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tv   American Politics  CSPAN  November 15, 2009 6:30pm-8:00pm EST

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welcome back to this incredible story -- a kid, teenager in tennessee, living off the streets. but against all odds, he goes from being homeless, he's taken in by a well-to-do family, now he is an nfl star. his life a powerful message. i'm talking about the life of michael oher. i had the honor to speak with him in my exclusive interview. but first let's play a clip from the movie inspired by his life. it's warner brothers' new film "the blind side." >> who is that? >> big mike. he goes to high school here. >> what is he wearing? it's below freezing. do you have any place to stay tonight? don't you dare lie to me.
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was this a bad idea? >> what's the big deal? it's just for one night. it is just for one night, right? >> tell me just one thing i should know about you. >> i don't like to be called big mike. >> leah, is this another one of your charities? >> i need to find out more about his past. he's been enrolled in seven different institutions. his grade point average begins with zero. >> he needs to do better in school. >> i'd love to work with him. >> this mine? >> yes, sir. >> never had one before. >> what, a room to yourself? >> a bed. >> what a story. i have the honor now to talk with michael oher, offensive tackle, baltimore ravens. michael, thanks for joining us. it is a true pleasure to talk to you and talk to you about your inspiring story. you know, as we talk, yeah, football fans know your story. but now with the book, movie coming out, everybody's going to know your story. do you ever stop and just think, you know, from not long ago, homeless michael oher to football star michael oher and a
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movie made about your life. can you believe this is all come to pass? >> it's unbelievable. you know, i came a long way, you know. it's been a tough road and to do something i love, something i have a passion for, it's unbelievable to be able to step on the field and pad up in the nfl. i think about it every day. >> we look at your story and we look back. do you have memories -- we laid it out there that you never knew your father. he was murdered. your biological mom, drug issues. do you have early memories being with your brothers, being homeless and that fight for really survival at an early age? >> of course, you know, i have a lot of memories of all kinds, but i chose to forget all those, all the bad memories, not having, you know, anything to
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eat or struggling here and there, but you got to move on and, you know, if i would have dwelt on the past i don't think i would have made it this far. you've got to put everything behind and trust in the people who want to help you and do things for you. you know, i think that's what got me here, you know, forgetting about the past and just making it into a positive and moving forward. you know, just working hard every day. >> michael, that's one of the many things i love about your story is you talk and there always seemed to be hope with you. even the pictures i've seen of you as a child, there's a smile on your face even though you're going through what you're going through. how did you keep hope alive? >> i've always wanted to make it to the nfl, you know, just be something in life. i always figured there was a better way of life and a better way to do things and i've always
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strived to be the best that i can be. i always wanted to go to school and do all -- i went to school on my own and did a lot of things on my own so i always knew that if i worked hard and did everything that i possibly can do, i'd make it. i'd be something. >> was there ever a point where your life and your struggles were getting to you? i mean, i'm reading stories about how birthdays weren't celebrated, christmas was waking up christmas morning watching other kids in the neighborhood play with their toys. did you ever -- did it ever get to you, michael? >> oh, yeah. i mean, because, you know, you ask yourself a lot of the times you're growing up, why does it have to be this way for you? but you take all this stuff like i said and make it into a positive. you work hard and you try to better yourself and better your surroundings and you tend to
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want more in life. you take all that type stuff and you make it into a positive and keep going. >> you've done that. your teammates describe you as a great player, passionate, intense, but also another player just flat out said, michael's a joy to be around. >> who said that? >> matt burke, a veteran. that's a veteran guy watching you as a player and a man. which one do you take more pride in? >> i have to take it in both. i work hard on the field and, you know, and all my teammates, we have great group of guys. you know, i love being around them. i love being a part of an nfl organization and being around a guy like matt birk who, you know, just to be around those type guys, guys like ray lewis, guys i grew up watching and knowing that i've always been a big fan of this game.
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i can't wait until september comes around, you know, hear that sound and all that type stuff. it's unbelievable. >> your story is unbelievable. when we come back we'll talk with michael more and talk more with michael about the family he mentioned, the touhy family who stepped up and helped him out and gave him just that push to get him over the hump. now again he is an nfl star and there's movie about his life. >> i don't know if i'm an nfl star. >> close enough. that's what we're hearing.
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michael's grades have improved enough that he can go out for spring football in march. >> this team is your family, michael. when you look at him you think of me. how you have my back. are you going to protect the family, michael? >> yes, ma'am. >> s.j., you're going to want to get this. >> who's the big guy eating with your little brother? >> his big brother. >> i think what you're doing is so great. >> sandra bullock. >> you're changing that boy's life. >> no, he's changing mine. >> powerful statement there. that again from the new movie "the blind side" the story of
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michael oher's life and it's my honor and privilege to talk with michael, offensive tackle baltimore ravens. michael as we hear that and we hear sandra bullock playing the part of your mom leann touhy but leann touhy said that in interviews how you're more of a blessing to them than they were to you. how does that make you feel? >> words can't even describe it. that means a lot to me knowing that what they did for me and the amount of love that i have for them. and, you know, for them to bring me in their home and just for me knowing right off the bat that they care about me as a person and, you know, they want the best for me. >> wow. let's listen. not to sandra bullock but to leann touhy talking about you being part of their family. >> there was just never really a defining moment that we said that we were going to take this young man in. he was there. we were there. he had needs.
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we had potential to fill them. we'll tell stories that happened before we had michael and he'll throw in and i go you weren't even here, you know, but he thinks he's always been there and we think he's always been there. we don't really know life without michael anymore. i know that's hard for people to understand but it's just, you know, that's just how it is. so there really was not a defining moment. it just kind of happened and it was a great thing that happened to us and he blessed us far more than we'll, you know, probably could have ever blessed him. >> michael, did you think it would last? did you think from that meeting you would become a member of the touhy family? >> oh, definitely, because it's a feeling you get. i got that feeling right away. you know, collins and shawn jr., they just welcomed me with open arms. it wasn't a problem, you know, somebody coming into their home. they just took me in like i was part of the family. and that's what i love about them and they did everything i
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asked them to do and more. so without them i wouldn't be here today. >> collins being your sister, shawn jr. your brother. >> yes. collins is the best by the way. she's unbelievable. >> you sound like you guys are really close. >> oh, yeah. watched over her for four years in college and whatever she needed, you know, from me i'd do for her and the same with her. she's there as well. and just without them, you know, i don't know. >> as i see you and you're talking, there's a love that's exuding from you and as the story goes, leigh anne told you that she loved you when you were 18. was that the first time you heard that? what did it do to you? >> it just, you know, it showed me that it was possible to be loved. i never heard that before.
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you know, just for her to express that and i knew then that i was a part of the family and, you know, that i was going to stick around. >> again, you're welcomed into the family. you hear "i love you." as you take this and you're going to be a father some day, what kind of dad are you going to be? i bet the words "i love you" will be coming out nonstop from you. >> you know, i'm definitely going to teach my kids everything that i wasn't taught. i'm going to show them that it's better to give than receive because people gave me a second chance and, you know, i'll raise them the right way and give them everything i couldn't have and just take great care of them. not let them out of my sight. >> that's good. all dads should hear that. michael, how special was it on draft day when the touhy family -- you guys were all together,
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one big family -- as you're drafted by the baltimore ravens, how special was that? >> that was a big day. the day i'd been waiting for, you know, forever. and it finally came true and it was unbelievable. i just couldn't believe my name was called in the nfl draft. all my hard work had paid off and just to be on the team and, you know, whatever happens after that, you know, i did everything i could to get to this level. so it was unbelievable. >> we're all just reveling in this as we see the pictures of you with the touhy family and you all are celebrating. do you realize how big this story is in the sense of the inspiration that it has become not only to football fans but to a watching world that a family took you in? you were persevering through a rough childhood, and now we have this story of victory. has that part soaked in for you, michael?
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>> a little bit but, you know, the thing that people can take from this is if you reach out and lend a hand, you know, i know so many people that have more talent than i have that didn't get that opportunity that i got. and if they were to get that opportunity, you know, there would be more people in the nfl, in the nba with so many other skills and just doing other things, doctors, lawyers, anything. but they didn't have somebody to show them that there was another side to life. >> michael, very well put. i'm sure as people hear your story, see this movie, that they might be more willing to reach out and make that difference for somebody else. michael oher, a pleasure. continued success with your football career and with life. thanks again. >> thank you. >> what a story. your thoughts on it? e-mail me. news.
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and now this story. carrie prejean back in the news, out to promote a new book but also dealing with a sex tape out there. she was on "larry king live" last night and things got a little awkward. we'll take your calls.
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welcome back. carrie prejean former miss california usa front and center once again. here is the tight rope act she's trying to walk. she's on a media tour trying to promote her new book yet there is this sex tape out there. there will be questions about that. sure enough cnn's larry king asked about that sex tape and
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also why she settled with the pageant. things got a little awkward. let's watch. >> in mediation it was discussed why you were mediating. >> larry, it's completely confidential and you're being inappropriate. >> okay. >> okay? >> inappropriate king live continues. >> yes. >> detroit, hello. >> caller: hi. i'm calling from detroit. >> yes. >> caller: i am a gay man an love pageants. i'm sure you, carrie, have got great gay friends that helped you possibly win. what would you give them as advice if they wanted to get married? >> did you hear the question, carrie? did she hear the question? >> all right. want to point out that she did continue the show and larry king apologized later because the show had agreed that she would not answer any viewer phone calls. regardless, though, i don't think this is what you want when you're out promoting a book. that was awkward, not fun to watch.
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we'll take your calls on this. 1-877-tell-hln. joining us to talk about it, rachel campos duffy blogger and author of the book "stay home stay happy." also joining us the host of celeb rachel, first off, how do you sell this book still standing? that's a tight rope act. you're trying to tell a book and that's how conservative women part of that message are being attacked and yet you're going to answer questions about a sex tape at it same time. you can't do it. your thoughts. >> first of all, that moment was very awkward on larry king. i've seen people walk off the set, but never take their microphone off and stay on the set. it's kind of not fair just because she's a christian and the sex tape came up, it's sort of like people say she's a hypocrite.
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as far as i know, the only requirement for being a christian is being a sinner. as long as she's acknowledging what she did and she's turning it into a lesson for young girls. look these sex tapes, these pictures, they come back and haunt you. don't do it. don't get involved in it. i think it could be a positive message. i think it remains to be seen if she stays on message and doesn't do so many weird interviews. if that message will get to young girls. >> i agree with you on that front. there's no one perfect and she even states that, but i just -- the timing is off. i don't think she's being handled correctly. you put the book to her on hold and deal with this sex tape controversy because the message of the book is lost. your thoughts, rachel. >> it could be -- that's true, but then again, i mean, probably a bigger message that she can
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give is this to young girls. in the middle of the book tour might be a good time to do it. >> do you think she's being handled well -- >> yeah, but both sarah palin and her had -- >> we've got to take a break.
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tonight, a woman mauled by a pet chimpanzee tells her story. now, she has no eyes, no mouth and no nose. today, for the very first time, she shows her face on oprah. what does she remember from the attack and is this the ultimate example of why wild animals should not be kept as pets? also, a father at his breaking points. disturbing new details in the mystery in malibu. she was arrested by police, then released in the middle of the night. she hasn't been seen since. that was nearly two months ago. why won't cops let us see the video from her release? was there even a video.
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we're going to talk to this woman's father as he desperately searches for his missing child. and a teenage boy doused in alcohol and set on fire. now, the three teens accused are being charged as adults, but they look like kids. meanwhile, this kid is clinging to life with burns on 60% of his body. now, some sicko plays a disgusting prank. plus, a dramatic courtroom finale in the nasa love triangle. former astronaut lisa nowack learns her punishment, if you can call it that. she stopped and attacked her romantic rival. cops say she packed her car with a bb gun, plastic tubing and plastic gloves and diapers and drove 900 miles to confront her ex-lover. you'll hear how she still has nightmares about the attack. is the sentence an outrage? "issues" starts now. tonight, a woman waking up from her horrific nightmare speaks out.
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charla nash was mauled within inches of her life last february. that's when the woman cause called to help her friend. the animal then attacked charla. seen here, travis went berserk and ripped off her hands, nose, lips and eyelids. here's just some of the chilling 911 call. >> what a horror. when the cops came they shot and killed travis the chimp. today, for the first time since who has no eyes any more appeared on oprah with her face covered by a vail.
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>> i'd like to put across to people that these exotic animals are very dangerous and they shouldn't be around. there's a place for them. >> she said it all right there. tonight's big issue is serious stuff. chimps are not pets. in fact, there is a proposed law before the u.s. senate right now that would ban commerce and primates. more on that in just a moment. i'm talking your calls now. 1-877-586-7297. but first, straight out to my truly fantastic expert panel, mark, criminal defense attorney, dr. judy clinical psychologist and jack hanna, famed animal expert. jack, great to have you here tonight. as we keep the victim of this
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horrific tragedy in our hearts and in our thoughts, jack, could this have been prevented? >> well, it could have been prevented. i must go back quickly to 1973 in tennessee when i had an african lion. i raised lions for zoos and it took an arm off a little boy. i had to get that arm. i've done this for 40 years and when you have a chimp, they're a very complicated animal. they're a manmal, obviously. they're one of the great apes. they live in a family structure and when someone has a chimp and it ages like this, as you know, the lady came in with her hair cut, even though she had been there before, this chimp probably felt threatened somewhat. it went after her. with chimps in the wild go after someone, the first thing they do is rip off to the dominant male the hands, the eyes and even the testicles. what the chimp was doing was a
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natural thing it was doing, but a chimpanzee at that age having it in a home is like having a loaded weapon. >> i agree with you. here are some details and perhaps you could comment. harold, the woman who kept the chimp as a pet has speculated the chimp was trying to protect her and attack nash because she had changed her hair style, was driving a different car and was holding a stuffed toy in front of her face to get travis' attention. >> remember what i just said. chimps are bright, intelligent animals. like a lot of animals. but when that woman came in in a different appearance and this chimp said, what is this coming into the place where i live. something's wrong here. so the chimp did the natural thing and went after that person. as far as is lawsuit involved -- >> we'll get to that in a second, but the tragedy of this is that this chimp was trying to
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protect its so-called owner and the owner is really the one who we are asking the question, should she have ever had this chimp as a pet? harold's attorney has declined to comment, but we have an open invitation. if you want to come on and tell your side of the story, go ahead. today's big issue and what we're covering tonight. chimps, they are not pets. this woman, who insisted on trying keep this chimp as a pet, spoke to nbc's "today" show about this horrific attack. >> and i saw what was going on and i hollered at him and he was just grabbing her and i went and got the shovel. i was trying to hit him with the shovel to stop it and it wasn't working and so i went and a had to get a knife. >> and you stabbed him? >> i had to. he looked at me, like mom, what did you do? >> you're not mom.
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check out this photo showing travis in a totally inappropriate situation. getting on and sitting on a lawn mower. some people think this is cute, dr. judy. travis, the chimp, lived with sandra for 14 years. five years before the attack, her husband died and her only daughter died in a traffic accident. some say that sandra turned to travis the chimp for compani companionship. primates cannot be used for replacements of people. >> seeing the travis the chimp on that machine is what we call making the animal into like a person. and it is true, jane, you know this, being an animal lover and having three charming dogs yourself, people form the human-animal companion bond. it is very strong and research shows use the pet even more than
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a friend because the pets don't talk back, because they love you constantly. so this is positive for many people with many types of pets. but other types of pets, it's not appropriate. >> these are not pets. you might call them pets, but they ain't pets at the end of the day. this happened on february 16th, when sandra herald who kept the chimp as a pet, tried to anyway who asked her friend to help lure the animal back into the house. here's the victim on oprah. >> was it your job to help take care of him because this was your boss? >> no, it was her pet that she wanted and she had to rush out a few times or couldn't come home that night. only a few times i fed him. >> so you were familiar with him. were you afraid of him? >> yeah, always. >> mark, the victim's family has filed a $50 million lawsuit against harold, charging she was
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negligent for lacking the ability to control a wild animal with violent propensities but her attorneys argue that the victim was an employee of hers and, therefore, hey, this is a worker's comp case. that would vastly limit the amount of money the victim would get. worker's comp. are you kidding me? >> jane, i've got one word for those being sued in this case. settle. this is not a victim that you want to put in front of a jury. they would hold tarzan responsible if they could. she's a compelling victim, the injury was there. was it reasonably foreseeable is the yegz. you don't need the great animal expert jack hanna to tell you that that is not a pet and i think that jurors would tag the defendants for a lot of money in this case. >> now, just because you have a pet doesn't mean you have the animal's best interest at heart. as babies, these primates are ripped away from their mothers in the wild. or they're also bred in
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captivi captivity. for every chimp kept as a pet, there are untold numbers that are killed or injured or neglected. this is a call to action. the humane society of the united states is promoting legislation that would prohibit interstate commerce of primates. it's already passed the house. you can help by passing the captive primate safety act. call your u.s. senators and tell them to pass this act. when it comes to primate exploitation, jack, i always say, follow the money. >> yeah, right. the primate exploitation has gone down a great, great deal ins last ten years. but you're correct in saying that this woman who owned the chimp, no doubt, obviously, she thought the chimp was probably hers. as the attorney just said, you don't want this to go to court. my accident with the lion was settled and i live with that every day of my life and i was in the business. but going back to the chimpanzee, it's a complicated creature and it should not be,
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however, in this bill, the logical part, which you know i've been doing it for 40 years. we do a tremendous job in the research and bredding of these tremendouses creatures. >> we'll agree to disagree. i agree with the humane society that i think we should pass the captive primate safety act and i suggest people call their u.s. senators. but we're not going to agree on everything, jack. but we're delighted to have you as a guest. more on this horrific attack in just a bit and we're also taking your calls. the familiar stench of death once again on the streets of cleveland. could cops be closing in on another mass grave? but first, the woman who survived a horrific chimp attack now showing her face in a matter of speaking, with a vail. why would anyone try to keep a wild animal as a household pet?
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it's a horrible thing, but i'm not a horrible person and he wasn't a horrible chimp. it was a freak thing. >> a freak thing, indeed, but not necessarily in the way she intended that phrase. that clip from nbc's "today" show, they interviewed the woman who kept travis the chimp, trying to keep him as a pet anyway, the day after he went berserk and bludgeoned charla nash to within inches of her life. this is a horrific story.
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a woman will never be the same again. she's been left without eyes, without a nose. unbelievable. phone lines lighting up. angela, texas, your question or thought, ma'am? >> caller: yes. i had heard early in the days of the reporting of this incident that she had given, the owner, had given travis alcohol and possible prozac or some kind of anti-anxiety medication and most those drugs say do not mix with alcohol. >> well, i had heard reports that again, i have obviously no independent confirmation of that. that is something that will be part of the investigation or has been. the attorney for the woman who kept the pet has declined to comment. we invite them on to tell their side but jack hanna, that does happen quite often, doesn't it, where somebody has a wild animal that's not supposed to be a pet, keeps them as a pet, and then they try to sedate them to keep them sort of under control? >> yes, i've heard that, correct. for pets, right. but you know, like you said, who knows how xanax, i think that
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was the drug they said was used, is going to react on a wild animal like a chimpanzee. some people try to make the chimp part of them, whether it's dressing up, riding lawn mowers, drinking, eating, whatever it might be in their home. that's not what a chimpanzee does, obviously, where they live in the wild. >> i wanted to take exception -- >> hold on. mark, go ahead, please. >> i need to take exception to her calling this a freak accident. first of all, we know that earlier, in 1996, this particular chimpanzee bit a neighbor's hand. he reported it to police. apparently he claims they didn't do anything. the police say we don't have any record of it. but at least the owner of the chimp was clearly on notice that this could be a potentially dangerous animal so anything that happens after that is on her. >> now -- >> this is also why recapitulation of the ziegfield and roy problem, where their lions who were supposed to be part of the family, turned on the very owner and we know the disaster that happened to one of them. >> these are wild animals. these are not pets. they're not performers, either. check out this clip from a show
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called "my monkey baby" on tlc. that would be the very same network of "jon and kate plus eight." check this out. >> she's my baby girl. if i hear somebody called her a monkey, i throw a fit. she is my daughter, 100%. >> why does she wear clothes? >> just because to make her look more like my daughter. come here. there! now you look so pretty. >> oh, my gosh. unfortunately, society encourages this type of pop culture. that's just one tiny example of how these primates are exploited. recently, a 2-year-old chimp was used in a commercial shoot for an airport. peta, the organization which
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keeps chimps, says this chimp had a quote, disturbing record of animal care, that this group that took care of that animal had a disturbing record of animal care. the usda says that that same group keeps the primates in dirty, cramped cages. so here's a vicious cycle, isn't it, dr. judy, where you have this demand for commercial entertainment involving these animals and then you obviously see that there's exploitation at the heart of it. what happens when the cameras are turned off? >> well, indeed, and as we just saw in that particular case, the woman is considering the little chimp as her child. so while many of these human animal companion bonds are very healthy and i bless them, some are dysfunctional, where people are replacing people and real relationships and children for animals. that is inappropriate. their need to dominate, their need to have something that loves them, makes this wrong kind of relationship. >> jack, we have ten seconds. final thoughts? >> well, final thoughts are as i
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said before, zoological world gives millions of dollars each year to control the chimp in the wild. got back from malaysia where there are 65 baby orangutans in the orphanage. we are trying to keep them in the wild. as far as the chimps, they should be but in zoological parks, we do a great deal of helping them. >> i also think people should call their senators and say pass this act. it will stop this horror. thank you, jack, for coming on. thank you, fantastic panel. we salute the troops every day on hln. today, robin meade has a special veterans day salute from a proud daughter to her dad. >> thanks, jane. today, we salute world war ii veteran wendell alan fetters, an army staff sergeant during the war, and his daughter wants to let us know how proud she is of her dad. >> hi, robin. we want to leave a message for our dad, thanking him for being so brave in world war ii, when he was captured at age 20, and
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we want to thank him for his contribution to all the freedoms we enjoy in this great country, and we just want to tell him we are so proud of him and that we love him. >> absolutely. wendell also served in the korean war and turned 85 just last month. ninininininininininii
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a teenage boy doused in alcohol and set on fire. now, the three teenagers accused of this attack are being charged as adults, but look like kids. meanwhile, this poor kid is clinging to life with burns on 60% of his body. now some sicko plays a prank burning dolls and throwing them in a swimmal pool. what is wrong with people? and a dramatic courtroom finale in the nasa love triangle. lisa novak learns her punishment, if you can call it that. she attacked her romantic rival and parked her car are a bb gun, rubbing tubing, plastic gloves and diapers and drove 900 miles to confront her ex-lover.
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you'll hear the emotional words from that romantic rival how she still has nightmares from the attack. is the sentence an outrage? stunning new developments. three young teens who allegedly doused a 15-year-old boy with rubbing alcohol and lit him on fire have been charged as adults. the boys have been identified as 15-year-old denver jarvis, 15-year-old matthew bent and 16-year-old hazu mendez. they're charged with second degree attempted murder as adults. two other teenage boys face lesser counts of aggravated battery. the victim, michael brewer, is in critical condition. he has burns over 65% of his body. he is heavily sedated and breathing through a ventilator. he cannot speak. bandages cover his open wounds and have to be changed daily. a painful four-hour process. his doctor says he is slowly
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recovering, but admits -- our expectation is survival, but i don't think we would be surprised if he didn't. we will talk to his doctor in just a moment. the mother of the two of two of the alleged attackers issued a public apology. listen to her. >> we'd like to express how horribly sorry we are. this is a horrible incident that should never have occurred and we pray for mikey's -- michael's recovery every day and that he gets stronger, which we know in our hearts, he will. i don't have the words to express anymore. >> should these teenagers be tried as adults or are they still kids who need to be dealt with in juvenile court? straight out to my expert panel also joining me tonight bradford conan and dr. nicholas namias
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the doctor at university of miamiiacson memorial hospital who is treating young michael brewer. doctor, thank you so much for joining us. what is the very latest on michael's condition and what are the biggest risks to him now? >> thank you. >> every day, we have ups and downs and today, we were fortunate to have a nice little upside event. we were able to remove the breathing tube today. this isn't a cause for a celebration because we know that about 5% to 10% of the time we would have to put that tube back in for the first 24 hours. but for now, it is a nice little improvement. >> his head was so severely burned, he lost most of his hair and eyelashes. thankfully, his face and hands were spared. it's extremely difficult to recover from burn injuries. take a look at this. michael jackson, his scalp was burned in 1984. his injuries were much less
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severe than michael brewers, still, they were excruciating and led to jackson developing an addiction to painkillers. jackson befriended fellow burn victim, david. david was 6 years old when his dad set him on fire. doctor, we pray michael brewer survives, but how long will his recovery take? describe what he's going to go through how many years before he's out and about. >> this is a life-changing event. things will never be exactly the same, but we hope and expect that he'll get back to a reasonably good quality of life. we still have some operations to do for skin grafting. there could be further reconstructive operations after the grafting, depending on how the healing goes and there's at least a year of intensive physical and occupational therapy and after that, it all slows down a little bit as things stabilize. but it's a life altering event. we have to move on to
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tonight's big issue. teen justice. these young teenagers are charged as adults with attempted murder. the question is, is that the right way to deal with this situation? this issue came up this week in the u.s. supreme court. they're tackling this tough question. is locking up teenagers for life cruel and unusual punishment? the big case they're discussing, joe sullivan. he was just 13 when he was convicted of raping a 79-year-old woman. sentencing him as a teenager to life in prison until he dies is cruel. but the state of florida argue this should be able to get life sentences without parole. get this, in the united states, right now, there are about 2,500 teenagers, 2,500 teens doing life without parole. almost all for murder. only 111 teens are serving life without parole sentences for nonmurder and where are most of those teens?
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bradford cohen, most of them are in florida. florida has been called the toughest state on teens. these teens in this florida case are dealing with that possibility of a very, very long sentence. could these teens get life and would that be unconstitutional? >> no, they're being charged with second degree attempted murder, so they're looking at 15 years apiece. but the adult system is not set up to appropriately deal with teens. it should really stay in juvenile court. juvenile court is just for that, to deal with individuals not attached to move on to a felony-type crime in adult court. these teens should have been charged in juvenile court. the out that the judge will have in the adult court system, he could sentence them as juveniles to a lesser sentence but it will follow them for the rest of their lives as opposed to a juvenile court where it may be
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sealed once they turn 18. >> michelle, i am so torn about this case because i am so nauseated over what the kids did, but nonetheless, we're going to see it in a little bit, there was a picture of them today in court, they look like kids. like 14 and 15-year-old kids. they're 15 and 16. i just don't know how to reconcile that heinouses act with the fact that they're not developmentally at the level of adulthood yet. >> and they're not. i know. that's really the issue is that you know, 18 is an adult because really, we know that brain development of teenagers and children is different than adults. so they have a different ability to consent to things, to know what they're actions will lead to. that's really the issue here. and again, i think we go back to the system. that if there is a way to help these kids, obviously, not
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commit these crimes again, but even more importantly, is that when they become adults, if they have been in juvenile custody, a way to actually evaluate them and to know if they are a danger to society, i think that's the issue. it's about understanding are these children a danger to the society. >> i think that what we need to do is improve the juvenile court system so they can adequately deal with these kids in a manner that's appropriate. as opposed to pretending -- there's the picture i wanted to show you. look at them. they look like kids there. there they are in court and they look like three little kids you'd see running down the street and yet they're going to jail, to the slammer as adults. this whole thing is hideous because what they did was so awful, allegedly. they've got to face justice, obviously, but i'm going to go back to the doctor. we only have a couple seconds. this whole thing is so heart wrenching on so many levels. so many families destroyed by this one senseless, stupid act.
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>> absolutely. it's senseless. >> it's just so senseless. >> and again, i think the teenagers, when we look at what happened at richmond high school, we also -- we need to educate our children about consequences about conflict resolution and how to handle these situations. >> and about right and wrong. before we learn american history and the revolutionary war, about right and wrong. >> moral development. emotional development. >> thank you, fantastic panel. coming up, we pray that that young boy survives. an intoxicated woman loses her balance and falls on to the tracks and there's a train coming. and it's all caught on tape. does she survive? look at this wild scene. plus, today's sentencing of
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lisa nowak the nasa live triangle story finally comes to a crescendo. is she doing time?
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let's meet today's winner. caitin. she's a mom that has a big secret. her husband asked her to quit drinking and she cut back, but only for a while. slowly she went back to her addiction. in her letter, she writes, when i saw the story about the woman whose husband insists she was not drunk when she was driving the wrong way and killed herself and kids among others, i shuttered. it could have been me so many times. i'm happy to say she found sobriety in june of 2006 and wants to tell people her story in the hopes it will help others women. for sharing your courageous story, you're going to be getting a copy of my book, plus a chance to win a trip to new york city and visit me right here on the set of "issues ". we'll have a sober, fun time. if you're struggling with addiction or know somebody who is, please check out my new book. it can help.
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remember that nasa love triangle? the former astronaut accused of driving across the country, diapers were involved, to get revenge on her ex-lover. a slap on the wrist is what she got today. was it fair? we'll hear from the victim first, top of the block tonight. amazing video from boston. a woman lucky to be alive, check this out. a drunk woman waiting for the subway loses her balance and falls right on to the tracks. you could be by the light a train bearing right down on her. the train's conductor doesn't see the woman, luckily, some good samaritans start waving their hands to get the conductor's attention. at the last moment, the train slams on the brakes and stops right next to this woman's head. she's actually underneath the train, but not crushed. the drunk woman suffered minor scrapes and was taken to the hospital. now, she told cops, what do you think she told cops? well, i've been drinking.
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she could have really have had a bad hangover if not for that conductor who slammed on the brakes. you know what i mean? top of the block take two. the man accused of trying to extort $2 million from david letterman said he was trying to sell him a screenplay. likely story. in court today asking a judge to throw out the extortion charges claiming it was all a big misunderstanding. and the whole sexual blackmail thing was just a commercial transaction. trying to extort letterman when he discovered that his girlfriend was having a sexual relationship with david letterman. sounds like we do have enough material for a screenplay now. we're going to stay on top of this one. that is tonight's "top of the block." moving forward to disbelief and outrage given to that former astronaut accused of attacking her romantic rival. you remember lisa nowak.
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she's the former nasa captain who apparently went bonkers when her boyfriend broke up with her and started seeing another woman. she suited up in a diaper so she could drive nonstop for 1,000 miles in a plot to attack the other woman. colleen shipman. she disputes the whole diaper story, by the way. she also wore a wig and trench coat and followed shipman to her car and then sprayed her with pepper spray. hours ago, nowack copped a plea and guess what she got, she got a years probation for this attack and the judge gave her two days in jail and two times credit time served. that spineless sentence came on the heels of this gut wrenching and i mean gut wrenching victim impact statement. >> shortly after i turned 30 years old. lisa nowak hunted me down and attacked me in a dark
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parking lot. her attack was part of a well researched, well-planned and deliberate crime. now, almost three years later, i am still reeling from her virgs attack. >> moments later, she was seething with anger. >> i know in my heart when lisa nowak attacked me that she was going to kill me. it was in her eyes. a blood chilling expression of limitless rage and glee. >> wait until you hear and see lisa nowak's bizarre apology. i know you will have an opinion, so give me a holler. straight to my experts, darin, criminal defense attorney and legal analyst for "insider" and our own voice of reason and taf
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writer with steve, your article in about this draw-dropping sentence includes reader comments. what exactly are they saying? >> well, people can't believe how light the sentence was, especially after hearing the gut wrenching testimony of colleen shipman and then a year's probation, it didn't add up. >> it's an outrage. i will say that myself personally. i watched this. i saw this victim crying and saying her life was destroyed. she's the one who had the leave the military. this one is still unbelievable on active duty. >> the navy was waiting to see what was going to happen and now they know. so disciplinary action should come soon. >> i don't get it. this just doesn't seem fair. this woman, the victim, described in detail how she was terrorized. she felt lisa nowak was out to
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kill her. she doesn't even do -- this is what's wrong with our criminal justice system is that there is no rhyme or reason to it. this guy, this woman is, oh, sh reforceful to me, therefore i'm going to let her go without jailtime. >> there is rhyme and reason to it. ultimately, good deals for defendants are obtained for one of two reasons. either the defendant is a stellar human being, and that could be a factor here, or there's risk of loss for the prosecution. and the defense lawyer did an excellent job of chipping away at the evidence in this case. challenging the admissibility of statements that lisa nowak made the night that she was initially interrogated, challenging the evidence obtained as being illegally confiscated. >> oh, please. we all saw what happened. >> hang on, hang on a second, jane. i will have to say this, if we can be allowed a little bit of
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levity. >> you'll have to wait till after the break.
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