Return to Transcripts main page
Why Did Police Take 77 Minutes To Bring Down TX School Shooter?; Controversial New Saudi Golf Tour Takes Swing At PGA; Will We Ever Return To The Workplace?; "Wonder Drug: 7 Scientifically Proven Ways That Serving Others Is the Best Medicine for Yourself." Aired 9-10a ET
Aired June 11, 2022 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: The chief speaks. I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. The question we've all been asking, why did law enforcement not intervene for 77 minutes in the Texas Elementary School shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers? In a moment, I'll ask the former FBI agent who created and ran the agency's active shooter program to respond to new developments.
There is new reporting from the New York Times and Texas Tribune that has started to shed some light, including the tribune exclusive interview with the Uvalde school district police chief. Based on a review of documents and video, the Times is saying this, "Heavily armed officers delayed confronting a gunman in Uvalde, Texas for more than an hour despite supervisors at the scene being told that some trapped with him in two elementary school classrooms were in need of medical treatment." Meaning they were alive. "Instead, the document show, they waited for protective equipment to lower the risk to law enforcement officers."
The shooter entered the school at 11:33 a.m. and began shooting into a classroom at least 100 rounds. Two minutes later, three Uvalde Police Department officers arrived, approached the class door and two receive grazing wounds from the shooter. By 12:03 p.m., as many as 19 officers had gathered in the hallway, they thought they now had a barricaded situation at hand.
But at 12:21, there was more gunfire and the cop still did not move on the shooter. Finally, at 12:50 p.m., law enforcement used a key from a janitor and breached the lock classroom, shot and killed the suspect.
More than two weeks after the fact, Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo gave an interview to the Texas Tribune by phone in written answers and in statements provided by his attorney George Hyde. Arredondo grew up in Uvalde. He attended the Robb Elementary School where the shootings occurred.
He told the Tribune that several factors impeded a quicker response, among them. He went in without his police and campus radios because he wanted both hands free and thought that the radios would be a physical impediment and likely wouldn't work inside the building. Because of this, he was not in contact with the scores of other officers who arrived, he didn't know if the 911 calls from inside the classroom.
The classroom doors had been reinforced to keep intruders out. So to get access, he was waiting on tactical gear and keys. And this I think is key, he assumed some other official had taken over the command. Arredondo told officers to start breaking windows from outside other classrooms and evacuating those children and teachers. He wanted to avoid having students coming into the hallway where he feared too much noise would attract the gunman's attention.
Arredondo told the Tribune, "Not a single responding officer ever hesitated, even for a moment, to put themselves at risk to save the children. We responded to the information that we had and had to adjust to whatever we faced. Our objective was to save as many lives as we could and the extraction of the students from the classrooms by all that were involved saved over 500 of our Uvalde students and teachers before we gained access to the shooter and eliminated the threat."
CNN has reached out to Arredondo's attorney, DPS, and the school district for comment. Arredondo not giving further interviews at this time. The Uvalde tragedy happened despite steps that were taken locally to prepare for such an attack. The school district had doubled its budget for security, they'd updated protocols, they'd added more officers, and they'd hosted two active shooter trainings in the last two years. So, what went wrong?
Joining me now is the expert on such preparedness, Katherine Schweit, was an FBI agent for 20 years before retiring in 2017. After the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, she created and ran the Bureau's Active Shooter Program. Now she's the author of, "Stop the Killing: How to End the Mass Shooting Crisis."
Thanks so much for being here. Here's my first question. Can the neutralizing a shooter protocol, can that be taught? Or does it require some innate skill, either you have it or you don't?
KATHERINE SCHWEIT, CREATED FBI'S ACTIVE SHOOTER PROGRAM/AUTHOR, "STOP THE KILLING"; Well, I think we never know if we're willing to go after somebody and kill them unless we have a chance to do it, right? But I think you can train it, that's the whole idea of of combat. That's the whole idea of warfare. That's the whole idea of policing. We train police officers so that they have the competence to do that.
SMERCONISH: You were interviewed for this piece that contain the interview that the chief has now given. Respond among other things to him leaving the radios outside, said he wanted to hands free, wasn't sure if they would work. Your reaction?
SCHWEIT: Well, equipment is equipment, you got to carry it with you.
Once you isolate yourself, you don't have any way to talk the rest of your team. You know, it's kind of telling you said you're reading his quote from that story and you're saying, we did this. He said, we did this. We did this. We did this.
There wasn't a we. He said he was in the hallway. He doesn't know what people were doing outside. He didn't know what efforts were being made. So kind of in one head, he's saying, well, he came in as the police chief for the school district with two officers who were from the city, and they did these things. Well, they did them very -- in a very short amount of time. And then he was apparently no longer in communication with them.
He should have had his communication devices with him, he should have found a way to do that. He should be able to carry his own equipment.
SMERCONISH: How about his assumption that someone else must have taken control?
SCHWEIT: Yes. You know, that's -- you know, this is an experienced police chief, and certainly, no law enforcement officer there wanted this to be the result. But when you get groupthink, and people don't think about who is in charge, somebody has to be in charge. And certainly, someone should have taken charge outside. There's no question about it.
But he should have directed somebody to be in charge, or, you know, he should have left somebody else at that door. I mean, he's a police chief, even if it's in a small school district. And, you know, that's one of the struggles with Texas is they have -- you know, just Friday, they had their meeting for the Texas School District, you know, police chiefs and their small departments. They have hundreds of very small police departments with two and four and six people protecting these schools. And, you know, maybe that's something that they got to rethink.
SMERCONISH: OK. I'm -- look, I'm trying to be fair to law enforcement, I regard myself as being generally supportive of law enforcement. This baffles me. So they get there, and they assess the situation as having now become a barricaded situation. But then there's more gunfire. You heard the chronology that I presented.
SMERCONISH: If they'd assumed it was a barricaded situation, but they now hear gunfire, they've got to go in, right?
SCHWEIT: Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, there's -- I want to say there's no excuse, I could say that if those were my people who did that. And I know that DOJ and a cop's office is going to do a, you know, a full teardown of what happened and give us an after action that's gives us minute to minute. But we have a lot of information that tells us there were shots being fired in law enforcement 101, is if shots are being fired, you have to go to the sound of the shots and you have to neutralize those people.
Even if it means you have to find a way to get through reinforced door or walls or windows. I mean, the fact that they would break out windows in a bunch of classrooms, but they wouldn't break them out in those classrooms to get to the shooter is a question, you know, that I would be asking my team.
SMERCONISH: OK. Your book is called "Stop the Shooting." Can we? Can we stop the shooting? Are there warning flags that you can see in these types of people that you can say, there it is right there. They should be stopped before they ever get to the school.
SCHWEIT: Yes. Actually, the book is called "Stop to Killing." But, yes, there are tons of flags that we can look for, you know, individuals who are doing this kind of violence move on a trajectory towards that violence. They get the idea to do it, they -- then they plan and prepare. That's where we see these kids and these adults buy their weapons by their equipment, surveil the area.
Plus, they also leak this information to people. I think it's astonishing how people don't know that in 80 to 90 percent of this instances, somebody else is told this is going to happen. The shooter leaks the information --
SCHWEIT: -- to somebody. So you really --
SCHWEIT: -- have to listen to the people around you. Yes, 80 to 90 percent of the time. So more for younger shooters, a little less for adults. You know, the average age of this type of shooter is 35, median age 32. But these school shootings obviously are a lot of times younger people as we know, and they leak information almost all the time.
SMERCONISH: Run fight hide quickly. Is that still the model?
SCHWEIT: Yes, run hide fight is the model. Run if you can, escape, meaning, run if you can, hide if you must, and fight if you have to, to save your life. And I'll tell you when we did the initial research that in 160 incidents, 21 of the 160 incidents just like this were disrupted and successfully stopped by unarmed individuals. Don't think because you're not carrying a weapon that you can't fight and win against this guy. You can.
SMERCONISH: Lot of goof messages.
SCHWEIT: Shoot, run.
SMERCONISH: Stop the killing is the proper title. Stop the killing. Kate, thank you so much for your time.
SMERCONISH: I really appreciate it.
SCHWEIT: Anytime, anytime. What are your thoughts? Tweet me at Smerconish. Go to my Facebook page. I will read some responses throughout the course of the program. What do we have Katherine? From the Twitterverse? I think they knew they would be outgunned. They chose their own safety over the children.
Can I comment, Cholly, on the outgunned? You know what I wonder? Why there's not more voice from law enforcement on the gun issue generally, right?
Like why don't we more often hear from cops who say to legislators, you got to do something because we are arriving on scenes and we are outgunned. You would think there'd be more voice. Maybe it's because they're so tied to the gun culture? I don't know. But I'm waiting for that. And maybe that could change the dynamic.
New issue. With the January 6 hearings now underway, we're all paying attention. My question is, can anything still change people's minds? Or are we all dug in on our impression of January 6? Well, last night, I appeared with Wolf Blitzer on the Situation Room. We had this exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: The committee did reveal former President Trump was essentially cheering on the mob, while his Vice President made calls to stop the violence. What will you be listening for in the upcoming -- from upcoming witnesses from Pence' inner Circle, because they will be very, very significant?
SMERCONISH: There's one game changer in this process. It's Mike Pence. How could the former vice president hear what we heard last night and not himself want to be a part of this process? He stands the prospect of being the John Dean in all of this. And instead, it's a story that's going to be told through aids unless something changes.
We're still learning things about the vice president. Within the last hour, Politico reported that the Vice President was provided a legal memo in the days before January 6, where they were meticulously monitoring all of the election charges that were being made by the President and his supporters. They weren't finding merit in any of them.
If he would decide to come forward and participate. I think that would blow the lid off this process. I don't expect it but you have to wonder why wouldn't he? It has to be only that He's fearful of alienating the base because of his own future aspirations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Do you agree with what I told Wolf Blitzer? How could Mike Pence not want to testify? You know, the guy whom outside as he was being ushered out of the well of Congress by a secret service trying to save his life, they're chanting for his execution, how could he avoid? Why would he not want to be the first witness?
This is this week's survey question. Go to my website, it's smerconish.com and answer this question. Would testimony from former Vice President Mike Pence be a January 6 investigation game-changer? My votes' a yes.
Up ahead, although many Americans are enjoying the flexibility of remote work, corporate executives pushing to get them back in the office. Will working from home turned out to be a pandemic anomaly or a revolution? And six-time major champion Phil Mickelson among 17 golfers suspended by the PGA for competing in Saudi Arabia's inaugural LIV event, all of them choosing to look past the regime's crimes.
I'll discuss with Mickelson's biographer who first reported the golfers thinking on the issue and then was kicked out of a Mickelson press conference just this week.
SMERCONISH: Would you do anything for money? This week that question being asked of some of America's best-known names in golf who have signed on to headline a new global tour funded by Saudi Arabia. The eight-tournament series billed as a rival to the United States PGA Tour offers players fewer games and guaranteed prize money.
It teed off this week at Centurion club outside of London. It includes stops at to a former President Trump's golf resorts Bedminster, New Jersey, Miami, Florida, Doral. But it's the backing by Saudi Arabia's public investment fund which is controlled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. That has garnered most of the criticism that it has received.
The kingdom being accused of using the tournament to help clean up its reputation of human rights abuses and alleged state sponsored killings, including the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. The Crown Prince denies any involvement in that murder. Yet criticism from golf fans and human rights activists hasn't prevented some of games -- the game's most famous players including the likes of Phil Mickelson from joining up and starting the event.
Mickelson reportedly receiving a handsome nine-figure payout just to play in the LIV Golf tournament. Moments after players teed off it lives first event outside of London this week, the PGA Tour suspended 17 of them, including Mickelson saying they were, quote, no longer eligible to participate in events on the American based tour.
My next guest Alan Shipnuck is a biographer of Phil Mickelson who says that he was kicked out of the press conference at LIV this week. Shipnuck tested -- texted the head of LIV Greg Norman, whether he was aware of the incident to which Norman replied, "Did not hear. Thanks for letting me know."
Shipnuck later found CNN footage showing that Norman was not only aware but was on the ground behind him watching the entire situation. Shipnuck's ouster came after publishing controversial comments from Mickelson downplaying the Saudis, human rights of fronts, "They're scary MF-ers to get involved with. We know they killed Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.
Now this is how the six-time major champion is defending joining the Saudi back tour this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHIL MICKELSON, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: I don't condone human rights violations. I don't know how I can be any more clear. I understand your question. But again, I love this game of golf. I've seen the good that it's done. And I see the opportunity for LIV Golf to do a lot of good for the game throughout the world and I'm excited to be a part of this opportunity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Joining me now is Alan Shipnuck, he's a partner with The Fire Pit Collective. He's the author of, "Phil, The Rip Roaring and Unauthorized Biography of Golf's Most Colorful Superstar." Alan, why were you booted from the presser this week?
ALAN SHIPNUCK, PARTNER, THE FIRE PIT COLLECTIVE: Well, the people involved at LIV, including the players, they want the money, but they don't want the scrutiny. You know, they want the fame and the glory, they don't want the accountability. And so I think we know that Saudi Arabia does not exactly encourage a independent free press. And apparently the LIV Golf circuit has absorbed those values.
So I was just here doing my job trying to ask a few boring golf questions. But even that was was too much for them. So it was a couple of goons, you know, manhandled me and took me out of Phil's press conference. It was just a wild overreaction. But it I think it kind of reflects the siege mentality that a lot of the people associated with LIV are feeling, you know, they're feeling the heat, they're feeling that criticism. And they're -- they just overreacted.
SMERCONISH: Did Phil have a choice? I asked that because I read and enjoyed your book. What most stands out from your book are the stories about his gambling. I mean, you've got him laying a significant wager on the Baltimore Ravens years ago. And on the day, I think it was of the AFC Championship game he's playing in a tournament, and yet he's wired to a radio so that he can keep tabs on the game.
SHIPNUCK. Yes, that's not normal behavior of a casual sports fan. You know, that? I mean, that's been one of the underlying questions is, why is Phil chasing the Saudi money so hard? And, you know, earlier in the week, he admitted that he's had a gambling addiction, which is a powerful word. And that it got so bad, it threatened his financial wellbeing. He claims to have gotten under control. I hope that's true. But there's no real way of knowing that.
But we know he's made a fortune through the years. The question is, how much has he kept? And there's some still -- despite Phil's public statements earlier this week, there's still some question about that. So I think the Saudi money was very intoxicating for him.
And -- but, you know, Phil's a complex guy. And there was -- another element of this is he wanted to be right, he's very strident and self- righteous. And he sees himself as this Maverick and this agent of change, and he wanted to reshape the entire sport in his image.
And so no one gets better the Saudis without the money, for sure. But I think Phil also saw this as an opportunity to shake things up, and it's to really be a transformative figure in the sport. And that was very appealing to him as well.
SMERCONISH: Let me ask you this question about golf generally, and the impact. While the majors are allowing qualified players to play this year, what's going to happen next year, if the World Golf rankings do not recognize the LIV Tour? In other words, will those players be able to maintain their world rankings to qualify for the majors? Or is this a quiet way for the majors to not get involved directly with this story, but taking a side nonetheless?
SHIPNUCK: Yes, that's the most important piece in all of this, is what the world rankings are going to do. But that can also get be litigated. Because if you have these tournaments that have a number of major championship winners and Hall of Famers and big time players, to not acknowledge those events, and hand out the world ranking points that they frankly deserve, it is a partisan decision.
And, you know, the world ranking supposed to be an independent body. So I think ultimately, they're going to have to, you know, Tiger Woods has a tournament with only 20 players and no cut every year. It's just an exhibition to raise money for his foundation. But the world rankings, governing body awards points for that tournament, which is kind of a farce.
And this is much more of an actual competition with a deeper field, and a lot of players. So I think the precedent is that they're going to have to acknowledge these events, and they're going to have to give them World Rankings points. And then the players who join the LIV Tour, get what they want, they get the money, they get a reduced schedule, and they can still play in the four tournaments that really matter. So this is unresolved, but I think we know the direction is going to go.
SMERCONISH: Hey Alan, quick observation. I'm a political guy. I'm not a golf guy. I have a 27 handicap. But I keep wondering if these golfers are going to get some protection from the fact that President Biden is himself reportedly about to sit down with MBS because of escalating gas prices. So that a Phil is going to be able to say well, if Biden's meeting with the guy, why can I play in the tournament?
Anyway, loved your book. Thank you for being here. Appreciate your time. Enjoy the tournament.
SHIPNUCK: OK, thanks for having me.
SMERCONISH: Let's see what you're saying on my Smerconish, Twitter and Facebook pages and via YouTube. This comes from the world of Twitter, "It's hard to reconcile the attacks on Mickelson and others."
Oh come on, I didn't know this was coming. Did I not just prove that I don't see the social media that they put up in front of me? That is the point. Right?
I mean, President Biden who said, I'm going to make Saudi Arabia as a candidate, I'm going to make Saudi Arabia a pariah, is now going to go sit down with MBS. And by the way, I don't know that that's necessarily the wrong move because of the energy crisis that we are now facing. And I've spoken to 911 victims who say their understanding of it, as long as Biden when he gets MBS in that room, reminds him of the Saudi roll in September 11 to 28 pages and all of those corresponding issues.
I want to remind you, go to my website at smerconish.com Answer this week's survey question, register for the daily newsletter while you're there. With testimony from former Vice President Mike Pence be a January 6, investigation game changer? I am voting yes. But I don't expect that Pence is going to testify. But why won't he?
Up ahead, a growing number of companies want to put an end to the work from home revolution. But do they have the leverage? A reporter who covers this topic will explain just who has the upper hand.
SMERCONISH: Will the great resignation become the great return? Employers across the country engaged in a fractious debate over which workplace approach is the most productive. Is it in the office? Is it at home? Is it a hybrid?
With the challenges of working remotely becoming increasingly harder to ignore, a growing number of corporate executives now want to put an end to the work from home revolution born out of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to research conducted by Microsoft earlier this year, "Fifty percent of leaders say their company already requires, or plans to require, full-time in-person work in the year ahead."
Netflix is one of those companies. Its co-CEO, Reed Hastings, is one of the most outspoken business leaders around remote working.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REED HASTINGS, CO-CEO, NETFLIX: I think it's really valuable and important and useful to have in-person meetings. And I miss that. So, I would say there's nothing good about the 10-person Zoom call than I wouldn't rather do in person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Earlier this month, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk issued an ultimatum to his employees demanding they return to the office. In an email obtained by the "New York Times" Musk told workers that they were required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week, those who did not do so would be fired.
But many workers have gotten used to the flexibility. And they seem to have the leverage. The unemployment rate currently sits at 3.6 percent, meaning there are more open jobs than workers to fill them.
Lananh Nguyen covers Wall Street for "The New York Times." She has been writing extensively about exactly these issues and joins me now. So are there trends by industry in terms of who is going back to work and who is not?
LANANH NGUYEN, FINANCIAL REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, Michael. Thanks for having me.
And, I think, Mr. Hastings and Mr. Musk might be in a bit of a pickle here because the tech industry is actually very far ahead of other industries in allowing their workers to work remotely, maybe forever. You know, so a lot of announcements from companies like Twitter, Airbnb have gotten a lot of attention to allow remote workers to, you know, basically do their thing.
This work from home experiment has shown that people have been productive. And so the tech industry is really leading the charge there.
In the industry that I cover, in Wall Street, there's a lot of divergence. Some firms are really sticklers about trying to get people back in the office five days a week. Goldman Sachs being one of them. And other firms that were super hardline about this, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley, have had to kind of soften their tone in recent months because they have seen the staff have been dragging their feet and not coming back in as much as they would like.
SMERCONISH: What kind of perks are you seeing offered by employers to try and lure back the work force?
NGUYEN: Well, food is a big one. So a lot of companies are offering free lunches, snacks, you know, ad hoc gatherings, pizza on particular days to try and drive that critical mass in. Other companies are also offering flexibility that means that, you know, staff can maybe take two weeks off during the year to work from anywhere, but, you know, that -- trying to keep people happy more generally so that they're more likely to come into the office more regularly.
SMERCONISH: Lananh, what explains the hesitancy by workers?
NGUYEN: Well, first of all, I see that a lot of your guests are still, you know, dialing in from home and you're interviewing them from their home offices. And the point is that a lot of people have been able to prove that they've been really productive during this period. And so that argument that remote working doesn't work, that people slack off and stay at home and watch TV all day just doesn't hold water anymore. So I think that's the first main point.
The second is a lot of people have long commutes and sort of miserable commutes. Particularly in New York City people have really long commutes here. And so, that becomes less palatable and it takes up a lot of time to commute as well and is expensive. So that's a key barrier for a lot of people who don't want to return back to the office. So, I think those two things are really huge.
SMERCONISH: You know, I think -- I think that the ripple effects of this are really significant. I think about my own experience in the decade that I was practicing law. First of all, there's an impact on the commercial real estate market, but, you know, I would park the car.
I would grab a cup of coffee nearby the law office. I would go to lunch. I might have a cocktail at the end of the day.
I might get my shoes shined. I might go to a newsstand. All of those are now impacted.
NGUYEN: Yes, that's right. I think one of the statistics that the controller of the city talked about is that Wall Street employees, I think, are connected to 10 other employees in the city. You know, for all of those services that you mentioned. You know, you might go and do some dry cleaning or go out to a restaurant or go to two restaurants in a day.
So there is a huge question about how cities deal with this scattering of remote workers in particular the big metropolitan areas. New York City only has eight percent of companies back in the office full time. And you know, in the major cities across the U.S., I think the occupancy rate for offices is, you know, around 43 percent. So that's still pretty low. And that will be a big question going forward, how cities deal with this.
SMERCONISH: Scott Galloway, who's a friend from NYU was here talking about this recently with me and he said don't overlook the impact on mentorship. His advice to young people was get back into the office because proximity is key to your career enhancement. You get the final word on this.
NGUYEN: I think you can have proximity, but you can also have flexibility and it's still -- the jury is still out where we land on this, but I do think that workers are really going to insist on more flexibility at the same time as wanting some physical and in-person interaction. You can have both. We'll see where we land.
SMERCONISH: Are you -- are you writing for "The New York Times" in the office or at home?
NGUYEN: Both. So I'm a perfect example of the hybrid worker.
SMERCONISH: The hybrid -- the hybrid model. Lananh, thank you so much. I appreciate your time.
NGUYEN: Thank you. SMERCONISH: I want to remind everybody, make sure you're answering this week's survey question at Smerconish.com. This arose out of, you know, me appearing with Wolf last night being asked about Mike Pence and his aides. And I said to myself, what I'm wondering as I'm watching the January 6th investigation unfold is, "Where is Pence? Why wouldn't he want to be a part of this process?" And the only answer I can come up with is because he doesn't want to alienate the base because he himself has aspirations of running for the top job.
The survey question today is asking this, would testimony from former Vice President Mike Pence, would that be a January 6th investigation game-changer? Go vote. I'll give you the results in a couple minutes.
Still to come, my next guest is a doctor. He's got a prescription for everyone to improve our mental and physical health. And guess what? It doesn't involve -- does not involve taking any medication. I'll explain.
SMERCONISH: Most of the headlines these days, they're brutal. War, inflation, gun violence, divisiveness and understandably then mental health crisis.
My next guest says that to counter all that there's one simple thing we can do in our daily life. He claims his prescription can help people with longer life, better cardiovascular health, slower ageing, better will power and stamina, more energy, better sleep, less depression and anxiety, more happiness and fulfillment as well as personal and professional success and, get this, all with no harmful side effects. What is it?
Joining me now to discuss is Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli. He's an emergency medicine physician, a lawyer and co-president and CEO of the Cooper University Health Care system. He's the co-author with Stephen Trzeciak of the brand new book "Wonder Drug: 7 Scientifically Proven Ways That Serving Others Is the Best Medicine for Yourself."
Dr. Maz, I read it. I loved it. Your new book really takes aim at this current self help orthodoxy. You know, think yoga which tells people to focus on themselves and their own happiness for a better life. But you found that serving others and kindness actually positively affects your own health and life. Explain.
DR. ANTHONY MAZZARELLI, CO-PRESIDENT AND CEO, COOPER UNIVERSITY HEALTH CARE/EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: Yes, it's true, Michael. My co- author Dr. Stephen Trzeciak and I reviewed over 250 peer-reviewed studies and the science is overwhelming that serving and caring about others is the key to all the benefits you just listed. Some are opinion. It's what we found in the data.
And the science directly contradicts the advice that that of today's self-help experts push which are essentially all solitary pursuits to following your passions and the focus on self-care. However, it's when we take our eyes off ourselves and turn our attention to serve others and care about others that is a powerful medicine that not only heals our bodies but improves our emotional state as well as changes how others view us.
SMERCONISH: You're telling me that our mothers were right, karma, kismet, actually makes a difference and you say the data backs it up. Give me an example.
MAZZARELLI: Well, in reality, the universe owes us nothing, right? Karma or pay it forward is transactional. We're talking about something transformational. Caring about other people has five mechanisms to which it affects you. First, it activates the reward centers in the brain as seen on functional MRI scan. Second, it increases what we call the fantastic four neurotransmitters. Dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins. Third, it fine tunes the nervous system activating the parasympathetic system, resting and calm, over the sympathetic system, fight or flight. Fourth, the down regulates systemic inflammation which can cause cardiovascular disease and cancer among other things.
And fifth, it buffers the body's stress response which is another cause of disease.
SMERCONISH: Maz, the premise is be kind. OK. I get that. How much of a commitment does this require from each of us? Do we have to go work at a soup kitchen?
MAZZARELLI: No. First, start small. Start with those around you. Simply make the decision to look outward to give help, care and connect more.
How much do you need to do to make a difference? In multiple studies it's 100 hours a year. If you do the math that works out to on average 16 minutes a day.
Second, be purposeful. Hunt around for ways to help others. Ask the right questions to detect when you can make a difference for someone. Whether it's giving up a seat on a bus, a kinder approach to colleagues at work, perhaps more volunteer work.
Third, find common ground. Research shows that we make incredibly wrong assumptions about people. We underestimate them. We assume the worst. And we often underestimate the impact we can have on them.
A 2017 study found that 40 percent of Republicans and 40 percent of Democrats define the opposing party as downright evil. Twenty percent of both parties agreed the members of the other side lack the traits to be considered fully human. You miss out on way too many opportunities to shine your light on others if you don't expand your view of who you are willing to connect with including people who think differently than you do.
SMERCONISH: OK. In other words, Republicans, be kind to Democrats. Members of the Democratic Party be kind to Republicans because it may literally extend your own life.
MAZZARELLI: Yes. Yes.
SMERCONISH: OK. Because I have a cynic gene in me, I need to ask this, do I have to mean it? Can I be kind to you but really not in my heart?
MAZZARELLI: No, you have to mean it. The scientific evidence shows that motives matter. The more you mean it, the better the benefit. So if you're what social scientists call a strategic helper, that you're only doing it to make yourself look good or only to get something in return, you'll get minimal benefits. The good news is it's not so hard to train yourself to care for real. The science suggests that actual caring follows that decision to help others.
SMERCONISH: OK. Dr. Maz, final question. What if -- what if I too want to someday be the co-CEO of a major health system and have a corner office, just like I presume you're sitting in, if I'm nice to everybody, I'm not going to be Gordon Gekko, I'm never getting the office, am I?
MAZZARELLI: Not true. We do think of the apex predator that gets to the top by dominating all competition and some do. However, it's actually harder for those types, according to the research, which demonstrates that giving and supporting types are the people with the wind at their back rather than a target on their back.
The data supports something called idiosyncrasy credit. If your colleagues like you, they'll be happy for your success. If they dislike you, they'll resent your eyes and plot to take you down.
SMERCONISH: OK. So, to quote Mickey Hart from the "Grateful Dead," if I just am kind, if I be kind, I'm getting the big office, I'm living longer, and people are going to like and respect me. It all sounds too good to be true.
MAZZARELLI: It is.
SMERCONISH: It is true. Not too good to be true.
MAZZARELLI: It is absolutely true. No, no -- exactly. It is true. Not too good to be true. The science shows it. It's not an opinion. It's what we found in the science.
SMERCONISH: All right. Our moms know best. "Wonder Drug." Thanks, Maz. I appreciate it very much. Good luck.
MAZZARELLI: Thanks, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Still to come, more of your best and worst tweets and Facebook comments. I love this week's survey question. I hope you're voting on it.
Go to Smerconish.com right now. Would testimony -- we keep talking about -- you know, are they moving the needle? All this information, the hearings, prime time, Liz Cheney. Would testimony from Mike Pence be an investigation game-changer? Here come the results. Go vote. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SMERCONISH: Time to see how you responded to this week's survey question at Smerconish.com. Would testimony from former Vice President Mike Pence be a January 6 investigation game-changer?
Here's the result. What do we got? Yes, 76 percent have the correct idea, and nearly -- now they tell me more than 25,000 have already voted. It's the one thing that could be a game-changer in all of this.
I think Nielsen said 20 million people watched. That's a pretty big number. But are the people watching already those most concerned about January 6 and not wanting to see a repeat? Is it breaking through?
We still don't know the answer to that. But if Mike Pence were to testify and talk about what he went through from Election Day until January 6, including that day, that could be a game-changer.
I'll leave the question up. You can keep voting. Catherine, social media reaction, what else came in?
Pence will never be elected president. He should do the right thing.
Right, but Dr. Siegel, he thinks he might be elected president. And the only reason -- come on, put yourself in his position. You have to be ushered into a secret bunker on January 6 because people outside are calling for your execution. And now factor in that Liz Cheney told us the other night that President Trump's response was, hey, maybe our supporters have the right answer, Pence deserves it. Trump has denied that, but by the way, he ought to testify, too.
But if you're Mike Pence, I mean, how are you not demanding to be heard on all of this? It makes no sense. What else came in?
Come on, guys. I see nothing.
Biden is going to Saudi Arabia to help fill gas tanks at a reasonable price. Golfers are going to fill their pockets. No comparison. None.
Nah, I don't agree, Nancy Franklin. Not where as a candidate Biden said he was going to make Saudi Arabia a pariah. And, by the way, they ought to be a pariah. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on September 11, a very credible case in my opinion based on the 28 pages that some close to the Saudi royal family knew what was coming. Just my opinion, but I think an informed one. Not to mention the execution of Jamal Khashoggi. No, you lie down with dogs, you get what's coming.
But I am making the observation that if Biden goes and sits down with MBS then, I think, Phil Mickelson and the rest of them have cover. By the way, a little competition for the PGA is not a bad thing. Don't misunderstand what I'm saying about LIV.
All right. The show's over. Thanks for watching. Go to Smerconish.com, vote, register for the newsletter.