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Michigan School Shooting; Omicron Threat; Interview with "Gunfight" Author and Former Firearms Executive Ryan Busse; Interview with "The Dead are Arising" Author Tamara Payne. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired December 01, 2021 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: We don't know everything we need to know yet about the Omicron variant.
GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Fighting a virus we don't yet fully understand. I speak with global public health experts Dr. Helen Rees and Ayoade Alakija
about mixed messages and possible missteps.
Then, in Oxford, Michigan, another mass shooting. I ask former gun industry executive Ryan Busse, why is America the only country where this keeps
MALCOLM X, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips?
GOLODRYGA: Michel Martin takes a fresh look at the legacy of Malcolm X with biographer Tamara Payne, author of "The Dead Are Rising."
GOLODRYGA: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR. I'm Bianna Golodryga.
Christiane Amanpour will be back tomorrow.
Well, we are continuing to fight a virus that we do not fully understand yet, as we are learning more about the Omicron variant. Public health
experts are doubling down on vaccines as the best protection against the mutation.
Today, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen broached the idea of mandatory vaccination for the European Union. But what do we actually
know about the effectiveness of existing vaccines? And will they still be effective against future variants?
We begin our exploration with a look at the South African scientist who first detected the variant from correspondent David McKenzie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After tracking COVID for many months at this lab, Jeanine du Plessis is bracing herself.
(on camera): Have you seen a lot more positive cases in the last few weeks?
JEANINE DU PLESSIS, WITS VIDA RESEARCH UNIT: Yes, we have.
MCKENZIE: First a trickle, then a flood. At the Wits VIDA lab, they're studying a disturbing variant of an old foe.
DU PLESSIS: Still too early to actually tell. So much of it is so unknown about the variant. Everyone feels a little bit of hopelessness in a moment
MCKENZIE: This lab is really at the coalface of the COVID response. They're expanding so fast, they're putting their samples in freezers right
here in the hallway. They come in, in shifts.
And as this wave develops, they will be operating 24 hours a day.
(voice-over): They know how bad it gets.
This was Delta's awful impact in Johannesburg, in July, patients stacked in hallways, struggling to breathe, in exclusive footage obtained by CNN. At
the Wits VIDA lab and all across the globe, they're trying to understand whether Omicron is more transmissible, deadlier, whether it breaks through
existing COVID-19 vaccines.
(on camera): What does it feel like that the entire world is hanging on this discovery that was figured out here initially?
ALLISON GLASS, PATHOLOGIST, LANCET LABORATORIES: Yes, so, I mean, it can - - it does feel a bit sort of surreal when you watch the news, and you see the impact it's having globally, and you're thinking, wow, sort of
affecting stock markets and airlines and people's travel plans.
You kind of don't plan on having that sort of ripple effect.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): A spike in cases first happened in Pretoria with a cluster infection at this technical university, but hints of a new variant
were first detected by scientists and pathologists at Lancet Laboratories.
In early November, they spotted a strange anomaly in their positive PCR tests. Then it happened over and over again. It reminded them of tests for
the Alpha variant, first detected more than a year ago in the U.K.
(on camera): What was it like to see this anomaly cropping up again?
GLASS: Well, it was a bit disturbing, because we -- it made us worry that we were dealing with something new. And because it coincided with an
increase in positivity rates, it made us worried that we could be dealing with a new variant.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): Lancet urgently notified South Africa's genomics team. Within days, they described and made public disturbing details of the
highly mutated virus.
Much of the world shut off travel from Southern Africa. And scientists here say they are now struggling to fly in critical reagent for the lab work to
(on camera): Why was it so important to alert everybody about this?
GLASS: Especially with the reaction of the world to Southern Africa on the announcement of the variant, so a lot of people say, well, why don't you
just keep quiet about what you find?
But what's important is, we know that a new variant is likely to cause an increase in cases, whether they'd be more severe or not.
GOLODRYGA: Well, as the Omicron variant is now detected in more than 20 countries, we take a closer look at measures to preempt further spread with
Dr. Helen Rees, medical researcher and chair of the WHO Immunization Advisory Group For Africa, and Ayoade Alakija, co-chair of the African
Vaccine Delivery Alliance. She's speaking out forcefully against travel bans on Southern Africa.
Welcome, both of you.
Let me begin with you, Dr. Rees, because, today, the vice chair of the South African Medical Association told CNN that, so far at least, the
patients that they are seeing are younger, have milder cases, and those that are hospitalized are unvaccinated.
Does that bear true to what you are seeing? And what does that indicate about the potency of this variant?
DR. HELEN REES, CHAIR, WHO IMMUNIZATION TECHNICAL ADVISORY GROUP FOR AFRICA: Well, I think it's a bit early to jump to sort of final
But, obviously, we're looking very hard at hospital admissions and who's being admitted and how sick they are, and also trying to work out, have
they been vaccinated or not? And have they been reinfected? Lots of questions to ask.
Certainly, at the moment, it does appear that people are seeing younger people, teens and under-12s, and even younger toddlers, but not severe
disease in those categories yet. But it's far too early to conclude anything, because these are very early days.
Often, severe disease will often president in people who are older and with comorbidities later after you start to see an increase in cases, not
GOLODRYGA: And correct me if I'm wrong, Dr. Rees, but it seems that the two areas of most concern to experts are the mutations, the 30-plus
mutations in the spike protein, obviously, that the vaccines do impact, correct, and the concern about transmissibility here.
What, if anything, over the past -- I believe we're close to a week now of when the WHO made this an issue of global concern. What have you learned
about those two issues?
REES: Well, we certainly know that this is a very transmissible variant. Whether it's more transmissible than the Delta variant that we had before,
we will have to try and establish that, but it's certainly very transmissible, because the numbers are going up very rapidly.
We have also seen a trend towards people getting reinfected. People who had had an earlier infection with a different variant, we're now seeing a
number of people getting reinfected as well. But of real concern -- and this is what the world is really focusing on -- is that with the number of
mutations on the spike protein, what will this mean for protection that we are all hoping will come from vaccines?
So, there are more mutations in this variant than we have seen in any previous variant. And the spike protein is the part of the virus that all
of the vaccines we currently have -- well, most of the vaccines we currently have are designed to target.
And if that has changed considerably, the concern is, will the vaccines still work? Will they work just less well? Will they work less well for
mild disease? Will they still work well for severe disease? And, at the moment, the hope is that we will retain a level of function with the
current vaccines against severe disease, but there might well be an impact on their protection against mild disease.
GOLODRYGA: And, Ayoade, it is for this very reason, that we don't know the effectiveness of vaccines against this new Omicron variant, that we have
seen countries, including the United States, put a temporary ban on travel from South African countries and Southern African countries.
You have objected to this travel ban, and President Biden has spoken out about it, saying that we just need more time to learn more. Why do you
object to this? And what message does that send to those countries?
DR. AYOADE ALAKIJA, CO-CHAIR, AFRICAN VACCINE DELIVERY ALLIANCE: Hi, Bianna. Thank you. And it's also lovely to be on here with Helen.
I think it's not that I object to travel bans as a general principle. What I have said is that, if we're going to ban or if we're going to have travel
restrictions, let us have a coordinated global approach. Let us not single out to the part of the world that has actually alerted us to this problem.
Let us not single out Southern Africa.
And, actually, today, we're seeing now Nigeria, which is where I'm sitting in Abuja, is also now being banned by various countries. So what we have is
virus now in about 30, 30-plus -- I mean, it's changing so quickly, that one is keeping up by the minute, so about 30-something countries across the
planet almost on every single continent.
And yet the only travel bans we have in place are for African countries. So that is the issue that I have, is that this is discriminatory, because
Africa and Southern Africa in particular and Helen and a lot of her colleagues have done an incredible job in sequencing and in identifying
Why are we putting in punitive measures to those who've actually done the best job? Why are we singling out Africa? So, if we're going to have bans,
let us have a global coordinated travel shutdown for a month, if it is necessary, but do not single out one particular part of the world.
GOLODRYGA: And, Dr. Alakija, given what you have just described, what are the implications of the shutdown for not only political reasons from these
I mean, we have heard concerns about, we have come forward -- the South African leaders, saying, we have come forward because we are so advanced in
genome sequencing, and thus we have alerted the world. And we're being punished with these travel bans.
What are the longer-term implications, both politically and scientifically, in your view?
ALAKIJA: Well, I mean, let me start with the science.
I mean, first of all, these bans are not based in science. Yes, we're saying we want to slow down the seeding, some of the governments have said,
but we don't know where this started. We don't know when it started.
What has found it out, what it's clearly shown is that Southern Africa and South Africa are far more advanced in their pandemic preparedness than most
of the high-income countries of the world, because we have now learned that it was already in the Netherlands 11 or so -- about almost two weeks before
it was identified in Southern Africa.
So, from a scientific perspective, what this is going to do, it's going to shut scientists down. People are not going to come forward and say, well,
we have identified this, there is a variant, this is what we're worried about, because there will be worried about what -- the other point you made
-- about the trade implications, the economy, the economic implications of that on their countries.
I mean, already, we're seeing markets tank. We're seeing stock prices fall, except for the big pharma companies, of course, that are making an absolute
fortune out of all of this. But we're seeing markets begin to react in a very negative way.
So, Africa is just beginning to try to creep out into its recovery phase, some of our countries, and now that is all over. We are -- I mean, that's
from the macro level. We're seeing inflation rise. We're seeing economic downturns already. On the micro level, we're going into the holidays.
I mean, I will give you a personal example. I'm in Abuja today in a complete panic, because my daughter is not in this country. She was due to
be arriving tomorrow morning. There are families, millions of families like that all over the continent who are either traveling out or coming in.
There's a social implication of this. There's an economic implication.
But, most of all, we're dealing with something that has become so geopolitical that we need to solve it with political leadership, not just
with sort of knee-jerk reactions from high-income countries, and no response from our leaders or very limited response from our leaders in the
GOLODRYGA: Dr. Rees, Dr. Alakija just touched on the pharmaceutical companies and these vaccine makers.
And I was really puzzled by two very different interviews given by the head of BioNTech, who, again, both prefaced their interviews by saying, we need
more data, but that the head of BioNTech said that he believes that the current vaccine in its form will be able to work rather successfully
against the Omicron variant.
And you counter that with an interview that the Moderna CEO gave to "The Financial Times" where he in a sense sort of projected the opposite and
suggested that, from the scientists he's spoken with, that there will inevitably be a need for either a tweak or a different vaccine to tackle
And if I'm confused, I'm not a scientist, but I'm a journalist, and I follow this, I would imagine, more thoroughly than just the average citizen
who's trying to get by in life, how do you interpret this, and how should the public interpret it?
REES: Well, I think what we're seeing here is an evolution of understanding, and just because we don't yet know.
And so you're going to get a lot of different opinions on what might happen. What we do know is that, with previous variants, that we have seen
a reduction in the effectiveness of vaccines in being able to act against those variants, not a complete wipeout, but a reduction.
And it would be a different level of reduction, according to which vaccine that you look at. So, when we look at the Omicron variant, we know as I
said, that the spike protein has changed significantly. So we don't now know whether existing vaccines that were not designed for this variant --
they were designed for the original -- the original ancestral virus -- will they still work?
What we're hoping is that we will see what we have seen with the earlier variants, that they might well be less effective against mild disease,
because that's to do with antibodies.
And we have seen with other vaccines and variants that the antibody effect is reduced. The effectiveness of the antibodies produced by the vaccine is
diminished. And that seems to increase the risk of mild to moderate disease.
But they have all tended to keep their ability to be active in protecting against severe disease and hospitalization. And that's because it's a
different part of the immune system, we think, that gives that protection. So the bottom line is, why you're getting different opinions is that we
still don't know.
But, in the meantime, what we're doing is two things. First of all, there's a plethora of research going on in many countries, South Africa included,
but in many countries around the world, to try and answer those questions, both with lab studies, with animal studies.
And we will be looking at effectiveness studies in the clinical setting, in the real-world setting. So we're trying to answer, do these -- will these
vaccines still work or not? But from the manufacturers' point of view, they're already saying, no, if they don't work, and they really don't work
as well, can we change our vaccine so that it's once again effective against the Omicron variant?
And they are actively looking at doing that. That's not a quick process. But thank goodness, because of the speed with which we're now able to
develop vaccines, that is a much more rapid process. But, nonetheless, it would take weeks to design that vaccine and probably -- well, certainly
months to get it into production and out.
GOLODRYGA: And that raises sort of a conundrum as to whether these manufacturers focus on the new Omicron variant or continue the
manufacturing of the vaccines as they are in combating the Delta variant.
When do you think, Dr. Rees, that we will know whether the Omicron variant, which you and others believe to be highly transmissible, could actually
cancel out the Delta variant? And that obviously would give these manufacturers more of a view as to which direction they should go?
REES: Well, the laboratory studies, as I say, are already under way around the world. And those take weeks, not months, but weeks.
So we will get an impression from those laboratory studies about what's going to happen. But what we're also doing -- and remember that South
Africa's numbers are going up quite steeply, which is this high transmissibility and the high numbers sort of effect that we're seeing.
We will be able to look at hospitalization and whether people have been vaccinated and the severity of disease. So we will be able to get some of
those answers. We're looking at those. Possibly, we will get some initial answers perhaps in weeks, and certainly over the next couple of months, as
we see how this turns out.
So that will tell us, but, in the meantime, we will do what we did at the beginning of the pandemic, and we will say to manufacturers, plan for the
worst. Don't wait to see. We don't need to wait to see this. We will continue to use the current vaccines, because we're all optimistic that
there will be a level of protection, particularly against severe disease.
But to the manufacturers, please go ahead and design sort of plan B in case, we do find that this is significantly reduced.
GOLODRYGA: And, Dr. Alakija, this sort of puts us into the tale of two realities that the hemispheres are feeling right now, because, in the
United States and in much of the Western countries, we're having leaders talk about perhaps mandates for vaccines and getting boosters.
And, meantime, only 5 percent of people living in lower-income countries have received even one dose of a vaccine. This continues to be a problem.
We continue to discuss it. But you would think that, given this new variant, it becomes front and center once again.
ALAKIJA: Well, there's a terrifying sense of deja vu, isn't there? It feels like we have rolled back to March 2020.
And we really must learn the lessons of the past. I think what Helen has been saying is very pertinent, but she has repeatedly said, we don't know,
we are researching. And that is that the question here. What do we have ahead of us? We don't know. We don't know whether the vaccine -- that this
variant is going to be vaccine-evasive.
But as we have already heard, the current vaccines, let's at least roll those out. Let's get those to as many people as we can, as quickly as we
can. This is not an Africa problem. It's not a Southern Africa problem. It's a global problem. And so we must urgently vaccinate the world.
The concern now is with the mandate, not just the mandates. I mean, even in Africa, I mean, in Nigeria, we had a mandate put out today that says that,
unless you're vaccinated, you can't go into certain government buildings and airports and facilities, which is really quite bizarre, because we just
don't have the vaccines. We don't have the supply.
And, therefore, of maybe 200 million people, only about 12 million have so far been vaccinated. So that's going to limit a lot of people's economic
But we have to ensure that we do get the vaccines that are currently thought to be effective, at least to some extent, that we do get them into
the arms of people as quickly as possible all over the world, because the - - I think the upshot of this and what we haven't discussed yet is that this variant has arisen because viruses do that. They sort of replicate, and
then they mutate, if they're allowed to jump from host to host.
And if we continue to have huge populations, millions and millions of people, billions around the world who do not have access to vaccines, and
who therefore are not able to protect themselves and their communities, we run the risk of even more variants. We run the risk of going from, as I
have said before, to Omicron to Omega.
And who knows whether we're going to be able to control or harness the Omega variant? This is becoming for some countries an existential issue.
And vaccine and diagnostics and therapeutics, the issue of equity and justice is front and center in all of this.
And so, for me, that has been my mantra over the last year. It has been an exhausting year of just trying to get the high-income countries to
understand that it is in their enlightened self-interest to ensure...
GOLODRYGA: It's in the world's interest. And we haven't even touched on vaccine hesitancy.
And, unfortunately, we don't have time today to continue this conversation. But we will come back to both of you as we continue to learn more about
this new variant.
Thank you so much, Dr. Rees, Dr. Alakija. We appreciate it.
Well, turning to the United States now, where another high school shooting leaves four American teenagers dead, after a 15-year-old student went on a
five-minute shooting spree at Michigan's Oxford High School. There are already 25 mass shootings in America this year, according to the Gun
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, who represents Sandy Hook, site of another school killing rampage, spoke out yesterday on what Michigan
Governor Gretchen Whitmer calls a uniquely American problem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): This only happens in the United States of America. There's no other nation in the high-income world in which kids
worry about being shot when they go to school. It happens here in America because we choose to let it happen.
We're not unlucky. This is purposeful. This is a choice made by the United States Senate to sit on our hands and do nothing while kids die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: As a former executive of one of America's top gun manufacturers, Ryan Busse saw his industry evolve from serving hobbyists
and hunters to putting a stranglehold on U.S. politics.
Now he's speaking out against what he calls the industry that radicalized America in his new book, "Gunfight."
Ryan Busse, welcome to the program.
This, out of all subjects, unfortunately, it's very timely to have booked you on. It could have been an evergreen booking. You just published this
book. But this happens today after yet another mass shooting at a U.S. school.
I'd like to get two perspectives from you, because you have a unique angle to this subject. One, your reaction, as the author of this book, to this
RYAN BUSSE, AUTHOR, "GUNFIGHT: MY BATTLE AGAINST THE INDUSTRY THAT RADICALIZED AMERICA": Well, thanks for having me, Bianna.
I think Senator Murphy is right. We have decided as a country that we have to buy into the politics of the NRA, this all or nothing, we must have
everything, all freedoms and no responsibility. And I know that there are millions of responsible gun owners who are just, frankly, fed up with this.
I'm one of them.
I arrived here in New York yesterday. And upon arriving, our son texted us that there was an event like this that was thwarted in his own high school
back in Montana. And it's not OK that we allow this to happen. I think Senator Murphy is right. We don't have to have this all-or-nothing, 100
percent loyalty choice that the NRA has as forced upon our country.
GOLODRYGA: So, let me ask you now the very same question and what your response would have been in your many years working in the gun industry.
BUSSE: Well, I think that -- I am a gun owner. I'm a proud gun owner. I shoot and hunt with my boys. And I want to continue to do that.
But that does not mean that we can't opt for decency and responsibility and policies that mitigate the sort of things that we saw yesterday. A
democracy is not going to exist with 100 percent or zero percent. It's going to exist somewhere in the gray area.
And we're -- and, frankly, we're far out of whack right now. And so my response would have been, as it was, that we should say yes to responsible
gun regulations. It doesn't mean we're taking everybody's guns. We're not taking my guns. But to do and institute and accept policies that are
responsible and that mitigate these sort of outcomes, that's what we must do as Americans. That's what we do in every other place in our lives and
GOLODRYGA: So, then, were you an outlier among your colleagues, either at Kimber or within your colleagues in the National Rifle Association?
Because, publicly, that's not the response that we hear from them, either the gun manufacturers or the gun lobby following a school shooting.
BUSSE: Yes, I -- the book is about me and my transition from growing up on a farm and ranch and being in the middle of what I thought was a dream job
and a dream career. And, frankly, early on in the industry, it was an industry that understood these sorts of responsible behaviors and
Eventually, I did become an outlier, because I'm not OK with saying no to responsibility. I'm not. If we have a Statue of Liberty on one coast, we
should have a statue of responsibility on the other coast. Something as critical and important and powerful as firearms ownership and the Second
Amendment cannot exist in our country if it's not balanced with the proper responsibility.
And so, yes, I did become an outlier. And the book is about my battle, my personal battle, my family's battle, and then my battle as I left the
industry to try to do the right thing. And I'm trying to do the right thing now.
GOLODRYGA: You write in the book that you were born with a -- quote -- "shotgun in one hand and a rifle in the other." You grew up hunting with
your father. You and your boys hunt as well.
Talk about the cultural change, though, for the industry as a whole from when you started working to what made you finally decide, in 2020, that you
had had enough.
BUSSE: I came to find through my time in the industry and through my advocacy for things that I really love, particularly conservation,
environmental policy, that those things were just fodder for a political power and monetary machine of the NRA.
And, as the industry and the NRA became inextricably intertwined, I realized that this was really no longer about guns or patriotism or bravery
or all the sorts of things that are intertwined in some dangerous portions of gun sales now. It was about political power. And it was about money.
And that distressed me greatly. And so, over time, I saw a focus on what I believe are wholesome parts of gun ownership in America. Self-defense, I
believe in that, although that's become a very -- become a very sticky wicket, with so many people having guns, Kyle Rittenhouse, open armed
intimidation. It's very dangerous now.
But I believe in self-defense. I believe in target shooting and hunting and all those sort of cultural connections to shooting that are so important to
so many Americans. But there are millions of us that are just knocked down with armed intimidation, with Kyle Rittenhouse, with vigilantes, with
people attacking and killing Ahmaud Arbery with a gun.
Like, this is craziness. And it has to stop.
GOLODRYGA: You describe that the Columbine shooting was really a turning point for the industry. And since then, every mass shooting, whether at a
school or at a public venue, would result in a spike in gun sales, and that perhaps, after Columbine, that spike in sales surprised your colleagues and
those within the industry.
But then they quickly caught on to what was happening. And this became a real political issue. Explain how.
BUSSE: So, I -- the book details my linkage with the industry as it realized that mass shootings and political turmoil could both drive voters
to the polls. The NRA figured this out.
But then it also -- the same thing that drove voters to the polls, fear, conspiracy theory, hatred of the other, that also drove gun sales. And so
those things became linked. And, over time, they became linked so tightly that they could not become unlinked anymore.
And that's why it's not an accident that, in the last -- the most tumultuous period in our lifetimes, the most political, societal tumult
that we have experienced, the last 18 months in our lifetimes, is also the highest period of gun sales ever in the history of the country by a huge
factor, even more so than the worst shootings, the most horrific shootings that we have ever seen, the Sandy Hook shootings. The sales spike hugely
So, if you overlay gun sales with mass shootings and Democratic election wins, they match perfectly. And it's just -- it's just an unholy alliance
that relies upon that.
GOLODRYGA: And you talk about a moment.
Perhaps it's after the Columbine shooting, in the late '90s, when there was an opportunity following what lawmakers saw happen with the tobacco
industry, and the settlements there, and some of the reforms made to go after gunmakers.
And Smith and Wesson was an organization, was a company that decided to comply, and shocked everyone in your industry and worked with the Clinton
administration. They, quickly though, became outliers and ostracized within the industry, and the industry decided that their new policy was not giving
What would have happened had others followed suit in Smith and Wesson's and what they did as opposed to where they are right now and talk about the
role you yourself play in that?
BUSSE: So, I don't know where we would end up -- where we would have ended up if more companies followed that lead. And I'm not sure and I don't
espouse that was necessarily perfect lead. I do know that that's the point at which American politics changed -- you know, changed into what this
divisive chasm is that we have today because the NRA decided -- and sadly, I played a role in it, I was willing soldier then, I had a political
transformation and personal epiphany not many years after that, that this sort of persecute, you know, what happened then was the NRA and the rest of
the industry aided largely by me, persecuted Ed Schultz, who is the CEO of Smith and Wesson. And basically, drove Smith and Wesson out of business.
They were sold for not many months after that for $15 million. And a few years later, in 2006, their market cap was $1.69 billion. So, you can see
the sort of monetary damage done. Ed Schultz was fired. And if that sounds a lot like our all or nothing politics today where you have to be 100
percent for some candidate or 0 percent, there is no in the middle, just ask Liz Cheney or Adam Kinzinger, it is exactly like that. That's where our
modern politics was developed. It was perfected by the NRA and then it was handed off to the American right.
GOLODRYGA: We're seeing the NRA constantly in the headlines the last few years, losing some of their status, their wealth. Having filed for
bankruptcy. But in an interview, I listened to, you warn that we shouldn't read too much into that and into the future of the lobby as a whole.
BUSSE: I think that we should not put too much stock in that. The NRA may be weak in their current, but the politics and brush fire that the NRA has
let across this country is not weakened. It's metaphorically dry. The wind is blowing. And this political division. Just ask families who just didn't
their Thanksgiving. I'm sure there are families who couldn't talk to each other because of this divisive politics, this all or nothing thing. That's
all linked to the politics of the NRA.
It started back in my early time in the industry. It's all detailed in the book. But this divisive ugliness where workplaces and families and
friendships are torn apart over these all or nothing politics, it has its roots in the gun politics of the NRA.
GOLODRYGA: You begin the book talking about your own son and family being accosted when you attended a Black Lives Matter rally in your hometown. How
did that impact you and why did that lead you to come to the conclusion that you needed to write this book?
BUSSE: That was a frightening day. It was frightening and very heartening at the same time. I live in Northwestern Montana and it's known to be home
of some very dangerous white supremacist groups. Yet, in the town where we live, there were more than almost 2,000 people who had gathered, largely
young people, high school kids, to rally for black lives that day. And my family and I thought it was important. And we went down and we did the
And my young son, Badge (ph), who was 12 at the time, and maybe 75 pounds soaking wet was attacked by one of these Second Amendment patriots, these
armed guys who was angry and he just started screaming at him and poking his arm, poking his finger in his chest, and it was terrifying. I looked at
that much like a marking, you know, executive for a food company must feel like when they walk in a grocery store and see the product they help
develop up on the shelf.
I thought, my, God. Here it is, this product that the gun industry made this angry armed man who is attacking my son. I had already decided to get
out, but that further my resolve to get out and write this book. I think it's dangerous. I'm worried about where the country is headed.
GOLODRYGA: I'd like to end there on that note because this is an international show. And as I'm sure you are aware, many describe this as a
uniquely American problem. Wherever there are mass shootings in other countries, laws are changed immediately. And the United States doesn't have
a monopoly of people who are mentally ill or aggrieved. It just has an abundance of weapons.
What do you tell people around the world and what would you like Americans to see in terms of the fear you have of where this country is headed in the
years to come?
BUSSE: Well, I think the gun issue is very emblematic of our politics. We can have democracy. We can have representative government, but we cannot
have runaway rights with no responsibility. And I think, I believe, as I present in the book, that we will begin to see improvement in our national
politics when we figure out how to address the gun issue because America is beautiful, it is unique, but it requires responsibility from our citizenry.
And for some reason, we have forgot that and glossed over it. And I think it's time for responsible gun owners to stand up to be part of the
GOLODRYGA: And this as the Supreme Court is going to be hearing an open carry case this year. So, it's a timely book, no doubt. Unfortunate
timeliness that this interview transpired 24 hours after another mass shooting in the United States. But this is the reality that we live with.
And unfortunately, we have to stop being so numb to it and make some of the changes that you say are necessary.
Thank you so much for the time. We appreciate it.
BUSSE: Thank you, Bianna. Thank you very much.
GOLODRYGA: Well, next, we examine the powerful but polarizing legacy of civil rights icon, Malcolm X, following the recent exoneration of two of
his convicted assassins. This year's Pulitzer Prize for biography delves into a never-before-seen world of its protagonist. "The Dead are Arising"
was 30 years in the making, and co-authors by Tamara Payne and her late father, Les. She finished the work after his passing.
Here is Tamar speaking with Michel Martin about Malcolm X's life and death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Bianna. Tamara Payne, thank you so much for talking with us.
TAMARA PAYNE, AUTHOR, "THE DEAD ARE ARISING": Thank you for having me, Michel.
MARTIN: As we speaking now, there has been incredible moves in the story that you and your father spent years of researching and writing about. I
mean, as we are speaking now, two of the men who were convicted and spent decades in prison for the murder of Malcolm X were finally exonerated.
Muhammad Aziz who is 88 and Khalil Islam who died in 2009, they spent decades in prison for the murder of Malcolm X. Why did it take so long to
clear their names? Do you know?
PAYNE: Well, I think that's the question that needs to be answered. We interviewed both of them. Khalil Islam as well Muhammad Abdul Aziz. And
both of them told us they had -- they were not there inside the ballroom. And as we laid out in the book, the assassination team does come from
Newark in the Newark Mosque.
But the thing is, what's shocking, because I did read the motion, the joint motion that was filed last week, and what's shocking is on -- there was a
report in there that was dated February 22, 1965, the day after Malcolm was killed. And they stayed in this report that possibly the killers were
transported into New York. This is an FBI file.
So, they have this information. And they also said that we're able to name, in that file, the day after Malcolm was killed, that the shooters were
sitting in the front row. And so, we didn't have these unredacted reports. We did our own investigation and asking people on what -- you know, what
they saw or what they experienced. But reading that list was really chilling to find out that as early as February 22, 1965 that they actually
had a description, for example, of the man on the shotgun.
MARTIN: You know, subsequently, he confessed to killing Malcolm X but he also subsequently made clear that the other two men who were convicted
along with him were not involved. So, why all these years did they just languish in prison sort of all these years?
PAYNE: Halim who was caught on the scene by the crowd and was beaten up by crowd outside of the Audubon, yes, he actually, at first, testified that he
had nothing to the Nation of Islam. But then he changed it because he realized that these two men that were on trial with him, they had nothing
to do with the assassination. So, he, you know, wanted the clear their name.
And even if the trial, he spent over two decades just helping with giving, you know, out the descriptions of the other killers. Giving out the names
even and how it came together in an affidavit. And so, this is information that he provided. He changed his mind in the middle of the trial and he
worked diligently to try to clear this. Again, the question goes back to the authorities.
MARTIN: So, let's go back a bit then. Malcolm was born in Omaha, Nebraska. Later moved to Lansing, Michigan. Your book opens with this just really
horrifying scene where his mother who's pregnant with one of her eight children, her husband who is an itinerant preacher, who is sort of a
circuit writing preacher is a way at the time, and the clan comes to their house and threatens them.
MARTIN: And she, as it's described in the book, stands her ground even though you could imagine how terrifying this would have been. This woman
alone in the house with little children and they're trying to, what, intimidate her because her husband was outspoken.
They were followers of Marcus Garvey and (INAUDIBLE). So, this is how it like open. So, it's usually kind of a context for how he grew up. I mean,
he was a paid criminal. I mean, this is not a secret. Everybody knows this is about him. And that, at some point, he discovers the Nation of Islam.
Could you just talk a little bit more about what position he held and why he was such an important figure?
PAYNE: You know, the purpose of this book really is to look at Malcolm because of the interviews that we were able to get and obtain and have with
not only Malcolm's siblings but people who knew Malcolm, who went to school with Malcolm. We spoke with his classmates. We spoke to people who were in
jail with him at different -- every phase of his life.
And what we were learning is that there's this side of Malcolm that we don't know. And that goes beyond the speeches. That go beyond the
autobiography. That up until our book, people weren't really, you know, talking about that. Who is Malcolm, right, what was he like? Was it funny?
You know, what kind of student was he? Was he (INAUDIBLE).
But the other thing is, we wanted to talk about the world Malcolm was born into because this shapes him too, right? I mean, he's not joining the
Nation of Islam, talking about blue eyed devils, you know, because it's fun. He's doing this because this country is against black people
succeeding, you know.
And so, the Nation of Islam e provides an organization in which they can organize other black people in the towns they lived in lived and build up
MARTIN: I think it's important to -- because I think may have read "The Autobiography of Malcolm X." They may have seen Spike Lee's movie, you
know, "X." But you're providing sort of the bigger picture of like what is the world that made him as opposed to -- just -- you know, he didn't
arrive, you know, fully formed as this amazing order. How did he rise so quickly within the Nation of Islam?
PAYNE: Because it was an organization that was really about dealing with black people and then, how they move in society. And they spoke to the
issues and problems of black people very directly, you know, and that's where Malcolm really shines. Where he -- where they already have the
language, you know, that they use to describe, you know, white supremacy and their white oppressors. And Malcolm just carries that forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MALCOLM X, AFRICAN-AMERICAN MUSLIM MINISTER: Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who thought you to hate the color of your skin to
such extent that you bleach to get like the white man? Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape your lips? Who taught you to hate
yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAYNE: There's a chapter in this book in Harford where Malcolm is organizing his temple and he's directly like -- you see him like a leader,
like with these people, listening to their stories and then, organizing them to, you know, understand the tenants of the Nation of Islam. You know,
getting rid of the vices, you know, smoking, eating pork, all of that, alcohol, drinking, all of that. Gambling.
And one of the things a lot of the men were saying, and the women actually, was that they said that they felt happy to be black for the first time
because he was giving them something to do. It wasn't just responding but to being, you know, proactive in who you are as a black people, and
building your community, building your businesses.
So, Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, they're deal with the super structure of white supremacy, changing the laws, you know, voting
rights and the civil rights bill. What Malcolm and the Nation of Islam is really focusing is the mind of black people and responding to this white
MARTIN: There a lot of revelations in your book. I mean, coming out so long ago and detailing the last days of his life. But one of the eye-
popping revelations is the meeting they had with the Klan. We're like, how did -- like I -- that just wasn't on my radar at all. So, tell me about
that as briefly as you can, because it's just like, wait, what?
PAYNE: Yes. Well, the meeting with the Klan came about when Malcolm was visiting the Nation of Islam Mosque in Georgia, which was in Atlanta. And
the minister there was Jeremiah Shabazz, well then known as Jeremiah X. And Malcom was speaking there. And while speaking there, they received a
telegram from the local chapter of the Klan and said that they were interested in having a meeting with the Nation of Islam. They felt that
there were similarities that they had.
You know, the Klan was against integration and Martin Luther King was kicking their butt about -- on that, changing the minds of a lot of people,
and they didn't like that. But they understood the Nation of Islam, they wanted separation, you know. And so, they said, well, maybe there's
something we can do, we can work together on?
And Malcolm, you know, understanding getting this telegram and understanding, you know, what this can be, his view is that, you know, he
wants to have a face-off. He wants a fight with them. Because Malcolm has this -- he has good reason to not want anything to do with it. He believed
that the Klan murdered his father. He understood the Klan had, you know, visited their doorstep when he was in Utero (ph). I mean, you know, he
doesn't -- and he feels that any alliance also with the Klan is an unholy alliance. But --
MARTIN: I mean, it is a terrorist organization. So, it's not like his concerns were unfounded. I mean, it's a terrorist organization.
PAYNE: Well, yes, and also -- but he's not the leader of the organization, neither is Jeremiah. So, they have to go back to Elijah Muhammad. So,
Elijah Muhammad, says, hey, I have this southern plan that I want to put out.I want to build more businesses. I want to have farms. I want to buy
more land in the South. And the Klan is everywhere. They are the real estate, the bankers and the real estate brokers, they are the police, and
we can't -- we're going to have to figure something else. So, let's meet with them. See what they can do and if they can help us and, you know,
let's hear them out, you know.
Malcolm doesn't want to do that. But he wants -- he doesn't want the nation to come out of this with the short end of the stick. So, he wants to be
part of the meeting at least for that.
MARTIN: Did anything come of it?
PAYNE: Well, I mean, what Malcolm came out of this was with a bad taste in his mouth about having a meeting with the Klan. And what he realized is
that, you know, Elijah Muhammad was willing to have a meeting with them, listen to them, and he -- this is kind of where we start to see him
separate from Elijah Muhammad philosophically.
MARTIN: Were you -- so, you've alluded to that. I think many people who don't know the story will, you know, wonder, you know, why did somebody
from the Newark Mosque want him killed? Why is it that people from within the organization wanted him killed?
PAYNE: When Malcolm first even joined the organization, people were very jealous because he was very smart. He could speak to people educated, as
well as in the streets. He can speak to both. And he wants more people who are educated because he thought that they'd have more ideas and the
direction of organizing, you know, that would more -- even more effective. And that's kind of where he wanted to do it.
People who are already members of the Nation of Islam, they didn't have that kind (INAUDIBLE). They felt that this changed them and it bothered
them. So, there are these jealousies that had started when even he came in. Any group. These people try to turn, you know, Elijah Muhammad against
Malcolm saying, look at the -- he was going to try and take over the organization from Elijah Muhammad. Look at the way he's organizing. And
Elijah Muhammad, he's growing my numbers, my membership numbers incredibly. This is what I want, you know.
So -- but what happens is that these jealousies continue. But then, also, Malcolm starts to see -- outgrow the organization anyway because, again,
the differences that we talk about, for example, with the -- after the clan meeting, and this grows. But understand, the seed has already been planted
even when he started.
MARTIN: And then there was -- I mean, and this is not a secret that he had learned that Elijah Muhammad had impregnated some of his young secretaries
and then, kicked them out of the organization for being immoral. And when he confronted him about this, he was like, how does this square with the
kind of conservative social values that you've been inculcating in us, and he sort of portrayed himself as a biblical figure. So, that's certainly had
to have been disturbing.
And then, wasn't it Malcolm's own views around sort of the segregation versus integration, right, after his own visit to Mecca, like his own world
view about of whether segregation was really the right course for black people. Is that --
PAYNE: As time is playing on, and keep in mind, that we have people fighting for the civil rights bill and people are being hunted down streets
by, you know, national security guards and all that, and the civil rights movement. And Malcolm is seeing this and he also feels that it's coming to
a time, he starts to feel that we all pitch in to this fight, you know. But he's outgrowing the nation. You know, difference of opinion.
Yes. The babies that, you know, Elijah Muhammad fathered, yes, this was a problem but it was not the only or even the major issue, but it was an
issue. Because once Malcolm starts speaking about that, he's breaking a lot of the rules, right? And now, he's become -- you know, he's going, I guess
-- you know, he's going out to the leader right now, at that point. So, he becomes a huge threat, you know.
And so -- but Malcolm has to split. He understands. So, he can't really be by himself to do the work that he wants to do, which is, you know, to
continue this fight for the lives of black people. He needs an organization, but he needs an organization that's going to grow with his
philosophy, right? So, he comes up with the idea of two organizations.
He does -- he takes after his (INAUDIBLE) after he splits from the Nation of Islam. But towards the end of that, his tenure in the nation, he has met
with and befriended people that were Sunni. And so, he's studying with them and he's reading their literature because he wants to, you know, really
kind of further understand what, you know, this religion is, the Islamic religion is, as opposed to what they're teaching in the Nation of Islam. It
was not, you know, Orthodox Islam.
So, he's going in that direction in a religious sense. But also, in the mind sense, he's -- you know, he's outgrown the nation altogether. He's
seen as a traitor. He's not following the rules.
MARTIN: What effect do you think his head had on sort of social justice movements, not just in the United States but worldwide? I mean, important
to remember, in 1965, this kind of ushered in a season of violence. I mean, you know, Martin Luther King was killed later on and Robert F. Kennedy was
killed, you know, subsequently. And it just seems like this sort of inaugurated this -- it seen, it hindsight that this kind of augurated the
season of attack on these kinds of leaders. What -- how do you see that?
PAYNE: I think that we have to also look at what's happening in the world. You know, in 1963 and '64, what you're also seeing are countries -- African
countries, you know, who are over -- you know, getting away from their colonizers, right? Like Ghana, like Nigeria, like Kenya. And he's meeting
with these leaders, these new -- the leaders who are taking over these countries. But his philosophy has always been about connecting up with
Keep in mind, his mother was raised by Nigerians and she talked about Africa all the time. So, he was very much aware that we are African, we of
African descent, that -- and that, we -- and there's a whole continent. And then, when he's studying, he's like all these minerals come out of Africa
and we should have a relationship to this.
MARTIN: But what impact do you think his death had on these movements?
PAYNE: It was an immediate cut-in to building up a bet -- the relationship between African-Americans and Africans on the continent. I mean, I think
that -- I mean, now, does that mean that we don't have a relationship? No. I mean, people still travel. We still have relationships. But he was really
connecting it in a way that could have cut out a lot of the stuff that we have experienced since then.
MARTIN: Why do you think he remains such a towering culture figure?
PAYNE: I think it's really hard to get around Malcolm. It's just is. I mean, people tried. But he keeps coming up. He's coming up in our music.
Imagine what Malcolm would be -- had been like if he had the internet, right? But he had the television, when the television came out. And he
mastered that and he used it to his ability like nobody else. And you can't really get around that.
Because you look at those speeches now, you go -- I mean, you can listen to them but to watch him speak is amazing. Even today. And it's so important
to see that. He knew how to use that to his advantage. The other thing -- and let's not forget, the newspaper that still exists in the Nation of
Islam, he started that. He started the newspaper, because he believed that they have to have control of their communication.
And the information they put out to their community and not rely on other - - you know, the media, because the media, in a way, was distorting who they were.
MARTIN: Tamara Payne, thank you so much for talking with us today.
PAYNE: Thank you for having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: It's so interesting to learn more about Malcolm X's thinking and his legacy.
And finally, one step closer to saving the white rhino. After 30 were transferred from South Africa to Rwanda as part of a conversation program.
Zain Asher has more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST (voiceover): 40 hours and some 3,400 kilometers, 30 white rhinos complete a long journey from South Africa to a
new home in Rwanda. It's the largest single transfer of the species. And to move to replenish the white rhino's struggling population, one largely
devastated by poaching since the 1970s.
The journey was no easy feat. White rhinos are one of the largest land mammal species and can weigh up to two tons. Following months of
preparation, the partially sedated rhinos were transferred from South Africa's (INAUDIBLE) private game reserve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: We're going to take you now to the White House where Dr. Fauci is speaking on the new omicron variant.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLEGER AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: So, I know there's a lot of questions, but here's what we know
right now. The individual was a traveler who returned from South Africa on November the 22nd and tested positive on November the 29th. The individual
is self-quarantining and all close contacts have been contacted and all close contacts thus far have tested negative. The individual was fully
vaccinated and experienced mild symptoms, which are improving at this point.
So, this is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 caused by the Omicron variant detected in the United States. And as all of you know, of course,
we've been discussing this, we knew it was just a matter of time before the first case of Omicron would be detected in the United States. And as you
know, we know I've been saying it and my colleagues on the medical team and others have been saying it, we know what we need to do to protect people,
get vaccinated, if you're not already vaccinated. Get boosted, if you've been vaccinated for more than six months with an mRNA, or two months with
J&J, and all the other things we've been talking about getting your children vaccinated. Masking in indoor congregant settings, et cetera.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry. I'm going to call in people. Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point, should Americans be changing anything they do in their day-to-day lives? Are you changing what you do with the --
DR. FAUCI: No. That's a good question and an obvious question. But if you look at the things that we have been recommending, they're just the same
and we want to keep doing that and make sure we pay close attention to that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And are there other cases that CDC is investigating as potential Omicron variants in the U.S. right now?
DR. FAUCI: To my knowledge, at this point, no.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What should we take away from the fact this person's symptoms appear to be mild at this point have all the other travelers on
the plane also been contacted?
DR. FAUCI: Well, this is what we call in medicine an N equals 1, which means you can't take anything away from a single patient. It is very -- we
feel good that this patient not only had mild symptoms but actually the symptoms appear to be improving.
But as we've said, there's a lot of information that is now evolving out of countries like South Africa that have a much larger number of individuals,
not only who are confirmed, but individuals who are probables, which means they are going to have a lot of experience which we will benefit from here
as the weeks go by.
Some of you heard me say that in a matter of two weeks or two and a half or three weeks, we'll know a lot about transmissibility, about whether or not
it essentially eludes some of the protection from things like monoclonal antibodies, whether or not the disease itself in general is going to be
severe and what is the difference in an individual who's been vaccinated versus unvaccinated, boosted versus not boosted. We're going to get that
So, again, I appreciate your question about one individual, but we're going to get a lot more information.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Dr. Fauci. Two questions for you. One, you said this person had been fully vaccinated.
Had they had a booster shot yet?
DR. FAUCI: To my knowledge, no, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: OK. And under consideration, the CDC is considering having stricter testing requirements to get into the United States, a 24-hour
window before taking off but also is considering having a period of retesting once you get into the United States, would that have helped in
this case if that was already in place?
DR. FAUCI: You know, I'm not so sure because this person, I mean, did what we hope other people would do. They got off, and as soon as they became
symptomatic, they went and got tested and it was positive.
COLLINS: When you do think those requirements (INAUDIBLE) actually going to be implemented given clearly this is something that is already affecting
the United States?
DR. FAUCI: Well, that's obviously all things that are being considered in under discussion, Kaitlan, and I don't think I can make any real statement
about when and if that's going to happen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Dr. Fauci, in addition to any new testing requirements, what about new requirements for self-quarantining for
travelers returning to the U.S., which in this case, might have made a difference if he was quarantining for seven to 14 days?
DR. FAUCI: You know, the recommendation is that the people, individual would self-quarantine if they are not vaccinated and would also get tested
within a period of three days. That's a recommendation right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And can you help us understand why the travel ban is effective right now for those particular eight countries, especially when
Omicron's been detected in other countries including right here in the U.S.?
DR. FAUCI: Well, if you go back and look at when we first found out about these cases that were emerging in South Africa, no one feels, I certainly
don't, that a travel ban is going to prevent people who are infected from coming to the United States. But we needed to buy some time to be able to
prepare, understand what's going on, what is the nature of this infection, what is the nature of the transmissibility. And we wanted to make sure that
we didn't all of a sudden say it's like anything else, don't worry about it, and then all of a sudden something unfolds in front of you that you
really are not prepared for. So, we look at this as a temporary measure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Dr. Fauci, do you support a vaccine requirement for domestic flights? The president was asked about this
earlier this week and said that they had not been recommended to you, his chief medical adviser. Do you think (INAUDIBLE) the country should adopt?
DR. FAUCI: You know, I'm not sure we should say that that would be a requirement.