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PIERS MORGAN LIVE

Interview With Star Jones; The Grill: Discussion On Armed Teachers; Bradley Manning To Be Sentenced; Interview with Brad Paisley

Aired July 30, 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, a jail break in Arkansas you've really got to see to believe it. The whole thing caught on dramatic tape. And elsewhere, also in Arkansas, a town is going to arm its teachers. Now, it's no secret how I feel about that. I think it is a pretty awful idea. But we'll hear from both sides, of course, on "The Grill" tonight.

I'll talk to a woman also who has strong feelings about that, also mentioned the Bradley Manning verdict and male politicians behaving badly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Quit isn't the way we roll in New York City. We fight through tough things. We are a tough city.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Tonight Star Jones on scandals high and low. Wait until you hear about what she has to say about Sydney Leather's interview with Howard Stern. She's Anthony Weiner's text friend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD STERN, RADIO HOST: The craziest part of the whole Anthony Weiner thing is the guy never met you face-to-face.

SYDNEY LEATHERS, ANTHONY WEINER'S SEXTING PARTNER: No, he never met me.

STERN: But I've had more contact with you already. You had to say to yourself, this guy is one sick puppy, right?

LEATHERS: Totally, especially after the first scandal had already happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Want to begin with the woman who has a lot to say about all the big stories of the day. Here with me is Star Jones, attorney and national spokesperson for the National Association for Professional Women.

Star, welcome back to you.

STAR JONES, ATTORNEY: I am so glad to be here with you tonight.

MORGAN: Anthony Weiner.

JONES: Oh, please.

MORGAN: Where do we even start with this story? It's so bizarre, isn't it?

JONES: You know, he's one tick away from being just a complete perv to be honest with you. If you look on the continuum, he likes young girls, as a matter of fact, and he doesn't like to be in the room with them. He likes to be in a room by himself talking to young girls.

It's just something really ill about it. And I wanted to stop laughing because you don't laugh at people who are sick, and so now you start to analyze it.

MORGAN: What is -- what is odd is the utter shamelessness that he's doing with this.

JONES: Right.

MORGAN: And there's a new video out today he's posted on his Web site where he's just cracking on. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEINER: I know that there are newspaper editors and other politicians that say boy, I wish that guy Weiner would quit. They don't know New York. They certainly don't know me. Quit isn't the way we roll in New York City.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: OK. He's annoying, excuse me.

(LAUGHTER)

The first thing is stop putting yourself in the category of just like New Yorkers. Quit --

MORGAN: As if every New Yorkers out there frantically texting pictures of his wiener to women he doesn't know.

JONES: To god knows who, and don't put us in -- don't put yourself in the category of people like our first responders who don't know how to quit. Don't put yourself in the category of people who show up and go to your house when it's on fire, to police officers, to teachers who are there in these schools and neighborhoods that no one wants to walk through. Those are the New Yorkers that don't quit, not these ones that don't know when it's time to say good bye and go. That annoys me. That sort of add that arrogance, that master of the universal mentality. He was not a real distinguished congressman. So all of a sudden he's become this new revitalized Anthony Weiner, I'm the one that's going to save New York, oh please, go back to where you were.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: But are there -- are there people, obviously, it's in New York, clearly he thinks there are, who think, you know, what bit of a naughty boy, makes him a bit more interesting. They think President Kennedy, one of the great womanizers in history, you know, general -- even General Petraeus was at it. You know, they think maybe great leadership comes from being a little bit naughty in your private life.

JONES: They are -- the names that you mentioned all had a record before, during and after their so-called scandals. Please just identify to me something that Anthony Weiner has accomplished as a congressman. He's a big mouth wonderful speaker. He can generate a lot of fire in a crowd. He can make people feel like they can fly.

MORGAN: Yes.

JONES: But that's good for a southern preacher, OK? That's what we used to do down at church in North Carolina. We can make everybody get the holy spirit. But can you get my infrastructure together in New York? That's what I care about.

MORGAN: Let me ask you this, Star. Does it really matter -- if his wife, as seems to be the case, seems perfectly content with what has happened, and he says, I really have stopped now. Does it really matter to the average New Yorker if this guy really is the best guy to sort out the economy, for example?

JONES: Do you believe him when he says I really have stopped? Because he told us that before.

MORGAN: It is quite hard to believe.

JONES: OK? You know, when somebody tells you who they are, I tend to believe them. And he's told us that he has this illness where he is he's compelled while his pregnant wife is somewhere else, trying to so-called put your marriage back together, he's compelled to get on a phone and/or a computer with a woman he does not know, who is just shy of being a kid herself, and send pictures of his private parts, and use language that quite frankly a man and a woman only in a very intimate sexual encounter should be using with each other --

MORGAN: Where does it leave Hillary Clinton in all this? Because obviously Huma is the right hand --

JONES: Annoyed beyond belief, I've got to belief. And you know, you know I've been a surrogate for Secretary Clinton when she was running for the Democratic nomination, and I have to imagine that someone like Hillary Clinton who has accomplished more than even her dreams probably could have taken her, every single time one of these politicians behave badly, all of the past stuff that she and her husband have, obviously worked through, gets thrown back in her face.

She starts seeing pictures of Monica Lewinsky all over again.

MORGAN: Right.

JONES: You know, the president has to relive a mad wife because no matter what wife says, I've gotten through it, we've gotten through it, the last thing you want to do is be reminded of it regularly and in some ways it just paints her with a brush of, oh, she stood by her man.

But what's OK. Because every wife can make that choice.

MORGAN: Here's the problem. Let's listen to another clip. This is from the Sydney Leathers interview with Howard Stern. She is one of the texting -- sexting partners that Anthony Weiner selected. Listen to what she said about him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEATHERS: Started to fizzle out, and I just kind of stopped answering his phone calls and he'd get really mad at me and just be kind of a jerk when I didn't answer my phone every single time he called. It was like a teenage boy --

STERN: How -- yes, like wow.

LEATHERS: He was just like this needy little (EXPLETIVE DELETED) basically.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: I mean, a needy teenage boy. It's -- it's a bit pathetic, isn't it? Isn't that the problem?

JONES: It's a lack of core values. You know, each and every one of us has inside of us those things, that no matter what you're doing, if you are delivering UPS or if you're the president of the United States, if you have certain core values, you're going to act a certain way, integrity, character, judgment, service, responsibility, those kinds of core values. They speak to who you are as a person and who you will be as a professional.

And if Anthony Weiner cannot show the kind of judgment that is necessary, the loyalty to his family that is necessary, what makes you think that he would be the right person to lead the city on New York?

MORGAN: I had an interview last night, I just wanted to talk to you about actually because it was about George Zimmerman, about guns. It was with a gentleman called Ken Hanson from the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, who had raised $12,000 to let George Zimmerman have more guns.

Listen to what he had to say to me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: What if Trayvon Martin's older brother is walking in the same area in a few months time, George Zimmerman happens to be passing, finds him suspicious again as he did Trayvon, decides to engage him in the street, and decides to shoot him, as well? Where does that leave you if you're the one that supplied the gun?

KEN HANSON, BUCKEYE FIREARMS FOUNDATION: Well, if we're the ones that supplied the gun and remember, we provided money, not a gun, but if someone is on top of Mr. Zimmerman again repeatedly bashing his head into the concrete, and he acts in self-defense, that's incredible bad luck that he found himself in that situation twice, but we'll sleep soundly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: I mean, he will sleep very soundly but when I asked him, you know, have you thought about providing any help to Trayvon Martin's family so they can defend themselves, you know, he didn't really have an answer for me.

JONES: You know, I watched the interview last night, and having been a homicide prosecutor here in New York, I can tell you, I have sat across from and interviewed people who were store owners, as well as police officers, who had to use their firearm and take a life, and if it's in self-defense and they were not -- they were found not to be liable for that death, it was not a murder, it was a killing, as in this situation here, I -- I can tell you for certain those people were affected in ways that stayed with them forever.

A police officer who takes the life of a young teenage boy, the first thing he would want to do is not grab a gun. That's not the kind of person that goes back to those core values I was talking about. A real law enforcement officer, somebody who could pass the psychological test, would have immediately had some empathy for what is going on, and would not want to have a gun in their hands.

MORGAN: And what about the story I want to be talking about a little later in the show, which is this district in Arkansas where they have basically armed an entire school. I mean, at least 20 of the teachers and administrators are going to get training and will conceal carry guns during school time?

JONES: Who is to say that the teacher's toast was not burnt that morning and they walk into the classroom and just go completely buck wild? Who is to say that all of a sudden the bipolar meds didn't get delivered from the pharmacy that they get it from online --

MORGAN: Well, they dropped --

(CROSSTALK)

JONES: And they --

MORGAN: Or they drop the gun.

JONES: Or they put the gun because there is a distraction over here. They the gun in the desk and forget to turn the lock and another person in that classroom grabs the gun.

I know that there are a lot of people out there that believe that everybody should be able to arm themselves. I support the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. But I'm telling you, the guns, we need to get them out. And if we had done background checks in a certain way, George Zimmerman would not have had a legal gun.

(CROSSTALK)

Yes, I don't believe he could have passed a background check.

MORGAN: My real issue with all these things is that the only answer that the pro-gun lobbyists ever put forward is more guns. They never seem to countenance even the notion that reducing the volume of guns could make America a safer place. That is what I find so unconscionable.

JONES: And if you're not going to reduce the volume of guns, make the ammunition expensive so that every time --

MORGAN: Do something.

JONES: Every time you point a gun at somebody and you're going to pull the trigger, think, is that life worth $5,000 for a bullet?

MORGAN: Right.

JONES: To make the ammunition more expensive. I don't think that's in the Constitution.

MORGAN: Well, in Britain, we had a sort of dramatic reduction in all fire offenses when we made it a mandatory five-year jail sentence if you were caught with a handgun. It works.

Anyway, Star Jones, always good to talk to you. Come back soon, please.

After the break, we'll go to that small Arkansas school district where they are arming teachers and later also in Arkansas, a lot going on down there today. Armed and dangerous, the astonishing jailbreak that's got a daring criminal on the run tonight. All captured on quite remarkable video.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: There's quite astonishing video tonight of a jailbreak in Arkansas. The whole thing caught on tape. Officials say that Derrick Estell got an accomplice to distract deputies while he escaped from the Garland County Detention Center on Sunday afternoon. When the coast was clear, Estell jumped over the counter and sprinted out of the door where Tamara Upshaw was waiting in a getaway car. The car was found abandoned a few minutes later. Estell was being held on charges of aggravated robbery, burglary, theft, breaking and entering, and not surprisingly, fleeing. Police say he's armed and dangerous and extremely aggressive.

Joining me now with more is Lawrence Kobilinsky. He's a forensic scientist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

I mean, Larry, in one sense it's quite amusing, all this, to watch. It's absolutely extraordinary. The guy on the phone pretending to speak to somebody, just bolts over the counter and legs (ph) it. But actually, he's a very dangerous man, and the obvious question is how could he be in a position to even do this?

LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: I think it's very important that when somebody is take into custody, that there is some assessment of dangerousness, risk level, because you want more security on a person that poses a risk. So that is the reason why we have facilities that are minimum-, medium- or high-level security prisons. So, I mean, obviously this is -- was a facility that was not the highest security.

MORGAN: Well, it's like Inspector Clouseau, isn't it, gone mad. I mean, there he is on the phone, we see him there now. He's keeping a close eye out, clearly others are involved with him. And them womp, straight over the counter head first, followed by the rather clueless officer, not quite as quick. He runs into the car parked. As we see, there is already a car waiting, a girlfriend, we think, who has the car ready to go. And off he goes.

KOBILINSKY: It's quite amazing. I think some escapes happen because there is an opportunity and a strong motive, a strong desire to escape. On the other hand, many escapes occur because they are well-planned out. There is communication with an accomplice on the outside or inside, somebody that will help you accomplish the task at hand

MORGAN: I mean, isn't there more that should be more done for somebody like him? I mean, it's some kind of detention center, not a full-fledged prison. What do you do about this kind of thing?

KOBILINSKY: Well, as I said, you need to put people like this in the right facility. And it's expensive. Facilities are expensive. There are too many people in the prison in this country. It's costing the taxpayer a lot of dollars. And sometimes you have to make a decision: do you want to build roads and bridges or do you want to build new prisons? This was an unfortunate situation. Most of the time these people are caught, but it poses a threat and danger to society.

MORGAN: Larry Kobilinsky, thank you very much, indeed.

In another part of Arkansas, a small school district has come up with what I think is a pretty dreadful plan. They're training and arming more than 20 teachers and staff to carry concealed weapons in the classroom. Guns and children. What could possibly go wrong?

Joining me now is Brenda Robinson, president of the Arkansas Education Association.

My view is straightforward. I think this is absolutely crackers, this. What is this?

BRENDA ROBINSON, PRESIDENT, ARKASAS EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: Well, my view on this Piers -- and thank you for inviting me on the show. But my view, educators we do everything in our power in order to secure a safe learning environment for students. In Arkansas Education Association, we oppose having guns anyplace in the school.

MORGAN: I mean, I've got four kids, varying from ages from 20 down to 20 months. And I can't think of anything more horrific or nerve-jangling on a sort of minute-by-minute basis and thinking one of my children is going to school, and 20 people in that school have armed guns on them.

ROBINSON: Well, I've heard from some parents, they are taking their children out of this school district simply because of that reason. That they don't feel secure with guns in the school. And I know there are teachers and administration and education support professionals that are being trained, only in 50 hour in order to carry a concealed weapon and be a trained security guard.

But I just don't think that should be the focus. The focus should be teachers and administrators creating a safe environment for children to learn and focus on teaching and learning.

MORGAN: Teachers should be teaching, for God's sake. Clarksville School Superintendent David Hopkins told my CNN colleague, Jake Tapper today about the training. Listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID HOPKINS, SUPERINTENDENT, CLARKSVILLE SCHOOLS: These guns will be concealed on the employees in the district. And again, the training that they have received is first-class training. And, you know, if you hire a new police officer out of the police academy, as far as firearms training portion that, they received, we have received as much or more training than they would receive. In fact, more training. I believe the course is 40 hours here in Arkansas. And our individuals receive 53 hours of training.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: See, this all sounds great, Brenda. You remember recently the Empire State Building shoot-out that happened just near this studio here in New York when you had policeman drawing their guns and fired 16 rounds. They hit three bystanders directly with their gunfire by mistake, and nine others hit by ricocheting bullets. You know, and that's people who have been training with these guns all their careers. Now we expect teachers in between giving these kids lessons on you know, chemistry, biology and so on to pull out their firearms and be John Wayne.

ROBINSON: I agree with you on that. That would be a hard-focused area to stand in a classroom and teaching and all of a sudden, when something occurs -- violence occurs you have to go and pull out that concealed weapon and do what you need to do in order to protect children, which we do on a daily basis. We're there to protect our children.

And also, my concern with that would be when law officers come, who do they know are the gunmen? Because who do they know are the trained security guards, you know, in that session? That's some of the unknown. And sure students being caught in the cross fire will also be another concern, as well.

MORGAN: Yes, completely agree. Brenda Robinson, thank you very much indeed for joining me.

When we come back, a heated debate on guns and schools. This man thinks it's a great idea. That's Ben Ferguson --versus a teacher who's firmly against it. That's The Grill. This could get pretty lively.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WAYNE LAPIERRE, CEO, NRA: We believe in absolutely gun-free, zero tolerance, totally safe schools.

(APPLAUSE)

LAPIERRE: That means no guns in America's schools, period.

I call on Congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: The NRA's Wayne LaPierre with a complete about-face on guns in classrooms. I want to bring in two people who couldn't disagree more about guns in schools. Joining me is Mary Cathryn Ricker, president of the St. Paul Federation for Teachers and vice president of the American Federation of Teachers. She works on school safety policies. Also CNN political commentator, Ben Ferguson, host of "The Ben Ferguson Show." They're both on the grill tonight.

To Ben Ferguson, give me one good reason why arming 20 teachers and administrators is a sensible way to reduce gun violence in America?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTAOR: I've give you three. One, because these teachers are volunteering and they know their school better than any police officer will in their community. Two: you're training them with 50-plus hours in their school only. They're not doing police training like police do where their hours are diluted in all different scenarios. And the most important reason, in Arkansas specifically, they had one of the worst shootings early on in history when in Jonesboro, you had an 11- and 13-year-old take out a teacher, students and not only that, wound a bunch of their classmates and no one was there to stop them. So, from a teacher's perspective who's willing to go through the training, who's willing to go through the background check and willing to put their bodies in front of their students like we saw in Newtown, where there are always hero teachers who takes bullets for students, why not allow some of them who want to have this extensive training, which is more than police officers get, in this one situation? Instead of being shot to death, allow them to take out the shooter and save their kids' lives. That to me is common sense.

MORGAN: And before I go to Mary Cathryn Ricker, you would presumably by extension of your argument, Ben, you would arm every single teacher in America if you could in every school?

FERGUSON: No, absolutely not. I would only arm teachers that want to be armed and want to go through the training. I absolutely do not want every teacher in America to have a gun because there are a lot of teachers that would not feel comfortable having a gun on their body, in their possession, and I certainly would never want anyone to carry one in this situation who didn't want to.

MORGAN: OK, let's go to Mary Cathryn Ricker. What is your reaction to that?

MARY CATHRYN RICKER, PRESIDENT, ST. PAUL FEDERATION FOR TEACHERS : My huge concern is this idea that for every problem you think you may be solving, there are going to be far more pervasive problems that you're actually creating. An this idea that you're creating an atmosphere in a school that is now an armory - you know, where are teachers going to keep these guns? Are they carrying them home at night? Are they storing them somewhere in the school building?

When you have students and families and other adults who have already had traumatic gun violence in their lives, are you now creating a classroom as a traumatic place for them where the classroom had that sanctuary -

FERGUSON: That question - that question -

RICKER: And finally -- no, I think you also have to look at the fact that, you know, in this perfect scenario you're talking about a teacher who in a split second is going to have access to a firearm that is not going to equal what these murders are bringing into schools, either.

FERGUSON: Mary your option is this --

RICKER: Are they keeping this on your person? Are they keeping it locked and loaded?

FERGUSON: Mary, Mary --

RICKER: Will they have time to go and unlock it?

FERGUSON: You're -- this is where the fear-mongering is exhausting. You just asked a bunch of questions and obviously did not do any of the research because you want to terrify parents that are watching tonight. I can answer the question. First of all --

RICKER: Ben, I am a parent. I thought of this --

FERGUSON: It has to be on the person. Let me finish. Let me finish. Let me finish.

The gun, first of all, if you actually looked at what they are doing, has to be on the person. It is not locked up in the school overnight. It's not being left in a drawer. It is a concealed weapon on the person. That is the law of anyone who is a guard in this situation, which is the law in Arkansas. So let's not put out information that is not true --

MORGAN: Okay, Ben, Ben, Ben, Ben, let me ask you a question.

FERGUSON: Sure.

MORGAN: How would a teacher with just 50 hours of any kind of training with a gun be able to stop somebody like Adam Lanza with an AR-15 with perhaps 100-bullet magazine? Explain to me how you'll do that?

FERGUSON: Well, you actually take the gun. You lift it up. You aim it at that person, and then you pull the trigger. It works. I had two guns pointed at me, both of them shooting at me, and I was able to protect myself. It's a lot better than putting your hands up like this or putting yourself in front of children and then taking them and having absolutely no way to defend yourself or the poor children --

MORGAN: Where do the teachers put the guns? Where do the teachers put their guns physically?

FERGUSON: They wear it on their waist. This is not some new technology. It's the same thing --

RICKER: There are a couple things about this really concerning --

FERGUSON: --or any police officer does.

MORGAN: OK. Mary?

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Because Ben, they are police officers. Wait a moment!

RICKER: Ben --

MORGAN: They are police officers. That is their job.

RICKER: That's right.

MORGAN: Like soldiers are soldiers. We're talking about teachers. Where do you end this? Do you then go and do the same with nurses, you do the same with priests?

(CROSSTALK)

RICKER: We're starting at the wrong place here.

MORGAN: I mean, what I'm telling you is a logical argument.

RICKER: First of all, we started in the wrong place.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Mary?

RICKER: Yes, so we're starting in the wrong place. If we are, as a country, come to the fact that these intruders come into our school and hunt our children down and -- and kill them and we're just reacting, then I -- you know, then -- then we're starting too late. We're reacting too much.

The superintendent...

(CROSSTALK)

FERGUSON: So what do you want to do?

RICKER: ...of the school district actually said that so -- so first of all, Ben, I actually don't appreciate being accused of not doing my research because I've spent quite a bit of time talking to the...

FERGUSON: Well, but -- but the things you brought up had already been answered.

(CROSSTALK)

RICKER: ...about this situation. They haven't been. We have not had the sort of comprehensive conversation we had to actually solve this problem. We haven't.

And what we have to do, when -- when this superintendent said that lock your doors and shut your lights is not a plan, I actually agree with him because what we've done there is we've accepted...

(CROSSTALK)

FERGUSON: So what do you want to do?

RICKER: ...that these just are going to happen (ph). So...

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Well, hey -- hey, Ben -- Ben, let me jump in there because Ben...

FERGUSON: Yes, OK.

MORGAN: ...every single day, it seems, we read these awful stories of accidents. Put aside for a moment any threat of homicide or mass shooting or whatever. Let's just get down to the nuts and bolts of what happens when there are lots of guns around, right?

A recent study in the Southern Medical Journal conclude and I quote, "The dangers of having a gun at home far outweigh the safety benefits." And we've seen a -- a load of young kids who have picked up guns and shot their siblings, shot their parents.

Well, it's not funny, Ben, is it? It's happening on a daily basis.

(CROSSTALK)

FERGUSON: It's not funny because there -- there are crime victims. But Piers, there are crime victims that I can bring before you that would say what you just said absolutely did not apply to their life.

Go to any person who had a gun and protected and defend themselves, I'm one of them who actually was faced with a gun being point at them or their home was being -- it kicked -- their front was being kicked in or their back door was being kicked in.

And it saved their life. And an accident didn't happen there. And without a gun, they would probably either be raped or dead or live a life of fear and terror because of the horrible crimes that are committed against people that cannot defend themselves.

I also have to say one other thing about teachers. Why are we acting as if teachers are somehow incompetent to volunteer to then go through training?

We trust them with our children's lives.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: But Ben -- Ben -- Ben...

FERGUSON: We trust them with reading, writing and arithmetic. But we act like they're incompetent to carry a weapon.

(CROSSTALK)

RICKER: Knowing that (ph), you're (ph) incompetent.

MORGAN: ...there were of course, as you know...

FERGUSON: They (ph) are (ph).

MORGAN: ...I do know, Ben. There were armed guns at Columbine, Virginia Tech, obviously at Fort Hood, the base was swimming in them.

FERGUSON: Right.

MORGAN: And there's no evidence that it makes any difference. When you have people in tears on mass killings...

(CROSSTALK) FERGUSON: And they're too far away.

MORGAN: ...and so I come back to my point, which I think is' Mary's point -- she had (ph) it earlier -- is chicken and the egg. What you're going to try and do is make it far more difficult surely for these mass shooters to get their hands on these killing machines, bring in universal background checks, ban high-capacity magazines. Ban assault rifles, do something to try and make it more difficult.

(CROSSTALK)

FERGUSON: And you and I look at this...

MORGAN: Your answer is what you do after the event. It's like, well, they'll (ph) come (ph) anyway. So let's arm everybody else. It's the Wild West.

FERGUSON: No, it's not the Wild West because -- because -- hold on, I have to -- I've got to respond to that, Piers.

(CROSSTALK)

RICKER: Piers, can I make another point about places where schools act (ph) truly been for (ph)...

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Hold on, let -- let Ben respond to me and then Mary, you have the last word.

RICKER: Absolutely, absolutely.

FERGUSON: Let me -- let me say this. When you look at school shootings in America today, you brought the brilliant point. At some of these locations, there was a armed guard.

And unfortunately, that armed guard was too far away or the police are too far away to take out the threat at that moment. We saw that in Newtown.

It was too long before the police. And it's not their fault got there. When you have multiple people in a school who have volunteered and have been trained more in that situation, then the majority of police have been trained in that situation and they know that school.

And they want to do it...

MORGAN: OK.

FERGUSON: ...and we trust them with our kids, why would we not trust them with this?

MORGAN: OK, but Ben, very quickly, last point to you and then a final point to Mary, why did Wayne Lapierre as early as 1999 -- why was he so adamant that shouldn't, by his words, that we saw at the top of the segment, there should be no guns at any school in America. And now, he thinks the complete opposite?

(CROSSTALK)

FERGUSON: Because -- because I think he saw that that idea which we tried coast to coast in this country with gun-free zones, they're posted every school in this country gun-free zones, it has been a failure. And the number of school shootings has risen since we've had gun-free zones.

MORGAN: OK.

FERGUSON: So when kids are getting killed, sometimes, you adapt and you change. It's called using the brilliant mind that god gave you to realize sometimes they don't work.

And gun-free zones are a failure every time a shooter walks on campus.

MORGAN: OK, all right. Yes, I will say that brilliant minds can also work out. The more guns you have, the more gun deaths you're going to get.

Anyway, Mary Cathryn Ricker, last word to you.

RICKER: Yes -- yes, Piers, the final point I want to make is we -- we do learn a lot from studying tragedies like Newtown and Columbine. What -- what I don't think we pay enough attention to is how much we can learn from those potential school shootings that have been thwarted or prevented completely. And -- and really, the -- the two big lessons, one -- as I've studied, those thwarted or prevented school shootings are that one, the relationship someone had with the potential shooter that had got them to stop their behavior and two, the people who noticed changed behavior, saw something on social media and said something and actually got someone help before they've committed some horrific tragedy.

MORGAN: Yes.

FERGUSON: I'm in favor of that.

RICKER: And I really do think...

MORGAN: OK.

RICKER: ....we need to do more...

MORGAN: Good point.

RICKER: ...elevate that...

MORGAN: Good point.

(CROSSTALK)

RICKER: And that's where (ph) solutions (ph) lie (ph).

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Good point. Mary, I've got to -- I've got to leave it there. That's a very good point to end on.

RICKER: Absolutely.

MORGAN: To Fen Ferguson, to Mary Cathryn Ricker, thank you, both, very much indeed.

When we come back, reaction to today's Bradley Manning verdict -- not guilty of aiding the enemy but will he spend the rest of his life behind bars anyway?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: One of the videos at issue in army private first class Bradley Manning's court martial. A judge acquitted him today of aiding the enemy, but convicted him of violations of the espionage act, the biggest national security leak in this country's history.

Well, joining me now to talk about the verdict is Alan Dershowitz, also P.J. Crowley, former Assistant Secretary of State of Public Affairs.

Alan Dershowitz, are you surprised that Bradley Manning evaded a conviction for aiding the enemy?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, evaded is not the word I would use. I don't think there was any evidence to support any conclusion that he intended to aid an enemy or hurt the United States.

He intended to be a whistle blower. The video you just showed should be seen by every American. It should never have been classified.

And indeed, under the law, you're showing it tonight on television, theoretically, subjected you to being convicted under the same statutes under which he was convicted because they make no distinction between obtaining the material, broadcasting the material and transmitting the material. Far too much information is classified today and are real secrets.

The ones that really ought to be protected are not adequately protected. So we have it all wrong.

MORGAN: P.J. Crowley, before I come to you, I want to play a little clip from Julian Assange who said the following about this conviction today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ASSANGE: This is the first ever espionage conviction against a whistle blower in the United States. It is a dangerous president and an example of national security extremism.

It is a short-sided of judgment that cannot be tolerated. And it must be reversed. It can never be the conveying true information to the public is espionage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Peter Crowley, where -- where is the line do you think? Well, we see this with Edward Snowden, we see with all these whistle- blowers.

Where is the line between whistle-blowing and becoming a traitor?

PJ CROWLEY: Well, in -- in our lifetime, Daniel Ellsberg, in my opinion, was a whistle-blower. He was intimately aware of the report that he and others had authored within the defense department.

He tried to get those in Congress in the executive branch to pay attention, you know, to the findings in that report and then went to "The New York Times" as a last resort. In the case of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, they went to the guardian and to Wikileaks as a first resort.

So I don't see them as whistle-blowers. I think in the case of Bradley Manning, he had no idea what was in many of the documents that he provided to Julian Assange.

I don't think there's any human being that has yet gone through all 700,000, you know, documents. So I think it's hard -- you know, his first -- the first cable he provided Julian Assange was about an obscure dispute called I (ph) save (ph) between Iceland's, Great Britain and the Netherlands.

The United States was not even a party to it. So you know, from his foxhole in Iraq, I don't think he's in a position to evaluate U.S. policy towards Iceland and decide whether it's right or wrong.

MORGAN: I mean, Alan Dershowitz, the problem is if you don't punish these whistle-blowers, traitors, whatever you want to call them, it doesn't really matter what side of the argument you're on. Everyone, I would have thought, would be in agreement that you can't just have open season.

You can't have everybody you have access to classified material just releasing it into the public domain. So how do you regulate it going forward?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, the best way to keep a secret is not to know it. So the first thing you do is you don't let people like Bradley Manning and Snowden have access to our deepest, darkest secrets.

They're just not sufficiently trustworthy. You make sure that our deepest, darkest secrets, the names of spies, the locations of safe houses, the weapon systems that we have, are really, really secure.

As to the other material, you declassify 99 percent of it, which is being classified, not to protect the national interest of the United States but to avoid embarrassment to incumbents, to make things a little bit more convenient. So what we have to do is be much, much more careful about protecting our real secrets and be much more open about the things that -- that shouldn't be a secret.

But of course, if you do violate the real secrets, you have to be punished. And if you think you're going to be a whistle-blower, you have to think the consequences of your punishment.

That's part of civil disobedience. And this was clearly an act of civil disobedience, both Snowden and Bradley Manning who knew they were violating the law. And there ought to be some consequences.

But we are not to over-prosecute. And that's why I was satisfied with today's decision of the judge throwing out the most serious charges.

MORGAN: P.J. Crowley, just finally, instead of just saying (ph) John Kerry through the nine-month goal for Middle East peace talks today, is he being too optimistic do you think?

CROWLEY: Well, I think it's very important to have a Middle East peace process and having the parties talk even if the prospects of success are -- are not promising, I think is vitally important. I think we'll see potentially progress by inches, not progress by yards or leaps.

MORGAN: P.J. Crowley and Alan Dershowitz, I've got to leave it there. I'm sorry, Alan. I know champing at the bit. But we ran out of time. So I'll come back to you again another time about this.

Thank you, both, very much.

Coming next, country superstar, Brad Paisley, one of my favorite country guests on touring, on the chance, on guns, on Arkansas schools. I want to know what he thinks about that. And he's in the chair after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Brad Paisley's Southern comfort zone, one of two number one hits from his new album, "Wheelhouse". He's between stops on his feet in a summer tour. He's now spoken guns.

He's in the chair (inaudible). Brad, always good to see you.

BRAD PAISLEY, SINGER: It's great to see you.

MORGAN: One of my favorite country stars.

PAISLEY: Thank you.

MORGAN: Let's talk for a moment about Arkansas because it's pretty close to where you come from. You live down in Tennessee and obviously born and raised in -- in West Virginia.

You've got this reaction, I guess it is, to what happened at Sandy Hook. And I want to take you back to a tweet you sent off to Sandy Hook. You've got four and six-year-old kids yourself. You said this, "I spent 15 minutes yelling at the top of my lungs about what happened in Connecticut.

I'm as mad as I'm sad. Enough. Enough." That was what everybody was speaking (ph). And then the question becomes, well, what do you do?

And I guess this -- just (ph) straight (ph) to be fair to them. Then (ph) others (ph) will say you know what, we're going to arm teachers because we don't want a Sandy Hook (ph).

What is your reaction to that reaction?

PAISLEY: It's interesting. The first that you -- you look at the news today, I was actually told about this when I got here.

And your first reaction is wait and then you start to look into what they're doing. And I was told by your producer backstage that they're doing extensive training.

My fear is that knowing as many law enforcement officials as I do and I'm kind of a groupie of -- of those guys. I really respect them. I -- I would love to see the -- the highest-trained people we can get guarding schools in that sense.

And then you know, when you think about something like when you walk into Wal-Mart and you've got somebody handing out cheese, it's a retiree because they want to be around people. We have so many retired police officers in this nation that that might be a great use.

MORGAN: You see (ph), when you go to a big sporting event in America, not trying to be reasonable and reason-minded about the arguments on this, because I come from a different culture in -- in Britain in terms of guns, and when you go to a sporting event in America, big one, there are armed guards all around the Super Bowl and other events like that.

So to me, it's all a completely illogical move to say, well, can we have an armed policeman, say, at all the major schools? I would understand that argument.

I may not necessarily agree with it particularly but I understand it. I don't understand the logic of just arming a whole load of teachers in a school.

And as a father, I would hate that idea of my kids just being around guns all day.

PAISLEY: I would definitely want to know each of these teachers. I would want to know who they are and -- and more about them than just the statistics.

And you know, that -- that's the thing about it as a dad, it's -- it's -- it really is very personal for everyone of these people. But there are, you know, it's -- it's their school. It's their society. We'll see, you know, down there in Arkansas if that's what they want to do. We'll see how it goes.

MORGAN: You're quite outspoken on Twitter. I like your Twitter account. I follow you avidly.

PAISLEY: Thanks.

MORGAN: But the -- the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston marathon bomber, being portrayed as a kind of glamorous rock star on the cover of "Rolling Stone," you see that quite a view about that.

PAISLEY: I didn't like that. I felt like -- I felt like if you're going to portray him in a -- in an accurate light, you should put him in a chicken suit. You know, then -- then you would -- he's got the guy on the cover with basically the way I see him.

MORGAN: But that was a real picture. You see, I -- I was torn here because I thought journalistically, if you read the -- the article, that was the right kind of image to -- to portray because they're making the point. This guy was a very westernized, quite glamorous young man who then becomes radicalized, becomes appalling bomber.

PAISLEY: Right.

MORGAN: It's the journey he went on that we're trying to illustrate.

PAISLEY: I get that. But the problem with that being, we don't want to inspire these people to do any more of this. I mean, he looks like a vintage Jonas Brother.

MORGAN: Right, right.

PAISLEY: You (ph) see (ph) and he's like, you don't want these guys to go, that's how you get on the cover of this magazine.

MORGAN: But if -- if that is who he was, is it wrong to legitimately say that's what he was? He was a good-looking guy leading a normal school life.

PAISLEY: I would say, it's -- it's not necessarily wrong in the sense that they have every right as a free publication to do that. But I think it's in bad taste.

They could have done this -- they could have used a -- a much -- again, Photoshop it and -- and give him feathers, in my opinion.

MORGAN: Let us talk about this album "Wheelhouse." What is your wheel house, Brad paisley?

PAISLEY: I don't know anymore. I -- this album was an attempt to break out of that. It was an -- an attempt to ask really hard questions, even from opposing points of view for myself and -- and see what discussions transpired. And -- and it was a blast for me to incorporate other types of music into what I do and guests that you don't expect, everything from Eric Idle to obviously L.L. (ph) and Nate Carney (ph) and people like that.

MORGAN: And all that accidental racist few (ph) really (ph) blew up. I interviewed LL Cool J about it. I think we got a clip I think of what he said to me about this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LL COOL J: People thought that I was -- I was trying to trivialize slavery, which is ridiculous. You know, I couldn't, with good conscience, as a black man in America who was born and raised here just -- just say, OK, that didn't exist.

And that's -- and it's all OK because it's not OK. That's not what I was implying.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAISLEY: Yes, he -- he definitely wasn't implying that. The interesting thing about this and one thing that I learned and this happened in April, after April came, the bombings then came, everything from, you know, the trial and then Paula Deen and all these -- seems like weekly, we've got something that is happening.

And I -- I remember as we did that, as the week went on, and -- and I've heard all of these different points of view, everybody saying, great job to, you know, basically go to -- go to hell or sort or whatever.

MORGAN: What did you make of the Paula Deen thing? Was she unfairly vilified, do you think?

PAISLEY: Oh, I don't know, I mean, I don't enough about what she really did. But it's really -- it's really -- what's obvious to me is that this is just about the touchiest subject there is.

And what I was saying about LL was, this is a personal conversation between two people in a song, me saying, as a Southerner, what does this -- how does this make you feel, what I'm wearing and him having his point of view? And what I learned is this is a subject where, unlike something like cheating or -- or heartbreak or anything where you can sing and say, here is how I feel and everybody says sure, this, when you sing a song about it, everybody says, how dare you speak for us.

And it's sort of like wait, we were just trying to have a conversation. And I think it's -- that's the tension of the world we live in.

MORGAN: Yes, I completely agree. Brad, it's good to talk to you. "Wheelhouse" is your ninth album (ph) -- amazing. It's available right now.

For more information, on your beef (ph) the summer talk, go to bradpaisley.com. Come back and sing.

PAISLEY: Thanks for having me.

MORGAN: Good to see you. That's all for us tonight. Anderson Cooper will start in a few moments.