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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  May 28, 2022 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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hi, everyone, and thanks so much for joining me. i'm jessica dean. frederica whitfield is off today. we begin with haunting questions in uvalde, texas, ahead of president biden's trip there tomorrow. and as the families of 19 children and two teachers killed in the school massacre prepare to bury their loved ones, heartbroken parents demanding answers and accountability as new details continue to raise confusion and prompt questions about what went wrong. authorities facing scrutiny over conflicting information as well as the time line provided by law enforcement. we now know the gunman was not confronted by police before entering the school, and more
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than an hour passed between the first 911 call and when the shooter was killed. cnn's shimon prokupecz pressed authorities for answers divergent a press conference friday. >> you say there were 19 officers gathered in the hallway or somewhere. what efforts were made to try and break through that door you say was locked? what effort were the officers making to try and break through either that door or another door to get inside that classroom? >> none at that time. >> why? >> the on-scene commander at the time believed it had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject. >> you have people who are alive, children who are calling 911 saying please, send the police. they are alive in that classroom. there are lives that are at risk. that's not -- >> we're well aware of that. >> right. why was this decision made not to go in and rescue these
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children? >> again, the on-scene commander considered a barricaded subject and there was time and no children at risk. obviously, you know, based upon the information we have there were children in that classroom that were at risk, and it was, in fact, still an active shooter situation and not a barricaded subject. >> that officer says there were no doubt that mistakes were made. >> after the benefit of hindsight where i'm sitting now of course it wasn't the right decision. it was the wrong decision. there's no excuse for that. >> the incident commander has been identified as uvalde school district police chief pedro pete arradondo and has not spoken since. texas governor greg abbott says he's livid about being misled about the police response in the immediate aftermath of the attack. he refused to discuss whether or
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not arradondo should keep his job. when president biden travels tomorrow he's expected to meet with victims families there. i can't imagine what today is like there. what is the mood like? >> reporter: jessica, this community is still processing what happened on tuesday. there's still disbelief. people here are in mourning. they can't believe that something this heinous, something this horrific could happen in their small idyllic town, just two days before summer break before planning for summer vacations or camps families here are planning funerals. it is extremely emotional to think that third and fourth graders and majority of the victims here, and as you see behind me the memorial for those
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victims continues it grow. in fact, in the last hour we saw state senator roland gutierrez escort a family who actually came from out of town to pay their respects. that young boy you see there telling the state senator that he wanted to say good-bye to these kids. it made state senator gutierrez emotional, and as you can imagine that is just one slice of what we're seeing across this community. there's also intense anger, frustration because parents are coming to the realization that there are discrepancies between what police initially told them what happened here and the time line, the actual break down and the decision making that went into the police response, the delay. the time that was spent waiting as children inside a classroom were calling 911 hoping for police to breach the classroom the shooter was in as officers waited outside. let's discuss that aspect of this further with cnn's jason
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carol. he joins us now in uvalde. jason, what are you hearing from people in the community? >> well, i think of people like alfred garza spoke to him yesterday right after that press briefing where we heard these officials admitting the mistakes that were made. and when i spoke to him about his daughter amerie, she went to school here, a fourth grader here, she died divergent the shooting. and when i spoke to him about what had happened, what law enforcement officials were saying he said at this point what he's looking for is accountability. he wants to make sure that what happened to his daughter doesn't happen to anyone else. >> they should have acted more promptly and more quickly. you know, time is of the essence with stuff like that. and they should have just acted quicker, and that's the bottom line. they should have reacted quicker, faster, you know. had they done that maybe we
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would have a different result. >> and that's what we're hearing from a number of parents out here as they deal with not only grief but anger and a whole host of emotions, but what if they had acted more quickly? just to point out his daughter, he believes his daughter was one of those children inside who may have been trying to call 911, and so the families now having to deal with that as well. but the big question is what if they had acted more quickly? >> and jason, one of several discrepancies that we heard from law enforcement over the last few days soon after investigators came to a podium and gave a press conference declaring that there was a school resource officer on campus that responded to the shooting, within 24 hours they came back and said not the case. what have you learned about that? >> and again there was just one of the many twists in the story where we're told, yes, there was a school resource officer here.
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and in addition to that they told those of us in the media this resource officer had actually engaged with the shooter. so at that point like the rest of us we were just waiting to see in what way the officer had engaged with the shooter. now it turns out that resource officer wasn't here in those first moments but did end up showing up here, and here's how that explanation went down divergent that particular part. >> that officer was not on scene, not on campus but had heard the 911 call and drove immediately to the area, sped to what he thought was the man with the gun to the back of the school who turned out to be a teacher and not the suspect. and doing so he drove right by the suspect and hunkered down kind of vehicle where he began shooting at the school. >> so there are going to be a lot of questions going forward, boris, as you can imagine about why would the resource officer,
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an armed resource officer not here. understand this is a small community. they don't have many, but the question is going to be why wasn't he here when he was supposed to be? so perhaps that's one of the changes made in the future. the governor has said he expects law tuesday be enacted as a result of what happened here. perhaps that will be part of the accountability, but that's what a lot of people here in the community, parents who had a loved one, parents who didn't but someone who knew someone here are going to be demanding. >> it was shocking the governor declaring he was misled when trying to get answers. you can imagine that's little consolation to families grasping for any information they can get right now. jason carroll, thanks so much. we do not want to get some e exerper tease now from former boston police commissioner ed davis. he's with us right now. thank you so much for sharing part of your weekend with us.
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as you heard officials here in uvalde have acknowledged the incident commander made the wrong mistake. he made a decision to not breach the classroom sooner. you've called that an abject failure. i'm wondering what reasons could you imagine that that incident commander would have decided this was a paracaded suspect situation as opposed to an active shooter scenario. >> good morning, boris. so these are -- these are horrible questions to be looking at in a tragic situation. the chaos of these events and misinformation most likely will play a role in this when all of the facts come out. it's impossible to be definitive about exactly what happened. in a situation like this the commanding officer should be very close to the scene. we don't know where the chief was at that particular time.
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we do know a sergeant was on scene in about 10 or 15 minutes. that sergeant should have been in constant contact with the commanding officer to tell that chief exactly what was happening so that he could make good decisions. you'd like to think the chief was in constant contact with the dispatchers who frequently have the best information as these situations unfold so that he could make good decisions. clearly good decisions were not made here. and one of the troubling things i see is that people -- police officers arrive there by 12:15 with ballistic shields. and so it still was another 35 minutes before the entry was made. so the time line needs to be examined. the tapes of the calls and the radio dispatchers need to be examined. the commanding officer needs to be interviewed to find out exactly what information he was
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operating on. and after all that is determined we have to look at whether or not the system of allowing someone who might not have the requisite experience here actually run a thing like this. you know, if there's somebody on the scene with tactical experience, it should at least be coordination and communication with that particular individual so the command can make good decisions. so there's a lot going on here. >> i want to zero in with you on that break down in communication because as we understand it there were kids inside the classroom that were calling 911 pleading for officers to breach the room, to go in. and some 19 officers were still in the hallway waiting. there were parents out here who said they could hear children screaming, that they heard gunfire, and yet the incident commander decided this was, again, a barricaded suspect situation as opposed to an active shooting situation, which
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led them to wait. what reasons would they have for waiting? >> well, again, we're not certain, but let me try to put this in context as to what it's like standing in the shoes of that commander. that commander is getting information from the radio system, so there are people squawking on the radio about what they're doing and where they're going. at the same time there are people around the commander feeding them information and trying to cut through that fog is extremely difficult. and you're pointing to one of the major issues we've had in policing for years. which is the old-fashioned way we get information to people in the field who are dealing with what's going on. we have a telephone call come in. that goes to a call taker, and then the information is sent to
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a dispatcher, and then a dispatcher sends that information onto the field over the radio. there's no reason in this day and age why we can't get that actual caller in touch with the people that are actually in the field. and we've talked about this for decades, but we've never been able to solve that. so some of these issues pointed out may be able to be solved by technology. it's time for a solid look that that. that commander is getting way too much information. there's an overload of incoming information, and clearly something happened that he wasn't able to cut through to the core of what was going on here. the bottom line is this if you're in a situation where you secured everything and you start to hear gunfire again, there's no excuse not to move immediately. >> ed, i do want to ask you something about a parent told
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"the new york times," a parent of one of the victims. said, quote, we live in this really small town in this small state and everyone keeps telling us, you know, it's not the time to be political. but it is. it is. don't let this happen to anybody else. they go on, our baby wanted to be a lawyer. she wanted to make a difference. this is ms. rubio, the mother of one of the children that was killed. please make sure she makes one now. do you think it's time to be political with this tragedy, given what happened given what parents in this community are calling for? >> i've heard those statements, boris, and i'm telling you they're pathetic. a political fix is what's needed here. we need to have a law that tightens up and puts realistic controls over people who try to get their hands on thousands of rounds of ammunition and weapons
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of war who may have psychological problem. the idea this is political is a ridiculous statement. of course it's political. we need a politician to pass a law. and i bristle when i hear this after seeing bodies of children in a school. it's insanity. >> commissioner davis, we have to leave the conversation there. we hope you'll rejoin us further down the road as this investigation expands and hopefully we get more answers. thank you. >> thank you, sir. >> of course. we still have plenty more to get to from uvalde, texas, as we continue to learn more details about the mistakes that police acknowledge were made. and of course we want to bring you the stories of the innocent lives, 21 that were lost, two schoolteachers and 19 children. most of them not any older than 10. much more straight ahead. stay with us.
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despite painfully high gas prices millions of americans are traveling this holiday weekend. the average price for a gallon of gas is $4.60. that's about 50% higher than last memorial day weekend. cnn's nadia romero joins me now for more on this. i know you're at a gas station in atlanta. what prices are you seeing there? >> reporter: yeah, they're about 30 cents cheaper here in atlanta, jessica, than that national average. you mentioned it, $4.60 per gallon for regular unled. that is the highest we've seen on average this year. today, the saturday of muyemori day weekend. aaa is still estimating some 45 million americans will hit the road, travel by car throughout
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this weekend, and that's up about 5% compared to this time last year. i spoke with an uber driver and she says she watches gas prices go up and down because it's her business to give people rides. she believes they're price gouging right now and she also wants the government to do more. when you ask experts why are we seeing this dramatic spike in gas prices they say it's really a two-fold problem. one of those issues is the war in ukraine and the oil sanctions on russian oil. take a listen to the other problem that we're dealing with right now. >> and so we are dealing with a global supply and demand imbalance due to loss of russian oil. not only that but refineries here in the united states due to events like covid, hurricane ida, we've seen a tremendous amount of refining capacity lost over the last three years. and so going into the summer driving season not only are oil
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prices up but there's less capacity to produce things like gasoline and jet fuel. >> you just heard it jet fuel there. aaa expecting a lot of people to hit the road this weekend, but we're also seeing atlanta's airport sending out tweets reminding people you should see long lines at tsa. they're expecting 2 million people this past wednesday through thursday. they're expecting 2 million people to pass through with the highest number of passengers projected yesterday at 311,000. jessica, you have beautiful weather at least here in atlanta. it's warm, sunny, there's a nice breeze, and you have this pent-up demand for people who haven't been traveling due to the pandemic who want to get out there. but if you do you're going to encounter those much higher gas prices. >> thanks so much. and still to come this hour both president joe biden and vice president kamala harris traveling to opposite corners of the country this weekend to honor and mourn the victims of the latest mass shootings in
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whoa. this weekend president joe biden and vice president kamala harris are on opposites side of the country honoring victims from two different mass shootings. biden will go to uvalde, texas, tomorrow to meet with victims families reeling from the elementary school massacre there. and in buffalo, new york, a funeral for one of the victims of the grocery store mass shooting is under way right now. the vice president and second gentleman are there honoring the life of ruth whitfield. i want to bring in cnn's joe
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johns for the latest on this. joe, you're there in buffalo. tell us about today's events. >> well, this is mount olive baptist church in buffalo, and it is the scene of a memorial service for 86-year-old ruth whitfield who was one of ten people killed in that grocery store shooting two saturdays ago. we are told and we were told initially she had been to the nursing home to see her husband, and then essentially went to the grocery store to buy some groceries and that's where she was shot. now, she's a well-known person in this community in no small part because her son is a former now retired fire commissioner. so the fire department well-represented at this mem memorial service. the vice president we're told is not expected to speak at this service, but we are told that she has been meeting with family
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members of ruth whitfield and is likely to also meet with some of the survivors and family members of others who were shot at the grocery store. this service is expected to include the reverend al sharpton who was speaking we're told, a variety of others here. in fact, the junior senator from new york flew up on the plane with the vice president along with the governor, and we're also expecting to see some of the lawyers who were involved in this thing including civil rights lawyer ben crump who's been called in to represent the whitfield family and some others. so getting some idea of what the service is going to be, probably not a lot of talk about the legalities and the lawsuits, but that's something that's going to come down the road. back to you. >> all right, thanks so much. republican senator john cornyn says bipartisan talks on gun
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reform legislation are, quote, just getting started. democratic senator joe manchin who met with the bipartisan group this week says so far it's been very encouraging. daniela, what else do we know senator manchin said about that meeting, and just how real is this optimism? >> well, let me read you what he told reporters on thursday after this bipartisan group met, jessica. he said he called it, quote, very encouraging this group met. and he said the atmosphere, quote, feels different than it did in the days after sandy hook, that horrific shooting that also took place at an elementary school. he said, quote, it's just encouraging to see that there's a way, a path forward. so that's what he says, but really it's going to be an uphill climb, jessica. you know better than anyone as well it's going to take ten republicans at least to sign-on to any legislation and that's if
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any democratic senator supports gun safety legislation as well to get the 60 votes needed to advance legislation. but senate minority leader mcconnell in a huge move actually gave his blessing to senator john cornyn, another republican senator in these bipartisan talks to negotiate with senator chris murphy, these senators in this bipartisan group to try to find a solution, to try to prevent these horrific mass shootings from happening, but in contrast, of course, senator john cornyn from texas where the uvalde shooting took place in contrast there's senator ted cruz who was not at the negotiating table on the issues and actually spoke at the nra convention last night and blamed everything but guns for what happened in uvalde. take a listen to what he said yesterday. >> ultimately as we all know what stops armed bad guys is armed good guys.
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we must not react to evil and tragedy by abandoning the constitution or infringing on the rights of our law-abiding citizens. >> jessica, i really think that the sound shows how much of a divide there is right now in the republican party with, for example, cornyn negotiating with democrats and ted cruz blaming everything but guns for everything that's happening. o cites going to be incredibly difficult for democrats to get ten republicans onboard, but that's not stopping them from continuing to negotiate. do want to remind our viewers right now the senate in recess. they left town in washington, d.c. thursday night to return back to their homes, so this is going to take a long time. but senate majority leader chuck schumer giving democrats time to figure something out. >> thanks so much. good point, too, they were out on recess and a lot of gun advocates and senators hoping they can keep the progress going on that recess because a lot of
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materials they need to boost production. this as shipments from the biden administration's operation fly formula will soon be hitting store shelves. nestle says 40 ers of its gerber hypo allergenic specialty formula will be shipped tomorrow. and half of a million can of its specialty formula should get to families in the first half of july. as millions of americans make travel plans the cdc is issuing an alert after cases of monkeypox were reported in 12 countries including the united states. that alert noted almost none of the people infected had recently been to central or west africa where monkeypox frequently occurs. the dean of tropical medicine at bailor college medicine and the author of "preventing the next pandemic." do you believe this is a
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necessary alarm the cdc is raising here? >> yeah, they've raised it one level up. they're basically saying enhance precautions if you do travel to one of the countries which by the way includes the united states are people are becoming infected with monkeypox. so there's about 400 confirmed or suspected cases right now globally, roughly half of them in portugal, spain and the u.k. and i think the most important piece of this is to avoid individuals who are sick or have known genital or skin lesions, which is really common sense. and there's more specific things about avoiding contact with exotic live or dead animals and that sort of thing. but i think the most important piece of this is to try to avoid intimate contact with partners who are not feeling well or have suspected legions that resemble
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some monkeypox rash. >> the cdc reported there were countries reported where it wasn't endemic. help us understand why that distinction matters. why it matters that distinction? >> well, we haven't seen this before. typically this is a virus that circulates in one of two forms. one of the forms in central africa and democratic republic of congo and wes africa and nigeria. and sequencing of the virus preliminary indication suggesting it's likely the variant that comes out of nigeria. you're seeing what looks like ongoing human to human transmission in at least a dozen countries. so the concern this will continue to accelerate and will go considerably above the 400 current suspected and known cases. i think the good news to consider, though, is that this is a virus that's far less transmissible than covid-19.
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it's not a virus that you inhale in aerosol. it's close, intimate contact. there's a long incubation period so it's possible to isolate individuals. if necessary in the u.s., anyway, we have two vaccine stockpiles initially stockpiled for purposes of smallpox but we believe this will protect against monkeypox as well. so there's nowhere near that level of alarm as covid-19. on the other hand, the cases, we will continue to see more cases. and exactly what the end game is still a little bit murky until this eventually burns itself out. >> and to that point the world health organization says there is a good window of opportunity to stop that outbreak of monkeypox if the right measures are put into place. and you kind of just outlined some of those. is there anything else you think they need to be focused on doing right now? what's the most important thing they need to be doing? >> i think we still don't have
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details on transmission. there's been significant number of individuals who are gay or bisexual men so potentially intimate partner contact, but there's also been some household transmission as well. so i think we need to pin that down better. and number two, advice people appropriately and possibly do what's called ring vaccination which what was done to contain smallpox. they haven't felt the need to do that yet given the very, very small number of cases. and i think that's what we have to emphasize is we're talking 400 current and known and suspected cases. those numbers will rise, but i think given the fact that it's far less transmissible than something like covid, you have to long incubation period that makes contact tracing so much easier that we can isolate those individuals, it may not become necessary to deploy that vaccine. so i have a lot of optimism and won't be able to contain it and
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the numbers will increase before they start to go down. >> it sounds -- just the way you're describing it so, so different than what we were dealing with covid-19. although i do think a lot of people monkeypox they've never heard of it before, they start to think is it similar to chickenpox? if i have chickenpox do i have immunity or something like that? is it all connected to that disease or is it something totally different? >> it creates a lot of confusion because they both have the word pox in it. it belongs to th e herpes virus family but does have some similarities to smallpox. and we start vaccinating people against smallpox in the 1970s.
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so people born after that time were not vaccinated against smallpox and that creates an opportunity for monkeypox. important to emphasize this is a far less severe disease than smallpox and more difficult to transmit. but that's the reason why we have actually two vaccine stockpiles and high viral drugs. it wasn't for monkeypox it was because in the early 2000s the bush administration had a lot of concern about bioterrorist attacks after getting information from the former soviet union that there were efforts to create weaponized smallpox and other countries possibly as well. and those kind of measures but the good news is they'll likely cross protect against monkeypox as well. >> dr. peter hotez, thanks for breaking it down for us. we appreciate it. >> thank you. still ahead, professional sports teams demanding change in the wake of yet another mass shooting in america.
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and also this quick programming note. nomad with carlton mccoy explores our neighbor to the north. eating out in toronto is like di dining all over the world. take a look. >> oh, my gosh, such a bad idea. >> i'm a little concerned. the closest i've been to an ice rink is watching the mighty ducks. am i wearing these things right? first steps are the toughest. >> that is not stable. >> let's go. see, beautiful. move out of the way big train coming through. >> yep, yep, yep. move, move, move. >> we're going to put you in a game, carlton.
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we're going to have you face-off versus santonio and conner right here. they're already up 1-0. >> >> you can catch an all new episode tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. followed by another episode at 10:00 p.m. only y on cnn. suggests the scientists. so they shoot it. hmm... back to ththe miro board. dave says “feed it?” and dave feeds it. just then our hero has a breakthrough. "shoot it, camera, shoot a movie!" and so our humble team saves the day by working together. on miro. miss allen over there isn't checking lesson plans. she's getting graded on her green investments with merrill. a-plus.
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across the nation after yet another school shooting massacre. the devastating consequences of
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uvalde, texas, have enraged many, including athletes and sports teams who are now calling for sensible gun laws and action from washington. take a listen. >> i don't plan on coming out for the anthem going forward until i feel like there is -- i feel better about the direction of our country. so, that is the step. i don't -- i don't expect it to move the needle necessarily, it is just something that i feel strongly enough about to take that step. >> kapler said he will not take the field while the national anthem is playing. he's one of many sports figures who have made statements in the days following the shooting. andy scholes has more on that. >> well in wake of what happened in uvalde, sports figures and teams have been using their voice to advocate for change. and the warrior head coach steve kerr on the day of the shooting was very emotional, demanding
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politicians to do more. >> when are we going to do something? i'm tired, i'm so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. we are being held hostage by 50 senators in washington who refuse to even put it two a vote despite what we, the american people want. they won't vote on it because they want to hold on to their own power. it is pathetic. i've had enough. >> wednesday the heat and celtics held a moment of silence for the lives lost and then their in public address announcer delivered this message. >> the heat urges you to contact your state senators by calling 202-224-3121 to leave a message demanding their support for common sense gun laws. you could also make change at the ballot box. visit heat.com/vote to register and let your voice be heard this fall. >> the warriors with a similar
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message add vocating for common sense gun laws before game five. and kerr again speaking out saying we as a country need to think about gun control of a public health issue. >> for whatever reason it is a political issue. but it is really a public health issue. so, as soon as we could just shift the dynamic to this being a public health issue, then you get momentum. so, what i'm asking people to do is to get involved in their local communities. i've got lots of friends who democrats, i have ape lot of friends who are republicans. and i know they all want gun violence to go away. >> instead of tweeting about the game, this team presented facts about gun violence in our country. rays adding this could not become normal. we could not become numb.
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we could not look the other way. we all know if nothing changes, nothing changes. dodgers manager dave roberts say politicians have failed the country. >> how there couldn't be a bipartisan consensus on an issue like this is very disheartening, it is very irresponsible by our nation's leaders. and something needs to be done. and be proactive about it. because like everyone has said, enough is enough. when it enough enough? >> lebron james tweets there has to be change and rich eisen made a passional plea for something to be done. >> we cannot give up. we cannot give up as a society and we cannot give up on giving our two cents and keeping the pressure on those in power who
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do nothing about it. children murdered in their classroom. murdered. in their classroom. and you're already seeing the responses from those in power who refuse to do anything about it saying it is about anything else other than easy legal access to assault weaponry. >> and sports teams in the past have been very powerful helping to enact social change. and they're once again using their platform to try to make a difference. >> andy scholz, thank you so much. and if would you like to offer support for those involved in the texas school shooting, go to cnn.com/impact. you'll find several ways you could help the uvalde community there. much more coverage from texas and the latest on the investigation and the tragic mistakes made by police that day. that is straight ahead.
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hi, everyone and thanks for joining me. i'm jessica dean. fredricka whitfield is off today. right now, heartbroken parents in uvalde, texas r, demanding answers and accountable after a gunman murdered 19 of their children and two teachers at robb elementary school

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