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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  September 19, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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>> pelley: tonight, no one saw this coming. pope francis surprises the world with an interview on homosexuality, contraception, and abortion. michelle miller has the story. after cbs news investigation finds returning vets dying from overmedication by v.a. hospitals. >> my husband served honorably, with pride and dignity-- not to come home and die on the couch. >> pelley: how many have died in the colorado floods? anna werner on the search for today's missing. and for the first time, we can show you the soldier who will receive the medal of honor and his remarkable act of humanity in the midst of battle. >> the whole valley was just a
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giant ambush. it was crazy. captio captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs e this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening. francis is a very different pope and today he seat dramatically different tone for the world's billion-plus catholics, including 75 million here in the united states. the pope, who moved so easily among the faithful, even calling some on the phone, did not change the rules or the teachings of the church, but in a ground breaking interview with the jesuit magazine today francis laid out his vision saying that the church must be more welcoming and merciful or it will fall like a house of cards. here's michelle miller. >> reporter: this was the most extensive interview pope francis has given since being elected in march. he was blunt about the church's mission. "we cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage, and the use of contraceptive methods.
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we have to find a new balance" or, he warned "the church is likely to fall like a house of cards." >> i think it says that serve welcome in the church. >> reporter: father james martin is editor of "america" magazine, one of 16 catholic publications that printed the interview. is this a clear signal of a new way of doing business? >> yes. he is saying this is the way i want to do things, this is how i want to communicate to people and this is who i am. >> reporter: pope benedict 16 and john paul ii insisted catholics adhere to strict teachings. francis told the interviewer the church needs to be more open. francis told the interviewer the church needs to be more open the pope's changes extend beyond message.
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he's made a point of foregoing some of the pomp of the papacy, carrying his own briefcase and living in a modestly furnished hotel room. susan matthews runs an online forum called "catholics for change." >> as a life long and very disheartened catholic, it was such a breath of fresh air. it had been like the institutional doors had been thrown open and light was coming in. >> reporter: but there has been some pushback from conservatives. bishop thomas tobin of providence, rhode island, said he's disappointed the pope has not spoken out against abortion. the editor of the conservative catholic journal "first things" he believes the pope is making a direct appeal to american catholics. >> we wouldn't be talking about same-sex marriage if there weren't initiatives to legalize same-sex marriage. we wouldn't be talking about contraception if the obama administration hadn't made a mandate to provide contraceptives. >> reporter: the 12,000 word article was reviewed by the pope
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before it was published and, scott, we're told by someone who was closely with the vatican that many church officials didn't even know the pope granted the interview. >> pelley: michelle, thank you very much. today the director of the f.b.i. said that the killer at the washington navy yard was hunting people last monday. we heard from the director new details of the massacre that we didn't know before and bob orr tells us what the investigation has turned up. >> reporter: surveillance videos show gunman aaron alexis prowl the third and fourth floors of building 197 hunting for targets. he was armed with a shotgun, sawed off at both ends. investigators say he carried extra shotgun shells in the pockets of his cargo pants. in an off-camera session with reporters today, f.b.i. director james comey said there was no discernible pattern to alexis' movements. "he was just wandering the halls looking for people to shoot." comey said alexis was not
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looking for a particular person or group. contrary to initial accounts, comey said there's no evidence that alexis fired from the fourth floor hallway down into the atrium below. the killings happened at closer range. but one of the victims was actually outside the building, shot by alexis through an open door. when alexis exhausted his shotgun ammunition he began shooting with a beretta semiautomatic pistol taken from a security guard he killed. eventually, alexis was pinned down by police. comey said there was a brief lull in the shooting before alexis was shot and killed in a sustained exchange of gunfire. while investigators have mapped how the attack played out, analysts are still struggling to understand why it happened. alexis scratched two cryptic phrases on the shotgun. "better off this way" and "my elf weapon." but f.b.i. analysts are still looking for a motive, searching
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for clues in the gunman's phone and internet communications. while agents have found no evidence that alexis went after a specific individual, he did target his most recent workplace. alexis was part of a team there, handling a computer upgrade inside building 197, scott. >> pelley: bob orr in our washington newsroom. bob, thank you very much. and now to a cbs news investigation. veterans by the tens of thousands have come home from iraq and afghanistan with injuries suffered on the battlefield and many of them seek treatment at v.a. hospitals. now this cbs news investigation has found that some veterans are dying of accidental overdoses of narcotic painkillers at a much higher rate than the general population. some v.a. doctors are speaking out and here's jim axelrod. >> reporter: five tours of duty in iraq and afghanistan left 35- year-old army specialist scott mcdonald with chronic back pain. his wife heather says over the course of a year v.a. doctors in
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columbus, ohio, prescribed him eight pain and psychiatric medications. >> it just got out of control. they just started pill after pill, prescription after prescription. >> reporter: he would go for follow-up visits? >> and come home with brand new medication, higher milligrams. >> reporter: then v.a. doctor added a ninth pill, a narcotic called percocet. later that evening heather came home from work and found scott disoriented on the couch. >> i asked him "you didn't by any chance by accident take too many pills, did you?" he said "no, no, i took what they told me to take, heather." and i propped a pillow under his head and that's how i found him the next morning. exactly like that. >> reporter: he wasn't breathing. >> no. >> reporter: the coroner ruled mcdonald's death accidental. he had been "overmedicated" and died from the combined effects of five of his medications. >> there's an overuse of narcotics, it's the first reflex for pain. >> reporter: dr. phyllis
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hollenbeck, currently a physician with the jackson, mississippi, v.a. raised her concerns with the federal government about the v.a.'s practices for prescribing narcotics. >> the people in charge said "we want you to sign off on narcotic prescriptions on patients you don't see." i was absolutely stunned and i knew immediately it was illegal. it works on the surface. it keeps the veterans happy. they don't complain. they're not coming in as often if they have their pain medicine and the people in charge don't care if it's done right. >> reporter: we obtained v.a. data through a records request which show the number of prescriptions written by v.a. doctors and nurse practitioners during the past 11 years. the number of patients treated by the v.a. is up 29%. but narcotics prescriptions are up 259%. a dozen v.a. physicians who've worked at 15 v.a. medical centers told us they felt pressured by administrators to
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prescribe narcotics and that patients are not being properly monitored. >> i have seen people that have not have the an exam of that body part they're complaining of pain in for two years. it's easier to write a prescription for narcotics and just move along, get to the next patient. >> reporter: this doctor-- who presently treats pain patients at the v.a.-- asked not to be identified. >> we're letting people come in and prescribing massive doses of narcotics and they also are on drugs for mental health problems. >> reporter: if you're giving those kind of quantities of pills, i assume that requires a rather close eye being kept on the patient. >> you'd think so, but it isn't the case. >> reporter: we gathered data from five of the states with the most veterans. we found veterans are dying of accidental narcotic overdoses at a 33% higher rate than non- veterans. dr. robert kearns is the director of pain management for the v.a. nationwide.
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>> so we're faced in this country with an important health crisis we're talking about today related to prescription drug abuse. but we have a similar crisis related to chronic pain and the way that it's managed in this country. >> reporter: kearns says v.a. is taking action to ensure both patients and providers are aware of the risks and benefits of narcotics. >> providers are trained to have a proper discussion with their patient, to share concerns about the limited potential benefit of these medications, but also these risks that we're talking about today. >> reporter: heather mcdonald says she plans to sue the v.a. >> he never should have been taking those many pills, but he trusted his doctors. my husband served honorably and with pride and dignity, not to come home and die on the couch. >> pelley: now, jim, the v.a. declined to talk with you about the mcdonald case or any of the specifics in your story.
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but what else did the v.a. have to say in its own defense today? >> reporter: dr. robert kearns, the director of pain management for the v.a. who we just heard from had a couple of points he wanted to make. the first is that while narcotics, opioids like percocet are not a last resort, they're not the first-line treatment option, either. and that secondly if you look at the statistics the number of veterans with chronic pain being treated with opioid therapy is relatively small. >> pelley: jim axelrod. thank you very much, jim. days later many are still missing in the colorado floods. we'll remember ken norton, one of the few men who beat mohammed ali. and is there life on mars? the latest from the mars rover. when the "cbs evening news" continues. m the mars rover. when the "cbs evening news" continues. [ male announcer ] pepcid® presents: the burns family bbq.
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state officials said today more than 19,000 gallons of oil leaked from two facilities into rivers. days of unrelenting rain killed at least seven people there and at last count about 200 are still unaccounted for. anna werner has one family's story. >> reporter: emergency sirens went off in lyons at 2:20 last thursday morning as floodwaters swept through town. 80-year-old gerry bole land has not been seen since. amy hoh is his daughter. >> it's extremely hard. i wouldn't wish this on anyone. >> reporter: bolelan and his wife sharon planned to take separate cars to their daughter's house, but the route was blocked by traffic and washed out bridges. sharon pulled over in hopes of spotting her husband. >> we're going to rescue the person. >> reporter: moments later she became trapped by rising waters. this is the video of her rescue. a front end loader was the fastest way to get her out.
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five days passed before gerry bolelan's truck was found underwater near the couple's home. his family thinks he was looking for his wife. >> they were looking for each other. they just didn't know where to start, where they were. >> reporter: bolan taught sixth grade at the elementary school for 30 years. many of those who volunteered to search for him are his former students. sharon boland says her husband almost overwhelmed. >> he wouldn't realize how many lives he touched and he'd wonder what the fuss was over him. >> reporter: what do you think all the fuss is? >> i think they loved him and they're out looking for him. >> reporter: i bet you miss him. >> i miss him so much i would give anything to -- i have all these words, i have all this advice, i have everything -- everything he raised me with.
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>> reporter: just a few minutes ago, scott, we learned from the boulder county sheriff's office that gerry boland's body was found this afternoon. it was about a half mile downstream from the family's home in an area that had been flooded. >> pelley: anna werner in the flood zone in colorado. sad news. thank you very much. we'll be back in just a moment. k in just a moment. affect my job... you were out sick last week. my asthma doesn't bother my family... you coughed all through our date night! i hardly use my rescue inhaler at all. what did you say? how about - every day? coping with asthma isn't controlling it. test your level of control at, then talk to your doctor. there may be more you could do for your asthma. she loves a lot of it's what you love about her. but your erectile dysfunction -
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>> pelley: more than half a century after john f. kennedy served on the senate foreign relations committee, his daughter caroline appeared before the same panel today as it considers her nomination to be ambassador to japan. >> if confirmed as ambassador, i will be humbled to carry forward his legacy in a small way and represent the powerful bonds that unite our two democratic societies. >> pelley: caroline kennedy got a warm reception from both democrats and republicans. she's expected to win confirmation easily. the "curiosity" rover made more news today, this time for what it did not find on mars. the rover's been exploring the planet for more than a year now and it has turned up evidence that the planet could have supported life in the distant past. but nasa said "curiosity" has not detected any signs of methane gas, making it very unlikely that there is currently any life on mars.
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it was smooth sailing for team u.s.a. at the america's cup, at least for today. it held off team new zealand to stay alive in the yachting competition in san francisco bay. the kiwis have a commanding lead though, eight races to two and they need just one more win to take the trophy. we want to note the passing of boxing great ken norton. he was virtually unknown when he broke mohammed ali's jaw in 1973. norton won that fight, but narrowly lost two others to ali. he went on to become heavyweight champion but lost to larry holmes in a close decision in his first defense. ken norton suffered several strokes in recent years and he died yesterday at the age of 70. in a moment, we will show you a rare piece of video you will not want to miss. >> first time i watched it, it was so emotional and i just -- i cried. it was the hardest thing to watch. ardest thing to
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the pain started up and wrapped around to the front. i couldn't play my bassoon because of the pressure that i felt throughout my whole head. the blistering and the rash was moving down towards my eye. the doctors at the emergency room recommended that i have it checked out by an eye doctor. there was concern about my eyesight. when i had shingles the music stopped. rebounds. next on kpix 5 weather talent appears at wx center with generic pinpoint filling monitor then we take special >> pelley: when president obama presents the medal of honor to
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army captain will swenson at the white house next month, a citation will be read detailing swenson's incredible act of bravery in afghanistan's ganjgal valley. tonight for the first time we can show you some of what swenson did. it was captured on an extraordinary piece of video obtained by david martin. >> reporter: that's swenson, the one without a helmet while bullets flew all around. >> everybody was taking fire. the whole valley was just a giant ambush. it was crazy. >> reporter: sergeant kevin durst of the california national guard was crew chief of a medevac hell continue cher flew into that afghan valley more than four years ago. both he and the pilot recorded the battle with cameras attached to their helmets, producing this dramatic video which only now is coming to light. durst first spotted swenson from the air. >> we saw him because he laid down with a panel marker, it's a bright orange panel. he was laying on his back and it
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was on his chest so we could see him. >> reporter: that panel also made him an easier target for enemy shooting down from three sides. sergeant first class kenneth westbrook had been hit in the throat and was bleeding to death. swenson, then medic, helped westbrook to the helicopter. then, amid the hell of combat, something beautiful happened. >> sergeant westbrook leaned down and captain swenson leaned down and they looked at each other and it appeared they were talking but captain swenson kissed him on the forehead and tapped the side of his head. >> reporter: stop the action and you can see it clearly. >> it was the brotherhood. it was your buddy is getting put on to a medevac helicopter and you have to wait to see him for a couple hours, he's going to go back to the hospital and when you're done with your battle, you'll see him. >> reporter: but swenson never saw westbrook again. the medevac got him to a field hospital in time for a life- saving transfusion but 29 days later he died of complications.
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>> this guy had four broken ribs, a punctured lung, a shattered left shoulder. he had a shot on his neck which went through his aorta. so he was bleeding pretty heavily. >> reporter: his widow, charlene westbrook, did not see this video of her husband's final battle, didn't even know it existed until the medevac crew presented it to her this spring. >> the first time i watched it it was so emotional and -- i just -- i cried. it was the hardest thing to watch. >> reporter: after loading westbrook aboard the medevac, swenson went back into the battle. when durst and his medevac team returned to pick up more casualties they found swenson further up the valley even more exposed to enemy fire aiding wounded afghan soldiers and searching for four missing americans. >> he did things that nobody
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else would ever do and he did it for his guys and for everybody on the ground to get them out. >> reporter: durst's medevac left before swenson performed his final act of courage-- going forward under fire to recover the bodies of those four missing americans. the army's official account makes no mention of the kiss swenson gave his doomed sergeant but that one act explains everything about why soldiers fight. they fight for each other. david martin, cbs news, the pentagon. >> pelley: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night. ound the captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh
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>> your realtime captioner: linda marie macdonald from furloughs and cutbacks to this remarkable turnaround. many bay area governments now hiring again. good evening, i'm allen martin. >> i'm elizabeth cook. new at 6:00 tonight our brian webb is live in san mateo county where the help wanted signs are starting to pop up all over the place. brian. >> reporter: it seems like cities and counties across the bay area are back to hiring so when you pick up an application, there's an actual job waiting on the other end now. so how long has it been since san mateo hired this many people? longer than carol groom has been a county supervisor, that's over five years. what does it feel like to hire again? >> well, it's good because we're going to get some people that hopefully have been
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unemployed or this is a better job. >> reporter: the county will fill 207 positions over the next few years with a voter- approved tax. most will go to the new county jail for women and to handle obamacare officially these positions considered temporary. but long-term, who knows? >> if they are successful in the county there may be a future for them. >> our job growth is beating the national avenue, our wages are beating the national avenue. >> reporter: this economist tells me the bay area economy is bouncing back. san mateo isn't the only local government hiring. san jose plans on hiring 109 workers this year. marin county has already hired 187 new workers this year with plans for more soon:so it looks like a hiring boom. home prices run, construction projects are up, home prices are up. but in the same breath he warns this rising tide is not lifting all ships. many of the middle class and working poor are left out to sea. >>