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Parkland, Florida Massacre Anniversary; Interview with Parkland Shooting Survivor, David Hogg; Eradicating Parkland Scourge by its Roots; Interview with Father and Mother of Parkland Shooting Victim, Manuel and Patricia Oliver. Interview with Author of "Parkland Birth of a Movement", Dave Cullen; The Ferryman. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired February 14, 2019 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID HOGG, PARKLAND SHOOTING SURVIVOR: We are fighting for our survival as a generation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And the fight against ground. One year after the high school massacre in Parkland Florida, we talk with the student survivor turned
activist with the parents and with the journalist who will help us understand where the movement stands.
Plus, giving voice to the victims of another tragedy, the people who disappeared during Ireland's troubles. How personal history led a
playwright and an actress to tell their story.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
It was a clear day a year ago in Parkland, Florida. In fact, it was Valentine's Day. And surely, thoughts of love and friendship were in the
air. But as classes were wrapping up, a former student arrived at the campus and he was with an AR-15, that's a military style assault rifle, and
he entered and he began firing. And this is the moment the police officers reach one class of terrified students.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys good?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police, police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your phones away. Put your phones away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: When it was over, 17 people lay dead. Among them were Nicholas Dworet, 17, Jaime Guttenberg, 14, and Joaquin Oliver, 17. And in a moment,
I'll speak with Joaquin's parents.
But first, the murders at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School had an effect unlike any other mass shooting, spurring survivors into action and
fueling a nationwide movement, from school walkouts to state legislatures and a massive rally in the nation's capital.
And at the center of the movement were two young students, Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg. Here's Hogg the day after the massacre.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOGG: My sister, she's a freshman, and she had two of her best friends die. And that's not acceptable. That is something that we should not let
happen in this country, especially when we're going to school. It's something that we really need to take a look at
(END VIDEO CLIP).
AMANPOUR: David Hogg and, indeed, the entire March For Our Lives Organization are going dark on this anniversary. They say they are
swearing off social media through the weekend as they reflect on the tragedy and on their struggle ahead.
So, I managed to speak with David from Florida yesterday.
David Hogg, welcome to the program.
HOGG: Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: I wonder where you will be on this anniversary and what you're thinking? Because clearly there are a lot of survivors, people who are
affected who want to remember and clearly, there are a lot who don't all rather who don't want to be in public, who want to be at home, perhaps
visit the cemetery, just be quiet by themselves. What will you be doing and what do you think the gamut of remembrance will look like?
HOGG: I will be with my sister and I will be just being as close to her as possible and just making sure that I'm there for whatever she needs that
day. She lost four friends a year ago on February 14th and I want to be there for her. And I'm going to be reflecting at the same time at the
effect that all the young people across the United States have had on gun violence prevention in this country.
Over the past year, we have gotten over set over 67 new gun laws passed in over 25 states. In several states, we enacted extremist protection orders
which give people the ability to disarm people like domestic abusers and people that are risk themselves and others through due process. And all
the amazing work that's been done this year because of the advocacy of groups like March For Our Lives, like Moms Demand Action, like Giffords and
like the Brady Campaign.
AMANPOUR: Because you have taken on this massive political social cultural burden, if you like, or struggle, you're only 18, you were 17 when this
happened, I think, have you have the time yourself along with your sister, along with your friends to grieve and to mourn what happened or do you feel
that you've been thrust into a political route so heavily?
HOGG: So, it's interesting that you say that because grieving is supposed to be a natural process of after you lose somebody, but you can't grieve
after an instance like this because you don't lose people to gun violence, people are stolen from us due to gun battle. People don't just happen to
die as a result of old age in this instance, they happened to die as a result of a man or woman with a gun.
So, what I work to do on a daily basis and my way of grieving is by going out there and making sure that no matter whether people hate me or love me
they realize that we can't -- the second we start debating these issues and the second we start talking and yelling at each other and not fighting
against the source of evil which is gun violence is a second we lose as Americans because that's when somebody else dies as a result of preventable
As Americans and human beings across the world, we have to realize that we cannot fight against each other when we're trying to solve an issue like
gun violence, we have to fight against gun violence as the source of that evil.
AMANPOUR: And fight together presumably against that evil. But I just want to pick up on what you have just said, "No matter if people love me,
support me or stay hate me, this is what I have to do," just talk about that a little because you have received so much support in your own country
and around the world but you have also received a certain amount of the haters, you know, the people who simply don't want to see you standing up
to gun violence.
What sort of hate if you had to absorb over the last year?
HOGG: Oh, a massive amount. But I don't feed into it because I realize that is not what is going to end gun violence. What's going to end gun
violence is by getting people who hate me and the people who love me to work together with the understanding that even though you may not believe
in new gun laws, even though you may not support us in our efforts, the one thing that I think we can agree on as human beings is that preventable gun
violence is an issue that must be addressed in the United States.
And if you believe in funding mental health care more, that's great, but don't just say that as a politician or as an American, actually go out if
you're a politician and fund mental health care to Federal level, in our schools and in our communities. Go out and actually hold our politicians
accountable in the first place and don't just continue to debate these issues and remain inactive.
AMANPOUR: You have taken activism, grassroots activism, to a whole new level and I want to know how you feel it's going, what you feel you've
achieved, you mentioned the dozens and dozens of gun safety bills and things that have been passed in 26 states or so in the District of Columbia
around the country.
But the activism itself, the movement, the fact that you've put this in the public sphere where it looks like it can't be denied anymore. Just give me
a sense of what you've had to do and how you've done that.
HOGG: We've had to go around -- across the country and make sure that we aren't voting for Democrats or Republicans but we're voting for people that
actually represent us and care about the fact about whether or not we live through another school day, whether or not we're able to live our walk to
school and not be shot on our way to school or in our school.
And what that activism is really look like is probably the thing I'm most proud of is the stories that we don't hear. We don't hear the stories of
other mass shootings that don't happen or other acts of gun violence that don't happen because the laws that we've created prevent them from
happening in the first place.
There have been several instances in plotted school shootings and mass shootings that were stopped by the extremist protection orders that were
enacted in over 13 states. That (INAUDIBLE) need be enacted in every state because they go through due process to disarm people that are risk to
themselves or others like the (INAUDIBLE) in my school was that could have been stopped had we had this law in the first place at our school -- at --
in our state.
AMANPOUR: But who -- have you had to learn what it means to be a protest movement? Are there any great protesters of the past who you or your
friends have taken lessons from or sought guidance from?
HOGG: Of course. There are many protesters that we look through from the past. But one person I always look towards as a mentor of mine and as an
amazing person that's been working for decades in gun violence prevention and never gets enough credit because she's such an amazing woman that has
been working in this is Erica Ford started the New York City Crisis Management System that literally is a system that works through the public
health department not to incarcerate more youth but to interrupt shootings as they're happening and stop them right before they happen. By using
people from the community go out and reduce gun violence.
In one community that they started in, in Jamaica Queens, where there used to be 17 murders in a year before they started, they have had one murder in
the past 17 years. And she continues to be a massive inspiration to me. It's people like Noel who's in charge of my brother's keeper in Houston,
Texas continue to be inspirations to me. It's our fellow activists that we work with like Edna Chavez, Bria Smith, Alex King and others from around
the country that have been working for years in gun violence prevention that have lost siblings, cousins, parents, aunts, uncles and so many others
as a result of gun violence. They continue to be an inspiration to me.
And, of course, there is the amazing people like Martin -- Dr. King who have always been an inspiration to me and I continue to use his principles
of (INAUDIBLE) nonviolence and my everyday life and throughout my protests to make sure that, for example, we are not attacking people that are
perpetrating (INAUDIBLE) because we understand that those people will always be there.
As a movement, we have to attack the source of that evil and be united against that source and not wage war or fights on each other but wage war
against the source of that evil. In this instance, that happens to be gun violence.
AMANPOUR: Gun violence and presumably you have to take on the NRA as well and convince them. And I ask you because in the dozens of successes you've
had, in bills and other such things over the last year, the NRA counter touts their own successes, like several states of enacted, again, stand
your ground laws and other such, you know, gun safety measures have been defeated, they're very proud about that.
I see you wearing a gun safety voter t-shirt. What are your political intentions for the upcoming 2020 elections, for instance, on this issue?
HOGG: To make sure that presidential candidates from either side of the political aisle don't see gun violence as a third rail, they see it as the
only rail that they have to address in the first place because the top polling issue with young voters across the country is gun violence, it is
school shooting, it is every day shootings, right.
And what we've been working to do is make sure that we're able to increase youth voter turnout. For example, in Florida, compared 2014, we were able
to nearly double used voter turnout in our state. And there's a reason -- the reason why we don't focus on voting for one party or another or one
individual or another is because we realize that no matter who is in power, if they are elected by the youth, they will have to care about the youth no
matter of their political party.
And even though the NRA says that they've had these small victories, they - - we're an organization that is drastically underfunded compared to the National Rifle Association because we're purely grassroots, right. We
don't fund political campaigns, we fund things to make sure students are getting politically involved and students are able to go out and go and
vote and they have that ability to do that on their campus.
The person that they gave the most money to in American history, Donald Trump, recently banned bomb stocks and the NRA was incredibly silent about
that issue. The NRA has done a horrible job on their part and Congress to pass their own agenda, they haven't gotten concealed carry arrest of
(INAUDIBLE) passed and they haven't been able to do an amazing job.
In fact, I oftentimes question to myself if I truly believed in what the NRA believes in, which I don't, but if I did, why would I be an NRA member
because they are truly terrible at their job and they've done a horrible job over the past year.
AMANPOUR: David, I've heard it said that you might yourself consider running for office in 2025 if the conditions demanded it. What would cause
you to run for national office?
HOGG: I think just to make sure that young people understand, first of all, that it is possible to go out and be young person in Congress. And on
top of that, I think if I truly felt that the politicians that we had voted into office weren't taking this as you seriously enough, I along with
thousands of other students that are going to run for political office in the coming years because of all the stuff that they've been facing will run
for political office.
Because I'm not doing this for myself, I'm doing this for -- we're doing this for our generation. Because we realize that if we don't run for
office, if we don't turn out to vote in record numbers, we can be the last generation on this planet.
AMANPOUR: It's really dramatic to hear you say that and it's equally dramatic the effect that you have had and the way you have changed the
playing field and you've changed the dynamic and you've changed the conversation.
You look exhausted. I know that you're very committed and determined. But just personally, tell me how you're feeling and what you remember from that
HOGG: I feel hopeful. I feel hopeful because one thing that always continues to inspire me on a daily basis is something that Manuel Oliver
always says. Manuel lost his son in the shooting at my high school, his name was Joaquin Oliver. And one thing that Manuel always says is that,
"Joaquin is not a victim. Joaquin is an activist."
And one thing that I always look towards is, for example, Robert F. Kennedy's Ripple of Hope Speech where he talks about the ripple of hope
that the young people are able to create around the world and how that one person can make a difference. And I think for the victims at our school
and the people that can't speak anymore, we are the ripple of hope because even though they may no longer be here their ripples throughout our
timeline and our lives continue to last and will continue to amplify those ripples until they turn into waves, until those ripples turn into tsunamis
that change the shoreline that is American politics and actually create a representational politics that cares about whether or not a kid makes it
home from school no matter the ZIP code.
AMANPOUR: David Hogg, thank you so much and we wish you and your fellow activists' good luck.
HOGG: Absolutely. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And you heard David mentioned Manuel Oliver and his son, Joaquin Manuel, and his wife, Patricia, have indeed become an incredible force for
change. They came to America from Venezuela when their son was three years old and he became a citizen just a year before he was killed.
Manuel and Patricia have made it their life's work to build on the Parkland legacy and to eradicate this scourge by its roots. And they're joining me
now from New York.
Manuel and Patricia, welcome to the program.
PATRICIA OLIVER, MOTHER OF PARKLAND SHOOTING VICTIM: Thank you. Thank you for having us.
MANUEL OLIVER, FATHER OF PARKLAND SHOOTING VICTIM: Thank you for having us here.
AMANPOUR: I just wonder what went through both of your minds as parents when you heard, you know, one of the main activists invoke yourselves and
your son as inspiration for the struggle.
MANUEL OLIVER: We empower each other in terms of movements not David and myself or David and Patricia, but for lives and what we do as Chain the
Ref. We just try to make the other one understands that there is hope and that together we can fix things.
This is an amazing friend. And as long as it the future of this nation in the hands of kids like him, I think we have a great future ahead.
AMANPOUR: It's really extraordinary when you hear, when I hear, your generation putting so much hope into your children's generation to power a
Patricia, I wonder if you can -- what would you like us, today, to know about what Joaquin? I mean, clearly, as David said and you've said, you
don't want us to think of him as a victim, but what should we know about the boy himself.
PATRICIA OLIVER: Joaquin was a very strong kid. Joaquin -- that's why we said, "Joaquin, rest in power," because that was him, he's power, he's
strength, he's determined. He's very determined.
So, he will be doing whatever is in his hands in order to keep these changes going on because he left it in posters, you can read it on Twitter,
you can read it on essays that he did in -- on school, he came -- he posted it Instagram, so many social media that he used meanwhile he was here. So,
we are just empowering him through his legacy that he left, and that's the kind of kid that you can see.
Your -- his face that you see in that picture that is all over the world, you can see that kind of kid he was. He was an amazing, lovely and sweet
AMANPOUR: And we are seeing pictures of him with you as well, both of you. And I just wonder, you know, we said the David and the activist, the March
For Your Lives kids, have gone dark for the day and for the next few days. They just want to reflect by themselves. Does it help you today to talk
about your son? I mean, is it something that you want to do?
MANUEL OLIVER: Well, today, the media -- and this is a perfect example of what's happening today, the media wants to hear us, they want to know what
we need to say and we don't want to waste that opportunity to send the right message. Not about how we feel but more about what we're doing and
what we're planning to do.
We are planning to solve this problem, not for Joaquin because it's too late for that. We're planning to solve this problem for David, for Emma
and I'm for every single person that is, today, a possible victim of gun violence.
So, today, February 14th, we are hear in front of a camera that is actually sending this message all around the word, it's time for America to be
judged. The other nations are going to point to us and they're going to say, "Shame on you. You have not been able to solve that easy problem to
solve. And the only reason is that some of your leaders are receiving money from a very powerful gun lobby and an organization called the NRA."
And we say, "No more to that."
That's why we are here today talking to you. We are sad, very sad today, but we also have the attention of the media. We cannot waste one more
minute. It's hard to understand for anyone that lives in England or in any other nation that we could leave this is to do right now being shot by
someone that legally purchase an assault weapon, well, that is actually what happens in here. 40,000 people will lose their lives every single
year until we do something.
AMANPOUR: Manuel, you are an artist and you have labeled your activism "Artivism." Tell me what you are doing, and we do have pictures and we
have all sorts of images, what are doing? How are you using your art to make this point?
MANUEL OLIVER: Well, I've been an artist my whole life. I'm just being the same father. I have a new mission today. I need to keep on doing what
I know, what my knowledge is, my skills and put them together to do what I need to do now as a father, which is protect my son, protect any other kid
that is in the same risk that Joaquin is.
What we're doing today in New York, for example, is we're doing at big activation on 29th Street and 6th Avenue, a very proud corner in the City
of Manhattan. And we're going to have this art displayed for a month, it shows a very dramatic way of looking at Valentine's Day after what happened
a year ago.
We do use art to send messages because by using art you can impact people, which is a faster way of convincing people. And anyone that has that skill
that -- to communicate to someone, to send the message should go ahead and use it because all kids are in risk here, all people are in the same risk,
but just get involved and be part of the solution. We use art, other people will use other things.
AMANPOUR: Patricia I just want to ask you about some of the some of the letters that are being written and they are being created by a web page
that you both created, all sorts of letters to Congress and comments written in Joaquin's handwriting that you have established a sort of
But also, it's become this massacre part of American culture now and it's talked about on "Late Night," it's talked about even in -- you know, in
standup routines and, you know, some even make offensive jokes about it and you responded to one by Louis C.K., the both of you, with a video that
ended with a recording of your son. And I just want to play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOAQUIN OLIVER: Why didn't the skeleton cross the road?
MANUEL OLIVER: I have no idea.
JOAQUIN OLIVER: Because it didn't have the guts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Patricia, tell me about that? I mean, it must be heartbreaking to see your son there. But tell me about what that piece of video
PATRICIA OLIVER: Well, actually, that was a hard video to make. And I say, well, I trust this project as any other that we have been doing
before. And, you know, seeing like you so happy with that smile but at the same time (INAUDIBLE) that he's using his own image to create an awareness,
to create a change, to create respect because that was made by that person that he was disrespect what is feel of the absence of a kid.
You cannot make a joke out of anything, you know, out of nowhere. That is not allowed any more. You have to respect and we have to put things in
place, that's what is happening also. We are trying to put things in the right place now.
AMANPOUR: Very, very important what you say, using the right words, putting things in their place. I just wonder though whether you reflect on
the fact that you came over from Venezuela years ago, he was three years old, Joaquin, you see what's happening in Venezuela today and yet -- I
mean, you face this terrible carnage and tragedy here in the United States. I just don't know what you even think about the juxtaposition of your two
MANUEL OLIVER: Let me put it this way, those are sort are two different tragedies. What's going on in Venezuela I could have a whole interview
with you about my country and how hard it's been for all Venezuelans to stay there and try to still live in that place.
However, we have a problem here. We are American citizens and we lost our son here, in America. So, this is our cause right now. And as much as I
get involved in Venezuela and as much as I want my country to be free and leave a real democracy, what is happening here it's not less important.
I mean, we are killing each in here, we are arming this nation because some answers to the problem is to have more guns on more people so that way, we
can protect ourselves. That is what really matters here. Lives are -- while we started talking again, probably three, four or five people already
lost their lives, just while we're having this interview here.
AMANPOUR: Well, look, it's probably true what you say but it's also true that you're making a difference and the kids are making a difference and
this is a special moment. So, we really, really thank you as well as sending you, our continued condolences. Patricia and Manuel Oliver, us
thank you for being with us today.
PATRICIA OLIVER: Thank you for having us.
MANUEL OLIVER: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: So, it is a tragic reality that since the Parkland massacre, gunfire continues to kill American children in large numbers. In fact,
around 1,200 children are being killed like this in the past year alone. Again, it was mobilized youngsters across the country who conducted that
research and found those facts, more than 200 student reporters working with a nonprofit news organization. "The Trace," they found that more than
80 infants and toddlers were killed.
Dave Cullen has been following the parklands story for the past year and he's written a book, "Parkland Birth of a Movement," and he's joining me
from New York.
Dave Cullen, welcome to the program
DAVE CULLEN, AUTHOR, "PARKLAND BIRTH OF A MOVEMENT": Hi. Thank you very much for having me.
AMANPOUR: I just want you to reflect on what you've heard from the Oliver family having lost Joaquin and also before that, from David Hogg, they're
all in this together.
CULLEN: They are. I mean, I -- luckily, there's a box of Cleanex here because that actually choked me seeing Joaq there. And just -- those are
there of my heroes there, three really amazing people that I got to meet last year. I started -- expect to get choked up.
But I think I was just reflecting too toward the end of like that's why this movement has had such power because consider how different each of
those three people that you just had on are and that's why this movement is so powerful, it's not a single person. They bring such amazing things to
this larger project.
And David, I always think of him as the fighter but he's really calmed down, hasn't he? Because, you know, the angry David we all got to know
last year, and he gradually -- he calmed down through the year and I talked to him months out about like, "What's going on? You seem calmer." But
David is the fighter but he's also kind of the debater.
I sit -- I don't know about you, but I sit there thinking like, "Oh, my God. This kid knows so much more about this than I do."
AMANPOUR: It's incredible.
CULLEN: (INAUDIBLE) I kept thinking like, "Oh, my God. He's putting me to shame." Like I could not have said a quarter of the things he did. He's
got this amazing mind with all this. And then, Manny -- here, the kids call him Tio Manny, he had me called Tia Manny, it's Uncle Manny, he was
like an uncle to them. He's so creative.
And kind of -- I mean, he goes there with this -- first time I saw him do one of those murals where he, you know, pounds 17 holes in this mural with
like gunshots and then spatters, you know, red paint like blood, it's hard to watch but it's very, very powerful. He knows what he's doing. He's not
-- he's really, really good at this. And he's a provocateur but he's kind of brilliant and he takes it further than the kids do.
And Patricia is kind of the soul of this. I mean, she's just -- every time I've seen her -- I mean, first thing I do she hugs me and she's going
through this and she wants to make sure if I'm OK and if other people are OK. And I feel guilty like Patricia or -- I mean, she's the sweetest
person. But I mean, that reminds me some of (INAUDIBLE) of a lot of the kids in the group.
So, it's bringing these really different kinds of personalities and talents and it's all of them. This was tgwo dozen kids and then, you know, Tio
Manny working with them that's why they really broke through, amongst a lot of other things.
AMANPOUR: Well --
CULLEN: Plus, they stood up and did something.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's --
CULLEN: But it was so much more than that.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Well, they break through, stand up and do something. I mean, look, we remember Sandy Hook and when little kids were massacred and
there was an outrage and there was, you know, complete and utter heartbreak. And yet, even that didn't move the dial the way this did.
What -- in terms of activism.
Well, you've written about all of this. You started writing after Columbine 20 years ago, plus. What is it -- why is this sort of -- what's
so different about this one that has made it something you can't look away from and these kids of move the dial?
CULLEN: Well, it was a perfect storm of things and part of it is the timing. But the single biggest thing is the messenger. And what we
thought, everyone thought after Sandy Hook, that this time it will really change because, you know, six-year-old kids that's unthinkable. What we
didn't realize at the time was it is not the degree of horror, it can get more and more horrible and that that isn't enough, it's the messenger is
And we thought when Barack Obama took this on and, sort of a brilliant politician of our age, he made it the centerpiece of his State of the Union
address and everything seemed aligned.
No, a politician can't be the leader on this for a couple of reasons. One, I don't think we really look to our politicians as our true leaders
anymore. But also, we're so divisive in America now between the red and blue camps. So if a politician takes us on, it immediately puts half the
country against him and we're locked in this battle in the stalemate.
So a lot of different reasons. And also the parents of these kids were involved. It had to be the kids themselves. They had to be the most --
and when we see that -- just one more point on that. When we see these kids, when we see Emma and David and all these kids, we don't just see
people who escaped with their lives.
We see the faces of future targets, kids like our sons and daughters, siblings, our own kids who are going to die and are dying if we don't do
something. That has a power that transcends everything else in a way that we underestimate.
AMANPOUR: Yes. And you mentioned Emma and the kids and their speaking and their activism and their public face. We'll just put a little snippet out
here just to remind everybody of a very famous, obviously, Emma Gonzales when she called the adults out on this issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMA GONZALEZ, CO-FOUNDER, MARCH FOR OUR LIVES: Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA, telling us nothing
could have ever been done to prevent this, we call B.S. We say that tough -- they say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence, we call
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean went on and she really put everybody on the spot. What do you -- do you think this movement will sustain itself?
CULLEN: I really do. You know, having spent the better part of the year with these kids, they got -- from the beginning, they get so much. They
And I talked to Jackie Corin who's kind of one of the unsung heroes of the group about 10 days after this happened. And I asked, you know, how long
do you think this will take? And the media was really focused on, "You know, they've got five weeks to their March. Can they really do this in
And I thought that seemed kind of ridiculously short. But I was still thinking in, you know, silly kind of terms. And she said, "Well, the Civil
Rights Movement took, you know, many many years, decades, and generations. This will probably take a generation."
And I was like, wow, of course. And looking back, you know, later, people like John Della Volpe at Harvard, you know, were saying things like that.
I'm like, yes, can you figure that? The kids figured that out in about a week.
CULLEN: And really, their first big target was the midterms. But as the first battle, they knew this would be the first of many and they saw so
clearly what was ahead of the -- yes. And so because they've seen this all along and they know what they're doing. And right now, they're working an
infrastructure on the really kind of boring, unglamorous part of the semester is the big thing to take what they did last fall into work with
college campuses across the country to have a permanent march for a lot of chapters or whatever on college campuses across America.
So this will be a self-sustaining thing. And how to turn this from like a one-time volunteer organization into a permanent organization that has a
life -- that lives on. And my money is on those kids
AMANPOUR: Yes. And as David told us, you know, dozens and dozens of bills and measures have been passed, you know, to address this. You obviously
started writing. You're, I think one of the first, if not the first reporter, into Columbine when that massacre happened.
And maybe one can define that as the first school shooting of the television age maybe that was captured on television so exhaustively as it
was. Just tell me what you've experienced and what's changed between Columbine and today. And you said you'd never write another book on this,
you know, after Columbine. It really seriously affected you.
CULLEN: It did. I mean Columbine changed everything. And I -- look, I call it the school shooter era now which Columbine wasn't the first and
Parkland obviously already isn't the last. But Columbine, I think history will see them as the beginning and the beginning of the end.
And, you know, I'll tell you one quick story. The first day at Columbine was exactly what you would expect, pandemonium, chaos, kids hugging each
other and clenching and sobbing. The next morning as what did a number on me because threw me for a loop. There was none of that.
I was with more than a thousand kids, not a tear. They had these blank looks on their faces, shell shocked. In PTSD terms, it's the numb face,
almost never hits that kind of numbers. They were completely taken by surprise. They didn't expect anything like this.
[13:35:00] I didn't see a single blank stare at Parkland. And I didn't see, obviously, all the kids. So they may have been there but it was --
these kids were expecting it and so many of them told me they were expecting it.
CULLEN: And, you know. the closest actually -- David's sister, Lauren Hogg, is amazing. And she was the closest I saw to that. Early on, I met
her in the kitchen after talking to David a month out. She looked pretty, pretty bad.
And I saw her every three to four weeks for much of the next year. And each time, you could see the improvement on her face. And I talked to her
several months into this because I didn't want to speak too soon. And I asked her, you know, what am I -- what I'm seeing, is that how you're
feeling? And she said, "Yes, I'm definitely getting better."
Then I talked to their mom, Rebecca, who's kind of amazing at hysterical. But really realistically she said, "Yes. But she's also still having
CULLEN: So it's up and down but -- and that was --
AMANPOUR: It's up and down. And David says -- sorry, I don't mean to interrupt but David said, David Hogg, that he's going to spend this
anniversary with Lauren who lost four of her friends, you know. And you describe these emotions and how it affects everybody.
And for the storytellers too, I mean you had two episodes of I guess what they call secondary PTSD. Describe that. Describe the impact on the
storytellers, the reporters like yourselves.
CULLEN: Yes, I didn't know that existed until, well, into the first year, I went to a conference and heard Dr. Ochberg who was kind of brilliant and
started an organization at Columbia, the Journal -- Center for Journalism and Trauma at the Dart Center.
And I was like, oh, wow, he's describing me. And I had depression pretty bad that year and I got treatment, got over it. I thought it was fine.
And, of course, I didn't, you know, stick to any rules that my shrink's telling me to do.
And I thought I was fine, you know. I went on. And seven years later, it took me down much worse. I had a really bad relapse. And then I agreed to
a lot of rules that -- and so I was -- one of those, I was never allowed to go back.
I would go study. I went to Virginia Tech. After the fact, in Las Vegas with academic groups where we met with survivors. Months after the fact,
it -- but never right into the scene of a crime.
But this time, I wanted to go back because I didn't go back to cover trauma or a killer or, you know, what it was like to document the horror. I went
back because right away, these kids were blowing my mind. I was like they may really do something.
And I did -- I thought I might get in trouble for doing that. I was so wrong. They healed me. I was talking to Alfonso, a really wonderful
member of the group over Thanksgiving. We had a really long talk about some of his ups and downs. And I said you guys have healed me.
I didn't realize how much secondary PTSD was still in me because at the start of this year, I was doing -- I thought I was fine. I was doing
pretty good as long as I watched and followed the rules. But I didn't realize the lingering sadness and sort of cloud over my life until I saw
the after picture by Thanksgiving of the year with these kids.
I'm like, yes, you healed the part of me that I didn't know was still sick. And I feel like that's part of what -- I hope this isn't -- I feel like
that's what they're doing to America.
CULLEN: I really do. I think they're giving us hope and I -- they're extraordinary. And I don't know how to thank them enough for what they're
doing for all of us.
AMANPOUR: Yes. And I think that's what's so important. Before, you were, you know, crushed by the violence of what you reported and now you're able
to see the hope and the way these kids are taking matters into their own hands. It's really remarkable.
Dave Cullen, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you very much.
CULLEN: Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: So when faced with violence, the Parkland survivors responded as we've heard by speaking out. But too often violence can preach silence and
secrecy, especially as we look back in history.
In Northern Ireland, the conflict known as The Troubles stretched on for decades. It affected every family, Catholic and Protestant alike. That
includes the actor Laura Donnelly whose uncle disappeared. His body was later found buried in a bog.
Her partner is the renowned Playwright Jez Butterworth and he used that tragic story as inspiration for his latest play, "The Ferryman." It's a
play that opened in London to rave reviews and many awards. And now, it's on Broadway where the couple sat down with our Hari Sreenivasan.
HARI SREENIVASAN, CONTRIBUTOR: Jez Butterworth, what is this play about?
JEZ BUTTERWORTH, PLAYWRIGHT, THE FERRYMAN: It's about three-and-a-half hours long. It's set in Northern Ireland [13:40:00] in 1981 in the middle
of The Troubles, in the middle of the hunger strikes on a farm where the harvest is being put in.
SREENIVASAN: There's a disappearance at the center of this and this is based in part on your family history. It seems that families don't really
talk about that much. So how did this get into the play?
LAURA DONNELLY, ACTRESS, THE FERRYMAN: They definitely don't and that was that was part of how it did come up was because we had been watching a
documentary on The Disappeared of Northern Ireland. And my uncle's face appeared at the end. As they put the faces up of all of the people who had
been disappeared and my uncle's face came up.
And I -- in that moment, it was only then that the penny really dropped that he was one of them. I've always known his story but I haven't really
put two and two together. Even while watching the documentary, it wasn't until the very end that I said that's my uncle and it came obviously as a
bigger shock to you than to me.
But I still -- yes, I realized at that point that having known about it, I still didn't really know.
SREENIVASAN: Tell us about that. What was the story with the uncle in the first place for people who might not have seen the play?
DONNELLY: So my uncle, Eugene Simons, is my mother's brother. Was disappeared on New Year's Day in 1981 and his body was discovered three and
a bit years later in a bog in county live in Ireland. And he was discovered by accident actually.
But it became clear over the course of decades that followed that there were a number of people, I think about 16 or 17 people, who had also been
disappeared most -- mostly by the IRA and had been secretly buried and their families haven't known what had happened to them/
And on top of that, what also happened was that there were rumors spread about those people to their families that they had been spotted in, you
know, in other parts of Ireland or in England or even in America. And so it would keep the idea of the possibility of them being alive still in the
heads of their families.
SREENIVASAN: Using hope almost to pick the scab.
SREENIVASAN: There's a cost to this silence, the idea that her family didn't discuss it, that you really tried to mine out and it cuts across
BUTTERWORTH: At the time, I was really surprised. It was like coming into Laura's consciousness as it was coming into mine. It struck me as very odd
that that wasn't a known fact to her and her family. And it's only since I've got to know her family that when I got to know more and more about The
Troubles, that it's completely normal that would not have risen up into the unknown fact amongst the --
SREENIVASAN: What do you think it is that it's not part of a central narrative to a family? Is it about shame? Is it about fear?
BUTTERWORTH: I remember the name of the Seamus Heaney poem but there's a line in one -- where he says, "Whatever you say, say nothing."
DONNELLY: It's something that just pervades Northern Ireland. It's to do with self-preservation as much as it's to do with shame and all the things
that you mentioned there.
BUTTERWORTH: Of all the research that I've gone for this plan and all the experience I've had with Laura, I feel kind of struck actually by the -- by
what it is that they've had to go through, by how it's affected both families, how it's affected Laura's family and thousands and thousands of
And I think that Laura has normalized to how she -- I think she just -- one of the ways in which her generation has kind of survived this is to say
that it's not a big deal but it is a big deal.
SREENIVASAN: Did you feel a greater responsibility to this partly because this is your family? I mean did you have to feel like, oh, well, now he's
going to take this and make a play out of it, do I need to get permission? I mean --
DONNELLY: I felt a sense of responsibility to my mom. She was the only person that I really give a lot of thought to in that moment. And I
discussed it with her and she was very happy for it to go ahead. And she's immensely proud of the fact that it has become what it has become. So that
was my main concern.
SREENIVASAN: And what about you? I mean you're talking to not someone just as an actor but as a life partner. Are you like, "I can't screw this
BUTTERWORTH: Yes, that was an absolute nightmare. I think the play doesn't include many actual, like identifiable details of your family's
Yet what that family went through, how they responded, how disappearances, vanishings, just as you say, pick up the scab, don't allow the normal
grieving processes to begin. [13:45:00] All of that is precisely what Laura's family went through.
SREENIVASAN: You know we have a clip to set it up. This is a rural family and this is right around the harvest time that -- this is a toast.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES JOSEPH CARNEY: One day, it won't be my name, it won't be my lad. It will be James Joseph Carney. James Joseph Carney's (INAUDIBLE).
QUINN CARNEY: When these 50 acres are yours and you're stood where I am, your first harvest in, young and old at all sides, I want you to remember
something, that a man who takes care of his family is a man who can look himself in the eye in the morning. And I hope you find a stronger rock as
I have in your ma. To Mary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To Mary.
CARNEY: Finally, on behalf of this entire clan, I'd like to thank Caitlin for this wonderful food and for everything she's done for this family over
the past 10 years. To Caitlin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To Caitlin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SREENIVASAN: You start to see all these different themes just in that little clip here. There's a bit of a just a simple family story. There's
this national politics and loyalty and struggle story. And then there's a complicated love story, right, which one as a director, which one is -- or
a playwright or an actor do you pick up on when you're in these scenes.
DONNELL: You can't act politics. You can't -- you know, there is no action in that. It's just the background that they're all existing and --
but for her, the love story and the suppression of that love and the secrets that she keeps are what drives her through the entire three acts.
It just makes sense. It's just there and it feels like real life when you read it. So to just get up and do it seems to be enough but it really
requires any real cool barring.
SREENIVASAN: There's a clip I want to play. It really is one of the first scenes, if not the first scene in the play.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're on a ship with the Rolling Stones, The Beatles and, Led Zeppelin. It hits an iceberg. There's only room in the lifeboat
for you, plus one of those legendary combos, three seconds, go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Led Zeppelin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have three seconds.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't need three seconds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'd save Led Zeppelin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just say the word.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Beatles, The Stones, they're all going to drown.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SREENIVASAN: Later on in that scene, you kind of start to -- as an audience where you're seeing this intense flirtation happening and you kind
of saying what's going on here, you're trying to figure this out, right.
When you position that scene, it's almost like that was something that was really middle to end of the play. But you're starting -- you're giving me
a sound bite something for me to grasp onto and this like this late night session that these two are having.
BUTTERWORTH: Yes. I think about half of my play start at the end of the night. Jerusalem does, Mojo does. When people have been up all night and
then the action begins. I don't know why that is. I think it's an experience that I've had a lot.
But it gets interesting when people are so sleep deprived when they --
SREENIVASAN: Is it brain -- even if you're not -- alcohol, it's sort of in a different state.
BUTTERWORTH: When they've crossed that barrier. But yes, I did want to start at the end. I did want you to fall in love with them in the first
five minutes of the play. People blindfolds and dance around at the end of plays, not at the beginning.
SREENIVASAN: It's an emotional rollercoaster ride to watch you from really seeing one until the end and your -- oh my gosh, she's carrying a lot of
weight. And I wonder just as a viewer what -- how exhausted you must be at the end of every performance to put yourself physically through that every
DONNELLY: Yes. I mean we were just discussing this very recently actually which is that I don't think that I was aware, going into this Broadway run,
quite how much it was going to cost me emotionally and physically, just energy levels.
When I had done the run in London in the West End, I was pregnant the whole time. So -- and I finished up at six months pregnant. So I put my
exhaustion at that time down to pregnancy. I thought that that's what it was.
It wasn't until I got here and started again that I realized that actually, I don't think the pregnancy had anything to do with it. It was the play.
The play is maybe hugely draining but the most satisfying thing that I could possibly do. I wouldn't want it any other way.
SREENIVASAN: Who's the ferryman in this? I mean is there? Hearken back to, you know, from Greek mythology onward. There's always this person
who's carrying souls into the afterlife. [13:50:00] And as I'm sitting there watching the play, I'm like well, they did call it the ferryman
intentionally, right? Is there -- why?
BUTTERWORTH: Well, I think it has that title because that passage around 400 lines into book six of (INAUDIBLE) deals with the idea that the most
punished are those that are forbidden -- that have been unburied and forbidden passage across this actually the icon.
And so that idea that that is a forgotten despairing chronic state that it curses that knew the dead as well as the dead themselves just is an idea
that is not, you know, it's thousands of years old. It will be true in thousands of years' time. It's an idea that I'm sure that whoever dreamt
up the campaign of vanishing people rather than dumping their bodies in the street would have been aware of.
SREENIVASAN: What's the reception been like with members of your family who perhaps have longer memories of living through this era? I mean if
they've come and seen this play or if they've read about it.
DONNELLY: Mostly hugely supportive. The nature of Northern Irish families who have been through traumas is that there's a loss of like we were
talking about the silence. There's a lot of separation. There's a lot of anger.
And so there are huge elements, huge sections of my family that I have no contact with and haven't done all my life. And that's just to say that is
to speak to the damage that the politics of Northern Ireland have done to people and families.
SREENIVASAN: Why do you think that resonates with an American audience here in New York?
BUTTERWORTH: Because I don't think it's specific to Northern Ireland. I think it's intense in Northern Ireland. I think that every family who had
like 20, you know, holidays to get through together. There's just some like tense standoff, isn't it? It's like, you know, it goes both ways.
It's just right below the surface.
All of this anger, the resentments, and beefs, and the stuff that people are laughingly curated over decades to present to one another a crisis. I
think that that element of family life, the idea of things going unrecognized, things bubbling under is just a universal truth.
SREENIVASAN: And also just a production question, you've got a goose, a rabbit, a real baby. I think everyone in the crowd immediately starts to
"Aww" when they realize that's a real baby on the set. How do you pull that off?
BUTTERWORTH: I was as surprised as everyone how much it took. You know it's very easy to write, he brings on a goose.
SREENIVASAN: Right. But the baby, how do you keep -- stand-in babies?
BUTTERWORTH: That was one of the first. That was one of the first five days that I had was (INAUDIBLE) of lights going up in the stage and the
baby being aligned on the stage. And I decided to put it after the first interval.
There's all kinds of things you can do to make people forget the interval. You know, there's all kinds of tricks you can pull to make people forget
how hard it was to get to the theater that night and how uncomfortable their sit is for example or how much they have to fork out for the ticket.
There's tricks that drop you into believing something is -- believing in the illusion that theater is, that are available to you in the theater that
aren't on film and I love exploiting them. And I love the fact that if you walk a live goose onto a stage is different to what you want on film.
No one gets monkeys on film but it reminds you of the real and -- but also at the same time the sort of the hyper-real thing that is to witness
something unfolding on the stage. It also allows for the sense that this is going to imminently go very wrong. And I think that that's one of the
most exciting things you can ever watch on the stage, that baby is going to malfunction, that goose is going to dot dot dot. That rat is going to drop
DONNELLY: The rabbit leaped from his hands as he shows --
SREENIVASAN: I'd love to hear that. Go ahead.
DONNELLY: And half the actors on stage went, "Huh". And it was just suddenly the whole team was completely electric. We were all having as
tense a time as the audience were at that point and it was just brilliant.
SREENIVASAN: Mark Rylance once said to me that the thing he loved most about being on stage was that nothing could go wrong. And I -- it took me
ages to work out what he means. If that goose were to free itself from flapping to the audience and run down [13:55:00] the aisle and create
mayhem, that would be worth paying for. What could be better?
SREENIVASAN: Jez Butterworth and Laura Donnelly, thank you so much.
DONNELLY: Thank you.
BUTTERWORTH: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And as they say it will be all right on the night. What a talented couple and what a great way to end the show this Valentine's Day.
But we do dedicate it to the survivors the and victims at Parkland.
Thanks for watching.