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Piers Morgan Live
School Shooting in Colorado
Aired December 13, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST, THE PIERS MORGAN SHOW: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Breaking news tonight, it's happened yet again, another school shooting, this one in Centennial, Colorado, eight miles from Columbine and 16 miles from Aurora, on the eve of the anniversary of Sandy Hook. Two students were wounded, one seriously, before the shooting, also a student at Arapahoe High School, took his own life. Mayors Against Illegal Guns say this is quite astonishing. It's the 28th school shooting in America since the Newtown massacre. I want to go now to Summer Skrzypek, she's a senior at Arapahoe High School who was there today who joins us from Centennial, Colorado. Summer first of all, I'm sure it's been a very shocking day for you and all your classmates. Tell me when you were when you realized there was a shooter in the school?
SUMMER SKRZYPEK, SENIOR STUDENT AT ARAPAHOE HIGH SCHOOL: I was right across by the halls in the library in one of the hallways close to where all the shootings were going on, while the shots were fired. I mean I was in AP Gov (ph) class and we were discussing Supreme Court cases and we heard what sounded like a firecracker going off and we were all kind of just like, wait what was that?
And then two more shots were fired and we automatically went to the door where my teacher locked the door, we turned off the lights and we get in the corner and that's -- we just sat there praying.
MORGAN: Did you know either the shooter or the two students who have been injured?
SKRZYPEK: If -- I believe I knew them both but I'm not going to talk about them right now. I just want my friend who was shot is in my prayers and I hope everything gets back to normal soon and we can go on.
MORGAN: We've heard that one of the more seriously wounded students may be a female student, is that the friend that you're talking about?
MORGAN: And do you have any idea on her condition? Have you heard anything?
SKRZYPEK: No I have not and I'm praying for her and her family that she's going to pull through. MORGAN: It's obviously every student's nightmare, there have been 28 school shootings since Sandy Hook. What has been the reaction from your classmates to what has happened today?
SKRZYPEK: I think -- I know were -- I'm personally shocked, I think they are all shocked like you can look around the room that I was in and you could see in every one's eyes that they did not really register what was going on. It was just kind of like, you were in shock and I know for me I'm mad that this had to happen in my senior year and my senior year gets to be started by this memory a little bit and that's the pressure in me.
MORGAN: I want to play you a clip, this is from Alexia Barrent who's also a senior of the school, one of your classmates, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXIA BARRENT, SENIOR STUDENT AT ARAPAHOE HIGH SCHOOL: It was terrifying because I heard gunshots and Dana, she came running down the stairs and saying that someone's been shot and they all run into our room and she went into shock. And now we're all just terrified.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I mean Summer this has happened so close to Columbine to Aurora where two other massacres occurred, what do you feel about what is happening in Colorado? It's not just Colorado obviously but with all these shootings, what do you feel should be done to try and combat this?
SKRZYPEK: I would like to see some change done. I think I don't know how many more times that people need to die, how many more students need to be terrified to go to school before a change is made. I think people shouldn't have access to these kind of weapons all the time and people -- there needs to be something done. Nothing's done, I mean these things are continuing to happen and I just don't see a stop to it and it just, it sickens me.
MORGAN: Well Summer I'm very relieved that you're OK and obviously the thoughts and prayers of everyone are with your friends who'd been injured and I really appreciate you coming on the show tonight. Thank you.
SKRZYPEK: Thank you so much for having me.
MORGAN: As we mentioned Arapahoe High School is just 8 miles and Columbine is 16 from Aurora. With me now are Sandy and Lonnie Phillips who's daughter Jessica Ghawi was killed in the Aurora Movie Theater shooting in 2012 and Caren Teves who's son Alex was also killed in that atrocity. Welcome to all of you, thank you very much indeed for joining me.
Sandy I've spoken to you numerous times now in the wake of shootings like this. This is right back again in Colorado not far from Aurora, what are your thoughts about what has happened today? SANDY PHILLIPS, MOTHER OF JESSICA GHAWI, KILLED IN AURORA SHOOTING, 2012: You know Piers it's to the point where I think every American in this country understands that we have to do something and there are steps that we can take to prevent this kind of thing from continuing to happen. I think about the damage that we're doing to our young people and the violence that they are witnessing at such a young age and what that is doing to their psyches.
I certainly don't want to be part of a country where are children are desensitized to this kind of violence and it's a fear, a very real fear that I have.
MORGAN: Caren Teves it's quite extraordinary isn't it that there have been 28 school shootings since Sandy Hook alone in the last year? You've obviously been talking out about this ever since what happened in Aurora and the awful death of Alex. What do you think should be done to try and combat this culture of gun violence.
CAREN TEVES, MOTHER OF ALEX TEVES KILLED IN AURORA: I really hope that Congress will finish the job. We've -- America has been asking for them to at least pass a background check law to get this under control. I mean I keep hearing about their agendas about how they think about, we need America, we need America to be in a place for our children's future. Well one of my children does not have a future anymore. We need to get down to basics and they need to take responsibility and think about the safety of our children and of our families and of all Americans.
MORGAN: Let me turn to you Lonnie Phillips. Do you think that if every American have to endure the appalling grief that you and your family have had to endure, the loss of your daughter and indeed Caren the loss of Alex and so many others and so many of these atrocities. Do you think if everybody went through what you've been through then change would just come quickly?
LONNIE PHILLIPS, STEP FATHER OF JESSICA GHAWI, VICTIM OF THE AURORA SHOOTING, 2012: You know Piers we were at a therapy session when we got the call. As soon as we left, so Sandy was there today so it really doesn't get any easier. Our Congress is not acting, our -- I think eventually they will have to because of the ground swell that's going on now. Everyday our ranks gets joined by people like today, another parent lost a child, it's like all of our young people are gone.
It's the young people that are in these, whatever has got the grip on our country. I want to speak to hunters and I want to speak to guys that go out there hunt and own guns and I feel like are responsible. I want to plead to you to go home and when you have your gun club meeting tell all the guys they need to get locks for their shotguns, they need to put their guns in a safe place. They need to become responsibly gun owners and not just say I'm a responsible gun owner when your gun is laying around somewhere and not locked up.
We got to start there, we got to take our own initiative, we can't wait for Congress, too many things are happening, too many things are going on in this country that can be stopped by the people themselves. We have to act that's the only way we're going to stop this carnage, is we're going to have to act and keep our guns locked up.
MORGAN: I mean, let me turn to you again Caren, there was an extraordinary thing that happened within an hour of this latest shooting happening in a school in America. The NRA, on their official Tweeter Account actually tweeted this, saying, looking for a last minute gift? Look no further than this. A link to their store to buy cut priced guns for Christmas.
When you're dealing with that kind of mentality and somebody in NRA must have been aware, what is your reaction to that?
TEVES: My reaction is the American people are much stronger than the voice of the NRA. If we all ban together, all our voices, we've had enough, our voices are strong. If we stay together as one and everyone takes a little bit of their time to speak out against gun violence. I mean it's getting to the point where it's anytime, anywhere and anyone. We're all -- we're all in front of the gun, I mean it could happen at anytime and people need to realize that.
MORGAN: Well Caren and Sandy and Lonnie my hearts go out to you whenever these things happen because it must spring back such awful memories for you, terrible flashbacks of the horrors that you have to endure as families and I appreciate your courage in coming on the show tonight. Thank you all very much indeed. We'll be right back after this break with some of the other big news of the day. And coming on later, moving on one year after Sandy Hook.
MORGAN: It's the holiday season, I can't think of a more exciting gift for Santa to bring me this year than a half billion dollars which is the mega millions jackpot. This year millions of Americans are dreaming of a green Christmas. Someone who's familiar with what it's like to become an overnight multi multi millionaire is Cynthia Stafford. Cynthia won over $100 million in the lottery in 2007 and she joins me tonight.
Cynthia you're smiling broadly and why shouldn't you be, you are one of the richest woman in America. And also the reason you might be smiling is unlike so many lottery winners you've managed to hang on to you cash, how have you achieved this double miracle?
CYNTHIA STAFFORD, LOTTERY WINNER, PHILANTHROPIST: Prayer.
MORGAN: Simple as that, the power of prayer?
STAFFORD: It's always to have a good financial adviser too.
MORGAN: Yeah we're going to come to more on how you managed to do this. Let's go back to when you won, it's 2007 you've had a pretty tough few years before. You become a foster mother to five nieces and nephews when your brother was tragically killed by a drunk driver and you're already struggling and then everything changed. You won $112 million in a California mega million lottery. That moment you knew you'd won, where would you and how did you hear?
STAFFORD: I was having lunch with the kids and I heard kind of second hand through my dad, he had told me that I should probably check it because I didn't even checked the numbers. And decided after a few days maybe I should and it was us.
MORGAN: I love how happy you are. So many lottery winners end up miserable, you seem like one of the happiest people I've ever interviewed?
STAFFORD: I choose to be happy because it's definitely a choice.
MORGAN: Now for all those lottery contestants out there, obviously this huge amount of money tonight, somebody may walk away with half a million dollars nearly, what is the best advice you would give them? Obviously you've done incredibly well to not squander the money and you've done so much work for charity, you're one of the biggest philanthropist in America now. What is the advice you would give for people to win the lottery and stay happy?
STAFFORD: I would tell them to live their life, definitely it would put them in a position to be charitable, that is a great thing to do because it also brings that same energy back to you. I'm a believer as you give so shall you receive, so, giving definitely helps but also get a really good tax attorney and financial adviser. Someone that as reputable that can help guide you along the way because it's going to change your tax bracket, it's going to change your life. And so you need to be prepared for those things too.
MORGAN: Well listen it's so good to speak to you and so nice to see somebody who's so happy because you keep hearing these terrible stories about lottery winners who's lives end up miserable, yours clearly is in complete opposite effect and Cynthia congratulations belatedly for the win and for managing to do so well with it. It's a great inspiration to anyone tonight who may suddenly become a billionaire.
STAFFORD: That's my goal.
MORGAN: One last question, have you bought a ticket for tonight?
STAFFORD: Not yet, not yet, I think I'm going to have one of my kids go buy it for me.
MORGAN: Love the fact that you're still playing the lottery, that's my Cynthia. Cynthia Stafford really good to talk to you. Thank you.
STAFFORD: Thank you Piers too.
MORGAN: A lot to talk tonight beyond say surprise and the color of Santa Claus. Yes you heard me right, let's get to the panel. Amy Holmes, anchor of the Hot List at the blaze.com. Heather Thomson, the founder and CCO of the Yummie by Heather Thomson. Our own Nischelle Turner, CNN Entertainment and Bill Werde, the editorial director of billboard.
Bill let's start with you, Beyonce, dramatic moment last night, I was actually watching the Cricket last night from Australia and with Australia battling away, knocks up evil (ph) any of you want to be talking about or even heard of. And somebody dropped Beyonce a new album, totally unannounced, a load of new tracks, 17 videos to go with it. An extraordinary marketing ploy.
BILL WERDE, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR OF BILLBOARD: Yeah I mean I think it's an extraordinary marketing ploy but listen, you can attract people's attention any number of ways. It also becomes very quickly back to is this worth talking about?
And Beyonce dropped an incredible album, you know, I mean for a full calendar year, people kept thinking this album was coming. A normal pop star only play the Super Bowl half time show, when they do a big commercial booth with Pepsi, when they go on a big world tour, all things Beyonce did that's when you put the album out. So, I personally think Beyonce did it just to silence the critics, because there was a lot of chirping, a lot of like, "Beyonce doesn't know what she's doing, Beyonce is in trouble, why isn't this album coming out?" And she just, I mean she dropped a bomb--
AMY HOLMES, ANCHOR, GLENN BECK'S THE BALZE TV: --she's also dropping it right before the holidays so--
HEATHER THOMSON: -- Beyonce does also is always one step ahead of everybody else isn't she? I mean I had the pleasure working for her for four years and this is how she rolls. And it really is the sign of the times isn't it? Because as launching an album, you know, people anticipate and wait for it, well it's just as exciting when she brings it out through social media, everybody's talking about it anyway.
WERDE: Well, you know, I've never had the experience before listening to an album without first having a critic tell me whether it was good or bad without first having the artist explain all the facts--
MORGAN: Did you listen to--
NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well Bill I think everything builds right here because Beyonce was facing some criticism for some of the lyrics in the songs that were leaking and some of the things that people thought she would be doing, the direction she was going with Jay-Z having a negative effect. So I think people wanted to see, is Beyonce still the singer that we think she is.
MORGAN: OK let's turn to this bizarre story. So, Megyn Kelly who is apparently on some little watched cable news show out on something called Fox or something. Let's watch what she had to say about Santa Claus and about Jesus Christ.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST, THE MEGYN KELLY FILE: For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white but this persons is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa but, you know, Santa is what he is. Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn't mean it has to change. You know, I mean, Jesus was a white man too.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You met him?
MORGAN: No, no, let me start with you Amy, I mean this seemed to me a bafflingly dangerous area for Megyn to go because she's terrific on what she does but not that controversial. Suddenly we have to be told apparently that Santa and Jesus are white.
HOLMES: Well news flash Santa is fictional. I don't know the races of his elves but I imagine it's very multi cultural -- exactly and as my mom put it to me today, everyone knows that Santa is your mom and dad, so whatever race they are that's the race that they are.
WERDE: I love it.
MORGAN: You see, exactly right. There are awfully lots of kids who see daddy dressed up as Santa including a black family, what are they now thinking.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
MORGAN: You know, who is this impostor and saying he be black.
THOMSON: Who is she to tell us what our fantasies, what our religious belief should be? You know, don't they say that we are created in His image after all, so now God's a racist too? I mean it's ridiculous.
TURNER: But if you study the Bible you also know the book of Revelation. It says, that Jesus had feet and arms and legs like burnished bronze and hair like white wool so, if you think about that, I don't know many white people--
HOLMES: And if I recall there is a Christmas Song about, Oh little child of Bethlehem, and as I actually stood on the hill overlooking Bethlehem and the plane ticket that took me to go there landed in the middle east, in Israel, it didn't land in Scandinavia.
WERDE: You know, you got to look at that segment though and that segment tells you everything, you know, you've got four white people talking about blackness and I think that probably never going to answer--
WERDE: No the whiteness or potential blackness, but I mean listen I saw, someone forwarded me on Tweeter, the day after Mandela died they had a panel on Fox News it was a, Baier, his show where they have a panel on Fox News and it's four white people talking about the impact and the legacy of Mandela.
THOMSON: The conversation needs to be about inclusion, that's what we need to start talking about and the nation.
TURNER: And with the article was about in the first place that the author wrote, it was about why can't my Santa be included, my version of Santa be included in what America or society--
MORGAN: But also certainly as it is highly unlikely that Jesus was conventionally white. I mean He's born 2000 years ago in the Middle East, I mean it just seems very unlikely -- so from a pure factual point of view I would say--
HOLMES: He could have been a way laid Viking.
MORGAN: And finally, I had a straight interview with a lottery winner earlier who was just so happy, certainly to see a happy lottery winner isn't it. Have you all bought tickets? Does anybody bought a ticket.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been working.
MORGAN: Will you buy one Amy?
HOLMES: It's Friday the 13th, is that a good or bad omen?
WERDE: I'm going to play four, four, four for the four white anchors on Fox.
TURNER: I play though, so is it just a dollar or has it gone up?
WERDE: I have no idea.
MORGAN: But apparently Fox have already revealed it will be a white winner, so that's what's going to happen.
MORGAN: Listen good to talk to you all, great panel. Coming next to you, the one and only Tony Robbins is back to talk about how he's teaming up with a special young man he met right here on our program.
MORGAN: One year after the tragedy in Newtown another school terrorized by a shooter on campus in Colorado. Tony Robins joins me with Nick Walczak who himself survived a shooting in the cafeteria at Chardon High School in February of last year and was left paralyzed some months later, he was here and interviewed by Tony Robins, listen to what they said then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TONY ROBBINS, AMERICAN LIFE COACH, SELF HELP AUTHOR AND MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER: I'm wondering if you might be if you might be interested in going with me to some of the families of Sandy Hook and doing what was done for you because I think if you have that experience it would take you to the next level. You're already doing unbelievably well, I have a chance to meet you backstage but I think it could go to another level, what do you think of that.
NICK WALCZAK, CHARDON HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING VICTIM: I would love that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And that's exactly what they did. Now one year after the devastation in Sandy Hook Elementary back with me in a reunion of kind Tony Robbins and Nick Walczak, welcome back to both of you. It was a very powerful moment Tony when you turned to Nick and made that suggestion, even more powerful that you've both then carried it through. Tell me about the visit and what happened?
ROBBINS: Well I was, I met Nick on your show which you know and I was just impressed by the way he dealt with things, he already had such a center and I've had this idea for a while that, you know, when this issues happen and unfortunately that keep happening around the country, that it would be great to have a strike force of people that have been through it, who've made it to the other side and a lot of people think your life can never be the same and of course it won't be in one way but it could be in other areas.
And me telling somebody that sounds like positive thinking BS, but if I could get some people that have made that kind of change and I could train them with some skills, so Nick and I just started do the training, he's here in Palm Springs doing it. We have Ashley Moser also here who's in Aurora Shooting, I know if you recalled she had a six year old daughter that was killed.
Her boyfriend fled and she was shot in the stomach while she was pregnant, she lost her baby and she also is now paralyzed, and she's here also and we're working together and we've gone back to Newtown as well, we'll work with some families there that are interested in saying, we want to show people you can heal and you can move forward. And if Nick can do what he's done in his life, anybody else, we have no problems, you can deal with any problem you have by contrast.
MORGAN: And Nick what was the trip to Newtown like for you and how did you communicate with the people there about what hope they could have going forward?
WALCZAK: It was a very powerful, powerful event. We introduced ourselves, we told our story and, you know, I felt I got a lot of that and I feel like the other families, they got a lot of it too. You know, you just feel the connection in the room when you're talking to, you know, survivors, survivors families it's a, you know, it's a connection that I feel like its necessary to be able to, you know, keep going on a positive level.
MORGAN: Tony you're one of the great motivators in America, this must be a particularly difficult situation even for a man with your motivational skills to try and tell families who's loved ones have been killed in such an appalling manner like at Newtown or Aurora wherever it may be, trying to get them to see any kind of light at the end of this hideously dark tunnel. Where do you start and how effective do you think you've been in being able to help them with that process?
ROBBINS: Well first of all I've never been about motivation, I know like it's passed around but what I'm really into is uncovering the psychology of what drives somebody and how they can heal. And there are all kinds of study done over the years on post traumatic stress but there are few studies done on post traumatic growth. How people who have been through the most horrific experience as a human being could possibly imagine not only transcend the experience but actually grow so much they can help other people and that is my absolute passion.
So the way I help people is I try to empower those to make that transformation and one of the days you do it quite frankly is contrast, you know, what's the problem? You think being in traffic's is a problem until your car breaks down and that's a problem until you trip on the way to the gas station and break your ankle, that's a problem too. You find that you lost your job that's a problem until your spouse is leaving. That's a problem until somebody says, you've got terminal cancer.
What the problem is all comparative, so, for example I just heard you, you know Scarlett on your show, Scarlett Lewis who's Jesse's mom, Jesse is the six year old who when the gun jammed in Sandy Hook and told all the other kids to run, he was just an incredible hero and she told me that when people came to help her they were well meaning but it really, it felt terrible, hug her and cry and say, your life will never be better, it will never turn around, you're going to have to learn to deal with this and some part of her inside knew better.
She's also within my staff so we had a really immediate connection but what changed her and helped her son JT was contrast. We went there to go provide contrast with Ashley because she's all both her kids and her ability to walk and someone else has lost their child is a contrast example but in Rwanda there are this orphans and they got them on video all along on JT and Jesse and the video was this young girl who's entire family don't forget a million people were killed in 90 days, family members, friends. All her family were killed in front of her, they slit her throat, they buried her alive thinking she was dead. They burned the house to the ground.
And then this young woman to think, dug herself out lived on glass in the mountain tops literally for three months while this went on and survived and she came and told JT and Scarlett, I have joy because I have found forgiveness and most importantly, like Nick I find gratitude in every single day, that mystery of what terrific -- I anticipate something beautiful. And she says, there's joy. Now hearing that from somebody in Rwanda who's an orphan, buried alive and lost all their family and home burned to the ground, all of a sudden it creates a little contrast for someone even when they have something horrific happened, because that is Sandy Hook is. MORGAN: And JT actually then, launched a campaign to help people in Rwanda and you contributed I think $10,000 to that Tony, how's that been going, do you know?
ROBBINS: It's going great we're meeting with her next week but it's not the money we're contributing, what we really want to do is, he saw this young girl JT, he was hurting, he was still inspired by her that, I mean 12, 13 years old he went out and started to raise money to put her through college because she's supporting an orphan for the orphans. And so, I heard that I just said, listen, I don't have the money to do the rest and I said I'll take care of the rest of her college the next three years but in addition to that let's put together a foundation where we can support more of them so we're going to do that.
MORGAN: Well I wish you both continued success, Tony and Nick thank you so much for joining me.
ROBBINS: Thank you very much.
WALCZAK: Thank Piers.
ROBBINS: And happy holidays.
MORGAN: You heard Tony there talking about his promise to Jesse Lewis' family. When we come back Jesse's mother Scarlett tells me how she's honoring the memory of her son.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCARLETTT LEWIS, MOTHER OF JESSE LEWIS, VICTIM IN THE SANDY HOOK SHOOTING: In an instant with the loss of those 26 dear precious lives, the world united. The entire world was in shock and the reaction to this was love and compassion. We need to somehow hold on to that feeling of oneness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Scarlett Lewis knows all too well what many parents in Centennial, Colorado were fearing today, her son Jesse was one of the 20 Sandy Hook Elementary students killed in Newtown one year ago.
If you read about her message of forgiveness in the new book, Nurturing Healing Love and Scarlett Lewis joins me now in her first prime time. Scarlett it's so good to meet you at last, I've obviously interviewed Neil, Jesse's dad a few times.
Let's go back to that day, the last time you saw Jesse was a year ago today. The buildup to this anniversary for you and all the families must be in many ways excruciating I would imagine but take me back to a year ago, the last time that you saw him and what happened?
LEWIS: The last time I saw Jesse it was a normal morning like any other, you're getting ready for school and work and Neil was there to pick him up and I walked him out, you know, a little bit late for work and he was a little bit late for work and he was a little bit late for school and turned to talk to Neil about meeting to Gingerbread houses the next day with Jesse and I turned around and I saw that Jesse had written I love you with his fingernail on the frost in my car, a little heart all over the windows and I was just moved and I knew that, that was one of life's moment.
And so I said, wait right here and I ran inside and I got my camera, came back out took a picture of him actually moved, I remember taking him by the shoulders, moving him over so that I could get him the message, actually deleting the picture because it was overexposed, taking another one and taking a close up shot of the I love you and I walked into the car and kissed him goodbye and that was it.
MORGAN: When you heard what had happened and the full scale of the horror hit home, how do you possibly come to terms with it in that moment?
LEWIS: Well that was a long day at the firehouse and I think in some ways that was almost a blessing because we spend all day not really having a lot of information but of course the longer the time went without Jesse, kind of reality was sinking in, so I had a long time to think about it, to think about my life if Jesse wasn't coming back. JT was there with me--
MORGAN: His older brother.
LEWIS: Yeah his older brother by six years, and so, which, you know, in hindsight probably wasn't a good deal -- good idea but it was a blessing because I really had to focus on him and creating peace for our family that day but, you know, when I realized that he probably wasn't coming back and we started to get upset, I just said to JT, you know, if the worst has happened and Jesse isn't coming back, we know exactly where he is and we know that he is in peace and it's going to be harder for us but we're going to be OK.
MORGAN: You were extraordinary in the sense that almost from day one of all these happening, you were preaching a message to the world of peace and reconciliation, not vengeful, not anger, how did you find the strength of that? Because my extinct I think like with so many parents would have been so angry that I would have found it almost impossible to do that but you did somehow.
LEWIS: You know, I know that feeling vengeful and of course I have my time even now and angry is going down the same path as the shooter and, you know, I -- meeting darkness with darkness is not a positive thing. So, I know that good wins over evil if we meet it with love and that's what I'm doing.
MORGAN: You've had this incredibly emotional meeting with President Obama very soon after it happened as did all the parents. You talked very movingly about it in the book, that he came and put his arms around you, talk me through that encounter. Because it's obviously it's not something you probably ever imagined you'd be doing with the President of the United States and drawn together in such appalling circumstances? LEWIS: No that was three days after the shooting and we -- all the families met with him at the Newtown High School. We were actually the last family that he met with and it was a very draining and grueling time, you know, just everyone was in agony and when he came up to our family group, I knew he was tired, surrounded by people about ready to make a national address. And he was so incredibly kind and considerate.
He came up to me and gave me a hug. Asked for a picture of Jesse, I had one on my cellphone. I gave him my cellphone, he took it. And as he was looking at it, I said I just want you to know that Jesse died trying to save his friends.
And he looks at the picture for a long time and he said, I can tell by looking at this little boy that that didn't surprise you at all. And I was very touched by that, because actually it didn't surprise me.
MORGAN: Jesse was absolutely heroic. I mean for a young boy of that age, the moment this happen he realized there was a shooter actually shooting his classmate. He told the others to run and six of them got out. He saved the fate of these six lives.
And when you heard that about him, that must have been some comfort to you that your boy in that horribly dark moment had shown such extraordinary initiative and bravery?
LEWIS: It is. I'm incredibly proud of him. That's the way that he lived his life.
So, you know, when I was waiting at the fire house again, thinking about the possibility that he wasn't coming back. I knew in my heart that he had done something brave if he wasn't coming back.
MORGAN: When Jesse's school work was given back to you after the tragedy there was a picture among his work, a very prescient strangely prescient picture. It was of an angel and a bad man. When you saw that what do you think of it?
LEWIS: So, all of his school work was taken out of his desk in chronological order and put in a box and brought home about a week after he died.
So, my sister in laws and I went through the box and we found this incredible picture of an angel and bad man, nothing like he had ever drawn. And he had drawn this a few days before he died.
And it was like he had a knowing, a spiritual knowing of what was going to happen. It's actually called I since found out precognitive drawing. And it's when children draw what's going to happen to them, supposedly because they are closer in spirit.
LEWIS: ... it was amazing and he gave me a lot of comfort. MORGAN: Scarlett, when we come back, I want to you more about what you're doing to honor Jesse's memory.
MORGAN: Scarlett Lewis is back with me now. She's is the author of "Nurturing, Healing, Love" about life after the loss of her son Jesse at Sandy Hook.
You and JT, Jesse's older brother, you went back to your home a farm in Connecticut after the shooting. You've found some more signs of Jesse. Tell me about that.
LEWIS: So, the first time that we went back, and I think it was to get Jesse's clothes for his funeral. I saw a note that Jesse had written on our kitchen chalk board and it said "nurturing, healing, love." It was phonetically spelled and in six-year old little handwriting but the message was incredibly clear to me that it was a message of comfort for his family and friends, but also a message of inspiration for the world. Nurturing, Healing, Love. Those three words are in the definition of compassion across all cultures. So it really is a prophetic message and it's now my mission in life to spread that.
MORGAN: He sounds a very special boy to me. I've got three sons a lot older now but can you remember that in doing things like this and it is in their own way but he seemed a very special, quite emotional boy in that sense, very sensitive to stuff around him.
LEWIS: He was incredible dichotomy because he was a bundle of energy and always happy, always helpful, his energy would just completely fill up a room. But he did have the sensitive and loving side as well and the message that's actually on his tomb stone is "Have a lot of fun" and that is also a message that he left for his older brother. So, his older brother, the same day that I found nurturing, healing, love, went into his room and found a message that Jesse had written before he died and it said "Have a lot of fun," which was also a prophetic message. So now, I blend the two, because the world needs nurturing, healing, love but we need to have a lot of fun while we're doing it.
MORGAN: JT, as Tony Robbins is telling us became engaged in this Rwanda story and it was very powerful story to listen to. I mean, heartbreaking. And I guess, you know, nothing -- what happened to you into perspective but certainly gives you a -- something to look at and think "My God, the world is full of this horrors." You should be very proud of JT for his commitment to this?
LEWIS: He is incredible. I mean, both of my boys are heroes. Jesse, because of the way he acted in the classroom and JT for how he is taking this personal tragedy and turned it into something that's making a world a better place, after those Rwandan genocide survivors reached out to JT, he made a decision that day and he actually said to me that evening, those kids from Rwanda reached out to me in love and I'm going to reach back out to them in compassion and he start -- he drew out a fund raising campaign that night, went to school the next morning, wrote a speech, gave it to a hundred kids, you know, stayed after school, stayed with it, and within a couple of months, he was able to Skype back to one of the orphan genocide survivors and tell her that he had raised enough money not only to center to one year of college, but also to pay for her part of her family's expenses.
LEWIS: Yeah. And he continues to do it and he's just so dedicated and I couldn't be proud for him.
MORGAN: You had another meeting with the President when you put to him your idea for what should happen in classrooms.
LEWIS: Yes. So, I have teamed up with Professor Chris Kukk, he is the Director of Western Connecticut States' Compassion and Creativity Center. It's the second compassionate university in the country. And he and I met with the President who -- we explained what we were trying to do, which is bring tools and character values and compassion into schools. And President Obama agreed wholeheartedly and said, "And my sister does that in Hawaii. So you guys need to link up with her." And he followed through and got us her information.
MORGAN: And you went and saw Mia -- his sister.
LEWIS: We did. We did. So Mia is now on the advisory board of the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation and invited us down to Oahu to join her in her peace conference that she gives every year.
MORGAN: We saw another tragedy earlier this year which encouraged you again to pursue this message of love that was -- this young boy Martin Richard -- the eight-year old Boston Marathon victim. Tell me why he inspired you in particular?
LEWIS: You know, I was -- after the Boston Bombing, I traveled up to the Louis Brown Peace Institute in Dorchester and that is where little Martin's family was from. And I met with Tina Chery up there. We had been talking. She's been a great source of comfort to me and I love what she's doing up there. She does great work. She has compassion curriculum.
And on my way up there, I saw the sign that little Martin was holding in a news paper and it said, "Let's stop hurting one another." And I just had this feeling that this message coming from the children is that, you know, clearly, this needs to stop and we need to start becoming more compassionate to one another.
MORGAN: Listening to you in this interview, you have a remarkable poise. You're so in control. You must have a way from this as you suggested -- terrible days -- days -- it's just unimaginable grief. How do you find the strength to do what you do, to be out there front and center campaigning in such a positive way?
LEWIS: You know, I truly believe that Jesse's message of nurturing healing love is going to change the world. And I truly believe that he passed the torch on to me and that I'm supposed to spread this throughout the world. So having, finding meaning in suffering because there is meaning in all suffering is obviously what I'm, trying to do. I think that I've done that with the spreading "Nurturing Healing Love". So that's my purpose.
Jesse and JT are fulfilling their purposes. Jesse fulfilled his I believe very bravely, JT as well. And I'm just trying to be as brave as my boys in fulfilling mine.
MORGAN: Well, you certainly are. And this is an incredibly moving book "Nurturing Healing Love: A Mother's Journey of Hope and Forgiveness". Scarlett Lewis, it's been a real pleasure and honor actually to have you here. So thank you very much.
LEWIS: Thank you very much.
MORGAN: We'll be right back.
MORGAN: Every year we celebrate our top 10 CNN heroes -- remarkable people devoting their lives to helping others. Many of them are able to do more after receiving the recognitions. Like 2009 CNN hero Doc Hendley continues to provide clean drinking water for people around the world. To tell his story in "Wine to Water", a CNN hero special presentation Sunday night at 8:00 Eastern. Here's a little look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOC HENDLEY, 2009 CNN HERO: Gonzalo (ph) and I are heading up the river to a little village called La Milagrosa which actually translates directly into "the miraculous" or "the miracle". We've got the Amazon river and all of these tributaries that are living in to the Amazon river.
There's water -- all over the place but that water is just absolutely filthy. They're bathing, they're washing their dishes, by the time to use their restroom all right there in the same water source. And that's the thing that's causing them to get sick.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign Language).
HENDLEY: The main reason why we picked this village to work is because it's basically a community that has the most need right now in this area for clean water. By drilling a well, we'll be able to hit an aquifer that has access to clean water.
Right now, we've got a drill bit and about 50 feet of pipe stuck in the ground. We got to try to get it out. If we can't it stays in the ground.
Problems happen and they happen quite often. And so, you have to figure out how to get around those problems and to keep pushing forward. We hope to get water, the people hope we get water but we're not sure so we can't make any promises. So all it is right now is just we're going to try our best.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: You can see more of about how Doc works to combat the global water crisis in "Wine to Water: A CNN Hero Special Presentation" Sunday night at 8:00 Eastern.
That's all for us tonight. Monday, I'll sit down with the woman who interviewed everyone from Fidel Castro to Monica Lewinsky and Jennifer Lawrence. Barbara Walters is with me Monday night at 9:00 Eastern. AC 360 starts now.