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The Battle Over Proposition 8: Those For and Against; Numbers Behind IED Attacks; Targeting Treatments With Lasers; Dogs of War Coming Home With PTSD; Missouri School Bus Crash Kills 2; Rabbis Support Ground Zero Mosque

Aired August 5, 2010 - 12:59   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Brooke, thank you so much.

Hello to you all.

We are going to start at the top of the hour with what is right now an incredible picture and just a horrible story we're getting out of Missouri. This is right outside of St. Louis. Let's just show you this picture. And again, this could have been a lot worse. We don't know if the numbers will get worse. But just take a look.

You are looking at a school bus that is literally, it looks like it was about to take off. And the ramp was that semi tractor-trailer truck you see sitting right there. You see two school buses. Again, this is outside of St. Louis. We're told that two people are dead now. But the two buses were full of students, at least 50 students who were going on a trip to Six Flags from a school outside of the St. Louis district. But these two school buses were full of children. All the children are off now.

But there's another angle of it. This -- these pictures are just incredible. To think what in the world could have been going on? And also, I want you to look right under the front wheel of that front bus. Under there, that mangled mess is actually another vehicle. An SUV is under there. Again, we're told that two are dead. We don't know, yet, where those two were in which of these vehicles, whether they were in the SUV, whether in fact possibly they were -- they were students that were on the busses. Either way, lives have been lost in this accident. Another 50, we're told, 50 had to be treated in some way, form or fashion.

We're trying to gather more information for you. But the pictures are amazing. Let me give you a better idea of where this is. Again, as you continue to look at this picture, this is Gray Summit, which is outside of St. Louis, about 40 miles west-southwest of St. Louis. These kids apparently were leaving the district there and going on a trip to Six Flags. Innocent enough. You see this happen all the time, all around the country with school districts taking these kinds of trips.

Well, we don't know how this happened. Apparently, all the vehicles were going in the same direction. You had two school buses that were following each other and then the other vehicles going the same direction. We don't know how. It's hard to piece together exactly how this might have happened.

But you see it there. A school bus has ended up on top of that semi truck and also underneath that front wheel. It's hard to make out. You can't even make out that it is an SUV. But we're told that, in fact, it is an SUV that is stuck underneath that school bus. Two people are dead. We do not have word yet, just yet, possibly if those were actually students or someone in the other vehicles.

But again, we saw this scene play out. This has all been happening in the past several hours, half hour to an hour, at least.

Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Gupta is on the line with me now. And Sanjay, we saw this scene kind of play out a little earlier. And how in the world do you even begin to try to treat people involved in such a massive accident like that? And especially when you're talking about children? What would have taken place to try it make sure, you know, these are walking wounded sometimes and they might be injured even worse than they appear?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via phone) : That's absolutely right. And you -- there is a very coordinated triage system that takes place here, as you might imagine. When you're talking about this many patients, though, T.J., you're right; it does change the game a little bit. You have to immediately try and figure out very quickly who are the most severely injured, who are less injured, and who are able to sort of walk out on their own.

Simultaneously, T.J., you have to make sure that you can secure the scene in some way. You're looking at the images right here. Obviously, this might be a situation where rescue workers themselves could be injured. People who are not that badly injured could be more injured as a result of the whole rescue process, so that has to be going on simultaneously.

When you talk about trauma, in the field or in the hospital, there are some basic things that apply. In fact, they talk about the ABC's of triage, T.J., "A" being airway. You have to make sure that someone in a situation where their airway has been blocked, maybe because of the position of their head or some sort of crush injury, that you can open up that airway as quickly as possible.

"B" is breathing. Got to ensure that not only is the airway open, but the person is breathing.

And then "C" is circulation, meaning that if blood flow has been impeded for some reason, that you can reestablish that.

Those are the critical elements on the scene. And certainly during transport to the hospital and then in the hospital itself.

You know, it's -- T.J. you've been on buses. I mean, people are not restrained on buses typically. And as a result, you have several different things happening.

First of all, the immediate stopping of forward momentum, that causes the body to move back and forth very quickly. It causes the brain to move within the skull very quickly. You have secondary sort of injuries where people can actually hit something. They may hit the front seat, you know. Then the third thing is bodies actually moving through the bus, hitting another body.

So you have sort of three ways of injuries that can occur within milliseconds, really, during an accident like this. So these are sort of the considerations that the paramedics on the scene, the EMS and certainly the doctors and nurses that are taking care of these patients once they get to the hospital.

HOLMES: And Sanjay, you hit on something there I certainly was going to follow up on, which is what a kid. We're talking about eighth graders here, as well.

And just a reminder to our viewers here, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, before I move on with you on another question just of what they're looking at and what they're seeing and where this is, and that is, in fact, just outside of St. Louis, about 40 miles, Gray Summit is where it is. But there has been an accident involving two school buses full of children, eighth graders, who were heading to Six Flags, an accident on the highway involving a semi truck and also an SUV. Two are dead and several more are injured.

And Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the line with me here. Sanjay, when you talk about an eighth grader, you know, they're not fully formed kids. I mean, they're smaller than elementary school -- I mean, bigger than elementary school kids, not quite as big and strong as high school kids. But what kind of injuries, you're kind of describing there. But given a school bus, no seat belts as we're talking about, but these are big, sturdy vehicles that also have big seats in them. And you take that into account with an eighth grade frame. What kind of injuries, how severe could it be?

GUPTA: Well you know, it's interesting because you don't -- you don't think of children or young people as small adults, the way their body, as you're alluding to, is different. Just their physiology is going to be different as well.

The types of injuries that you're going to be most worried about are going to be head injuries and spinal cord injuries. So these are the types of things that occur again from this very quick, what's called, acceleration-deceleration injury. They're accelerating. They're moving at a certain speed down this road and then suddenly stop. And all sorts of different things happen in the body. Some of these things can be a bit accentuated. Because we are talking about smaller people here.

And again, the way that EMS, paramedics, the doctors, nurses approach these kids is going to be different as a result of all that. It could be simple things, T.J. If someone is not breathing, the type of tube, what's called an endotrachial tube that you put into their airway to reestablish the breathing has to be of the right size.

So you know, you're dealing with lots of children here, young people. And you've got, you know, the EMS. I'm looking at the scene now. There's obviously people still circulating around the scene. But making sure that all that equipment is available, again while simultaneously securing the scene, making sure there's not fire that can break out that can injure some of the people who weren't that badly injured or the rescue workers themselves.

HOLMES: All right. Sanjay Gupta, we appreciate you hopping on as we continue to look at this scene here. You can still see firefighters still applying some water. We didn't see video of flames a little earlier. But they certainly want to make sure there's no -- certainly nothing combustible in there and no other, possibly any further fires involved with this.

But there's a close picture to our -- to our viewers of just the devastation here. And just amazing to think what could have been happening, how fast these vehicles might have been going, in fact, to have this kind of accident happening.

And we're told they were all going the same direction on the highway. Again, to our Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you for hopping on the phone and giving us some perspective as to what these kids might have been going through on that bus and how to handle the scene and paramedics handled the scene.

Our Ashley Wiehle is -- or Ashley Wiehle, I should say, is with the Cardinal Glennon Children Hospital. She's on the line with us now.

And Ms. Wiehle, I appreciate you hopping on the phone, as well. I understand you have some kids at least heading your way to be treated. Do you know of any that are already at your hospital?

ASHLEY WIEHLE, CARDINAL GLENNON CHILDREN HOSPITAL (via phone): We do have 36 children who are on their way here. I don't believe any of them have arrived yet. They're going to be transported on two school buses. And our understanding is that there are no serious injuries of the 36 kids. They're just gong to come over here to be checked out as a precaution.

HOLMES: Now, what does that entail? I guess you're trying to just make sure, but you said no serious injuries. But for the most part, these kids are walking around and these kids, the 36 -- did I hear that number right, 36?

WIEHLE: Thirty-six, that's correct. There are 36 kids on their way here, and they all appear to be in good shape. I'm sure that they -- they have bruises, and they must be pretty shaken up by it, but there don't appear to be any serious injuries.

HOLMES: And we talked to our Dr. Sanjay Gupta, as well. He said it's sometimes hard to identify some injuries, in particular, because at something like this, you're dealing with trauma and maybe they don't immediately show any kind of signs or symptoms of serious injury. So I guess how closely -- how closely will you all be scrutinizing the injuries of these kids?

WIEHLE: I know that we have a team of doctors who are definitely ready for these kids to arrive. We're a level one trauma center here at Cardinal Glennon, and they have a lot of experience in evaluating trauma, so they are all standing by and waiting for the kids to get here.

HOLMES: Now do you all -- are you aware, ma'am, if -- or where other kids may have been taken?

WIEHLE: I'm not aware of that. All I can tell you is I know that we do have 36 coming here, but as far as where anyone else involved is going, I don't know that.

HOLMES: All right. Ashley Wiehle, we appreciate you hopping on the line. We are certainly going to be in close contact with you guys. And hopefully, you can give us another update, certainly, when the kids get there. Do you know how long it will be before they do arrive to you?

WIEHLE: They should be here shortly, but we don't have an exact time just yet.

HOLMES: All right. Ashley Wiehle for us. We appreciate you hopping on. Thanks so much.

And again, the picture you are looking at, this is on the interstate. I-44, I do believe it is, outside of St. Louis, about 40 miles, in what's called Gray Summit, outside of St. Louis, where there is a horrific scene on the highway there, where two school buses, along with an SUV and a semi truck have been involved in an accident.

This accident has resulted in a horrible picture, that picture being one of those school buses appears to be positioned on top of that semi truck. And underneath that bus is another vehicle, an SUV. You see the mangled mess there? This is a live picture outside of St. Louis. Two people are dead, we're told by officials. We do not know if those two, possibly are students or someone that was in one of the other vehicles. But two are dead, several others are injured.

We just heard from Ashley Wiehle, who was one of the -- with one of the children's hospitals close by. They're expecting some 36 students to come their way. No serious injuries they are expecting. But still, they're going to check those kids out just to make sure they're OK.

But again, the picture is incredible. To think what may have been happening to cause this type of a violent accident, to have a school bus to be positioned like that on top of a semi, with another SUV underneath. We will keep a close eye on that story. We are expecting plenty of updates throughout the next hour here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

We're going to move on here after the break to another story, another controversy that has a lot of people on both sides of the issue fired up. The proposed mosque being built just blocks away from Ground Zero. Well, a demonstration happening today. Some are surprised who's having the demonstration and what they are in support of. That's coming your way after the break. Stay with us.


HOLMES: Taking a look now at a story that has been controversial for some time. And it appears to be moving forward. We're talking about the mosque, the proposed mosque that's going to be built just blocks away from Ground Zero. You have heard about this by now.

A lot of people are saying, well, they should build a mosque there. It represents exactly what this country is about: inclusiveness and forgiveness, quite frankly in some ways.

But others saying, you know what? Build a mosque, but don't build it there. It's just too close to Ground Zero.

Now again, this is the building now that has passed one hurdle, at least. We saw a vote in New York not long ago, which some of the members there refused to keep this place as -- this building in particular, as an historic site. If they had done that, then the building would not have been able to have been torn down and this new building, a mosque and this cultural center, to be built. So it looks like this thing is moving forward.

But today we saw a demonstration just happening -- just wrapping up in New York right now. A demonstration by some in support of the mosque being built there. And this group, a group of rabbis. Want to bring in now Rabbi Richard Jacobs of Westchester Reformed Temple. That's in Scarsdale. He joins us now live.

Sir, we appreciate you coming in today. First, tell me -- tell me how your event went, first of all.

RICHARD JACOBS, RABBI: Well, I think it went very well. We had a number of reporters here and a group from the community, because it's a very important moment for the Jewish community to be heard about the question of this mosque in this particular location. So we're very pleased with the turn-out today.

HOLMES: Now, what message is that exactly you wanted to get out by getting a group of rabbis together in support of this mosque?

JACOBS: Well, the message is actually quite simple, that we in the Jewish community, actually leaders of the Jewish community, believe that this mosque is not just something that should be allowed or tolerated. This is the mosque that actually has a core purpose that we should all be celebrating.

This is a mosque that is envisioned by Imam Faisal Raouf, who is one of the truly extraordinary voices in contemporary Islam. And his version -- his vision for Islam in this community is a force for good, a force for tolerance, for mutual respect. And this cultural center, this Islamic cultural center, literally just a few blocks from Ground Zero, will be a beacon of light and hope to a very, very painful part of our nation's history. And for this part of New York City, as well.

HOLMES: Well, Rabbi, I guess you believe that the Anti- Defamation League has it wrong. They don't have a problem with the mosque. They just say right now, and right there, is just not the right time for it. Why do you think they have it wrong in their assessment?

JACOBS: Well, first of all, I think the ADL, the Anti-Defamation League has been an incredible organization and it usually is on the side of right and good.

On this one, I think they got it wrong, because this particular mosque is not just any mosque. It's a very specific one led by an extraordinary individual. And that sensitivity that everyone is concerned about will be daily practiced at this cultural center. It will be a place of education, a place of cultural reflection. And for that reason, it needs to be created, and it needs to be understood. And I think most people who oppose this particular cultural center are not knowledgeable about its core mission.

HOLMES: And, sir, you need -- you say it needs to be understood. Do you at the same time, have some sympathy, maybe even empathy? And do you understand some of the issues of sensitivity that New Yorkers have? Who never had or will claim they've never had any issue with Islam or any other mosque. But the close proximity to Ground Zero is what makes this such a sensitive issue. Do you understand that?

JACOBS: Of course I understand that. Any thinking, feeling person would understand that.

In my congregation, just 30 minutes from where I'm standing, there are literally hundreds of members who work in this neighborhood. Members who were in the World Trade Center that fateful day. So I understand it well. And that sensitivity is very much in my heart.

And it is because of that sensitivity I think we need a beacon, a place like this Cordoba Initiative Mosque and Cultural Center, to literally help people understand and see that this particular place and this expression of Islam is one of the most beautiful and powerful expressions.

I think many of us carry around every day assumptions and stereotypes about Muslims worldwide. I spent time in Qatar with a group of Muslim leaders from all over the world, and we thought very, very actively about how could we build bridges of understanding. This is exactly the kind of bridge we must build. And I feel the sensitivity, but it is a place that will be all about sensitivity and care and love and shalom, which is, of course, the teaching of peace in our tradition.

HOLMES: Well, Rabbi Jacobs, I think this may be a moment we can all take a moment to step back but certainly some sensitivity on both sides of this issue. Rabbi Jacobs, we appreciate you coming in. Thank you so much. We'll certainly be talking to you down the road as this moves forward.

Also, this morning on "AMERICAN MORNING," we did hear from the other side we're talking about here. Part of that is the Anti- Defamation League, one of their representatives speaking to our "AMERICAN MORNING." Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ABRAHAM FOXMAN, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: We're not actually against it. We raised the sensitivity, raised the issue about location and sensitivity. Our position basically was an appeal to the imam and his supporters. If you want to heal, if you want to reconcile, is this the best place to do it? Should you do it in face -- in the face of those who are saying to you, most of the victims, families of the victims, the responders, are saying, "Please don't do it here. Please don't do it in our cemetery."

In the '80s, you may remember, the Carmelite nuns wanted to build a nunnery, a convent in Auschwitz. Their purpose was to pray for Jewish souls to reconcile, to heal. For eight years there was a major controversy. We were opposed to it.


HOLMES: We, of course, will continue to follow that story, which is not going away any time soon.

Also we'll turn to the Gulf. Coming up next, static kill is working, we're told. Now they're trying to kill it again and again and again. The next stage of static kill and finally, possibly trying to kill this well once and for all. That's coming up after the break.


HOLMES: Day 108 -- is it? -- and look what we have on the wall now: oil well smothered. That's one way to put it. They really are trying to kill and kill and kill this thing again.

We told you about the static kill operation, in which they pumped this mud down into the well, trying to get this thing clogged up for good. Well, now -- we knew this was a possibility -- they are now shoving cement down there, just to make sure this thing is really dead.

And after they kill it with the mud and then the cement, they're going to go back and do the bottom kill at the relief well. So they are trying to make sure that this thing is never a threat ever again.

Also, just yesterday, in the whole oil disaster, we saw those new numbers coming out. The government saying that 75 percent of the oil is either gone or dispersed and only about 25 percent of it is still out there somewhere. So how do they account for that 26 percent of residual oil as they say? Take a listen.


DEAN BONANO, JEFFERSON PARISH HOMELAND SECURITY DIRECTOR: Most of the heavy oil has been removed off the beaches. And efforts are still ongoing right now to continue to clean the perimeter of the marshes.

But on a daily basis, we still see tar balls and tar patties washing ashore. I spent the day yesterday on Grand Isle, and there was a significant amount of tar balls and tar patties that washed up from the night before. And on my way here this morning, I talked to our crews that were on the night shift, and they witnessed the same thing again last night. Some tar balls and tar patties.


HOLMES: So maybe things are beginning to turn in the whole Gulf oil disaster.

Coming up, California's ban on same-sex marriage overturned. A judge ruled that, quote, "moral disapproval" was not enough to save Prop 8. We'll hear from both sides of the issue. You don't want to miss the conversation we have coming up. That's next.


HOLMES: The legal battle over California's Proposition 8 is a long way from over, despite what we saw yesterday. A federal judge ruled that the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

Right now, there's a temporary stay on that ruling which stops it from taking effect immediately. Talk of appeals was already in the works. We knew it would happen, and we got word officially that, yes, an appeal has been filed in this case.

Both supporters and those against Proposition 8 agree that the case will likely end up in the Supreme Court down the road.

Now, this is the first ruling we've seen around the country to strike down a marriage ban on federal constitutional grounds. This could have ripple effects across the country.

We want to show you a map now. As we know, there are five states, including the District of Columbia, that do recognize same-sex marriage now. Those are the states you see in blue right now. And also D.C., like I said. The states that you see up there in red, those states have some sort of ban on same-sex unions. Also the yellow states, you see a couple of them up there. They give spousal rights to gay couples or they recognize out-of-state marriages. The orange states have ban in place but still allow some rights to gay couples.

So there is a mish mash, if you will, all around the country of exactly what is happening and how it's going to go down down the road. Again, everybody agrees at some point it's going to end up in the Supreme Court.

So where do we go next? I'm going to go right over here to Kirsten and Maria Palladino. They're a married couple, founded "Equally Wed" magazine. That's an online same-sex wedding magazine.

Hello to you both. You all had a wedding ceremony not too long ago?


HOLMES: It was here in Georgia. Now when was it again? How long ago?

K. PALLADINO: June 2009, so last year.

HOLMES: June 2009. Now you all could have, I guess, gone to Massachusetts, or another state. We have five states that recognize same-sex marriage. Why did you all decide to just do it here and do your own thing in a state where you knew it didn't recognize a legal bond between you two?

MARIA PALLADINO, CO-FOUNDER, "EQUALLY WED" MAGAZINE: Well, I think the biggest thing for us is that this is our home right now. I'm from Florida originally. Kirsten was born and kind of moved around, but she was born in Georgia.

This is where our family and our friends are. So it's important for that part of it. That part of the ceremony part for all of those people to be there to support us. That was what was important to us. Not just the legality of it, but just standing in front of them, you know, stating that we'd spend the rest of our lives together.

HOLMES: So what did this mean to you yesterday, to see this happen in California, that a federal judge made this decision? I mean, there will be a lot of back and forth down the road. But to you guys, what did yesterday mean to you?

K. PALLADINO: It was a huge turning point for us and for our community. We really felt like, you know, the sun was shining again and there's, you know, hope down the road that there might be marriage equality across the entire country and that possibly one day in Georgia we might be able to go get a marriage license.

HOLMES: Now how did your wedding, if you will -- was there, forgive me for asking it this way, but any kind of a cloud over it, knowing that "I wish this could have been different. I wish we could have gone down to the clerk's office and got our marriage license"? Was there any -- I know it was your happy and your special day, but still, was there a little bit of that for either of you guys on that day?

K. PALLADINO: Absolutely. We would have loved to have gone and get our marriage certificate. And then we also, you know, had friends asking us. You know, in fact, we got engaged in 2008. And at the time it was legally recognized in California. So our friends were automatically assuming that we would go to California to get married. They didn't even think that we could have a wedding in Georgia, just because it's not legally recognized. But we had. So there was that kind of question.

And what other kind of questions did we have?

M. PALLADINO: I think that was it. It just does sit in the back of your mind. I mean, you want to have that legal paper to go along with it but it didn't take up too much of the day for us, at least.

HOLMES: Since the wedding, how much of your lives has that taken up, not having the legal piece of paper? M. PALLADINO: Not that much, because we feel so married. We live that life. You know, we day in, day out, like a regular heterosexual couples. I think it's important to us, though.

It is. We don't have the 1400-plus rights that straight couples are afforded when they go get that marriage license. So, of course it affects us day in, day out. But we still take out the trash. I took Maria's last name. We still plan on having a family one day of our own. It doesn't stop us from living our lives and loving each other and having a family.

HOLMES: What do you all think people think of when they think same-sex couples? Do you think they stop for a moment and imagine this picture of you two? What do you think comes to people's mind when they think same-sex couples?

K. PALLADINO: You know, I think it varies. I think some people think what they see on TV for pride festivals, you know, I think that of course comes to mind, Huckabee and his obsession about what goes on in the bedroom.

HOLMES: I remember that during the debate.

K. PALLADINO: Everybody has something different. But we hope, and with our magazine that we'll talk about soon, we hope to continue to shine a light on just the normalcy, the everydayness, you know, of the couples and their love and the regular weddings.

HOLMES: How can that - I don't guess you have the magazine if you just made it, the online magazine, wedding magazine. I mean, how much will it help the debate if more folks like yourselves, and I know there's plenty out there, but maybe change -- is it important to change the image or the picture of what some who may oppose gay marriage, the picture of what they see? Like you talk about the pride festivals and things like that. They don't see a couple living normally together.

How important is it for you all to be sitting here and to get -- for you all to be activists, quite frankly?

M. PALLADINO: It's very important. I think of course gay and lesbians and transgender come in all different shapes and sizes. We're going to have a bunch of different types of weddings. But I think we want to show people that we're very much like you in all the wedding magazines that exist, except that we're two females or we're two males.

So I think with "Equally Wed," that was very important for us to show a very dynamic couples, very elegant, classy weddings, all around how they can exist within our community.

HOLMES: Last thing here, you all, just address the folks who might not have a problem with either of you individually, but they say they have a moral argument against gay marriage. How do you - I mean, people have their beliefs and they will hold up the Bible and show you this and that. And people are strong on both sides. How would you all defend or say, hey, you have a moral argument, but, what?

K. PALLADINO: I think that some people, you know, may have had a moral argument against interracial marriage. Don't blend the races. But how do they feel about that now? Or how would they feel if they were told that they couldn't get legally married? That if they had children that their partner couldn't adopt? Or if they were in the hospital that their partner couldn't come to them if they were on their death bed? Or if they died in another country or here, you know, that their partner couldn't make funeral arrangements. How would they feel if that were applied to them as one of their family members?

HOLMES: Maria, Kirsten, thank you both for being here.

K. PALLADINO: Thank you.

M. PALLADINO: Thank you.

HOLMES: And congratulations, I think we got a shot of the picture up there, the wedding picture. Beautiful wedding. Looks like just about any other wedding I guess we've all seen. But, congratulations to you both.

Thanks for coming in today. Sharing your views.

There are supporters, as we know of Proposition 8 out there. What's their reaction to the ruling that we saw yesterday. We're going to hear from the other side coming up next, stay here with us.


HOLMES: Well the legal battle continues over California's Proposition 8. Federal judge, courts ruled yesterday that the voter- approved van on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

We just heard from a same-sex couple before the break that just got married here in the state of Georgia, it's not legal here in Georgia, but they had a ceremony here. We want to hear from the other side of the issue now.

Joining me now is Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America.

Ms. Wright, thank you so much for being here, ma'am. Let me get your reaction.

Yesterday when you initially heard the reports of the ruling, struck it down, unconstitutional, your reaction was what?

WENDY WRIGHT, PRESIDENT, CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA: Well it wasn't surprising because this judge had mishandled the case from the very beginning.

In fact the U.S. Supreme Court and the ninth circuit both had to intervene before the trial was even over to stop the way the judge was mishandling the case. For example he was actively intimidating the witnesses, so that the witnesses would not testify. And then in his ruling he claimed that there wasn't evidence to back up the case. Well that's because he wouldn't allow the witnesses to testify.

HOLMES: Now, Ms. Wright, you're saying the judge here, that this went awry not because the judge mishandled necessarily what was going on with the law or misread the law, or misinterpreted. You're just that this judge is a bad judge?

Is that the argument you're making here?

WRIGHT: It's both. He also misinterpreted and misunderstood the law and frankly imposed his own opinion. You read the decision, he says basically things like, that there's no benefit to children having a mother and a father. That it's archaic to think that there are differences between men and women and that we have unique roles in society and in marriage. So, yes, he mishandled the law and he mishandled the law and he mishandled the case.

HOLMES: All right. Well let me, let's just go away from the legalities, I'm certainly not a lawyer here. We'll let the lawyers work it out. We know this is not done in the courts.

Let me just hear from you, what is wrong with that couple I just interviewed? What is your problem with those two having a marriage license to say their wedding was, in fact, legal and recognized by the state of Georgia?

WRIGHT: Well let's first understand that there are no restrictions on homosexual couples being able to make funeral arrangements, visiting each other in the hospital, providing their inheritance for whoever they choose. So there's been a lot of misinformation.

Marriage, however, is a vehicle to insure that children will have a mother and a father. Marriage is bringing two people who are different -- as in male and female -- but complement one another. And it's important for children to have a mother and a father. So while people are free to make whatever living arrangements they want, they're not free to redefine marriage to satisfy themselves.

HOLMES: All right. What happens, I guess, ma'am, help us understand, what do you think will happen to the country? Or what do you think is happening in states like Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, places that do recognize same-sex marriage now.

I guess, what is happening in those states that is some kind of a degradation of our society?

WRIGHT: Right. In fact you can look at Massachusetts to see that the discrimination occurs against heterosexuals once same-sex marriage is allowed. That children are taught in school, as young as kindergarten, about homosexuality and homosexual relationships, even when parents ask that it not be taught to their children. People trying to enter certain professions, like the legal profession, are not allowed to if they don't embrace the idea of same- sex marriage?

HOLMES: Ms. Wright, are you saying we're going to be going towards widespread discrimination of heterosexuals if we have gay marriage?

WRIGHT: You can look at what's already happened in Massachusetts. And in fact that people who do believe that marriage is between one man and one woman end up being discriminated against.

HOLMES: But you can think we could see it on a wide scale? There have been some isolated incidents, I would certainly give you that, in reports we have seen. But you think on a widespread level, that's going to happen?

WRIGHT: In New Mexico, a photographer declined to be hired to use her services to photograph a same-sex ceremony. She was sued. There are cases like that around the country in which people -- a professor at, I'm sorry, an employee of a University at Toledo who simply wrote a letter to the editor of a local newspaper, not on behalf of the university, but just expressing her own views about marriage, she herself is black, she was fired from the university for expressing her views.

HOLMES: Well, yes, ma'am, I certainly say we have seen some isolated incidents out there and you've reeled out a couple there. But on both sides of this issue, I don't think there are bad people necessarily. I think there are good people who disagree on things, certainly.

So I want to ask you here, ma'am, I mean do you have, do you know gay people? Do you have gay friends? Do you have gay couples that are friends as well?


HOLMES: How would you explain to them your opposition? On a moral sense -- and again, I'm asking you because I certainly don't think you're a bad person, but I think it's important to have this conversation so people can hear on the other side good people explain their views, even if it is an opposing view.

So help those people understand now your moral argument to two people -- I mean do you base it, I don't know if you're a very religious woman. Just help them understand your argument.


Well yes, in fact there are advocates even for same-sex marriage that said this ruling was shoddy. There are advocates for homosexual rights that say that marriage goes too far.

And let's look at ultimately what this is about -- men and women are different, a mother and a father are different. To say that a man can replace a woman in a marriage is discrimination against women and denying the unique benefits that women bring to a marriage and to children.

And the same is true the opposite. That to say that a woman can replace a man is discriminatory against men.

We've had a serious problem in this country of saying that the government can replace fathers in families and that's ended up being harmful to our society and to our children.

So we need to understand that there are unique differences between men and women, and we shouldn't deny those differences.

HOLMES: Ms. Wright, I absolutely appreciate you taking the time. I know the debate is going to continue down the road and we'll certainly see it in the courts down the road as well. Ms. Wright we appreciate you coming in. Enjoy the rest of your day.

WRIGHT: Thank you.

HOLMES: We're going to turn now with a moment to the war in Afghanistan. The invisible enemy, you've heard so much about -- IEDs. U.S. military officials say it's the Taliban's weapon of choice in killing Afghan civilians. We're going "Globe Trekking" next.


HOLMES: Did a little "Globe Trekking" now, and we're going to go to Afghanistan, the ongoing war there.

And "USA Today" reporting that the Taliban targeting Afghan civilians with their weapon of choice, IEDs. Citing reports from the U.S. military, the newspaper says that eight IEDs planted by the Taliban killed 75 percent more Afghan civilians this year than in 2009.

So far this year, 1,859 civilians have been killed by IEDs. That's up from 2009 when IEDs killed 1,057 Afghan civilians. IEDs, officially called improvised explosive devices, are the top killers of American and coalition forces as well.

They're often made of cheap materials like fertilizer or sometimes fuel oil. The Taliban plant them in the roads and they're detonated by contact or remote-controlled devices, something as simple as a cell phone oftentimes.

U.S. military officer tells "USA Today," Taliban using IEDs in a deadly campaign of intimidation against Afghan villagers. Army Lieutenant Michael Oakes says, quote, "(IED) is are used principally to coerce the population into cooperating with the Afghan government and...the coalition force. "

As we've reported, Afghan civilians have also been killed by American and NATO air or ground attacks. Coalition officials say civilians are never targeted but sometimes get caught in the crossfire or attacked mistakenly. Here's a breakdown now from the United Nations -- 2,412 Afghan civilians were killed in the war last year; of those 1,630 were killed by the Taliban, 596 killed by U.S. and coalition forces.

Coming up, she could become the fourth woman to be confirmed to the Supreme Court, and it could happen today. You know her name by now -- (AUDIO GAP)


HOLMES: I want to give you an update on a story we've been keeping an eye on. Just a horrible scene out of Missouri where there's been a school bus accident involving two school buses.

Take a look at the picture there. You see it propped up like it was about to launch from the back of that semi tractor trailer.

We're told two people are dead. We don't know if they're students. At least another 46 have been taken to the hospital. We're told at least 36 of those have what's described as very minor injuries, maybe some bumps and bruises being checked out.

But these were eighth graders who were taking a school trip to Six Flags. This was just outside of St. Louis, about 40 miles, in a town called Gray Summit. But in fact, two people dead, several other students injured, described as "not serious."

But just a horrific scene right now on I-44 outside of St. Louis. We're keeping an eye on that story.

Also, we are watching the Senate right now, expecting a vote today on the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan. She would become the fourth woman ever to serve on the high court and if her nomination passes today, she could be sworn in by the end of the week.

Well a scientific phenomenon uncovered. Opening up new possibilities and targeting medical treatments. It is our "Big 'I'" and the lead scientist will tell us how it works. He's coming up next.


HOLMES: In today's "Big Idea" we got a doozy for you today that could help down the road with people who are suffering from cancer and need treatment, chemotherapy. This thing has applications like you wouldn't believe in targeting exactly where treatment goes in. It's targeting exactly where the medicine need to go into someone's body.

And I have a guy here sitting next to me. I'm just a news anchor, but he has a title. He's over at the chemical and biomolecular engineering department in Georgia Tech. That's pretty impressive, Professor. This is Mark Prausnitz who is here with me now.

Sir, thank you for being here. And initially, before we get into exactly what the technology is, we're talking talk about lasers that could possible help out here, but tell me who this could possibly help before we get into exactly what it is.

PROF. MARK PRAUSNITZ, GEORGIA TECH: There are a lot of medicines that when they're put in the body, they don't go to the right place. So our mission is to use this laser-based technology to direct where that drug goes to make it go to exactly the right place so that the disease is treated, but that there aren't side effects elsewhere in the body.

HOLMES: And we're talking about side effects that a lot of people are familiar with when people go through chemotherapy, just what happens to people when they go through oftentimes because you can't target necessarily where the medicine is going to go.

PRAUSNITZ: Exactly. In the case of cancer chemotherapy, you want the medicine to go to the tumors and you don't want it to go to the intestines, to the hair, to the other places where people know there are side effects.

HOLMES: And you guys have an idea over here at Georgia Tech to possibly get it exactly where it needs to go using lasers, explain.

PRAUSNITZ: It's a combination of using a laser and some small carbon nanoparticles. And the idea is that we use the laser to heat up those carbon particles, there's a chemical reaction that takes place which generates a microscopic explosion, and that small explosion then opens up cell membranes so that molecules can enter the cell that wouldn't normally enter.

HOLMES: So we're talking about -- how specific of an area could you target with this kind of technology?

PRAUSNITZ: The targeting ability is based on one, where you inject the carbon particles, so you can already get a certain region of the body; and then two, focusing the laser. So the laser can be focused down to smaller than an inch.

HOLMES: So we're talking about specific tumors could be targeted on someone's body?

PRAUSNITZ: Yes, absolutely.

HOLMES: Now, how far away are we from having something like that? I guess, how would you describe how far along in development right now would you say we are?

PRAUSNITZ: So at this point, we had an idea a few years back and I think we've demonstrated the principle of this idea that we can use the laser and the carbon and drive things into cells.

In terms of this turning into a medical therapy, there's a lot more to be done. I think it's at least ten years.

HOLMES: All right, Mark Prausnitz, sir, I appreciate you coming in. But again, this gives a lot of people hope for down the road.

I mean, wrap this up for me in a couple of words, actually. How big of a development would this be in treating patients?

PRAUSNITZ: I think it could be a very big one, because drug targeting is an important problem that hasn't fully been solved.

HOLMES: All right, Mark Prausnitz, again, a professor from Georgia Tech, chemical and biomolecular engineering department over there. Sir, we appreciate you and I'll meet you back here in ten years, all right?

PRAUSNITZ: All right, thank you.

HOLMES: Thank you so much.

Working side by side in war zones and leaving with similar scars. U.S. troops and military dogs both suffering from posttraumatic stress? Those details just ahead.


HOLMES: Well, you hear a lot about coming back from war with posttraumatic stress. Well, what about the dogs? The canines exhibiting posttraumatic stress? Listen to this story here.

Man's best friend, we're told now, coming back to the same kind of scars that many of the other soldiers come back with. Canine handlers and vets say they're seeing military dogs now with posttraumatic stress.

A lot of people wondering, well, how can you tell? There's a 4- year-old German Shepherd, bomb-sniffing dog, has been in intensive therapy after the time the dog spent in Iraq. Handlers say she actually got spooked after her convoy got hit with IEDs. They went on raids and essentially the dog shut it down, put on brakes, would not be involved, was not the same dog before. Withdrawn, hypervigilant, even said the dog had nightmares.

Scientists say brains fear mechanisms in dogs, cats, people as well. So this is a real possibility for this to happen in dogs.

And Gina's (ph) recovery is going pretty well right now, we are told by her people, dealing better with a lot of situations. But about 2,500 dogs are attached to the military doing this type of detection, bomb detection over in Iraq, Afghanistan as well.

So it's not just the soldiers coming back with issues. Some of their dogs as well.