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Horror Story Inspires Teens to Stab Friend; Noise Could Be MH370 Clue; Study: Hurricanes with Female Names More Deadly; A Look Back at The Sixties

Aired June 3, 2014 - 11:30   ET



MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Really horrible story to tell you out of Wisconsin. Unbelievable crime. Police say a pair of 12-year-old girls lured another 12-year-old girl into the woods using a game of hide-and-seek as premise. They allegedly stabbed her 19 times and left her to crawl to her own rescue. Thankfully, a bicyclist found her. Police say the girls told them they were inspired by some sort of horror website.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It gets twisted here. Police say the girls wanted to impress a fictional character known as Slender Man with this alleged crime. All three of these girls were friends. They just had a sleepover together. Remarkably, as we said, the wounded girl survived. She's in the hospital.

Joining us to talk about this is criminologist, Jack Levin.

Jack, I want to start with this. This crime alleged to have been committed by two 12-year-old girls. This is on the forefront of our minds because we had a horrible crime where a young man killed several people. At the time, we spoke to psychologists and forensic experts that said it's only boys who do this. Girls never seem to do this. Girls have in this case. How unusual is this?

JACK LEVIN, CRIMINOLOGIST, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY: Well, it's very usual. It's very unusual to begin with for any 12-year-old pre- adolescent to commit this hideous crime. We don't expect this of girls. 91 percent of all murders are committed by males, men and boys. Still, this is about friendship. I know there's Slender Man and they wanted to influence him. The truth is they probably wanted to influence one another. This was a bonding exercise and friendship is very important to girls, maybe more than to boys.

PEREIRA: What's so disturbing and you mentioned this horror website that the girls apparently were fans of and they were apparently trying to please this fictional character, I think this part upsets so many of us. These girls took something imaginary and fictitious and crossed it into reality.

LEVIN: You're right. It's the failure to distinguish fantasy from reality. But it's not just children. It's not just teenagers. It's adults as well. There are a lot of adults who still don't know that Hannibal Lecter was a fictitious character, a figment of imagination, in "The Silence of the Lambs." It's not just the Internet that provokes this. We'll have to look elsewhere if we look to blame someone. I think it's the chemistry between these two girls. It was insane. Not in their minds but in their relationship.

BERMAN: You seem to say two things that I want to hone in on. I'm hesitant to blame movies and video games. It's easy to blame entertainment for things that go wrong here. What kind of influence can they have psychologically speaking? Someone sees a movie and then what?

LEVIN: Well, I think it depends on who rather than what. I think that there are many youngsters out there who do understand that this is only fantasy. These two girls said that after they killed their victim, they were going to run away with Slender Man. Well, that's incredible if you stop to think about it that they did not know that this was a fictional character. There's something about the girls themselves. Actually, it only takes one. I would call some teenagers and preteens "temporary sociopaths." They might commit a hideous crime at the age of 12 or 13 that they wouldn't dare commit if you can get them to the age of 25 when their brain has developed more and they no longer have this kind of character disorder. When you put them together with another youngster, you may ask for big trouble.

PEREIRA: That was the recipe here, Jack Levin. So upsetting to hear the idea that 12 year olds could commit such a horrific crime. We certainly wish that victim a speedy recovery. A long road for her I know.

Jack Levin, thanks so much.

BERMAN: To me the troubling thing is they could imagine there's any justification for it. Where do you find that justification?

PEREIRA: The whole thing is mystifying to me. Certainly, very troubling.

We'll take a short break here. Ahead @THISHOUR, could a mysterious noise heard under the Indian Ocean be the key to finding flight 370? Scientists are about to release new information.

BERMAN: But first, homeless teens finding a place to call home and get support to better their lives. Chris Cuomo reports it's all because of a shelter that makes an impact on their lives and in the community.


CHRIS CUOMO, CO-HOST, NEW DAY (voice-over): As a teen, Cherise Peters felt like she was trapped in a cycle of poverty and neglect.

CHERISE PETERS, COVENANT HOUSE RESIDENT: My mom was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive. I'm always sorry but I don't know what I'm sorry for. I got engaged with this guy, which I thought was the love of my life.

CUOMO: She dropped out of high school her senior year and ran away with him. They spent eight months living on the streets of New York City.

PETERS: You don't know who is who there. I started getting into drugs to numb myself.

CUOMO: Peters knew something had to change. She dumped her boyfriend and found refuge here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is where the magic happens.

CUOMO: Covenant House gives youth a place to live.

KEVIN RYAN, CEO, COVENANT HOUSE: Covenant House is part of a movement to help kids dream big dreams and achieve those dreams. We're all about giving kids the skills that they need and we want them to build for themselves that very fulfilling love filled home that's their destiny.

CUOMO: Peters is on her way to achieving that. She's training to be a nursing assistant. Her goal is to get her GED and go to college. She's even reconnected with her mom.

PETERS: I feel revitalized. I got me back.



PEREIRA: New developments in the story we first reported last week about a mysterious noise detected in the Indian Ocean and the search for flight 370. "The New York Times" is reporting that scientists are planning to release detailed information on the noise on Wednesday. That noise could have been made by an ocean impact. The low frequency sound was recorded by undersea receivers and is described as a dull oomph.

BERMAN: The area where the noise was picked up is not in the southern arc with the plane is believed to have flown. It's off the southern tip of India, a long, long, long way, 3,000 miles from the northern part of Australia where they've been searching right now.

I'll bring in our safety analyst, David Soucie.

David, explain this technology, what it listens for and what it could be. It could be plane but what else could it be?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: It could also be an earthquake. Small earthquake that wasn't strong enough to move all of the way over to the coast where you would feel it on coast sensors but it would make that sound. It's interesting information. It's wonderful math, if you like math like I do. As far as traveling, remember, sound travels about five times faster in water and low frequency sound can travel thousands and thousands of miles.

PEREIRA: Right. The fact is that the area that sound traveled is said to be roughly the size of Texas. Let that sink in for a second. We've talked about it time and time again about what a challenge it is not just the topography under the ocean but the area that they have to search.

SOUCIE: Yeah. Topography is something that is really interesting when you talk about sounds because it could be simply hearing a reflection off another area so we're not sure exactly where it came from. I'm not sure it's going to add a lot of information to it as far as pinpointing where to start searching because of the fact that it could be bouncing off anywhere. This isn't an area that's been well mapped. Even trying to figure out where it might be coming off of isn't an easy task.

BERMAN: These I understand are microphones used to detect nuclear tests or things going on underwater. We'll get this information allegedly today so says "The New York Times." But then what? It's not like it is doubtful to me they will start searching 3,000 miles away from where they are searching right now.

SOUCIE: Yeah. I don't think it will be that conclusive. There are two microphones that picked it up. Another set of microphones set up to listen to blue whales so that in conjunction with nuclear test microphones at first said they didn't hear anything. They are used to looking at bombs and explosions. They looked at the data the second time and found anomalies that coincided with the time the blue whale microphones got it. It may be useful. In and of itself it won't make it conclusive to change the search area.

PEREIRA: David Soucie, thank you for working through the math on that one with us. We always appreciate you lending your voice to our conversations here @THISHOUR.

We'll take a short break.

You sometimes you blame me for making up stories. This is not one of them. A bride who didn't just wear white at her wedding. She wore her baby, too.


BERMAN: Plus, a study finds -- that was a really good tease.

PEREIRA: Thank you.

BERMAN: There's was study that finds people are less likely to take a hurricane seriously if it has a female name. Apparently, female-named hurricanes don't scare them as much.

PEREIRA: Wouldn't Hurricane Michaela scare you?


BERMAN: There need to be more women. Coming up.


PEREIRA: All right, it's time for "Hot Flash," the stories that have a whole lot of people talking.

Fire away, my man.

BERMAN: I want to start with a study. Researchers looked at more than 60 years of hurricanes and found the storms with female names like Amy or Katie are deadlier than those with male names like David or John. The thinking is if you hear --

PEREIRA: John, really?

BERMAN: John is very unthreatening. If you hear a woman's name, you are less likely to be afraid and less likely to prepare to evacuate. The research suggests that apparently changing a hurricane name from a male name to a female name could cause a higher death toll.

I have two issues with this study. Number one, they took out the name Katrina from the study because they thought that would skew results.

PEREIRA: One of the more devastating ones.

BERMAN: The science is a little suspect to me. Second of all --

PEREIRA: What's the other issue?

BERMAN: How can be it that women aren't as threatening as men? I mean, I've lived a long life, 42 years. I find that highly suspect.

PEREIRA: First of all, isn't it true that they actually only named them female names early on? So this whole study is a bit bunk, don't you think?

BERMAN: I think it's a little silly.

PEREIRA: Next story --

BERMAN: Who's more threatening between us?

PEREIRA: I think I'm lovely.

The video you see on your Facebook feed, it's been everywhere.


PEREIRA: This, this, banner's in the way. You can't believe this, can you, at home? A bride in Tennessee put her 1-month-old baby -- tied the baby to the train of the wedding dressed and walked down the aisle. She walked down the aisle with the baby on the train of her dress. The bride says her baby was awake and well secured. The mother and the family are telling all the haters -- I don't think they're haters, I think they're head scratchers, to get over it. I don't have words for them.

BERMAN: Can I offer another reason why it's alarming. I'm glad the baby's OK. The baby's fine. Wedding dresses are very, very expensive. They are very expensive. Look, I've been to a wedding. I got married. They're expensive. Why would you do that to a wedding dress? PEREIRA: The baby's dragged down the aisle, people! Does anybody else have an issue with this? Because I just find -- cradle the child gently in your bosom.

BERMAN: Once the hemming happens and once it's tailored, I don't think you then do things to it.

PEREIRA: I can't. I can't.

You want to comment on that. Go to our Facebook page, visit us @THISHOUR.

We're going to take a break so we can regroup.

Also, we have a great segment ahead. For some of you old enough to remember, there was a time American children had to hide under their school desks and bus seats. Duck and Cover it was called, the '60s Cold War drill. We'll talk about the tension that that generation felt coming up.

BERMAN: Hiding under my desk. I call that Tuesday with you here @THISHOUR.

PEREIRA: I'm a lover, not a fighter. You know that.


BERMAN: So the '60s, it was such a time of unrest and change, for those of you who remember. For those who do not, CNN's documentary series, "The Sixties," takes us through. This Thursday, the focus is the Cold War when America really was every day at risk of a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, staring each other down. Children hid under their desks doing drills.


ANNOUNCER: The temper of the world is crisis. The architect of the crisis, Nikita Khrushchev.

TIMOTHY NAFTALI, HISTORIAN: As the head of the Soviet Union, Khrushchev was ideological. He believed the future belongs to communism. He said, America needs to be contained and the only way to do it is create crises all around the American empire.



PEREIRA: That very historian, Timothy Naftali, you just heard in the documentary clip.

Really a pleasure to have you here with us, live in studio.

NAFTALI: My pleasure.

PEREIRA: Such an interesting time in our world, such an interesting relationship between those two countries, especially when you see what's going on right now. The Soviet Union, the United States, fearful of one another, exaggerating one another's powers. It must have been a very strange time to live in that kind of tone.

NAFTALI: Well, part of it is that neither country, nor their citizens, knew exactly what was going on. What makes this period so very dangerous and the story so dramatic is that you normally expect countries to be less willing to take risks when they feel vulnerable. But in that era, both the United States and the Soviet Union took enormous risks. The United States tried to overthrow Castro in the Bay of Pigs and the Soviets, decided to put missiles in Cuba, both because they felt weak and vulnerable. The United States felt the revolutionary fervor of Cuba might lead many countries to go in that direction. The Soviets felt they couldn't defend Cuba and they couldn't defend their other interests around the world. As a result, both countries took risks that ultimately led to nuclear danger. It's a period unprecedented in history, thank goodness.

BERMAN: Really genuine fear, really genuine danger --


NAFTALI: Not only on a --


BERMAN: We're talking on a day-to-day basis. That brings me to today, because today so of en we hear we're re-entering the cold era mentality of the U.S. versus Russia. Is it an apt comparison?

NAFTALI: No. Not at all, thank goodness. First, though we hope the best for the best in the Ukraine. The Ukraine is not a vital interest of the United States. Secondly, Russia is much weaker than the Soviet Union was. We've already seen with Putin's decision to remove troops from the border. He recognizes the real threat to economic stability of Russia by playing this game with Europe. Russians are much more a part of our world than the Soviets were. They need the international economy. Our risks, our interests as Americans are not at risk to that extent. Secondly, the Russians are much more players in the international system than the soviets were, so they can't afford to take the risks that Khrushchev did in 1962.

PEREIRA: If we don't learn from history, we're doomed to repeat it, though, there's a certain amount of that, yeah?

NAFTALI: We've learned to never underestimate foes, which we've done. Also not forget that sometimes people put sticks in our eye because they're weak, not because they're strong.

BERMAN: The other thing that's truly interesting about the beginning period here of the 1960s, this was a young president, President Kennedy, who you were saying Khrushchev was testing the United States, he was testing a young president every day.

NAFTALI: I think that's a little -- it's true. It's a little bit overdrawn. The Soviets -- you've got to keep -- we all need to keep in mind the Soviets were way more fearful of us than even we were of them. That's something we learned only after the Cold War ended in 1989 and '90. When we started to read stuff from their side, we realized, oh, my god, they really were afraid of us. What mattered was our Pentagon was strong.

PEREIRA: Tim Naftali, what a pleasure to have you here. I feel like we could have a history lesson every day.

BERMAN: I'm glad we made it, that's all I can say.

NAFTALI: Me, too, so am I.

Thank you, both.

PEREIRA: Don't forget, watch live or set your DVR, or watch leave, CNN's original series, "THE SIXTIES." It airs at 9:00 p.m. It's all about the Cold War. It's called "The World on the Brink," when America risked nuclear war staring down the Soviet Union over Berlin and Cuba.

What time?

BERMAN: 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific Thursday night.

PEREIRA: Thanks for joining us @THISHOUR. I'm Michaela Pereira.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman.

"LEGAL VIEW" with Ashleigh Banfield starts now.