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Student Allegedly Opens Fire In Pennsylvania High School Gym; NTSB: Pilots Mistakenly Identified Wrong Airport; President Obama Unveils Spying Reforms; Killer's Family Says His Execution Was "Torture"; Smoking Tied To More Deaths And Cancers; Fires Rage as Drought Ravages California; Mysterious Disappearance of "Wall Street Journal" Reporter

Aired January 17, 2014 - 19:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Next, breaking news, a student allegedly opens fire in a high school gym. At least two other students are injured. Police are still looking for suspects.

Plus, more breaking news, new details about the Southwest flight that landed at the wrong airport. When did the pilots realize their mistake?

And the first lady, Michelle Obama, hits the big 5-0. Lisa Gibbons and the first lady joins me live. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Don Lemon in for Erin Burnett tonight. Breaking news in a headline that sadly seems all too familiar, another school shooting to tell about this evening, this time in Philadelphia. This afternoon a student allegedly fired a hand gun inside a high school gym injuring at least two students. One suspect is now in custody. Police say they are searching for additional suspects as well.

Jason Carroll is following this developing story for us. Jason, what's the update here?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, as you know, frightening moments for students at that high school. The student who is in custody is 17 years old. He was actually, Don, arrested at his home in South Philadelphia not far from Delaware Valley Charter High School. That is where the shooting happened.

The teenager arrested after police looked at surveillance tape taken from the gym, taken from a camera there in the gym that captured the whole thing, Don, apparently showing that there were several students there in the gym. Some were in one corner, some were standing in another corner. Philadelphia's police chief actually saw the tape. He provides a little bit more detail in terms of what happened.


COMMISSIONER CHARLES RAMSEY, PHILADELPHIA POLICE: You clearly can see that something took place. It was the discharge of a firearm. The individual responsible ran out of the building. We do have that person in custody. It was -- he is a student at the school, a juvenile, so I'm not going to release any information pertaining to his identity.


CARROLL: Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey there also saying that the two students that were shot, two 15-year-olds, a little boy and a little girl, both in stable condition. Both shot in the arm. They were taken to a hospital located, Don, just about a block from the high school. So far no motive, no motive in this shooting so far. Police are still looking for the gun. Police also looking for additional suspects although the police commissioner would not say what role, if any, those additional suspects may have played in the shooting -- Don.

LEMON: All right, Jason, get more information and get back to us. Thank you, Jason Carroll.

More breaking news tonight to tell you about, new developments on the Southwest flight that landed at the wrong Missouri airport this week, the National Transportation Safety Board is updating its investigation revealing what looks like a case of pilot error.

David Mattingly has been following this story and got an exclusive bird's eye view of the wrong runway. David joins us now. David, the big question is how did it happen? What are you hearing tonight?

DAVID MATTIGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Don, what we're hearing now is that there were two veteran pilots aboard this aircraft in control, but making a very big mistake. In fact, they didn't realize they had made a mistake until after they had landed that according to the NTSB releasing some of their preliminary findings tonight.

What we were able to determine when we flew over that area, these runways are only about seven miles apart. If you're on a 737 on approach ten miles south, you can clearly see both of them, but the crew here says that when they were approaching at night they were using their eyes, not their instruments.

When they looked up they saw the lights of the wrong runway and followed that one. The pilot I was with was showing how easy it was to make that mistake just turning a few degrees one way or the other could put you on the wrong runway and that's exactly what happened here.

In fact, the NTSB was listening to the cockpit voice recorder and what is on that recorder actually backs up what the pilots told them. Looking at the statement here it says, according to the cockpit voice recorder, the landing was uneventful and it was not until shortly after landing that the crew realized they had landed at the wrong airport.

Now the term uneventful, some of the passengers might argue with that determination, saying that they had a very abrupt stop, that there was a great deal of pressure applied to the brakes. They stopped in a very short period of time. And afterward they said they could smell burning rubber outside the plane indicating how hard this plane had to come to a stop on this very short runway. LEMON: Let's talk a little bit more about the NTSB's findings. Did they say anything about how dangerous this mistake was, David?

MATTINGLY: They do not because these are preliminary findings and it's going to be months before we have a final report from the NTSB, but flying over that runway just sort of matching the speed of the 737 might have had going over there, you can fly over this airport in a matter of just 10 seconds. It's half the length of the runway they were supposed to land on.

In fact, they stopped only 500 feet from the end. At the end is the big shock that I had when I was flying over that. You can see that there is an abrupt drop. Really a cliff at the end of the runway that tumbles down right onto the interstate where a bunch of unsuspecting motorists could have been involved with a collision with a 737 if they hadn't stopped in time.

But again, the NTSB not making any characterization of how much danger there was here, but this runway clearly is not made to handle that kind of jet.

LEMON: Nothing uneventful about that, David Mattingly. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

In a major speech today, President Obama unveiled new spying guidelines. The president outlined a number of changes to the way the U.S. gathers intelligence, but there are critics on both sides of the aisle who are happy with the changes proposed by the president. Jim Sciutto reports from Washington.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After months of spirited debates sparked by the explosive revelations of Edward Snowden's, today the president told Americans he'll rein in NSA surveillance but only to a point.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The power of new technologies means that there are fewer and fewer technical constraints on what we can do. That places a special obligation on us to ask tough questions about what we should do.

SCUITTO: The most significant changes affect the most controversial surveillance program, the bulk collection of American's phone records. Effective immediately the NSA will need judicial approval before searching the data. The president asked Congress to create a panel of public advocates to counter government search requests.

And he asked the attorney general and Intelligence Committee to explore moving the data out of NSA control, but the bottom line, the program won't necessarily end. For the NSA's most ardent critics, that would be a glaring omission.

SENATOR RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I didn't hear any lessening of the spying on Americans or collecting records of Americans, I heard that, trust me, I'm going to put more safeguards in place, but I'm going to keep right on collecting every American's records.

SCIUTTO: The president argues that much of the surveillance is just too important to scrap altogether.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Not only because I felt that they made us more secure, but also because nothing in that initial review and nothing that I have learned since indicated that our intelligence community has sought to violate the law.

SCIUTTO: So do any of the changes make us less safe?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: If these programs were stopping huge terrorist attacks, you know, maybe they should be more -- you know, there should be more concern, but the fact is that these programs are not.


SCIUTTO: The president also announced changes that will affect foreigners. He said we will no longer spy on the foreign leaders of close American allies. He also extended some American privacy protections to foreigners, really a remarkable thing. It hasn't been done in the history of intelligence work I was told by one member of the intelligence reform panel earlier today.

But the administration also leaving many open questions, one question, you know, this public advocate that the president wants to put into the Foreign Intelligence Court, what kinds of cases will those advocates take part in? It's said that they will take part in significant cases, but who will define that and how often will they be in that -- inside that courtroom?

But there's also the question still open as to where this meta data of all of our phone calls are going to stay. He said he doesn't want it to be in the NSA's hands. Will it go to a phone company? Will it go to a third party? These are still things that are going to be debated in public and in private in the coming weeks and months, Don. So we've got some more questions to answer and we'll be watching.

LEMON: A lot of questions, a lot of questions still to answer. Thank you, Jim Sciutto in Wshington.

Still to come, the family of a man on death row is outraged after a botched Ohio execution. The prisoner gasped and convulsed for nearly 20 minutes before he finally died.

Plus, a mysterious death, police trying to determine how a former "Playboy" model ended up dead at his friend's house.

And a crisis in California, wild fires ripped through the foothills of Los Angeles.


LEMON: The execution of a convicted murder and rapist is spurring a new debate over the death penalty here in America. Dennis McGuire was put to death yesterday in Ohio using a new two-drug combination. It was the first time the controversial dose was used in the U.S. and witnesses say the execution took roughly 20 minutes and he appeared to gasp and convulse repeatedly before he died.

McGuire's family described it as torture. Tonight they are planning to file a federal lawsuit saying the state violated the eighth amendment.


DENNIS D. MCGUIRE, SON OF EXECUTED DENNIS MCGUIRE: He tried to sit up against the straps on the gurney. I watched him repeatedly clench his fists. It appeared to me he was fighting for his life and suffocating. The agony and terror of watching my dad suffocate to death lasted more than 19 minutes.


LEMON: Well, tonight CNN legal analysts, Sunny Hostin and Paul Callan join us. Sunny, I'm going to go to you first, because medical experts say that both the length that it took for this -- for him to die and his gasping are not typical of an execution. Is this cruel and unusual punishment?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I think it's a close call. I think it could be. We know executions usually last about 10 minutes using the protocol, the lethal injection protocol that had been used and this was well passed that, Don. There was sort of evidence of the struggle. The Supreme Court has found that it is cruel and unusual for someone to suffer.

But we also know that the death penalty doesn't have to be pain free. So at the very least I think it does open up the question as to what is going to happen with the death penalty because we can't get the drugs that we used to be able to get to execute people.

LEMON: You worded it more eloquently than I would that it doesn't have to be pain free. I was going to say -- the critics are probably going to say, listen, this guy is accused of killing someone who is pregnant. So why should it matter if it was cruel or unusual. He killed someone. That's what the death penalty does. It kills. Does the family have a legitimate case, Paul?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, as a matter of fact, I think the case is offensive. The facts of the case are that Joyce Stewart was 22 years old when Dennis McGuire killed her. He slashed her throat, stabbed her in the throat. He severed her jugular. She was carrying a baby --

LEMON: She was 7 months pregnant. The baby suffocated to death as well.

CALLAN: That's right, the baby suffocated to death and that's a viable baby. He really killed two human beings. How much suffering did she endure? And to say that he gasped a few times as he died -- by the way, there's no evidence that he was conscious when he died. This was -- he was given very, very heavy sedative along with a very, very heavy dose of a morphine-like drug. It doesn't appear to me like he's suffered. I think, you know, it's just offensive to think there would be a lawsuit arising out of this.

HOSTIN: I don't think it's offensive at all. I think as a society we know that only 60 percent of Americans granted -- more than 50 percent are in support of the death penalty. So we know it's been --

LEMON: Hang on. Let me read that because according to the Gallup poll and let's put it out there. Since Sunny is talking about it, the support for death penalty peeked in 1994 at 80 percent, Sunny and Paul.

HOSTIN: Right.

LEMON: The most recent poll done on October shows support for the death penalty has dropped to 60 percent. It's now legal in 32 states. So could we see an end to the death penalty?

HOSTIN: I think so. I mean, I think that the appetite clearly is waning for the death penalty. We're talking about sort of a pendulum of decency when it comes to societal standards, aren't we? At one point the guillotine was fine. At one point the firing squad was fine. Our Supreme Court is trying to make it more palatable, by saying, well, death by lethal injection is fine. But I think, you know, when you look at the stats, it's not a deterrent, Don, and I think, Paul, you'll agree, it's meted out in a very arbitrary and capricious way.

LEMON: I was going to ask you this evening in the newsroom when we were talking about the number of people who were on death row in Ohio, 138, then we were saying around the country.


LEMON: How do they figure out who's actually going to be killed?

HOSTIN: That's the thing. They're on death row forever. It doesn't work.

CALLAN: The one thing we have to consider now. For instance, McGuire, that murder took place 25 years ago. Those who say that we're putting innocent people to death I think maybe that has happened in the past, but his case was examined by so many courts.

HOSTIN: He admitted it. That's not the question. That's not the question that he was guilty of murder. The question is as a society are we going to murder people to show people that murder is wrong? It clearly doesn't work. The death penalty doesn't work.

LEMON: When you think about the circumstances though and lots of families feel that they are justified, that they have some sort of -- I hate this closure. They have some sense of justice, right? The justice system prevailed because this person no longer has a life because he took my loved one's life. This woman was pregnant with her child. HOSTIN: That's an eye for an eye. That's not what our justice system is supposed to be about. It's not supposed to be about retribution. I've got to tell you, I think in a civilized society there's no place for the death penalty.

LEMON: Sunny, I understand what you're saying. If someone killed a family member of mine that was pregnant, I would want to kill them myself. I'm not saying I would do it, but I would have that feeling. I can't believe you did this to my loved one. I don't think when you're grieving, what's wrong with that feeling?

HOSTIN: There's nothing wrong with it, but it's wrong if you institutionalize it the way we have with death penalty. It's not a deterrent. It's performed in a very arbitrary way. We don't even have a way to do it now because we can't get the drugs because other countries and other cultures are saying, this is wrong. We're not going to give you the medication to allow you to do it.

CALLAN: To me, this is the most outrageous part of what Europeans are doing. The Europeans, of course, oppose the death penalty and they think we're barbaric because we use it. Now they've cut off our phenobarbital supply, which was the drug that was used for a humane administration of the death penalty.

HOSTIN: It's never really humane.

CALLAN: So now we're using other drugs and these people are allegedly being tortured as they die. Great move, Europe. That really solved the problem.

HOSTIN: Well, I do think it is a great move because I think it puts this issue to the forefront. Now we don't have a way to humanely kill people and I would submit it's never humane state sponsored murder, but what do we --

CALLAN: There's no logic.

LEMON: We know where Sunny stands on the death penalty.

CALLAN: There's no logic to that whatsoever.

LEMON: Because this happened and the family is filing suit and potentially other states will reconsider using this form of lethal injection.

HOSTIN: I absolutely think so. I think it will delay any executions that are pending in Ohio. I think it now pushes the subject to the forefront. Counsellor is going to disagree with me. How do we kill people and should we kill people?

CALLAN: Can people be honest? I want a little honesty. If you're opposed to the death penalty, you're opposed to it in all circumstances and that seems to be Sunny's position.

HOSTIN: It is. It is. CALLAN: What they're saying in this case is it was wrong because of the way it was administered. That's a joke. If you're going to have the death penalty, this guy is the poster child for it for what he did.

LEMON: Last word. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. Have a great weekend.

HOSTIN: You too. It's Friday.

LEMON: Thank you. Still to come, what is the pope doing in this photograph? There it is.

Plus, a new report on the dangers of smoking, it's now being linked to 13 types of cancer. Get this, even erectile dysfunction.

The first lady discusses cosmetic surgery. We'll tell you what she said later on in the show.


LEMON: It is no secret that smoking is bad for you, but tonight we are learning it's even deadlier than we all thought even though fewer people are lighting up. A new report from the Surgeon General has shown that smoking kills 430 million people a year. Plus, cigarettes are now linked to diseases like diabetes, arthritis, even erectile dysfunction. New York City has some of the toughest smoking laws in the country.

We're joined by the city's health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley. Doctor, thank you. What's behind the rise in this, the deaths? Is it because smoking, I don't know, has for some reasons become lethal or just because of new research?

DR. THOMAS FARLEY, NEW YORK CITY HEALTH COMMISSIONER: First of all, we're now 50 years from the initial surgeon's general report that says smoking causes lung cancer. Since that time, our estimates the number of people that smoking kills has gone up not because cigarettes are any worse, they're just as bad as they used to be, but because we know more about smoking. We know it causes other diseases than before, as you mentioned, liver cancer, colon cancer. Diabetes is a very common disease.

LEMON: It's research, as I said. We're learning more about it?

FARLEY: Right.

LEMON: New York City, you watch the television and you can't help but see the commercials. They're very graphic trying to get people to get off of tobacco. Let's look and then we'll talk about it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've had about I would say between 17 and 20 amputations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I used to paint my own house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't hang up my own pictures.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The light in my house blew out and I can't change it because I have no fingertips.


LEMON: There's a government report that estimates that by 2050 smoking will be as high as 15 percent. Do you think the ads are effective or they turn people off because they are so graphic?

FARLEY: These ads work. We used them in New York City because we developed them with smokers who tell us what speaks to them. They like the medically accurate, very tough, very emotional ads. There's good research that shows people will quit.

LEMON: What else can the government do besides show ads to get people to stop smoking or never pick it up? Are there other things that the government can be doing?

FARLEY: There are things that the FDA can do right now that they've been giving authorization by Congress to do. For example, they can set up a system called track and trace to find out people who are smuggling cigarettes to avoid the high taxes. High taxes, we know, reduce smoking rates by making the price high so that teenagers don't start in the first place.

They can also ban the use of menthol in cigarettes. One thing we know is menthol makes cigarettes even more addictive. It makes it easier for teenagers to start smoking because they got a cool sensation rather than the harsh sensation when they first felt.

LEMON: You're talking about teenagers. Now you want to raise the age to 21, right?

FARLEY: Here in New York City we've raised the legal sales age from 18 to 21.

LEMON: People are saying that because you stopped smoking in all public places. New York was among the first and now you raising the age. They're saying this is a nanny state. Even if it's bad, shouldn't we choose whatever we want to put in our body even if it's damaging.

FARLEY: You know, people can choose smoke if they want. I don't recommend that. What we've done is make the environment easier for people not to smoke. Smoking is the number one underlying killer in America. It's the number one underlying killer in New York City. We're saving thousands of lives with the steps we are doing here in New York City. If it went national, we'd save millions of lives.

LEMON: Thank you, Dr. Farley. Next, California in crisis tonight, wildfires raging through the foothills of Los Angeles.

Plus, police investigating the mysterious disappearance of a "Wall Street Journal" reporter. Some concerned that his reporting might be the reason.


LEMON: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT.

The company blamed for contaminating West Virginia's tap water has filed for bankruptcy. Freedom Industries is facing class action lawsuits in light of the chemical spill but Chapter 11 bankruptcy will likely protect the company from court judgments against it. More than 7,000 gallons of a coal treatment chemical leaked into the Elk River and forced about 300,000 people in the state to go without running water for days. One resident tells CNN if a pregnant woman can't drink this, we're not feeling safe.

A former "Playboy" model found dead in Los Angeles. Cassandra Lynn Hensley was discovered at a friend's home on Wednesday. An autopsy has been conducted. The cause of death might not be known for several weeks pending toxicology testing. Once a "Playboy" centerfold, the 34-year-old told the magazine last month that she said she had many great experiences in her life.

And a heavyweight film producer takes on the gun lobby. Harvey Weinstein revealed on Howard Stern's radio show that he would be making a film starring Meryl Streep that would make the NRA, quote, "wish they weren't alive." But since Weinstein's produced violent films like "Django Unchained", "Kill Bill", and "Pulp Fiction", our Piers Morgan pointed out that people will think this move is hypocritical.


HARVEY WEINSTEIN, FILM PRODUCER: They have a point. You know what I mean? You have to look in the mirror, too, you know? I have to just choose movies that aren't violent or as violent as they used to be, and I know for me, personally, you know, I can't continue to do that. So, the change starts here. It has already.

PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: That's a big statement to make.

WEINSTEIN: I know, but --

MORGAN: Because these are successful films.

WEINSTEIN: I know. But for me, I can't do it. I can't make one movie and say, this is what I want for my kids, and then just go out and be a hypocrite.


LEMON: Weinstein went on to say he'll still make movies but will no longer make crazy action movies just for the sake of blowing things up.

For more make sure you watch "PIERS MORGAN", live tonight, at 9:00 Eastern. And tonight, a crisis is unfolding in California. The state declaring a drought emergency just a few hours ago. It may be the driest the state has been since officials started keeping record 100 years ago.

The effects of this drought may be felt nationwide. That's because California produces nearly half of the U.S. grown fruit, nuts, and vegetables that this country consumes.

And right now, the tinder box conditions are fueling a wildfire that's tearing through the foothills of Los Angeles. At least 800 firefighters trying to knock down the flames which officials say were started by three men camping. Unbelievable. Live

Kyung Lah, along the fire line in Azusa, California.

Kyung, firefighters up against extremely dry conditions. How's it going?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Certainly. If you're here on the ground, Don, you see the impact and the power of a drought.

I want you to look at what fire can do. This was a mansion, a historic mansion two stories tall. It was broken up into several different apartments and this is all that's left. You can see a tub, an oven. You can see it still smoldering.

Firefighters have not only intensifier to deal with and flames, but now they have to deal with drought conditions. What we have here in California are conditions where they're dryer than they have been in 100 years. You put low humidity there and then you add the heat and, Don, that's why the governor here is declaring this state in a state of emergency -- Don.

LEMON: Kyung, I want our viewers to see this. I want to take a look at two pictures of the Sierra Mountains. The one on the left is last year and the one on the right is from this week. You can see just how much more green and how much more snow there is on the left-hand side picture and you're on the ground.

Do you see a big difference there on the ground?

LAH: Absolutely. I'm going to walk you over this way because the best description of it is just to simply take a look through -- into the hillside. This used to be an apartment. You can see it's completely gone now.

But take a look at the hills. You see how brown they are? You can see some spots of green, but normally this time of year in California, just like your satellite imagery showed, this would all be lush, and green, and blooming.

But because there has been so little rain, Los Angeles here has only had three inches in 2013, three inches for the entire year. Normally, you get 14. That's why everything here is so brown -- Don.

LEMON: My goodness. Kyung Lah, keep us updated. Thank you very much for that.

Now to the mysterious disappearance of a "Wall Street Journal" reporter.

David Bird, who covers energy issues for "The Journal", left his New Jersey house Saturday evening for a walk and hasn't been seen since. Some are worried his reporting could have played a role in his disappearance.

Alexandra Field has the latest now.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): David Bird, a married father of two, disappears without his cell phone or the medication he needs following a liver transplant nine years ago.

CHRIS FLEMING, SISTER-IN-LAW OF DAVID BIRD: He's a strong man. He has been through -- he's been through a lot before. Just think he's holding on. We just want him back.

FIELD: For almost a week, authorities and hundreds of volunteers have scoured Long Hill, New Jersey, for any sign of "The Wall Street Journal's" 55-year-old energy reporter.

"The Journal" put out a statement saying, quote, "Mr. Bird is a long time reporter of the Dow Jones newsroom. Our thoughts are with his family."

Bird's family is desperate to find him. On Saturday, he said he was going for a quick walk but never came home.

JACQUIE PETRAS, BIRD FAMILY FRIEND: We have every reason to believe that he just wanted to go for a little stroll. There's no -- nothing pointing to anything else.

FIELD: A search party numbering as many as 200 is combing trails where Bird, a marathoner, likes to walk. They're searching the nearby Passaic River.

But this week, a potential clue seemed to come all the way from Mexico. That's where media outlets reported Bird's credit card had been used. A source close to the investigation tells CNN that prosecutors at this point have not confirmed whether the card was actually used in Mexico.

Those reports raised concerns that his disappearance could somehow be connected to his coverage of OPEC, the organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

FLEMING: That didn't come from us, so I don't know where that information came from and I -- that's -- doesn't make sense.

He went for a walk and that was all we know. We have no idea.

FIELD: Bird's sister in law says the family still doesn't have any answers for a disappearance that makes no sense.


LEMON: It really is a mystery, Alexandra. So, what's next in the investigation? Do they think they're any closer to anything?

FIELD: The goal is to bring David Bird home. There's a massive coordinated effort here involving a number of different agencies. The footprint of the search itself is large. This involved helicopters, horses, dogs, ATVs. So, the effort on the ground is very much an active one. They are hoping that they'll find David Bird and, of course, if he will be OK.

The family tells us they know a lot is happening behind the scenes. Police are looking, of course, at phone records, financial records, those credit statements. They want to see if there's any piece of evidence there that perhaps was not so obvious.

LEMON: Nothing gave any indication that something like this would happen, not acting strangely, nothing out of the ordinary?

FIELD: Everyone who knows David Bird has said the same thing. He's a family man. He's a hiker. He's a camper. He's comfortable in the outdoors.

He had just taking out the Christmas tree. He was supposed to be on a quick walk. Everyone expected he would be right home.

LEMON: Thank you. Appreciate it.

Exorcism, you think of the movie, right? But Pope Francis is getting a lot of attention over this video which some say show him performing an exorcism. The Vatican has denied it. But one thing is true, more practitioners are speaking about it.

Frederik Pleitgen has more on the mysterious ritual.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you hear me?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the image people have of exorcism, scenes like this from 2005 film, "The Exorcism of Emily Rose".

But exorcism is very much a reality. People wait outside this church all night in the Italian village Impruneta. People like the filmmaker Lorenzo Raveggi.

"Someone put a curse on me and things started going badly. I felt bad both physically and psychologically," he says.

Then he shows me items he brought for blessing -- candles, water, and even clothes to keep evil spirits away.

People who believe they're possessed come from all over Italy to see this man, Don Luigi Oropallo.

"The pope is very open to exorcism," he says.

Last year, some observers thought that this video showed Pope Francis performing an exorcism. It created a buzz on social media sites. The Vatican strongly denied that the pope was performing an exorcism. It said the pope was conveying blessings, but some think Pope Francis is putting more emphasis on exorcism after the pontiff mentioned the devil in several early sermons including Andrea Gemma, himself an exorcist priest.

"We believe in the existence of the devil," he says, "and Pope Francis from the very beginning has said we must be wary of the devil. And the way to defend yourself against the devil is to go through the process of exorcism. "

Exorcism simply means ridding a person of demons or persons. Rituals include everything from prayers, to blessing items, to using special oils.

But critics like priest Don Andrea Bigalli say many misunderstand the true meaning of fighting one's inner demons.

"There's a lot of superstitions involved in all of this," he says. "The truth is the liturgical formula does not allow any obscure rituals."

But even though some rituals might seem obscure, people continue to flock to churches like this one in Impruneta, and the hope that priests might be able to rid them of the curses and demons they believe they have inside.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Impruneta, Italy.


LEMON: Still to come, Coolio, that's right, Coolio, Leeza Gibbons, and a friend of the first lady. That sounds like a joke, right, walking to a newsroom. But no, that's true.

Plus, saving bears. The man behind some of the most popular television shows in history discusses a final mission.


LEMON: It's getting close to that time. The top of the hour, and that's when Anderson joins us.

Here he is with a look ahead.

Hey, Anderson.


Yes, we'll get a remarkable story tonight on "360." A doctor told a family to let their son go after a hit and run accident left them clinging to life. They did not give upholding out hope that a long- shot cure could save his life and it worked. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me with details of how massive doses of fish oil, omega 3, saved Grant Burgeon's (ph) life and what it might be able to do for you at home.

Also ahead tonight, keeping them honest tonight -- the Winter Olympics three weeks away. Russia's president is helping spread the word that everyone is welcome, even guys and lesbians. He did have a special request however. He said gays need to stay away from children. That's what he said. I'll ask former Olympic skating champion Brian Boitano about what reception he expects as member of the U.S. Olympic delegation. Those stories and tonight's "Ridiculist" at the top of the hour -- Don.

LEMON: I've stolen one of your friends, Anderson, on the show. She's sitting right here. There she is.

Can we show her? Say hi.

COOPER: Traitor. I can't believe it.


LEMON: She's going to chat with me about the first lady and about being 50 and fabulous.

COOPER: All right. There's nobody better.

LEMON: We're approaching, Anderson. But we have a little bit of time. Thank you, sir. See you at the top of the hour.

Middle age, over the hill, just plain old or something else. What does turning 50 mean to you? That is a question facing the first lady, Michelle Obama, who hits the big 5-0.

People everywhere dread the half century mark. But is 50 still a big deal or is it true what they say, that age is just a number?

So to discuss that and other things, I'm joined now by the co-host of syndicated news magazine show, "America Now", which I watch, is Leeza Gibbons, CNN commentator Michaela Angela Davis, and Gammy Award winning recording artist, Coolio.

Well, they're all 50. Coolio is 50. Your hair and hat are so subdued all the time, right?


LEMON: I'm kidding. I'll talk to everyone in a second.

I want to start with you, Michaela. You're right in front of me. You wrote an article titled "50 Fears and First Lady". You referred to Michelle Obama as the new American woman, the new American beauty.

Is Michelle Obama an example of what the new 50 looks like?

MICHAELA ANGELA DAVIS, CNN COMMENTATOR: Yes. What she's an example of is 50 gets to be what you say it is.

HOLMES: Right.

DAVIS: She says it's strong, it's vibrant, it's sexy, it's healthy. So, she is an example that you get to choose. So you can choose to be tired. You can choose to be old. Or you can choose to be fierce or fabulous.

HOLMES: Yes, I said 50ish. You're not quite there yet?

DAVIS: No, no, no. But I'm close.

HOLMES: But you look great. Fifty is not -- when I was a kid I thought 50 was so old. The closer I get, oh, 50, young, I'm still a little whimper snapper.

Hey, Mr. Coolio, a number of famous people, famous faces turned 50 recently including you. And here's what some had to say about this, listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The thing about turning 50, your memory. I write jokes on my hand. I never had to do that in my whole life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It makes you, you know, more grateful for what you have.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I look better at 50 than I did at 40.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So far I haven't minded a bit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm grumpier. I think I'm grumpier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm 50. Bam, there's a sandwich in front of me. Oh, Lord!




LEMON: So I'm going to read off some other names. Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Courtney Cox, Lenny Kravitz, all of them turning 50.

DAVIS: Lenny?

LEMON: Lenny. Lenny used to work out with me. He looks like he's like 20.

They're turning 50 this year. This is the ideal for people the way they look. Is it impossible, Coolio, to age ungracefully? All of these people are aging gracefully.

COOLIO, RAPPER: Well, I mean, I think it depends on the person. Depends on your genes and depends on how well you take care of yourself. I'm 50 and I feel 30.

I think the only -- the only thing different about me at 50, I think my sex drive has increased.

DAVIS: Increased? Well, OK.

COOLIO: I can't go as long anymore, but I'm still -- you know, I'm still -- I'm still virile, viral, whatever.

LEMON: No, virile.


COOLIO: Yes, I'm still virile. I mean, I'm good. I'm good. I feel great. I mean, you know, I got some aches and pains that I'm feeling now that I haven't felt -- I've never felt before, but that's about it.

LEMON: That's what happens. Leeza, you know this. You know you're getting older when you stand and you go, oh.

But it's not all about what you eat and how much you work out and all of these other things that keep you looking young. Plastic surgery. Botox. The first lady talked about it. Here's what she had to say.

In a tweet she said, quote, "Women should have the freedom to do whatever they need to do to feel good about themselves," right? She says, "Right now, I don't imagine that I would go that route, but I've also learned to never say never." It wasn't a tweet. That was a quote from her.

What do you think about that, Leeza?

LEEZA GIBBONS, CO-HOST OF "AMERICA NOW": I want to welcome Michelle Obama to the goddess circle, first of all, or in Led Zeppelin terms, halfway up to the climb to the stairway to heaven. I love that she's redefined the conversation about aging.

I love that she has embraced change. I mean, it's not only embracing it. It's coming for you, so you better make best friends with it. And she's never been afraid of it in any way.

She's changed her hair. She's changed her work-out routine. She's reserved the right to change her mind. She may change her mind about that statement. She may not.

But what I love is that she says this is the power decade. This is the time we get to be more of ourselves than ever before. It's about expressing it.

LEMON: Listen, I say it's OK. Whatever you want to do, if something makes you feel better been yourself, whether it's Botox, fillers, or what-have-you.

Leeza, listen, let's just be honest, you've worked in Hollywood for a while. You've worked in the entertainment business, when you're in the public eye, especially on camera, it's tough. Many people look great in their first because they're getting some great work done.

GIBBONS: Well, but look on the our role models who are 50. Look at the pace setters. Look at Tina Turner. Look at Helen Mirren, look at Jamie Lee Curtis.

I mean, look at the people who are showing us what it means to be fabulous and fearless. And I think we've got to drop the dread. We got to stop looking at 50 as the ultimate "F" word. And look at other F words. Look at flexibility, look at forgiveness, look at focus.

LEMON: Don't weigh in on this Coolio. We don't want to hear your F words.

GIBBONS: Your F words, no.

LEMON: We don't want to hear the Coolio F words, but fine is good. And the V word virile is good.

She does have a point though --

COOLIO: You want to hear my F word.

LEMON: Go ahead, Coolio.

COOLIO: My f word is food. Watch what you eat. Try to eat things that are healthy. You don't -- I'm not saying don't, you know, eat food that you like and that tastes good, just watch out for stuff that's high in cholesterol and you want to stay away from saturated fats and all that, and high fructose sugar. You want to stay away from that. You should be all right.

LEMON: Who would have thunk it? Coolio, the nutritionist.



LEMON: Hey, Michaela, listen, I am getting close to 50. Still have a couple years away, but I keep this band on now to remind me to eat healthy, to work out, what have you. I have aches and pains, I carry the roll on, icy hot around because my trainer's like, you're going to do it anyway, I don't care how old you are. It's important to do that.

DAVIS: They say black don't crack, but it can fold.

LEMON: Yes, good beige don't age either.

DAVIS: You have to maintain. Melonin put some genes on your side in terms of -- you know, I think that's probably why the first lady cannot engage in a Botox conversation right now because her skin is flawless. And you look at Angela Basset and you're like, what is that?

But there's still a lot of it -- Coolio makes a good point. There are health issues you also have to watch out. Diabetes starts to set in and your aches and pains, you can take those joint pains. You have to add cream and eliminate sugar.

LEMON: Leeza, I've got to run, but is this the happiest you've been, you think, in your 50s now? Is 50 the most fabulous decade?

GIBBONS: It really is without a doubt. I want people out there who aren't there yet, don't be afraid of it. The view from here is fantastic. And you know, it really is halfway. We're going to be 100. So these are our lessons and our wisdom at the halfway point.

LEMON: All right. Coolio, go take your phone call. We're glad you joined us.


COOLIO: I was scared of 38, all right? Because I had to get my first, you know, you had to get your colon checked.

Man, that was one of the worse days of my life. But I do it every year now. That's how it is.

LEMON: That's the last word, Coolio. Thank you, sir.

Thank you, Leeza.

Thank you, Michaela.

I love that conversation.

Make sure you tune in tonight for CNN special, "Extraordinary Journey: Michelle Obama Turns 50". It's coming up at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN. Bet you thought you'd never hear that on CNN.

DAVIS: Coolio talking about saturated fats.

LEMON: We'll be right back.


LEMON: Sam Simon, co-creator of the Simpsons has quite the TV resume. He's also the man behind the "George Carlin Show", "Anger Management", and many others. But sadly, Simon has terminal cancer and he doesn't want to be remembered by TV credits and Emmys.

Ana Cabrera has the story.


ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seventeen grizzly and black bears arrived at their new home, a far cry from the roadside park where they were once held.

CARNEY ANNE NASSER, PETA: These bears were living in virtual sensory deprivation. They were confined to sunken-down concrete pits that were devoid of any natural vegetation.

CABRERA: It was the kind of situation that caught the attention of "The Simpsons" co-creator Sam Simon. Simon has always had a passion for animals which found its way into the show's early episodes. Simon left "The Simpsons" in 1993, but still gets millions of dollars in royalties.

So, when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer in November of 2012, he hatched a plan with the help of PETA to buy up roadside zoos and circuses.

SAM SIMON, CO-CREATOR, "THE SIMPSONS": When you say zoos and circuses, I'm talking about the crappiest zoos and circuses that have ever existed.

CABRERA (on camera): So, you're willing to give hundreds of thousands of dollars?

SIMON: Maybe more.

CABRERA: Millions, maybe?

SIMON: Why not?

CABRERA (voice-over): It's images like these that motivate Simon's investment. This is the Black Forest Bear Park is in Helen, Georgia. Just $5 to visit. Pictures on sites like Foursquare show the animals doing tricks for food.

While state regulators say no laws were broken, Simon insists this is not the life these bears deserve.

SIMON: I'm not sure how people ignore what's clearly suffering by these animals.

CABRERA (on camera): We reached out to the owner of the Black Forest Bear Park in Georgia, who never returned our calls.

But according to the Georgia State Department of Natural Resources, that facility closed on December 31st because of a baking issue. Simon's plan to bring the bears here was already in motion.

(voice-over): The wild animal sanctuary in Keansburg, Colorado, is a 720-acre facility, the home of more than 300 animals, including 130 other bears.

The rescued grizzlies and black bears, along with some new born cubs from Georgia, will live on three 15-acre habitats that are still being developed just for them.

PAT CRAIG, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WILD ANIMAL SANCTUARY: So, come spring, this will have trees and ponds and caves and dens and places to play.

CABRERA: A joyous moment for all, as one of the bears sets foot on dirt and grass, perhaps for the first time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go, there you go.


CABRERA: Particularly meaningful for Simon, who hopes his legacy is defined by deeds like this, not just his television talent.

(on camera): It wasn't easy for Simon to be here mostly because of his health. Now, as for these bears, the executive director here says it's going to be a few days for them to adjust to their new environment, just to be able to see the horizon. But eventually, they will psychologically recover. Their instincts will kick in and these bears will get to experience to a degree, what life would be like in the wild -- Don.


LEMON: All right. Thank you, Ana.

Thanks for watching.

I'm Don Lemon. Have a great weekend.

Here's Anderson.