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tv   PBS News Weekend  PBS  May 29, 2022 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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♪ geoff: good evening. i'm geoff bennett. tonight on "pbs news weekend"... president biden travels to texas to comfort the grieving families in uvalde, following the massacre of 19 children and 2 teachers. then... we look at the influce of the national rifle association, as their annual convention wraps up this weekend in texas. and... we speak with a psychologist about how parents and caregivers can talk to kids about school shootings. lisa: i think parents really struggle to know what to say, what to ask their children, whether or not they should even bring it up, how to answer the very hard questions that children often ask at times like this. geoff: all that and the day's headlines on tonight's "pbs news weekend." ♪
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this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. geoff: it's good to be with you. we begin again tonight with the elementary school massacre in uvalde, texas. president biden and first lady jill biden travelled to texas today to pay their respects and console a community in mourning. it's their second trip in as many weeks to the site of a mass shooting. the bidens laid a bouquet of white flowers in front of the memorial outside of robb elementary school, and walked through a memorial of 21 white crosses, one for each life lost. they also met privately with family members of the victims and the first responders. the justice department says will conduct an independent review of law enforcement's response to the uvalde mass shooting.
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texas law enforcement officials have admitted to a stunning string of failures in their response. once the review is completed, the justice department says it will make its findings public. in ukraine, president volodymyr zelenskyy visited ukraine's second-largest city, kharkiv, today. it marked his first trip outside of the kyiv region since the start of the russian invasion. zelenskyy met with ukrainian soldiers stationed there, surveyed the damage, and spoke of rebuilding. russian attacks have decimated more than 2000 homes across the city. ukrainian officials reported new shelling in the city this week by russian forces, who still control around 30% of the region. here at home, two more mass shootings. authorities in oklahoma say one person is dead and seven others were injured after gunfire erupted after midnight at a large memorial day event southeast of tulsa. police say no arrests have been made. and in chattanooga, tennessee, six people were injured after an
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exchange of gunfire downtown late last night. authorities say a person of interest has been detained. there have been over 220 mass shootings and counting so far this year, according to the nonprofit gun violence archive. former president donald trump blasted republican congresswoman liz cheney on her home turf in casper, wyoming last night. trump was speaking at a rally for cheney's primary challenger. mr. trump: liz cheney hates the voters of the republican party and she has for longer than you would know. wyoming deserves a congresswoman who stands up for you and your values, not one who spends all of her time putting you down, going after your president in the most vicious way possible. geoff: cheney has been a critic of trump, refuting his lies about a stolen 2020 election, and holding him accountable for helping incite the january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol. the republican primary for wyoming's house seat is yet another test of donald trump's influence over the gop, after
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some of his high profile endorsents have failed. still to come on "pbs news weekend"... after the horrific events in uvalde, texas, a psychologist offers advice on how to talk to children about school shootings. and golden state warriors head coach steve kerr opens up about losing his father and how the experience made him a vocal advocate for gun control. ♪ >> this is "pbs news weekend" from weta studios in washington, home of the "pbs newshour," weeknights on pbs. geoff: at this weekend's national rifle association annual convention, former president donald trump and other republican leaders rejected efforts to change the nation's gun laws while they mocked activists calling for reform. the nra's gathering in houston took place some four hours east of uvalde, where 19 children and 2 adults were killed this past week. npr's washington investigative
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correspondent tim mak reported on the convention. he's back now from houston and joins us now. tim, it's good to have you with us. and this year's nra convention, i think in many ways is symbolic of the nation's divide, and that you had gun rights advocates inside the convention hall, and protesters calling for greer reform, they were lining the streets outside. give us a sense of what you saw and what your takeaways are. tim: you know, this is the first nra convention in three years because the last couple have een canceled due to due to the pandemic. and you know, i've never seen such a large protest outside an nra event before, and not only that, the tone was just so much more vitriolic and so much more angry and so much more emotional than i've seen in the past. i mean, you had hundreds of protesters outside the convention hall in houston, and they were confronting nra members as they were approaching, trying to get into the convention hall. they were booing. they were yelling at each other, mocking each other, exchanging
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middle fingers. and in a lot of ways, it was kind of this penup emotion that's been waiting three years, perhaps, to be expressed. but it's something that really shows just how divided people are on this issue and just how angry people are on this issue. geoff: meantime, as you well know, the nra is facing among the most serious threats to its influence with the number of investigations revealing corruption at its highest levels. how has that affected the organization's standing and its pull, especially when you've got the rise of all of these advocacy groups? these gun control groups, like every town for gun safety, moms demand action. you have the parkland student survivors, some of whom were at the nra convention protesting outside. tim: it is remarkable. the nra has been accused of, and there's been plenty of public evidence to back it up -- tens of millions of dollars worth of mismanagement and misconduct,
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financial misconduct by executives and top leadership, and many of those people in the organization still remain in their jobs. i'm thinking, for example, of wayne lapierre, who is the ceo and and executive vice president of the national rifle association. and he was speaking over the weekd at the convention. he still remains the head of the national rifle association. and so the question is, what's their influence? and one of the bi things that that i've always tried to stress is that, you know, some folks think that the nra is powerful because of money. and, of course, money does help. but what really makes the nra influential is its ability to mobilize millions of members on short notice. when they need to work on a legislative issue like now, you know, it wouldn't be surprising, for example, if the nra got a lot more members over the last week because of this new talk about gun legislation. geoff: let me ask you about that. because senator chris murphy, the democrat from from connecticut, who actually came
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to congress representing sandy hook, he's leading this latest gun safety push on capitol hill. i want to play for you what he said on one of the sunday shows this morning. sen. murphy: every single time after one of these mass shootings, there's talks in washington, and they never succeed. but there are more republicans interested in talking about finding a path forward this time than i have ever seen since sandy hook. geoff: so let's talk about that, because these negotiations, as i understand it, that they are in their infancy, and they're focused on red flag laws that would allow law enforcement to remove guns from people who are deemed to pose threat to themselves or to others, and they're also focusing on expanding the background check system to screen gun sales. those two very specific things. is there enough support on the left and the right to sort of move forward on that, or do you think based on your years of reporting on this issue that the nra, that other gun lobbies will be able to wield their influence and stop this, stop progress on this? tim: i'be curious to know what
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senator toomey and senator manchin had to say about this because they have proposed background checks, expanding background checks in the past, and that's stalled in the senate in times past. now, the red flalaw issue is a different one, which has had republican support in the past. so i'd be curious to know if on capitol hill they can find a way to get it done. but what i will say is that that, you know, if the convention, the protest demonstrations and the tone of the nra and the protesters outside against the nra arany indication, we're more divided on this issue an ever before. it's hard to see where there can be middle ground up. geoff: npr washington investigative correspondent tim mak, i appreciate you sharing your reporting and your years of insight on this issue with us. in light of this week's horrific school shooting in uvalde, texas, parents are once again faced with the agonizing task of explaining violence and tragedy to their children. correspondent ali rogin sat down
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with an expert who shared advice on how to have those difficult conversations. ali: joining me now is lisa damour. she's a clinical psychologist and the author of "under pressure: confronting the epidemic of stress and anxiety in girls." lisa, thank you so much for joining us. what are some of the concerns th you've heard parents talk about when it comes to talking with their kids about traumatic events like the one in texas? lisa: i think parents really struggle to know what to say, what to ask their children, whether or n they should even bring it up, how to answer the very hard questions that children often ask at times like this. i think that it makes it extraordinarily hard when events like what happened in texas occur and parents want to be supportive of their children, and yet they often don't know what to say. ali: and what's some of the language that you would suggest a parent use with a very young child, like five or six years old, versus that of a teenager? lisa: so if a child is very young and not going to school, i think that parents should do
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what they can to shield their child from the events that have occurred. that also means not having the television running at home, you know, listening to the radio on their own time. as soon as children are of school age, we do need to bring it up because the chance that they're going to hear about it from their peers is very high. and so we'd really rather they hear about it first from us. so i think for school age children, we need to say something horrible happened. and i want you to feel you can ask me any questions you have. once we get to teenagers, and anyone of an age where they have their own social media or their own access to all sorts of feeds, we probably want to start by asking them what they are hearing, what they know, what they think. teenagers are very heavily involved in a discourse of their own. they are talking to one another. and so we don't want to assume that we have information that they don't have. we want to start by finding out what they already know. ali: what about for those, especially for those younger children, those really hard questions like why would someone want to hurt a child? lisa: i think it is fair for
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parents say that is a really good question. and to tell you the truth, it's very hard for me to understand. so the fact that you are struggling to understand this isn't because you're young, it's because it's one of those things that's really hard to understand. parents can say that, and most children wl accept that. we just want to be honest, but we also don't want to sugarcoat what we're looking at here. ali: what are some strategies for navigating a child's feeling about whether they themselves are safe at scho? lisa: parents have to figure out where they sit on this themselves. but if they do feel that they can say to their child, i would not send you to school if i did not think you were safe, then i think they should say that because children need reassurance along those lines. ali: and then on the flip side of that, once the children are inside the school, a lot of them these days are dealing with with active shooter drills. how does that affect their state of mind? and how does that affect when they do hear about these mass shooting events? lisa: i think what you're getting at really points to a larger issue, which is even for people who are not directly affected by these shootings, there is a tremendous amount of
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emotional and psychological tax for them to be happening around us and for us to have to try to prepare for them and prepare our children for them. ali: what is your advice for teachers as they navigate the aftermath of these horrific tragedies? lisa: you know, teachers are in such an extraordinarily difficult position because, of course, i can't imagine a teacher who doesn't worry for their own safety when they're just doing their job, doing this incredibly important job. but teachers are also there to support their students, and so theyre really caught between their own intense reaction, which i'm sure they have, and needing to and wanting to be reassuring to their students, be pportive of their students. and i think that that puts an extraordinarily heavy weight on them. and this is on top of all of the challenges they have borne through the pandemic. so what i would say is that we as a society need to go out of our way to support our teachers. they have been through so much. they have given so much. and we never want to lose sight of that. ali: and what about a parent or
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guardian's own emotions? how important do you find the state of the mind of the adult when having these convsations? lisa: this is hard because, of course, as parents, we are terrified by this. so we need to find ways to manage our own reaction. it is okay if our children see us being upset. i think the goal then is for them to see us handling it well, taking comfort, talking about, you know, what we can do to help ourselves feel better. but i think if parents are really struggling with this, they're going to want to t some support for themselves so that they can then be there to support their children. ali: clinical psychologist and author lisa damo, thank you so much for joining us. lisa: thank you for having me. geoff: as w've been discussing on this program, gun policy is a challenging issue to tackle, even though polling shows americans of all stripes want something to be done about gun violence and mass shootings. our ne guest, a former gun lobbyist, says bridging the divide has much to do with how we talk about guns and gun reform.
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richard feldman joins us now. he is the president of the indendent firearm owners association, and was a lobbyist for the nra back in the 1980's. one of the reasons we wanted to speak with you was because you wrote an op- several years ago now, in which you said that you believe there is a way to achieve meaningful gun law reforms without alienating millions of responsible gun owners who don't believe that criminals, unsupervised children or mentally ill people should have accesto any kind of weapon. so what is it? how should both sides approach this debate? richard: if we are serious about changing policy and not just affecting politics, i think in the current situation, post-texas and buffalo, we really need to have a task force of people, experts both in firearms, technology, mental health, that really look at this thing and come up with
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the kind of solutions that aren't going to be easy, and they're certainly not going to be inexpensive. if it's done correctly, with the assistance and involvement, not 100% support, necessarily, but involvement of firearm owners, it stands a real chance of success and moving forward. geoff: so, when you say, "if it's done correctly," what exactly do you mean? richard: if it's politicized, it's pretty much dead on arrival. that's always been the problem with this issue. we have to align policy considerations with the politics of this issue, so that we're not cross-pressuring one against the other. that's what leads, continually, to defeats. geoff: so, when -- let's take, for instance, the policy of universal background checks. at do gun owners hear differently when there's a conversation about that specific
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policy issue? richard: if you use the word "universal," that means "everyone, every time, in every situation." that's what gun owners object to. why should i have to put my wife through a background check, or my kids? i know if they're convicted felons. i know if there's a problem. what the bulk of the whole effort with background checks, was always to ensure that people who you don't know, largely commercial transactions, go through a background check, because in a commercial act or transaction, at a gun shop, at a gun show, on an internet sale or a flea market, you don't know who you're selling the gun to. so, if we just adjust it ever so slightly, i think we get far more support. we could have moved that forward
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over 20 years ago when i represented the firearm industry. geoff: there are people who will hear you say that we have to change the way in which we talk about gun ownership -- that democrats need to change their messaging, and they will say that at least the last two or three decades, democrats have changed their messaging. they talk more about "gun safety" now, and less so about "gun control," and that on the right, there are republicans, in particular, who consider the second amendment to be as sacred as scripture, and that no matter how you talk about it, there is a certain group of gun owners who just will not subscribe to any sort of significant changes on gun legislation. what's your response to that? richard: i think there's great truth in what you just said. everyone right now is distraught about the terrible tragedies this week in texas, and last week in buffalo. but what we do know is that gun owners, or some good proportion
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of them, are going to use this issue. they're going to say, "these politicians are suggesting that i limit certain guns that i own. i didn't misuse any guns in the last two weeks, or ever. but somehow they don't trust me. but they are asking me to trust th." well, american politics doesn't work that way. it's the government that's supposed to trust the people, and when they don't trust the people, and that's the interpretation gun owners often make, those individuals aren't going to trust those politicians, and it costs them elections. so, if the democrats are serious about maintaining control in one house or the other of congress, many state houses, they're the ones that have got to compromise their approach to the gun issue
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-- not necessarily the results but their approach to those results. geoff: richard feldman is president of the independent firearm owners association. mr. feldman, we appreciate your time and your insights. richard: thank you. ♪ geoff: finally tonight... following the massacre in uvalde, golden state warriors coach steve kerr used a playoffs press conference this week to speak out about gun violence in america. coach kerr: we've had elderly black people killed in a supermarket in buffalo. we've had asian churchgoers killed in southern california. and now we have children murdered at school. when are we going to do something? geoff: last year, kelly corrigan, host of pbs' "tell me more," sat down with kerr to talk about what's behind his passion for this issue and what he thinks political leaders
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should be doing. kelly: tell me about your dad. coach kerr: oh, man. it's kind of hard for me to talk about still. >> malcolm kerr, president of the american university of beirut, was murdered at close range outside his campus office by two men with a silencer equipped pistol. coach kerr: he was a wonderful man. quiet, very funny, great way with people. he was just an amazing dad that it was there for all four of us. kelly: why do you think they assassinated him? coach kerr: he was the most prominent american in beirut at that time, and it was the early part of terrorism against americans in the middle east. so you remember the iran hostage situation was 1979. the worst incident was the bombing of the marine barracks. i think 300 marines were killed in this huge truck bomb in beirut. my dad, i remember he was in his
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office, which was, you know, on campus five miles away, six miles away. and he said he heard this enormous blast and felt the impact of it five miles away. and the embassy cleared out, but the university was still functioning. so my dad became one of the most prominent americans remaining. and so he became a target. i think he took that job when i was 16. kelly: mm-hmm. coach kerr: you know, when you're 16, your dad's not going to die. your mom's not going to die like everything's going toe fine. if you've lived a life like like i did where you're perfect upbringing, wonderful family, and got everything you need, nothing's going to happen to you. that happens to other people, you know? so looking back, i sometimes i, i think i wish i had been a little wiser in terms of maybe bringing all that stuff up. kelly: in that year, the 73
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year, the bad back year, shortly after the season, there was a shooter who went to ucla. it's like half a mile from your mom. and then shortly after that, the pulse shooting happened and you made a big statement. do you remember it? coach kerr: yeah. and the reason i made it is because we had done probably three moments of silence during that season. it was like every couple of weeks were just, you know, let's take a bow and stay silent and not actually try to solve the problem. and so i just felt like, you know, i do have a platform, i should probably say something. and i've been an advocate ever since. because my dad died that way. and because it's such an enormous problem in our country, that's become my sort of pet project. kelly: do you have hope that there will be new legislation? coach kerr: i do have hope, mainly because of the march for
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our lives kids. there's so many young people now who are so angry and invested. what makes me lose hope is just that it's a constant deal with the senate where, you know, the house passes hr 8, which is, you know, background checks bill, that over 90% of americans want background checks, regardless if you're a democrat or republican, 90% people. kelly: the nra want background checks. coach kerr: yeah, but the senate will not go down that path. they won't even look at the bill because of partisan politics. and, you know, they put their own private career ahead of the lives of american people. geoff: and that's "pbs news weekend" for tonight. i'm geoff bennett. thanks for spending part of your sunday with us. >> major funding for "pbs news weekend" has been provided by -- ♪ and with the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions -- ♪
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this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs statn from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.]
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- [announcer] this program was made possible in part by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. - [chang] what is memory? the answer to this question might surprise you. - [genova] it's not a video camera recording a constant stream of every sight and sound you experience. memory is the constellation of neural connections that were the sights, sounds, feelings, knowledge that you experienced in the first place reactivated through a linked circuit. - [suzuki] it defines our own personal histories. what we remember becomes part of who we are. - [o'shanick] it's the ability to create a story of our world, and to gain knowledge that we can then apply


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