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Netherlands And Denmark To Provide F-16 To Ukraine; Rain Pounds The U.S. Southwest; 850 Still Missing In Hawaii; Interview With University Of Pennsylvania Department Of Earth And Environmental Science Professor And Director Of Penn Center For Science, Sustainability And The Media Michael Mann; Interview With Sociologist And Columnist Vaclav Masek; Interview With Gun Safety Activist And Change The Ref Co-Founder Patricia Oliver; Interview With Gun Safety Activist And Change The Ref Co-Founder Manuel Oliver. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired August 21, 2023 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and a very warm welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what is coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: There was a time when they said that this would never happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Fighter jet breakthrough. Why Present Zelenskyy says finally getting F-16s that will change the course of the war.
Then, desert towns underwater as rain pounds the U.S. southwest, we discuss extreme weather with climate scientist pioneer, Michael Mann.
Then, Guatemalans get a new president. A look at how the anti-corruption candidate pulled off a stunning win, and what it means for Latin America.
Also, ahead, child gun deaths reach a new record high. I speak to a couple who lost their son in the Parkland shooting about driving empty school
buses across America and meeting with other grieving parents in a club that nobody ever wanted to join.
And finally --
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(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: -- Spanish soccer stars head home after a big World Cup win. We look at how these women beat the odds and ended up on top.
And a warm welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Paula Newton sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.
A game changer for Ukraine. That's what Kyiv is calling the pledges from Denmark and the Netherlands to supply Ukraine with American-made F-16
fighter jets. Present Zelenskyy has been all but begging for the F-16s for months now. Today in Copenhagen, he spoke to Danish parliament.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Ukraine is moving from Javelins and Stingers to Patriots and F-16s. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: And we want to go straight to our Nick Paton Walsh. He's on the ground for us in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine now. Nick, look, nearly since this
war started Ukraine has been saying it desperately needed this capability in the skies. What's the timeline here? And in terms of your assessment,
what material difference will these jets make?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Look, in short, the material difference, we simply can't calculate because we have
no idea where the war is going to be in January, February, next when it's likely these jets may actually be in service in the skies of Ukraine. And
they are, of course, urgently needed because we are seeing Russian air superiority on the front lines, not far where I'm standing here in the
south, during the counteroffensive, slowing Ukraine down. Killing hundreds of Ukrainian troops from the sheer volume of explosives they were able to
drop from that position.
Now, at the same time, Ukraine, if they have F-16s, might be able to counter that, they could certainly perhaps reduce threats to civilian
areas, not allowing the jets to get much closer. And they could also, too, drop their own bombs on Russian positions, potentially enabling as most
NATO armies would not even contemplate proceeding without using air power to assist their counteroffensive.
Instead, now, after last week's very open comments by the Ukrainians that they weren't going to get the jets, frankly, fast enough, we've not had
this flurry of European activity. Denmark saying 19 jets, six this year, and the Netherlands saying 42 jets. Unclear how many of those necessarily
they'll keep for training or how many they will give to the Ukraine to actually use. It's faster or it's more concrete, certainly, as a timetable.
Is it fast enough for Ukraine right now? Absolutely not.
And so, the question is really, what will be the position of the war early next year when winter set in and the F-16s they finally come into play,
NEWTON: Yes. And clear is the controversy as to whether or not this would be defensive. As you say to, really, protect those civilian position or
whether they'd be used in more offensive posture. Nick, look, throughout all of your reporting on the ground there, it's important that -- and I
know you've been bringing it to our audiences, the harsh reality of this war and how it continues to affect Ukrainians. I know that you have an up-
close and personal look at this fight for us.
WALSH: Yes. Look, I mean, and all the time we talk about the F-16s or the town that have changed hands, the losses on the front lines and the
headlines of the war obsessed with the military maneuvers, but so much of this country, really, the vast majority of it is dealing with their own
personal ghastly tragedies that are born of those moments of conflict.
And we've had a lot of contact with a particular fireman who works and is from a town, Orikhiv, right in the line of the current southern
counteroffensive, probably one of the most bombed places on earth at the moment, with the most bombed place on earth. And here, his remarkable
story, so much of which is about personal agonies behind closed doors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH (voiceover): The aftermath is not always easier. These are the firemen of the most bombed city on earth, Orikhiv, in the throes of a
counteroffensive. And this is a normal day for them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Let me pass. Hi. Say hi to your subscribers. Girls will see you. And you'll get married.
WALSH (voiceover): Here's the story of one we've gotten to know we've gotten to know, Dima (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Sometimes it feels we were born in this war. In two hours, there were 200 incoming. We were in the basement
saying goodbye to life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The fire moved through the balconies. -- bomb just landed.
WALSH (voiceover): The pain here doesn't just come from the flames. Away from the front lines, Ukraine is suffering in ways that we don't see. Dima
(ph) has lost nearly all his family since the war began. His wife left Europe as a refugee days after the war started with his son, and he doesn't
know if they will ever be come back. The emptiness of their family home is a crippling constant weight on him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm going insane. Silence. The silence is killing me. When I'm working, I feel better than here. I got so
used to being there. I can't sleep at night when I'm here at home. Sometimes I might sleep one hour in the day. At work, I feel more at home,
and I can sleep despite the shelling.
WALSH (voiceover): The gaps between the horror harder than the horror itself. And sleep, when it comes, is sometimes worse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): These days I can barely sleep. When I fall asleep, I dream about my family. I'm coming back from my shift and
my family is here waiting for me. My wife is back, we are together again. I'm so happy to see them after such a long time. I didn't see my family for
nearly a year. It's a painful subject.
WALSH (voiceover): Orikhiv is has been ground to dust in the last two months. But Dima's (ph) grief here came immediately with last year's
invasion. His father died in its first days, just before his wife left, from a heart attack. He says because of shelling. In that chaos, Dima (ph)
had to bury his father himself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): His heart just stopped from fear. When it explodes, everything shakes inside you. So, he died in my mother's
WALSH (voiceover): Now, he only has his mother left. She won't leave the house where his father died and Dima (ph) was born and where the flames may
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I have my own war with my mother. One day, I will just tie her up and bring her here. Because I only have
her. As soon as I see an air-raid alert, Orikhiv - gliding bomb. As soon as I see Orikviv, I call her, mom, hide. Mom, hide. She says she's hiding, but
I don't know. My mama is a tough one.
WALSH (voiceover): Nearly every Ukrainian home has holes in it from people who won't come back, and emotions forged in a war with no end in sight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I want all the Russians to live in a place like this, after all they did to my town. Make them live in these
conditions, to the end of their lives. I don't want them to exist at all as a nation. I agree, there are normal people everywhere on each side. But I
will hate them until the end of my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH (on camera): Now, remember, the damage we normally see done by Russia's invasion is measured in rubble, flames and dirt. Numbers that
often don't capture the enduring consequences, you can see it there in Dima's eyes and the silence of his own home that will go on for years. And
ensure that the enmity towards Russia felt here is long-lasting. Paula.
NEWTON: Yes. Such a good point and, as I say, such an intimate portrait, certainly, intergenerational trauma already taking hold there. Nick Paton
Walsh, I really appreciate that report. Thanks so much.
Now, six months' worth of rain in just six hours. Normally, sunny Palm Springs, California was absolutely (INAUDIBLE) Sunday just one spot
hammered by Tropical Storm Hilary. The first tropical storm to impact California, get this, in more than two decades. Relentless rains, dangerous
flash flooding, daring rescues. I want you to take a look at this mudslide in Oak Glen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy -- go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: It is just breathtaking what we are seeing there. All of this while the president heads to Hawaii to see the wildfire devastation for his own.
Now, the mayor of Maui County says a staggering 850 people are still missing.
We want to go now straight to our Stephanie Elam in Cathedral City near Palm Springs. And, Stephanie, I've been watching you for hours. You have
been on the scene. And, you know, we should let our viewers know that what you have seen is a condensed time lapse of climate change. You know, and
then on top of that, California had an earthquake. I mean, what are the residents there still dealing with at this hour?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I've seen a lot of jokes about it, Paula, people are like, the earth is angry. What's going on? Why is this
happening. Now, granted, for California, a 5.0 earthquake wasn't huge of a deal. It did not shake down here where we are.
But overall, you are seeing effects of climate change. The fact that this tropical storm even made its way up as it did through Baja, California into
the state was because of that intensification because there's so much water, so much rain coming in it, as well as the heat of the ocean that
allowed for this to happen. And so, this is part of what we're seeing out there.
If you look down here, you can see that this is a muddy mess out there. This is a normal big thoroughfare that would get you to the interstate
freeway. But you can't get out there right now. So, they've had it blocked off because down there, we have some drone footage to show you, there are
semi-trucks, cars, there's even a police vehicle that are trapped in the mud.
I spoke with one man who has been out all night helping to rescue people from this very thick disgusting mud that's out here, and he says that it
just was unbelievable what he was seeing. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY BUBLITZ, DESERT HOT SPRING RESIDENT: Cars floating, especially up by Varner and Monterey, is it?
BUBLITZ: And there's cars -- that road is almost washed out, pushing at the powerplant right there, and people were trying to cross it. So, the sheriff
actually couldn't get across it. So, I took them across. So, they could block the road off. But yes, there's people stuck everywhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELAM: People stuck everywhere, and still, I can tell you, these two cars over here abandoned, but that little black car, that woman came flying past
a spring mud all over the place, past the police. She has now been stuck there for about four hours. She's just sitting there in the car because --
I'll just show this quickly, Paula. Look at this. It's like quicksand. This mud is so thick. It just kind of sucks your boots in. It will suck in the
cars and it's just really hard to get through.
NEWTON: I mean, Stephanie, I'm just staggered by what you're showing us. I mean, you're a strong capable woman right there. There are people out there
who are, you know, frail and infirm, it must be worrying just about how even emergency services might get to them if something should happen.
You know, the United States, as many different countries around the world, have been dealing with a lot here. President Biden will now head to Hawaii.
He's dealing with another climate disaster with the wildfires here. You know, Americans that you speak to now through these climate crises, what
are they looking for from government?
ELAM: You know, I think you've got two situations, where in Maui, they needed more notice of what was happening. Here, we had a lot of notice of
what was happening. They were telling people days in advance to prepare what they were going to need.
I think the problem is, is that this was unexpected. That something like this could happen. On top of it, in August. To put it into perspective,
that was almost a year's amount of rain that fell within a 24-hour period here in the Coachella Valley. They're not used to that. It was the rainiest
day of the summer in the last 100 years, that they've seen in summer time. It was the fifth rainiest day. The other four were all winter atmospheric
events. So, this shows you things are changing with climate change and that something needs to be addressed here.
But obviously, people are going to have to take preparation more seriously and also be prepared more often, because things aren't happening when we
would likely see them happen, like we used to back in the day, Paula.
NEWTON: Yes. Stephanie, thanks so much. Your reporting has been vivid and unfortunately, quite shocking. Stephanie Elam for us on the ground there in
California, appreciate it.
And I could think of no better time to turn to one of the world's most influential climate scientist, Michael Mann. He rose to prominence in 1999
as the co-author of that famous hockey stick graph, which showed the sharp rise in global temperature since the industrial age. And I want to welcome
you again to the program.
You know, in your decades of research have been vindicated in ways I'm sure that you never wanted, right? I have to ask you, have even these extreme
weather conditions surprised you?
MICHAEL MANN, PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF EARTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: Yes. Thanks, Paula. It's good to be with you.
And as you allude to, one of the last things you want to see as a climate scientist is your predictions come true. We are different from most other
scientists in that way. We don't want to see our predictions come true because what it means is that the warnings that we were issuing decades ago
have largely gone unheeded.
And now, as a result of that, we are seeing the devastating impacts of climate change begin to play out in real-time every summer. Just these vast
arrays of unprecedented extreme droughts and heatwaves and wildfires and floods. This is climate change. We don't have to use the imagination
anymore to wonder what it looks like. This is what it looks like. And it will get worse if we don't act.
Am I surprised as a climate scientist? The warming of the planet is almost exactly what we predicted it would be if we continued to -- you know, to
pollute the atmosphere with carbon pollution. But some of the impacts of that warning, especially this very persistent extreme weather events are
beyond what we expected to see at this point. And it's a reminder that uncertainty isn't our friend.
NEWTON: And to add to that, is there a possibility that, in fact, climate scientists like yourself have actually underestimated how fast the world is
-- the world climate is changing and warming? And I will note the backlash that so many of you went through in the past decades given your
MANN: Yes. You know, the warming is almost spot on what we predicted it to be. And that's bad enough. You know, we made a prediction of how much the
planet would warm if we continued, you know, to burn fossil fuels. We have, unfortunately, made the decision to stay on that trajectory, and we're
seeing the warming that the models predicted. And so, in that sense, the models were spot on.
Here's the thing, the impacts of that warming, in many cases, are going beyond what the models predicted. It's true with the melting of the ice
sheets and the beginning of the collapse of the major ice sheets, the Antarctic ice sheet and the Greenland ice sheet, already contributing to
the sea level rise earlier than we expected. That means there's all this freshwater running into the North Atlantic, for example. That freshening of
the North Atlantic appears to be slowing the so-called ocean conveyor that helps deliver warm waters to the high latitudes of the North Atlantic. And
so, that's another impact that we are seeing earlier than we expect that.
And again, these extreme weather events. And some of our own research suggests that the unusual pattern of the jet stream that gives us these
stuck weather patterns, these big highs and lows that sit in place, alternatively heating and drying one area and dumping rain on the other,
the way that the jet stream sort of gets locked in place and those weather systems get stuck in place for weeks on end, that behavior is not well
captured by the climate models. It may be one of those other impacts that we didn't really capture and we're seeing it now play out in the form of
these unprecedented extremes, some of the weather events across the entire hemisphere right now.
NEWTON: Yes. I mean, it's fascinating but also terrifying. And I want to, you know, point out that we used to describe these extreme weather events
as anomalies. No longer. Now, you, as a climate scientist, I'm really intrigued by this quote here. And this is what your viewers will be
interested in. You say, it's not game over, it's game on. What does that look like? Where do we go from here?
MANN: Yes. And that was from an op-ed that I co-authored with my good friend, Susan Joy Hassol. She was a professional climate communicator. And
that was actually one of Susan's lines. But it does capture, I think, the spirit of how we have to look at this problem.
Some people look at what's happening right now, they become sort of dispirited. They, you know, fall prey to sort of doom-ism, this idea it's
too late to do anything. The plan it is, you know, spiraling out of control, that's not the case. The warming is pretty much what we predicted
it to be, but impacts are greater than what we expected it to be.
But here's the good news. One of the things we understand now is that if we stop polluting the atmosphere with fossil fuel burning, then the surface
temperature of the planet will stabilize very quickly and these extreme weather events, they're being driven by that warming of the surface of the
planet. And so, there is urgency. We can see that just by turning on our television screens or looking at our social media feeds. There's urgency
but there's agency. We can prevent it from getting worse and there's still time to make sure that we don't go beyond those truly catastrophic levels
of warming, 1.5 Celsius, three-degree Fahrenheit warning of the planet where we'll see even worse consequences.
NEWTON: So, I hear you and it is good to note that we're not quite at that tipping point yet. And yet, we have climate meetings coming up in the fall.
We are all looking to world leaders. They've asked why President Biden hasn't declared a climate emergency yet.
I want you -- I want to ask you, would that be useful and do you think other leaders should follow? But more to the point, do you have confidence
that they actually will act, that they will exactly change in the coming months?
MANN: Yes. Well, you know, that's up to us. We have to keep the pressure on. We have seen some progress. Two years ago, at COP26, we saw a major
progress. We saw, you know, commitments from the major polluting nations of the world to substantially reduce the carbon emissions. We sort of got
enough of a commitment from the world community to almost cut the projected warming in half. We were on a trajectory headed toward four degrees Celsius
just a decade ago.
Now, if we just sort of continue with current policies, they're not enough, but current policies alone will probably keep warming at about three
degrees Celsius, that's too much. We need to go further. But we are seeing some progress and we are seeing carbon emissions now plateau. That's the
good news. The bad news is, plateauing isn't enough. They've got to come down. We've got to come down the other side of that mountain and we've got
to do it fairly quickly. And so, we need to see far more progress at this next conference of the parties later this year.
One of the stumbling blocks has been getting certain developing nations, like India, to commit to phasing out fossil fuels. But in order to convince
them to do that, the industrial countries of the world, like the United States, that have had this legacy of access for more than two centuries of
dirty fossil fuel energy to grow our economy have, we've got to have our own house in order. We've got to be doing enough so that we can convince
India that it is worth, you know, their while in skipping that fossil fuel phase of their economic development and going directly to renewable energy.
We've got to make it worth their while.
And that means there have to be even greater commitments from the industrial countries to get these industrializing countries to come on
board, and that's what this next conference is all going to be about later this year in United Arab Emirates, COP28.
What it's going to be about, is now that the developing countries have started to provide some resources, can we get everyone else on board?
NEWTON: OK. Professor Mann, we will leave it there. I do want to note though that your book, "Our Fragile Moment" in fact is one for everyone to
look in because you point out that there are lessons from climate's history to help us with what we are dealing with today, and I thank you for all of
MANN: Thank you so much.
NEWTON: And coming up for us, after years of violence and corruption, the people of Guatemala have chosen a new president. Could a new leader signal
a new era of democracy? We'll be right back.
NEWTON: And welcome back. In a decisive vote for change, Guatemalans have chosen their new president, ant-corruption crusader, Bernardo Arevalo. The
celebrations took over the streets for a win that seemed unlikely after years of authoritarian backsliding and political corruption that saw
prosecutors exiled and journalists jailed. But Arevalo's promise to bring growth to a nation plagued with inequality, violence and food insecurity
motivated viewers -- pardon me, voters to actually hand him a landslide victory.
In Ecuador, in the meantime, another presidential vote, this one marred by an escalation of violence and the killing of one of the candidates, and
that is going to a runoff vote. Now, the protege of a former leftist president will face the son of one of the country's richest men that's
after the election failed to produce an outright winner.
Joining me now live from Guatemala City is a sociologist Vaclav Masek. And she joins me now as, again, a lot at stake in a lot of these countries. We
want to concentrate on Guatemala and this election. What does this new leader mean for the country?
VACLAV MASEK, SOCIOLOGIST AND COLUMNIST: Hi, Paula. It's really great to be here today. In what feels like the first day of spring after a very long
authoritarian winter. Central America, unfortunately, has been on headlines around the world because of the authoritarian backslide.
Many of the young democracies that emerge from the Cold War after the bloody civil war is in a very polarized and ideological political field.
What happened yesterday in Guatemala represents a rebuke of the traditional political establishments that for year has ruled a country that has endured
a lot of backsliding.
However, what we saw yesterday was jubilant Guatemalans taking to the streets, hopeful that this will change and that Bernardo Arevalo's Semilla
Movement party will represent a change in the way things work in the political system in Guatemala.
NEWTON: Yes. And as you're speaking, we are showing pictures of that celebration. Who is the president-elect and what do his policies represent?
When you look at those people celebrating, what do they really wants to come fore here in their country?
MASEK: Bernardo Arevalo de Leon is the son of Guatemala's first democratically elected president in 1944, Juan Jose Arevalo Bermejo. He is
for is -- to historians as the father of the Guatemalan Spring, which was the revolution that brought about many social and civil rights for the
historically disenfranchised indigenous population of the country, which is a majority.
He was born in exile, Bernardo, the president-elect, after his father had to flee to Uruguay in 1954, after the U.S.-backed coup d'etat against the
Guatemalan revolutionary government. He is a sociologist by training. He's a doctor of philosophy. He was the leader of the Semilla Party during the
first period in Congress, during this last four years. And he's a very capable public administrator.
He is seen widely as a centrist reformer, even though during the campaign, he was painted as somewhat progressive or socialist at sometimes candidate.
He is very much down the middle. And he is facing a lot of backlash because, as I mentioned at the beginning, entrenched political elites who
have clung to the state have taken control of essentially every aspect of public administration in Guatemala.
So, what you are see in the images right now in your screen are people who are hopeful once again that democracy can be restored. And again, I want to
emphasize how Guatemala symbolizes a victory for democracy around the world.
NEWTON: I want to ask you though, and it is dangerous sometimes to set up these expectations, right, especially in Guatemala, where people there have
been through so much in the last few years. What are the challenges ahead? And I quote you by saying that, you say this is a captive judiciary. That
is not going to be easy consequences to overcome. And I note that the opposition is already saying, look, that they question the outcome of this
MASEK: Absolutely. So, one of the peculiarities about the Guatemala political system is the long interim period, or the lame duck period,
between now and when Bernardo Arevalo's new cabinet would -- were to assume office, which is until January 14, 2024. So, during these months, Semilla,
the party that will be the incumbent next year, is facing a lot of penal investigations by the current attorney general's office. They're looking
into allegations of how this party was fraudulently constituted, alleging that there's some signatories of the original adherence for the party that
And this has been part of an orchestrated campaign to undermine the popular vote. This was an unexpected first round result. No -- not even Semilla
partisans were expecting to reach the second round. Given of how small it was in terms of adherence.
MASEK: So, now, the biggest threat is this judiciary who is really keen on making sure that Bernardo Arevalo assumes without a party in Congress, for
example. They have 23 seats currently out of 160. So, Bernardo will have to face, first, the judiciary --
MASEK: -- which is the A.G.'s office, who will be in office until 2026. And then, a minority Congress. So, it's an uphill battle for the centrist
NEWTON: I do you want to get back to kind of the situation in the region as a whole. Now, look, anyone will tell you the situation in Ecuador is
completely different in most ways, except for one, it remains also a country in the region where the institutions, vital democratic
institutions, are under attack. What do you see here in the region taking hold? I mean, you said it yourself, right, many of these countries
backsliding into authoritarianism. What's at stake here for all these countries?
MASEK: I think what's at stake here, it's the real value of civic duty, right? Going to participate, taking time to think who the candidate you
will choose at the polls is, informing yourself, and knowing that democracy is an endless struggle.
We've fought really hard in this region to be able to make our voices heard and our votes count. And it wasn't a day until night time event, it was
something that generations of Latin Americans had to struggle to be able to have their voices heard. Especially now that we've seen this transition
from authoritarianism to democracy that is tinged and still marred by political violence in Ecuador, as you mentioned, what we are now seeing is
nonstate actors like criminal enterprises, illegal drug gangs, and international criminal organizations that want to buy (ph) for political
power through nontraditional means.
NEWTON: Impossible. Right.
MASEK: Let's call it.
NEWTON: Vaclav --
NEWTON: -- I have to leave it there for now, but I thank you for your insights as we continue to watch political developments. Appreciate it. And
we will be right back after a short break.
NEWTON: And welcome back. It is back to school season in the United States. Children meet with their new teachers, see old friends. Yes, and sadly,
take part in lockdown drills. Manuel and Patricia Oliver lived a nightmare when they found out their son, Joaquin, was shot and killed in the 2018
Parkland shooting. They've spent the last five years, of course, grieving their son and also fighting for gun safety.
Now, the past few weeks, they've driven across America in a converted school bus, visiting other bereaved family members, all forced into a club
that, of course, no one ever wanted to be a part of. It culminated last Thursday with 23 school buses driving to the headquarters of the National
Rifle Association, the NRA, with the many empty seats representing more than 1,500 children. 1,500 killed by gun violence only so far this year.
Now, in the wake of this protest, I spoke to Patricia and Manuel about what they call the Never Tour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: This is quite a tour. You're joining us from Charleston, South Carolina, I believe, as your Never Tour wraps up. You know, can you frame
it for us? What did this mean to you and why did you feel it was necessary?
PATRICIA OLIVER, GUN SAFETY ACTIVIST AND CO-FOUNDER, CHANGE THE REF: Well, this means a lot to us because, first of all, we create all this tour on
Joaquin's name, because Joaquin's birthday was on August 4th. He will be turning 23. We decided to visit 23 cities that have been hitting to gun
violence, and it's been really meaningful because we've been learning how the problematics and the communities are going through with the gun
violence in the area.
We also met with survivors that, you know, you have to learn more about, being through this path and seeing them going through this for such a long
time. For example, when we were in Aurora, when we were in Columbine, that happened 20 years ago, and we still see those faces, sad. But optimistic
that we are in -- we are more in this movement and we can really -- the more we are, the better we're going to get results. So, that was that was
the positive side of this visit.
NEWTON: Manuel, I ask you, where does your optimism come from, given that so many have worked for so long to try and achieve change on gun safety?
MANUEL OLIVER, FUN SAFETY ACTIVIST AND CO-FOUNDER, CHANGE THE REF: Well, I don't have many options here, right? I'm either optimistic or I lose this
and I just move on with the norm, which I will never accept.
We wake up every morning, there's a lot of kids with us, a lot of young Americans that really believe that they're going to find those changes in
society, which is beyond gun violence. We're talking about things that really concern them, like climate change and civil rights. So, I'm glad
that we could be part of that. We can fit and try to get results together.
And going around the nation for 50 days showed that there's a lot of us, and we're ready to organize better and have that louder voice. That's the
NEWTON: And, Manuel, when you say organize better, what do you think would be most effective right now when you see the political divide? I don't have
to remind you how acrimonious and even more divisive this issue has become, even though so many more families are affected by it nearly every week.
M. OLIVER: Yes. Well, this is crucial. We -- next year, we have elections in our country and having -- being able to, in advance, create this
awareness, you have to understand that gun violence has no discrimination at all, like it would hit anyone. And we were able to hang out with you
know, a very wide American communities, African American communities, gay communities, and Latinos, and people from all around the country with
diversities. And we all love each other. We don't have an issue with each other. We don't need to protect from each other.
So, that's the reality out there. That is not the reality that the gun industry are -- is showing us. So, it is important that we understand each
other. We love each other. We put that message out there. And we also have the same options for voting next year and the same intentions. We need to
vote out anyone that it's against our ideas and not prioritizing the life of Americans.
NEWTON: I mean, Patricia, we talk about how much we learn from allies -- how much you have learned from allies in the issue about gun safety, but
what have you learned from your adversaries and how to reach them? Because we have also seen entrenched issues, even if people are touched by gun
violence, sometimes it doesn't change their point of view on that issue.
P. OLIVER: Yes. We've been seeing that too, but that's -- you know, we -- I consider that they are a minority in this situation. Actually, I've been
seeing more people concerned even though that they're just -- they're advocating because they believe that we have to find an answer, a quick
answer to all these craziness that is happening in the country by the hour.
So, that it makes me feel more comfortable with more hope that next year, as Manuel just said, we are in an electoral year, we have more and more
people connected to this specific cause, because this is our goal, this is our mission. And I've been seeing that people is waking up, that is not
affected directly, but considers that it's important to fight against this.
NEWTON: And, Patricia, when you talk about, you know, getting that message through to people, you know, 23 empty school buses, those in your protest,
they were in Washington last Thursday. You went right to the doorstep of the NRA, the National Rifle Association. What do you think that evokes from
what you know are ardent supporters of the NRA?
P. OLIVER: Well, that -- you know, that they act like cowards. They really sell to the world that they are powerful and they have a lot of money and
that, which is right, which is correct. But at the very, very end, when you go there, when we were trying to bring all these 22 buses next to us,
because we're 23 total, they freak out. They just start blocking the streets, they start detouring all the buses, and they just allowed us to
come with our bus.
So, that says a lot from them. They were bringing big trucks to get everybody arrested. I don't know which were everyone arrested.
M. OLIVER: Twenty-two empty school buses.
P. OLIVER: Because we were just like twenty people there. Because we couldn't go home because they start blocking the streets. So, they got to
the event an hour later. So, that that says a lot. And that was my first time going to the NRA. So, I know more or less how they react.
The last time we were having a campaign with cookies and they were asking on Christmas time that we have to exchange cookies for ammunition. So, we
were there. I was there with David Hogg. And we were trying to get those ammunitions back to get -- you know, to be safer, because we don't believe
in that. And they were just closing the doors. They did the same thing that they did last week with us, and they did the same thing with us, they
didn't allow us to pass the premises with the cookies. And I said, you were asking for cookies. I brought the cookies. I just need the ammunitions and
we are all good. And they didn't do that. They ignored us.
NEWTON: Manuel, but hearing that, is it difficult not to really, you know, delve into defeatism here? You know, you guys mentioned Columbine, the
survivors from that, that is a generation ago. Since then, we have had Sandy Hook and we have had Uvalde, which, you know, has been very traumatic
for parents all over the United States. How do you maintain the optimism, the fortitude to go forward with this?
M. OLIVER: It's -- we like trying different things the whole showing at the NRA with 22 school buses from something that we call the Never Tour. Those
buses were representing more than 1,200 students, kids, children that this year, only this year, have lost their lives because of gun violence. So,
there is a conceptual creative side in all of these.
And that -- and those new ideas are the ones that bring us to do more stuff. If you do something and it's not working, why will you try doing the
same thing again and again and again? ?And is what that Change the Ref, Patricia and myself and the legacy of Joaquin keeps trying. So, I think
that the hope is also tied to that need of doing something new out of a box, trying new things that actually the kids are engaging with. So, I
think we're in a good path.
NEWTON: And I'm sure many appreciate your perseverance through must at times be overwhelming grief. I mean, Patricia, I'm looking at the photo of
your son there on your shirt. It is so important to really remember the promise of his life. How are the two of you doing towards what must be
incredible grief, especially when you must live through the trauma again with so many new school shootings?
P. OLIVER: Well, you got to keep going because, you know, we lost Joaquin on the streets. And I always said, and I said it immediately the day after
what happened to Joaquin, I said, you know, we lost Joaquin on the streets, and on the streets we have to be. We're going to have to have time to
grieve, to cry, we're going to hold our pillow, we're going to take a shower, we're going to cry there, but we need to do our job outside,
because this is now going to happen like, not -- you know, we're not going to pretend that this is just -- that Joaquin was lost, that was killed, and
we don't want to do anything about it, on the contrary.
That gave us the power, that gave you the action, that gave you the passion, because Joaquin was an incredible human being, that he was already
connected to this cause and we don't want to let him down. And that's the main reason why we're on the streets.
M. OLIVER: We're also Joaquin's parents. We -- how we feel when you look and you think how Joaquin felt that day, the pain, the fear, the suffering,
we as parents, it's totally relevant how we feel. This is a duty. We are responsible parents. And we're going to be protecting our son. It doesn't
matter where he is, we will always be on his side, protecting him.
NEWTON: I'm so gratified that we have right there, in his image, his beautiful spirit there that lives on in the two of you. Manuel and
Patricia, as you know, in this program, will continue to follow this issue. Really appreciate your time.
M. OLIVER: Thank you.
P. OLIVER: Thank you so much for having us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: OK. So, we reached out to the National Rifle Association in response to Patricia's description of those protests outside their
headquarters, and they told us, and I quote, "The NRA has no authority to block public streets, detour vehicles on public roadways, or make arrests.
We support the Fairfax County Police Department's response that ensured a safe environment for everyone, including the protesters who laid down on a
public roadway, presenting a danger not only to themselves, but also to passing motorists.
And we will be right back after a short break.
NEWTON: And finally, for us, Spain, our world champions. Controversy, though, has overshadowed the FIFA Women's World Cup final, but not because
of what happened on the pitch. President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, kissed one of the players on the lips after she
received her gold medal. Now, he has since apologized, but the incident is proving just how long that road ahead is for women's sport.
Spain were surrounded by controversy, in fact, going into the tournament after players accused the Federation and their coach of mistreatment. But
they defied those odds, beating England one-nil. CNN sports analyst and sports columnist for USA Today, Christine Brennan, joins us now.
Christine. Really good to have you on this. And we will get to those controversies. But I really want to hear from you about what we all know
was exhilarating play on the pitch, right? You know, ending with the finals. The keeper did what she could to keep England in it. In the end,
Spain was just too much. But really, from start to finish, this was quite a tournament, right? I mean, broke attendance records. Two billion people
tuned in around the world. How game changing was it?
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Oh, absolutely, Paula. It was the greatest and biggest women's sports event ever and only to be top probably
four years from now by the next Women's World Cup. And that is a credit to every parent and every teacher and every coach of girls and women around
the world in all sports and what we are creating and people around the world falling in love with their daughters, granddaughters, the nieces, the
opportunities they're getting and to see how they're shining.
And Spain, on the field, remarkable, Paula. It was as if the soccer ball was tied between all the players on a string. It is beautiful. The way they
play, technically beautiful. And the building blocks of this team, the young players. Spain is winning everything. They're winning all the younger
tournaments around the world. They're showing the world how to do it. The great performances, the joy with which they play. All of that, of course,
as you alluded to, overshadowed by the controversies now.
But a great credit to the athleticism of female athletes. England, all of the nations that came out of the woodwork to surprise other nations. The
U.S. not playing well, as tough as that was for U.S. fans, it does show that the world has caught up, and that is a great credit to the U.S. women
who fought for that and others around the world to see now that there are other nations, the misogynistic, sexist nations that couldn't have cared
less about women's sports, now, Paula, they do care and we're seeing it on the field of play.
NEWTON: Yes, changing basically in real-time, but apparently not enough. And we have to mention those controversies because they are part and parcel
about what these women athletes go through every day. Rubiales is in the locker room apparently after and told the players that the federation would
pay for a trip to Ibiza to celebrate. And that it's where he would marry. And also, he can't assume that this is actually funny in any way, shape or
I mean, there is undeniable condemnation here. But how do these demeaning incidents work in terms of trying to propel this game forward for these
women and women in all sport?
BRENNAN: There is a positive way to spin these horrors by these men, by Rubiales, and, of course, the Spanish in general, their coach who, of
course, has been under the microscope for all of his tactics and 15 players not wanting to play on the team last fall. So, almost a year now of Spain
being in the news for all the wrong reasons. But the positive spin is the spotlight is now shining on this.
The world saw that yesterday, that unwanted kiss, as one government official in Spain called it a form of sexual violence. That is exactly what
it is. And that is what obviously has been going on for a long time. Because, look, for all the world to see, he did it on the world stage. What
in the world, Paula, is going on behind the scenes?
And we do know, of course, if anyone doubted the players in Spain and their insurrection and their anger at Vilda and all of the things that were going
on, well, you can't doubt it anymore because there it was front and center. And other, other nations have dealt with this. The U.S., a couple of years
ago, there was a year ago or so, was the Sally Yates report and coaches were fired. And I wonder what kind of punishment Spain is going to mete
out. This is their federation president. Shame on him.
But in a way, it's good that we were able to see it as sad as it was that it was taking place on this wonderful stage where we should celebrate women
and not have to talk about these awful misogynistic men who still want to insert themselves in the worst way in women's sports.
NEWTON: And, Christine, I've got 30 seconds left. I do want you to get us to a positive point here. From what you saw in the last few weeks, what
does this mean for this sport going forward?
BRENNAN: Australia -- the most watched TV show in the history of Australia. Any sport, any TV event, Australia, England. The ticket sales through the
roof, the jersey sales, everything is so positive. I think it's a great boost for the women's game and to have this kind of conversations, good and
bad, also is so helpful for your daughters --
BRENNAN: -- your granddaughters, all the girls next door who you're cheering on around the world.
NEWTON: Amen. Amen. Christine, for you and I, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.
BRENNAN: Thank you, Paula.
NEWTON: And that is it for us. You can always catch us online, on our podcast and across social media. And I want to thank you for watching. I'm
Paula Newton. And goodbye from New York.