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NEW DAY SATURDAY
A Look Inside the Killers' Home; Gun Control and Political Debate; U.S. Cities Prepare for Mass Shootings; FBI Investigating Shooting As Act Of Terrorism; ISIS Radio: "Supporters" Carried Out California Attack; Remembering Robert Adams. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired December 5, 2015 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We are always so grateful to have your company. Thanks for sharing yourself with us here on this Saturday morning. I'm Christi Paul in Atlanta.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell in San Bernardino. Good morning to you. Thanks for joining us. We're starting with several new developments.
First, ISIS radio is calling the California killers, quote, "supporters" of their terror group and they, quote, "pray to God accepts them as martyrs."
So this is happening as we're seeing new pictures of the attacker, Tashfeen Malik. She posted a pledge of allegiance to ISIS on Facebook as you know, and a co-worker is saying that she radicalized her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook.
Also the peaceful community of San Bernardino now on edge, consider this a UPS facility was evacuated after a driver discovered a package addressed to the killer's condo. Officials say that it contained clothing.
Now 14 people were killed in that mass shooting earlier this week. CNN is covering this story from every angle. First, ISIS saying that the California killers were their supporters and that prayer.
Let's talk about the investigation with Polo Sandoval. We'll see if this plays into this larger investigation led by the FBI, but the declaration yesterday that this is now a terror investigation. Where are we so far with this?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With that announcement, too, Victor, was that it basically established and made it official that it would be a terrorism investigation. More likely to see more counterterrorism involved in the investigation and more resources as well.
We heard from the head of L.A. office of the FBI yesterday say, if anything, this is going to strengthen that message for the general public to remain extra vigilant.
And this is because they still cannot say with complete certainty that it was only Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, who were involved in planning an attack.
They still don't know if there was somebody else that was helping, especially with the level of planning. And also with everything that was removed from the townhome here.
As a result, investigators are going to take a harder look to see if there are, perhaps, any active cells with possible links to ISIS operated within the United States the feds have recognized before.
They have really just hundreds of active investigations into possible sympathizers. But at this point, they still have not found any credible threat posed against the homeland.
BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk about this evacuation at the UPS facility. After the discovery of that packaged addressed to Syed Rizwan Farook, what do you know?
SANDOVAL: As you mentioned, a little while ago, it is really keeping people on edge here, several days after the shooting, people are still talking about it and what happened last night only going to bring you fears.
What we know is that this UPS driver that was headed out to make his deliveries when he noticed on one of the packages, 53 North Center Street, which is actually the address that you see behind me.
As a result, this driver took that action. Turned around and went back to the sorting facility, authorities were called. The San Bernardino police chief saying as a precaution, they went ahead and isolated that box.
Bomb squad was called in and eventually found out that it was simply clothing that had been ordered. Clearly, this may have been a false alarm but what this does, it does show how this community remains vigilant.
Whether you live here or just work here, people are on alert, and of course, what you see behind me is a reminder of what happened here days ago.
BLACKWELL: All right, Polo Sandoval in Redlands, thank you so much.
Let's talk now about many elements starting with this ISIS radio message from Albayan, the name of the station, launched in 2015, earlier this year.
[08:05:08]We've got with us the CNN law enforcement analyst, Art Roderick. We've got with us our military analyst, Retired Lt. Col. Rick Francona.
I'm going to start with you briefly on this message overnight, calling them supporters, praying that they would, quote, "be accepted as martyrs." One of the anomalies here is that they did not stay. Killed as many people as possible and die as martyrs. Do you know why?
LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RETIRED), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, this differs from what we normally would see in an ISIS-style attack. They would normally go in and kill as many people and normally die there. We did not see that this time, which makes us question, what were the motives?
Were they going to leave and come back another attack? Were they going to come back with the first responders? The fact that they didn't leave town, you could be on an interstate in two or three minutes and be out of here which really is puzzling, and the fact that they were called supporters and not fighters so they're not really what we call core ISIS.
BLACKWELL: Our Tom Foreman mapped it out and they could have been in Mexico in two hours or so.
BLACKWELL: Art, to you, the two smashed cell phones behind the trash bin, other electronics recovered from the home, those could offer a wealth of information. How soon can authorities get to that information?
ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I mean, I think, obviously, some of those were damaged. We've heard that they tried to destroy them. It should take the FBI not that long to figure out if they're able to even get information off.
Now if they're able to get it off, it might take a little while with the software packages that they have to actually extract the information.
But the fact that they had all these different cell phones, that's a criminal technique that's used, where they buy these phones at Target or Best Buy that already has the minutes on it.
They're burner phones is what they call them and that's a criminal technique used all the time so that you're not able to track their communicative devices, which is key for law enforcement in these types of cases.
BLACKWELL: We've talked about this this morning. You both believe that this is a case of self-radicalization. If this is indeed self- radicalization, what are they hiding, the lessons that they learned because clearly they are doing this themselves. There's no context, is there?
FRANCONA: Given the training, the planning, there had to be some training involved in this. Was it online? I think the cell phones and the computers are going to be key to that. Are there more people involved? We want to stay away from that word cell because we don't know how much other people are involved. But I think it's key that we find that out. I think that the FBI would be able to find that from the records of phones, not just the phones itself.
BLACKWELL: So is this then still a case of self-radicalization, if they have those contacts and they learned this from someone else?
FRANCONA: Well, they have to go somewhere to get this information. The normal person just doesn't know how to tactically maneuver in this type of scenario or how to get firearms or get burner phones.
They had to go someplace to get this information, whether they did it online, I think there are actual people they talked to. I think we're going to find that out once they are able to get into the cell phones and the hard drives.
BLACKWELL: And that leads to the next question of Tashfeen Malik. We're learning more about it. She posted that message, pledging allegiance to al-Baghdadi. Did she come to the U.S. in 2014 with this motive or was she radicalized once she reached the U.S.?
FRANCONA: That's what we're going to have to find out. You recall one of the FBI profilers saying her actions are totally alien to what we've seen with women perpetrators in the past. We'll see was she the starter or a follower.
BLACKWELL: Colonel, Art Roderick, thank you both. As we continue that conversation this morning, we're not forgetting at 14 people killed in Wednesday's massacre, and also the 21 injured, many of them still in the hospital.
We're learning a lot about them. Robert Adams was a devoted husband and loving father. He was looking forward to takes his 20-month-old daughter to Disneyland. His wife was telling us that his life was cut short by this terrible act of violence.
His wife, Summer, spoke exclusively to Anderson Cooper, remembering her late husband.
SUMMER ADAMS, HUSBAND WAS KILLED IN SAN BERNARDINO SHOOTING: We met at church, I was 15 years old.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: What was it about him?
ADAMS: He was funny. I think anybody that met Robert would say that he had an excellent sense of humor. He did pranks. He was funny. He was witty.
COOPER: Did he do pranks on you?
ADAMS: Not on me. But he loved to have a good time. He would say he loved when people laughed. That's what initially led me to him.
[08:10:10]He was affectionate. He was loving. Devoted. There was not a day that went by that I didn't know that that man didn't love me more than anything on earth.
COOPER: That's an incredible gift.
ADAMS: It is. It is. When we were younger, we decided we didn't want to have kids and then as we ventured into our late 30s. We started to change our minds. I was a little scared. He said, don't worry, you're not going to be alone, I'm going to do this with you.
You'll have a lot of help. I'm alone now, but I'm so grateful that I do have a daughter and have a piece of him that will always be in my life.
BLACKWELL: A "Gofundme" page has been set up to help the family. You see it's raised already $45,000.
Well next, I'll take you inside the condo shared by these shooters, a bizarre scene. First hand, I'll show you what we found inside that home.
Plus, the U.S., possibly, running out of bombs to drop on ISIS. We got a report on what's behind the shortage.
But first, we'd like to pause for a moment to continue to remember the victims of the tragedy here in San Bernardino.
BLACKWELL: Welcome back. I'm Victor Blackwell live in San Bernardino, California this morning. We've got the latest from ISIS now, this radio station, Albayan, saying, quote, "their supporters." That's what they are calling them carried Wednesday's horrific attacks here.
We know the female shooter, Tashfeen Malik pledged allegiance to the terror group's leader as the attacks unfolded. Brian Todd examines the increasing number of ISIS sympathizers in the U.S. and the role women play in their ranks.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The 27-year-old female attacker was born in Pakistan and later traveled to Saudi Arabia at least twice, according to a Saudi official. She met Syed Rizwan Farook there. She traveled to the United States on a fiancee visa. Farook family lawyers say she was a typical housewife but traditional, often wearing a burqa.
DAVID CHESLEY, FAROOK FAMILY ATTORNEY: She did maintain certain traditions from what I understand in terms of fasting and prayer five times a day. She chose not to drive voluntarily. TODD: In online dating profiles thought to be his, Farook expressed his desire for a girl who wears a hijab and said he enjoyed target practice in his backyard. The FBI asked directly if it was Tashfeen Malik who influenced Syed Rizwan Farook.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know the answer whether she influenced him or not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I very much believe that it's impossible that she influenced him when we look at the Islamic State, we tend to read her through the men around her, whether it's a boyfriend, a husband or a cousin, you know, that is a reason for her support for the Islamic State or any other political movement and with this case, we are being forced to reexamine that.
TODD: The couple wouldn't be the first Bonnie and Clyde inspired by terrorists. The widow of Paris supermarket gunman was according to his former lawyer the more radical one in the couple.
She is now believed to be with ISIS in Syria as is Sally Jones, the widow of top ISIS operative, Janeed Hussein, believed to have inspired the only ISIS instigated attacks so far on American soil, the foiled attempt in May to shoot up a Prophet Mohammed cartoon drawing contest in Garland, Texas. Jones is now believed to be a key recruiter for ISIS.
In a sobering new support on ISIS sympathizers inside the U.S., Lorenzo Bedino of George Washington University says many of those supporters are women who are adept at social media.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jona mean bribe, paradise. You see women are more prolific than men. They tend to write more, to post a lot of things. They tend to have a lot of accounts.
TODD: Those accounts, Bedino says, are used for propaganda and for the recruitment of other women. But it's not clear right now who might have radicalized Tashfeen Malik. A source close to the Saudi government tells CNN she was not on any Saudi watch list or under suspicion by the Saudis of any extremist activities. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
BLACKWELL: Brian, thank you so much. Let's talk more about this. Here with me, Brian Levin, a professor of Criminal Justice and director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at the California State University.
We also have with us Michael Weiss, a CNN contributor and co-author of "ISIS, Inside The Army of Terror." Brian, I want to start with you. You believe that Tashfeen Malik radicalized her husband. Why?
BRIAN LEVIN, PROFESSOR, CSU SAN BERNARDINO: You see abu lassen from the Paris attacks. Loners, duos, autonomous cells, directed cells. This at this point looks like a duo. And we saw the D.C. sniper, John L. Mohammed was the dominant player, his cohort, younger guy, impressionable, and Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, very similar.
What these things tend to have are a dominant player who is more radicalized. That brings a more vulnerable person into the mix and usually the dominant person is more operational.
What's unusual here is not so much that there's a woman involved. But that it appears, at least where the speculation is going, that she was the dominant catalyst with the radicalization.
The mosque that he belonged to is a peaceful mosque, I know the leader of it. He didn't get it from there. So my senses, he got it from her. And there are unconfirmed reports that she may be connected to some extremist clerics from Pakistan, unconfirmed from Middle Eastern media.
BLACKWELL: Of course, our reporters, of course, are trying to get as much as we can about Tashfeen Malik and Farook. We know that they met through this dating website. He's been described as a quiet, shy person. Possibly, did she seek out a submissive man to get her from Pakistan here -- from Saudi Arabia here?
[08:20:01]LEVIN: Look, the million dollar question, Michael Weiss will tell you similar things. We have a bifurcated strategy. One is to get fighters trained, send them back. It's a lot harder to do that here in the United States.
The words from the radio station last night tell us a lot. They didn't say warriors, fighters for us, supporters. So it looks like this is almost an independent franchise, suggesting to me that they may very well have been self-radicalized, as I testified before Congress just over a month ago.
The tools available on the internet from ISIS, which is the most sophisticated training in recent history can allow people to scope their hatred and get regionally operational online. Again, they weren't that sophisticated that they could have killed many more. They had a lot of armaments and explosives that they left unused.
BLACKWELL: Let's bring in Michael Weiss in this conversation. A recent report said that one in six of new recruits, depending on the geographic region, is female. Why are we seeing this shift?
MICHAEL WEISS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, in a sense, it's not really a shift. There have been female suicide bombers and female Jihadis. Look at Chechnya. Look at the Russian Federation, the so-called Black Widow Phenomenon.
(Inaudible), the Zarcoist (ph), who tried to blow up a hotel in Amman, Jordan, who was recently hanged by the Jordanian government in retaliation for ISIS emulation of (inaudible).
I think what's interesting here is ISIS has put forth as part of its propaganda, we're not a sexist or misogynistic organization despite what the (inaudible) and the west tell you.
You'll recall the images that the coalition broadcast, the female Amoretti pilot dropping bombs on ISIS. ISIS turned that right on its head and said, well, look we have the El Konsta Brigade, which is an all-female armory that runs security patrols in Raqqah and elsewhere.
So they're trying to broadcast this image of being actually a gender equal. Now of course, that's all non-sense. We've all heard the stories about the sex slavery. Women under the caliphate -- ISIS member who's defected can tell you are treated no better than chattel.
Look, I think we have to get out of our heads this idea that somehow women are going to be more pacific or more progressively minded when it comes to Islamism or to terrorism. No, they can be as deadly as men.
You mentioned Kulabali's (ph) wife, well, actually not only does she seemed to have been the radicalizing agent in that couple, but she went back to Syria before his terrorist attacks in Paris.
And then after they were perpetrated, gave an interview to the propaganda magazine saying, you know, it got to the point where I stopped showing him all of our wonderful videos about our life in the caliphate because he told me it would make him very distracted.
She's become essentially his Boswell in the afterlife. I think this is something we are going to have to -- it is going to only increase these trend lines. This is not going to go away.
BLACKWELL: So Michael, the follow-up, is this -- I'll let you expound upon it -- that is not unique to ISIS. We're seeing this recruiting of women, I guess as this one-upmanship supremacy in global jihad?
WEISS: Yes, absolutely. On Twitter, the brides of ISIS, they're very valuable. They talk about life -- it's almost like watching one of those awful reality series, you know, "Real Housewives of Raqqah."
They talk about the fact that their jihadi husbands have been martyred. But what they don't talk about, though, is the reality of life under the caliphate. If you are married off to a jihadist, and he dies in the combat operation. You go back into this sorority.
You wait being married off to a lesser specimen because now you're tainted goods. ISIS is making use of women as sort of mouth pieces and megaphones as what they proclaim as a paradise.
If you look at their propaganda, not just, you know, women of marriageable age, although, I don't even know what that means according to ISIS, but young girls, the pearls of the caliphate, as contrasted with the cubs of the caliphate, which would be young boys.
So they're trying to create a society and you can't create a society if you ignore 50 percent of the human species which is women. So, I mean, it's a very sophisticated message.
BLACKWELL: Brian, I think what stands out to a lot of people as we learned about this couple is that they had this 6-month-old daughter that they left with Farook's mother. A lot of parents wonder how that could happen and pair that with never having any interaction with police. They were completely under the radar.
[08:30:00]LEVIN: Yes, one of the things interesting in talking about the black widows from Chechnya, who were also nationalistic in their goals, did political goals. A lot of those folks of black widows, 40 lost their husbands, the woman bombed in her underwear.
What I think is interesting, if the couple goes to paradise, now they've left a child on earth, doesn't make sense to us but to them it seems like it very well could be part of a grand plan.
It doesn't make sense to us, but if you're guaranteed an afterlife with your spouse, you're leaving someone on earth to carry on --
BLACKWELL: A legacy?
BLACKWELL: Brian, Michael, thank you both. And we'll continue the conversation, of course, from San Bernardino. I'm going to send it back to Christi in Atlanta.
Christi, when we come back, we want to talk more about this arsenal discovered. Some say it's not that unusual, 5,000 bullets, found inside the home, thousands more inside the vehicle. We'll investigate that in just a moment.
PAUL: Appreciate it. Great job, Victor. Thank you so much.
You know, just hours before the San Bernardino shooting, doctors were urging Congress to lift a funding ban on gun violence. We're going to talk to one of those doctors, in fact.
And let's talk about the war on ISIS, too. What is behind the U.S. shortage of bombs used to fight the terror group in Syria? We'll have that new report.
[08:29:51] PAUL: We have so much more to talk about from San Bernardino on the California shooting rampage. But there are some other stories and headlines that we need to get to this morning, of course.
After almost a year and a half of bombing strikes on ISIS, more than 20,000 bombs dropped, the Air Force says they're running out of munitions. In a statement, an Air Force official says it could take up to four years to stock up again. And they say more funding is needed to get that started.
Freddie Gray did not get the help he needed. That's what prosecutors say in day three off the first trial for a police officer involved in Gray's death. The 25-year-old died of a broken neck in police custody earlier this year. He was apparently left in the back of a police van without a seat belt on. Prosecutors say when a medic was finally called it was just too late. And former Patriots tight-end Aaron Hernandez in trouble again, this
time caught with a shank, a homemade knife, in his prison cell. Hernandez is serving a life sentence for murder and now has been moved to a separate part of that prison.
The next half hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: And thanks for staying with us this morning.
We have several new developments about the San Bernardino shooting. ISIS now speaking out about the attack calling the killers, quote, "supporters".
Also, we now know that the UPS package addressed to the two killers contained clothes. A UPS facility was evacuated late last evening after a driver saw the box addressed to the killers' home.
This as we're getting a new picture of the female shooter, Tashfeen Malik. She pledged her allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi on Facebook. A co-worker says that he actually believes that Malik was responsible for radicalizing her husband Syed Rizwan Farook.
A lot off the investigation into the San Bernardino rampage was focused on this condo. It's the home of the terror suspects. And they left it cluttered with dishes in the kitchen. You see food there on the counter. We saw prayer beads there as well, baby toys.
And then they went out and massacred 14 innocent people, injured 21 others. I was there when the owner of that home, remember it was rented, the owner of that home allowed the media inside. Watch.
BLACKWELL: As the door was pried open, a dramatic scene as a crush of reporters and camera crews were allowed inside the townhouse rented by Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik. The couple's landlord invites the media to look inside the home with no objection from the FBI.
DAVID BOWDICH, FBI ASST. DIR. LOS ANGELES: We executed a search warrant on that apartment. And last night we turned that over back to the residents. Once the residents have the apartment and we're not in it anymore, we don't control it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When did you get notice you can come back in here?
DOYLE MILLER, OWNER: Last night. This is unreal.
BLACKWELL: Around the apartment -- signs of life, familiar to families everywhere. Clutter in the kitchen. Toys belonging to the couple's six-month-old daughter scattered on the floor.
But it's here in the couple's bedroom closet where you find a sign of the intense investigation that took place as CNN's Stephanie Elam discovered during the tour of the home.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here you can see where they smashed up into the ceiling to take a look to see what was up there. It does appear based on how much debris is on the ground that there was an effort to get up there and make sure that they checked every crevice of this back bedroom.
BLACKWELL: Personal identification and other documents belonging to Farook's mother were left scattered on the bed. Evidence of the couple's devout faith are also seen throughout the apartment -- a prayer rug on the wall, various books on the subject on Islam, even prayer beads on the edge of the bed.
In a corner, the crib belonging to their six-month-old baby girl, left with her grandmother on the day of the shooting.
BLACKWELL: CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson joins me now. We also have with us CNN law enforcement analyst Art Roderick. I want to start with you, Art because as this was happening on live television. Stephanie Elam was upstairs. I was on the ground floor. And I could hear as I was speaking on the phone our law enforcement analysts Harry Houk (ph), Jonathan Gilliam appalled that this was happening. What was your reaction?
ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I thought it was a very strange incident. I mean they could have held on to the residence for another four or five days until things calmed down a little bit. I'm not sure -- they seem to think that they've got everything out of there.
The case is in it's infancy basically. I mean we just, you know, got the official word from them yesterday that it's a terrorist investigation. I would have held on to it a little longer in case they had to go back and something triggered my memory. You know, as this investigation moves along and they talk to more people.
BLACKWELL: Because the raid was on Wednesday --
BLACKWELL: They released it on Thursday?
RODERICK: Exactly. And just the appearance of having that kind of helter-skelter thing going on in the apartment. If they just held on to it for another four or five days and then released it back.
[08:35:03] BLACKWELL: I don't think the landlord -- and I know I didn't expect it to turn into what it was. Scores, I would say no fewer than 80 reporters and photographers in there, Joey.
At some point, a woman who was walking her dog just happened to be passing by. She was walking through the apartment with the dog. A woman had a baby over her shoulder. I saw the landlord at the end of this, leave in an unmarked law enforcement officer's car. Is there any legal liability or ramification for that owner?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't see that. I mean, look, here's the reality, the FBI did their job. They had a job to do. And they released it. You know, when the FBI is in there, to be clear, this is not a fly by night organization. This is the most sophisticated organization on the face of the planet. Having gone up against the FBI, I can tell you that.
If they felt comfortable that they searched for, they identified what they needed. They catalogued what they needed and they're otherwise in the process of evaluating it, that's ok.
Now you get to the issue of whatever the landlord's liability. He has a possessory interest in that property. The people who were there are deceased. As a result of that he felt it appropriate to open it up.
The FBI didn't have any claims to it at that point. And so therefore, the landlord felt -- we can argue about the form -- whether it was appropriate protocol, whether it should have been done but in terms of an investigation, I don't know that it impacts it greatly in having it released.
And I don't know that, you know, it was a crime scene that was stampled (ph) upon because it's no longer a crime scene in as much as the FBI released it back. So I don't see the owner's liability here, the landowner being responsible for anything. And I don't see the FBI having dropped the ball at all.
BLACKWELL: Yes. But let me ask you this, Art. There's still questions as we talked about at the top of the last hour, that were these two in cahoots with others? Did they have help? Did they have support? Was there training? And if they find that there was some connection to other people, were there elements of evidence still in this home that are now lost?
RODERICK: Some you look at the inventory sheet that by law you have to do with every search warrant, regardless if it's the FBI or another agency, state or local agency, you have to leave an inventory sheet there of what you actually seized from that residence.
And when you look at that sheet, it looks like, and you've got to give the FBI the benefit of the doubt, they feel very comfortable that they got everything out of there that they needed. And from what we've heard now, they've got cell phones, they've got hard drives, they've got computers. It sounds like they've got everything out of there that they needed and I agree with Joey that, you know, the FBI knows what they're doing especially in these cases and you've got to give them the benefit of the doubt that they're fairly confident they got everything out of there that they needed.
BLACKWELL: All right. Art Roderick, Joey Jackson -- it was a bizarre scene to happen on live television, but we indeed were invited in and got to share that glimpse with the viewers at home. Thank you both.
RODERICK: Thanks -- Victor.
JACKSON: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: A group of doctors deliver a strong message to Congress about gun control in the wake of this tragedy. We'll talk to one of them. That's coming up next.
Also, could this kind of shooting happen in another U.S. city? We'll show you what federal and local law enforcement authorities are doing to prevent that.
[08:41:40] BLACKWELL: Welcome back.
I want to give you a look at the front page of the "New York Times" this morning. For the first time since 1920, 95 years, it has placed an editorial on the front page. This one is calling for an end to the gun epidemic in America.
And there's also a group of doctors who has a message for congress about guns, to end the ban on federal funds for gun violence research. They're calling gun violence a leading cause of death in children and comparing the need for research to studies of lead poisoning and car accidents.
I want to discuss this with `Dr. Nima Agrawal. She's a pediatrician and member of Doctors for America. Good morning to you. And I think first that there are a lot of people who are listening to this conversation who were not aware of this 20-year-old ban on federal funds for research on gun violence.
DR. NIMA AGRAWAL, DOCTORS FOR AMERICA: I'm sorry, I can't hear you.
BLACKWELL: Oh, I'm sorry, that you're having difficulty hearing me. I was saying -- I'm sure it's a surprise to many people that there is a ban on federal funds for research on gun violence.
DR. AGRAWAL: Yes, unfortunately, 20 years ago, in 1996, Representative Dickey of Arkansas authored an amendment that was inserted into the House Appropriations Bill, stopping funding for this to the CDC, for doing gun violence research and also defunded the CDC, $2.6 million that year.
Since then we've been unable to do research on gun violence. And as a result, we've made little progress in the fight to stop gun violence.
BLACKWELL: You know, just after the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina the then speaker of the House, infamously said that guns are not a disease. And we've not yet heard from the new speaker on reinstating federal funds for gun violence research.
But I understand that a doctor begins research with at least a hypothesis. So to begin this federally funded research again what is your hypothesis as it relates to gun violence and children?
DR. AGRAWAL: Well, gun violence is a public health epidemic. It kills more than 32,000 Americans every year. That includes over 2,000 children and teenagers. Anything that kills that many children, that many Americans is a public health epidemic.
BLACKWELL: Well, critics argue that this federal funding for gun violence may lead to the infringement of Second Amendment rights to bear arms. What's the assurance that the research won't lead to that?
DR. AGRAWAL: In the past, we've done research on many public health issues, including motor vehicle accidents. We don't take away motor vehicles. We make them safer.
We put children to sleep on their backs. That's prevented Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. We vaccinate children -- that's improved our risk of a child getting measles. So, all of these things have been done because of federally-funded research. We need to do the same for gun violence.
[08:45:02] BLACKWELL: And what's your expectation that the funds will be reinstated? It's been 20 years and it hasn't happened since?
DR. AGRAWAL: I'm very optimistic. In the past week, we had 2,000 doctors stand up to Congress and present a petition, urging Congress to end this ban and to appropriate the funding to the CDC. I think more and more health professionals are standing up and becoming aware of this ban. Once they become aware of this ban, most people will agree that we need solutions. We need answers. We need to stop this public health epidemic.
BLACKWELL: You know, before this was declared a terror investigation, there was heated conversation about gun violence in America. But now that this is being investigated as terror, does that change the approach?
DR. AGRAWAL: No, it doesn't change the approach. The reality is that 90 Americans die every day in this country from gun violence whether it be suicide, homicide, mass shootings, unintentional shootings. It happens every day. We need to address this as a public health epidemic.
BLACKWELL: All right Dr. Nima Agrawal. Thank you so much for joining us this morning.
Next, we have a look at how law enforcement in other U.S. cities are training to prevent shooting massacres like the one we saw here in San Bernardino.
[08:50:21] PAUL: So how likely is it that the massacre that happened in California could happen again in another city, a town in America? Well, federal and local law enforcement officials across the country are actively training for this kind of scenario.
CNN's Nick Valencia went to Atlanta, Georgia and saw how they're preparing for an attack.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. In San Bernardino, if that taught us anything, Christi, it's that a terrorist attack can happen anywhere, anytime, unannounced. That's exactly the fear that the FBI talked to us about. We spoke to the local field office here in Atlanta as well as others to see how they're preparing in spreading awareness.
BALENCIA: It is terrifyingly realistic, but this is only a drill -- simulation, part of active shooter training in a Georgia high school.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get down.
BRITT JOHNSON, FBI ATLANTA: I think the thing that keeps us awake at night is what we don't know. And if we're missing something --
VALENCIA: FBI Atlanta field office head, Britt Johnson says a shooting can happen anywhere at anytime and without warning.
JOHNSON: Quite honestly, I do drills with my kids. We go to the mall. I have conversations with them about what do you do if you start to hear gunfire? I think it's a tough conversation but you need to be having these conversations with your kids.
VALENCIA: In 2015 alone there have been more than 350 mass shootings, according to data from shootingtracker.com. It categorizes mass shootings as any incident where at least four people are injured or killed including the shooter.
Preparing people for a shooter inside a school, considered a soft target, is Sam Shartar's job.
SAM SHARTAR, EMORY UNIVERSITY: The reality is many things in our society are soft targets so we can't stop living part of the job.
VALENCIA: Shartar works at Emory University in Atlanta, keeping students and staff prepared for the worst case.
SHARTAR: Run and get away from the scenario if you can. If you can't hide and barricade yourself in a place where it's that's substantial and if you can't hide as a last resort to protect yourself and others fight with aggression.
VALENCIA: It was two weeks ago that security was enhanced outside of Philips Arena in Atlanta after an alleged ISIS threat against a wrestling event. Those we spoke to outside WWE's Survivor Series decided to show up anyway.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Things are going to happen no matter what. You can't live your life in fear.
ARSLAN BHATTI, WWE SPECTATOR: What I'm going to say is run. Run as fast as you can.
VALENCIA: Law enforcement experts say everyone should consider a safety plan before something actually does happen. A 2014 study by the FBI found most active shootings end in five minutes or less. After Paris, the French government handed out these posters. Printed on them -- instructions on how to escape or hide during a terrorist attack.
JOHNSON: Our ability to know what's going on out in the community every day is diminishing. So we're relying on the public even more every day.
VALENCIA: But for those who have survived the shooting like Aileen Torres in San Bernardino, there's little that could be said or done to stop the fear.
AILEEN TORRES, SAN BERNARDINO SURVIVOR: We're not eager to go back to work. You know, to know that some of our friends are gone and to know that that massacre happened in the next building, it's not -- we don't feel safe.
VALENCIA: Especially after that shooting in San Bernardino, there are many across the country that don't feel safe right now especially in their workplace. So many of you at home -- we've heard from you -- you're taking precautions at your workplace to prepare for the worst. But as you heard there from Aileen Torres, there's little, if anything that can be said to provide comfort for people who have actually gone through something this.
PAUL: Just cannot imagine.
All right. Nick Valencia -- thank you so much.
VALENCIA: Thanks -- Christi.
PAUL: We're going to take you back out live to San Bernardino with Victor in just a moment. Stay close.
PAUL: My partner Victor Blackwell out in California right now got a very unique perspective as he walked through that apartment where the two San Bernardino shooters had been living. And Victor, one of the things that stood out to me in the video was that picture of the crib where the six-month-old had lived her life up to that point.
But you went through it. What stood out to you?
BLACKWELL: It was just the mixture of the, I guess, typical elements of a young family with a small child -- the baby's toys, the play areas there in the home covered by broken glass and the obvious elements of that intense investigation, the front door broken in half. And it looked as if the last person there who we believe was Farook's mother with that baby left in a hurry. Half-eaten food on a plate and now just the elements of the investigation and the life that could have been all now left behind in that condo -- Christi.
PAUL: And what conversations were you having as you were walking through?
BLACKWELL: Well, I was on the phone with Anderson Cooper live. And I was speaking this is completely bizarre to be in this home at this time just two days after this attack. But I was quite surprised by the list of things that were taken out of that home -- more than 5,000 rounds of ammunition, all part of this investigation.
We'll continue talking about that as we continue our live coverage from San Bernardino. That's coming up at 10:00 Eastern, of course.
[09:00:00] PAUL: Absolutely. As we know all of that has been shipped to the FBI in Virginia.
That's going to do it for us here. Victor and I both back at 10:00 but do stay with us. "SMERCONISH" is with you now.