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STATE OF THE UNION WITH CANDY CROWLEY
Small Connecticut Town Grieves; Interview with Governor Malloy; Interview with Governor Hickenlooper
Aired December 16, 2012 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN ANCHOR: A small town smothered in grief and a nation in disbelief. I'm Candy Crowley in Newtown, Connecticut. Today, the unthinkable at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MALLOY: You can never be prepared for this kind of incident.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: The latest on the investigation with Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy.
And then grief and guns: a conversation with Colorado governor John Hickenlooper who dealt with both in the Aurora theater shooting.
Plus, experts on keeping school safe, coping with trauma and profiling a mass murderer, all on this special edition of State of the Union.
First, the latest on the Newtown murders. This morning Connecticut's chief medical examiner will perform autopsies on the gunman and his mother, who was killed at her home. The results will be released during a news conference later today. The names of the victims were made public last night. 12 girls and 8 boys killed, all either 6 or 7 years old. The six adults killed at the school were women. The medical examiner says every victim he saw was hit more than once, and all the wounds he saw were inflicted by the semi- automatic rifle found at the scene.
President Obama will be here in Newtown late this afternoon to meet with the victims' families and speak at an evening memorial.
CNN national correspondent Susan Candiotti is outside the home the gunman and his mother shared. Susan, let me bring you in. And tell me, what is the latest on the investigation?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that the investigators including ATF agents will be continuing to pound the streets today chasing down leads that they have looking into what is being told to me, described to me as the activities of the shooter. They're not giving a time frame if they're talking about only the days leading up to this or all of the suspected shooter's activities. Obviously, they're trying to get down to the bottom of what motivated him to carry out this obviously senseless crime and how it was that he got his hands on those guns that came from his mother's home that were legally purchased by the mother according to authorities.
We also know they have completed the traces on those three guns we've been telling you about, the two handguns as well as that semi- automatic rifle called the Bushmaster. All of those guns were all found in the classroom with the shooter and they know which one he used to kill himself, but are not revealing which one that is.
But back to today's activities, they have a lot of territory to cover. I'm told there are at least 400 gun dealers in this four- county area as well as 30 gun ranges and they plan to make contact with each and every one of them and there are only 30 agents working at trying to accomplish that very difficult task.
So Candy, they have a lot of work to do in trying to get down to the bottom of what started this, where those guns came from, how he got his hands on them, whether he trained on those weapons. Those are the kinds of questions they're asking.
And we're also trying to find out whether he left anything behind written down. So far I have heard no indication of that to illustrate what he was thinking.
Back to you, Candy.
CROWLEY: Thanks. Susan Candiotti following the investigation of this horrific crime for us at CNN.
I spoke just a few -- a short while ago with Connecticut's governor about the investigation.
CROWLEY: Governor, thank you for joining us here. Let me just first ask you about the state of the investigation. What do we now know and where are we in the investigation?
MALLOY: Well, you know, first and foremost, that's the state police handling that investigation. I think we know everything that is most important. We know that there was a single shooter, that that shooter is dead. We know that he was a troubled individual and that he went to the school with a number of weapons, which he used on his victims and ultimately used on himself.
You know, some of this other stuff will play out over a period of time. I'm sure we'll come to know more about him, his problems and his family. And but you know, these things move on. This investigation will tell us those things, but, you know, I don't have a whole lot more than that.
CROWLEY: So tell me, let me go back to a couple things you just said. The first is the weaponry. So far as you know, were these weapons legally obtained by the mother, which we're led to believe they were her weapons?
MALLOY: Well, the mother purchased them. They have the patina of legal purchases. I mean, there's always a question was she purchasing them for herself, which in that case it was legal. If she was purchasing them for another individual, her son, then there's a question about that purchase.
CROWLEY: Do we know anything that indicates that?
MALLOY: The other thing is this assault weapon.
Connecticut has a pretty aggressive law, probably of the 50 states I think we're ranked fourth most aggressive in trying to limit access to these kinds of weapons.
But what happens in the absence of a Brady Bill, in the absence of federal legislation, people use descriptive terms to try to get around the limitations that are built into our statutes here in Connecticut or might otherwise not happen if we had federal legislation on this issue.
These are assault weapons. You don't hunt deer with these things. And I think that's the question that a lot of people are going to have to resolve their own minds. Where should this line get drawn?
CROWLEY: So as I understand what you're saying is, there was a semi assault weapon here, but not necessarily one banned by Connecticut, which does have a state law banning certain kinds of assault weapons?
MALLOY: Well, that then begs the question, was this a weapon that should have been banned, and because of how the manufacturer decided to describe it got around that law?
CROWLEY: So let me go back to a couple things that you said. The first is, is there anything that leads you to believe she might have purchased them for her son, or is that just here are the possibilities?
MALLOY: Here are the possibilities. They're living together. They're in the home. And he ends up with the guns, so there may be an explanation.
CROWLEY: They're looking into that.
The other issue described his as troubled, which we know from what he did. But is there other evidence as they've gone in about troubled how?
MALLOY: You know, clearly, he was troubled. You have to be deranged to carry out this kind of crime. You know, I'm not in a position that I should be talking about someone else's family. That information will come out in due course, but this was clearly a troubled person.
CROWLEY: Is there evidence that he was mentally disabled in some way?
MALLOY: There's evidence that he was mentally disabled by the acts that he committed. One doesn't shoot their mother...
CROWLEY: Sure, but nothing behind that that you finding in the investigation thus far?
MALLOY: There are -- as has been attested to already by family members and others in the newspapers, this was a troubled individual.
And as far as the guns are concerned, do they come out of the home? Is that where they -- were they secured in the home?
MALLOY: Yes, that's our belief.
So, let me move you on to your role now. There always comes this point where the investigation is ongoing. This incredible grief these families must be and are suffering is going on. What do you do now?
MALLOY: You know, Candy, I was with the vast majority of the families Friday morning, and ultimately I had to break it to all of the folks who were assembled at the firehouse that their children or loved one in the case of the adults were not coming home. And that's an exercise that I will live with for the rest of my life. It's not something you're prepared for, and you go on.
But, you know, listen, I'm the governor of the state of Connecticut. We have a job to do. We have to picture people and help people recover and move on and get children back to school as quickly as possible in the broader system and hopefully these children at this school back to school -- a school as quickly as possible.
CROWLEY: OK. To make sure I understood you correctly, you're the one that initially had to tell the families gathered in that room what many feared or since some of them might have already known at a gut level, you were the one that finalized it for them?
CROWLEY: Tell me about that moment.
MALLOY: It's a very difficult thing to do.
You know, these parents had been gathered for a number of hours clinging to hope. News reports were swirling around them outside the building. Someone had to decide how to handle that situation. Ultimately it fell upon me to do that.
You know, you can never be prepared for that, to tell 18 or 20 folks or actually families that their loved one would not be returning to them that day or in the future it is a tough assignment.
Let me ask you about the school itself. We know that there was a buzz-in system. As you look at that as a governor, knowing the times we live in, the sorts of things that happen, as far as I know, correct me if I'm wrong, we've yet to turn up a history of mental health problems in terms of going to a psychiatrist or showing any signs of, you know, I'm going to go do a horrible thing.
CROWLEY: So -- and we've had a couple of these where there's no kind of history to it. So we know that if someone is determined and it's a first-time thing that these kinds of things can happen. Do you look at schools in Connecticut now and think, we have to do better in security, or we need a security personnel at these schools? I mean, where do the times take us in terms of protecting what we always assumed were sacred ground, which is schools?
MALLOY: What we know is he shot his way into the building, so he penetrated the building -- he wasn't buzzed in. He penetrated the building by literally shooting an entrance into the building. That's what an assault weapon can do for you. And you know, we are unfortunately a violent society, 32,000-plus deaths as a result of guns being used, 18,000 of those were self-inflicted.
This is a violent world. We are a particularly violent country within that world, and if someone wants to do an act like this, they're going to find a way to do it if it's not in a building, it could be outside a building.
But then do you look at security in that building and say, then we have to have whatever it costs, security guards or something, at the doors of schools?
MALLOY: I read a quote the other day, you know, schools are not vaults. They're not banks. People have to come and go. You build the best system that you can understanding what the challenges are. And some buildings because of the size of the student body are even more difficult to lock down. All of that will be taken a look at, just as we did in the wake of Columbine.
And I've been in public service for a long time. I was a mayor through the attack on the World Trade Center in a nearby city where we lost a number of our citizens and have been in office through a number of these types of events.
You attempt to learn every lesson you can from each one of these, and it's a little early to say what we can take away from this. But this is a little bit different in the sense that to the best of my knowledge in school shootings we haven't had people shoot their way into a building.
CROWLEY: Right. And governor, let me ask you just extrapolating for what you're saying, you want stricter federal gun laws because no matter how strict your state law is, you feel you need an overlay of a federal law, is that right? MALLOY: I think when we talk about the assault weapons ban that was in place in the United States, to have allowed that to go away or dissipate, it's the state's ability to enforce that, because guns move across state lines. In fact, a lot of guns used in crimes in Connecticut were purchased at -- we know because we can track them -- were purchased at gun shows in other states particularly down in the southern portion of the United States. They work up coast and they get here. That was not the case in this situation.
The Brady Bill was a piece of legislation that made a lot of sense, still does. And one can only hope that we'll find a way to limit these weapons that really only have one purpose.
CROWLEY: Governor I want to thank you for your time this morning.
MALLOY: Thank you.
CROWLEY: When we return, the gun debate. Will it, should it lead anywhere this time? I'll talk to the governor of Colorado.
CROWLEY: It's not just a feeling but a fact. It has gotten worse. Five of the 12 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history have happened in the last four years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As a nation we have endured far too many of these tragedies in the last few years. An elementary school in Newtown, a shopping mall in Oregon, a house of worship in Wisconsin, a movie theater in Colorado, countless street corners in places like Chicago and Philadelphia. Any of these neighborhoods could be our own. So we have to come together, and we're going to have to take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this from happening regardless of politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: In that aurora theater last July a gunman wielding a semi-automatic rifle with a 100-barrel magazine, a shotgun and pistol went on a rampage killing 12 and wounding 58. Shortly afterwards Colorado's democratic governor told me stricter gun laws would not have helped.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN HICKENLOOPER, GOVERNOR OF COLORADO: If there were no assault weapons available, if there were no this or that, this guy is going to find something, right? He's going to know how to create a bomb.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CROWLEY: He seemed different in an interview last Wednesday, two full days before the events here in Connecticut.
"When you look at what happened in Aurora," the governor said, "a great deal of that damage was from the large magazine on the AR-15 rifle. I think we need to have that discussion and say, where is this appropriate?"
Joining me now is the Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper.
Governor, thank you so much for us today. I know things are so fresh here in Connecticut, but you have been dealing for several months with the aftermath of what happened in Aurora. I wonder if you have -- if I am misinterpreting you or interpreting you correctly that maybe you have some slight evolution on what ought to be done in terms of laws involving guns or ammunition.
HICKENLOOPER: Well, first, let me just say that the heart of every person in Colorado goes out to every person in Connecticut. Watching Governor Malloy navigate, and I think he's done a remarkable job, but we would -- you know, our hearts are breaking there for them. We know exactly how they feel.
We've been collecting and even as they struggle to process this we've had that distance since the shooting in Aurora. And I've really tried to look at what are the things that could make a difference, and how should we begin this conversation?
And things like high-capacity magazine magazines certainly have -- I mean, that comes up again and again and again. The expanding background checks to make sure that guns don't end up in the wrong people's hands.
And we had planned a press conference for Tuesday where we have a whole list of efforts, almost $20 million in new programs around trying to put more support for people with mental illness, to make sure we have a 24-hour hotline that someone can call in if they think someone appears unstable, a danger to themselves or others.
Making sure we expand capacity in neighborhoods and communities across the state. That we have a place to stabilize people if they appear like they're a threat to themselves or to others.
I mean, that whole program was all in place, and that's something we can do immediately without getting into some of the battles of gun legalization or gun -- you know, restricting access to guns in some way. But that discussion of gun safety is going to continue.
CROWLEY: I think also, Governor, that you and I, as I recall the time, I talked about the fact that someone who isn't in the mental health system and a number of folks -- actually I think yours was the exception at least in the beginning, but a number of the people, I think, particularly in Tucson, had not actually sought out any kind of mental health help.
So they wouldn't have been caught up in a system that necessarily would have looked at that in the purchase of guns. We also know that guns are readily available even if you don't purchase them legally.
And I think we talked that time about the culture of guns and kind of the culture that we live in now and that there's very little you can do to stop a determined person. Do you still feel that way?
HICKENLOOPER: Well, unfortunately, I think that's true. I mean, and you can't really argue those facts. What you can do is expand your capacity, your framework within a state or within the country to have more people paying attention and trying to detect folks that are unstable, on the verge of real trouble, trying to catch them at a sooner level.
But certainly the culture of violence -- and look at the level of violence in our media, video games, the depiction of these assault weapons again and again, there might well be some direct connection between people who have mental instability, and when they go over the edge they transpose themselves, they become part of one of those video games, and perhaps that's why all these assault weapons are used.
CROWLEY: Governor, let me ask you, have you -- first of all, I understand that you have spoken or somehow communicated with the governor of Connecticut. What does this town, this state, if you will, go through now? You are -- your incident happened in July. It was horrific. You've sort of seen the evolution of the months. What's next, and what kind of advice do you have for the Connecticut governor?
HICKENLOOPER: Well, I'm not sure he needs advice from me. What I remember...
CROWLEY: Well, you've been there.
HICKENLOOPER: Yes, I know. And I remember the -- how surreal it was. That it seemed like this couldn't be happening. And as you talked to one family after another, they're all dealing with something beyond anything they could have ever imagined.
You know, it's the worst thing they will see in their lives, one person after another after another. And it does -- I mean, I think Governor Malloy is -- again, he's the right person at the right time for Connecticut. You can already see that he has got that courage to just -- because he is going to have to go out to those families again and again and try and be there with them and help them get through this and process it.
It is. It's just unspeakably hard. You can't -- there aren't words. Just don't even know how to put it in words. CROWLEY: And, you know, as a governor, these are constituents but not necessarily families you knew, and yet, you're kind of playing this key role. So in the months since the Aurora theater shooting, have you -- does your office continue to speak and try to help those families and what are those needs in there?
HICKENLOOPER: Well, in varying degrees certainly there was a fund set up to try and provide support and resources to the families of the victims and to the wounded victims. And that process was challenging itself, right? Money can't replace, especially with young people. It's so insufficient, and yet, it becomes this symbol.
And we were challenged at every step along that way. Really, a lot of the families just need someone that they can talk to, that they can relate to. In those days immediately after the tragedy, in a number of cases I felt almost like I was part of their family.
That you're brought in, in a very intimate level, and again having these discussions that people are revealing themselves and their resilience, their ability to take this awful thing and somehow make -- find a way to try and make their life better.
You know, some of the most challenging times that I've ever been through.
CROWLEY: Have you found, Governor, as a final question, that those families or the people in Aurora or the people of Colorado pressure you now more for some sort of gun control? Do you think the time has come for the federal government to at least have that conversation? Do you think there's something that could be done on the federal level in terms of a law banning either these high-capacity magazines or, again, reinstituting the ban on assault weapons? Do you think it's time for that, or at least a conversation about that?
HICKENLOOPER: Well, I think the access to guns is going to get discussed and certainly I think high-capacity magazines, as people will be discussing this. We are -- I mean, our country is based on that Second Amendment. It has been shown repeatedly it does protect people's rights to bear arms, to have guns.
And, you know, my grandfather taught me how to shoot and clean a 12-gauge shotgun and showed me how to hunt, and I've shown my son. I mean, that tradition is very powerful throughout this country. But...
HICKENLOOPER: ... you know, the discussions around assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and who -- you know, what type of -- should there be a wait? One of the things we're doing in Colorado is looking at expanding the time if someone has had a mental illness hold, expand the time they have to wait before they can get access to a firearm.
Those kinds of things, I think those discussions are going to happen, I mean, in real time over the next couple months.
CROWLEY: Governor Hickenlooper, we thank you for your time this morning.
HICKENLOOPER: Thank you.
CROWLEY: Sandy Hook Elementary had security measures, but they were not enough to stop a killer. I'll talk with a man who studies school violence and ask him if there's anything we can do to find and stop the next madman.
CROWLEY: We're learning more about the 20-year-old gunman in the Newtown school shootings. Court documents show Adam Lanza's parents divorced in 2009, his father remarried. He lived with his mother and has no known criminal record. One of his aunts says Lanza had issues with learning and described him as, quote, "definitely the challenge of the family." That same aunt says Lanza's mother's mother battled with the school board and ended up having her son home-schooled.
Joining me now with some insight on profiling a killer is forensic psychology Kris Mohandie. Mr. Mohandie, thank you for joining us. I don't even know where to start when we have things like this, because I think it's so far out of the realm of mainstream thinking that you don't even know the questions to ask.
But let's start with what drives the kind of -- and I'm assuming it's anger that causes someone with no known criminal record to just pop like this and do something so horrific?
KRIS MOHANDIE, PH.D, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, typically there is a lot of anger with a person like this, and on top of it, an obsession with power obtained through violence. The idea that one can have omnipotent power and control as their antidote for the powerlessness that they may have experienced in their life in a number of different ways.
So there are some commonalities we see in these individuals: hopelessness, desperation, usually self-destructiveness, and oftentimes, usually, in fact, there are warning signs that are there to be discovered, that can be reported. This kind of leakage can enable us to disrupt an unfolding violent pathway.
CROWLEY: Now, listening to some of the what the aunt said describing Lanza as definitely the challenge of the family, I'm not sure I know a parent who can't say that about a particular child. But a challenge, how do you know when a challenge turns into a danger? Like what are those signs?
MOHANDIE: The challenge is a very general word, but what we're looking for are people that are talking about violence in a way that suggests that they're identifying with other shooters, people that are talking maybe about their own demise, people that are overly interested in other shootings that have happened, mass shootings, and maybe are involved with relating to firearms weaponry in a way that is obviously -- and it usually is obvious, obviously dysfunctional.
So challenge in these situations usually distinguishes itself and is fairly obvious to an outsider looking at it. It creates discomfort in the sense that something is really off, really wrong, and those kinds of situations can be reported to law enforcement, they can be reported to school authorities who now are more often creating threat assessment teams that can look at circumstances before they happen, investigate, assess, and disrupt them.
And we've been having great success. In many cases you don't hear about where this leakage has been reported by people in communities, parents of kids who are concerned, classmates, the opportunity is nearly always there to discover and disrupt. And that's the take-away message here.
CROWLEY: Right. And as far as we know, at least I don't know that this young man who was 20 was actually in school and that he was sort of described as a loner. He lived at home with his mother. And so I can see how outsiders would be able to spot it. But she had lived with this child for 20 years so she might have been unable to see that something had changed?
MOHANDIE: Well, my suspicion is -- we don't know enough yet, is if you have a kid who has got challenges and problems, there's a tendency to get insulated at times and feel like you're handling it or feel overwhelmed and the not know necessarily what to do.
And we don't know yet enough information about that. Suffice it to say though, if you have got individuals who are unstable and you know it, it's probably a good idea to restrict their access to firearms within their own home.
And the other issue that has been talked about on the show is access to firearms by people who really are unstable or have violent fantasies. These individuals, we need to have a better method of restricting their access to tools of destruction.
CROWLEY: And, again, we don't know enough about this young man to know exactly what led up to this. But just in general how do you treat the kind of anger that does end up -- you know, and it's particularly young men it seems to me with sort of this unbridled anger.
But there are lots of angry young men. They write novels about this. It's a part of adolescence and early 20s, is it not?
MOHANDIE: There can be some of that, but the people that do these kinds of actions typically immerse themselves in violent stimulation, and they're usually not overtly angry. There's these themes of anger that are converted into a cognitive or a mental fantasy of revenge that finds its way into what they talk about, what they're interested in, and it tends to become an obsession with violence as being the antidote or the solution to their problems.
So where you see anger, that's one thing. But where you see it's being converted into an action plan and where they start to take steps towards that action plan and it seems like it's the all-encompassing solution and it's developing into that for them, that's where we have a problem and the need to step in. And if you're not sure about whether the person you're concerned about fits that category, by all means say something to somebody that's in a position to further investigate, because there are experts out there, they can make a difference, and these people can be stopped and gotten into either some help or put into a setting where they cannot do any harm to anybody else.
CROWLEY: Forensic psychologist Chris Mohandie, thank you for joining me this morning. MOHANDIE: Thank you.
CROWLEY: Up next, a check of some other stories we're following, and then, parenting and kids who kill.
CROWLEY: Welcome back to our special State of the Union coverage from Newtown, Connecticut. We want to get back in just a second to the subject of how parents cope when their kids kill.
But first, we want to go our CNN's Dana Bash in Washington. She has a check of headlines. Hey, Dana.
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Candy. Thanks.
Well, President Obama appears ready to nominate senator John Kerry as the next Secretary of State. A Democrat who spoke to Kerry tells CNN the announcement could come as early as this week. Kerry is currently the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee. And many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the senate have expressed support for Kerry. He is likely to win senate confirmation easily.
The current Secretary of State is recovering from a concussion. Hillary Clinton sustained the injury after she fainted during a bout with the stomach flu. She's being monitored by doctors who recommended that she take the week off. As a result, she will not testimony at this week's highly anticipated congressional hearing on September's deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
And the State Department is expected to receive an independent advisory review board's report about that Benghazi attack tomorrow. Congress will receive the report at a closed hearing on Wednesday and the State Department is also expected to present recommendations on improving security at U.S. embassies.
And a potential breakthrough on stalled fiscal cliff talks. House Speaker John Boehner is offering something that he and other Republicans really oppose, and that is raising tax rates on the wealthiest Americans, that's been a condition President Obama has insisted on for any deal to avert a fiscal cliff, which by the way, is a little more than two weeks away. The president wants tax hikes on incomes above $250,000. CNN is told Boehner proposed the increase start at incomes of $1 million in exchange for the president agreeing to more significant spending cuts. Those are your headlines, now back to Candy Crowley in Newtown, Connecticut -- Candy.
CROWLEY: Thanks so much, Dana.
Up next, blame, shame, and moving beyond the terror: the parents of kids who kill.
CROWLEY: Joining me now is Andrew Solomon, the author of "Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity"
You sat down, Andrew, with the parents of Columbine killer Dylan Klebold. And I wanted to read an excerpt from that.
"While ever other mother in Littleton was praying that her child was safe, I had to pray that mine would die before he hurt anyone else. I saw the end product of my life's work. I had created a monster." This is from Dylan's mother.
That makes me -- I mean to pray for your own son to die. I mean, what else did you learn from talking to them?
ANDREW SOLOMON, AUTHOR: You know, I thought before I went out there that I would meet them and understand why. In tragedies like this, why is the question everyone has, and the better I got to know them, the more mystified I was. They're kind, good, admirable people. And so they had created a child who was a (inaudible). And I ended up thinking that that illness that he had that caused him to that was a strange and inexplicable illness as someone who has a sudden onset of kidney failure or something. There was just something missing or broken in him.
CROWLEY: Well, listen, I know you have written a lot about mental health as well. And I loved your books on that. And I wonder if that isn't the conclusion when you do meet these parents and you think, well, wait, that's me. That's the kind, loving, come talk to me about anything parent I think I am. Did you come away with that?
SOLOMON: I did. And it's given me a very different attitude towards my own children, who I find lovely and delightful in every possible way, but I recognize how unknowable other people are.
Everyone now wants to get all this information about Adam Lanza and understand why did he do it? And how could you have seen it. And sometimes people keep secrets and you don't know and you can't see.
CROWLEY; And it leads you almost inevitably to brain chemistry?
SOLOMON: It does lead to brain chemistry. And I think when get more sophisticated we'll see in what is going wrong in the brains of people like that.
CROWLEY: And one of the most heartbreaking things I saw yesterday was the father of Emilie Parker, Robbie Parker, coming out and talking about forgiveness. I want to play the brief clip of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBBIE PARKER, EMILIE PARKER'S FATHER: We want everybody to know that our hearts and our prayers go out to them. This includes the family of the shooter. I can't imagine how hard this experience must be for you. And I want you to know that our family and our love and our support goes out to you, as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CROWLEY: This, it was an amazing act, in and of itself, just to be able to walk out and talk and put two words together. But does that sort of thing help? How did you find Dylan's parents moved on, because they have to. I know they moved away.
SOLOMON: No, they didn't. They're still living in the same house in Middleton that they've been in all along. They said we needed to stay some place where there were people who had known and loved us and people who had known and loved Dylan. And I think that there's the sense, somehow, that we want to blame parents. We don't blame parents for autism, or gayness or these other things any more, we want to blame parents for the commission of crimes. And a lot of the time the parents can't be blamed.
And I think for Tom and Sue, what was so difficult was that sense that they hadn't known their child. And while all of the people who were killed lost a child, I mean, all the parents of those people and the Klebolds lost not only their child, but their understanding of that child.
CROWLEY: And their sense of who they were.
And I remember saying to them, what would you ask Dylan if he was here right now? His father said, I would ask him what the hell he thought he was doing. And his mother paused and thought and said I would ask him to forgive me for being his mother and never knowing what was going on inside his head.
CROWLEY: Which is so interesting, because every time you talk to even just a little bit ago you talked to a forensic psychologists, well, there are signs.
CROWLEY: And yet here are parents that thought they knew their child. And didn't see any signs.
SOLOMON: And didn't see any signs. And I think in looking at this current situation, you have to look at the fact, the thing that's made it into huge news is the ghastly unspeakable awful homicide, but it was also a suicide. And if you're trying to understand the people who do murder/suicide, you have to start with the suicide. What was it that was so broken in themselves that they wanted to destroy themselves? And why did they need to do it in such an aggressive, overpowering and cruel fashion? And while we're all more worried about why did he shoot up that school, if we could begin to understand why he shot himself, that would be the first step to getting some insight.
CROWLEY: Andrew Solomon, thank you for coming on the show.
SOLOMON: Thank you, pleasure to be here.
CROWLEY: Next, the president as comforter in chief. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CROWLEY: Thanks for watching this special State of the Union. I'm Candy Crowley. I'll be back here at noon eastern.
This evening the president will be in Newtown to meet privately with families of the victims. And to speak publicly at an interfaith vigil. The need for a president to put words to a collective grief is a familiar part of the rhythm of tragedies that tear open the soul of a nation. We leave you with a look at presidents as comforter in chiefs.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Challenger now heading down range.
RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger honored us for the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them nor the last time we saw them this morning as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and slipped the surly bonds Earth to touch the face of god.
BILL CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let us let our own children know that we will stand against the forces of fear. When there is talk of hatred, let us stand up and talk against it. When there is talk of violence, let us stand up and talk against it. In the face of death, let us honor life.
You have got to help us here. Take care of yourselves and your families first. Take care of the school next. But remember, you can help America heal. And in so doing, you will speed the process of healing for yourselves.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat, but they have failed. Our country is strong.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES; Those who died here, those who saved lives here, they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another, that's entirely up to us. And I believe that for all our imperfections we are full of decency and goodness and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us.