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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Gunman Terrifies Mall Patrons, Kills Self; Putin, U.S. Conservatives Share Traits

Aired November 5, 2013 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, yet another crazed gunman opens fire in a public space. No, it`s not your imagination. It is happening more and more and more. We`ve got to the point of shooting du jour. Let`s be real: It`s the new normal, and that`s a bad thing.

Last night, a man armed with a rifle terrified thousands of people inside a packed New Jersey mall, riddling the place with half a dozen bullets before eventually killing himself. Now, this time, I`m happy to report, nobody else was hurt. But how messed up is it that going just a couple of days without a public shooting spree has become unusual?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chaos at a shopping center in New Jersey overnight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shoppers ran for cover.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was outside the mall, by the parking lot, and I heard three shots being fired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were boom, and then another boom, and then another last boom, right after that, right after the second one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard four gunshots, and everybody was scared; everybody was panicked.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is going to be a major, major incident working here at L.A.X.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: A 23-year-old white male enters Terminal Three, pulls a rifle from a bag, and opens fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a lone shooter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy had his gun trained downwards on him, and he shot him twice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was additional rounds that this gunman had, more than a hundred more rounds that could have literally killed everybody in that terminal today.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the New Jersey mall incident, the gunman du jour was 20-year-old Richard Shoop. Last Friday, it was 23-year-old Paul Ciancia. Police say Paul stormed a terminal at L.A.X., executed a TSA officer and wounded two others. Police shot the gunman. He is now hospitalized under heavy sedation.

Before we talk about how to tackle this problem, let`s just stop for a couple of seconds and absorb how crazy it is, how crazy it is that we live in a world where it is entirely predictable that every few days, some gunman, almost invariably, a troubled young man, is going to grab a weapon and take out his frustrations on a bunch of strangers. Think about the impact this is having on our daily lives.

We all go shopping. We go to the movies. We go to the airport. Your teenage kid might go to the mall. It`s all a roll of the dice. These routines, these pleasantries have been turned into anxiety-filled nightmares. Many of us now live in a state of perpetual suspicion that some weird, angry guy is suddenly going to appear with a gun and calmly start shooting. What is the answer? How do we stop the madness?

I want to hear from you. Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to our fantastic Lion`s Den debate panel. But before we get to these experts, fiery opinion makers, let`s talk to somebody who was there, the ultimate expert. Samantha Salim, thanks for joining us. You were at the mall during this shooting in New Jersey.

Can you describe what you were experiencing? The surreal experience of suddenly realizing, oh, my God, this is one of these shootings that I see all the time on the news, but this time, I`m in the middle of it. It`s happening right around me. What did that feel like, Samantha?

SAMANTHA SALIM, WITNESS (via phone): Yes, exactly. You know, you hear this stuff all the time, you know, you see it on the news. You never think in a million years it was happening in your backyard, let alone to be caught in the middle of it.

We were there -- I was there with my two children and my sister. We heard the gunshots coming right in front of the store that we were at. We were in the Apple store. And it was chaos. We were scared. It was very - - it was very scary.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what has been sort of the aftershock for you, emotionally? Like, at the time, you go into survival mode, but now that you`re out of it -- and listen, hundreds of people were holed up for hours, overnight, not knowing that it had ended, and they were just cowering somewhere in the corner of this ginormous mall, until finally, they realized, many hours later, that it was over. So do you have sort of a PTSD experience now, a post-traumatic stress disorder experience?

SALIM: Absolutely. I mean, we have been -- we`re all shook up. My children are shook up. It`s kind of a surreal thing. We -- I can`t wrap my brain around it, of what happened and what`s going -- like what had happened. Like, we cannot, you know -- we don`t even want to go back to that mall. We don`t want to even be seen in public places. Like, we are very traumatized. Like they had -- I`d never thought I would ever experience something like this, ever.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you were -- you had your kids with you. Did that flash through your mind, "Oh, my God, my kids! My kids! What`s going to" -- yes.

SALIM: Yes. Yes, absolutely. We were -- I grabbed them, right away. We were trying to find an exit, and the employee at the Apple store actually wasn`t even allowing us to leave from the exit door. So it wasn`t until an another employee had to come and yell at him and say, open the door and let us out.

And we pretty much just ran, found an exit and just exited. And we just -- you know, it was complete chaos in the parking lot. We were parked very far, trying to find our cars, and when we got towards the car, there was people telling us, don`t even go that way, because it was barricaded. The cops were there. So we, at that point, didn`t know whether, like, you know, the shooter was outside at this point or anything like that.

So we just kind of like ran across the street to the nearest store, just to be away from the mall, because we did not know, you know, there were people saying there were three shooters at the time. So...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes, the misinformation and the terror. First of all, Samantha, stand by, but I want to thank you for your honesty and sharing your feelings.

People always say, well, it`s a dumb question to say, how do you feel? I disagree. I mean, this is terrifying. Police say the New Jersey mall shooter, 20-year-old Richard Shoop of Teaneck, New Jersey, had a history of selling drugs, and he stole a gun from his brother before going on his mall mission last night that Samantha got trapped.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN SHOOP, BROTHER OF SHOOTER: My brother intended to harm no one else but himself. He just sadly decided to make an act of, an act of, I guess, self- -- self-indulgence, by taking his own life publicly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to the Lion`s Den. You can`t predict these things. It`s always easy to be a Monday morning quarterback. Police say the shooter had no history of mental illness. He`d been working at a pizza shop. He`d been sobering up, trying not to drink or drug. He had seemed off in the last week.

Look, there`s millions of recovering drug addicts. I`m an alcoholic with 18 years of sobriety. There`s no way to say that, oh, a drug addict or somebody who`s -- you can`t predict.

Eboni Williams, radio personality, here`s what I want to say. And I look toward the woman who won the Nobel Peace Prize for getting peace in Northern Ireland. Before we do anything about talking about solutions, the first thing we have to do is, a, acknowledge the problem, and then state our intention. What would we like to see? What kind of society would you like to envision that would be different from this nightmare?

EBONI WILLIAMS, RADIO PERSONALITY: Well, Jane, I think we have to be in a society that balances our freedoms, but also acknowledges that what you`re saying is right. This is real; this is our new normal. And it`s an unfortunate reality.

And in the case of L.A.X. shooter, you know, I`m right here in Los Angeles, the police are getting better. His family realized he was sending disturbing text messages. So the police went out to his home and came within about 45 minutes of being able to intercept this problem and potentially save the life of the man who lost his life, tragically, to this man`s volatile actions.

So, again, just raising awareness, Jane, is the first step, whether it`s friends and family.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, OK. I agree with you in the sense that, in the last two, the L.A.X. that you`re watching right there, people running hysterically from the Los Angeles International Airport, as well as the New Jersey mall shooting, there were people who sounded alarms, OK?

They feared -- they saw what was going on and they feared, oh, a friend or relative could be a killer in the making. Now, the L.A.X. shooter`s family was very worried that that guy might do something horrible. They had cops go to his home and cops missed him by 45 minutes. He had just left for L.A.X. 45 minutes earlier.

So when the shots rang out last night, in New Jersey, it was a similar situation. Police got a call from a relative, saying, "I think the shooter might be my relative." Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN MOLINELLI, BERGEN COUNTY PROSECUToR: It was a family member that called us after hearing it on the radio and told us that, you know, "We think that this person is doing something or going to do something bad. It might be him."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Ramani Durasula, clinical psychologist, how do we move it up so that they don`t call 45 minutes too late, or, "Oh, I hear a shooting`s going on. That could be my relative"? How do we get them to call before?

Because, listen, we all have relatives that maybe, you know, do something from time to time, whatever. But the fact that he was going to call and say, "I think the person shooting up the mall might be my relative," that has to indicate that something very, very, very disturbed was going on with this individual. Why the heck didn`t we catch it before?

RAMANI DURASULA, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Jane, by and large, families wait. Because, again, people donate want to cause trouble, right? You don`t want to cause hysteria, unnecessarily. And the family members are often trying to protect their other family members, figuring, "We can handle this at home."

But the fact of the matter is, most people who are behaving erratically at home don`t go and shoot up a mall. And so I think that what we see are these isolated cases that are absolute tragedies, but the fact of the matter is, is that families probably aren`t going to amp up their response and call in help, because, again, they`re afraid of causing more problems...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ll tell you what they`re afraid of. They`re afraid of the troubled relative turning on them. Because troubled relatives are very intimidating.

Yes, they are.

And if the person knows enough to say, oh, guess what. I think it`s my relative who`s there shooting something up, that person is intimidated by that person pinpoint to go very quickly to Kelly, Florida. Tell me, Kelly, what do you think we should do? What`s your thought?

CALLER: Hey, Jane, I just had a question and a comment.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead.

CALLER: Can you tell me, why when it`s an American guy who commits these types of acts in America, he`s just considered a gunman. But when it`s someone else from overseas, they`re a terrorist? In my opinion, anyone who inflicts terror on the public is a terrorist.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think that`s an excellent point. We`re going to discuss it on the other side. We`ve got a very special guest, co-founder of Leave No Veteran Behind, and he is the perfect man to talk about it. Eli Williamson on the other side. He`s going to address that issue.

And I want to hear from you. How do we stop the madness? I mean, something`s got to be done. We`ve got to take a moment to say, it`s crazy. We`ve gotten to a point in our culture where we can`t just act "as if" anymore. We`ve got to acknowledge the insanity. That`s the first step. Acknowledge that this is crazy! And we`re doing that right now. Stay right there. We`ll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In other parts of the world, I don`t think they have this problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s a good point. Some parts of the world, they don`t have these. Do we, particularly in America, have a culture of violence?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What can we do about it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pray. Look at the man above.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is violence in the public arena now the new normal?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I don`t think it`s normal. I think it`s awful to talk about it as the new normal sort of makes us throw in the towel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s -- I don`t think it`s one thing. It`s like it`s a long list of things that need to be addressed. Unfortunately, that`s the reality.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We can`t list every last mass shooting in the U.S., because it would take all night. Here`s a handful of them over the last couple of years, and we`re going to scroll through them.

Something that immediately stands out. They`re all men, every last one of them. Most of them are young men. Let`s keep scrolling through. Yes, that was the Newtown killer, the killer of those innocent children, those 27 dead. I can`t even wrap my head around that one.

Nor this one, the Aurora movie theater. I mean, what is going on with boys and young men in our culture, that puts them on this path of destruction?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since the 1980s, we have seen crimes exactly like this: angry, psychotic, depressed young men, mentally ill, haven`t been treated, a triggering event that causes them to emerge into rage and want to go out in a blaze of glory.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Eli Williamson, co-founder of Leave No Veteran Behind, you work to stop violence in Chicago. What is happening to young men in our culture that is causing them, particularly, to go off the deep end. None of these incidents involved women or girls.

ELI WILLIAMSON, CO-FOUNDER, LEAVE NO VETERAN BEHIND: Well, first things first. We tend to focus on the events that make the news. But with our organization, we focus on the events that don`t make the news.

Many of these young men have faced a lack of investment, of time, energy, and resources. Specifically, for those individuals who have mental-health issues, they have not had the type of investment of time and peer mentorship.

Here in Chicago, we actually take veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. I`m a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, and we actually peer mentor these youth around community resiliency strategies.

And what is that? We actually give them roles around safety in our communities, so that they understand that they are not only part of, not only a cause, but part of the solution, as well. And so those are some of the strategies that we use, but I think it`s important to understand that when you don`t invest in...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in there and ask you, do you think you`ve had a kid who could have been one of these gun-crazed shooters and you`ve taken them off a ledge? That`s a yes or no.

WILLIAMSON: Yes, yes, absolutely. We work with young men every day who are about to make poor decisions. And we make sure that they are directed into areas that will not only benefit them, but benefit the community, as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s my rant.

WILLIAMSON: I think one of the things that we have to -- Yes, sure.

WILLIAMSON: I`ll get back to you, but I want to say -- I want to say this.

Now, listen, we`ve been debating gun control for decades. And I`m not saying stop debating it, but guns are a fact of life in America. Guns are not going anywhere, OK? Whether you`re in favor of gun control or against it, this is our reality. We have to deal with life on life`s terms.

I wrote a book about why this might be happening. It`s called "Addict Nation." And I presented a theory that Americans are addicted to violence.

The average American kid sees 200,000 violent acts and 16,000 murders on television by 18, OK? That doesn`t include video games. That`s the last two or three generations, the very first in human kind to be exposed to that level of sadism and carnage. Those numbers, again, they don`t account for the Internet and video games, like the latest version of Grand Theft Auto that had $800 million in sales in a single day.

So we are addicted to violence, and all addiction is progressive. You develop a tolerance, you become more desensitized. You need more of the same to get the charge that you`re seeking, so it progresses. That`s why drunks get worse. That`s why drug addicts get worse. That`s why our violence is getting worse.

And I want to put that to Ramani Durvasula, clinical psychologist. Do you see that point?

DURVASULA: I see your point to a point. I think a subset of people may be "addicted to violence," but I think, by and large, Jane, people are just used to it. It has become -- again, everyone keeps calling it the new normal. We have become what we call habituated to it. We`re used to it. It`s part of what we see all over the news. Kids are used to hearing about it. So everyone is just getting used to it.

And I think as a result, we do wait too long to get help for people.

And I think men in our society are undertreated for mental-health problems. And even when they start getting more agitated, again, we`re sort of used to it at this point, so we let it go.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`ve got to do something. And the first step in acknowledging a problem -- the first step in solving a problem is to acknowledge it, to say, "This is a problem." It`s like hitting bottom on alcoholism, where you start to see yourself as other people see you and you have a moment of clarity.

I think we as an American culture need to have that moment of clarity, hit bottom, and take a look at ourselves and start with, "We`ve got a problem; we`ve got a big problem." Then and only then can you say, "OK, here`s what I`m going to do to fix it." All right? Later...

DURVASULA: Well, Jane, but violence sells. It sells.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s part of the addiction, of course, just like alcohol sells and drugs sell and porn sells. Violence sells.

DURVASULA: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: People are making money off of addiction. That is for sure. Addictive behavior. There`s a lot of money to be made when somebody absolutely has to have something. And that includes drugs, alcohol, violence -- Eli.

WILLIAMSON: Absolutely. I think one of the things -- yes. I think one of the things we also have to do is we also have to reframe the discussion around young men as not only being the source of these problems, right, but also as a source of solutions.

I`ve talked to plenty of young men every day who come up with very unique opportunities for us to engage these issues in a proactive way, so that we`re not demonizing them further, and also not providing the them the opportunities and options to really incentivize good behaviors and good standards amongst our young men.

And we do that. We have a -- primarily minority men we work with, but that`s something that we have to do. I think the whole conversation, sometimes, goes around this being the outcome of our young men, but we need to start talking about what are the opportunities for our young men, so that they can become leaders and not actually be a part of the violence that we`re talking about.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree. And that`s why I`m...

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMSON: ... lead that, as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and I applaud you for being part of the solution. And that`s one of the reasons why I think we`ve got to get boys away from just being obsessed with trucks and guns. Get them into dancing. Get them into art. Get them into all these compassionate activities, and stop demonizing boys who engage in those activities. Because that`s what our culture does, too.

WILLIAMSON: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s what our culture does, too. They call them all sorts of names, and you know what I`m talking about. If a kid gets into art, a boy wants to dance, a boy wants to do something that is sensitive and creative, we demonize that child. And we need to embrace that.

DURVASULA: You`re exactly right, Jane. And we give attention -- we give attention to violence. We give that attention. And that`s the bottom line. Kids want attention, so if they behave violently, they may get more attention. That`s the bottom line here.

WILLIAMS: Jane, it`s a violent culture. Instead of glamorizing things that are more extracurricular. I want to a performing arts high school where kids of all genders were encouraged to participate in music, arts, dance, theater arts, literature...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

WILLIAMS: ... things of that nature. We`ve got to get back to that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We do. Because I do believe a kid who is doing a beautiful work of art is going to be less likely to pick up a gun and go kill someone. Thank you, fantastic panel!

Now, deadly driver distraction. A horrific crash kills a cop. You will not believe what the driver of the tanker was looking at when he should have had his eyes on the road. X-rated! Stay right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what happens when gay rights supporters protest in Russia. In July, Russia implemented what`s become known as the anti-gay propaganda law. There is great concern about what the law will mean for gay athletes and visitors. It`s been condemned by human rights groups around the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my rant. As we gear up for the winter Olympic games in Russia, a growing number of people, including myself, are saying, nyet. I don`t want to go there and buy my presents and give my blessings to Russia`s increasingly repressive and homophobic regime under President Vladimir Putin.

A lot of people feel the same way, to the point where Putin has just come out to reassure the world that gay athletes and guests at the Winter Olympics should feel at ease. In other words, he`s going to tolerate us.

Yes, but the law he just signed does not tolerate gays. In fact, it makes it a crime to engage in, quote, "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors." So if two gay tourists are kissing or holding hands at the Olympics where minors are aplenty, by the very vague language wording of the law, they`re liable to be rested and God only knows what else.

But that`s Russia, right? That`s not the good old USA where freedom to live one`s life as one chooses, as long as it doesn`t trample on anyone else`s right to do the same thing, is cherished, right? Not so fast. Politics makes strange bedfellows, especially to people who are intolerant of people`s sexuality.

When you think about it, America`s social conservatives who are opposed to gay rights have a lot in common with those running the repressive regimes like the former Soviet Union. You think those two would be like oil and water, opposite extremes of the spectrum, but when it comes to gays, they`re singing that same intolerant song.

Despite of all the talk of progress in the U.S., a measly 14 states plus D.C. allows gay marriage. That covers about a third of our election.

Straight out to Jean Zaino, Huff Po contributor and Iona College political professor. So let me ask you, do anti-gay politicians in the U.S. have a lot in common with those running Russia`s repressive government?

JEAN ZAINO, HUFFINGTON POST CONTRIBUTOR: They absolutely do, Jane. And you know, so much so that, just as an example, on October 28, Paul Cameron, who`s a psychologist and one of the leading anti-gay crusading activists in the U.S., was welcomed in the Duma, where he was roundly applauded and welcomed. He spoke and said on behalf of all Christians to thank them for their repressive recent actions and anti-gay legislation.

Then he went to a conference where he talked about things like the fact that he doesn`t believe that gay people should be allowed to teach, because they tend to -- they have a tendency to be pedophiles and it`s a threat to children. And this is the...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Quite the opposite, by the way. OK, go ahead.

ZAINO: I was just going to say, this is the kind of hate speech that`s being spewed. And so he is from the U.S., you know, losing this kind of culture war in the U.S. and now trying to export it to Russia. So you`re absolutely right. It makes strange bedfellows, and to see him welcomed there is particularly stressing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jean, let me ask you this. Now, we saw some vodka being poured on the street. There`s all sorts of budding protest movements against the Winter Olympics because of the homophobic stance of Putin and the Russian laws.

Do you think this has already tainted the Russian winter games? In other words, is Putin and Russia, are they already paying a huge price for their intolerance?

ZAINO: I think it absolutely has. And I think what you mentioned at the top is absolute evidence of that. For Vladimir Putin to come out today and to try to backtrack on this, and to try to say that gay athletes are welcome and will be treated fairly and equally, while at the same time his regime is passing these laws is absolute evidence that they`re feeling it in the pocketbook.

And that`s where they have to feel it. That`s why these, you know, these efforts to, you know, deal with some of these companies that are going over there and supporting the Olympics are so important, because that`s going to make Russia feel the effects of what they`re doing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Jeanne Zaino, thank you so much for joining us and you`re right, hit them in the pocketbook. That`s where it hurts.

ZAINO: That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think Putin does have a pocketbook.

Cops say a man snapped photos up women`s skirts on the subway. Should he be behind bars or does the First Amendment protect this guy who`s taking shots of women`s underpanties. That`s what his lawyer says. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just outrageous, right there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 33-year-old Jorge Espinosa is breaking a law for truck drivers everywhere, browsing provocative photos of women on Facebook.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would appear that he knew he was doing something wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A cop didn`t have to die, but he did because of this. Take a look at this video. A trucker driving along the highway in Arizona, an empty fuel tanker, is what he`s carrying. He suddenly plows into three police cars and two fire trucks, killing a highway patrolman.

Officer Tim Huffman was killed by the 18-wheeler in the crash. He was on the side of the road, helping people involved in a previous accident. A witness described this crash as the loudest, craziest banging commotion he`s ever heard.

Now the 33-year-old trucker Jorge Espinosa is facing 20 felony charges, including second degree murder. He`s pleaded not guilty, despite the "Arizona Daily Star" reporting police records showing he was looking at sexy photos of women on his phone, like this, while he`s driving 65 miles an hour, an 18-wheeler, and then slams into those emergency responders.

Straight out to HLN contributor, Jon Leiberman. This is a nightmare. What have you found out?

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: I`ll tell you, Jane. When we use the term "senseless death" on this program --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

LEIBERMAN: no case fits it more than this case. This officer shouldn`t have been killed. 11 other lives were put in danger.

Here`s what we found out. 600 pages of documents were released. Not only does it show that investigators believe that he was on the phone, the driver looking at provocative pictures on Facebook, but the documents also claim that he lied about it. That he told investigators initially that he wasn`t looking at the phone, because that was against company policy, and that instead, he was looking at the rearview mirror at another vehicle passing by. But there was no vehicle that passed by, according to investigators.

And what`s more, Jane, if you read deep into the documents, it shows that this driver allegedly did this dozens of times before, looking at porn sites, YouTube videos, all while he was supposed to be paying attention to the road.

And here`s another big problem. In Arizona, it`s still not illegal to do this, ok? Arizona still has not banned texting while driving. Now, it`s illegal in some individual towns, but not across the state. Now, there`s a state senator, trying to change that. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just don`t do it. Because you are just as incapacitated when you`re drinking and driving, when you`re using the Internet and driving.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. At least as incapacitated. This officer is dead. His has life cut short, because the trucker had his eyes, according to cops, on the phone and not the road.

You know, I want to go to Eboni Williams, radio personality, attorney. This is rampant across the United States. I have to admit. I have driven, and I`m going to just be totally honest, I have texted while driving. I have looked at my cell phone while driving. I`m embarrassed to admit it, but I have done it.

I wasn`t looking at dirty photos. I was probably looking at something -- but there`s an ad campaign that says, nothing is as important, that text cannot be -- no matter what that text is, it`s not as important as saving your life and the lives of other people on the road.

EBONI WILLIAMS, RADIO PERSONALITY, ATTORNEY: You`re exactly right, Jane. And can I honestly admit to you that right here on air, that I have done that too. I came from a state that did not have no texting and driving laws at the time. Here in California, we have a very clear law. In fact, our law is really broad -- hands-free driving, no texting, no Internet, no nothing -- eyes on the road. After I got my first citation, Jane, I put the phone down.

No, it does not eradicate all texting and driving. But we have a culture here in California that says, when you text and drive, you are doing something that is unconscionable. And other drivers will give you dirty looks because we don`t tolerate that here in the state of California.

Arizona, they`re behind the times. No way it takes seven years. This state senator you mentioned, this will be his eighth attempt to get this type of law passed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable.

WILLIAMS: Had it already been in place, this officer might not be dead. I mean it`s absolutely --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s go to the phone lines for a second. Anna, Pennsylvania, what have you got to say, Anna?

ANNA, PENNSYLVANIA: Hi, Jane. I don`t think it matters whether he was looking at pornography or whether he was reading a bible. He shouldn`t have anything in his hands. His eyes should be on the road, and he should be aware of the traffic.

And it`s horrible that the officer died, but if anyone was killed, it`s absurd. I don`t know what`s going on in this country. I think the general population, the whole society, is getting really dumbed down. And I think --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, look --

Thank you for your call, Ana, Pennsylvania. Ramani Durvasala, clinical psychologist, did it matter that he was looking at sexy pictures, allegedly, of women? Because certainly, that`s a lot more compelling than somebody saying, honey, pick me up a quart of soy milk on the way home.

RAMANI DURVASALA, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes, this is about eyes off the road, right? And that kind of an image is going to have him -- to have his eyes off the road that much longer. It`s a compelling image to him, so he`s going to keep looking at it. And the longer those eyes are off the road, the longer it`s going to take him to get focused again and be able to drive that car properly.

And who knows what his mental state was, anyhow because anybody who`s looking at those kind of pictures while driving, I really do doubt their overall quality of their mental state. Certainly to be operating such a heavy equipment --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, not to be graphic, but he might have gotten aroused, which is another distraction.

(CROSSTALK)

DURVASALA: Well that -- that`s exactly what I`m trying to say nicely. Yes, he could have been aroused. And I don`t even -- listen, it only takes one hand to drive. I don`t even want to think about it but he could have very well been -- I mean let`s just own it.

(CROSSTALK)

LEIBERMAN: Here`s the other thing, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

LEIBERMAN: Investigators believe he actually positioned his wallet to cover part of the camera, so that it wouldn`t with seen, that he had his cell phone in his hand. But during impact, the cell phone actually can be seen flying out of his hand, so it blew whatever plan he had, allegedly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to go. Thank you, panel.

A man accused of taking photos under women`s skirts says, "It`s my First Amendment right." What?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really thought, what a terrible shame it is when things like this happen to other women. Never imagined that something like that would happen to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s your crazy video of the day. About 250 passengers and crew forced to evacuate a plane in Montreal. Look at this, people tumbling down the escape chutes as the smoke and fire rage on. How terrifying. Kudos to the ground crew -- apparently it was a baggage conveyer that caught fire. Nobody was hurt, but does this look like something out of a horror movie? Wow.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pointing a camera up women`s skirts, and taking photos.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s kind of degrading and very embarrassing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s very, very scary. Very scary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, up skirts outrage. Here`s how it`s done. You can see a man in a Texas convenience store sticking a recording device up a woman`s skirt. He`s not the only one. Last month, a U.S. air marshal was arrested for allegedly using his cell phone to take up-skirt photos of a woman on a flight. Yes, cell phone, again.

And now this invasion of privacy is becoming a First Amendment controversy. The female attorney for a man charged with taking photos up women`s skirts in a Boston subway is arguing -- get this -- her client`s actions are protected under the First Amendment. She`s claiming these women are not protected under Massachusetts voyeurism statute because they, quote, "cannot expect privacy in a public place like a subway". She`s saying the use of a cell phone in public does not qualify as secret surveillance. We reached out to that lawyer for comment, haven`t heard back.

Jon Leiberman, what the heck?

LEIBERMAN: I`ve got to tell you, Jane, this is a very interesting legal argument and some of the justices are actually tending to lean toward this defense attorney`s side.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What?

LEIBERMAN: What she`s saying is that peeping tom laws in Massachusetts protect people who are nude or partially nude, in say dressing rooms or bathrooms, but they don`t protect people who are clothed in public places.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I`ve got to give Eboni Williams the last word.

WILLIAMS: Thank you Jane. Thank you, Jane. This is a nonissue for me. Of course, this is not a First Amendment violation, because this issue turns on the notion of an expectation of privacy -- ok. This lawyer is arguing there is none. Absolutely, there is one, Jane. When you put on clothes, it`s because you want to keep your body private. When somebody proceeds to violate you --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is what I say --

Williams: -- they`re violating you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s do a protest. No skirts, not that I wear them anyway. No skirts, anymore. Then men will really suffer, huh? You know what I`m talking about? It`s the way to get back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for Pet of the Day. Send your pet pics to hlntv.com/jane. Simon, are you sticking your tongue out at us? Well, you should if you want to. Salem says, "Oh, look at the way my little paws are crossed. I`m just relaxing with my fabulous gold collar." And Foster says, "Hey, this is my chair, and nobody better try to sit in it." Roxy says, "I am dressed up for the weekend." Not the weekend yet -- honey.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All parts of our society are protesting against this energy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have 100 nuclear plants operating in our country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think that we need to be building bombs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nuclear power -- is it an apocalypse in the making or is it our salvation? The debate has raged for decades sparking protests and screaming matches, pitting environmentalists against supporters of nuclear power plants.

Now the controversial new film "PANDORA`S PROMISE" says key environmentalists are switching and saying, hey, nuclear power is the only thing that can save the world from the devastating effects of coal and oil and natural gas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD RHODES: I was writing for national magazines many years ago. Writing articles about the dangers of nuclear power. And I had the standard point of view that I think many journalists still have. That it must be bad.

I came to realize they basically avoided looking at the whole picture. They only looked at the questions that seemed to prove to them that nuclear power was dangerous, as I had, too.

The only reason I changed my mind is that I talked to experts, physicists in particular, who were the pioneers of nuclear energy and who carefully one by one explained to me again and again until it finally got through my head why it wasn`t what the anti-nuclear activists felt it was, believed it was.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s recap and review. Three Mile Island back in 1979; Chernobyl in 1986; and Fukushima in Japan, just about two and a half years ago -- named synonymous with nuclear power catastrophes. But has the fall out from these horrors been over exaggerated in the public`s mind? Are the fears about meltdown, radiation been overblown? Is nuclear power actually safer than solar power? You can decide for yourself. Watch the premiere of "PANDORA`S PROMISE" this Thursday, 9:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN. Now, I`m an environmentalist. Like many environmentalists I was under the impression that nuclear power is great when it`s functioning perfect. But if there are problem, like an earthquake or some kind of meltdown, it can turn deadly and have apocalyptic consequences. This is what I believed.

The film said, not so much. That nobody`s ever died in the United States from the operation of nuclear reactors. The film says Fukushima looks horrific, but a lot of that was from the earthquake, and that the long-term fallout really wasn`t as bad as everybody felt it was.

Then, of course, the biggie -- Chernobyl -- the film says that it did not create all the birth defects that we`ve heard so much about. That a lot of people actually moved back into the dead zone and they are living very healthy lives right now. In what we thought was a mount of poison. This is a shocker. Why has nobody talked about this until now?

Joining me now, Robert Stone, the director of this very controversial new film, "PANDORA`S PROMISE", and it`s changing the way a lot of people, including myself, think about nuclear power. Honestly my jaw was hanging down the entire time, because this goes against everything I`ve been taught as an environmentalist. Why did you make this film?

ROBERT STONE, DIRECTOR, "PANDORA`S PROMISE": I came to this in just looking at 25 years of epic failure on the part of the environmental movement to tackle climate change. We need a game changer to solve this problem. The more I looked at it, the more I realized -- shock of all shocks -- that almost everything I knew about this technology turned out to be the opposite.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What this film says is that explosions like Hiroshima and Nagasaki had nothing do with nuclear power, is in clean power plants. Those are two different things. And in fact, the biggest danger to human kind is fossil fuel production. So why do you say, that nuclear power is safer than coal, and oil, and gas, and even solar panels?

STONE: We`ve had nuclear power for 50 years, right?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

STONE: We have 440 reactors thereabouts operating all over the world right now. In that 50 years, we`ve had three accidents -- Chernobyl, Three-Mile Island, and Fukushima. According to the best science we have from the United Nations, only one of those accidents, Chernobyl, caused any fatalities and those fatalities number less than 60, which is incredible.

Fossil fuels kill about 3 million people every year from particulate pollution. It doesn`t include climate change or ocean acidification and all these problems. You`ve got three million people every year, so over 50 years, that`s 150 million dead from fossil fuels. Nuclear power over that period has killed less than 60 people. It`s incredible. And nobody knows this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Well, I have to challenge you on this because there`s confusion about how many people, for example, died at Chernobyl. It was considered a major catastrophe. The International Atomic Energy Agency says the total number of deaths already attributed to Chernobyl or expected in the future over a lifetime, emergency workers, local residents et cetera, in the most contaminated areas, their estimate is about 4,000.

Your movie makes --

STONE: Well that`s a projection in the future, that`s not -- they haven`t observed that. That`s a projection over the course of a lifetime.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If you ever thought that you knew anything about power plants, nuclear power plants, think again, and watch it. CNN, Thursday night, 9:00 p.m. Eastern. The world depends upon it.

END