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12 Dead Including Police Officer In Mass Shooting; Sources: Mueller's Team Drafting Its Final Report; Evacuations Ordered As Wildfires Ravage California; California "Camp Fire" Grows To More Than 8,000 Hectares; Gun Reform Missing from the Ballot; "Let's Rise" is an Anthem for U.S. Gun Reform; World War I Presented in Vivid Detail; Tlaib to be One of First Muslim Women in Congress; People of the World, Spice Up Your Life. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired November 9, 2018 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Once again America is searching for a reason why, why did a Marine veteran open fire on college students drinking and dancing in a bar in California. There are new clues of the disturbing message the shooter posted on Facebook. Also ahead protesters erupted in -- protest rather erupted cities across the U.S. demanding protection for the Russia investigation. That's after President Trump fires his Attorney General and replaces it with a man widely considered a crony.
And the wildfire season which never seems to end. Once again small towns across California have been forced to evacuate, thousands of residents leaving behind their homes, belongings, and priceless memories, and not knowing what will be there when they return. Welcome to our viewers all around the world, I'm John Vause and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
Another mass shooting in the U.S. has claimed a dozen lives. And in a country which has grown almost done to these tragic events, the response was mundane and predictable, so familiar to all other mass shootings. This time the killing zone was a bar filled with college students in Los Angeles. Police say a 28-year-old former Marine armed with a handgun walked into the bar where he had been many times before and then he opened fire. CNN's Scott McLean picks up the story from here.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Authorities are learning more about the shooter at the borderline bar, identified as 28-year old Ian David Long. Long, a United States Marine Corps vet served as a machine gunner and was honorably discharged in 2013. A neighbor says Long was intensely private and not sociable and his mother worried about what he might do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, she lived in fear.
MCLEAN: She told you that. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MCLEAN: What did she tell you exactly?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I don't want to -- she was just worried -- she was worried about her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got multiple people down. We need a lot of ambulances and fire.
MCLEAN: Police say Long walked into the bar just after 11:00 p.m. dressed in all black, armed with a 45 caliber Glock 21 and an illegal extended magazine. Students ran for the exits, others ducked for cover as he started shooting. Ventura County sheriff's deputies arrived within minutes. Sergeant Ron Helus was the first to go inside exchanging gunfire with the suspect. He was shot multiple times.
GEOFF DEAN, SHERIFF, VENTURA COUNTY: A 54-year-old, 29 year veteran of the Sheriff's Office. He's married and went with it with a grown son. And as I've said several times he went in there to save people and made the ultimate sacrifice.
MCLEAN: Helus and 11 others were killed and many more wounded. Police say Long who also died at the scene shot himself.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What does it look like in there?
DEAN: Like hell.
JASON COFFMAN, SON DIED IN SHOOTING: I am very emotional right now.
MCLEAN: Jason Coffman's 22-year-old son Cody was at the bar at the time of the shooting. Jason says he tracked Cody's phone afterward and waited agonizingly for word on his son's whereabouts.
COFFMAN: I talked to him last night before he headed out the door. First thing I said was please don't drink and drive. Last thing I said was son, I love you. That was the last thing I said.
MCLEAN: Cody Coffman was one of the twelve victims in the shooting.
COFFMAN: My firstborn son, only him -- I know -- how much I love -- how much I miss him. Oh God, this so -- son, I love you so much.
MCLEAN: Some of those inside the bar when the shots rang out have survived a mass shooting before.
NICHOLAS CHAMPION, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I was at the Las Vegas Route 91 mass shooting as well as probably 50 or 60 others who are in the building at the same time with me tonight. It's a big thing for us. You know, we all are a big family and unfortunately, this family got hit twice.
MCLEAN: Perhaps an early sign of trouble with this suspect came in April of this year when police were called out to his home for a disturbance. The sheriff said that he was irate when deputies arrived, they ended up leaving at some point because they didn't think that he was a risk or a danger to himself or the public.
We're also hearing from friends though who say that his personality seemed to change after a trip to Europe in 2016. He became distant, he stopped returning calls, but even those friends never thought that he was capable of something like this. Scott McLean, CNN Thousand Oaks, California.
[01:05:13] VAUSE: CNN Law Enforcement Contributors Steve Moore joins us now from Thousand Oaks. Steve is a former FBI Special Agent and a resident there of Thousand Oaks in California. So, Steve, we're very glad to have you with us tonight.
STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR: I'm glad to be here, John. It's -- I'm just sad the reason that I have to be here.
VAUSE: Yes, obviously a lot of people are in shock but I guess it's what the more than 300 mass shootings so far this year, it seems almost like there's a numbness to all this now. Only the details have changed, this time it's a former Marine who served in Afghanistan. He turns up at a bar where he's been a bit of a regular, only this time he's wearing all black with a hood, his face is partially covered. He has a Glock 45 which has been modified, at least the magazines has been modified to hold more rounds than that the 10 rounds that the Glock normally carries. He has smoke bombs with him. He takes out the security guard and then he shoots 12 people dead. So where do you start to look for a motive here?
MOORE: Well, John, I used to tell the agents I worked with that if you -- if you fully understood the motive, you'd be insane because these people -- the motives of these people are not going to be really understood by you and me except in the most abstract way. But to answer your question, the way you find the motive is to get into his writings, to get into anything he's written down, anything he's told people, any grievances he's had, anything that would help us understand the specific defect in this person that caused him to do this.
VAUSE: Well, it seems authorities have found what appears to be a posting that he -- that he put on Facebook around the same time as the attack apparently, and it reads, I hope people call me insane -- so this is from the shooter. Wouldn't that just be a big ball of irony? Yes, I'm insane. But the only thing you people do out of these shootings is hopes and prayers or keep you in my thoughts every time and wonder why these keep happening. So what does that actually tell you about what may or may not be going on inside his brain?
MOORE: Well, you know, you've got the God complex that he's in charge and he's smarter than everybody else in the world, you know, saying oh, I'm insane, no you're insane. I can -- I can do this to the entire world and there's nothing you can do to stop me. And you know, I've interviewed a lot of these people who do these mass shootings and they're -- the motives that they will give you immediately or that they will tell you to your face are usually not the motives that drove them to do this. And so I would say that while his motive appears to be punishing society here, I don't think he's sane enough to care about society. If he was sane enough to care about where society was going, he
wouldn't have killed teenagers. And so I think what we have to do is forget what he's saying about his motive and find out what his real motive is, because he's insane. He's killed 13 or 12 people so why are we listening to him?
VAUSE: Yes, this is the force attack on a so-called soft target in just two weeks in the U.S. I guess if you're asking the question though, how do you make these soft targets safer, then you've already fell because you can't make soft targets safe. You can make every soft target out there safe. The issue is a whole lot more complicated than that, right?
MOORE: Right. It's a self-defeating question, John. Everything is a soft target or at least 99 percent of things are a soft target. You're not going to solve it that way. You're not going to solve it by taking away individual weapons. Not that I don't think we should try but I mean, you know, people are going to have cars, people are going to have explosives that they can make at home. What I think we have to do is an integrated approach that deals with the weapons, that deals with the guns, the firearms, the explosive.
People -- I mean somebody who's that insane shouldn't even have a driver's license, really because they'd use the car as a weapon. So the first thing we have to do is integrate all of our -- all of our efforts around one thing, the one thing that is in common with all active shooters, all mass shooters. Is there something wrong with them mentally?
VAUSE: Also keep in mind. If it can happen at Thousand Oaks which the Mayor of Thousand Oaks declared one of the safest cities in the country, and according to the Web site Niche which uses data from the FBI the U.S. Census Bureau is actually the third safest city in the United States. So you know, it's not a question of you know, physical safety in stopping these kinds of mass shootings, again in case of much bigger picture.
[01:10:00] MOORE: Yes, it's -- yes, we are technically the third safest city. And what's ironic here, John, is this place -- you know, there's -- I'm a retired FBI agent. I lived here for almost my entire FBI career. This isn't -- this is a law-enforcement ghetto. That's our joke here. It's all FBI agents, DEA agents, LAPD officers, Ventura County Sheriff's, this is where we choose to live because it's safe. So it goes to the point that there is no safe place when there are people with guns and cars. They can go anywhere. And so -- go ahead
VAUSE: I just -- we're almost out of time, Steve, and I you know, I want to finish on the bravery of Sergeant Ron Helus, this sheriff's deputy who actually ran into the building. He was the first on the scene. You know this is the guidelines which you know, police and first responders have been given for the Columbine school shooting which is basically don't wait for backup, don't wait for assistance, just get in there and try and stop the shooter you know, because that way you save lives. And this time it worked but Sergeant Helus paid for that with his own life and he was what, a year away from retirement.
MOORE: Yes. And the thing is that when you're on SWAT, when your firearms instructor like he is, they're responsible for actually teaching these -- what we call Rapid Action tactics or active shooter tactics. And the technique is, you have to give up your personal safety. You can't wait for backup. You can't wait for a shield to go in. You can't wait to send in a dog. You go in. You move to this sound of gunfire. That's not a metaphor. You -- if you hear it, you go towards it.
And you know, it's this -- when they -- when they go through the training, and I've done a lot of this training for people, when you start the training, the first thing you say is that this is training for your worst day. Everybody gets this badge that you carry and the badge isn't so much of an identification as it is a promise. The officers making a promise by wearing that badge that when the shots are going off you will run to the gunfire. And I can tell you right now that Ron kept his promise and he taught hundreds of other people to do the same.
VAUSE: Yes, and he should be remembered in all of his bravery which obviously -- which if he hadn't been so brave, he hadn't done what he did, the death toll could have been a lot higher than the twelve that (INAUDIBLE).
VAUSE: So Steve, thank you. I appreciate you being with us.
MOORE: Thank you, John.
VAUSE: Sources tell CNN Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now drafting his final report into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. The timing is not unexpected yet some are still asking if Mueller has moved up his timetable in response to the President firing his Attorney General and appointing an acting head of the Justice Department who is openly hostile to the Russia investigation. Matt Whitaker has described the 18-month long investigation as ridiculous and a little fishy. Now he's Mueller's new boss.
Beyond the immediate day-to-day implications, there's a bigger question if the public will ever get to see the final report. It'll be marked confidential so Whitaker could be well within his rights to decide to shelve it and never release it. Political Analyst Michael Genovese joins us now from Los Angeles. He teaches political science at Loyola Marymount University and is author of the book How Trump Governs. Michael, thank you so much for taking time to be with us.
MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST: Pleasure.
VAUSE: Yes, as you say, the timing is no surprise here. We've been expecting you know, Mueller's report around now, but still, there is this sort of nagging feeling that you know, maybe Mueller is reacting to Donald Trump firing the Attorney General. What are your thoughts on that? GENOVESE: I think he's going along with his own plan and I think he
had this arranged before the events of the last 48 hours. He's also waiting for the written response to some questions that Donald Trump is supposed to be answering. And so we knew he wasn't going to release anything important during the campaign. Now that it's over, people are saying well, it will be right after the Christmas holiday, perhaps early in the New Year that he's going to do his final report. So I think he's right on his own timetable.
VAUSE: OK. So the concern, of course, is that by you know, without Jeff Sessions there Whitaker is now essentially Mueller's boss. He's in charge of the Russia investigation. He could starve, he can kill it, you know a whole bunch of things. But we had this bill in the Senate which Senators Flake, a Republican and Coons, Democrat try and force a vote on. It's been stalled for some time, but this would actually protect Mueller's job. Yes, it appears to be a bipartisan effort and again, what are the chances of that bill actually making it into law because I think it's been stalled since April?
[01:15:04] GENOVESE: Well, I don't think Mitch McConnell is going to let it come to a vote. I think McConnell is a protector of the President. The President is giving him what he wants most which is justice, after justice, after justice on the federal courts and the Supreme Court.
So I think there is -- there's not going to be a vote on that. I think that'll be bypassed. Whitaker is clearly has prejudged the case. He's made a number of comments on it. He ought to recuse himself he will not. The president would never have appointed him, had he even thinking about recusing himself.
And so, I think what we're going to see is that President Trump has a very clear strategy and a very clear goal. The problem is the pathway is not always clear. And that has been made more difficult by the House of Representatives now or, at least, in January going lower to the Democrats. And so, that's complicated the case for the president. Whitaker is going to be his frontman --
VAUSE: And you've always seen already in cities across the United States, there have been protests defending Robert Mueller and the Russia investigation. You know, there are fears of Jeff Sessions being fired and replace the virtual nobody whose only claim to fame was -- you know, being a T.V. pundit critical of Mueller investigation.
And here with now the CNN reporting that the backlash has taken the White House by surprise. This is what we've been reporting on web site. "It was not widely known among White House staff that he, doesn't Whitaker, commented repeatedly on the special counsel's investigation in interviews and on television. Which is ironic given that this is what drew President Donald Trump to him.
This to me just seems so beyond belief. This new White House, if it does anything consistently its watches cable news. And then it draws up a friends list and an enemies list. And it just seems beyond belief that they would have no idea that the only television lawyer defending the president and was out there on CNN, and what he was saying.
GENOVESE: We don't -- not to be cynical about this, but I think it's pretty clear that Mr. Whitaker was here for one reason and one reason alone. And that, that vetting was not the issue, it's not the concern.
The concern was we want someone who will go to the rails, will protect the president, and that he has said some of the things that he said, I think Trump may be unknown to some in the staff, but I think the president is very clear, he's an avid cable T.V. watcher, and I'm sure he's heard those comments and that endeared him to the president.
VAUSE: What is very impressive here is if you look at this sort of over the last couple of months, it's now Donald Trump has lined up everything to protect himself and his family. He's now got the loyal attorney general, at least, an acting one. You know, with the reputation that he'll do whatever the president wants him to do. And if anyone wants to challenge that, well, good luck, take it to the Supreme Court, and there is Mr. Brett Kavanaugh. You know this is sort of how the mob operates.
GENOVESE: We know the president has back is to the wall, he feels the heat. And so, he is spending a lot of his time trying to find ways to protect himself, protect his family, to pursue his interest from criminal investigations, from possible indictment, from subpoenas, from his son, for example, getting into legal trouble.
And so, he's spending a lot of time that he ought to spend governing protecting himself and his family. And I think, what's going to happen is it's only going to get worse with his back to the wall right now, facing the prospect of the Mueller report coming out going to the Mr. Whitaker.
But also, anything that happens to Mueller, the first place he goes is to the House of Representatives. The Democrats will control those committees, would love to give him a voice, give him a megaphone, and give him attention.
VAUSE: Yes, and even with the special counsel investigation comes to an end, that doesn't mean the Democrats come to an end. Did the lower house. I mean, they keep going and going, and it just -- you know, never seems to end.
GENOVESE: And the Southern District of New York has. And so, there's a lot of -- there are multiple strands, a lot of different potential cases.
GENOVESE: Mueller is the key, but he is smart as anything and he is got his tentacles out to a lot of different places.
VAUSE: He is -- he is part of everybody but not saying a word. Michael, thank you so much. Appreciate you being with us.
GENOVESE: Thank you. VAUSE: It might not be Paradise lost just yet. But in California, the residents of Paradise fear it may have been that the town has been burned to the ground. And the very latest on the wildfires sweeping across the state and threatening thousands of homes is up next here on CNN.
[01:21:52] VAUSE: Two wildfires are torching everything in their pasts in California. Northern Los Angeles, the so-called Hill Fire has closed down parts of the freeway in both directions. It's burned nearly 3,000 hectares, and winds are expected to fuel the flames overnight.
In Northern California, thousands of residents raised from their homes from the so-called Camp Fire as it exploded. The under controlled flames are growing at a rate of about 80 football fields a minute. Authorities say, 15,000 structures are now under threat.
Charles Kambourian was working in the Chico California when the flames started the engulfing his hometown in Paradise about 14 miles away. He joins us now on the line. So, Charles, you, and pretty much everyone else from the town of Paradise have been evacuated, and you're staying with friends there in Chico, which -- you know, do you have any idea at this point how long will be before your let back in that fire zone? Do you know at this point if you still have the house?
CHARLES KAMBOURIAN, RESIDENT, PARADISE, CALIFORNIA (through telephone): You know that's a great question. Thanks for having me on, John. It's really up in the air right now because all the reports I'm reading online are saying that Paradise has been wiped out and destroyed.
KAMBOURIAN: So, I see certain pictures of you know, like popular landmarks like -- you know, McDonald's or something like that and it's just flattened.
VAUSE: So while we're talking about, the entire -- the entire place is just not -- no longer there. Like, how many people? What was -- what most population of Paradise?
KAMBOURIAN: Population of paradise is about 27,000. And there's also Magalia which is really close to the city. They most likely they have activated, as well. Maybe there are five to 10,000 people. And it's kind of hard you to leave paradise because there's only three roads in, and two of the three road is shut down. So, you're trying to siphon thousands of people into a one road. That's really a mess.
VAUSE: Yes. Because we're looking at some of the images which you recorded of the evacuation. And then, the officials themselves actually said, getting out of paradise is quite difficult. And your wife, in particular, had a fairly harrowing experience, right? KAMBOURIAN: Yes. So, she didn't even know they were -- they're supposed to be evacuated at one point. The only reason why she knew it because she walked outside and there was just ash coming down like rain just everywhere, and it was so dark outside.
So, she gathered up the kids and got some of our valuables, left, and she mentioned that the road that she tried to get out of, it was just a wall of flames, and there was no way she was getting through there.
So, she turned back around and tried to get out of the main road, which is called, Skyway. And she said that the -- you know, the trees were just like up in flames. There is flames hitting the windshield as she was leaving, it was a horrible experience for my son and for my kids and everything, crazy.
VAUSE: It sounds terrifying. Just very quickly Charles. Each year these fires seemed to get worse. Are you at the point yet, especially, if there's nothing left in Paradise, of this state, do you think it will, maybe we've got to find another part of the state or the world of -- you know, to go to live because this is just too dangerous (INAUDIBLE) part of the world.
[01:24:58] KAMBOURIAN: You know, my wife grew up there. You know she is -- so, been there -- been up almost 40 years with my in-laws. Never has this ever happened like this before. It's just such an amazing storm that unfortunately taken up a whole town.
So, I don't know. A good question. I don't know for we rebuild or go somewhere else. But at the beautiful town, it was beautiful. (INAUDIBLE) again.
VAUSE: Yes. Well, hopefully (INAUDIBLE). But yes, I understand the pessimism that maybe nothing has survived because these fires mean so damage. Charles, we wish you, we wish your family all the best. At least, you are safe, which is we make thank.
KAMBOURIAN: Thank you, John. Take care.
VAUSE: You too.
OK, the weather obviously the big crucial factor here in trying to bring these fires under control, and how long it will take, and like kind of stuff. Meteorologist Derek Van Dam is with us once again for those details. So, Derek, what are we looking at here for the forecast?
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN INTERNATIONAL WEATHER ANCHOR: Well, the strong winds and the dry conditions are definitely going to continue. Some of these pictures coming out of the area to speak a thousand words. We had interview or some statements sent into one of the evacuees from Paradise California that says she could hear propane tanks exploding around town as her and her family trying to evacuate.
Now, look at this wall of cloud that was associated with the Camp Fire. I get to the next video and you can see this time-lapse just incredible. Some people saying that they could see this wall of cloud over 250 kilometers away from the actual fire in Butte County. Unbelievable.
And our satellite imagery really proves this and it also shows just how strong the winds were. Pay attention to the timestamp, in the upper right-hand corner of our television screen. And then look how far the cloud and the smoke traveled from the fire near Paradise in Butte County.
This is over 200 kilometers away from the coastline. So, it took about six hours. 6:00 a.m. is when the fire started, and the smoke made it to the coastline by noon. So, it took six hours for that smoke to travel over 200 kilometers. So, if you do the math that is winds in excess of 35 kilometers per hour, just in that area.
So, that is one of the main factors, the main threats that has elevated our fire risk. But not only that, the low humidity, the lack of rain, the dry fuel conditions across this area. And as we focus, into Southern California, they have also got their own problems as well as Santa Ana winds set up shop tonight.
And once again, into the day, on Friday, wind gusts from Los Angeles County into Ventura County could gust in excess of 100 kilometers per hour. And that's why the National Weather Service has red flag warnings for high fire danger for the Sacramento Valley, and into Southern California as other strong winds continue to just add fuel to the flame for these fires.
It's just incredible to think about how fast this Camp Fire actually grew. It explosively grew. That's a term that meteorologists and firefighters used to describe a fire of this magnitude, and this quickness. It's incredible that it spread over a width of a football field every second. That's amazing.
Firefighters were trying to battle this blaze from above, as well. They had several air tankers, including Boeing 747 is dropping fire retardant in advance of the fire to try and prevent it from spreading even further.
This is one of the 747's dropping this fire retardant in the Ventura County area. That's the Hill Fire location. So again, we have two ongoing large fires. The Camp Fire in the north and the Hill Fire in the South.
But this is the area that we're really now concerned about because the Santa Ana winds are setting up for this area to guess, again, gusts over 100 kilometers per hour. So seems like this in Ventura County could become all too familiar here in the next 24 to 48 hours. John.
VAUSE: OK, Derek. Thank you very much. We appreciate the update. A lot there to cover. OK, well, it's happened again, another mass shooting in the U.S. Politicians don't want to talk about gun violence, but some are raising their voices to get the message out ahead. How one group hopes that this music can make a difference?
[01:31:43] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody.
I'm John Vause with an update on the hour's top news stories.
Investigators are trying to find a reason why a U.S. Marine veteran opened fire inside a California nightclub filled with college students. The gunman killed 12 people late Wednesday night before turning the gun on himself.
Sources tell CNN special counsel Robert Mueller is now dropping his final report into the Russia probe. Still unresolved is whether Mueller will try question Donald Trump in person.
The President's lawyers are currently reviewing Mr. Trump's written responses to Mueller's questions. Mueller's new boss at the U.S. Justice Department is no friend of the investigation and may move to try and shut it down in one way or another.
Surgeons in Australia have successfully separated 14-month-old Bhutanese twins. Dawa and Nima were joined at the stomach and grew up facing each other. They flew to Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital last month to meet with the surgical team ahead of the operation.
In the leadup to the U.S. midterm elections, the President decided to demonize a few thousand migrants making their way on foot to the U.S. hoping for a job which most Americans refuse to do. Trump called it an invasion. And he warned the caravan, as it's known, was filled with criminals and Middle Easterners, the none too subtle code word for terrorists.
Neither statement was true, nor was it a crisis and nor was it an invasion as the President had described it. But it was part of a strategy to fire up his base with the fear of the other and get them out to vote.
And it didn't matter if the President was crying "wolf" because the Republican gains in the Senate were proof that it worked.
Democrats had a strategy too, making a very conscious choice not to talk about impeaching Trump if they took back the lower House. They feared that would energize Republicans to go to the ballots as well.
Instead they talked about healthcare and protecting the Obama era reform which insured pre-existing conditions were covered by health insurance companies.
What neither side was talking about was gun reform -- not a word. Even though barely a year has passed since 58 people were shot dead at a country music performance in Las Vegas, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. And that was followed five months later by another massacre when a former student opened fire at his old high school in Parkland, Florida killing 17 adults and children.
And yet gun reform wasn't even an asterisk during this year's midterm elections. It was a deliberate choice by both parties and it paid off. It worked. Democrats won the House. Donald Trump and the Republicans kept the Senate with an increased majority. So in political terms both the Democrats and the Republicans won.
But the country lost. A dozen people shot dead, at least 21 others wounded at a shooting in California on Thursday barely two days after the midterm elections.
The gunman purchased at least one firearm legally, a 45 caliber Glock which normally holds ten rounds plus one in the chamber. But officials say the shooter was using an extended magazine.
By one count this was the 307th deadly mass shooting in the United States so far this year. Thursday was the 311th day of the year. And somehow this epidemic of violence is not the most important issue facing voters.
[01:34:52] And while there is deafening silence from political leaders the students who started the March for Our Lives movements after the Parkland school shooting have not been silent, crusading for the past nine months with a single-minded idealistic goal to upend the status quo and like generations before them, have been fighting for change.
These teenagers have their own protest soundtrack as well.
VAUSE: Joining me now from Somers in Connecticut is Austin James, the lead singer on Let's Rise. His cousin was murdered at Sandy Hook. Michelle Ersick is the director of the video. She's in New York and joining me here on the set here in Atlanta is the original writer of the song, Glenn Donifer (INAUDIBLE).
So welcome. Good to have you all here with us.
MICHELLE ERSICK, DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER: Thank you.
VAUSE: Austin -- I just want to start with you as the, I guess the talent, if you like, you get first go. Is this song -- we come at this song on a day when just two days after the midterm elections which is every two years, Americans have this unique opportunity to be able to, you know, change the way they govern to change the laws which are on the books.
And yes, there was some change which was made when it comes to gun reform but essentially it feels sort of like blatantly obvious now that it was an opportunity missed especially, you know, when you look at what happened in California on Thursday.
AUSTIN JAMES, SINGER: Absolutely. I mean it has to be the biggest issue facing Americans today. I mean like you said, 311 days 307 issues of gun violence. This is an epidemic that needs to stop. It should have been over with when our children were killed at Sandy Hook. But it's been allowed to continue.
VAUSE: And Glenn, you know, you wrote the music and the lyrics --
GLENN DONIFER, SONGWRITER: Yes.
VAUSE: -- but you also have a personal connection as well to -- you know, essentially (INAUDIBLE) of gun violence in the country. So what's your history?
GLENN: Well, my history as a recording artist and then my wife and I own a 250-kid preschool for the last 18 years in Peachtree City. And we take care of 250 kids a day. And as the violence hit the kids it impacted our everyday life. I mean we had to secure the building more.
VAUSE: Because there's so many guns out there, more guns lead to more guns so you needed to --
DONIFER: We can't even let kids bring backpacks or baby bags or anything anymore. The whole world's changed so much.
VAUSE: And also you have a connection to Parkland as well.
DONIFER: Yes, my dad lives in Parkland. I lived like -- gone to the high school. And I lived in Fort Lauderdale for 20 years and at the school we have a dad whose daughter would have been in the Parkland building but now lives here.
And ironically the manager at our local bank has a college roommate whose child died in Parkland. So, a lot of Parkland connections.
VAUSE: It's amazing how many people in this country, their lives are touched, you know, either by one step remove or directly by some kind of gun violence.
But Michelle, I'm just wondering what is your connection here? I mean you decided to essentially direct the video. So, you know, do you have a personal connection to any of this?
ERSICK: Well, just that I care about all of us. And this is devastating. I don't want to live in a world where people are afraid to go to school, children are afraid to go to school. My niece told me she's afraid to have a baby naming in a synagogue.
We shouldn't be afraid to live, to go to a movie, to go to church, to go to a synagogue. And this really has to stop.
But the way it came to me was Keith Guards (ph) who produced the song sent me the song, this incredible song. And I was so moved, I fell in love with it. And I said, please let me direct a video for this incredible song.
VAUSE: I was listening to the song. It's very powerful, it's very moving. Is it written -- is it meant to be a rallying cry for the kids who are, you know, confronted with this sort of violence every day? Is it meant to be an expression of frustration because progress is taking so slow or is it sort of -- everything and then some. DONIFER: As the issue weighed heavier on my heart, I thought what can I do to help move the message forward. And I'm a songwriter. That's what I've done for 40 years.
[01:39:57[ So I figured if I could get the message in a musical piece, well then people that ordinarily wouldn't even watch this or pay attention to it might bridge the gap and open their hearts and open their eyes and open their minds through a music message.
And it seems to be working. People that wouldn't even watch to marches are listening to the song.
VAUSE: Well, that's the thing because, you know. It all sort of started with Parkland. Parkland has seen this, the birthplace of this, you know, the gun reform protest movement.
But of course before there was Parkland, there was Sandy Hook. And Austin, you know, your connection to Sandy Hook is a personal one as well.
JAMES: Yes. Absolutely. It was our day. What was harder was the memorial service afterward for a small child. There's really no more words, no more thoughts and prayers. It is time for action and that's what this song is about.
VAUSE: So you see it. Because every -- I guess every, you know, protest movement each generation has a song or collection of songs that -- you know, their anthem if you like. And so often when you've seen these lyrics, is that what you thought you were doing? You were performing an anthem for a generation demanding changes to gun laws?
JAMES: Absolutely. Music is such a powerful tool. And it can really bring people together and connect us all. And yes, I'm just so grateful that I was able to be a part of this.
VAUSE: So could you explain to me the roles that the kids played in the video.
ERSICK: Ben and Josh and Roman and Jasmina and Justin -- they all -- most of them wrote verses for the song. And I filmed them at their school and their school is amazing. It is called City of School. They have beautiful murals that you have there on the set.
We filmed them on the roof. I filmed them, you know, in the recording booth. They are incredible. They've been involved in the movement. That's why Keith Garde and, you know, Glenn wanted to bring them in to be a part of the song and write verses for the song because they are very active in the movement and have participated in Washington and in the walkout.
And we just had an amazing day of filming them in their school and their environment even though when you walk in, there's a police officer sitting there to protect them. But it's quite something that, you know, that police officer has to be sitting there in school. And a good thing and I wish it wasn't necessary.
But they're just absolutely incredible. I fell in love with them. And they moved me so much. They're so inspiring.
VAUSE: Well, like I said, every protest movement needs an anthem. And I guess maybe now this is the anthem which, you know, the (INAUDIBLE) needed.
So thank you all for being with us -- to Austin, and to Michelle and also to Glenn here in Atlanta. I appreciate you all being -- taking the time for being with us. Thank you.
JAMES: Thank you for having us.
DONIFER: Thank you.
ERSICK: Thank you for having us.
We'll be right back after a short break.
 (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
VAUSE: Well, breaking news from Melbourne Australia with reports of a major incident. Hundreds of police have been deployed after a man attacked several people with a knife. There are reports of a car fire as well. All of this happened at a busy shopping district.
One suspect has been arrested. A small number of people are being treated for stab wounds.
World leaders are gathering in Paris this weekend to mark the 100th anniversary of the armistice which ended World War 1. As CNN's Nick Glass reports, a lot has changed in the past century, including the way we view the war to end all wars.
NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The trains of course are so much faster now. Just whittle through the station at (INAUDIBLE) off some 40 miles north of London.
The station building itself hasn't changed that much in a century or so. The big difference on that summer's day way back in August 1914, was the main platform was crowded with men in uniform going off to war.
The way we remember the Great War has subtly changed. The images have been tinted and we've begun to see the war in color for the first time.
DAN HILL, MILITARY HISTORIAN: This is Private Walter Flanders (ph) and Private Bill Johnson. They had a tragically short war and these two chaps were both killed by the same shell buried alive.
GLASS: Dan Hill is trying to identify all the men on the platform to find out what happened to them.
HIS: This is Corporal Arthur Ernest Boardman. He's the very first man to fall.
GLASS: So far Hill has identified 11 of the men in the photo, eight of them never came home. Their names are on the War Memorial just 50 yards from the railway station. Corporal Boardman, Private Flanders and Johnson among a long list of other casualties.
Just colorizing old black and white stills obviously makes the story more accessible to a younger generation. Doing the same for moving footage has been infinitely more dramatic.
PETER JACKSON, DIRECTOR: It just brings it to life. And I'm -- I mean some of these had a Long-term interest in the First World War this last two or three years that we've been restoring the footages. And it's been incredibly excited. I know I'm stunned. You see the faces. You see the people. You see the humanity.
GLASS: Peter Jackson's documentary "They Shall Not Grow Old" gives us a rare insight in what it's like to fight in the trenches on the western front -- both electrifying, funny and sobering. A film about camaraderie and animal savagery, we learn what it was like to be an ordinary soldier.
This is the Welsh grandfather Peter Jackson never met. Sergeant William Jackson was machine gunned at the Battle of (INAUDIBLE) in France in 1916. He was a lucky one. He survived.
Private Ted Ambrose didn't. He was 19 when he died. His suitcase was returned from the Somme (ph) to his mother in England. She could hardly bear to open it. It is quickly consigned to her attic for most of the 20th century. Ted's pipe and tobacco, his cigarettes, including army issue red (INAUDIBLE), a locket with pictures of himself and his sweetheart and the service medals he never lived to receive. The artifacts amount to a rare discovery, a poignant time capsule.
We began this centenary of the Great War in 2014 with the moat at the Tower of London filled with a sea of ceramic poppies. Some of them have now migrated across the Thames to the Imperial War Museum, a cascade, a weeping window spilling down the building.
[01:49:55] Britain's poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy has written a new poem to mark the centenary of the armistice. "The Great War", she writes, "is the wound in time. Will we ever remember it with quite so much intensity again?"
Nick Glass, CNN -- London.
VAUSE: This year's U.S. midterm elections featured a whole lot of firsts including the election of two Muslim-American women to Congress. One of them, Rashida Tlaib is blazing a trail from America to the West Bank. CNN's Oren Liebermann spoke with her family about her victory and what
it means to them.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The victory party was all but assured. For Michigan's 13th district, Rashida Tlaib knew she would likely be the first Muslim woman and the first Palestinian in Congress when she won the primary back in August.
No Republican ran against her in the general election.
RASHIDA TLAIB (D), MICHIGAN REPRESENTATIVE ELECT: I uplift the families of the 13th congressional district, I will uplift them every single day being who I am as a Palestinian American woman.
LIEBERMANN: Even so her victory is historic in Washington, D.C. and in the West Bank.
In the village of Beit Ur al-Foqa (ph) every visitor to the Tlaib family home is greeted with coffee and sweets -- a traditional celebratory snack. Her cousin shows us around the family home.
Tlaib was born in Detroit but she has visited often over the years. The family says she also came back here for her wedding.
SANABEI TLAIB, RASHIDA TLAIB'S COUSIN: We as her family are very proud of her as Palestinians Arabs and Muslims.
LIEBERMANN: Tlaib is proud of her Palestinian roots. In interviews, she's drawn parallels between the civil rights struggle in the U.S. in the 1950s and 60s and the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
She was accused of flipflopping on a key issue from voicing support for two-state solution on independent Palestine sitting next to Israel to support for a single integrated state made up of Arabs and Jews. That caused her the backing of liberal Jewish advocacy JStreet and put her at odds with political authorities here in the West Bank.
In her ancestral village, family members just hope she can help shine a light on the Palestinian cause.
BASSAM TLAIB, RASHIDA TLAIB'S UNCLE (through translator): We as Palestinians need someone like her to pass our message to the American administration and people that don't know much about our lost rights.
LIEBERMANN: Tlaib ran to the left of the Democratic establishment, scoring endorsement from the progressive Justice of Democrats.
Her victory is part of a new wave of politics and a new wave of diverse women heading to Washington, D.C.
Oren Liebermann, CNN -- Jerusalem.
(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: "So tell me what you want, what you really, really want". And if you said a Spice Girl reunion, then you're in luck. Girl power is back, the 90s pop group is hitting the road. All the details after the break.
Say you'll be there.
VAUSE: Oh yes. Get ready to spice up your life just a little because the iconic 90s girls group Spice Girls have announced a reunion tour. But not all members of the group says I'll be there. So how is it a reunion?
Anna Stewart has the details.
[01:55:01] ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They've been missing in action for six years. But they're back. The Spice Girls, showing that girl power has staying power with a surprise announcement, they're returning for a reunion tour next year, minus Posh Spice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come and sit down. The Spice Girls are here.
STEWART: It came as a shock through social media for Spice Girls fans around the world.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're all going to be in black tuxedo.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Melanie.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ask yourself is that a black tuxedo?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Melanie. STEWART: While teasing fans and making more surprises.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's just take things slowly. See how it goes. See if Mel B. behaves herself.
STEWART: Spice Girls fans also waiting to see if Posh Spice Victoria Beckham has a change of heart.
Is Victoria doing this whole thing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, she's not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's not in it.
STEWART: Beckham announcing by Instagram she won't be there for the reunion which she says will be amazing and fantastic. For six years the Spice Girls caught the spirit of the late 90s, dominating the pop world. They're identified with a brand of cool Britannia (ph) and their message of girl power. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were the ones that were teaching younger
girls. It might have been a bit of a simple message, girl power. But we weren't hearing it before. And every girl grew up being like yes, I can do whatever I want.
STEWART: A generation of girls remember growing up with the Spice Girls.
STEWART: And some were inspired to dream big like this young fan growing up to show her own girl power -- Adele.
STEWART: Tell me the significance of this staircase.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is the "Wannabe" staircase.
STEWART: Allan Smith Allison is a Spice Girls super fan. And one of the biggest collectors of Spice Girls memorabilia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you've got Baby's here and I've got Ginger's here. So you can see it is a little bit different but straps on it. It is a different color.
STEWART: I mean it is not an everyday outfit I would say.
With an exhibit that's opening in London, featuring thousands of Spice Girls memorabilia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is literally hundreds and thousands of collectors around the world.
STEWART: But the real collectible for Spice Girls fans might just be the memories of their favorite songs.
Anna Stewart, CNN -- London.
VAUSE: Can't wait.
You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.
Please stay with us. George Howell takes over after a very short break. You're watching CNN.
[02:00:05] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: We begin with breaking news out of Australia. Police there responding to a major --