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Connection Between Mental Illness and Gun Violence Examined; Starbucks CEO Asks Customers Not to Bring Guns in Restaurants; Fracking A Booming Business in America

Aired September 21, 2013 - 14:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Another mass shooting, another graphic, tragic reminder of the cost of mental illness. I'm Christine Romans, this is YOUR MONEY.

Yet again, we're asking that question - why? Twelve people murdered when Aaron Alexis, a Navy contractor with a history of mental illness opened fire at a Washington, D.C. naval installation. It is the latest in a string of mass shootings across this nation, places now forever linked with gun violence -- Newtown, Connecticut, Aurora, Colorado, Tucson, Arizona, Virginia Tech.

But this is a story not just about guns. In virtually every one of those horrifying episodes, an underlying threat emerges, mental illness gone untreated or undetected. Let me be clear, the vast majority of mentally ill Americans are not violent. But when help is too hard to ask for or too hard to find, it can lead to tragedy. Even before this tragedy, President Obama called for bringing this discussion out of the shadows.


BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There should be no shame in discussing or seeking help for treatable illnesses that affect too many people that we love. We've got to get rid of that embarrassment. We've got to get rid of that stigma. Too many American who struggle with mental health illnesses are still suffering in silence rather than seeking help.


ROMANS: Too many Americans, one in five American, suffers some form of mental illness and depression or anxiety. One in 17 lives with a serious mental disorder, and there is a human cost and a financial one -- $300 billion a year. That's the government's estimate for the direct and indirect costs associated with serious mental illness. The National Alliance on Mental Health says the cost of untreated mental illness is more than $100 billion a year.

Yet cash-strapped states are cutting mental health spending. They're slashing more than $4 billion from 2009 to 2012. During that same period time the use of state mental health services jumped 10 percent. As the nation mourns the victims of this week's Navy yard, we again find ourselves asking why. Here's another question. Is failing to better care for mentally ill Americans putting us all at risk? Gerald Landsberg is a professor of social work at NYU, Paul Callan is CNN's legal analyst. Obviously have a lot of questions about Aaron Alexis, someone who had a history of mental illness but had most recently told some V.A. hospital, you know, no, he wasn't going to hurt anybody. But he just was having trouble with sleep. There were so many red flags.

At the core of each of these stories is mental illness. We talk about guns, better security, biometric passes to get into buildings. The core of each story is mental illness.

GERALD LANDSBERG, PROFESSOR, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: Yes, I mean, the problem is he was not getting treatment, adequate treatment. He had never -- you know, was never put in an inpatient psychiatric unit for any length of time. There's never an attempt to really diagnose and treat him. And that led to his being, you know, released. There was many agencies from Rhode Island police to V.A. did not communicate.

ROMANS: Is this common?

LANDSBERG: This is very --

ROMANS: Someone with these sorts of -- this sort of mental illness is in the system?

LANDSBERG: That is absolutely true because it's the police that become the mental health crisis counselors all across the United States.

ROMANS: Police are mental health crisis counselors?

LANDSBERG: Right. They are not particularly well trained. And often, for example, New York, if you take them to an emergency room, the average New York policeman bringing a mentally ill person it an emergency room has to wait four hour before the emergency room psychiatrist will see them because they have it be medically cleared.

ROMANS: So law enforcement and the legal system is how we handle the mentally ill in this country, is that fair to say?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, absolutely. You know, the whole model has changed. If you go back to prior, say, to 1965, people who are mentally ill were many times confined against their will in these huge state mental institutions, dark, dreary, horrible places. And I think people felt and civil libertarians felt that the civil rights of the mentally ill were being violated, and they also felt that it would save a lot of money if these people were released.

So all of these mental patients in the '60s, '70s were released, sent out on their own into society, and they have wound up in the criminal justice system. They're wandering without institutional support, without family support, and the police take them to public emergency rooms and hope for a solution there.

ROMANS: In this country, we believe in privacy. A private person can live their private life and move from here to there. That's fair. People don't want to be stigmatized with mental illness. And I think we've left families to deal with this. Family and police officers are the people trying to manage something that clearly in this case was unmanageable.

LANDSBERG: That's absolutely true. And the problem is, which is not talked about, is families are most often the victims are a mentally ill person had they become violent and stop their medications. And sometimes the families reach out it the police, and sometimes they don't.

ROMANS: Do we need to change laws? What do we do?

LANDSBERG: Well, we need to add many more dollars to the mental health system, create crisis teams, create residences, create more psychiatric inpatient beds and specialized psychiatric program that reach these people.

ROMANS: What about the gun angle here? I mean, the other common denominator in all of these is someone with a mental illness getting a hold of a gun. But we already have laws on the books that if you have documented mental illness, you cannot buy a weapon.

CALLAN: Well, the first solution obviously is to make sure somebody who's mentally ill doesn't get a gun.

ROMANS: But if you're not diagnosing the mental illness and there's no structure --

CALLAN: They're not getting into the system. And you know, interestingly, all of the shootings that you referred to in the opening tended to be people who have either institutional support -- the Washington shooter was connected to the Navy. They should have picked up on him and sought medical treatment for him. The other shooters all had viable families. And they slipped through the cracks as well.

And I think it just demonstrates how difficult and intractable this problem is. We don't -- we're individualistic in America. We don't like the cops looking at us saying there's something wrong with you. We're going to take you to a hospital and have you locked up. There's a lawsuit that results from that because of our independent spirit in this country.

And the second thing I think is -- and this is a big thing that's changed in America -- families. You know, if you look at the census in the 1930s, families lived in the same building. You might have four or five cousin, uncles, aunts. They'd take care of the mentally ill people within a family structure. Now we're mobile. Everybody moves out. The kids go to another city and get a job. And when people get old and sick, there's nobody it take care of them anymore. So we need a new structure to replace that fold family structure that used to work.

ROMANS: Thanks so much for the discussion, Paul Callan and Gerald Lansford. Nice to see both of you. Thank you so much. Coming up, Frappuccinos and firearms, Starbucks now says those two thing don't mix. You're going to hear from Starbucks' CEO and some angry gun owners. That's next.


ROMANS: The Navy yard shooting is reigniting the gun debate in America. That includes Starbucks, a company known for taking a stand on controversial issues -- supporting same-sex marriage, banning smoking outside its stores, for example. Now Starbucks says, come get your pumpkin spiced latte, but please leave your gun at home.

CNN's Poppy Harlow spoke exclusively with Starbucks' CEO Howard Schultz.


HOWARD SCHULTZ, STARBUCKS CEO: We're not an anti-gun company. We're not a policymaker.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: The man behind the ubiquitous green siren is smack in the middle of a heated gun-control debate.

SCHULTZ: We have been mischaracterized as either being pro or anti- gun. We're neither.

HARLOW: And 43 states have so-called open-carry laws, meaning you can visibly carry a licensed gun in public. Many businesses like Target, Wal-Mart, and Starbucks say when it comes it customers, if a firearm is allow we the state, it's allowed in their stores. But that has led to dub Starbucks pro-gun.

SCHULTZ: We've seen advocates on both sides of this debate use Starbucks as a staging ground for their own motivations.

HARLOW: Across the country, gun rights advocates have gathered at the coffee chain displaying firearms for what they call Starbucks appreciation day, some posting photos on Facebook.

SCHULTZ: Customers have felt significantly uncomfortable. Children have felt uncomfortable.

HARLOW: So in an open letter, Schultz says guns are not welcome at Starbucks and asked customers not to bring them. But he stopped short of a ban.

SCHULTZ: We made that decision so that we would not put our people in the uncomfortable position of having to condition front a customer who's carrying a gun.

HARLOW: Ryan Delp and Bill Steven both carry their guns this public but generally concealed.

RYAN DELP, GUN OWNER: I intend to respect their wishes. I just won't be taking my business to Starbucks. BILL STEVEN, GUN OWNER: In a free society like America where we're supposed to honor equality, tolerance, and each other's rights, here we have a company saying we don't want that right in our store. And I think that's unfortunate.

HARLOW: The Brady campaign and others have petitioned Starbucks to ban guns. Last month a group of Newtown residents sent Schultz this letter asking him to ban guns.

MONTE FRANK, NEWTOWN ACTION ALLIANCE: I think it's a significant step in the right direction. We would have preferred an outright ban. But I think it sends a clear message that we need to have safe places for our kid.

HARLOW: How do you make these decisions, Howard, of what social issues Starbucks should engage in, put your name in front of and Starbucks name in front of it?

SCHULTZ: There are times when I feel like America has lost its conscience. And I think the role and responsibility for companies is not only to make a profit but to serve their communities as best we can.


ROMANS: Now, the pig question, will people actually leave their guns at home? Remember, it's a reQuest, not a ban. A lot of people on social media are saying they'll be packing heat no matter what, saying "no more Starbucks for me," or "a rule to be ignored." On the other side, people saying Starbucks is not going far enough. One person tweeted "Not good enough. I will not be a customer until they ban guns."

As for Schultz, he won't say if he owns a gun or not, but he says this decision is about his company and his customers, not about him.

Up next, guns may not be welcome in Starbucks, but in the gaming world, oh, boy, they are the instrument of destruction. They are hailed. "Grand Theft Auto 5" shattered sales records in its debut this week. What it means for the video game business next.

And later, does this look a little strange to you? Mark Zuckerberg traded in a hoodie for a suit this week when he visited Capitol Hill. We'll tell you where else the Facebook CEO is causing a big stir next.


ROMANS: Well, the same week Americans were heartbroken over the stalking and killing of 12 people at the Navy yard, a video game celebrating stalking is and killing generated record-breaking sales this week. Our Zain Asher has the detail on "Grand Theft Auto 5," a real blockbuster, Zain.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, 3,000 stores were actually open at midnight to meet demand. This was the most expensive game ever to be made. It cost about $265 million. But they actually made back that amount several times over in one day.

On Tuesday, "Grand Theft Auto" raked in about $800 million in sales. You know, this isn't just one of the biggest openings in the video game world, but also in the entire entertainment industry. I'm just going to show you some comparisons. "World Cup 2014" raked in $334 million in sales in just one day. "Harry Potter" the book raking in $170 million in just one day as well, and "Harry Potter" the movie, one of the biggest grossing of all time, $91 million, still one-tenth of what "Grand Theft Auto 5" brought in on Tuesday.

There are a number of reasons why "Grand Theft Auto" does particularly well. Firstly, obviously it does have a cult following. It's been around about 16 year. Secondly, also because of pent-up demand. It doesn't really release video game that often. The last "Grand Theft Auto" came about five years ago. Christine?

ROMANS: So, I mean, the so graphic and I'm told addictive. There's even one scene you get to a certain level, and you can blow up a Mark Zuckerberg look-alike. So it is not for the faint of heart. Zain, thank you so much. Nice to see you. Have a great weekend.

Give me 60 seconds on the clock. "Money Time" right now.


ROMANS: College enrollment falling. Student debt soaring. The result, some private colleges are slashing tuition by as much as half in some cases. If that's not enough of a deal, Wharton's elite MBA program can be yours online for free. You won't get the degree, but you will save $200,000.

Of course, college isn't for everyone. Harvard dropout Bill Gates heads "Forbes" List of richest Americans for the 20th year in a row. Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg makes an appearance in the top 20 thanks to Facebook's rising stock.

A new study finds more Americans are ruling out retirement. Nearly one in six workers plan to spend their golden years at the office.

The late fashion designer Versace's mansion sold at auction for $41.5 million. It will become a hotel. Versace was shot and killed on the doorstep in 1997.

After a deadly wreck almost two years ago, "The Costa Concordia" finally upright. It's no small task, requiring massive pulleys, cables, and a 500-person crew. The total price tag, $800 million.

And is a big endorsement deal enough to cheer up this grumpy cat? The Internet sensation is now the spokes-cat for Frisky.


ROMANS: Coming up, inside an energy revolution. Fracking is fueling an oil and gas boom in this country, but not without controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": There's nothing pretty about the art or science of fracking. It's loud, it's dirty, and if you look at the array of equipment, it's extremely complicated.

ROMANS: Richard Quest takes us to Texas as only Richard Quest can, next.


ROMANS: It's been more than 1,000 days since you paid less than $3 a gallon at the pump. The last time the average price of gas was under $3 a gallon, look at that, December 23rd, 2010. Look, you have to go all the way back to January of 2009 for something significantly lower. But that was because of a global recession, and nobody wants that, right?

So why is gas so high? A few reasons. First, global instability. No surprise, the Arab spring began back in December, 2010, about the same tame this oil run started. Syria concerns more recently have kept oil prices high.

The world wants more oil, right? And we're seeing rising demand for gas in places like China and India. We're not seeing new cheap supplies of fuel either. Tapping into the world's untouched oil fields is expensive. Tightening supply and demand fuel the rest of the story. They fuel investor interest, accelerating these moves.

So is normal? Tom Klose, who is the chief oil analyst for Gas Buddy, the oil price information service, says that by the end of the year prices could actually come down to as low as $3 a gallon in some areas, and maybe even lower elsewhere.

Now, when it comes to the price of oil, a lot depends on how the conflict in Syria is resolved. There's been a global shift in recent years to America's advantage thanks to the growth of something called fracking. It's costly. It is controversial. But fracking has had a very positive effect in the U.S. economy. Richard Quest is the host of CNN's "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS," and he can tell us all about that. The something you hear all the time, Saudi America, Richard, because of fracking.

QUEST: Will America become a net exporter of energy? Well, here you have the ingredients of this miracle that has taken place. First of all, you need the plaque gold now coming out of the Dakotas, coming out of Texas. Vast amounts of natural gas and oil is coming.

Then you refine it, and you put it into gasoline. And finally, of course, the automobile. Whether it be driving to school or on the motorways and highways of the U.S., for manufacturing, natural gas and lower gas prices is what is driving this country's energy supply, as I found out during may trip to west Texas.


QUEST: It's hot, and the big sky of Texas seems to go on forever as these oil and natural gas rigs keep pumping out the black gold, now fueling much of America's recovery. It's a huge industry, devoted to cracking the shale rock thousands of feet beneath the ground and freeing the precious fossil fuels inside.

There's nothing pretty about the art or science of fracking. It's loud, it's dirty, and if you look at the array of equipment, it's extremely complicated.

Fracking has dramatically increased energy production. American industry now has access to cheaper energy which drives-manufacturing costs lower. That, of course, push profits up.

Fracking is not new. The first oil wells were fractured in 1952. What's different is that they can now drill horizontally as well as vertically, and better technology means more oil can be released.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Texas, probably 65 percent of the manufacturing jobs right now are in this industry. And the numbers are 1.7 million jobs are related to this business right now.

QUEST: Fracking continues to face criticism from environmentalists and others. Some say dangerous chemicals can seep into the water table. A charge the industry denies. Others say fracturing can cause minor earthquakes and tremor. And then there's the issue of water. Up to 2 million gallon can be used fracturing one well. It's a huge drain at a time of drought in Texas. Oil firm like Feskin are now taking fracking water and recycling it for future use.

America's oil barons have seen boom and bust before. Now they believe the good times are here to stay. And there's a quiet satisfaction, too, because even though fracking remains highly controversial, they know that the new method is one of the reasons for America's economic recovery.


ROMANS: And that economic recovery creating jobs, no question. You've got some of these economies growing gangbusters. But the environmentalists say, at what cost?

QUEST: Oh, and nothing in that report or nothing that we are talking about now should be taken to discuss the environmental argument. This is about fracking as an economic equation in the United States at the moment. And on that front, there is no argument. Take Midland, Texas, where I just reported from. The BEA, the government authority, said it's the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country. it's growing at 14 percent last year. So fracking, fracturing, whatever you want to call it, it has created a gangbuster economy that shifts, interestingly, between natural gas and oil, depending on where the price is, where the glut is, and ultimate where the boom and bust is.

ROMANS: It certainly is an amazing change in America's balance sheet, import and export of oil, isn't it?

QUEST: It's not just America. What -- because the ripple effect, Canada now has to look at what's going to happen with its supply of oil and gas. They are now going on to be supplying the far east. It is a global geopolitical strategic shift, and it all happens under the Permian base, it happens in the Dakotas, and it all happened because technology made this stuff cheaper to get out of the ground in greater quantities in the United States.

ROMANS: Light, sweet crude. Nothing light other sweet about it. It's kind of sticky and gross, but thank you so much. Richard Quest, nice to see.

That's it for YOUR MONEY. We'll be back here tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. See you then.