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Name of One Fort Hood Shooting Victim Released; Disabled Man Wins Fight against Insurance Company
Aired November 6, 2009 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: I want to get you back to the very latest on the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas. There is a press conference going on right now. We want to take you there for the latest information. I believe it is happening right now. Let's listen.
DR. ROY SMYTHE, HEAD OF SURGERY, SCOTT & WHITE HOSPITAL: When these sorts of situations occur, we do have to do things like that. We actually put a hold on elective surgical procedures obviously for a period of time.
But it was a really -- really only a very short period of time, only probably two and a half, three hours.
WHITE: You mean visiting wise? No, we actually did not turn anybody away, and again because of that level one trauma system and procedures that we have in place, we feel that we could have cared for as many as twice the number of patients we cared for yesterday, but certainly we would not be interested in testing that theory.
QUESTION: The four patients not in ICU, are they well enough to explain what happened?
WHITE: That's possible. I haven't spoken with them myself this morning.
WHITE: Yes. Some of these were extremely serious injuries. Again, I have to give credit to the emergency roof staff, nurses, physicians and the surgeons and the nurses in the operating room that cared for these patients. Again, considering the extensive nature of these injuries, I think it's remarkable that they've done so well but not surprising.
QUESTION: Do you expect them all to survive?
WHITE: We would hope that everyone would survive. But it's really too early to make any expectant comments about survival.
WHITE: The majority of the injuries that we saw were gunshot wounds. QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE)
WHITE: Basically, there was no region of the body in which there was not an injury in these patients. We had gunshot wounds to the head, neck, chest, abdomen and extremities and unfortunately in several of these individuals they were injured in several sites. You know, so there are individuals that had gunshot wounds in more than one region of the body.
QUESTION: Do you have any idea what kind of weapon?
WHITE: No, I have no idea what kind of weapon. I'm not a ballistic expert but - I'm unable to make comments.
WHITE: I'm not aware. We have standard procedures for those sort of things in the operating room but I'm not aware what happened in individual operating rooms yesterday.
Anything else? Great. Thanks.
COLLINS: All right. Quickly, we are just listening into a press conference that one of the physicians is actually Dr. Roy Smythe. He is the head of surgery at Scott & White Hospital, that's Temple, Texas, one of the facilities where victims were taken.
You remember they did not all stay at Fort Hood for treatment. He actually says it's a little bit too early to comment on the prognosis of the victims that he treated and also that pretty remarkably here there really wasn't any part of the body that he did not see injured through the number of people that came to his facility. They worked on - you heard what he said. They worked on head injuries, neck injuries, arms, legs, everything. So we will continue to follow that in the news this morning, of course, and the victims and how they're doing this morning.
The gun shots did echo across Fort Hood and sent chills through thousands of military families. Could their loved ones be wounded while still on American soil? Here's one mother who received dreaded phone call from her daughter who is an Army specialist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PEGGY MCCARTY, MOTHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM: I got a phone call about 2:40 from here saying she was OK, but she was shot in the back on the left shoulder and she has abrasions, and they were cleaning her up but she was OK. It was a real brief conversation. She wouldn't tell me anything else of that was going on.
I didn't think that I would hear about this here. She's being deployed to Iraq December 7th. And I thought I was more worried about her going over to Iraq than here just doing training in Texas. She just got there yesterday.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COLLINS: McCarty says her daughter, 21-year-old (INAUDIBLE) will be just fine. It's not clear if her injury will affect her scheduled deployment to Iraq, which is coming up next month.
I want to take a moment now to get to David Mattingly. He has been following this story and standing by live for us, outside of Fort Hood with the very latest developments. David, I'm not sure if you were able to hear from where you were but we were just listening in to a press conference with the head of surgery for Scott & White Hospital, where, as you know, many of the victims went.
And one of the comments he made was about the number of times that each one of these victims were shot and that there really wasn't any part of the body that was missed that he ended up treating. Do we know anymore at this time about the weapons that were used?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know that he was using two handguns. That has been reported to us.
MATTINGLY: One a semi-automatic weapon. These are not military- issue weapons and they are still checking to find out if he had these registered here at the post as he's supposed to do if he's going to bring them on the property here. But again, these are not military issue.
The thing about it, he was carrying these weapons into a place where soldiers were not carrying weapons. They were defenseless. The shooting itself took about 10 minutes. He had a lot of time to squeeze off a lot of rounds into this crowd of people. So it's a wonder that there aren't more people who were wounded and more people who were killed by this.
COLLINS: David, are we expecting any more press conferences coming up to get even more information about all of this as they continue, of course, their investigation? So many more questions, so many more things that we don't know at this time.
MATTINGLY: So far, the Army has been very good about coming out here and talking to us about what they know, about what they know about the investigation. We're expecting more press conferences actually within the next hour or so.
But right now there's a piece of information we did get was the first name of one of these 13 victims is Pfc. Michael Pierson (ph), 21, of Bolingbrook, Illinois. He is one of the 13 dead. That's just the first name that has come to us. Of that 13, 12 of them were soldiers and one of them was a civilian.
COLLINS: All right. David, I know we'll be getting those names as soon as family members, of course, are contacted first as it should be. So we will continue to report the names of the wounded as we go and of the dead. David Mattingly, thank you so much live from out in front of Fort Hood this morning. I want to take a closer look at the suspected gunman now. To Major Nidal Malik Hasan. He is a U.S. citizen of Jordanian descent. He is 39 years old, single and a graduate of Virginia Tech. He previously worked at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and earlier this morning authorities raided his apartment in the nearby town of Killeen. Police and FBI agents are looking for clues now, of course, for any possible motives.
Hasan's family said he had been taunted after the September 11th terror attacks and has wanted out of the military ever since. "The New York Times" quotes his cousin, Nader Hasan, to say, "He was mortified by the idea of having to deploy. He had people telling him on a daily basis the horrors they saw over there."
Meanwhile, a search is happening in western Afghanistan right now for two members of the NATO-led international security force. They have been missing since Wednesday. They are on a routine resupply mission. An ISAF spokeswoman says everything is being done to find them.
Americans weigh in on health care reform. New poll numbers show most Americans want Congress to keep working on the health care reform bills that have passed through various committees but the CNN opinion research poll shows only a quarter say those bills should be passed pretty much as is. A third would like to see Congress pass them after making major changes. And another quarter say Congress should scrap the current bills and start from scratch. 15 percent want congress to stop work on health care all-together.
But Congress isn't stopping work on health care. In fact, the House is expected to debate a Democratic plan today with a final vote likely tomorrow. But as our Dana Bash reports, Republicans still strongly oppose the plan.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A sea of conservative protesters outside the Capitol. And an army of Republican lawmakers eager to rally them.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER: This bill is the greatest threat to freedom that I have seen in the 19 years I've been here in Washington.
BASH: It's one last show of strength against the House Democrats health care bill before a Saturday vote. Though this Republican offered the crowd a dose of reality.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Quite simply, the Republicans don't have the votes to kill this bill. Every level of power is controlled by one party now in D.C..
BASH: Inside the capital, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ignored the protest outside and portrayed a sense of inevitability.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: We're right on the brink of passing historic legislation to provide quality, affordable, accessible healthcare for all Americans.
BASH: For House Democratic leader, now it's all about building momentum and it got some big help with two endorsements, the American Medical Association, which represents doctors and the powerful seniors group, AARP.
BONNIE CRAMER, BOARD CHAIR, AARP: We are supporting this bill because it meets the needs of our members.
BASH: Still two controversial issues within the Democratic Party threaten to derail their health care bill. One is abortion. Democratic leaders are working to answer concerns like this.
REP. JASON ALTMIRE (D), PENNSYLVANIA: I don't think that we should have a bill that allows one penny of federal money to fund abortion directly or indirectly.
BASH: Another immigration. The health care bill now bans illegal immigrants from getting taxpayer subsidies but some conservative democrats want to add language that prohibits illegal immigrants from buying health insurance even with their own money. Hispanic caucus members are furious.
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: If you include it, then I have the responsibility and the right given what we negotiated thus far to walk away. And I think it would behoove the Democratic leadership and President Barack Obama to seriously reconsider bringing a healthcare bill that offends us in our very, very core.
COLLINS: Dana Bash is now joining us from Capitol Hill with more on this.
So Dana, what's the latest on the immigration issue. And there are a lot of issues to be discussed before tomorrow, of course. But this is one of them. What are you hearing?
BASH: Well, we're hearing from two democratic leadership sources that it looks like Congressman Gutierrez and his colleagues in the Hispanic caucus will win this round and they are going to retain the current language in the House bill that basically the House Democratic leadership decided not to add more strict language that really is the congressman said offends people like him.
The problem is that down the road once you deal with the Senate this issue is going to come back. I can tell you that several members of the Hispanic caucus, Heidi, they went to the White House yesterday and they made their views known to the president himself. So it looks like they won out.
On the other issue that has been vexing Democrats on abortion, that still - they still have to work out some final details but we're told that there is some compromise language that was offered by a conservative Democrat from Indiana, Brad Ellsworth. It looks like it is going to prevail and that possibly could get those anti-abortion Democrats who threaten to walk onboard. But still have to work that out.
COLLINS: Yes, a lot of people on Capitol Hill trying to make their voices heard. The Tea Party Express was there yesterday as well. The big question, I guess, remains do the Democrats have the votes or not?
BASH: They feel like they're getting closer working at this immigration issue and getting very close on the abortion issue. But look, I talked to a Democratic leadership source who is involved in counting the votes. They are not there yet. They do not have the 218. But what they are hoping is that the fact that they are swearing in two new Democrats.
One was yesterday and another will be later today. That will help them get the votes and the president is going to come tomorrow. He was going to come today but they're going to have him come tomorrow to close. Hopefully, they say that will push members over the edge. But there still are some conservative Democrats, Heidi, who regardless of immigration and abortion are worried about the ultimate issue which is the content of this health care bill and will it contain costs as it promised and does it cost too much in terms of the ultimate cost for the taxpayer?
COLLINS: And how much people it covers. Obviously a lot to talk about still.
BASH: They say they hope that they're going to get the 218. In fact, they're confident that they'll get the 218 that by the time they take the vote tomorrow.
COLLINS: OK. We'll be watching. Thanks so much. Dana Bash from Capitol Hill this morning. In fact, the Tea Party Express rolls into Abilene, Texas, today. It is the latest stop in the conservative movement's 7,000 mile cross country campaign against big government. The tea partiers also plan to hold rallies in Waco and Austin. Organizers say the theme is "Countdown to Judgment Day" when they hope Americans will vote the liberals out.
This just in now. We are learning that President Obama will be making some sort of remarks from the Rose Garden. It is expected to happen at 11:30 this morning. It has just been added to his schedule. So when it happens, we, of course, will bring it to you live.
And meanwhile, the unemployment rate hits double digits but that 10.2 percent number only begins to explain the pain. We're going to have the rest of the story, coming up.
COLLINS: This morning the U.S. Labor Department released the October jobs report -- 190,000 more jobs were lost and the unemployment rate jumped to 10.2 percent in October. Double digits for the first time in 26 years.
CNN money.com's Poppy Harlow is in New York now. A breakdown of these numbers, more on what they mean. In fact, the headline number is much worse than expected. Doesn't even tell the whole story.
POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: Right. Not even close, Heidi. This is a staggering number. It's interesting to watch Wall street. The market not really upset by it. The numbers are higher right now on Wall Street. It's not a surprise to many Americans that are feeling this, that are struggling that have lost their job here in New York around 10 percent unemployment.
And we headed up to Harlem, right here in New York to ask folks at their employment office what the sense is that they're getting on the employment picture there. Here's what they told us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALBERTO VENTURA, LABOR SERVICES REPRESENTATIVE: It's been extremely busy here. If a person is here it's because they actually have gone beyond that whole thing of pride of not seeking for help. Once they're here, you know, they express a lot of concerns about the current labor market, about what is the next step to actually take. And they'll vent out. You know, they'll take a few minutes, 10 minutes sometimes, to really talk about what's been going on with their professional careers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: That's a great point because what you've got right now, Heidi, is a lot of folks that either worked in finance, say mortgage backed securities, housing securities, or in the auto industry where the skills that they have don't apply to any of the jobs that are available right now. So Heidi, no wonder the frustration. That's a lot more than that headline number, Heidi.
COLLINS: No question. The whole unemployment story is often very intricate and complicated.
HARLOW: Yes. It really is. I mean, you have to look past the number. You got underemployed people in this country and a number of them, you got discouraged workers that are again were looking for jobs but then for four weeks or more they have stopped looking for jobs. They cannot find full-time work. So maybe they're working part-time or they just stopped all together. And the folks that are those discouraged workers that stopped looking for work, they are no longer classified even in the unemployment rate but the truth is they are unemployed.
When you look at the numbers from the government, take a look here. Because the Labor Department tracks these people and gives us a more complete picture of the employment situation in this country -- 17.5 percent of Americans in October were underemployed, part-time employed or just completely unemployed. That's the real number that is up from 17 percent in September. It is up more than five percent from a year ago, Heidi, when we were still facing double digits when you look at this complete number.
Now that is the frustration. I want to point out one good sign too. There's a new article on CNN Money talking about who is hiring. We talked to eight different companies that are hiring and we asked their hiring managers what they are looking for to bring people back to work.
There are jobs out there. You can go to this site right now. It's one of our features. You can see what folks are looking for if they're looking to bring more people on board. Heidi.
COLLINS: Yes. All right. Well, we're trying to make sense of it all. That's for sure. We sure do appreciate it. Thanks. In fact, the U.S. jobless rate continues its upward climb. The new number for October as we just mentioned, out this morning. 10.2 percent.
And to help us understand it even further we turn to our resident expert on all things economy. Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland. So what do you think, Peter? These numbers a lot higher than expected.
PETER MORICI, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: That's a household survey. They call homes up each month and say how many folks are here between 16 and 65? How many are working? How many are not working? And how many are not looking? The number of lookers has gone up. Many people have re-entered the labor market so to speak and are once again looking for a job. What they are discovering though is there are six lookers for every job.
COLLINS: Wow. That's an awful lot. How do you deal with that? As the person who is looking for the job, the competition is intense.
MORICI: You have to try to find something special about yourself and look to do something different with what is special. Because after all, the old jobs in financial services or in the automobile industry are not there. So you're going to have to look where the economy is going to grow. Things like telecommunications, various aspects of business services, often this is a difficult transition.
It may mean a lower income. Certainly, the Obama administration's promise that the stimulus package would create 90 percent private sector jobs is just not coming to fruition. The only growth we've seen is in health care, education, and the federal government.
COLLINS: Yes, that is what we saw. We talked about it a little bit earlier. So tell us a little bit more about labor force participation. You actually say if it were higher then the jobless rate would be even higher. I mean, we would be in worse shape. What do you mean by that?
MORICI: Well, a lot of folks have quit looking or participating in the labor market. Though some came back, still many remain so discouraged they sit on the sidelines. Remember, with two income families, you can coast on one income for a couple of years. If we adjust for that, then we're talking about an unemployment rate that's close to 20 percent, at least 19.
Those are really much more than recession levels. I don't want to use the "d" word.
MORICI: But these are very - this is a very harsh situation.
COLLINS: How long do you think the job losses will continue?
MORICI: Well, the economy is getting some oomph. It's starting to pick up a bit. But we continue with 500 new unemployment claims each week and that would indicate to me that the job losses will continue into the first quarter and we're going to top out well above 10.2 percent. I mean, I had said 10.3. but now at this number today, we're looking at topping out at 10.5, 10.6, 10.7.
COLLINS: Geez, is there anything the administration can be doing right now to begin to turn things around?
MORICI: Yes, they need to reorient the stimulus package. I mean, it's been wholly oriented towards adding, to people at the Department of Education in Washington, it is possible to get money to localities very quickly for roads and infrastructure to fixing roofs in schools. But they haven't done that.
Rahm Emanuel has sort of viewed the stimulus package as kind of a way to accomplish a political objective much as they use the TARP money to bail out General Motors. When they're supposed to use that for the longer banks.
Longer term, they're going to have to do something about trade with China, something serious because that's destroying so many manufacturing jobs, the lopsided nature of that relationship and they're going to have to start fixing the regional banks. You know, they've done a great job of showing up on Main Street but Main Street banks haven't got much help from Washington and they need it.
COLLINS: And the number that have failed that we talked about. We've also talked about China here. As the individual at home watching this, what do you do and how do you protect yourself as you look at numbers like this today of unemployment?
MORICI: Well, if you are working, you'd be very, very conservative with how you spend your money. Don't listen to people say it's good to go out and spend money for the economy. Look out for yourself. Be very conservative about what you spend. All aspects of your budget so that you have some cash on hand if somebody bad happens. You don't have to be laid off. You could be furloughed. Have the number of hours of work reduced.
MORICI: And the other thing is if you are unemployed, you have to really consider mobility. Moving to another city, another part of the country. You have to look very widely.
COLLINS: Yes and that's expensive, too. It is tough out there definitely. You talk about consumer confidence. That's the issue clearly. All right. We sure do appreciate the time. Peter Morici, thank you, from the University of Maryland.
MORICI: You're welcome.
COLLINS: A disabled man dropped by his insurance company fights back and wins, and now he's taking his cause nationwide.
COLLINS: I want to update you now on the top stories that we're following this morning. It's of course a day of mourning at Fort Hood in the wake of yesterday's shooting. Thirteen people are dead. The Army says 12 are soldiers. One is a civilian. Our affiliate in Chicago, WLS, is reporting Private First Class Michael Pearson of Bolingbrook, Illinois, is one of the victims. The soldiers' bodies are being taken to Dover Air Force Base.
We have also learned, 28 people injured in the shooting are still hospitalized this morning. As many as half have had surgery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SMYTHE: As of this morning, there were six individuals in our surgical intensive care unit and four that did require that level of care that were on the in-patient floor and again as of most recent check this morning everyone was actually stable despite the severity of injuries experienced.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: And right now on our blog this morning, we are inviting you to write your thoughts or maybe even express some condolences to the victims' family members of this massacre at Fort Hood. You can, of course, do that by going to cnn.com/heidi.
A Texas polygamist sect member could get up to 20 years in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting an underage girl. Prosecutors say Raymond Jessup entered into a "spiritual marriage" with the teenager. She was one of 400 children removed from a polygamist ranch in the town of El Dorado last year. The children were returned after the Texas Supreme Court ruled the state had no right to take them. Jessup is expected to be sentenced on Monday.
COLLINS: Ida now a tropical depression and heading north but the storm left behind major damage in Nicaragua when it made landfall yesterday as a category 1 hurricane. Parts of the Central American nation were inundated by flash floods, mudslides, and we're not hearing any reports of injuries at this time.
A disabled man dropped by his insurance company because of his condition is now on a mission to make sure no one has to go through what he did to regain coverage. Here now is CNN's Jim Acosta.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Everybody has been here a long time. IAN PEARL, MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY PATIENT: Yes, actually everybody...
ACOSTA (voice-over): Ian Pearl fought his insurance company and won and now he's taking on the nation's health care system.
PEARL: I've been confined to a wheelchair since I was six years old. But that never stopped me...
ACOSTA: Last month, the 37-year-old with muscular dystrophy was just weeks away from losing his health insurance. His insurance company, Guardian, had canceled his plan as part of a sweeping move to drop a slew of high-cost policies.
Guardian acknowledged one of its employees sent this e-mail that referred to Ian's policy as one of the dogs the company could get rid of to save money.
PEARL: Disabled people are not dogs.
ACOSTA: One day after our interview aired, the company reversed its decision. Apologized and restored Ian's policy. But the story didn't end there.
ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN, NEW YORK STATE SENATE: We're here today to send a very simple message: Everyone has to play by the rules.
ACOSTA: Now New York state lawmakers want to pass what they call Ian's law. Legislation aimed at preventing insurers from dropping entire groups of policies in the hopes of driving off high cost customers.
SCHNEIDERMAN: I'm confident with New York leading the way, we'll pass these laws all over the country.
ACOSTA: Because of Ian's condition, he couldn't make it to the news conference, so we talked to him by video conference.
(on camera): What is this law going to mean to you?
I. PEARL: What this law is going to mean to me is that no one, including me, will never have to fight an illness and fight an insurance company at the same time.
ACOSTA: Ian's mother hopes the law will protect the disabled and their families from crushing health care costs. Without their insurance, the Pearl family would have paid more than $1 million a year out of pocket to continue Ian's round-the-clock nursing care.
SUSAN PEARL, IAN PEARL'S MOTHER: Ian's life has been a series of miracles. We're hoping that Ian's Law will be the next one.
I. PEARL: This law is necessary. So the insurance industry at large might not have as much integrity as the people who are sick.
ACOSTA (on camera): Ian's insurance company, Guardian, released a statement saying it agrees with the spirit of Ian's Law. As for his family, they say they're not stopping with the state of New York. They want to see Ian's Law passed in state houses across the country.
Jim Acosta, CNN, New York.
COLLINS: Looking for work when there are no jobs. We'll have a live report from a jobs center in Yonkers, New York, in just a moment.
ANNOUNCER: Live in the CNN NEWSROOM, Heidi Collins.
COLLINS: Want to give you the latest on the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas. A short time ago, we received the first identification of one of the 13 people killed. That victim, 21-year- old Private First Class Michael Pearson. His parents in the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook say they received the grim news in a telephone call.
Soldiers who witnessed the attack say just before opening fire, the gunman shouted in Arabic the translation "God is great." The suspect is Army Major and psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan. He was shot four times. This morning he's in stable condition, unconscious and on a ventilator. The motive for the shootings, of course, at this point unclear. What we do know, Hasan was getting ready to deploy and was not happy about it. He had earlier voiced anger about the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
One Idaho man says his son is lucky to be alive this morning. Last hour, I had a chance to talk with George Stratton, who is an 18- year-old son who came face to face with the Fort Hood gunman, 18-year- old George Stratton, Jr. -- excuse me, the III -- was among those wounded.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GEORGE STRATTON, CAME FACE TO FACE WITH SUSPECT HASAN: The suspect walked through the doors and came into the room they were in in the Readiness Center. And it sounded like he walked around behind him and went behind a desk, and George wasn't really paying attention to what he was doing, and then all of a sudden, he said about 15 rounds went off really quick. And he just said it was ear-shattering. He couldn't hear anything.
And he dropped down to take cover. And then he said he peeked up from behind wherever his cover position was, and the guy happened to be standing right in front of him. He said, "He was five feet away from me, Dad. He just shot me right in the shoulder." I'm thinking he's pretty lucky because it sounded like this guy knew what he was doing. So, I don't know if he moved or flinched or whatever, but thank God whatever it was because it would have been a lot worse.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COLLINS: Stratton's son had just enlisted earlier this year right after he graduated from high school.
We asked you this morning to e-mail (AUDIO GAP) family members of the massacre at Fort Hood. Here are some of your responses now.
Islam writes, "Heidi, I wanted to send my deep condolences to all of the families of these brave soldiers who died or got hurt. As an American Muslim, I feel deep sadness that some minority of people carry Muslim names but know nothing of what true Islam is and how it endorses peace and love between all people and all religious. I will pray for these brave soldiers. God bless America."
Mary writes, "My heart and thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims. What a horrible (AUDIO GAP). I am a military brat. My father was in the Army for 21 years and is now retired. My brother is in the Army at Fort Polk, and I would be just devastated if something like this had occurred where he is. I hope that the families know their loved ones are so appreciated for their sacrifices to protect us Americans, both here and abroad."
Yesterday's attack raises many troubling issues for the military, from on-post security to the emotional strain of wartime. CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is joining us now to talk a little bit more about all of that. Barbara, first off, what's the very latest that you're hearing on the military's investigation now?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Heidi, dozens of military and civilian law enforcement agents at Fort Hood looking into this entire situation, but let's bring people up to date on a couple of other matters.
We have just been told here at the Pentagon that at 2:30 this afternoon East Coast time, which would correspond with the time this event took place in central time in Texas, 2:30 this afternoon, there will be a worldwide moment of silence by the United States military. We're told from the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq in the United States here, the Korean peninsula, everywhere, the U.S. military will pause this afternoon for a moment of silence to remember those who have fallen and were injured in this incident.
In addition now, dozens of military grief counselors, family assistance teams, all of that on their way to Fort Hood from around the country to try and lend a hand because of course Fort Hood essentially is a city. It's so much more than just a military installation. Some 50,000 or more people. Military, civilians, families, live on base, work on base. There are schools.
Everybody went into lockdown in this situation yesterday. Now trying to recover, but obviously, it is going to take a while and the Army and the military are trying to lend as much of a hand as they can to this, Heidi.
COLLINS: It is amazing to me, too, as we learn more and more every moment, Barbara -- I'm not sure if you were able to listen to the head of surgery that came out from one of the hospitals, Scott and White (ph) and talked about extensive injuries and how many times each one of these victims had been shot. And we're talking about a great deal of ammunition here. I know that we've learned that there were two weapons, likely bought off post and whether or not those weapons were properly registered?
STARR: What we don't know is whether they -- I don't believe we know yet whether they were properly registered through the U.S. military to be brought onto Fort Hood.
Look, you can not bring weapons on board a military installation. It is as simple as that. You know, the only people who are armed are MPs -- military police, the security teams on Fort Hood or any military base. Or if you have troops undergoing some sort of training exercise. Clearly, none of that was going on here.
He was a medical person with a medical specialty. There would have been no military reason for him to have a weapon at Fort Hood.
The issue on the civilian side for law enforcement would be the question of how he came into possession of these, perhaps through civilian channels and whether he had any proper paperwork or any type of authority to bring them onboard the base. All of that to be decided.
I think what's important to remind people is U.S. military installations in the United States live and work amongst their communities. This is not a war zone, like it is on bases in Iraq and Afghanistan where there is, you know, 100 percent airtight infallible security.
COLLINS: Of course. In fact, many military communities say that their cities or towns would be in a great deal of hurt if the military installations weren't there because of the business that they give.
STARR: Exactly. I mean, Fort Hood and nearby town of Killeen, Texas, they are family together. We've been there. We've seen how all of this works. It's how it works across the United States. Are there gate checks? Yes. Certainly. But if someone has a military ID, they are...
COLLINS: Which he would have, clearly.
STARR: Right. Exactly. He worked there. Generally, they would be waved through the gate. There would not be a presumption that someone in the U.S. military was about to commit a terrible crime, Heidi.
COLLINS: Next to impossible to know that.
Barbara, I want to talk quickly before I let you go more about some of the mental health counselors there making sure that the people who went through this who were there when it all happened and witnessed it are being taken care of.
STARR: Yes. You know, this is - again, the tragedy just keeps mounting here. Of course, Major Hasan was a psychiatrist, worked in the combat stress mental health counseling area of Fort Hood. Fort Hood has a massive program in place to try and help soldiers who feel they are suffering from the combat stress of war or repeated deployment. So, here's a lot of capability of Fort Hood. But this is now something that, you know, has rippled through that 50,000-person community, so the Army is sending more teams down there, dozens of counselors.
Keep in mind, the pictures we saw yesterday -- there are a number of schools on base, and the children who go to those schools were in lockdown for several hours yesterday until they could be sure the base was secured. So, the Army, the military, wants to offer this to as many people as they feel need someone to talk to.
COLLINS: Yes. Very good. All right. Barbara Starr, thank you so much. Our Pentagon correspondent this morning.
Also want to let you know CNN's Don Lemon is taking an in-depth look at the shooting rampage reporting on the latest details on suspect, victims and the investigation, so make sure you catch the hour-long special here tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
Not so good news today on the jobless front. The unemployment rate rose 10.2 percent in October. That's the highest rate since 1983. The rise to a double-digit figure was a bigger jump than expected as employers continue to cut jobs. It is also a sign of continued weakness in a labor market, even as the economy grew in the third quarter.
Let's get a closer look at this weakening job market. Our Susan Lisovicz is at the Job Center in Yonkers, New York, where people are looking for work. Anyone reacting there, Susan, this morning to this number of 10.2?
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: They know it firsthand, Heidi. The average length of time -- it's really one of the numbers that jumps out in this report is that the average length of time that people are now out of work is approaching seven months.
Of course, here at the Yonkers employment center, folks deal with that all of the time. So, what they try to do is if they can't find something in your chosen profession, redirect them into something new. And believe it or not, Heidi, the folks here tell me that they are slowly starting to see signs of improvement.
But let's not just talk about it. Let's give you evidence that occurred in the last hour. Let's introduce you to Camille Clark, who is 27, a graphics artist, out of work since July. What happened in the last hour, Camille?
CAMILLE CLARK, JOB SEEKER: Well, I just got a reply back from a company that I sent my resume to yesterday scheduling an interview.
LISOVICZ: Can you believe that, Heidi? She just sent her resume out yesterday and already got a reply. But you're being more aggressive and even creative in trying to find work. You sucked it up and moved back in with your parents. Why? CLARK: To save money, one. And to be able to start looking for internships so I can get my foot in the door and possibly get a full- time position later on.
LISOVICZ: You would be willing to work for free just to get into the company and continue to work as a graphics artist?
CLARK: Yes. Yes.
LISOVICZ: Meanwhile, we have Chanel (ph) here, who is trying to broaden the net, if you will so that if Chanel, if things don't work out with that interview that was just scheduled, that she can make Camille more palatable to a broader array of employers, right, Chanel?
CHANEL: Yes. One of the things I was advising Camille to do was to kind of think outside of ht box and look in different areas that she could possible use other skills and possibly still find employment while the graphic design department job sectors are out of business right now.
So, if she would just look in other areas as well as follow-up with her resume, she would possibly find something, and that's one of the things...
LISOVICZ: What kind of jobs are we talking about?
CHANEL: One of the things she was looking to do was -- she has computer skills. Instead of using graphic design skills, she could look for administrative assistant. She could also find something within the executive field where she can utilize computer skills, and that's one of the things that's an option for her.
LISOVICZ: You think that Camille's prospects are pretty good?
CHANEL: I do believe her prospects are pretty good. She had a response from Monster. She's applying in different areas besides the graphic design, so I do see high hopes for Camille.
LISOVICZ: OK. And we certainly wish Camille the best. And that's the kind of thing people have to do. They have to be creative, they have to be open-minded, they have to be positive, Heidi.
And you know what? Folks here tell me that recently, very recently, they have started to see a pickup in part-time work. And that's something that you often see in a recovery. Very slowly -- employers not ready to commit to full-time. Maybe they don't want to carry all the weight of benefits and such, but part-time work often a harbinger of better times ahead. Certainly we hope that's the case.
COLLINS: Absolutely. All right. Susan Lisovicz, thank you from Yonkers, New York, this morning. Appreciate that.
Meanwhile, we are keeping our eye on developments out of Fort Hood, Texas, this morning. Of course, we'll bring you anything new as we get it here. In the meantime, this story. They slither around in the darkness, sneak up on you, eat everything in sight, pose a danger to the environment. Find out about a push to get rid of pythons in the Florida Everglades.
COLLINS: Checking our top stories now. Police in Cleveland are urging the families of missing women to give DNA samples. They say that's the only way to know for sure whether their loved ones are among the corpses found in the home of suspected serial killer Anthony Sowell. But police say relatives with checkered pasts are reluctant to come forward. The coroner is promising not to share the samples with police.
On Capitol Hill, a ten-year, $1.1-trillion health care reform bill could come up for a vote in the full House tomorrow. Among other things, the bill includes a government-run public option. The AARP and American Medical Association endorsed the legislation yesterday. President Obama is expected on Capitol Hill tomorrow to make a personal appeal to rank-and-file Democrats.
Keeping out pythons. That's what the House Judiciary Committee is proposing. You're watching live pictures of a hearing to prohibit the import of pythons into the United States. The nonvenomous snakes have been showing up in parts of South Florida, and state-sanctioned python hunters are on their trail. Scientists say the snakes are a danger to the ecosystem in the Florida Everglades. Some reports say as many as 100,000 pythons could be slithering through the region.
Want to let you know we are continuing to follow the news out of Fort Hood, Texas, this morning in the shooting where 13 people were killed. We are slowly beginning to get some of the names of those victims. Of course, we'll stay on top of the investigation as well.
Meantime, Severe Weather Center now. Rob Marciano is standing by. Good morning to you, Rob.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Heidi. Those pythons in Florida may be getting a shower here in the next week or so. We're tracking tropical depression Ida, which is heading toward the Gulf of Mexico. Latest forecast track from the National Hurricane Center is next.
COLLINS: Let's get you over to Rob Marciano standing by in Hurricane Headquarters. But now, at least for this instance, we can all it the tropical storm headquarters, right?
MARCIANO: Even lesser intense than that.
MARCIANO: Tropical Depression Headquarters. But the fact is, Heidi, we're in hurricane season through the end of this month. (WEATHER REPORT)
MARCIANO: Anyway, that's why I hesitated. Nice day in New York after breezy conditions. I think the Yankee parade is happening right now.
COLLINS: Yes, I'm sorry I talked right over you there. I apologize for interrupting.
Yes. I'm looking at some pictures. I think some live pictures of folks who are getting very, very excited about that Yankees parade. Look, they know the camera's on them, too. Woo hoo! Go Yankees!
All right. We'll continue to follow that for you as soon as that parade gets under way. I'm sure we'll have more live pictures coming up. Rob Marciano, thank you very much. I know you're happy about that as well.
Also this. Terrifying and chaotic moments at Fort Hood, Texas. But first responders, of course, kept their cool. Hear what the scene was like from someone who was there.
COLLINS: Checking back in on a story, of course, that we've been covering all morning long now. The shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas. Thriteen people are dead. Twelve soldiers, one of them a civilian -- 28 of those wounded during yesterday's attack are still in the hospital this morning. The shooting suspect, Major Malik Hasan is also hospitalized, and federal authorities searched his apartment earlier this morning. We are hearing from first responders all morning long about what that situation was like.
And now identification of one of the victims in yesterday's shooting -- Private First Class Michael Pearson of Bolingbrook, Illinois. Of course, our thoughts go out to his family.
You can stay with CNN all day long for the very latest on this story.
I'm Heidi Collins.
CNN NEWSROOM continues now with Tony Harris.