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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Suge Knight Collapses in Court; Pat Deegan on Police Training to Handle Mentally Ill People; Solar Eclipse in Equinox; "The Ridiculist". Aired 8-9p ET
Aired March 20, 2015 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:16] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.
Whether it's the first winter storm of spring, a total solar eclipse or the night of the super moon, there is a lot happening all at once with the earth and sky tonight and Neil De Grass Tyson is here to explain it all of it.
Also tonight, think about this. The next time you go through security, chances are the people handling your bags or fueling the plane or working the ramp, no one actually checked them for weapons. It's a security hold big enough to get almost anything through and we will tell you why no one is rushing to close it.
And later, night falls. See what hip-hop legend an alleged hit and run killer Suge Knight off his feet in court.
We begin though, with a major winter storm that cannot even be called a winter storm because of 3:45 this evening, it's not winter anymore except just try telling to the 40 million people now slipping and sliding and shivering their way through all this. It's a mess in a lot of places and weirdly, it is springtime.
Jennifer Gray has been tracking the storm. She joins us now.
Certainly, doesn't feel like the first day of spring. What's the latest on this storm?
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. It certainly doesn't. We are seeing rain and snow all across the northeast and it is chilly. We are looking at snow anywhere from New York City all the way up to Boston. It is starting to leave the area, so that's the good news. Should be wrapping up in the next couple of hours. But it did dump several inches of snow across portions of New England. And then we have the secondary front that's going to come through Saturday throughout the day and that's going to have a really cold burst of air behind it, Anderson.
COOPER: And the next couple days, what should we expect?
GRAY: Well, we're going to see more cold air, unfortunately. It's not going to feel like spring either. That cold air is going to move in tomorrow into Sunday. However, temperatures will bounce back a little bit for the most part. Our friends at Boston, they will reach 40 degrees tomorrow after a high of 35 today. Down to 30 on Sunday. BUT then by Wednesday and Thursday, they will finally have temperatures above average in the upper 40s.
In the New York City, we'll see the same trend. A bounce on Saturday and then back down on Sunday. But then a steady incline in those temperatures reaching 60 degrees by Thursday - Anderson.
COOPER: Spring finally is may be here, at least in sight. How common is it to still be getting snow this far into March?
GRAY: Well, I don't want to be the bearer of bad news but a lot of cities in the north actually see snow in April. On average, Minneapolis sees almost three inches of snow in April. Chicago, a little more than an inch. New York City can actually see about an inch of snow and Boston could see an additional two inches. That's average for April.
COOPER: All right. Jennifer, thanks very much.
A world away. Another terrible first for ISIS. The first large scale attack on the Arabian Peninsula. Suicide bomber today striking a pair of Shia masks in Yemen's capital, Sana'a. A local ISIS affiliate claiming responsibility.
Now, the bombings came during Friday's prayer. At least 137 people were killed, hundreds more were injured. A written statement reportedly from ISIS claims the slaughter is only the tip of the iceberg.
Reporting for us tonight, Nick Paton Walsh.
Nick, what's the latest now?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well over 130 dead and over 300 injured in the Yemeni capital's Sana'a's hospital is crying out for blood donations to try to treat those caught in these series of blasts, killing details emerging too, is that how the first suicide bombers get into these two mosques, predominantly by Shia worshippers. It said they hid the explosives potentially in plastic cups to get inside those building, the first blast. And of course, rescue was rushed to help, they were hit by a second wave of explosions.
Deeply troubling how this seems to be targeting the Shias who were often behind the swift apparent in Yemen recently many fearing it could lurch the country toward more sectarian violence, Anderson.
COOPER: And what proof, if any, that ISIS is behind this?
WALSH: Well, none really at this stage. In fact, it was deeply surprising claiming responsibility because many observers had seen ISIS having a limited presence in the country in the past few months. Yes, some of them have tried to pledge allegiance to the leader of ISIS that had been accepted. But it didn't really concern to be a particularly big play on the block inside the chaos of Yemen. Al-Qaeda though, the prime suspect for an attack like this, instead
issued a statement saying it was not them and they would not target crowds of people like that. So a puzzling picture where ISIS at this stage hadn't really been thought to be capable of this, but they are the only really ones raising their hand at this stage. If they are exploring the chaos (INAUDIBLE) Yemen to get a foot hold, that's a deeply troubling issue for the counterterrorism operation the U.S. is waging there now, Anderson.
COOPER: A sickening, sickening attack. Nick Paton Walsh, thanks very much. Be careful.
Joining us now, if not to make sense, then at least to try to help us understand how it fits into the larger picture is CNN terrorism analyst, Paul Cruickshank and Michael Weiss, co-author of "ISIS, inside the army of terror."
Paul, if this is in fact ISIS, how big a development is that?
[20:05:06] PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: It's absolutely stunning development. ISIS or any base have a fledgling presence inside Yemen. This is the worst terror tack ever in Yemen and that takes a lot of doing as you can imagine. I think the strategy if it was ISIS, it was very similar to the ISIS strategy with that bombing at the golden mosque in Samarra in Iraq in 2006. The tragedy then was provoked the Shia to retaliate against the Sunnis so the Sunnis will be driven into the embrace of the Jihadis. I think that's the strategy here in Yemen is to tip the country into civil war, increase sectarian discord over there.
COOPER: Michael, is there any reason to believe it's not ISIS?
MICHAEL WEISS, CO-AUTHOR, "ISIS: INSIDE THE ARMY OF TERROR": I think it probably is for the reasons that Paul has given. I mean, remember, the founder of ISIS, one of its known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Sarkowi (ph). His number enemy were the Shia. And this was actually a wedge that was driven between the Al-Qaeda, I mean, the bin Laden core Al- Qaeda branch and his franchise in Iraq. So he was the one who blew up the golden mosque. He was the one who was conducting beheadings and going after the Shia. The goal was to prompt an overreaction by the Shia which would then,
you know, lead to ethnic cleansing and for grounds against Sunnis, thereby driving Sunnis into ISIS or Al-Qaeda Iraq's embrace.
If you look at what is happening in Iraq, the stage is set, perfectly set for this exact, this kind sectarian showdown that Sarkowi (ph) had as star fish (ph). The battle of decree (ph) is being led nu Shia Militias. Apparently, they are losing and they have lost as many as 6,000 of their fighters against 400 ISIS soldiers or ISIS militants hold up in the city, Saddam Hussein's hometown.
So I think what we are seeing now is the eruption, almost at a region- wide level of a Sunni, Shia sectarian war.
COOPER: And it's in ISIS' best interest to try to continue to drive that way, obviously, between the Sunni and the Shia. Because, I mean, this has really global implications. If they can really ignite and drive a huge wedge, I mean, this is multiple countries in the entire region.
WEISS: Absolutely. And the difference today is now ISIS is saying the United States, where is it blundered into Iraq and handed the country on a platter to Iran, now the United States is in league with Iran for the murder and ethnic cleansing and dispossession of the Sunnis. This is one of the reasons why the Sunnis in Iraq have yet to really rise up against ISIS. They fear these militias and that could spur some evolutionary guard of Iraq.
COOPER: It's interesting, Paul, because I mean, when we think of Yemen, we think of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula which here to (INAUDIBLE) has been the big player in terms of terrorism inside Yemen. Where did they fit in this whole mix?
CRUICKSHANK: Well, they've been responsible for nearly all the attacks against -- in Yemen. So the fear now is that ISIS and Al- Qaeda in Yemen, they could try to one up each other. It is bigger and bigger attacks inside Yemen.
COOPER: Not link up.
CRUICKSHANK: Oh, no. They hate each other's guts. There is a war of words is between these two groups at a regional level. Al-Qaeda in Yemen's loyalty is to Al-Qaeda central in the Afghan-Pakistan border region. So no love lost between these two groups. But Al-Qaeda in Yemen are also growing in strength in the country because of all this sectarian tension. They're recruiting greater numbers of Sunni tribals into their ranks. They have more resources than almost any time before. And of course, this is the most active group when it comes to plots against the U.S. homeland. They have bomb makers building more and more sophisticated devices to try to target U.S. aviation.
COOPER: It's interesting. Let's look at the attack in Tunisia that occurred two days ago right before this attack in Yemen. The two gunmen are involved in this attack known to have been involved in this attack are believed to have been trained in Libya and returned to Tunisia as essentially a sleeper cell. Does that surprise you?
WEISS: No, ISIS set up shop in Libya. They sent a delegation according to reports to try to recruit away from Al-Qaeda into Maghreb. So here again, there's this schism between its former patron and now the client that have broken apart.
Remember, Libya was one of the main countries, one of the main fears of foreign Jihadis going into Iraq during the U.S. occupation.
COOPER: Is Libya, Morocco?
WEISS: Syria was another major one, yes, absolutely, and Tunisia as well. There is a quite a number - actually, Tunisia today is seems to be the largest feeder of foreign fighters. There is about 3,000 that have gone over to join in Syria and Iraq, suspected that - it has been suspected that about 500 have returned to Tunisia. So the fact they've been able to carry this is spectacular. If these guys then came from Tunisia and went to Libya and they are back to carry out this deadly attack, it shouldn't surprise anybody. They do have a presence.
COOPER: Alarming developments.
Michael, thanks for being with us. Paul as well. Fascinating stuff.
Just ahead, how TSA screeners overlook a convicted felon and former domestic terrorist at a security checkpoint?
Also, a "360" investigation reveals an airport security gap all these years after 9/11, it really seems hard to believe. You might surprise to learn who rarely, rarely gets checked for weapons before working your flight, getting access to your aircraft.
And later, what a judge said about bail that knocked Suge Knight off his feet. Details ahead.
[20:13:36] COOPER: Keeping them honest tonight, another troubling revelation for air traveler. It comes in a report from the TSA inspector general. Now, among the findings that the agency, led a convicted felon, former domestic terrorist, no less, through a security pre-checked line at an airport. Not only that, but when a TSA officer spotted the breach the supervisor told him to just ignore it.
Details now from aviation correspondent Rene Marsh who has seen the report.
So, how does this happen? I mean, how is a convicted felon, a former terrorist get through a pre-check line?
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION GOVERNMENT RULE REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: And add on to that, Anderson, the felon's criminal activities also involve explosives but they exposed it. But despite that, the traveler was randomly picked for pre-check. That means shoes, coats, belt, they all stay on and certain liquids and gels do not have to be removed from luggage.
What's inspector general found that was so alarming is the fact that this program which is reserved for low-risk passengers, was opened up to a former domestic terror group member. And essentially what it allowed for was a less stringent screening process.
COOPER: What's the TSA saying about all this?
MARSH: Well, the agency is standing very firm saying that the traveler's name did not appear on a terror watch list. It didn't appear in a terror database. They also went on to say if authorities thought he was a threat, the agency's position is the name would have been on something like the no-fly list.
The agency went on to say that they have a multi-layer approach to security and defended its screening practices. But in this report, the inspector general made the point just because someone is not on a watch list does not make them low risk, Anderson.
[20:15:18] COOPER: Ands have any changes been made in the wake of all this to make sure this doesn't happen again?
MARSH: Well, we should point out, there was a TSA officer at this check point who recognized this felon, flagged the felon to a supervisor and the superior gave the OK to let the traveler get through pre-check. TSA have now made a change as that in an officers who are at a checkpoint, they now have the power to send the passenger back for standard screening if deemed necessary. So that change has come out of this report, Anderson.
COOPER: Which you think pretty obvious change.
Rene, thanks for the update.
Now, a "360" investigation and another glaring hole in airport security. Airport employees who work on planes, work on baggage day after day, without any being screened at all for what they bring on the job. Now, unlike the flawed passenger screening you just heard about, but when it comes to screening airport workers, there's simply is no national system.
Drew Griffin tonight is keeping them honest.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fifty- four thousand employees at Los Angeles international airport report to work without mandatory bag checks, no body screening. And literally, hundreds of doors like this one where a badge and a code gets you right on to the tarmac. Think that's scary? Put yourself in the shoes of L.A.'s airport police chief, Patrick Gannon.
I got to ask about the lone wolf scenario because right now what you have in place with hundreds of access doors and the screening you go through, there's really, it does not appear to me to be protection against the lone Wolf scenario.
CHIEF PATRICK GANNON, AIRPORT POLICE, LOS ANGELES: When you say lone Wolf, are you talking about somebody a lone Wolf that has access to the credential employee?
GRIFFIN: That guy right there that just walked in with a backpack, with a mug, we don't know what's in his back pack. We don't know what's in his mug and we don't know what is in his heart or head.
GANNON: That's correct.
GRIFFIN: Does that concern you?
GANNON: It concerns me all the time. With 54,000 badge employees, they work in a large airport like this, there is no way that you are going to have the ability to screen every single person that comes to work in the airport.
GRIFFIN: L.A. tries to minimize the risk by maximizing random checks like this one. Airport workers never know exactly when or where spot checks could occur. Employees also face background checks, yearly updates, and a system built around everyone watching out for anyone who might seem suspicious. But Chief Gannon admits nothing is foolproof.
As we've been at airports across the country, we have not really seen anything that could prevent what Atlanta went through which was guns being smuggled on to airplanes.
GANNON: No, I agree. I agree. In any airport throughout the United States and here also, there is never a 100 percent guarantee that somebody couldn't who wanted to do something illegal or wrong couldn't make that happen.
GRIFFIN: What happened in Atlanta is causing a reaction at airports across the country. And you can see why. These are guns, guns smuggled down to as many as 20 flights by one Delta airline baggage handler. That baggage handler took the guns to work in a backpack which was never screened. Mode for the crime, pure profit selling the guns in northeast cities.
But Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson's general manager, Miguel Southwell, testified to a congressional committee, the real danger. The gun running is exposed is the threat of potential terrorism.
MIGUEL SOUTHWELL, ATLANTA AIRPORT GENERAL MANAGER: In the last six months for example, we have started to see that people are being recruited to engage and terrorist acts. Some people being recruited from the United States. So now, we have a greater inside inspection (ph).
GRIFFIN: Atlanta is moving towards full airport employee screening but it hasn't happened yet. A CNN investigation found that only two major U.S. airports, Miami and Orlando, conduct full employee screening requiring employees to pass through metal detectors just like passengers.
Airports say moving toward full employee screening would simply be too costly and too time consuming for airport workers to wait in line like you and I. But some members of Congress just aren't buying that demanding that the department of homeland security review employee screening policies to make sure airports aren't leaving a door open to a possible disaster.
[20:20:03] GRIFFIN: Anderson, the department of homeland security really doesn't have an answer yet. This is a huge potential problem. But solving it by requiring all these airline employees to go through the same kind of screening passengers do would come at a huge cost - Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. Drew, thank you very much. Incredible.
Up next, new trouble for outgoing Congressman Aaron Schock. We are going to tell you why his lavish lifestyle is now the subject of a federal investigation.
And later, courtroom drama Suge Knight, hears the bail and the number sense him really.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[20:04:31] GRIFFIN: Can you understand why people are concerned about why you sold your house? Such overvalued property to a political donor. Do you know why Mr. Bahaj (ph) bought that property overpriced?
Congressman, is it right at all what you've been doing? Sir? Just one, come on. I've been polite to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that was our Drew Griffin trying to get answers from the Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock. Instead of answering them and answering a whole lot of other questions from plenty of other people, Congressman Schock decided to resign his seat. This eliminated the possibility of a house ethics probe. But it turns out, though, he has got bigger worries than that right now, much bigger.
We've learned that the FBI and federal prosecutors in his home state of Illinois are looking into whether his lavish spending and lax accounting broke the law.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny and Evan Perez broke this story. Jeff joins us now.
So, do we know what specifically the feds are looking at? Because there's a whole slew of things he allegedly - that they allegedly could be looking at.
[20:25:36] JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson. We're told the FBI agents, actually from Springfield, Illinois, traveled here to Washington and were handing out subpoenas and asking questions. The scope of their investigation is not entirely clear how wide it is. But we know that they're focusing on those mileage reimbursements. Was he double dipping basically on the federal taxpayers' dime? Was he getting mileage reimbursements from a campaign vehicle that he used with campaign funds? That's one of the questions here. Was he benefiting from his office?
Also, was he flying around all these trips that he documented himself which of course, is going to be helpful to the federal authorities, who is paying for all those trips? That's one thing the FBI is also looking into.
So the broad scope of it is how much was he benefiting if at all from the position of his office, how much was he personally benefiting? They are going through everything, I'm told.
COOPER: How unusual is this, I mean, a grand jury for a congressman?
ZELENY: In Illinois, it's not that unusual, actually. There are several politicians from both parties, Republicans and Democrats, former governors in prison, member of Congress, former member of Congress, Jesse Jackson Jr. in prison from benefiting, from taking campaign funds and profiting from them. So, it's not unusual. But sometimes resignation is actually hold this off or stem this off, but perhaps that's what he was trying to do by resigning from office. You know, to keep the investigation at bay. But that has not happened.
So this has gone from a congressional ethics investigation which goes away because he won't be in Congress. So the ethics committee can investigate. But this is a much, much more serious case here with the FBI and the justice department now looking into it.
COOPER: And the mileage thing, to some, it may sound like kind of, you know, small potatoes. But it is actually kind of fascinating because the allegation is that he put in to be reimbursed by taxpayers, essentially, for driving around in his personal vehicle on campaign business, I think something like more than well over 150,000 miles or something. But when he sold in his vehicle, it only had 80,000 miles on it.
ZELENY: And that was the sticking point here. In "the Chicago Sun Times" and a couple other news organizations actually found a piece of paper that you have to turn in when you sell a used car. And it showed that he had 80,000 miles on it but he billed taxpayers for twice that. So that is a sticking point here.
He's already admitted that he is going to pay back perhaps tens of thousands of dollars in mileage reimbursement. He said out of an abundance of caution, he is refunding the government basically all mileage reimbursements since he was elected to Congress in 2009. So it's not an admission of guilt. He say he's doing it out of abundance of caution. But it certainly shows that there is something to these allegations.
COOPER: Yes Fascinating. Jeff Zeleny, appreciate it. Thank you very much.
Former rap mogul, Suge Knight, had a bad day in court, to say the least. A judge set bail for him at $25 million for a fatal hit-and- run and then seconds later the accused murderer collapsed. Now, his attorney said he hit his head on a chair, knocked himself out. Certainly a bad day in court, you could say.
And yet, another strange twist in a case that started with the confrontation outside of a fast food restaurant and all caught on video.
Stephanie Elam reports.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Suge Knight's current troubles captured on this surveillance video taken in January and obtained by TMZ. Knight, driving the red pickup, had got into his truck after an argument with two associates, (INAUDIBLE) and Terry Carter. The argument continues as Knight begins to drive and watch what happens. The truck reverses striking Sloane before changing directions and running over the man again. The truck then hits Terry Carter and leaves the scene.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's Suge Knight, turn around to go to his car. Back this car up and put it in drive and then he hit Terry Carter.
ELAM: Knight's attorney say he was acting in self-defense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are witnesses that indicate that Mr. Knight was being attacked by a number of men, that they were beating him through the car window. That he was making an effort to leave.
ELAM: When Knight arrived for questioning and ultimately booked on suspicion of murder, he seemed cool and collected. Even stopping to put out a cigar before entering the Los Angeles county sheriff's department.
But since he has been custody, Knight's facade seems to have lost some of its swagger. He has collapsed in court, not once, but on two separate occasions. The first time February 3rd after he pleaded not guilty.
The 49-year-old was taken to the hospital complaining of chest pains. While in court another time, Knight said he's blind in one eye and has only 15 percent vision in the other. His lawyer says blindness in his left eye, a result of glaucoma, put the victims in his blind spot. The second time he collapsed today after a judge set his bail.
JUDGE RONALD COEN, L.A. SUPERIOUR COURT: He has a great potential to flee and currently has so in the past. In this court's opinion, $25 million is reasonable and it is so set.
ELAM: $25 million to get free on bond. Several minutes after hearing that, Knight dropped to the floor.
MATTHEW FLETCHER, KNIGHT'S CURRENT ATTORNEY: Mr. Knight literally fell like someone pulled the switch, hit his head on the way down. And he was unconscious.
ELAM: Yet charges of violence are nothing new for Knight who went to jail in the late 1990s and again in 2003 for violating probation and assault charges.
COOPER: Strange case. Stephanie Elam joins us from Los Angeles. You've been talking to Knight's legal team about how they plan to defend him. What do they say? ELAM: Right, Anderson. I talked to Knight's lawyer a few minutes ago. And they say first of all, they believe that it was an accident and, second of all, the condition of his left eye, they are saying, it's his left eye, in which he's blind and if you remember that video, it's on the left-hand side that the two men were standing. Well, they're saying that he was trying to get away from the scene, but because he was blind in that left eye, he could not see exactly where they were so they're saying that you can't target to kill somebody when you don't even know they're there, Anderson.
COOPER: Has anybody ever known he was blind in his left eye before or that - I mean he's even allowed to drive if that's true?
ELAM: That's the next question that we want to find out. It's how well. Now, you know that he's had a change in lawyers here. So, some of the questions, we're asking, we did not get answers to, but one thing that we do know, is that he's said this in court. We've heard him mumbling about something in court. We've heard Knight say this in court, saying that he's got 15 percent vision in one eye and saying that he's got full blindness in the other one, but still , it seems to me you would have some legal problems driving if that was known.
COOPER: Yeah, that's for sure. We'll see. Stephanie, appreciate the reporting. Thank you.
Coming up next in light of the police shooting that took the life of a mentally ill man in Dallas, we are going to look at a unique training tool that lets officers experience the world the way many people with schizophrenia do. It involves trying to function normally when you cannot stop the voices inside your head. It's basically, so, you put iPhone on with people talking to as if simulating voices in your head. I actually tried it, and it's certainly not easy. We'll show you that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come down. Back up. Stand up now. I'll cut you off. I'll count 20, 30, 40, stand up now. Walk away.
[20:36:05] COOPER: We are taking a closer look tonight at how police officers decide whether to use deadly force specifically during encounters with people who either might be or known to be suffering from serious mental illness. The recent killing of a mentally ill Dallas man named Jason Harrison, really underscores the issue. He was shot and killed by police at home holding a screwdriver in front of his mother who'd called them for help getting him to the hospital. A police body cam captured what happened. Now, before showing it, we should warn you, the video is very graphic and obviously disturbing to watch. It all happens very quickly, but a highlight just how quickly a police call can turn deadly. And critics say how much more officers need to learn about the kinds of situation you're about to see.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello. What's going on?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How you doing, what's going on?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need to stop ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who's that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bipolar, schizo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going on?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drop that for me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jay!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drop it!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jay!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drop it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jay!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drop it!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jay!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (screaming)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, Jason Harrison suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. His mother had specifically requested officers who were trained to deal with the mentally ill answer his call. Now, the attorney for these officers tell us they did have that training. And they said the man lunged at them with the screwdriver. The victim's brother calls a video perfect example of what not to do. Well, tonight we are going to show you a novel way that some officers in certain forces around the country are learning to experience the world the way many schizo - people with schizophrenia do.
Pat Deegan designed it, and you'll hear from her shortly, I'm going to interview her. She's a clinical psychologist who also happens to live with schizophrenia. Now, here's how it works. For three quarters of an hour, you listen to voices through headphones while trying to do everything from puzzles to simply interacting with people on the street. I tried it myself last summer when we first reported on it, and it's a fascinating experiment. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You are going to put these earphones. I try to do a series of tests. So now hearing some whispers and voices in my head and the first test is some number puzzles.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You suck and they know it. Did you get this right?
COOPER: OK. So I did this test for three minutes and I did not get a single one. It's very hard to concentrate when, if it's like music or something constant, it's easy but. People talking to you is very difficult. So now I'm going to be asked a series of questions by our producer who's in, and these are basically a series of questions that a person would be asked in, and they would be admitted to a hospital.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell me what day it is?
COOPER: Yeah. It's Sunday, June, I don't know, like, 7TH?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I'm going to say five numbers and then I want you to repeat them after I'm done.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Five, 23, 67, 2, 76.
COOPER: 5, 23, 67, something, 76.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to say five words. You don't have to repeat them. But just listen to them. Cat. Look. Cigar. Damage. And rain. Can you name the last four presidents of the United States?
COOPER: Barack Obama, George Bush. Bill Clinton. And George Bush.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Say these five words I said before. Can you remember any of them?
COOPER: No. It's hard when, because sometimes the voices are like whispering and sometimes they're aggressive and sometimes they're kind of comforting. And with people kind of talking to you all the time, it's -- it's hard.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's OK, don't worry.
COOPER: So, I'm going to try to make a boat origami following these instructions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You'll be OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shut up. Shut up.
COOPER: I want to talk back to the voices now, but it's really distracting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't. Not do it. Do not touch that stuff. Pipe down. You suck. What are you looking at? This is easy. You want to touch that?
COOPER: I can't do this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hand down, keep your eyes down. Just do it. Just do it. Filthy mind. Leave her alone!
COOPER: It's also frustrating because they're telling me I can't do it. And so I didn't do a very good job with the boat, but it's just - it's really hard to - it's hard to focus when kind of people whispering to you and talking to you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just come near. Come near to me. Come near for help.
COOPER: Hey, do you have yesterday's paper? Yesterday's "New York Times"? No, OK. Let's get this.
COOPER: It's really, it's incredibly distracting on the street to have somebody talking in your head and it makes you feel completely isolated from everyone around you and you don't want to engage in conversation with those people. You kind of find yourself wanting to engage in conversation with the voice in your head. Because they are constantly being really negative and talking to you and everything they're saying relates to things that you're actually doing. They are criticizing things you're doing. It's like every - somebody's - it's like you have a chorus watching you and commenting on what you're doing. And you can't help it. I literally find myself wanting to kind of respond to them and kind of tell them, you know, to be quiet and it's incredibly unpleasant. This is a very, very unpleasant experiment. It's really, I mean - opening, because it kind of really shows you what it's - what other people must be going through who deal with this on a regular basis. But also, like I cannot wait to take these headphones off because it's really depressing. It's very negative. It makes you feel very, very negative. Yeah. It's very creepy. I want it to stop.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You suck up! Stand up now. I'll cut you off. 20, 30, 40, stand up now. Walk away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Doing OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Walk now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Walk past them. Past the cars. Past the cars all the way to make it home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Very disturbing and isolating experience. Pat Deegan designed that experiment. She was trying to convey what some people with schizophrenia go through on a daily basis hearing these kind of voices. Pat was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teenager and urged to enter a halfway house and for all intense and purposes, retire from life. Well, she decided instead to become a clinical psychologist and work to change the mental health system. We had her on the program last year and we learned a lot. I spoke to her again yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Pat, I know you've seen the video from Dallas. I'm wondering what your reaction is. Because there was a former Dallas police officer on CNN earlier today who said that he's trained officers in that department and believes the officers in the video acted perfectly and he'd actually used that tape to his students as an example of what to do. What did you think when you saw it?
PAT DEEGAN, MENTAL HEALTH EXPERT: I wept and I was horrified that this man was killed with deadly force. He was a man who was unwell. Mr. Harrison. And he needed help, not a gun in his face.
COOPER: You know, the argument is that the officers had just seconds to assess the situation. They said there was a weapon present, the screwdriver is considered a deadly weapon by police and that he allegedly lunged at them and that there were no other choice but to shoot.
DEEGAN: I just think the escalation, the suddenness with which they began shouting and threatening this man was completely uncalled for.
COOPER: What do you think should have happened, and, you know, nothing is ideal, obviously, but, you know, obviously there were things that could have happened before the police were even called in terms of a treatment plan for him, you know, support so he stays on medication. But once the police had been called, are there concrete steps you think that could have been taken that would have avoided the situation? Because the 9-1-1 dispatcher mentioned that the man was schizophrenic.
DEEGAN: Right. And so, the 9-1-1 dispatcher should have had a system ...
[20:45:00:] - or Dallas should have had a system in place where a team of specially trained officers would have gone to the house to support and encounter this gentleman in a way that gave him space and at the same time, spoke to him, established some rapport, and made a human connection with him. He was not a criminal. He was unwell. And unfortunately, these are the kinds of consequences we see when services are not available. We know how to help people recover and get their lives back in order. We have lacked the will and frankly, the budgets to be able to make that happen.
COOPER: Pat Deegan, I appreciate you being on. Thank you very much.
DEEGAN: Thank you so much, Anderson
COOPER: Well, just ahead tonight, a solar eclipse on the same day as this spring equinox, a super moon, the aurora borealis. It's a great time to look up. Like cool science and cooler pictures. Neil de Grass Tyson next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: You don't have to be a science geek to appreciate what's going on in the sky lately, but it certainly helps.
COOPER: Today, there was a total solar eclipse on the same day of the vernal equinox with the super moon thrown in for good measure. Also, it's dumping snow on the first day of spring. The United States
missed out on seeing the eclipse, but earlier this week, there was a stunning display of light in the night's sky over parts of the country, the aurora borealis. Now, I would love to tell you what it all means, but I know Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist, author and director of the Hidden Planetary in the American Museum of Natural History, thankfully joins me tonight.
There's a lot I want to ask you about, and all of them are dumb questions, because my knowledge of science is virtually, but before I get to those, how can you tell when there's going to be an eclipse?
NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Oh, the eclipse - well, this - it's physics. That's why ...
COOPER: Which I never took.
DEGRASSE TYSON: No, no, this is a really cheap answer.
COOPER: But I mean you can tell the date of the next eclipse a couple of years from now.
DEGRASSE TYSON: In physics and astrophysics, we're the best predictors of the future there ever was, perhaps ever will be because we're armed, we're equipped with our utility valid math and formulas and ....
COOPER: We are turning to a liberal arts major.
DEGRASSE TYSON: No, that's why - that's why. But just think - I mean it's profound, actually. We can write down an equation and tell you the future behavior of the Sun, Moon, planets and stars.
COOPER: So this is probably - question, but do you really like blind, get blind if you stare at the eclipse - without one of the special ...
DEGRASSE TYSON: The reason why all these warnings go out, is there might be a reason for you to look at ...
COOPER: OK, next, I'm going to ask you who would win between Super Man and Batman.
COOPER: Try next question.
DEGRASSE TYSON: I could so go there. I could so go there. Iron man would be the winner, actually. Between Super Man and Batman. So with an eclipse, if you have an urge to look at the sun then, they were saying no. Don't look at the sun, unless you have proper filters. That would be true for every day. Except you don't waste people's time when they wake up, oh, don't look at the sun today. Don't look at the sun today, but now there's an eclipse. And so that - so people associate extra danger with an eclipse.
COOPER: So, there's nothing extra dangerous.
DEGRASSE TYSON: No, no, no, it's just - no, don't look at the sun unless you have filter no matter what the sun is doing, OK?
DEGRASSE TYSON: Yeah.
COOPER: That was probably the stupidest question I'm going to ask.
DEGRASSE TYSON: No, no, no. You were fine. You were fine.
COOPER: Now is this Super Moon that we're not even going to be able to see, and ...
DEGRASSE TYSON: Don't get me started about the super moon. This is New York. Let's talk pizza. If tonight's moon were 16 inch pizza, one month ago moon, which they are not calling a super moon, was 16.1 inches.
COOPER: Some base ...
DEGRASSE TYSON: Sorry, 15.9. One tenth. So you're not, I rather reserve the word super for like Super Man. Super Mario. Super Nova. Super-duper, but not super moon. It's an overplayed concept.
COOPER: I know you're still talking about, but all I'm thinking about now is pizza.
DEGRASSE TYSON: That's good. Food and the universe go together.
COOPER: The northern lights, which I've never seen in person. They look, I mean in the video just incredible. I really - it's one of the things I want to see, does that have anything to do with the equinox?
DEGRASSE TYSON: Yeah, it's a great question. No. Just flat out no. We had northern lights just a few nights ago. Might continue tonight. And, of course, it has to be clear to see them, these are, it's a light show basically brought to you by the universe. Particles from the sun stream from the sun to earth and they come with such high energy that as they near earth, they collide with the atmosphere and kick the molecules up in their energy levels and then that energy gets re-released as these beautiful curtains of life.
COOPER: I'm still thinking about pizza.
DEGRASSE TYSON: Pizza is good.
COOPER: Neil, thank you.
DEGRASSE TYSON: All right. Perfect, Anderson.
COOPER: It's always great to have him. Coming up next, something to make you smile. "The Ridiculist." Stick around.
[20:47:20] COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist." And tonight, we have a civics lesson from the great state of New Hampshire where some fourth graders tried to get the red tailed hawk designated as the state raptor to see how a bill becomes a law. The students drafted House bill 373, they got a sponsor for it, and then took a field trip to watch from the gallery of the state house as lawmakers debated and then voted on their bill. Now, you might think that the state representatives quickly passed the bill sending the nine and ten-year olds back to their school with a sense of accomplishment and a great impression of how our government works. Well, you would be wrong. Here is just some of the debate that proceeded the vote and remember, the kids were there watching and listening to it all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We already have a state bird, but now do we need a state raptor? Isn't that a bird? Isn't that an animal?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, are we going to have, you know, flightless birds, water fowl, pet birds, garden birds, wild birds? How many of these bills do we need to have?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Only one other state has a state raptor. Why do we need a state raptor?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we keep bringing more of these bills and bills and bills forward that really, I feel, we shouldn't have in front of us, we'll be picking a state hot dog next.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Must we designate one state raptor? Does a raptor that is found everywhere in the country symbolize New Hampshire?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: They could have just pooped on the bill right in front of the kids. In a way, it was probably the most accurate interpretation a group of fourth graders could receive on how our government works. Take a totally innocuous idea, something that doesn't seem like it could possibly be controversial in the slightest, then spend 18 minutes talking about what a waste of time it is while simultaneously nitpicking its details. Honestly, the only thing that could have possibly made it worse is if someone tried to somehow inject abortion in the debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's known for its extremely strong and sharp talons, with which it grasps its prey, but it grasps them with these talons and then uses its razor sharp beak to rip its victims to shreds and to basically tear it apart limb by limb. And I guess the shame about making this a state bird is it would serve as a much better mascot for Planned Parenthood.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was State Representative Warren Grown (ph) who stands by his comments. The bill was defeated and I'm guessing so were the fourth graders as they returned home to wonder what in the world just happened and what Planned Parenthood is and what does it possibly have to do with the red tailed hawk? And that, boys and girls, is exactly how a bill does not become a law in real life and on The Ridiculist."
COOPER: Basically, this is what the rest of your life is going to be like, kids. Enjoy. That does it for us. Thanks for watching. The Wonder List with Bill Weir starts now.