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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
36 Students Murdered This Year in Chicago; Crisis in Pakistan
Aired May 6, 2009 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Your heart breaks every time it happens. Every time a child is murdered. Well, tonight, in Chicago, that heartbreak is being felt for the 36th time this year. 36 students have been murdered this year, the latest a 16-year-old, Ramon Morris (ph), being mourned there on the street where he was killed, just steps away from the high school he attended.
Now, just two days ago on this program, we were reporting on the 34th student killed in Chicago, now tonight the 36th. Chicago is now the deadliest city for school-aged kids in America.
These pictures are some of those children. Children, all of them, murdered. The former head of Chicago schools once said if these kids were white and well off and were getting murdered, there would be headlines around the country, but they're not, and too often their deaths go unnoticed.
Here's how a few Chicagoans are fighting back or at least trying to. "Crime and Punishment," the story now from David Mattingly.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): : Kindergarten turned out to be a lot harder for Martrell Stevens than his mother could have ever imagined. A year ago, he was sleeping in the car as his mother prepared to pull out off to a Chicago street when he was shot and partially paralyzed.
LAKEESHA STEVENS, SON WAS SHOT: It can happen to anyone. And you can be walking, you can be walking, you can be anywhere. It can happen to anyone.
MATTINGLY: Martrell easily could have died.
In just this school year, more than 30 school-aged children are dead. Their faces are posted online by the "Chicago Tribune," silent reminders of the growing mountain of grief.
DIANE LATIKER, FOUNDER, KIDS OFF THE BLOCK: They come by here and they do this, and they come by here in cars and families come and cry. You can hear them in my house screaming.
MATTINGLY: Diane Latiker started this memorial in a vacant lot hoping to shock the city into action. She started with 30 stones marked with the names of 30 young victims. Today with 153 stones, she's the one who is shocked. (On camera): Who is failing these kids?
LATIKER: We all are.
MATTINGLY: Is it the city? Is it the police? Is it the schools?
LATIKER: We all are.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): The youngest victim remembered here was only 10. Among them, 16-year-old Blair Holt, the aspiring song writer whose death sparked protests and demands for action.
(On camera): But two years later, the violence is getting worse, not better. We wanted to know why more young people are dying this year than last, and what is being done about it. But community activists tell us they're at a loss to find any simple explanation.
(Voice-over): The recent discovery of a 15-year-old who was beaten, shot in the head, and burned took the out-of-control violence to a frightening level. Chicago's Father Michael Pfleger thought it was time to put out an SOS.
(On camera): That's a pretty strong message. What are you trying to say?
REV. MICHAEL PFLEGER, ST. SABINA CHURCH: Well, I think it is strong. I think it's a radical move, but I think it's a radical problem.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): He ordered the church's flag to be hung upside down, a symbol of stress.
PFLEGER: This is an epidemic.
MATTINGLY (on camera): If we had this many Chicago young people dying of swine flu, what kind of resources would you see coming to the city?
PFLEGER: There would be this great influx of resources that say let's stop this, deal with this.
MATTINGLY: But because it's violence, what are we seeing happening?
PFLEGER: We're hiding it, we're ignoring it, we're denying the problems.
MARTRELL STEVENS, LAKEESHA STEVENS' SON: I can walk well, my blanket (INAUDIBLE).
MATTINGLY (voice-over): But there's no denying the loss. Martrell Stevens is adjusting to his loss with youthful energy and optimism. In a city where dreams are disappearing, he believes he will one day walk again.
COOPER: And Dave, we started talking about this story two years ago, it is just getting worse, and it's the kind of thing that it doesn't make headlines anymore because people start to think this is normal. But this is not normal, 36 kids, school kids getting killed is not normal. It takes a huge toll on families.
MATTINGLY: It does. And two years ago, we saw a lot of grieving families who were becoming activists, trying to fight this problem and vowing to commit their lives to it. They've done that.
But now two years later, they say that they're tired, discouraged because they're not seeing enough change, and they're a little bit desperate right now because of the high death toll so far this school year. They're looking at the summer months coming up.
When these kids have no adult supervision for some of the day, what's going to happen then? They're worried that this is going to be a much more violent summer than it was a school year.
COOPER: David Mattingly, I appreciate the reporting. Thanks.
A different angle now. Really as close up as you can get. Reported primarily by a mom and her 10-year-old son, her surviving son, I should say.
Abbie Boudreau gave them a video camera (INAUDIBLE) got out of the way. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TREVON BOSLEY, VICTIM'S BROTHER: My name is Trevon Bosley.
PAM BOSLEY, VICTIM'S MOTHER: And how old are you?
T. BOSLEY: I'm 10 years old.
ABBIE BOUDREAU, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trevon Bosley's mom asks him questions about his older brother, who was gunned down in a church parking lot.
P. BOSLEY: So the day when all this took place, you were there, right? You went to the hospital? No, listen up. You went to the hospital. Come on, Trey. It's hard. It's too hard? OK, OK. All right.
BOUDREAU: A few minutes later, Trevon sits back on the couch.
P. BOSLEY: OK, so you do miss your brother?
T. BOSLEY: Yes.
P. BOSLEY: And this is hard thing to do for you. It's hard to talk about him because everything has changed, right?
T. BOSLEY: Yes. Hope over fear, unity over -- and a powerful message that change is coming to America. I am the first black president of the United States. I had to learn that speech because I want to be president just like Barack Obama.
BOUDREAU: This is Pam Bosley, the voice you heard behind the camera, asking her young son about losing his 18-year-old brother Terrell. Terrell was shot in 2006, the police still haven't found the killer.
He was not a gang member. He wanted to play the bass guitar in a gospel band. Instead he was killed for no apparent reason and died a painful death.
P. BOSLEY: The bullet, the bullet destroyed a lot of things. It destroyed a lot of things in his body. My baby was suffering. He could not breathe. He did not deserve this. It was horrible.
BOUDREAU (on camera): For so many people who are watching this who don't understand truly how it feels. And no one can really know. But could you try to explain?
P. BOSLEY: It felt like somebody just took a knife and just stabbed you in the heart, and they don't stop, they just continue to stab you in your heart.
I try to live on my own. Even though I was raised in the church, I tried to commit suicide, I couldn't take the pain. I tried, but I thank God he did not allow me to go out like that because my other two boys are already suffering.
COOPER: Abbie, what did city officials say about these killings?
BOUDREAU: Well, I talked to the school district, I talked to the police, and keeping them honest, we checked with Mayor Daley. And he said it's no worse in Chicago than in other major U.S. cities. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR RICHARD DALEY, CHICAGO: You go to a large city or small city, it's all over America. It's not unique to one community or one city. You're killing another generation, that's all you're doing.
BOUDREAU: But there's a lot more students here being killed in the Chicago public school district...
DALEY: Because they follow them, they identify them. In other cities they're dropouts. They don't call them students anymore. You dropped out of school at 15, you're gone at 14. We count them as even students even though they drop out. We count them as students.
The rest of America doesn't count them. You're a dropout forever. We don't think they're dropouts. They're students, they're 13 years old, or 14, or 15, or 16 or 17, even 19 or 20. And that's what you see, people forget them. They're called the dropout society. BOUDREAU: So the problem isn't worse here than in other places?
DALEY: It's all over. The same thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOUDREAU: But Anderson, we've checked and found that's not quite true. None of the Chicago's 36 victims were dropouts, though family members say the boy killed over the weekend was forced to leave school because he had been threatened by gang members.
And, of course, we're still trying to learn more about the teenager who was just killed just this morning.
Also, Anderson, we checked other cities and we're still waiting to hear back from many of them. But we did learn that L.A., a bigger city than Chicago, notorious for its gang problems, reports it's had 23 children killed this school year, but just to put things in perspective, again, Chicago has now seen 36 of its school children killed. Lots of families in so much, so much pain right now.
COOPER: Yes, Abbie, thanks.
Jody Weis has been Chicago's top cop for a bit more than a year. It's never an easy job and seeing kids being murdered must be one of the worst parts of it. The question tonight, and until the killing stops is, what's being done?
Superintendent Weis joins us now.
Superintendent, you know, we were in Chicago two years ago after 28 public school kids were killed. The situation has only gotten worse the past three school years, 90 have died due to violence. A 16-year-old boy shot and killed just this morning.
What is going on? How do you explain what's happening?
JODY WEIS, CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: There's simply too many gangs, too many guns, and too many drugs on the streets. We've got a problem with some of our young people are resorting to use of weapons and violence to solve any type of conflicts they may have.
And we have to focus on that. We work closely with Chicago public schools. We try and get real-time information that will allow us to deploy our resources. Fortunately, the children are not being injured in the school. So the CPS and the Chicago Police Department and the city providing a safe place for our young folks to learn.
But conflicts that may develop in the schools sometimes carry into the community where the young men and women live.
WEIS: And that's what we have to be ready for.
COOPER: So these are interpersonal conflicts? I mean these are people who know each other?
WEIS: In often times, that is the case. There's a relationship there, either a gang affiliation or folks know each other from living on the same block. And unfortunately a conflict that 20 years ago may resort to a pushing contest or a wrestling match. Now, unfortunately, results to gunfire.
COOPER: You know two years ago when we were there, we talked to Arne Duncan, who is the CEO then of Chicago schools. He's now the secretary of education nationwide. I want to just play a little bit of what he told us back then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARNE DUNCAN, CEO, CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS: If that happened to one of Chicago's wealthiest suburbs and God forbid it ever did, if it was a child being shot dead every two weeks in Hinsdale or Winnetka (ph) or Barrington , do you think the status quo would remain? There's no way it would. All hell will break lose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He's saying basically if these weren't minority kids, African-Americans, Latino, that more would be done about this, that there would be a national uproar, this would be headlines every single night. Do you think that's true?
WEIS: Well, what I think is that we as a society have gotten somewhat numb to the violence that affects some of our major cities. In terms of the Chicago Police Department, we treat every homicide the same.
But I do agree with Arne in the fact that unfortunately I think our society as a whole has gotten somewhat numb to this violence and it's almost getting accepted. And that is a very sad state of affairs.
I can promise you the Chicago Police Department is outraged and we will continue to work these cases with high energy and a great deal of enthusiasm.
COOPER: Superintendent Weis, we appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
Thirty-six kids we're talking about, 36 stories. To see more, go to AC360.com where you'll find some especially moving images of the fallen kids and how they are being remembered.
Again that's AC360.com. You can also join the live chat happening right now, and Erica Hill's live Web cast during the break.
Up next, the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan at the White House. The Taliban on the march in both of their countries. Are they even taking the threat seriously? A threat that could even be closing in on Pakistani nuclear facilities. We've got a late report on the fighting and a somewhat score card from Fareed Zakaria. Also tonight, California's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He says we should be talking, talking, debating about legalizing pot. Not for the reasons you might suspect. We'll tell you about it along with pictures of him smoking out.
And have that debate with (INAUDIBLE) your questions for our panel, text the letters AC plus your question and name to 94533. That's the letters AC plus your question and name to 94553.
And 360 is getting answers and action to follow-up to Gary Tuchman's exclusive story on small-town cops stopping drivers, in some cases, taking their money, basically shaking them down. All of the cops say it's perfectly legal. That is when they're talking to Gary at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We came here yesterday and we asked if she would be in today and we were told she would be in today.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought she was going to be but she's not. That's all I can tell you.
TUCHMAN: But you can't tell me if she's on vacation or just not wanting to talk to us?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know what's she doing.
TUCHMAN: What is your business? Well, the taxpayers pay her salary. So it really is -- it really is the public's business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He's talking about the DA who is basically running away from Gary Tuchman.
And later, Miss California may be about to lose her title because years ago she took off her top for cameras tonight on "360."
COOPER: President Obama's putting on the pressure. He, secretary of state Clinton, and a string of diplomats and military advisors, all leaning on the presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan who are in Washington tonight. They are trying to get them to see and act, to act effectively against threats to their countries. And in a lot of observers believe they're too blinker to recognize and ill- equipped to fight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We meet today as three sovereign nations joined by a common goal. To disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda and its extremist allies in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their ability to operate in either country in the future.
And to achieve that goal, we must deny them the space to threaten the Pakistani, Afghan, or American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, he's talking about al Qaeda. The top leader still on the loose and the Taliban now on the move in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Now late reports from a correspondent from a Karachi (ph) news service, insurgents like these have taken one of the main towns there, mining roads, putting up check points, drawing closer to a major dam, two key highways, and most alarmingly, some of Pakistan's nuclear facilities.
Now civilians are being told to flee. CNN's Ivan Watson is with some of them.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is Jalozai refugee camp. The residents of this camp used to be refugees from Afghanistan. Now they're from Pakistan. Displaced people, 49,000 currently live in this camp. And the U.N. is preparing to add some 36,000 more displaced Pakistanis as this conflict rages across the northwest of this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: What's happening in Pakistan is deadly serious. Back in Washington President Obama says the two leaders get it and understand the need to get along. He's calling the summit extraordinary. Is it really, though?
Digging deeper, I spoke earlier tonight with world affairs analyst Fareed Zakaria, host of "GPS" and author of "The Post-American World" now out in paperback.
COOPER: Was President Obama putting his best foot forward and Hillary Clinton putting their best foot forward today when they basically said that, you know, this is -- is to a breakthrough?
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: I was surprised by the rhetoric. You know, and we'll get a little bit of a chance to dig deeper over the days, over the next days. But they didn't announce any breakthrough, they didn't announce anything programmatic that suggested there was a breakthrough.
COOPER: And there's huge problems between Pakistan and Afghanistan. I mean it was huge distrust.
ZAKARIA: There was huge distrust and they didn't announce any kind of joint operations or joint programs or projects. So maybe it was a breakthrough in the personal chemistry between the two presidents. Remember that President Musharraf and President Karzai really didn't get along.
COOPER: But you look at the Pakistan offensive right now against Taliban forces. I mean Taliban militants were 60 miles from Islamabad, from the capital. You have 80 percent of Pakistan forces focusing on India, now they're suddenly faced with basically fighting a counter insurgency.
Did they even know how to do this? They're evacuating huge amounts -- huge numbers of civilians from this area. That's just going to inflame civilians against the government.
ZAKARIA: They're doing everything we did in Iraq in 2003-2004. It is very large scale operations, as you pointed, basically bombing civilians, mortaring, shelling, herding them out. The result is, of course, people...
COOPER: Which is exactly what the insurgents want.
ZAKARIA: Which is what the insurgents want.
COOPER: How linked is al Qaeda with the Taliban? Both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. When we talk about them, can we talk about them interchangeably?
ZAKARIA: No, we absolutely can't talk about them interchangeably. The Taliban is a very broad movement that seems to encompass a lot of Pashtuns who are resentful of the government, feel dispossessed, a lot of whom are doing it for the money.
And then there are elements of hard line elements that seem to support or really give support to al Qaeda. Remember, no Afghan has ever been caught involved in a high level -- in any terrorist activity. You know, it's always been Arabs, North Africans, Pakistanis involved in the terrorism so...
COOPER: So what does that tell you?
ZAKARIA: That tells you that the Afghan's Taliban is probably more an indigenous movement that is about wanting to take over Afghanistan, not about providing, you know, a kind of base for al Qaeda.
COOPER: But they did provide when they ran it. I mean they provided a safe haven for al Qaeda.
ZAKARIA: They did. Remember what Bush's original demand was if you turn bin Laden over to us, we will not attack you. There's strong evidence -- there was debate actually in the Taliban. Many people wanted to give him up, bin Laden. Mullah Omar did not. So all I mean is, there seems to be a level complexity there which we should exploit.
COOPER: So when you say exploit, does that mean negotiate? ZAKARIA: I think it means negotiate, it means bribe. I'm for what works, Anderson. My feeling is if you look at Iraq, we tried negotiating with some, we bribed some, we provide political patronage for others.
COOPER: But in Iraq, we ended up basically paying large sums of money to people who formally were attacking us and killing U.S. soldiers.
ZAKARIA: We're still paying them that money. And even when we draw down from Iraq, we will continue to pay either directly or through the Iraqi government.
COOPER: All right. Fareed Zakaria, thanks.
COOPER: Up next tonight, new developments in a story so bizarre reads like fiction. A horror story. And get this, the authorities involved claim it's all legal. They're just enforcing the law. That's what they say.
Cops pulling people over, then demanding money, valuables, cars, even allegedly threatening to take their kids away. We'll have the latest on that. Some new developments on that. Some -- a lot of people in Texas saw our report last night and want some action.
Also tonight, the new calls for legalizing pot. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on camera lighting up -- well actually when before he was governor. We'll tell you all about that and why he says there should be a debate about legalization. We'll bring you both sides of that debate tonight.
We're taking your questions for the debate. Text the letters AC plus your name and your question to 94553. That's the letters AC plus your name and your question to 94533.
Also tonight, Bristol Palin's latest advice on teen sex. That and more ahead on 360.
COOPER: Tonight 360 followed an exclusive story first brought to you last night and one that may be changing because there's some reporting from our Gary Tuchman. Gary went to a small Texas town where the police department and the district attorney were allegedly shaking down African-American and Latino drivers, literally stopping them on the highway, taking thousands of dollars in cash from some of them, all according to the police, in compliance with Texas law.
Gary tried to get one of the officers to talk. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TUCHMAN: Hey, officer. My name is Gary Tuchman with CNN. I want to know if you recognize this guy. We're doing a story about this guy, Roderick Daniels? He was pulled over here by you a year and a half ago and you took his money and his jewelry. Do you recognize him?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Yes, well, he didn't want to talk. The cop isn't talking. But because of this investigation many people are and they are demanding answers.
Gary joins me now live. Gary?
TUCHMAN: Anderson, there have been several developments since we reported this disturbing story last night. We told you about some 150 drivers, virtually all African-American and Latinos, who said they've been shaken down by police officers, agreeing to deals under pressure to leave behind their money and valuables in exchange for not being thrown in jail on questionable charges.
We talked to many drivers who say they were robbed by law enforcement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They took everything out of the car, they took all of us out of the car.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was already going through the glove box and he had -- he got Ron's money.
RODERICK DANIELS, LAWSUIT PLAINTIFF: I feel like there's no justice even with the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: Well, today we have learned that Roderick Daniels, the man whose picture I was showing to the cop, left behind $8,500 that he was using to buy a new car, will be getting his money back that was taken from him 18 months ago.
That's the word from court papers which were signed by District Attorney Linda Russell on Friday days after we came to town trying to get answers from her. The DA is also named in this class action lawsuit for allegedly participating in this plot.
The legal papers she signed in effect say there will be no charges against Daniels, but there was never any evidence made public against him or for so many other drivers who drove through Tenaha, Texas.
We broke the good news to Roderick Daniels at his home today in Memphis, Tennessee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DANIELS: Man, I just feel actually -- actually I just feel blessed. Actually just blessed and happy that everything's going good for right now. I'm very surprised. I mean, I cannot let it go because it was so long ago. But I'm glad that you helped me out a lot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: Well, the class action suit against the police and the district attorney we only got to meet while she was singing country music at a fundraiser was filed almost a year ago.
While today, the day after our story, a trial scheduling date was finally set. It will be held a week from Tuesday. The people being sued do say they have complied with all state and federal laws. Anderson?
COOPER: I mean, basically they took, allegedly took money from these drivers, and never gave it back. And is that legal? I mean is that legal?
TUCHMAN: Well, in some cases it is. The deal is this. Under state forfeiture law in Texas, valuables can be taken if someone is suspected of a felony, but if you're not charged, it's supposed to be given back immediately.
Now we're getting a lot of reaction from our story. The Texas attorney general's office has released a statement today saying, "The conduct called into question is under investigation." The Justice Department, which can look into alleged civil rights violation says this. "The U.S. Justice Department is aware of the allegations and is reviewing them."
Now members of the Texas legislature are considering holding hearings. This is what we've heard today about why so many African- Americans and Latinos are being stopped in this fashion in Tenaha. The sponsor of the legislation to toughen forfeiture laws in the state says this is what he and other legislators took from our report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN WHITMIRE, TEZAS STATE SENATOR: The detail and the outrageous behavior of the Tenaha law enforcement and prosecutor was well documented. It's gotten the attention of many of my colleagues. I'm hearing from senators and representatives that this must be fixed. In fact, they want it fixed now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I mean it is just stunning all of these allegations. And it wasn't just one, allegedly one rove police officer. I mean we're talking about a number of police officers. As well as the DA involved in all this, who was giving checks and using money which you so well documented.
Are there any indications that other drivers are going to be getting their money back now?
TUCHMAN: Not exactly at this point. But I wouldn't be surprised to see that soon, Anderson, because there's no doubt the pressure's on.
COOPER: Unbelievable. It's just great reporting and I'm so glad we did this piece.
Go to the AC360.com Web site to watch Gary's first reports on the Texas Police Department. You've got to watch this report at AC360.com. We have all the reports there and see how all of this thing (sic) got started. It simply boggles the mind.
Coming up next, we have breaking news. We're following a fast- moving story right now in the California coast. A fast-moving wildfire burning. We're trying to get a report from the scene. We're going to bring you more right next. Major huge houses, a live picture right now in Santa Barbara.
Look at these mansions just burning to the ground there. Looks like no one's on the scene at that one right there. We're seeing house after house like this just burning. We'll also take -- we'll have that breaking news.
Also tonight, using drugs to raise dollars. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger taking on the issue of legalizing marijuana. Should it be taxed? We want to hear from you. We're going to have a debate about it. Send us a text message with your question to 94553, that message must start with the letters AC, then a space, then your name and your question. If you don't include AC first with a space, we're not going to receive the text.
Also tonight, an inside look at Bernie Madoff's operations. His long-time secretary breaking her silence, sharing her secrets about what it was like inside with the Wall Street fraud. That is coming up.
Plus could Miss California lose her title for pictures taken years ago? Some topless photos have apparently surfaced. Details when we continue.
COOPER: Breaking news out of California. Overlooking Santa Barbara County, overlooking the coast, wildfires burning there, a huge house right there on fire. Big homes on fire. Broke out yesterday, high winds as high as 60 miles an hour today, stoking it into what you see right now.
Several hundred acres now burning. Local media reporting a number of houses so far have been destroyed. The smoke is so thick and flames are moving so fast, it's really hard to get an accurate account of what is going on. You can see just major homes there. About 2,000 homes have now been evacuated. Choppers, which would ordinarily have been fighting flames all day, have been grounded by high winds, so that's adding to the problem.
Local fire captains saying, quote, "This is an uncontrolled wildfire."
We're going to continue to follow this thing. Governor Schwarzenegger has just declared a state -- a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County. As I said, we'll continue to follow this throughout this hour.
Also ahead tonight in California, the growing debate over marijuana. It seems just about every politician has an idea on how to get the economy going again, but few have generated the reaction that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is getting tonight. And here's why.
The California governor thinks it's time to talk about making marijuana legal. Now, this is him back in 1977 in the movie "Pumping Iron." You can see him smoking a joint right there. Two years ago he told the British version of "GQ" magazine that is not a drug; it's a leaf. The spokesman downplaying the remark at the time as a joke.
But now he's speaking out as governor, favoring a debate over legalization. Not because it might reduce violence or make the border safer, but because it might create more revenue. Tom Foreman has more.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nearly 15 million Americans smoke marijuana each month. The U.S. government says 44 percent of high school seniors have tried it, and some adults openly use it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I do. I'm not afraid to admit that.
FOREMAN: Now amid rumbles that legalizing and taxing marijuana could bring California $1.3 billion a year, lawmakers there are considering just that. A poll shows voters favor it, and the governor wants to talk it over.
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: And I think that f we study very carefully on what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana.
FOREMAN: In New York, the Drug Policy Alliance, encouraged by more than a dozen states that have already approved medicinal marijuana, has long argued for full legalization, comparing the costly war on drugs to prohibition.
ETHAN NADELMANN, DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE: The No. 1, two, and three factors that brought alcohol prohibition to a rapid end in 1933 were the depression, the depression, the depression. And what's driving things very quickly right now with ending marijuana prohibition is the recession, the recession, and the fear of another depression.
FOREMAN (on camera): Drug opponents disagree, saying any new revenue could be swallowed by new problems for law enforcement and health officials. Because, as the marijuana trade has grown lucrative, the drug itself has been reengineered to be stronger.
(voice-over) Drug Watch International is a nonprofit group against legalization.
JOHN COLEMAN, DRUG WATCH INTERNATIONAL: No question about it. I mean, it's the difference between having maybe a 4 ounce glass of beer versus an 8 ounce glass of Jack Daniels. It's far more potent today than it was back in the '60s.
FOREMAN: The president himself doubts the positive economic impact of legalization.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think that is a good strategy to grow our economy.
FOREMAN: But the drum beat to consider it is growing.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: What do you think? Would making marijuana legal help our economy? Send us a text message with your question to 94553. The message has to start with the letters "AC", then a space, then your name and question. If you don't include "AC" first and then a space, we're not going to get the text.
Let's talk -- let's talk about the issue right now. Joining us tonight Jeffrey Miron, a senior economics lecturer at Harvard University. He's for legalization. And against it John Walters, executive vice president of the Hudson Institute. He's also the former drug czar under President George W. Bush.
John, people who want to see marijuana legalized say it's not addictive as other drugs are, that it doesn't increase violence, and by some estimates legalizing it could bring up to $7 billion of income a year to the government. You don't buy that?
JOHN WALTERS, EVP, HUDSON INSTITUTE: Well, I don't think the facts sustain that. I mean, the fact is that marijuana is the single biggest cause of treatment need among illegal drugs in America based on the same -- on the same studies you talked about.
We just ran an earlier piece on this show about violence in Chicago and the killing of kids that are students in elementary school and middle school and high school. Police made the point, drugs are a factor in this. Guns, violence, and out-of-control behavior that fuels and is made worse by drugs.
We already have too many people who suffer from dependency and addiction. Having more people who use only makes that worse. And would the country be better if, instead of 14 million users, as you talked about in the setup piece, you had 20, 30, 40, 50 million users?
COOPER: Jeffrey, what about that? Would legalizing marijuana increase violence? JEFFREY MIRON, SENIOR ECONOMICS LECTURER, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Absolutely not. There's not a shred of evidence or any good reason to think that legalizing marijuana would increase violence. Just the opposite.
Most of the violence we associate with marijuana is because, when you force a trade underground, people in that trade resolve their disputes with guns rather than with lawyers and advertising, the things that people do in legal industries. So it's prohibition that's creating the violence, not marijuana creating the violence. It's just completely preposterous to suggest that marijuana use causes violence.
COOPER: John, what about the economic argument, though, that this would help our economies?
WALTERS: Well, first let's talk about the violence. Studies have now shown 60, 70, 80 percent of the people who are arrested for violent crime have drugs in their body. One of the most prevalent drugs they have in their body are marijuana.
There's this view that people who smoke marijuana are kind of cute Cheech and Chong characters from old-time movies. In fact, it's a source of agitation. It's a source of impaired judgment. It's a source of, in some cases, making people whose behavior already erratic get more erratic. So the greater potency has something to do with that.
The revenue that you would get from having tens of millions of more marijuana users is going to be offset by the cost of this to society. The cost not only in addiction treatment, but also the lost productivity of those individuals, the damage.
Let's think of it this way: many of our families have experience with this. They have loved ones who have had suffered from substance abuse. Many of them from marijuana dependency, many polydrug dependency. Many alcoholism and marijuana. How many of those families think America or their family or their community would be better off with more of that?
COOPER: Jeffrey, what do you think?
MIRON: The key assumption is being made by Mr. Walters is just completely not supported by the evidence, is that legalizing it would lead to some dramatic increase in use. The evidence suggests that there would be, at best, modest increases in use, and those increases that occur would be from responsible moderate users, just as we observed with legal alcohol.
For alcohol we have a huge range of potency. The vast majority of people don't consume extremely potent forms of alcohol, and they don't do the -- there are less potent ones to excess (ph). The vast majority use responsibly. That's exactly what we should expect and what the evidence suggests would be true of marijuana.
COOPER: John, we've got a -- we've got a text question from John in Pennsylvania. He asks, "Won't legalizing marijuana get petty offenders out of our already-crowded jail system?"
WALTERS: Well, in fact, there is an old wives' tale view that possession offenders are a big part of the jail system. In fact, there are 0.3 percent of those in the state prisons, the largest prison population, are there for simple possession of marijuana. Most people are there for violent crimes. Drugs and violence do fit together.
But let me go back to the professor's point about there won't be more use. In California, where medical marijuana has been used as a kind of a wedge issue, or kind of phony effort to try to say, "It's only going to go to people who are sick." It's not going to people who are sick. In fact, in San Francisco it has been reported in the news there are now more marijuana dispensaries than there are Starbucks in downtown San Francisco.
That's more use under a regime that's already halfway disassembled. If you took the lid off altogether, there are 100 million people who drink alcohol once a month or more frequently, and there are about 13 million who are needing treatment for alcoholism.
There are 20 million who use an illegal drug. Most of them use marijuana once a month or more frequently, and a third of them need treatment.
COOPER: We're almost out of time. I just want to give Jeffrey the chance to respond to that -- Jeff.
MIRON: Well, the mere fact that these medical marijuana dispensaries may be dispensing widely to people who are using for reasons other than medicinal is undoubtedly valid. But if there's been an increase in use, then where's the surge in violence? California is just as peaceful and just as normal a place as it's been for a long time, despite this alleged surge in use from the medicinal marijuana. So then, doesn't support the claims being made by the prohibitionist in any way, shape or form.
COOPER: We do have to end it there. I'm sorry. It's a fascinating debate and one we want to continue having.
John Walters, appreciate your time.
And Jeffrey Miron, as well. Thank you.
Let us know what you think. You can join the live chat right now at AC360.com. And also, Erica Hill's broadcasting during our commercial breaks there.
Ahead, Bristol Palin's new speaking tour. The 18-year-old unwed mother and daughter of Sarah Palin now says abstinence is the way to go. That's different than what she said -- than what she said a couple months ago? Well, we'll let you decide.
In a terrifying twist, the Santa Barbara wildfire that stalled earlier today comes to life, forcing hundreds to run for their lives. We continue to follow the story. Plus, a popular priest caught on camera frolicking with a woman on the beach. It cost him his job, but his supporters say his good looks made him a target. Tonight's "Shot" when 360 continues.
COOPER: We have some breaking news from Santa Barbara, California. Wildfires burning, California's governor declaring a state of emergency for the area. A number of homes destroyed. Several hundred acres now burning. You see firefighters on the scene there, trying to battle that blaze. High wind is hampering the firefighters.
With us now on the phone is Dennis Bozanich, a spokesman with Santa Barbara County.
Dennis, how many houses so far have burned? Do you know?
DENNIS BOZANICH, SPOKESMAN, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY: You know, Anderson, I wish we could give you an exact count. So we've been focusing our efforts on putting out the fire. And so we don't have a clear count at this time.
COOPER: Do you know how many firefighters are on the scene?
BOZANICH: We have great mutual aid from a variety of the local jurisdictions across the state of California involved now. I would say the numbers are somewhere in excess of 1,000 folks on the lines.
COOPER: But right now, helicopters have been grounded. Is that so?
BOZANICH: That's correct. Due to the winds that came up this afternoon, there was a time when they're grounded. I think they're trying to find the best time to keep the pilots safe about when they can get them back up in the air.
COOPER: This looks like it's burning in an area where there's some very large homes.
BOZANICH: It has. It's come down out of a very rural canyon area up above the city and moved down into a much more urban area. The pictures that we're seeing are of those same homes. And it's pretty amazing and dramatic pictures. And of course, very tragic for the families that are being affected.
COOPER: Do you know how many folks have evacuated at this point?
BOZANICH: You know, at this point, I do know we have over 100 people at our Red Cross shelter. Many people in this community, it's a close-knit community. And so many people are staying with family and friends across the city.
And the traffic situation much earlier today was pretty horrible as the evacuation area expanded. So I think people are now settling in with family and friends. It's hard to know exactly how many are evacuated at this point.
COOPER: We wish you and the firefighters well. Be as safe as you can. And to all those families out there, wish them, as well. We'll continue to follow it. Dennis, thank you.
Moving on now to Bristol Palin. Unlike other teens who get pregnant, have babies, she has had to face the glare of the media spotlight. In August, Sarah Palin's eldest daughter appeared at the Republican National Convention. There she was with her baby's father, Levi Johnston. They have of course, since split up.
Now recently, Johnston has been speaking out a lot, and now Bristol Palin is, as well. This time in support of abstinence. Erica Hill takes us there.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): There's no debating what can happen when teens have sex. Just ask Bristol Palin and Levi Johnson. Their son Tripp is now four months old. And that has this 18-year-old mom taking on yet another role.
BRISTOL PALIN, DAUGHTER OF SARAH: Having a baby is a huge responsibility, and I think that teens should just wait to have sex.
HILL: Bristol Palin today at an event in honor of National Teen Pregnancy Awareness Day. She also did a round of morning talk shows, saying her comments earlier this year that abstinence were unrealistic were taken out of context.
PALIN: Regardless of what I did personally, I just -- I just think that abstinence is the only way that you can effectively -- 100 percent fool-proof way to prevent pregnancy.
HILL: Her ex-fiance has a different take on sex ed, telling CBS today...
LEVI JOHNSTON, FATHER OF BRISTOL'S BABY: I think it's a great idea, but I don't think just telling young kids "you can't have sex" is just -- it's not going to work. It's not realistic.
HILL: Beyond the sound bites, there is a real divide on what American kids should learn about sex and how that education may affect their sexual activity.
(on camera) Teen pregnancy has rose slightly in 2006, the most recent year we have numbers for. More than 435,000 girls that year ages 15 to 19 gave birth.
Over the past decade, abstinence-only sex ed programs have received over a billion in government funding. And many schools adapted their curriculums to tap into that money.
(voice-over) But now, 23 states and the District of Columbia are rejecting the fund, claiming the "abstinence only" approach simply doesn't work. LAURIE RUBINER, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Teaching kids and giving them the tools and telling them about both abstinence and comprehensive sex education delays the onset of sexual activity.
HILL: But advocates of "abstinence only" programs say comprehensive sex ed programs can actually lead to sexual activity.
JENNIFER MARSHALL, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Programs that are teaching so-called safe sex do have the potential to discourage young people from waiting until marriage.
HILL: Studies show conflicting results. The one thing both sides agree on: abstinence is the only sure way to avoid pregnancy.
PALIN: Girls now, they think that having a baby is like having an accessory on their hip and they don't realize that it's such a huge responsible and such hard work.
HILL: Bristol Palin now on a mission to get that message out and to convince teens abstinence is the only smart option.
COOPER: Is that -- I mean, is she being paid for this now?
HILL: No, in fact the organization, the Candy Foundation (ph), tells CNN that she was compensated for her time and her expenses were covered, but right now she's not a paid spokesperson. It's kind of a fine line there. And that, while nothing is apparently scheduled at this point, they would hope that she will do some more personal appearances with them in the future.
COOPER: All right. We'll continue to follow, Erica. Thanks very much.
Up next, Bernie Madoff's secretary is speaking out about why she believes Madoff is protecting other people and about her boss' flirtatious ways.
And Miss California under fire. The pageant officials that helped her get breast implants are now threatening to strip her of her title because of newly-discovered topless photos. Is that fair? We'll let you decide.
And President Obama putting the pressure on leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan to stop the Taliban. The details coming up.
COOPER: Is Miss California about to lose her crown? Some new developments tonight in the story. But first Erica hill joins us with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Erica.
HILL: Anderson, the government's banks stress test results are actually trickling out early ahead of tomorrow's official release. "The Wall Street Journal" reporting Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, and GMAC are being told to raise more capital. The paper says Bank of America has the biggest shortfall here: $34 billion.
Maine's governor signing a same-sex marriage bill today, just shortly after state lawmakers approved it. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont have passed similar laws. New Hampshire lawmakers passed one today. It is not clear, however, whether the state's governor will sign it into law.
Bernard Madoff's longtime secretary now speaking out. In "Vanity Fair" magazine she writes she helped the FBI gather evidence against her former boss. And this morning on "The Today Show, she believes Madoff is refusing to cooperate with authorities in order to protect others involved in his massive Ponzi scheme. She didn't say who those others may be.
But she did say that Madoff had a roving eye, liked to make sexually-suggestive remarks, and was apparently keen on massage parlors. Interesting tidbit.
COOPER: There you go.
Join the live chat right now at AC360.com. Let us know what you think about massage parlors -- I don't know -- whatever you want. Erica Hill is also broadcasting live during a Web cast of the commercial break.
So coming up next, should Miss California be stripped of her title? Pageant officials are actually threatening to do just that because of some topless modeling pictures taken before Carrie Prejean's pageant days. Is that fair for the same agency that basically helped her get breast implants and then suddenly say topless photos are verboten? We'll let you decide.
COOPER: Carrie Prejean's days as Miss California may soon be over, and just within hours. Pageant officials have been meeting all day, they say, deciding whether the college student breached her contract. And as you'll see the trouble has apparently, they say, nothing to do with her stand on same-sex marriage. The problem stems from a photograph.
Dan Simon has the "360 Follow."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Carrie Prejean.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Miss California may soon be missing her title. And it's not because of the interviews or the implants the pageant helped give her. It may be because of this: a photograph taken when Carrie Prejean says she was 17.
The picture was posted this week on the gossip site TheDirty.com. It shows Prejean posing at a modeling session wearing underwear and nothing else.
(on camera) At first Prejean told pageant officials there was just one photograph. But now she admits there were more of her taken at the same time. Either way, it could spell trouble.
HARVEY LEVIN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, TMZ: There are several things that Miss California pageant officials are concerned about. One is she lied in her contract. She said that she never posed nude or seminude. Well, she did.
SIMON: Some, including a Miss USA judge, are calling for her head, make that crown.
ALICIA JACOBS, JUDGE, MISS USA PAGEANT: She is in horrible breach of contract. She signed a morality contract. A morality clause is in her contract that says she has never posed for nude or seminude or inappropriate photos. That right there is my belief that she should lose the crown.
SIMON: Prejean calls it a witch hunt, telling CNN in a statement the pictures were part of a vicious and mean-spirited effort to silence her for defending traditional marriage. And it was that position that first ignited the firestorm and earned her worldwide publicity.
CARRIE PREJEAN, MISS CALIFORNIA: I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman.
SIMON: Her traditional values stand hit the airwaves with Prejean appearing on cable programs to push her message. She also joined an ad campaign against same sex-marriage.
PREJEAN: Marriage is good.
SIMON: Preaching morality, but posing nearly naked. Some think it speaks of hypocrisy.
But that's a charge also being leveled at the pageant, which helped Prejean get the breast implants and paid for them. The organizers are now considering disqualifying her. The co-executive director of Miss California USA plans to meet with the Miss California runner-up, Tammy Farrell, to discuss the possible next steps.
Whatever happens, Prejean has stolen the spotlight. And as they say, there's only one worse thing than being talked about, and that's not being talked about.
Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.
Up next, an update on breaking news now: an out-of-control wildfire in Santa Barbara County, California. Firefighters trying to get the upper hand. And another young life snuffed out in Chicago, the 36th child murdered this year. How did this happen? What's being done to stop it? We investigate ahead.
COOPER: A state of emergency now declared for Santa Barbara County. You're looking at a live picture right there. Just a house burning to the ground. A major wildfire began yesterday, now burning out of control. A number of very elaborate homes destroyed, several hundred acres burning, several thousand evacuees reporting.
We just got off the phone with a county spokesperson. He said many are staying with friends and relatives, so it's hard to get an accurate count of how many people have evacuated. He just said about 100 people are now in a Red Cross shelter.
Coming up at the top of the hour, taking a look at Chicago's epidemic of student murders. How they're fighting to save lives on the street, and what the city's top cop has to say about why the killing just keep on happening. We'll be right back.