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Sorting Through Questions about Virginia Tech Killings
Aired April 20, 2007 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GLENN BECK, HOST: Tonight, gun rights in the crosshairs. Should the Virginia Tech killer have had the right to purchase a weapon? We`ll talk to a pro gun advocate, Ted Nugent.
And was it our violent culture that helped create this monster, or have there always been bad seeds?
Plus, what are the warning signs: the bizarre writings, the stalking.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we could have known, don`t you think we would have?
BECK: What can we learn from Cho`s behavior, and can we prevent future killers? All this and more tonight.
BECK: It`s been a tough week, hasn`t it? I don`t know where to even begin on the range of emotions that I have been feeling this week. We know how the families of the victims of each of the Virginia Tech shootings, how they feel. They`re continuing to mourn.
I think at the same time, at least I am. I don`t know about you I`m trying to figure out what happened.
I have really struggled with the darker side of me. Why am I not as shocked or as sad as I was during Columbine? What has changed inside of me? And I don`t like it.
I want to know why the killer would be allowed to purchase guns, considering he wasn`t a citizen, mental health was questionable at least.
I want to know about the media. What role do we play in this? Do we -- did we build this monster? Is it just him? How about do we put his picture on TV? Do we make him famous?
Well, tonight like we do every Friday, I want to bring in a panel of people to talk about some of the issues and the events that have happened this week. We`ll also start here with the new debate about gun control.
Authorities were well aware of this kid`s mental health issues. You know what? I`m not going to say the guy`s name anymore. I don`t want to make him more famous than he already is.
They knew about it starting in 2005. The Virginia court deemed him an imminent danger to himself and others. Campus police were dealing with complaints that he was stalking female students. I got some information for you here in just a second. I haven`t heard anyplace else. When I heard it, I thought, "Oh, my gosh. How did we not get this guy?"
He was referred to a mental health center for treatment.
Ultimately, however, this pathetic guy had no criminal record, nothing to prevent him from the legal purchase of a .9 millimeter Glock and a 22 caliber handgun, weapons he then turned on 32 innocent people.
Now how do you solve that without becoming "The Minority Report"?
Joined now by the panel, Don Clark, formerly with the FBI. Ted Nugent. He`s gun rights activist and legendary musician. And from KFTK in St. Louis, radio talk show host Dave Glover.
Ted, let me start with you. I`m a gun owner. I am right with you, buddy, on owning guns and carrying guns. How, however, do we stop the problem of crazy people being able to buy guns?
TED NUGENT, GUN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Well, I believe every system is already in place, Glenn. There`s a self-evident, God-given right, dynamic, at play here. And certainly, and all conscientious people, whether they`re pro-gun, anti-gun, no gun, lots of guns, we all believe that decent people should never be denied the right to keep and bear arms, the right to self defense.
But I think as the evidence is coming in, and it is still coming in, this guy was earmarked on numerous levels: campus levels, law enforcement levels, the court system levels, the mental health community levels. The red signs and the alarms have been ringing nonstop.
Once again, the liberal policy of feeling good instead of doing good and worried about hurting someone`s feelings was more important, I guess, than saving lives or stopping dangerous behavior.
As a parent, I monitor my kids` conduct. And if I saw any of those red flags in my household, I promise you, I would have...
BECK: Yes, but you know what? I mean, let me just -- I want to add this to the conversation. So let me open this up to all of you guys.
Here is the problem. Nobody -- you couldn`t tell the parents. We live in a world now where you can`t find out what`s happening to your kid on campus, because, God forbid...
BECK: Yes, so how do you solve it?
DAVE GLOVER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Glenn, you know what? I have heard any number of pundits this week talk about how this guy fell through the cracks. This guy didn`t fall through the cracks. He was shoved through the cracks. This wasn`t an accident. This was willful.
Dozens, if not hundreds, of people over the 23 years of this guy`s life looked the other way. They ignored these screaming signs of insanity and violence, and they did it, I think, for two reasons.
One, this whole pervasive political correctness. He was a minority, and he was a non-resident, too very much protected groups. Nobody wants to call them a nut bag.
And two, the fear of a lawsuit. Can you imagine kicking him out of college because he seemed creepy and then getting a lawsuit?
This was no mistake. This was willful.
BECK: OK, Don?
DON CLARK, FORMER FBI AGENT: Glenn, I really -- I really think that was a little bit of stretch to get the minority aspect of it -- into it. I mean, let`s take this for what it is.
First of all, let`s know back to the gun issue. You know, I don`t think there`s a God given right to carry a gun. You know, and trust me, I`m not anti-gun. I`ve carried one for years and years and, unfortunately, have had to use it.
But I have to tell you, I do think that we have to have a better system of looking at these people. We have to recognize that there are people out there that are sick. And we don`t know this information, so we`ve got to do a better job on the background investigation to try to find out who they are. People say criminal law...
NUGENT: And I agree.
CLARK: Wait a second. Wait a second. People say criminals don`t buy weapons. That`s probably true. But there are innocent people that are supposedly nice, innocent people that do buy weapons and become criminals. So if we don`t a little bit know more about them, then we don`t know who we`re selling them to.
NUGENT: And Don, I agree completely. And God bless the great heroes of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but you know more than anybody in this post-9/11 era that it was a bureaucratic wall between the absolute warriors of law enforcement that didn`t allow the CIA and the Secret Service and the FBI and the DEA and the federal marshals to even talk together.
The same thing took place at Virginia Tech. We`ve got law enforcement, court, campus and we`ve got the mental health community that weren`t allowed to communicate and put this guy in Instacheck that would have caught him, based on the NRA`s policy.
BECK: Hang on just a second. Hang on. Let`s look at this. Has anybody ever tried to get something -- a $12 bill that was charged off onto your credit? Have you ever tried to get that off your credit?
Can you imagine trying to get something off of -- getting, you know, I`m on Prozac. Getting that off your record so you can have some rights back? How do you -- how do you balance this without becoming some nightmare that is like the DMV?
GLOVER: Well, Glenn, you know what happened here -- go ahead.
NUGENT: The balance is -- go ahead.
GLOVER: What happened here, I happen to subscribe to the belief, as most Secret Servicemen will tell you, if someone is willing to trade their life for the president or someone else or 32 other lives, if they`re obsessed enough and resilient enough, they`re going to do it.
The thing here, the point here is that we rolled out a red carpet for this guy. We made it easy for him, between giving him the gun, in spite of all of the reasons not to, and this gun-free zone.
I think, Ted, you`ve got a couple thoughts on that.
NUGENT: Well, yes, the gun-free zone is a guarantee -- it`s a recipe for disaster. One hundred percent of the time throughout the history of Sarah Brady`s gun-free zone, innocents have been forcefully unarmed and helpless so that they can just bend over for the most violent amongst us. That`s wrong on any level.
BECK: 2002, the biggest slayings of people with gun violence happened in Europe, all of them in -- in gun-free zones.
You know, I was on "Good Morning America" today, and they had some Brady Law expert. And he said, you know, they`re saying they`re taking the guns away in Australia to make Australia a safer place.
Really? Look at the stats. Kidnapping is up 41 percent. Gun robbery is up about 50 percent. England, same thing. Violence with guns up 50 percent. It doesn`t work.
NUGENT: The bottom line, if I may, there`s a line drawn in the sand. And I`ve got to tell you, it really is black and white. It`s simple as this. I believe in self defense. People on the other side of the line don`t believe in self defense because they`re reasonable.
Glenn, Mayor Bloomberg`s reasonable gun control was to have uniformed, sworn in special deputies go to a shooting at a pizza parlor, forced into unarmed helplessness. And they were cops in training.
CLARK: Wait a second, Glenn. This is just going too far. You know, you believe in self defense. Of course, I`m going to protect myself and my family.
But that`s why we have an organized society. We have organized law enforcement organizations. We have organized Special Services, organizations put together to try and help us to prevent these kinds of things from happening. We don`t want to have to go through defending all these things. We want to be able to prevent some of these things. And this guy...
NUGENT: Don, you`re wrong. We do -- Don, that wasn`t a crack. That was a chasm. And believe me, the U.S. Supreme Court -- you`ve got to know this, Don. The U.S. Supreme Court has determined numerous times over and over again, law enforcement has no responsibility whatsoever to protect we the people. I believe that`s my God given duty.
CLARK: Wait a second. Wait a second. Think about what happened after 9/11. What did we all of a sudden say? That wait a second, guys. We have got to put in a preventive measure to our law enforcement efforts and try to stop these crimes before they happen. Stop these terrorist attacks.
BECK: Yes, but...
CLARK: Why can`t we relate that to our everyday living and put in mechanisms that we can try to stop these things and prevent them? We don`t need to make sure that everybody`s got a gun. What we have to do is have a system out there.
NUGENT: Not everybody...
BECK: Hold on. Hold on just a second. I want to pick this back up. Because Don, you said something just a second ago. You said we don`t have a God given right to carry a gun.
I`m sorry, but if you look at the Constitution in our founding document, we lend -- we get the power from God. God gives it to us. We lend those rights to the government. So we actually do, in our system of government, we do have a God given right.
Now the idea is how much power do we allow the government to take back from us and let them have that?
CLARK: I`m never going to buy that, that we have a God-given right to carry a gun.
BECK: Read the Constitution.
CLARK: Our country -- our country and our laws and our law enforcement have a commitment to protect the citizens of this place and not everybody -- we don`t live in the Wild West anymore.
BECK: OK, Don, Ted, Dave, hang on just a second. I want to pick this back up here. I think it`s a balance between all of this. I think we`re all saying the same thing. We just have to figure out how to balance.
Also coming up, more on the aftermath of the Virginia Tech tragedy. How much of a role does our culture play? Are we creating these monsters? Are they just here? Which is coming first? We`ll find out, and we`ll be back in a minute.
CHRISTINE PARK, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Hello everyone. I`m Christina Park with your Headline Prime news break.
A standoff is over at Johnson Space Center. We want to tell you what we know now in this breaking news story out of Houston. Two people are dead after a gunman, William Phillips Jr., barricaded himself inside a building for four hours. Phillips killed a hostage and then himself. A second hostage was uninjured. Phillips was NASA contractor who had just been fired.
Bells tolled across the country, honoring the Virginia Tech shooting victims. It was a day of mourning for the 32 slain students and professors, marked by prayer services and moments of silence.
More details are emerging about the shootings. Authorities tell CNN Cho Seung-Hui fired as many as 225 shots during that rampage. Most victims were shot at least three times.
And a day after Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified on Capitol Hill, CNN has been told several administration officials want him to resign. They say he did little to regain his credibility and may have lost a few supporters he had left.
That`s the news for now. I`m Christina Park.
BECK: You know, it was eight years ago today we all were shocked and horrified by Columbine. Eight year anniversary today.
Now here we are. Has anything changed? Has a damn thing changed? We`re still arguing about gun rights. How do these kids get the guns? What kind of monsters are we creating? Did they create themselves?
I`m joined by our panel tonight, Don Clark, formerly with the FBI; Ted Nugent, gun rights advocates and legendary musician; and from KFTK in St. Louis, radio talk show host, Dave Glover.
You know, I want to pick it back up with you, Don. And I don`t think there`s anybody here that, you know, who`s on the panel that is saying unlimited rights. Maybe Ted. You`re not saying everybody can have a gun. You`re saying crazy people shouldn`t have a gun, right, Ted?
NUGENT: Yes, I`m a logical guy here.
BECK: OK. I just wanted to make sure.
But Don, I think what the difference is, is it`s kind of giving people the right to have rights in these gun free zones, abolishing them, you have -- it`s like nuclear deterrence.
If everybody -- not everybody, but if those people have some guns, you have some sort of deterrence that people know, you know what? I`m going to get slapped on the wrist or somebody else could have a gun here.
When it comes to crazy people, and this is the problem with Iran, they`ll launch a nuke, because they don`t care if they die. This kid at Virginia Tech, you could have a teacher have a gun. He`ll have to kill him.
But what is the -- what is the part of nuclear deterrence or arming people that you disagree with and say that it wouldn`t work? It`s been shown to work.
CLARK: Well, you know, I think we live in a society, Glenn, where law enforcement and the organizational structures should protect us. And that`s what we need to work towards. We need to work towards our law enforcement organizations being able to solve crime and being able to prevent crime.
BECK: All right.
CLARK: We need to make sure that we`ve got special services out there to pick up people who have illnesses and try to do something with that information. I don`t think that everybody that has a home or has a place here should have a gun and they can have a gun. But I don`t think they should be dependent on it, that I`ve got to have that to defend my family.
GLOVER: Glenn, can I respond to this?
BECK: Yes, go ahead.
GLOVER: Can I say something?
GLOVER: I agree with Don that we should have a government, and that`s the word he used, should, that can protect us. So we wouldn`t need to protect ourselves, but I don`t live in that world, and neither does Don.
And until that world exists, until my government can show me and prove to me -- and the evidence is mounting every day that they cannot -- until then, I`m going to want to have a gun, and I want Ted Nugent to have a gun and everyone else.
BECK: You know, I`ll tell you what. Ted, you`ll probably be able to answer this. Back in 1982, there was a town, where was it, in...
NUGENT: Kennesaw, Georgia, Glenn.
BECK: Yes, and they said mandatory. They said something that I`m not even saying. They`re saying everybody that lives in the town must own a gun. And what happened to the crime rate?
NUGENT: We`re celebrating the -- we`re celebrating the 25th anniversary. And I wish that Don and everyone else would study this example, and the evidence is irrefutable. It`s written right there. There it is. No crime.
Not only did they not have much crime to begin with. But once the statute was passed where all law-abiding citizens in the city of Kennesaw, Georgia, had to own a gun, crime rate, it didn`t just go down, Glenn. It vanished. It disappeared.
CLARK: How many people in Kennesaw, Georgia? How many people in Kennesaw, Georgia?
NUGENT: The study done...
CLARK: The point is...
NUGENT: Per capita.
CLARK: The point is, is that they are 4.5 billion people here in the Houston area. And so you want every one of those people to have a gun. All of the criminals have got them, as well.
BECK: No. No. I`m not saying that. And Don, so you know, the criminals are going to have the guns. You know this. You`re an FBI guy. The criminal get -- they`ve got the guns. You don`t have to worry about those guys.
And nobody is saying, at least on this panel, nobody is saying everybody should have a gun. You know, let`s have some standards here. Let`s make sure you go through classes, et cetera, et cetera, and you know, there`s some sanity here.
And the other thing, Don, is I have such respect for you and the FBI and, I mean, gosh darn it, you guys, to be frank with you, you`re nuts.
BECK: I don`t know how you guys do it.
NUGENT: But they`re warriors, Glenn. They`re warriors.
BECK: After 9/11, you know, you brought up 9/11 a second ago. And it was the law enforcement that came to me. I mean, I talked to cops everywhere. And they`re, like, please keep getting word out. Please tell people, you know, what to look for, what`s happening in the world. Because you guys see it first.
And shouldn`t we be there to back you guys up? I think we abandoned the cops and the FBI too often. We`re doing it with the border agents. Shouldn`t we be there?
CLARK: Of course. Of course you should be there. Of course, our citizens should be behind the law enforcement. I mean, but that`s my point, guys. I`m only saying let the law enforcement people do what they need to do.
Let`s not say that everybody who qualifies -- and qualifying is something that we need to look at -- has a gun and they will step in and protect and take care of themselves.
Certainly, in emergencies if you`ve a gun, if I`ve got one, we`re going to do what we need to do. But that should not be a standard of our society. We should have law enforcement. We should have things in place to protect us, to include 9/11.
BECK: Don, Ted, thank you. Dave Glover. We`ll be back in just a minute. We`re going to find out -- we`re going to have a conversation on is there anything that we`re supposed to do? What is it that we missed? What is it that we need to change to prevent future tragedies like Columbine eight years ago today and Virginia Tech this week?
Back in a minute.
BECK: You know, here in America, it seems we all hate math, but we love numbers, especially when they help us keep score. Anybody else notice the sick tally that we`ve been keeping? Even before the final death toll was known in this week`s Virginia Tech school shooting, the media couldn`t wait to tell us this is the worst mass shooting in American history.
What is it with our fixation on records? I mean, sports stats are one thing, but this is mass murder. And did anybody else watch TV and think, "Oh, this is great. You know there`s somebody out there going, `Well, I can do better than that`."
Jack Levin is a professor at Northeastern University. He`s also the director of the Brudnick Center on Violence.
Jack, why do we feel it`s necessary to rank things?
JACK LEVIN, PROFESSOR, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY: You know, Glenn, we`re an extremely competitive society. We want to know who`s on top. We want to know who`s the winner. We want to know who`s in first place and second place and third place. That`s how you win the race.
BECK: But isn`t this the...
LEVIN: I think there`s also something else to this. I think after 9/11, we became sort of desensitized to violence, expecting really large body counts before we decided to do anything about it.
You know, 3,000 people got killed September 11, 2001. So, you know, what`s six, what`s eight, what`s ten lives snuffed out by a mass killer? Now we`ve got 32. That`s big news.
BECK: Isn`t this the kind of stuff, though, when you`re talking about the numbers, isn`t this the kind of thing that, you know, it`s almost like those trading cards with the mass murderers. Isn`t this the kind of stuff that some people feed on, because they look on it and say, "Well, I can be famous. I can be the worst in history."
LEVIN: You know, you`re right. You know, I spoke with a serial killer who had raped, tortured and murdered 11 children in British Columbia, Canada. And when I was with him, he talked about himself as Hannibal Lechter, and he started to confess to murders that I knew he couldn`t have committed.
He wanted to be the Heisman Trophy winner of serial murder. And that`s the way he did it. He wanted to have the largest body count ever.
BECK: I was in a small town when I heard about this. And I was on campus at a university in Idaho. And I thought, boy, you know, if it can happen in this little teeny town, it could happen in this town. If it could happen in the Amish community, it could happen anywhere.
And I started thinking about it, and I don`t even know if there`s any stats on this. Does this kind of stuff happen more in small towns? Because it seems like it always is happening in a small town and not a large city.
LEVIN: Well, there`s a reason for that. And I think your observation is accurate. You know, it could happen anywhere. But it`s much more likely to happen in a small community, in a large school, where a student who feels like an outsider feels trapped. He doesn`t have alternatives.
You know, if you go to college in a large city, there may be several different groups you could join. You know, in Boston, we`ve got more than 100 colleges, got more than 150,000 students. If you can`t find somebody like you in one place, you will in another.
But if you`re an outsider looking in, and you`re in Blacksburg, which is a beautiful community, and also, if you`re at a school like Virginia Tech, where there`s a really strong sense of school spirit, if you don`t have that spirit, you feel like an outsider looking in. And I think that is a factor.
BECK: Sure. Thanks, Jack.
Up next, everybody wants to point the finger. Well why don`t we look at the media`s role in this tragedy? It`s "The Real Story", next.
BECK: Well, we may never know what truly motivated this sick individual to commit mass murder. The 1,800-word manifesto mailed to NBC during the break between the killings offers some disturbing insight but little else that anybody could use to bring any kind of closure to this story.
What it does prove for certain, however, is this kid craved attention, and boy, did we just fall right into him. He got it, lots of it. I`ve said it before, I`ll say again, I don`t think this pathetic loser was insane. I think his mental immune system was weak, maybe, and he was susceptible to a cancerous culture.
It`s an important distinction. Insanity is a legal term that means we as a society get to absolve ourselves. We are done. We have no responsibility here. I don`t think we should wash our hands clean on this. I don`t think we can. We`re fostering an environment where monsters like this are allowed to draw breath, and we have to figure out how to change things before our kids turn into those monsters, those kinds of barbarians that will to do anything just to be famous or until those barbarians kill our kids.
To help me do that is Bill Maier. He`s a child and family psychologist, as well as the vice president of Focus on the Family. And from the Family Research Council is Charmaine Yoest. Back with me also, KFTK`s Dave Glover.
Guys, I`m going to read this. This is from his play, "Richard McBeef." And you tell me what the problem is. He says, "I hate him. Must kill Dick, must kill Dick. Dick must die." In it, he talks about child molestation, et cetera, et cetera.
I see this and I think to myself, you know what? I grew up in the days of "Little House on the Prairie." I don`t know if Dick would have died, but this wouldn`t have made it into any kind of paper at all. This is tolerated now as part of our culture. How do we fix this?
CHARMAINE YOEST, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: That was a paper crying out for an F, if not being immediately expelled from class. You know, we just really have got to recover a language to talk about these kinds of things. You were exactly right in your set-up point, Glenn. We have to be able to name this as evil and say, "You can`t write papers like that. There`s a line that you`ve crossed over. This is not creative, and it won`t be tolerated."
BECK: I tell you, let me just open this up. Has anybody heard the name Quentin Tarantino? You can`t say, "You can`t write that. You can`t say that in this culture."
BILL MAIER, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: It`s freedom of speech, Glenn. It`s all freedom of speech. It`s our right to talk about whatever disgusting, deranged thing we want to talk about in the name of art. And that`s a big part of the problem. We`re not calling it evil. You call it evil on your radio show, on your TV show, and I`m proud of you for doing that, but there`s a lot of individuals, the cultural elite in this country, who refuse to recognize good and evil. They worship at the altar of moral relativism, and I think that`s a big part of where we are today.
BECK: OK, Dave, you`re a guy like me. You`re on radio every day. We are wordsmiths every day. We make our money, our living. We`re passionate about it. Three hours every day, four hours for me a day, just spilling my opinion out of my mouth. How is it I could possibly sleep at night if I say, "No, wait a minute, on a college campus, there are limits. You can`t say these things. In a creative environment, there are limits to free speech." How can you say that?
DAVE GLOVER, KFTK 97.1 FM: Glenn, I agree with the panelist. It`s sickening what goes on now in pop culture and music. It just is. But it all comes back, you`re not going to change that. You are not going to change that. It comes back to two words: parental responsibility.
I have a 2-year-old daughter at home who knows nothing about nothing. Every child born in the world is born blank slate. And it`s up to us to teach them right from wrong so that, when they have natural inclinations toward the dark side, I, as a religious person, believe we all have that inclination, but that`s where parenting and discipline comes into this.
BECK: But you know what? Everybody says, "My kid knows the difference." It`s not my kid. My kid knows the difference between truth and fiction. My kid can play the video games. My kid can go see the movies. My kid is fine with this.
Do you know what I find fascinating, is this week Virginia Tech had put out a memo to all of their students warning them that this week "Girls Gone Wild" was going to be on campus trying to get girls to go wild. I`m sure they didn`t show up this week, but that`s standard fare now.
I found out that this guy was taking pictures of girls underneath the table. And what happened? He was shooting up their skirts or whatever underneath a table. None of the girls pressed charges. Growing up, we wouldn`t have tolerated that. We would have caught this guy beforehand.
MAIER: You know, the culture has slidden towards Gomorrah. And, frankly, I think it`s there. We`ve been on this path since the 1960s. And there are so many parents that are concerned. We hear from a quarter- million parents a month here at Focus on the Family via phone, e-mail, and letter. And they`re scared. They`re saying, "I`m looking around at this culture. I`m looking around at the world my kids are going to grow up in, and I am very, very worried for them."
And I think we all should be. And Dave is right about parental responsibility, but I think, you know, Hollywood has got a huge responsibility, too.
BECK: We`re buying it.
MAIER: We are buying it. You`re right, Glenn.
BECK: I mean, look, let`s be honest, the NBC thing. You know, everybody is jumping on the bandwagon, bashing NBC for running this. Let`s be real honest with each other. Did all of us see it? Did all of us watch that video?
YOEST: Well, you know what? It`s interesting you bring that up, Glenn, because one of the things I think we have to bring back into the public discussion is an ancient tradition of banishing the name from public consciousness of someone who does this kind of heinous act.
And now, instead, we`ve kind of gone this other direction in the interest of people`s right to know by doing nothing but talking about him. And one of the things that I think is different about this particular instance from others that we`ve seen is, you`re really not hearing stories about the victim. And it`s because that space is being taken up by his video and the information about him and, you know, what was his trouble and his autism and this, that, and the other thing. I say he needs to be banished from our public consciousness and focus on the heroism of the victims.
GLOVER: And, Glenn, we saw an example in the last couple of weeks all too starkly with Don Imus, where a group or groups of individuals stood up and said, "We`re not going to tolerate this anymore." And the man is out of work. When it comes to Hollywood, or rap music, or things that the people on this panel would probably find as offensive as people found Don Imus` comments, this is the extent of it, what we`re doing right now, speaking politely about this, all agreeing, we don`t take that extra step and really do much about it.
BECK: Well, you know, I mean, let`s just look at this. NBC, the guy who made the decision, fired Don Imus, is the guy who made the decision, run that envelope, put those images, and let`s make sure that we put that logo up on the top. It`s the same guy.
YOEST: Well, you know, isn`t that fascinating? I mean, these people are so confused today about where the lines are. Everybody, we`re able to generate a consensus that it wasn`t OK to say the things that Don Imus did. It`s OK in schools. We can be very directive kids and tell them, "Thou shalt not smoke," but we can`t tell them, "Thou shall not kill," because that might bring in the introduction of the concept of God into the classrooms.
You know, let`s go back again to Columbine. After Columbine, the kids banded together. They wanted to put up a display up in the school of tiles commemorating the victims, and some of the kids had the audacity to put things about God onto their tiles, and there was this hue and cry, saying, "Oh, we can`t have that up in a public space." I mean, what have we come to in our culture when that`s the case?
BECK: Let`s be real honest with each other. One by one, each of you -- Don, I`ll start with you. You feel as bad inside as you feel you should feel on this episode this week? Is there a part of you that has grown callous or a callus over the soul a little bit? Do you feel as bad on this event as you did on Columbine? Because I don`t, and that scares me.
GLOVER: You know, Glenn, when people ask me the worst part of my job, the worst part of my job is knowing everything. I have to know everything that goes on, whether it`s Britney Spears or it`s Virginia Tech. And I`ve absolutely become desensitized. I can be eating my breakfast and read that 10,000 people died in a mudslide in Indonesia and I`ll say, "Pass the sugar." And that`s not right, and I`m not proud of that, but it is the true.
MAIER: Well, you know, from a moral, ethical perspective, Glenn, I happen to believe that every individual is made in God`s image, and that gives us incredible worth and value.
BECK: I understand that. I`m asking you as an American. I know what we`re supposed to feel. I`m asking you, have you gone a little cold?
MAIER: I think all of us have. There`s no doubt about that, Glenn. How can we not go cold when we`re bombarded with this stuff day in and day out? The human brain just isn`t capable of assimilating all of that. And, eventually, I think we do start to shut down. If we didn`t, we`d go nuts.
BECK: OK, Charmaine, I`ve got to go break. Real quick, do you feel the same way?
YOEST: As a mother, I have to tell you, I found myself choking up a lot. But when we come back, I can tell you, I think your point goes to a largest point about desensitization in our culture that I think is true.
BECK: We`ll start there. Back in a flash.
BECK: This is something that came out of the "Roanoke Times." This is January 31, 2006. "A bill which would have given college students and employees the right to carry handguns on campus died with nary a shot fired in the general assembly. Virginia Tech spokesperson Larry Hincker was happy to hear the bill was defeated. He said, quote, `I`m sure the university community is appreciative of the general assembly`s action, because this will help parents" -- remember, they`re talking about a gun- free zone -- "this will help parents, students, faculty, and visitors feel safe on our campus."
That was about a year ago when they kept it a gun-free zone. I wonder how they`re feeling today about the gun-free zone. Those who want to carry guns, want to kill people are going to.
Bill Maier, Charmaine Yoest, also Dave Glover is with us. We were talking with Charmaine here, and you were saying that there`s a bigger issue here about our society and how we`re spiraling out of control.
YOEST: Let me tie your point about guns to this question of culture is, the left always wants to go to a kind of mechanistic solution and say, "Well, we`re going to create this legislation related to guns," instead of looking at the human heart.
And one of the things we`ve been saying for years, for example, in the pro-life movement is that there is a slippery slope. When you make choice, you`re God, and you say that whatever choice you make is OK, is it any surprise when you say that you can take human life in one context if you`ve got Peter Singer at Princeton who`s arguing that you can kill babies after they`re born? You`ve got other people arguing that we should establish euthanasia for old people. And then you turn around say, but, yes, you should value human life in the classroom. Is it any wonder that that`s a little bit confusing to people?
BECK: I want to make it really clear, in case anybody has just tuned in, nobody is saying anybody is responsible for this Virginia Tech massacre other than the shooter. He`s the guy. What I think we`re missing on television is a dialogue of, how do we prevent this?
And I`ve got to tell you, more gun laws, fewer gun laws, guns in the school, guns not in the school, locks on the door, better reporting on mental health, et cetera, et cetera, all of those are Band-Aids. So what is it that fixes it? It`s personal responsibility. And, quite honestly, the only answer I can come up with is family, fixing our families.
GLOVER: Glenn, let me give you an answer you don`t want to hear. The answer to your specific question is nothing. Nothing will fix this. There will always be people like this gunman, and they will always be successful.
BECK: No, but you know what? Hang on. But wait a minute. Dave, you and I have talked about this before. I talk about it on the radio show a lot, that I believe our civilization is experienced birth pangs, that we are -- these are getting closer together, and they are getting more and more violent. And we`re giving birth to something. And unless we slow these birth pangs down, unless we change our culture, we`re going to give birth to something that nobody wants to see.
GLOVER: I would disagree. I would say that it`s not birth pangs; it`s a death rattle. Let me give you a real-life example of this.
BECK: At least have some hope.
GLOVER: Glenn, we all remember Rodney King, and we remember that horrific video. As an attorney, I found this fascinating. When the attorneys went in to defend these cops who just beat the hell out of this guy, they had this horrible video to contend with. You know what they did? They made the decision to show it over 1,000 times to the jury. By the end of this, it made no impression on them at all. They were absolutely desensitized to the violence, and they found them not guilty. The exactly same thing happens to us every night on television, every day on the radio, everywhere we go.
YOEST: Well, you know, Glenn, As a representative of a Family Research Council, I want to agree with you about the family question, but, you know, this killer did have two parents. They were married. So, you know, Dave is making a really good point, that there`s always going to be evil in people`s hearts out there, but your point, Glenn, is that we`ve lost the guard rail that keeps people like this from crossing over into making these bad choices, these evil choices.
You know, going back to this question about the culture in movies. We haven`t mentioned yet that he was imitating, directly imitating a movie that he had seen that had been featured at the Cannes Film Festival and celebrated as a great piece of art. So, you know, we really have to be looking at -- as a parent myself, I have to tell you, it is very, very hard to be interacting with these influences that are bombarding kids today.
BECK: All right. Bill, I want to come to you for this. Here we are, eight years marking Columbine today, eight years. I remember what that day felt like, and it doesn`t feel like this week to me. We`ve changed.
Eight years ago, I`ve asked my radio audience to do this, to imagine - - just look at illegal immigration. Look at the way we have spiraled out of control between the difference between left and right, as opposed to right and wrong, you know, the arguments in Washington, just the way we are uncivil to each other, the difference in media in the last 25 years. Project for me America 2025. What does it look like, if we just keep on this course?
MAIER: I don`t want to think about it, Glenn. You know, there are some historians that would look at our culture right now, and they would find striking resemblances to the Roman Empire in its last days, and that descended into chaos and anarchy. And why? Because of moral decline, because the moral constraints were thrown off.
And yet there are a lot of voices -- you talk about this on your show all the time -- a lot of voices saying, "We shouldn`t have moral constraints. Moral values are outdated and irrelevant."
BECK: Bill, Charmaine, Dave, thanks. We`ll be back in just a minute.
BECK: You know, believe it or not, it was only six months ago when we all watched in horror as Charles Carl Roberts terrorized a classroom of Amish children in Pennsylvania. Everybody remembers the shootings, the anger. Do you remember how it made you feel? Most likely what we don`t remember is the name Charles Carl Roberts. Why? I think it`s because of the way the Amish reacted that became the story.
Do you remember the Amish grandfather standing there with the young boys, as he gathered them around, telling them they must not think evil of this man, all while standing just feet away from the body of a 13-year-old girl? Dozens of Amish that made up half of the mourners at the funeral for the killer, it was their outpouring of support for a family of a mass murderer in an almost impossible time that was something I don`t think any of us will ever forget.
It was their principle of forgiveness, and unlike the principles of almost everybody we deal with from work to Washington, they didn`t change when things got tough.
As we watched the fallout from the Virginia Tech massacre, I think we see a lot of the same strength that we admired from Pennsylvania, but we also see a lot of finger-pointing going on. People are already talking about lawsuits and delays and gun laws and anything else that can possibly be held responsible besides the shooter. And, you know, some of those things are valid, but I hope there winds up to be a little more.
You know, one of the things that raced through my mind after the initial reports were the parents, and not just the parents of the victims, but also the parents of the shooter. You know, they ran a dry cleaning shop in Virginia. And by all accounts, they were just normal citizens that have just been torn apart by this tragedy, just like everybody else. Can you imagine the thought of your son doing something like this?
Reports today have swirled around that they both have attempted suicide; however, it looks like they were both just hospitalized due to shock. I guess it`s kind of counterintuitive. I mean, a big part of me thinks the last thing I`m going to waste my time on is the parents of a vicious lunatic.
But, really, we shouldn`t forget the lesson that we all learned while watching the way the Amish reacted in Pennsylvania, that tragedy brings out both crushing emotion and opportunity. In this case, it`s the opportunity to look back six months from now and not remember the name of the maniac who did it. And if that happens, it will be small, but a significant footnote to a devastating event.
From New York, good night.