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Motives Unclear in U.S. Mass Shooting; Climate Change Conference Continues in Paris; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired December 3, 2015 - 14:00:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: the motive for California's mass shooting is still unknown. Confusion reflected by these

two different editions of America's biggest selling tabloid today.

In the face of another mass shooting, though, many fear that America's gun culture will be too slow to change, including a despondent President





AMANPOUR (voice-over): A former police chief who's fought this culture for decades joins me live.

Also ahead, as this story steals the headlines again, can the spotlight be rediverted onto issues like the Iran nuclear deal and climate


I speak live to the U.S. Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz.


AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

In America, national security is king. Indeed, just before news broke of yet another mass shooting, 14 people dead in California and another 21

wounded, I was speaking with the president of the International Rescue Committee, David Miliband, about the strict vetting for all refugees coming

to America.


DAVID MILIBAND, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE: It's tougher to get to America as a refugee than under any other route. The process takes 18

to 24 months. It involves 12 to 15 different government agencies, including intelligence agencies. There are biometric tests. There are

personal interviews. It's the most vulnerable people who get nominated for this program.


AMANPOUR: And yet as so much fear was focused on refugees, the statistics show that the danger for Americans is right at home. The checks

are far looser for buying a gun.

On average, there has been more than one mass shooting a day in the United States this year, or 355 in 2015, according to the crowdsourced


Indeed, last night, a gunman in Savannah, Georgia, shot four people. But that got little attention, given the 14 who were slaughtered in


Even more shocking, more Americans have been killed by guns since 1968 than in all America's wars going back to the 1776 American Revolution.

That is according to It is an absurdity that President Obama recognized again last night as he has done after every such rampage

on his watch.


OBAMA: We have a no-fly list where people can't get on planes. But those same people who we don't allow to fly could go into a store right now

in the United States and buy a firearm and there's nothing that we can do to stop them. That's a law that needs to be changed.


AMANPOUR: While we still don't know the exact motive for this latest massacre, an intelligence source tells CNN the male shooter contacts with

more than one terrorism suspect under FBI watch. However, CNN is also told that they're not considered high-level suspects and the contacts were few

and several months ago.

Speaking in San Bernardino, an FBI assistant director says it is way too early to draw conclusions.


DAVID BOWDICH, FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, LOS ANGELES: If you look at the amount of obvious preplanning that went in, the amount of armaments

that he had, the weapons and the ammunition, there was obviously a mission here, we know that. We do not know why.

It would be irresponsible and premature of me to call this terrorism.


AMANPOUR: Darrell Stephens is a former police chief and the executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association. It's an organization of

police executives that represent the largest cities in the United States and Canada.

Mr. Stephens, thank you very much indeed for joining me tonight.

So first and foremost, to the confusion over the motive: do you think we will ever know the motive?

And do you think it is possible that this is some kind of combined motive that includes radicalization or some kind of copycat-ism after


DARRELL STEPHENS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MAJOR CITIES CHIEFS ASSOCIATION: I think we will learn the motive of the action within probably the next few

days as the FBI and local authorities continue their investigation.

A lot of questions that have come up, at least today, concerning the backgrounds of the two individuals involved, their travels, their

connections and certainly the amount of weapons and ammunition that they had and the preplanning that went into it sure makes you think towards


But the FBI is careful, as they should be, in making that final determination.

AMANPOUR: And, of course, all of this is also wrapped up in the preponderance of weapons on the streets in the United States and the ease

with which practically anybody can buy them and use them. You've been fighting this for a long, long time.

Do you believe that stronger gun laws would make a proper, measurable difference?

STEPHENS: I do believe they would.


STEPHENS: I think the research that's been done in recent years would support that. In states with greater regulations, there's fewer shooting

situations and fewer deaths that are associated with firearms.

All -- in states that are -- the background checks, they've turned away millions of people since their implementation in 1994. But there are

some big loopholes. Private sales are not covered by background checks. Gun shows, you can sell guns at gun shows and those are not covered by

background checks.

We believe that full checks on all gun sales would make a difference on the amount of violence that we have in America.

AMANPOUR: You know, we know that some 90 percent of the American people support sensible gun control laws, sensible changes and background

checks or whatever it is that needs to be implemented.

But we also know that there are many leading politicians, who are saying, for instance, after the shooting at the theater in Paris -- and it

happens all the time, "If only we were all armed, then nobody would get killed."

In other words if, the good guys all had arms, the bad guys wouldn't win.

Let me just play for you what the head of the NRA says, similar to that.


WAYNE LAPIERRE, EVP, NRA: The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.


AMANPOUR: So that was Wayne Lapierre after the -- really the biggest mass shooting in American history and that was at Newtown. And so tragic

those children were killed.

But can you explain -- because so many people believe that. And it's in the political discourse this year again and again. "If we all had

guns," you know, "everybody would be safer."

STEPHENS: Well, there's more than 300 million guns in America that are under private ownership. If that were the case, America would be the

safest country in the world. And as a matter of fact it's not. It's one of the most violent countries in the world. There's no country in the

world that has the kind of mass shootings that we experience in this country.

So I think it's -- it makes no sense to make the kind of claim that more guns equal less violence.

And again, the research would suggest otherwise as well. There's more mass shootings in this country than anyplace else in the civilized world.

There's more guns that are out there than anyplace else in the world. And it just doesn't make common sense to make that claim.

The tragedy is that our gun policies' gotten worse in the past 10 or 15 years. State laws have been passed that allow people in 31 states to

carry guns on open carry. Just strap a gun on and go anywhere you want to go. And that's OK in those 31 states.

And so we're -- our public policy, instead of getting stronger as it should in lifting of these tragedies, it's getting weaker.

AMANPOUR: You're a law enforcement officer. You're a former police chief. Just walk our viewers through or those who believe if everybody was

armed, everybody would be safe.

What would have happened if every single person attending the Bataclan concert in Paris had had a weapon?

Or every single person at that party where the massacre happened last night had had a weapon?

What would have happened?

STEPHENS: A lot more people would be dead today. There is the argument that, well, they citizens can engage the shooter more quickly if

they're armed.

But the reality is that if you had 50 people pulling out their weapons and starting -- started to shoot towards them, they may engage the shooters

but, in the process, we're going to see a lot more injuries and deaths take place from this aimless wild gunfire that would take place in those


So the argument that everyone should be armed and we would be safer just doesn't hold water. It makes no sense. And it's incredible to me

that they continue to try to make that argument.

AMANPOUR: Now you've said and the president has said and everybody here says, oh, my goodness. First of all, this is unlike any other country

in the civilized world.

Here, I'm afraid the BBC today said, you know, just another day in the USA. And we know that the American ambassador to London has said that

whenever he travels to schools here around the U.K., the first question he's asked is about the American gun culture.

Here's what he said about the situation on our program a few weeks ago.


MATTHEW BARZUN, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.K.: I think 90 percent of the American public agreed with those common sense measures to deal with it.

It failed in our Senate. We're going to have to do and grapple with this as a country. I mean, I don't have any easy answers for you on this issue.


BARZUN: It's a big one. It's our struggle.


AMANPOUR: OK. So the ambassador doesn't have any easy answers.

Do you?

Do you think this nation of yours can grapple with this?

STEPHENS: There are no easy answers to it. As we know, the American public favors sensible gun control laws, background check loopholes,

closing that, and other public policies that would make more sense.

But the political leadership can't seem to come together to pass those laws. And it's because of the gun lobby.

The gun lobby in America is one of the most powerful lobbies that has ever existed here. And they target people that vote against them, do what

they can to make sure that they're taken out of office. And so they don't seem to have the courage or the will to at least move us into a position

where our firearms policy makes more sense.

AMANPOUR: I must say, you know, Chief Stephens, it is incredible when you think 90 percent of the constituents of the politicians, who apparently

won't stand up to the NRA, you know, 90 percent believe in sensible gun laws.

But would a change in terminology shift the equation?

For instance, many started to ask, why didn't we call the attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic last week terrorism?

Why don't we call some of these mass shootings terrorism?

What is your view on that?

STEPHENS: I don't think a shift in the terminology would make that much difference. What we have, for many, many years, is America was built

around the idea that you have a right to own a firearm. And our Constitution guarantees that.

The Constitution doesn't say that government can't have sensible regulations on the use, who's permitted to have them, whether or not you

can check to make sure that a person making a firearm purchase is stable and has the -- has had some training and understanding of what that weapon


I think it's -- I don't feel like it's the terminology as much as it is the strong, powerful lobby that is able to have the influence on our

political leadership.

AMANPOUR: Darrell Stephens, thank you so much indeed for joining us tonight. Thank you.

STEPHENS: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And, of course, reaction from politicians to this latest massacre has been predictable and routine. Here's the GOP presidential

candidate, Ted Cruz.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: But our prayers are with the families of those who were murdered and those who were shot.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): But prayers and God isn't fixing this, declares New York's "Daily News" today. Politicians, they say, are hiding

behind, quote, "meaningless platitudes."

And Democratic senator Chris Murphy tweets, "Your thoughts should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your prayers should be for

forgiveness if you do nothing again."

His state still holds the mass shooting record, 26 infants and adults at Newtown in December 2012.

After a break, how do these mass killings and the blanket coverage of them affect other important policy matters?

The crucial, many say, last-ditch race to halt global warming as the Paris summit ends its first week. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz joins

me live from Washington, D.C., with that and much more -- next.


OBAMA: We come together filled with sorrow for the 13 Americans that we have lost.

The people we lost in Aurora loved and they were loved.

In our days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans and I will do everything in my power as president to help.

The country has to do some soul-searching about this. This is becoming the norm. And we take it for granted in ways that, as a parent,

are terrifying to me.

I've had to make statements like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times.

We have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world.





AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

Climate change is an issue that probably would have been dominating today's news agenda. Instead, the conference in Paris now finds itself

largely in the shadows as the tragic shooting in America brings gun violence and security to the fore.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): Even the president's trip to COP 21, where he would play an important role in setting an ambitious agreement, both began

and ended with a shooting in his country.


AMANPOUR: My next guest is well placed to speak about climate change and he's a member of President Obama's cabinet.


AMANPOUR: Joining me now from Washington is Ernest Moniz, the U.S. Energy Secretary.

You, of course, are heading to Paris on Saturday to take part in the climate summit. Thank you and welcome back to the program.

Let me first start by asking you, you know, obviously your reaction, the government's reaction, but what do you think is the motive?

What do you think happened in San Bernardino?

MONIZ: Well, I think, first of all, Christiane, of course, no matter what the motive was, it's another tragedy in what has been too much of

this. The president has spoken very clearly about our need to grapple with this.

As far as the motive goes, I think the law enforcement is making it clear that is not yet resolved. But certainly my colleagues in the federal

government, Department of Justice and Homeland Security, will be following that.

But, again, you speaking of Paris, of course, we had only a few weeks ago on the 13th the tragedy in Paris. And I might say I was in Paris only

a few days after that.

One thing that was very encouraging, if you like, was that all 38 countries to the meeting I was attending showed up, showing great

solidarity -- and solidarity is important. But, of course, getting to the root of these problems and preventing these tragedies is even more


AMANPOUR: Secretary Moniz, can I ask you, because you may have heard your ambassador, the U.S. ambassador to London, lamenting that wherever he

goes trying to promote American culture in schools and everywhere, the first question he's asked is about the gun culture.

Do you find that when you go to international meetings in the wake of these things?

MONIZ: Yes. Yes, we do.

Clearly, the United States -- we've had this string of tragedies including, in one, of course, particular case, many children being killed

senselessly. And so here the president has said, we clearly -- there's a proper role for guns in our society. But we need to address how those are

owned, by whom, behavioral issues and, of course, there is also the threat of terrorism that we must be very, very vigilant against.

AMANPOUR: Mr. Secretary, obviously governments have to be able to manage many things at once. There are a lot of competing, important

policies and agendas.

But when this kind of thing happens that many believe could be avoidable or less frequent with better laws, how much does it affect the

kind of policies that you, the president, are trying to focus on?

The big global changing policies, a nuclear deal with Iran, a climate deal to save the environment?

MONIZ: Well, I like to say that the future belongs to those who build things and not those who destroy, particularly senselessly destroy. And

now what's going on in Paris, the climate discussions, are a good example of needing to build a future that will be clean, that will address the

risks of climate change. That --


MONIZ: -- will also bring prosperity, bring security and, hopefully, bring energy services to the poor in many continents.

As you know, many countries in Africa, India, there are people with almost no energy services. We need to bring energy to them so they can

build their lives while, at the same time, we are protecting the environment and taking care of our one planet.

AMANPOUR: You're the scientist in the room here.

So from your scientific perspective, do you believe that this is going to be a success, this summit, in terms of you just mentioned India?

India has said, hey, don't penalize us. You all had your economic growth with burning carbon and your Industrial Revolution. We're this many

years behind.

Could India somehow prevent some kind of binding global agreement from taking place?

Does that concern you?

MONIZ: Well, first of all, I think we should recognize that we've come into the Paris meeting with -- I think it's now 182 countries having

declared their targets -- their ambitions for addressing climate change.

We also know that that set of commitments will need to get stronger with time. And you mentioned India. I would just note that, on Monday,

President Obama, President Hollande and Prime Minister Modi led a group of 20 countries to commit to a major increase in the technology innovation


That innovation pipeline, then leading to transformational energy technologies, are going to not only avoid the worst consequences climate

change but they will be very important for reducing costs.

That cost reduction will be critical for a place like India and the prime minister has said that. So we also have from India, as I said from

19 other countries including ours and the U.K. and France, that we will rest on innovation as being one of the key elements of our solution to

multiple challenges.

AMANPOUR: Let me move on to Iran. The IAEA has come out with its latest report; we've seen it.

The United States is ready to lift sanctions or not?

Is the nation ready to lift sanctions, saying that Iran is implementing its end of the bargain?

MONIZ: Well, implementation day, formally known, we think is likely to come in January. That will be the day in which the International Atomic

Energy Agency has certified that Iran has met all of the requirements -- and they are a quite stringent set of requirements in terms of rollback of

their nuclear program.

When that day comes, then our commitment is to lift the nuclear sanctions. I do want to emphasize it's the nuclear sanctions and not other

sanctions that Iran currently has imposed on it because of other issues, like terrorism support or human rights.

But certainly the nuclear sanctions, that's the deal. They roll back their program very, very dramatically. They accept new constraints,

including on not developing some of the technologies that the IAEA identified in its report as relevant to nuclear weapons, never developing

those technologies. They comply with that and then the deal is nuclear sanctions will be relieved.

AMANPOUR: So you agree that the IAEA has come up with a conclusion that they have, in fact, not diverted nuclear material to making a bomb?

Is that what you're just saying?

MONIZ: Well, that's not exactly what I said. But it is true that the report -- the report, first of all, reinforced what we've been saying all

along and what the agency has said previously, that Iran had a organized or structured program looking at nuclear weapon technologies up to 2003 and

maintained some, I would say, more sporadic activities up through 2009.

They also said that there is no indication today of a structured program, of activities of concern with regard to nuclear weapons or of

activities in a nuclear -- what's called a nuclear fuel cycle that would be in violation of the requirements that they will make or they have made in

the agreement going forward.

Secretary Ernest Moniz, thank you so much for joining us from Washington tonight.

MONIZ: Thank you, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Thank you very much.


AMANPOUR: And after a break, amid all this dire news, we take a look at what it means to be human.

But first, we want to remember a colleague of ours in dire straits. Today marks 500 days for "Washington Post" journalist Jason Rezaian in

Iran's Eben prison on trumped-up charges of --


AMANPOUR: -- espionage.

Next, as I said, imagine a more humane world, that incredible voyage next.




AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, we imagine what it is to be human with a little help from the new documentary, "Human," and its creator, Yann


An epic undertaking in size and scale to discover what lies in the heart of humanity. He interviewed 2,000 people over two years. One of the

humans he spoke to was the former Uruguayan president, Jose Mojica, beloved as, quote, "the world's poorest president."

I even spoke to him on this program last year. And in the new film, Mojica offered up his advice about happiness.


JOSE MOJICA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF URUGUAY (from captions): Either you're very happy with very little, free of all that extra luggage because

you have happiness made or you just don't get anywhere. I am not advocating poverty. I am advocating sobriety.


AMANPOUR: A wise man indeed.

And earlier today, the film's creator, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, told me that with happiness and the best of humanity comes the worst and that the

film a journey of self-discovery.


YANN ARTHUS-BERTRAND, PHOTOGRAPHER, FILMMAKER AND ENVIRONMENTALIST: We have to understand "Human" is us, not people talking in front of this

camera or even the worst people, they're us. It's not somebody else talking. It's you talking.

There are things, this movie is like a mirror. So you understand who you are. I think after you see this movie, "Human," you know yourself a

little bit better.


AMANPOUR: And to know much more about ourselves, we will have our full interview with Yann Arthus-Bertrand and many more pictures on

tomorrow's program.

That's it for our show tonight. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.