERS: It is heartbreaking, but our son is alive.
BILL LAMMERS: He's in jail, but he's alive. And no one was hurt.
TRICIA LAMMERS: And other people in our community are alive as well.
BILL LAMMERS: Safe.
MORGAN: In a way - in a way, you've lost your son potentially. I mean, if he's convicted of the offenses for which he's being charged, faces a very long sentence. How do you feel about that?
TRICIA LAMMERS: It is heartbreaking. And it -- I -- you know, I don't have restful nights because I -- I think about the long road my son has ahead of him, and what could -- what kind of future does he have? But at the same time, Piers, my son is alive. I can still talk to him every day. You know?
MORGAN: Bill, what is your message to the families who may be watching, who might have children in a similar position -- late teens or early 20s who have been in mental institutions for a few days at a time? A similar pattern to what you went through. What is your advice to them?
BILL LAMMERS: Don't hide it. Having mental illness in your family should not be embarrassing. Act on it like we did. We saved our son's life. We possibly saved the lives of many others, but our son is still alive. And everybody is safe. We didn't want to hide the fact -- I mean, we didn't want to just push this under the rug and be the next potential parents of a mass shooting. We acted, we had to do something. We couldn't sit back and just let events play out. I would say every other parent if you see these warning signs in your child and they have access to weapons, something needs to be done. Step up and do the right thing. Don't just sit back and turn the other cheek and let it happen.
And he other thing I want to say is -- go ahead.
MORGAN: Sorry. I was going to ask Tricia, how is he doing? Blake?
TRICIA LAMMERS: He's -- you know, he's -- not out swimming. You know, it's summertime. He doesn't get a chance to go outside. Watches a lot of TV. For the most part, he's maybe happy go lucky. He is in a structured environment. We try to have structure at home, but sometimes that's hard. For the most part, he's not doing too bad.
MORGAN: Bill, in conclusion, I mean, did you have any fixed view about gun control before all this hit your family?
BILL LAMMERS: Well, you know the Second Amendment right and everybody's aware of that, but I think we need to peel the onion back a little bit. I keep talking about this, the laws are -- privacy is so private that everybody can buy a gun. And I don't think everybody should be able to buy a gun. I think the lawmakers need to get together. Senators, Congress, lobbyists, everybody needs to get together, do the right thing, and have it to where people that are unstable -- something needs to be done to where they shouldn't -- they are not allowed to buy a weapon. So --
MORGAN: Bill, Tricia -- I just wanted to thank you both, really. Because I know this has not been an easy thing for you to do. It wasn't an easy thing to do to report what had happened to your son, to the authorities. It's not easy to talk about it now. You're facing, obviously, another huge ordeal. He may have a trial and who knows what happens after that.
But what you did do through your actions was possibly prevent an appalling incident happening, and for that, I'm - on behalf of everyone -- very grateful to you. And just I hope that you and your family can sort things out with Blake and that he gets the help that he clearly needs.
TRICIA LAMMERS: Thank you. Thank you, Piers.
BILL LAMMERS: Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: Thank you very much for joining me.
Very brave couple there.
And I want to bring in Morgan Spurlock. He's the Oscar-nominated filmmaker behind "Super Size Me." Now he's getting a firsthand look at just how easy it is to buy guns in his new CNN show, "Inside Man." He goes to work at a gun shop. And Morgan Spurlock is in the chair tonight.
Morgan, welcome to you.
MORGAN SPURLOCK, FILMMAKER: Thanks, Piers.
MORGAN: Welcome to CNN.
SPURLOCK: Yes, good to see you.
MORGAN: Good to see you.
And obviously a heartrending story there.
SPURLOCK: Yes, terrible.
MORGAN: And cuts kind of to the quick about these mass shooters in particular. Usually deranged young men who just shouldn't be getting access to firearms.
MORGAN: What did you discover in your show?
SPURLOCK: What you start to see is, these types of folks, they aren't in a database. People aren't tracked. There's no way to kind of know who those people are and really keep the firearms out of their hands. The shop I worked in did an incredible job of running background checks on people from a legal standpoint. Did they break the law, did they have outstanding warrants? I mean, they ran all the specs they had to --
MORGAN: It was in Virginia.
SPURLOCK: It was in Virginia. Fredericksburg, and I mean, they did everything to the letter of the law. More than probably most other shops. They were great. But this part of the puzzle is one that is very much missing from doing background checks on people.
MORGAN: I mean, how lax is it in reality? SPURLOCK: I mean, in terms of somebody like that who has mental problems, it's very lax because none of that is reported. None of that goes into a database that ultimately is managed by or controlled by the states.
MORGAN: And there is a hypocrisy, isn't there, between those who campaign for the Second Amendment and say, look, the reason we don't want universal background checks, we don't want this information getting into the wrong hands with the government. And at the same time, they're saying, we're quite happy for the NSA to be tapping everyone's phones, e-mails and so on.
SPURLOCK: Yes. It's very ironic, and one of the things we talk about in the show is 90 percent of Americans when there's a vote about to come up about having background checks and expanding background checks to any type of a gun sale, 90 percent of Americans approved of that. And 90 percent of Americans don't approve of anything or agree on anything.
MORGAN: No, never!
SPURLOCK: The only thing that people approved on or agreed on more than universal background checks was ice cream.
SPURLOCK: Ninety-three percent of Americans like ice cream more than universal background checks. But not baseball, not apple pie, all of those were much less than even universal background checks.
MORGAN: What does it say about America's relationship with guns?
SPURLOCK: I mean, it's very much -- there's a part of this that is very embedded into our culture. What you see in the show and what you realize over the course - what I realized over the course of us making this is there are a vast amount of people that want change. There are a tremendous amount of people that want things to be different.
MORGAN: But their voice tends to get drowned out.
SPURLOCK: Well, it gets drowned out by both sides. It gets drowned out by the people who are saying, we have to get rid of these for good. We have to have massive reform that gets rid of all the firearms. And then there's people on the other side who say, no, Second Amendment, we have to have it stand by our rights. This is what our country's founded on. These people in the middle get lost in the conversation.
MORGAN: What is the sensible compromise from what you went through with your show, could make a difference in reducing the gun violence toll?
SPURLOCK: I mean, I feel like if you do universal background checks, it's a great start. If you create a database where people with mental problems don't have access to firearms, that's a great place to start. If you limit the amount of high-capacity magazines, that's a great place to start. I mean, I don't think you'll get a -- you won't get an AR -15. You won't get a weapons ban.
MORGAN: But when you see that kind of weapon --
MORGAN: -- and you think about the type of people who have had it in their hands committing atrocities -
MORGAN: Why would any civilian really need one of those outside of hawk (ph) hunting?
SPURLOCK: Well, sure. I mean, it's like -- I shot one. They're fun to shoot. That's the thing. For somebody who's a sport hunter, somebody who just wants to have them for sport to go shoot -- it's a fun -
MORGAN: Is that enough? Just to have fun?
SPURLOCK: Just to have fun - I mean, sure, why not? Ultimately, if there's a way you can have them and you can keep them for people who want to have them because they're fun, just like I love driving a Ferrari because it's fun. Or I love doing these things that are outside of the realm of other people's understanding. I don't own a Ferrari. Hopefully one day that'll happen.
SPURLOCK: But you know, then we could drive around in our Ferraris and with our AR-15s. It would be a magical day in America.
MORGAN: Maybe it would, but I'm not sure I agree with that.
Let's take a break. When we come back, I want to show what you're doing, which is taking yourself inside a medical marijuana clinic.
How was that?
SPURLOCK: It was pretty great.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPURLOCK: Now that I've got my card, my next stop is across the bay in Oakland to Harbor Side Health Health Center. Harbor Side was founded in 2006 as a model of what a medical marijuana dispensary could be. They serve between 600 to 800 patients every single day, making them the largest dispensary in the United States. But according to the feds, Harbor Side is the largest illegal drug distribution center in the country. And today, I'm Harbor Side's newest higher.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPURLOCK: There it is.
Not only now do I have a card, which makes me have the ability to buy cannabis in the state of California, but because I have this form, which I was even more shocked by, I have the ability to grow marijuana in the state of California. In San Francisco, I can grow up to 24 plants in my backyard. If I so wanted to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Oscar-nominated filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, going inside California's medical marijuana industry. It's all part of his new show for CNN, "Inside Man."
And Morgan Spurlock is here "In The Chair."
SPURLOCK: And I'm not high right now.
MORGAN: I was going to ask you -- you seemed outraged by the fact you can get a bit of dope in California, but very happy about your gun collections.
SPURLOCK: No, it's the incredible thing about America is where there's all of these little pockets where people question everything. That's what the show is all about. Yes.
MORGAN: Tell me about the cannabis. Because obviously throughout America now, quite a few states are beginning to legalize it. There's a sense that within 20 years, it probably will be completely legal in America?
MORGAN: From what you've found in your show, is that a good thing?
SPURLOCK: I think that one of the things I was really -- what I -- what I was really intrigued by is the number of people who came in there, who for years had been strung out on countless medication. Yes, we live in a country that medicates everything. You go to a doctor, suddenly we're going to give you a pill for whatever the problem may be. And there are people who were on six, seven different medications, that once they started going to the clinic, you know, taking whatever kind of (INAUDIBLE) prescribed by the doctor, suddenly they're off all these medications.
Soldiers were coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan who were so medicated they couldn't even function around their family members. Couldn't even connect with them, now suddenly can have a life back. I mean those are --
(CROSSTALK) MORGAN: So that's a good thing?
SPURLOCK: That's a great thing.
MORGAN: What is the negative?
SPURLOCK: I think that the negative From their standpoint, you know, a lot of folks that we spoke to who were kind of anti the campaign is they feel like that suddenly it's going to be -- it's going to be the '60s again and kids are going to be out, you know, just wanting to get high, and not going to school, and we're going to become this lazy bunch of people who just sit around and eat Twinkies all the time. You know that's the vision.
MORGAN: And is that a real risk, do you think?
SPURLOCK: I think it's -- I think the key is making sure that you try -- and again, it's like, you know, kids always had access to marijuana. When I was growing up, it was illegal and kids at 15, 16- year-olds, you know, 16-year-old, got weed, it was around. Will it suddenly become more accessible with something like this? I mean, I don't know if that's true.
MORGAN: Synthesize obviously was a seismic move for America to look at itself in many ways.
MORGAN: I want to show you a map that came out today. This is a map of America showing a little dot for every McDonald's there is in the country.
SPURLOCK: God bless America.
MORGAN: Now look at that.
Isn't that one of the scariest images you've ever seen?
SPURLOCK: That's -- the amazing thing is there's about 30,000 McDonald's all around the world. And half of those are these. Half of them are in America.
MORGAN: Fifteen thousand.
SPURLOCK: Yes. We represent -- we represent the lion share of all the McDonald's sold in the world today and our guts show it. Yes.
MORGAN: Yes. The CEO of McDonald, Don Thompson, recently claimed that he lost 20 pounds eating McDonald's every single day.
SPURLOCK: What he also didn't say --
MORGAN: Now you are the one person I really want to know, do you believe it?
SPURLOCK: Well, he also didn't say he got his leg removed in surgery.
He left that part out.
MORGAN: Almost your horror movie, is what it was.
MORGAN: I mean, that just can't be right, can it?
SPURLOCK: Yes, well, I think he's -- you know, again there's ways for you to go in there, so there's a way to go in and eat responsibly at all these restaurants. You know you go in and then --
MORGAN: And if you exercise --
SPURLOCK: And if you're exercising every day, you can go in and have a salad and like a water. But you know people don't go to McDonald's for salad and water. They release them themselves that less than 2 percent of everything they sell is a salad, 98 percent of what they sell is all the fat and the sugar and the stuff that we love, you know, in these types of restaurants. And that's what people eat.
MORGAN: What do you make of Mayor Bloomberg in New York banning the sugary drinks over 16 ounces?
SPURLOCK: I mean, it's one of those things where part of me applauds the idea of something like that wanting to happen, but part of me hates the idea of having to ban anything. You know, that people -- you know, you want to be able to have a responsible citizenry where they can, you know, make responsible decisions.
MORGAN: But does that ever happen in reality?
SPURLOCK: No. Not really. You know?
MORGAN: So if he's right?
MORGAN: Isn't it right to be a nanny --
MORGAN: I mean, obviously a nanny state, I think there's often a time when there should be a nanny state.
SPURLOCK: When you need --
MORGAN: Yes. People need nannies. SPURLOCK: This is when you -- when you provide kids with helmets or you make kids have to wear helmets, or you have to have seatbelts in cars. You know --
MORGAN: And they demonstrably --
MORGAN: -- improve the quality of life of people?
SPURLOCK: That's right. No, it's like --
SPURLOCK: No, as much as people were against the smoking ban, when that went through a few years ago, nobody's talking about it now. Like everybody loves the fact you can actually go to a restaurant and the guy next to you is not puffing up. It's great. You know the difference between that and someone drinking -- big sugary drinks is not many people die from secondhand obesity.
Like I don't have -- I've never had somebody roll over on me. And you know, it's like, that's the problem.
MORGAN: It could happen, though.
SPURLOCK: It could happen. It could happen. That's right.
MORGAN: You'd be around too many thin guys.
What do you make of -- let's take a short break, we'll come back, I want to ask this rather bigger question of you.
MORGAN: Of your "INSIDE MAN" activity, where do you think America is going? What is happening in the real country of America right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPURLOCK: I love Big Macs. See this? This is probably the first time in a long time that I've actually seen a Big Mac that looks like the picture. That actually almost looks like the picture. Look at that. Big Macs never look this good. You've got to come to Chinatown.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Back with me now is Morgan Spurlock, the host of CNN's "INSIDE MAN" and the man who of course brought us "Super Size Me." He's in the chair tonight.
See, the thing is, I actually love about every six, seven weeks --
MORGAN: -- to march 10 blocks up the Upper East in Manhattan and get a Big Mac and a large fries. And I don't feel guilty. I thoroughly enjoy it.
SPURLOCK: You just walked a half a mile to get it. You just walked 10 blocks.
MORGAN: Exactly. And then take one back. So I recommend that kind of --
SPURLOCK: That kind of balances it out a bit.
SPURLOCK: Most people are driving that 10 blocks, you know, in America.
MORGAN: Do you ever sneak a little Big Mac in?
MORGAN: Do you have -- not have again since the movie?
SPURLOCK: Not since March 2nd, 2003.
MORGAN: Not a single one.
SPURLOCK: Not a single -- but there's so many better places to get a burger I would not have been like -- I wouldn't even do that to myself.
MORGAN: Are you almost allergic to it?
SPURLOCK: If I eat like a -- the last time I ate it, like when it hits my mouth, it just tastes like chemicals. It tastes somebody has poured chemicals in my mouth.
MORGAN: So let's put the views on a cliffhanger. Your view of where America is. The reason I'm -- you are the "INSIDE MAN." Yes. I think you've got a great take on the real America.
MORGAN: Which is probably not what the media elite or --
SPURLOCK: Some of what we hear.
MORGAN: -- I get to think.
MORGAN: What is your take on where America is right now and where is it going?
SPURLOCK: I mean, I am -- I am an optimist. I'm an eternal optimist. And I believe, especially, you know, when I get to make a show like this, or "It's 30 Days" the show we made for FX, when you kind of get to meet the real people who live and breathe every day, and deal with the problems that we talk about in the show, you know, they also believe in this country. And I think that's what the backbone is, is people who continue to have faith that things are going to get better.
That continue to go to work every day and pay their bill and do their jobs. And make them do their best for their families. I mean, that's -- that's ultimately what it comes down to. I think that all the terrible things that happened are always going to happen. But I think so long as those people are around who continue to believe that things are going to get better, can get better, that's what's most important.
MORGAN: But how does America find its new place in the world? Having been the great manufacturer of the world?
SPURLOCK: Well, now you --
MORGAN: And then become the great consumer of the world.
MORGAN: What is stage three? Because it can't be the previous.
SPURLOCK: Well, that's -- that's the real question now. Where are we going to go because now not only do we not manufacture, but now we're, like, 17th in the world in science, we're like 25th in math, you know, we're -- you know, even lower than that when it comes to like reading comprehension.
SPURLOCK: You know, it's a scary time. And I think that, you know --
MORGAN: And by the way, Britain's exactly the same.
MORGAN: I mean, the stats are equally bad.
SPURLOCK: Yes. And for me -- one of the episodes we talk about is education. I think it literally all comes back down to that. You just have to start really preparing kids and one get to be excited about education but also preparing them for what's next in our country.
MORGAN: This NSA scandal.
MORGAN: Which comes down, I guess, to whether you think Edward Snowden is a hero or a villain. Where do you sit with him?
SPURLOCK: I saw this incredible Bob Schieffer I saw on TV last night who said something great. He goes, if he was a hero, why wouldn't he just stay here and face the music? Like Daniel Ellsberg. Like somebody like that. Why not stay here, and say, great, I'm going to blow the whistle, and I'm going to be here front and center to take the heat for it.
MORGAN: But you're a whistle blower of sorts?
MORGAN: You've blown the whistle on companies and bad things in America.
MORGAN: If what he's doing is exposing a truth that ought to be exposed.
MORGAN: Regardless of where he's run and what he's saying.
MORGAN: Is that not in itself the justification?
SPURLOCK: I think it's -- I mean, I think that he -- what he did is great. I mean I think that we should have somebody like that who lets us know that these things are happening. You know, the question of whether or not he's a hero is the real question. I think that -- I think what he's done was very heroic. I don't think he's dealing with it in a very heroic way.
MORGAN: What should he do?
SPURLOCK: I think he should come back. I think he should come here. I think he should come here and he stand up for what he believes. I think there are plenty of other Americans who will support him for that.
MORGAN: Would you trust the government to do that? To take care of you?
SPURLOCK: It's like -- yes, I don't trust the government now, what are you talking about?
MORGAN: Is that part of the problem? One of my problem is -- SPURLOCK: Every time I pick up my phone and I hear it clicking, I'm like, who's listening to this?
MORGAN: Well, you must be right in that (INAUDIBLE).
MORGAN: It is part of the problem for President Obama. He did come in on this wave of, you know, I'm going to be transparent and we're not going to be spying on American citizens.
MORGAN: And then suddenly well, he's in office.
MORGAN: And he's worked out, that's what you have to do to stop terrorists.
SPURLOCK: Nothing worse for him than to have this happen right now. Because it has completely tainted every bid of legacy that he's had up until now.
MORGAN: What else have we got -- drugs, we've got guns, we've got education. What else can we look forward to in the show?
SPURLOCK: One of my favorite episodes is all about kind of end of life issues, like what happens with the elderly, and so I move in with my 91-year-old grandmother.
SPURLOCK: Yes. So I moved in with my --
MORGAN: How did that go?
SPURLOCK: It was great, I called her up and I said, hey, Thudie ph), you want to have a roommate. She's like, well, come on down.
Yes. I moved in with her and we filmed with her to kind of show what, you know, the elderly go through and what they face. It's a great episode.
MORGAN: Well, it's great to have you at CNN. It's a terrific show from the stuff that I've already seen.
SPURLOCK: Thank you.
MORGAN: "INSIDE MAN" hosted by Morgan Spurlock, premieres this Sunday, June 23rd at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Best of luck with it.
SPURLOCK: Thanks, Piers.
MORGAN: Good to see you.
SPURLOCK: Great to see you.
MORGAN: When we come back, shark stories. A Texas teenager beat a shark with his bare hands after it attacks him. Another team goes for a joyride on a 30-foot whale shark. I'll talk to him and shark expert Jeff Corwin to explain why he's such an idiot. Well, Jeff Corwin and others -- it's coming next.
MORGAN: A Texas teenager is in the hospital tonight after a terrifying shark attack. Incredibly he beat the shark with his bare hands after it took a bite out of his left leg while he was swimming in waist-deep water along Texas' Gulf Coast.
Friends from his church group came to his aide and the 15-year-old was airlifted to Houston hospital where he's in stable condition.
Now I want to turn to another shark story. The teenager taking the joyride of a lifetime, according to him, on the back of one of the largest sharks in the world. Take a look at this, a 30-foot long whale shark swims passed Chris Kreis' boat. He dips into the water and grabs the massive dorsal fin and goes for a ride.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Chris Kreis joins me now live.
Chris, first obvious question, what the hell were you thinking?
CHRIS KREIS, RODE 30-FOOT WHALE SHARK: Well -- well, Piers, it's always been one of my lifelong dreams actually to be able to see one out in the wild. And on Saturday June 8th, I have -- I had the opportunity to see one.
MORGAN: Right. We all want to see one, but what you did went way beyond seeing one, you jumped in the water, pursued it, jumped on top of it and rode it. I mean, it's the stuff of madness.
KREIS: I mean, it's always been one of my lifelong dreams to be actually be in the water with them -- with one of them, and I took it, I jumped in, and I grabbed on to its fin and it took me for a low short ride which -- it was an experience of a lifetime.
MORGAN: I mean, most people run a mile from sharks, rather than jump on top of it. Did you not worry it might eat you, drag you under the water? Do something horrible to you like sharks tend to do? KREIS: Well, I've been around sharks for many years. I've dove with bull sharks and very aggressive sharks, and I know that whale sharks are -- they're harmless creatures. Their size might be frightening, except they eat plankton and they eat small organisms so I wasn't scared at all.
MORGAN: When you see the video, what are you thinking to yourself?
KREIS: When I watch the video, it's almost a surreal moment. Because at the moment when I did it so many things are going through your head, you don't even realize you're actually holding on to a 30-foot whale shark that weighs approximately 50,000 pounds. You only realized until you look back at the video and watch when you actually did it.
MORGAN: What's next on the dream bucket list then? Hammer head sharks? Great whites? Where are you going next?
KREIS: I'm not too sure about that yet. I mean, every day is another adventure if we go fishing. So --
MORGAN: I mean, do you worry at all about the poor old sharks in all this? I mean, is it -- is it good for them to have human beings clamoring all over them? Riding them around?
KREIS: Well, I'm not too sure about how many people have actually done it, per se. However I've heard of other --
MORGAN: I think a very, very small number.
KREIS: Possibly. However, I felt that if I -- my size compared to the size of that shark is almost nothing. And also that scientists tag the whale sharks with tags on the dorsal fin. And I mean, if I'm simply holding on to a whale shark, how is that any different from a scientist tagging a shark?
MORGAN: Yes, it sounds perfectly normal, doesn't it? Chris Kreis, thank you so much for joining me. I obviously -- I think you're barking mad but there are many others who think that maybe you're not. I tell you what. Hang on. Wait with me. Because I'm going to bring in the shark expert. I'm interested to see what he have to say about your activity.
And joining me now is a man who's got better experience with sharks, Jeff Corwin, wildlife biologist and host of "Ocean Mysteries" on ABC. His latest e-book is appropriately called "Sharks."
So, Jeff, what do you make of young Chris' shark riding?
JEFF CORWIN, WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST: Well, good evening, guys. Well, I can certainly appreciate the enthusiasm. For me, one of the most amazing experiences I've had was documenting whale sharks for "Ocean Mysteries." But we have to remember that this is a wild animal and, in fact, intense contact with sharks can actually be incredibly stressful for these animals.
They have a very thin, almost like slimy layer, a mucus layer on their skin. When that rubs off, it actually can expose them to bacteria. And we also need to remember what this animal is doing. These animals move to the surface for one specific reason. And that is to filter feed. And they're burning energy to get energy. And when we interfere with their feeding activities, it could be detrimental.
And in some places, whale sharks are protected. These are a mysterious species, Piers. We don't know a lot about them but we know they're very vulnerable. And that shark that could be on the coast of Florida one day, a few weeks later could be somewhere off the coast of Mexico. They remove and travel great distances. But I myself think you need to be real careful around these creatures because they're vulnerable.
MORGAN: I mean, I had a few guys on recently who had caught what may well turn out to be the biggest shark ever caught in American waters. If not the world's waters. And I got a bit of flak on Twitter afterwards for glorifying in their capture on the basis that we shouldn't be celebrating this kind of thing. These are great creatures of the sea and they shouldn't be hooked out into the -- into the boats.
What do you think of that, Jeff?
CORWIN: Well, we -- when we vilify them, it makes it a lot easier to unsustainably exploit them. So the truth is, sharks are incredibly complex. We've talked about this before, Piers. And these are animals that, for example, Mako sharks, these are creatures that may spend many decades before they're even old enough to reproduce. So there are some species of sharks that haven't even replaced themselves until they're 20, 30, 40 years old.
We also know that they're the ultimate symbol of the health of an ecosystem and we know that sharks are in trouble. Around the world, 70 percent of all shark species have their populations down by 90 percent. And I'm not opposed to people fishing or sustainably connecting to sharks. But I do think they warrant a tremendous amount of respect. And around the world we have failed as stewards of our planet to protect sharks.
MORGAN: And what about the young 15-year-old boy who was attacked by a shark? What is the best thing to do? If you're -- if you're in the water as he was in Texas, and you do get attacked by a shark, what is the most sensible course of action?
CORWIN: If you're religious, start praying to God. After that, you know, defend yourself. He did exactly what he needed to do. We need to remember that 90 percent of shark -- shark attacks are the result of mistaken identity. These animals often are cruising in. Usually during poor light conditions or bad weather conditions. Oftentimes they deliver first a test bite. So you really have to be incredibly unlucky to be bitten by a shark. It's really one in tens of millions of possibilities. But he did exactly what you need to do. The first thing you need to do is to try to get out of the water. If you can't get out of the water, you need to defend yourself and try to keep this animal at bay.
You know, if it turns out that what he's doing is a lot of work, you might just lead this person alone. And most shark attacks have this ending where someone gets scared, someone gets bit. But they end up surviving.
MORGAN: Final word to you, Chris Kreis. Any regrets having heard what Jeff had to say?
KREIS: Well, if a little bit of un-education with some of -- with a whale shark in general, that touching it might have absolutely harmed it, yes, I might feel regretful about it knowing that I might have injured it. But really, in the long run, it was definitely an experience that might be once in a lifetime.
As Jeff was saying, the shark populations are really down and who knows if I might ever see one ever again.
MORGAN: Well, it was certainly an extraordinary bit of video. And I certainly commend your bravery. Something I wouldn't do in a lifetime.
Chris Kreis, thank you very much for joining me.
And Jeff, thank you very much for joining me.
KREIS: Thank you, Piers.
CORWIN: My pleasure.
MORGAN: And we'll be right back.
MORGAN: Tomorrow night the mother who said it's not selfish to have one child. It's liberating. Lauren Sandler makes the case in a new book that had a lot of parents thinking twice about having an only child.
That's tomorrow night at 9:00 Eastern.
That's all for us tonight. Anderson Cooper starts right now.