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New Day Sunday
Biden Visits Uvalde Today To Meet With Families Of Shooting Victims; Texas Community Grieves After The Loss Of 19 Students & Two Teachers; VP Harris Calls For Assault Weapons After Mass Shootings; Former Columbine High School Student On Surviving A School Shooting; Parents Grapple Nationwide With Conversations On School Shootings. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired May 29, 2022 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. And welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Sunday, May 29th. We're grateful that you're starting your week with us. I'm Boris Sanchez, live from Uvalde, Texas.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christi Paul. Boris, obviously, there in Uvalde, you've seen people just even last hour at 5:00 a.m. where you are come out to that memorial that is behind you. And you're probably standing in a place where you're soon going to see at some point today, President Biden.
SANCHEZ: Potentially, yeah. You're right, Christi. President Biden headed to Uvalde, Texas, coming to comfort grief-stricken community following the latest mass shooting in the United States. Just a few hours from now, President Biden set to visit this area and a memorial at Robb Elementary School where 19 students and 2 teachers were killed.
In a commencement address delivered yesterday, the president spoke of the grief that the families here are experiencing. Here is some of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're heading to Uvalde, Texas, to meet with each of those families. And as I speak, those parents are literally preparing to bury their children in the United States of America, to bury their children. It's too much violence. Too much fear. Too much grief.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Over the last few days, mourners have flocked from all over to a makeshift memorial outside the school. People are coming from all over Texas to pay their respects. Notably across the country, in Upstate New York, Vice President Kamala Harris similarly placed flowers at a different memorial, this one for ten people shot and killed at a Buffalo supermarket following a racist attack targeting black people.
During the service, the vice president called for Americans to unite.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Enough is enough. We will come together, based on what we all know we have in common and we will not let those people who are motivated by hate separate us or make us feel fear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: And back here in Uvalde, preparations are under way for President Biden's arrival.
Let's take you to where the president is now. CNN White House reporter Jasmine Wright is traveling with President Biden. She joins us live from Wilmington, Delaware.
Jasmine, walk us through the agenda for the president's visit. What is he doing today in Texas?
JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yeah, Boris. Well, the president and the first lady have a long and likely emotional day today when they head to Texas. We'll see them depart from here in Delaware just later on in the 7:00 hour Eastern Time and they get to Uvalde, Texas, around 11:00 Eastern Time, really putting in for that transit.
Now, the first thing that we will see from them is that they will head to that memorial at Robb Elementary, really to pay their respects to those who have passed away. And then we will see both the president and the first lady attending mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. We know the president is a deeply religious person. Often here in Wilmington, he goes to church, so he will be doing that in Texas.
Then the president and the first lady, they will be meeting with families of victims and families of survivors. Now, they're going to be meeting with them for just under four hours. The White House intentionally put a lot of time for the president to meet with these families becoming the consoler in chief and doing what he said he wanted to do a few, put comfort the light of this tragic situation.
And after that, we'll see the president scheduled to meet with first responders. Some meetings are closed. The president, like he says, wants to have frank conversations with people, seeing what is happening on the ground. They will return here to Delaware after.
So really a long day, marking the second time in just under two weeks that the president and the first lady have visited a memorial site after a tragic mass shooting here in the country -- Boris.
SANCHEZ: Tragically, a familiar role, a familiar sequence of events for the president. Jasmine Wright from Wilmington, Delaware, thank you so much.
When President Biden arrives here in Uvalde, he'll find a community that is mired in grief and still processing the loss of those 21 lives.
CNN correspondent Adrienne Broaddus joins us live on the scene here in Uvalde.
Adrienne, in addition to the grief a lot of families here are expressing anger and frustration. Share with us some of the conversations that you had here in the community?
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I've heard from a lot of people, folks who live here and folks who have travelled from far, sitting on this lawn, they are upset and they want accountability and action. I spoke with two teachers yesterday, who say they are frustrated when people bring up the idea that educators should take weapons inside of the classroom, they say they didn't sign up for that, and that's not what they want.
I also spoke with a grandmother, and her granddaughter, and she was moved to tears as she talked about the 911 timeline, and something that happened at her daughter's school recently. Listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA RAMIREZ, NORTH HOUSTON RESIDENT: I'm here with my granddaughter, Daniella. She is a seventh grader. And it kills me every time she goes to school that I don't know if she's going to come home. They had a lockdown a month ago that someone had threatened to shoot at the school.
And her mom wanted me to go get her and I'm too -- I live two miles from her school. I would have been there in a heart beat, but I was on the other side of town. And it is just sad that we -- it is sad that this is happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROADDUS: And her granddaughter Daniella told me she is afraid to go to school, but she's not going to let fear stop her because she said she needs to get an education, and she should not be afraid to learn -- Boris.
SANCHEZ: And, Adrienne, can you give us a sense of what they told you about the president's visit and what it means to them?
BROADDUS: I'll go back to the teachers. They said they welcome the consoling, they welcome the prayers. But at the end of the day, they said they want action and they believe the president has the power to do that. And they're waiting to see if this time will in fact be different.
SANCHEZ: We'll see. Adrienne Broaddus, thanks so much for your reporting.
We want to bring in Tennessee Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen. He joins us now.
Congressman, we're grateful to have you this morning. Thank you for sharing part of your Sunday with us.
We mentioned that the Vice President Kamala Harris spent part of her weekend in Buffalo, attending the funeral of another mass shooting victim. We want to play for you some sound now. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Let's have an assault weapons ban. Do you know what an assault weapon is? Do you know how an assault weapon was designed? It was designed for a specific purpose, to kill a lot of human beings quickly. An assault weapon is a weapon of war, with no place -- no place in a civil society.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Congressman, you have co-sponsored legislation that would ban assault weapons. I'm wondering what you would say to those who argue that even when there was a federal ban of assault weapons in place, they were still used in mass shootings, like the one at Columbine.
REP. STEVE COHEN (D-TN): Well, we have to do something, we have to start and we don't know if we had an assault weapons ban in the '94 to 2004, I believe that the incidents of mass shootings decline. There are all different kinds of statistics, but I think it helps. I don't think anybody under 21 years of age should get an assault weapon and it should be -- they might be in the market, you can't go and get them all. They're already out there but you can stop to make it available to young people and you can prohibit the sales of them to people under 21, or prohibit them entirely.
I mean, there is really no reason to have an assault weapon, except to kill somebody.
I heard there was a Louisiana senator who said they use them to kill feral pigs. There are plenty of ways to kill pigs and get plenty of pork and not have to obliterate them with these types of weapons and you can eat the pigs. It's absurd. These assault weapons have no place in a civilized society. I think we need to get rid of them entirely and have better background checks.
And not just this particular Uvalde or even Buffalo, it is all of the killings we had in the past, different reasons, in Las Vegas, bump stocks and the Congress wouldn't pass a bump stock ban. I think President Trump did something with an executive order.
But we need to act and Congress needs to act and it's the Republicans in the Senate that are stopping us from getting something done. So the people in Uvalde may be looking to President Biden, he's there, Ted Cruz is not there.
SANCHEZ: I want to ask you about the conversations, the bipartisan conversations happening on Capitol Hill. But what do you say then to the millions of Americans who argue that a law abiding citizen's access to those weapons, even assault weapons, is enshrined in the Bill of Rights and any way limiting access to those weapons is unconstitutional? What do you say to them?
COHEN: Well, I grew up, I'm an attorney, when I went to law school, and for decades after I finished law school, the rights of the Second Amendment was considered the right to have a gun to protect your home, considered a pistol, or a shotgun, and it wasn't considered an automatic weapon, a machine gun or anything like that. Those weren't even in the picture.
It has become the last 20 or 10 years or 25 years, I guess, the Supreme Court has interpreted it differently and people have interpreted it differently. But Second Amendment talked about a well regulated militia being essential and important for society. We can regulate a militia. We can regulate the use of handguns.
There is no absolute rights. You have a right of free speech, but don't have a right to scream fire in a theater.
So, you might have -- you have a right to a shotgun, you have a right to a pistol, you have a right to a long rifle. You don't have a right to a machine gun, you don't have a right to a bazooka, you don't have a right to a howitzer.
There are certain arms you can have and certain types Congress say you shouldn't have, and we have the ability to regulate that, the rights are there, but they are well-regulated militia. You can't regulate and we should be regulating and regulating for the protection of the public at large.
SANCHEZ: Congressman, the senator from Texas, John Cornyn, is taking part in bipartisan talks over formulating some kind of action to prevent these atrocities. What items are vital to put in any bill that might come out of Congress and how confident are you that something might actually pass?
COHEN: Well, I would like to see a restriction on assault weapons if not a total ban. I would like to see improvements on our background checks and I like to see a red flag law to work -- if somebody exhibits to law enforcement, to probable cause, they're going to commit an act of violence, against themselves or others, they can be -- have their weapons taken from them for a period of time that would be important and necessary.
We saw this young man had a history of social media posts that showed he was going to something that was violent toward a school or toward women, it was about rape and it was about shooting. And he should have had his weapons taken from him. The same thing we had in Parkland, there were indications on social media and somebody could have acted, the red flag law should have gone into effect and say something to students.
So, I think we need those things. I have respect for John Cornyn and working with Chris Murphy and working group in the Senate. I wish they could come up with a perfect bill, there is not such a thing. If they come up with anything, it will be an improvement, it won't be as good as the House -- the House is going to be working on a bill, and I think the House bill will be -- it will be what we need and cover all the different issues that we have.
Ghost guns are a problem, too. And many killings are done by ghost guns. And I don't think they can be permitted. That gets around law enforcement.
We can do this and law abiding citizens -- law abiding citizens want a gun in their home. I have a gun in my home, a pistol. But you ought to have a pistol, a rifle, a shotgun, not an assault weapon. And it ought to be one that is regulated.
SANCHEZ: And, Congressman, quickly, if Congress fails to pass meaningful gun reform, do you think the White House should take executive action, should they issue executive action on something related to guns?
COHEN: Just like they did with George Floyd, if the Congress will not do the right thing, the president has to do it. You know, Donald Trump did the ban on bump stocks after the Las Vegas killing and he had a bump stock and we tried to pass it by legislation.
I think the House passed it. I'm not sure. It didn't become law and that would have been the Senate problem and that's always been the problem.
The Senate is the problem. The filibuster is the problem. And the filibuster is not in the Constitution and the filibuster ought to go.
SANCHEZ: Congressman Steve Cohen, we have to leave the conversation there. We appreciate your time as always. Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Of course.
So dozens of families are sharing memories of their loved ones. Those lost in Tuesday's massacre. Eleven-year-old Miranda Mathis was a bright girl who her family says was fun and spunky. Her brother was her best friend, and he was also at Robb Elementary School when the shooting happened. He survived.
Miranda's cousin posted on Facebook saying in part, quote: My sweet baby cousin, we loved you dearly. I'm so sorry this happened to you.
Also, Alexandria Lexi Rubio was an honor roll student, who received a good citizen award just hours before the shooting. Her parents were actually at the school, helping her receive that award. They say they were so proud of her, they had no idea that celebrating that achievement with her on Tuesday would be their final good-bye.
They say she was kind and sweet and that she appreciated life. Lexi was going to be an all-star in softball, they say that she had a bright future, whether in sports or in academics, she had hoped to one day become a lawyer.
Stay with NEW DAY. We're back after a quick break.
PAUL: This is an emotional interview. A doctor opening up about the impact, but not one, but two mass shootings have had on her staff, on herself and her family.
CNN's Lucy Kafanov got access to San Antonio University Hospital. That's where several victims of the Uvalde mass shooting were taken.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get the glide scope in there, please.
LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At San Antonio's University Health Hospital --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of us will be in the level one output when one came in. And (INAUDIBLE) on their way and (INAUDIBLE) on their way.
KAFANOV: Doctors and nurses prepare to receive the most critically wounded. It is one of the busiest trauma centers in the nation.
As CNN got exclusive access inside, as pediatric trauma medical center director, Dr. Lillian Liao, and her team demonstrated preparations for a mass casualty event.
DR. LILLIAN LIAO, PEDIATRIC TRAUMA MEDICAL CENTER DIRECTOR: Anesthesia is here. Go ahead and get up there with Kelly so we can back her up in case it becomes a difficult air way.
KAFANOV: Today, it's a drill.
LIAO: This is one of the teams that we formed. And the day of the mass casualty event we formed multiple teams such as this.
KAFANOV: But it wasn't a drill on Tuesday, when a teenage gunman burst inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, murdering 19 children and two teachers, injuring at least 17 others, officials say.
LIAO: It is devastating. I think the same thing that every other person in this country is thinking, you know, how horrible their last moments were, right, and what that scene looks like.
KAFANOV: The trauma unit prepared to receive dozens of Uvalde's wounded. Nurse Colleen Davis recalled the agonizing wait for patients and a grim realization.
COLLEEN DAVIS, TRAUMA PATIENT CARE COORDINATOR: After a while you start realizing more aren't coming and you start realizing why and then the weight of that sets in and it stays with you for the rest of the day and all the days after.
KAFANOV: Four of the victims were brought right here to university hospital, three little girls and the shooter's grandmother. The doctors and nurses working here, it unfortunately wasn't their first mass shooting.
Less than five years ago, a gunman slaughtered 26 people at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, just 34 miles southeast of downtown San Antonio. Dr. Liao was on duty.
LIAO: None of us anticipated we would be involved in yet another mass casualty event. It is not something we imagined.
KAFANOV: Trauma nurse Kristell Flores was working alongside Dr. Liao in 2017 as patients wounded in the church massacre began to flood in. She can't believe it's happened again.
KRISTELL FLORES, TRAUMA NURSE: I immediately got like this horrible feeling, in the pit of my stomach, and basically because it was in the same location where we got notified from Sutherland Springs.
KAFANOV: Flores is haunted by the lives her team couldn't save.
FLORES: Just keep replaying things in my brain and thinking, what if they would have gotten here, like, 30 minutes after the first notification, probably would have saved a lot of people. But it is just very -- just what ifs, what ifs, what ifs, and it doesn't change the outcome.
KAFANOV: Like many of her trauma center colleagues, Flores is also a parent.
FLORES: He's in kindergarten and today is his last day of school. And I have a 1-year-old. It is just hard. How do you tell them?
KAFANOV: Dr. Liao says she copes by focusing on the good, her team, her family and her little ones.
LIAO: That's what you want to amplify at a time like this, is amplify the being grateful and the kindness that the world shows rather than focusing on the negative because that can really put you in a wrong place moving forward.
KAFANOV: She breaks down when talking about the invisible scars the surviving children will carry.
LIAO: I kind of thought back to when I was 10 years old. And -- so when I was 10 years old, my family immigrated to this country and my biggest challenge was learning to speak English. And you just can't imagine what these children are going through. And it is really unfair. It's really unfair.
KAFANOV: Lucy Kafanov, CNN, San Antonio, Texas.
PAUL: Feelings are overwhelming as a lot are. We're taking you to Uvalde, next. This is a small town and it is very different today than it was just five days ago.
Stay with us.
SANCHEZ: The community of Uvalde, Texas, is grieving, mourning the loss of two teachers and 19 children. 21 lives taken too soon. A hard reality to face in a town that neighbors describe as an extended family. Now the community is trying to cope with the fact that their town and their lives will be forever changed.
CNN's Rosa Flores has more.
ROSA FLORES (voice-over): In the small town of Uvalde, Texas, hearts are heavy.
DENISE LONG, UVALDE RESIDENT: I lost family and friends to this, and I can't bear it.
FLORES: And the pain is palpable.
LIZA CAZARES, UVALDE RESIDENT: My heart aches. I couldn't imagine my life without my daughter.
FLORES: As the community grapples with the unthinkable. Nineteen elementary school children and two teachers murdered in the classroom. The quaint town square turned into a memorial.
LONG: I just can't. I have no more tears after crying all day yesterday. I can't.
FLORES: With crosses bearing the names of every victim.
(On camera): How are you doing?
DELI MARTINEZ, UVALDE RESIDENT: Heartbroken.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Especially the parents.
MARTINEZ: Yes, the parents. It's like, oh, my gosh.
FLORES: Emotions are high at the nearby Mexican restaurant. A local staple for a town that is overwhelmingly Hispanic. Deli Martinez was born and raised here. She attended Robb Elementary.
MARTINEZ: We are like a big family here. We really are. And it's unfortunate what happened here. It really is. FLORES: In Uvalde, it seems like everyone knows someone who was
impacted by this tragedy. Victor Rivera moved here recently and says even he knows multiple people who lost children.
VICTOR RIVERA, UVALDE RESIDENT: I pray that the families are OK and pray that the kids rest in peace.
FLORES: The pain spurring the gun debate with some residents pushing for upping the minimum age to purchase guns.
MARTINEZ: Let anybody use a gun that's 20 years -- 21 years and older. We need guns. We need to protect ourselves.
FLORES: And for the arming of teachers.
CAZARES: Teachers should be able to carry, definitely. That's one of them, like, how are you supposed to protect the kids behind a closed door when a gun can definitely go through it?
FLORES: One by one, members of the community have been delivering flowers to another growing memorial. This one is also a crime scene.
LONG: I went to school here and my niece lives down the street. My family lives not even -- just right behind the school. This is my home.
FLORES: For many members of this community, the pain is overwhelming, like for this grandmother who was overcome with emotion. Her words are etched on the cross of one of the victims. She wrote, I will always love you, my beautiful granddaughter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Only God can bring healing, definitely. God will heal Uvalde.
SANCHEZ: Our thanks to Rosa Flores for that report.
One heart-wrenching aspect of these kind of shootings is the trauma they leave behind, especially for the young children who survived. They're going to be marred by the carnage that they witnessed and the friends that they lost.
Our next guest knows exactly what these children are going through. Will Beck was a sophomore in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999, when two students opened fire on classmates and teachers at Columbine High School.
Will, thank you so much for being with us this morning. I'm wondering what came to mind when you got the news that there had been yet another school shooting.
WILL BECK, SURVIVED THE 1999 COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING: Yes, I mean, my heart absolutely just broke for those kids. And it broke for the parents. I think of my own kids now that I have them and like how terrified I would be to have them not be safe and to worry about them. And, you know, I just know what it feels like to join that club where you just -- your life has changed forever because of a school shooting. And I don't want that for anyone, you know?
SANCHEZ: And, Will, I'm not sure if you could see it, but we just shared with our viewers a picture of your beautiful family. I'm wondering how do you explain these incidents to your kids having been through it yourself?
BECK: You know, I tell them that there is a lot of hate in the world and there is a lot of people who don't feel loved, who are kind of really lost. And sometimes they do crazy, horrible things. And that's always been the case in the world. And we just need to spread goodness. We need to be kind. We need to love others and try to like reach out to those kids that are lost and struggling, so that they don't feel the pain and have to do something crazy like this, you know?
I just tell them, too, like, no matter what is happening out there, like we need to still have courage to live our best life and to not totally live in fear. You know, that's the hardest thing. Like after these shootings, you're afraid everywhere you go. And to just kind of be able to put that aside and say, hey, I'm going to keep living, it is really important.
SANCHEZ: I imagine that is not an easy journey. You know, you were in high school when the attack in Columbine happened. These children here in Uvalde are very young. They're much younger than you were.
SANCHEZ: Share with us, if you could, how the shooting shaped your life and how you think it could potentially shape the lives of these little boys and girls. Do you think it's possible for them to overcome those anxieties and those fears that you shared about going into any building? Because seemingly anywhere is a target, elementary school, a church, a theater.
BECK: Yes. I mean, absolutely. I know for a long, long time I never went into a place without looking at the door all the time. And I look at people differently in terms of, you know, is that person going to be the person that is attacking me. You know, and that has changed a lot over the last few years, but we're talking it's been 23 years since Columbine happened.
You know, and so it is a process of healing, and for me I felt like it was about five years before I felt like I was who I was again, you know. So it definitely still hurts today, though. And it's something I don't think these kids will ever get over. There is just no getting over that. But I think they will have great lives and I think these kids will show that they're strong and they're resilient. And this town, Uvalde, will show like, hey, they can overcome.
I look at Littleton, Colorado, and I see a strength and a bond today, 23 years later, that wouldn't be there without Columbine. And so I think, you know, these people will get over it. And they will build back together stronger.
SANCHEZ: Hey, Will, it means so much for you to share your story and your pain with us.
Will Beck, thanks for being with us this morning.
BECK: Thank you for having me.
SANCHEZ: Of course.
Make sure to stay with CNN throughout the day for live coverage of President Biden's visit to Uvalde, Texas, as he joins this community and the country in mourning those lost in a mass shooting that killed 21 people at Robb Elementary School, including 19 children.
PAUL: We all have our own emotions around what we have seen this week in Uvalde, but parents in particular are really grappling with how to keep their children safe and talk to them about this shooting.
I want to bring in somebody who can help us kind of navigate those conversations. With us right now we have from -- we have from Boston, clinical psychologist and director of the Child Adolescent Fear and Anxiety Treatment Program at Boston University, I wanted to get all of that right, Dr. Rachel Merson.
Doctor, thank you so much for being with us. You know, these days kids at very young ages are going through drills at school. I don't know that this is wholly foreign to them. It is the actual act of it, but on some level maybe we think that they're prepared when we know that they're really not, are they?
DR. RACHEL MERSON, CLINICAL DIRECTOR, CHILD ADOLESCENT FEAR AND ANXIETY TREATMENT PROGRAM, BOSTON UNIVERSITY: Yes, it's almost impossible to truly be prepared to face a tragic and traumatic event. You know, just like we do fire drills, we can do shooter drills at school, and that can give our kids some sense of what to do, but that doesn't and shouldn't prepare them for actually being in a situation like these poor children.
PAUL: Exactly. So what behavioral signals would we recognize that would tell us we need to start having conversations with those kids?
MERSON: Yes, that's a great question. So I think right now even taking a step back before we think about behavioral signals is that for most kids it's probably important for a parent or a caregiver to have a conversation with them and just to check in about their experiences related to what's going on. Very young kids, those conversations probably are unnecessary unless you know for sure that your child has had some exposure to hearing about this event.
[07:45:05] But any kid who has any type of independent access to media has heard about Uvalde. It's impossible not to have if you're online in any way. So parents should be checking in with their kids, asking them in an open-ended way, tell me a little bit about what you've heard in the news. What do you think about what you're reading? What questions do you have?
Lots of times kids hear a little bit of information and then kind of fill in the gaps, and have misperceptions. So it's important for parents in a very matter of fact but not overly detailed way help correct those misperceptions with some factual information and really just check in with their kids emotionally and validate fear, sadness, anger, anxiety, while also acknowledging that some kids may feel some fleeting sadness, but much more focused on their soccer game or their math test and that's all right as well.
You asked about behavioral signals, though. So there are -- some kids who are prone to anxiety and are more vulnerable to strong emotional reactions, particularly kids who may have had some past exposure to gun violence or community violence for whom this might not only feel scary because of what it is but because it is also triggering memories of their own kind of personal traumatic events.
So some signals that you might want to look out for to suggest, kind of we really need to make sure we're giving this child some extra support are things like significant changes in eating or sleeping patterns, behaviors like excessive clinginess to caregivers or really significance reluctance to leave the house to go to school, to go into community settings, a loss of interest in activities and withdrawal from friends and from family connections.
And also for young children, for all of us, but especially for young kids anxiety can sometimes really present physiologically so kids maybe complaining of things like stomachaches and headaches that are a signal of underlying emotional distress.
PAUL: Dr. Merson, this is great information for all of us who are trying to have these conversations with our kids. Thank you very much for your expertise and sharing it with us.
MERSON: Yes, you're so welcome. Thank you for having me.
PAUL: Of course. We'll be right back.
PAUL: Hundreds of flights have already been cancelled this morning amid a chaotic holiday travel weekend. According to flight tracking Web site Flight Aware, more than 700 flights have been canceled today after 1500 cancellations yesterday. Delta Airlines is most affected by the flight disruptions after having to cut about 9 percent of its operations yesterday. It was hail, high wind and that could turned out to be a pretty stormy Sunday for a lot of us across the country. More than 10 million people are at risk for some sort of severe storms today.
CNN's Karen Maginnis has the latest forecast for us. So how expansive is this wicked weather?
KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, as you mentioned, the 10 million people across the upper Mississippi River Valley into the Great Lakes region, the northern tier, even into the central plains, that's just for today. But it goes into Monday as well, and already this morning, we've had reports of large size hail, that was tennis ball sized hails in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and a 74-mile-an-hour wind gust at Lake City, South Dakota.
So those storms are already firing up. All of this is a part of a very rigorous late spring storm system that is actually across the interior west. That's injecting some of this energy into the central plains. It's been very warm here. And as a consequence, we're seeing the firing up of these big storms. Now some of the tornadoes according to Storm Prediction Center they're saying they could be intense, long track tornadoes, mostly during the evening hours.
That's when we will see probably some of the strongest storms, but already today, there is a severe thunderstorm watch that is in effect across the portion of Minnesota and South Dakota. Here's where it is as we go into the rest of today and then going into for Monday and then for Tuesday, still severe weather risk extending from Minnesota all the way down towards Nebraska.
As I mentioned, we've got a rigorous storm system across the interior west. Snow fall, if your friends went to Yellowstone, have them send you some pictures. Snow in the forecast there. There is the risk for Monday and Tuesday. Monday about 15 million people, Christi, could see the result of that severe weather with tornadoes, hail, and high winds.
PAUL: Wow, all right. Karen Maginnis, we appreciate the heads-up. Thank you so much.
And we appreciate you. Thank you for sharing part of your morning with us. "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY" with Abby Phillip is up next of course. A quick reminder to you, though, catch the new CNN Film "JULIA." It premiers tomorrow night. Here's a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Julia never called herself a feminist, although she was clearly really important to the feminist movement.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Women were treated pretty badly in cooking school. Teachers were all European male chefs. And they'd rather not have women in their kitchen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most women felt that they couldn't really have a career making money in food. But her success really opened up a career path to a lot of women who may not have thought about it at the time. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I started working with Julia, we'd walk into
a restaurant to have a meal. Then afterwards, they'd want to give us a tour of the kitchen and the first thing she would say is, where are all the women? How come there is no women in here? She absolutely expanded the possibilities of what women can do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: "JULIA" air Monday night tomorrow 8:00 p.m. right here on CNN.