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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  April 9, 2015 12:30am-1:01am EDT

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similar he needs the medicine sooner rather that were later to have a fighting chance at live. al jazerra lima peru. and a quick reminder that you can keep up-to-date with all the news on our website. there it is on your screen, the address >> "america tonight": life lesson is for children behind bars. >> which is exactly what it sounds like, a bad kid. >> always trying to instigate people, trying to get restrained. >> soledad o'brien . also tonight, firing line. the nra takes a clear shot at
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controlling the law. >> we're 200,000 people powerful and we don't mind putting that power to help for our constituents. >> "america tonight's" christof putzel on the gun lobby, state's rights and community power. >> thanks for joining us, i'm joie chen. political power doesn't always play by the books. no more is that apparent outside players with a competing agenda. in pennsylvania, the power of local communities is now being tested by one of the nation's most powerful lobbies, the national rifle association, the "america tonight" correspondent christof putzel. fighting back. >> rick bunker considers himself a responsible gun owner.
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>> you keep all of your guns locked up? >> yes, always, i have a 12-year-old at home so i have a safe. >> and you would report to the police if someone stole one of your guns? >> i would report to the police if someone stole anything but especially a gun because i don't want a gun out there hurting someone. >> reporter: bunker owns half a dozen guns and enjoys hunting. requiring his home town of jenkin town pennsylvania, of reporting whether a gun is lost or stolen. >> it didn't say you couldn't own them or what kind. it didn't restrict my ability to happily own guns and use them in any way i wanted to, just if they are lost or stolen report it to the police. >> despite his support for jenkin town's law, he voted
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to rescind it. the vote came under the passed act 192 allowing organizations like the nra to sue cities and towns over local gun restrictions. >> they gave us a choice between financial solvency and safety, really. >> jen kintown mayor ed foley. >> we have a very small budget in this town and we really can't afford to defend a lawsuit against an organization with deep pockets like the nra. we really had no choice but to rescind this ordinance and to take it off the book s. >> with an annual budget of only $6 million jenkintown simply could not risk litigation. >> as much as i you know had to hold my nose to do it and as
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much as council had to hold their nose to pass it, they did pass a law rescinding the ordinance. >> not often when people go in to vote for something, not wanting to vote for it. >> it's a shame. it's a stark illustration the position we were put in by the legislature, i feel is an irresponsible law. i don't know how it could stand up to a court challenge. >> reporter: doesn't it sound like a pretty good idea to report a stolen gun? >> it may or may not be but what's at issue is the municipalities have no right have no authority have no power to pass those sorts of laws. >> jonathan gold stein, the nra's attorney in pennsylvania say the municipalities get to be heart of american democracy. who gets the right to make laws? >> our elected legislature has decided that a uniform scheme of gun regulation across the state
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is disiecialg, desirable, period, full stop. duly elected general assembly and governor. >> do you own a gun? >> i do. that's a choice that our lawmakers have made. >> reporter: do you think that it's possible that this could save some lives? >> i may or may not. it may make a law abiding gun owner into a criminal. but those discussion points are perfect fodder for a debate with the general assembly. it is not up to the city of lancaster or philadelphia to abrogate its powers. >> reporter: in january, the nra filed suit against those three cities, lan caflt, philadelphia and pittsburgh goldstein said the central issue
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resolvedrevolved around an issue. >> notion of preemption is a part of our law in pennsylvania that prohibits municipalities from passing local regulations of firearms. it is a set of regulatory powers that the general assembly has reserved to itself. act 192 was designed to bring more force to that preemption. >> reporter: but pennsylvania's law 192 may be subject to constitutional challenges. philadelphia, pittsburgh and lancaster argued that the measure passed in 2014 was illegally tagged to a bill on scrap metals. >> you're going to have your fee covered either way. >> well, if the law is found
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unconstitutional our fees are not covered. doesn't mean it's not right, many municipalities across pennsylvania heeded the warning and withdrew these illegal ordinances. lancaster, philadelphia and pittsburgh think they have some special knowledge, do so at their taxpayers pearl. >> do you think they are scared of the nra? >> i think they did so because they looked at the ordinances and realized they were illegal were preempted and didn't want to spend taxpayer money, didn't want to wheel around to their voters and explain why they wasted money. we are 200,000 people, we're powerful and we don't mind putting that power to work for our constituents. that's what they expect us to do, that's what they ask us to do and by god we're going to do it. >> i found out a long time ago there's only one way to stand deal with bullies and that's to stand up to them.
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win, lose or draw when i'm done being mayor i think this will be one of the proudest moments i've done. we've accomplished an awful lot in lancaster. just to say we are not going to fold on this thing, just because you file a lawsuit. >> the mayor has said that while his city of 60,000 doesn't have much gun violence he felt compelled to act after a nine-year-old girl was killed in cross fire. >> this isn't a theoretic issue, this is some arcane argument about the constitution, this is dead kids. the nra says enforce the laws that you have and whatnot. what good does it do if your child's been shot by some people. >> wouldn't the nra say that that's a crime problem, not a gun problem? >> that's a crime problem committed with a gun. so yeah if you want to jump the step, if they were fighting with nieives that
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knives she would still be alive. if they were fighting with fists she would still be alive. >> has anyone reported a lost or stolen gun? >> sure, sure. absolutely last year i think we seized 35 or 40 stolen guns, how do we know they were stolen, because they were reported. they don't understand the nra's opposition of reporting lost or stolen guns and the response is why wouldn't i be reporting? >> lancaster has established a legal defense fund and met $20,000 in donations. nearly enough to meet its deductible. >> i think the nra has just overstepped so far here, that
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people,ists almost a level of ridicule when i talk to people about it. that not only don't they understand, but they shake their head and say what's the problem? >> as a gun owner, when you come to the range do you find that there are other people here that have a problem with the idea of having to report the stolen gun within 72 hours? >> i've never heard a single complaint about it. the lost and stolen ordinance only inconveniences people who are trying to funnel guns that are lost and stolen. i've never heard a complaint. >> the fight in pennsylvania isn't over yet. >> you here the "america tonight's" christof putzel. christoph tell us what the real concern here. what's the real concern? >> well, the mayor's big concern is gun trafficking.
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he doesn't want to give traffickers any deniability. as he told us the first thing that people do when they break into a house is look for cash and the second thing they do is look for guns. the atf estimates there are probably about half a million guns stolen in the u.s. every year and the mayor doesn't want pennsylvania become a feeder state. doesn't want to see guns going into other places. as we've seen in chicago where we've done tons of reporting about gun trafficking. does not prevent guns from flowing over borders coming in from other places and creating havoc. >> so as you have seen in your reporting there is a lot of question about gun rights but is this just an issue about gun rights? >> well, no. i mean for most of these people who are victims of gun violence, who have had stolen guns, this is not an issue of having their away. this is a public safety issue and that's that. >> and what about in other parts
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of the country? i mean these sorts of battles between lobby itions lobbyists are taking place. >> sure there are powerful lobby groups all over the country. take oil and gas, the tobacco lobby trying to get rid of smoking ban on a local level in 13 different states and the other nra, the national restaurant association, trying to get rid of sick leave laws, overtime laws, this is happening everywhere. >> "america tonight's" christof putzel. why nurses are going off duty, refusing to treat california prisoners. soledad o'brien's look at kids behind bars. can a program called cambiar live up to its
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reputation change? and the antidote to
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>> in our fast forward segment behind save money, some prisons have turned health care over to for profit companies. one of the biggest corizon, evenly former employees charge the company doesn't provide prisoners the care the law guarantees. >> i feel the trade by the company because they're supposed to keep the environment safe for everybody, the inmates and the co-workers. >> failures in care.
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>> did you see any patient die because of inadequacy of the health care? >> yes, a vascular cat. ath. i reported it and reported it, at 5:00 in the morning when i went back to his cell i could smell blood before i went into his room. and when i turned on his light it looked like somebody had been murdered. >> fast forward to a serious threat, hundreds of corizon's firsts say they need help to do their jobs right. soledad o'brien went inside what had been a nor tore use
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>> part of al jazeera america's >> special month long evironmental focus fragile planet
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>> it was known to many as a violent warehouse for
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juveniles. new mexico's j. paul taylor center where officials charged physical and sexual abuse of young offenders took place and there was little to no attempt at rehabilitation. in the end the state agreed to a settlement that mandated change. in her special report. soledad o'brien had rare access inside the detention center where she met young men facing daunting odds. >> the this i got from my birthday is mom, her name is jenny. like mainly they could send you types of drinks and stuff but they can't be like bottles because they think we're going to make alcohol and stuff. >> reporter: 17 and celebrating. a birthday behind bars. his mom is homeless. his older brother in jail. he was five. with seven siblings.
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when his father put a note on the refrigerator and left. >> that's my niece, she's like five right now. that is my brother pedro. he's been in and out of jail his whole life. he's in southern prison right now. he's kind of the reason why i got into trouble. i would hang out with him. he got me into using drugs. that led me into being in here wanted me to be like him but i shouldn't want to be like him. that reminds me of my family because i ate a lot of this stuff at home. and i just comforts me. >> reporter: this is his fourth birthday in an institution. jail at 11, foster care at 14. rehab at 15.
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then rehab and jail again. this time it was illegal alcohol possession and then violating probation by shoplifting. at 17 he was out of second chances. >> it sucks because like on your birthday you want to be with your family the most. >> keith will spend his next birthday here too. trying to change his life while serving a two year sentence at the j. paul taylor center. >> my favorite, it's my favorite kind of snack, so i want to make sure she leaves that. >> reporter: this juvenile lockup is also trying to change as part of the 2009 settlement with the aclu after accusations of physical and sexual assaults and an absence of physical or mental health care, the state of new mexico offers constant resources even on the outside and has one of the poorest populations of children in the nation. here, keith gets a full day of school. daily counseling. guards that double as mentors.
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the reforms come from a program called cambiar, spanish word for change. implemented at all five of new mexico's juvenile centers. al jazeera america got extensive access inside to see the impact it's had on the inmates. keith is seven months into a two-year sentence. he's had only one family visit and he's nursing an old basketball injury. >> first it was pretty bad. my anger was pretty bad. so i needed to just learn how to control it better. it's kind of hard though. because right whether i start feeling it, i try to tell myself to calm down but it doesn't really work that much so i have to learn how to just remove myself from situations that's going to make me angry. >> reporter: i see his softer side. and then suddenly i see another side of keith when, out of nowhere he tries to start a fight.
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he's the guy with the pink cast in the surveillance video. so how many fights have you had in the five months you've been here? >> five. >> five fights? >> yeah, five. >> reporter: so every time you fight, you get a disciplinary writeup? >> yes. and it takes seven to get extended on a two-year and i already have seven. >> reporter: so the next thing you are getting extended? >> i need to be really cautious, i have slipups, the other day i almost got into a fight and it was over something stupid. >> someone cutting you in line? >> yeah, so i just got to start thinking more about stuff before i act. >> reporter: is it working? >> sometimes it is, sometimes it doesn't . >> reporter: cambiar is
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working better for the old est member of the unit. he has been in jail three times, once he and his brother beat a drug client. this time he's serving two years for arson and assault. >> reporter: what brought you here? >> recently on a one year sentence an arson case. >> you put gasoline on his car? >> more or less yes. >> that got you how much time? >> that got me a year. >> in albuquerque? >> yes, i jumped a kid with a weapon. >> reporter: what weapon? >> it was just a sock in a bar of soap and whenever the staff tried to intervene my friend started to assault him and i just followed suit. >> reporter: and that's what brought you here? >> yes, and i came down here and i got committed till the age of 21. >> reporter: his first year nothing changed.
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>> i was like a (bleep) stick. >> a (bleep) stick which is exactly what it sounds like a bad kid? >> yes, always trying to instigate, if i try get restrained. >> reporter: so what happened in the two and a half years that you've been here? >> just like i honestly say i woke up one day and like ooh, i don't want to do this anymore. i learn how to reason before i do my actions, i learn how to control my anger,. >> reporter: when did you find out it was fun to learn? >> i never had the will, never had someone to push me and when i came here like i said some staff would help me out with that. >> reporter: has having mentors helped you? >> i'd say it helped me a lot. >> reporter: how? >> their life experiences, some could relate to me, in past
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situations, i got love for once some affection, some showed me kindness and all that. >> reporter: so you had to come behind bars really to get some attention and affection? >> i know it sounds odd but something like that. >> reporter: what do you like to study? >> i like music. i "like" space and physics a lot, like the physical sciences, not much grammar and english and those but more hands-on things. >> reporter: quinteto, the superintendent, credits the program for helping vincent turn things around. >> something clicked in him, i hope it was a decision, i don't want to live life this way. vincent found a reason to live which was his music. ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ assemble all >> all right let's do it for real. ready? ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> i messed it up, i was going to a different rhythm. >> reporter: so obviously you're playing better than doing chop sticks. what is your favorite thing to play? >> classical beethoven, mozart, bach. >> you don't just sit down one day and feeling out bach from the piano. >> i took what i knew from the trumpet and went to the piano. >> reporter: you can read music? >> yes, not like for keyboard i can't read it directly. the cello piece i played for the piano. >> reporter: what does playing the piano do for you?
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>> therapy, hobby, interests, i want to be professional, little bit of everything. >> reporter: does anybody else here play? >> no, i teach them little scales and they learned. they like hip hop beats, songs that are already made. i teach them how to do that. flow all day but when it comes to a little sonata, forget it. >> reporter: what are you doing now? >> a cello suite by bach. >> how does it go? >> see if i remember it. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: cambiahar let him keep his trumpet when he arrived and later found him apiano. a a piano.
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but not everyone here has found their way to peace. the meskite unit is about to explode. >> more from inside this weekend on al jazeera america, kids behind bars, a soledad o'brien special report this sunday at 10:00 p.m. eastern. that's "america tonight". tell us what you think, at we'll have more of "america tonight" tomorrow. >> the peninsula, in arabic, is aljazeera. our logo represents courage. fiercely independent quality reporting. >> to take as much aid as possible... >> and standing up for the voiceless. when you see this symbol
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respected around the world it means you too can now count on all the things we stand for. aljazeera america. we are well aware of the support that iran has been giving to yemen. the u.s. warns iran of supporting houthi rebels as saudi-led air strikes enter their third week. ♪ ♪ hello i am darren jordan and you are watching al jazerra live from doha. also ahead. guilty on all 30 count dzhokhar tsarnaev convicted of carrying out the boston marathon bombing. hopes for peace in africa after rival groups sign a ceasefire deal in kenya. crisis in i understand year's e