tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN May 29, 2022 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
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hi, thank you for joining me. i'm jessica dean in for fredricka whitfield. i'm joined by dana bash in uvalde, texas. president biden there to meet with the grieving community. dana, tell us what you're seeing there. >> reporter: well, president biden and first lady jill biden are here today. he's playing a role that he has played so many times before, comforting families following an unspeakable tragedy. right now the president and first lady are meeting with families at a community center in uvalde. this morning the bidens visited a memorial site at robb elementary that, of course, is the site of the shootings on
tuesday. and then they attended a catholic mass service where he was greeted by an archibishop here. these events taking on an even more solemn tone as questions continue to grow over apparent failures of law enforcement's response to tuesday's mass shooting. the visit also comes less than two weeks after they both visited a site of a different kind of massacre, a racially motivated massacre. that was in buffalo, new york. ten people were killed there. arlette is in uvalde at robb elementary. and lucy is with me at the memorial. lucy, we're learning new information about the justice department and the intent to investigate. >> reporter: that's right. we just learned the justice department will be conducting a critical incident review of the law enforcement response to that shooting that unfolded on tuesday at the robb elementary school, and this is a
significant development, because we know that 78 minutes according to the timeline is how long it took from the moment when the gunman breached that elementary school to when law enforcement officers were able to neutralize him. ending the incident. i want to read a statement from the justice department. they say that the goal of the review is to provide an independent account of law enforcement actions and responses that day and identify lessoned learned, best practices to help first responders prepare for and respond to active shooter events. the review will be -- the assessment will be fair, transparent, and independent. the justice department will publish a report with the findings at the conclusion of the review. as you've heard from the survivors from the family members, from the community as a whole, so many questions about why it took so long to neutralize this threat, and almost this chilling tone even from the justice department press release preparing for the
next one. you know, it's something that we don't want to be prepared for. and yet -- >> for the next one, and yet you'll have parents that are already numb with grief. perhaps learning that their child didn't have to die which is -- there are no words. thank you so much, lucy, for that report. arlette, i want to go to you. what was the president's message, and did he do while he was there where you are at robb respectly? >> reporter: well, dana, president biden here really came to robb elementary to take in this scene, to visit this memorial honoring the lives of those 21 people, 19 children and two teachers gunned down at their school. elementary school on tuesday. the president and first lady spent quite some time, about 20 minutes here, looking through each of the photos, the crosses, the names of each of those victims. really taking in this moment as
the president has said, he is here to try to offer some type of comfort, any type of comfort he can to the grieving community. but while he was on hand here at robb elementary, there were dozens of onlookers who gathered here. there was one man who started to shout as texas governor gregg abbott approached the memorial, encouraging him to do more, saying there needs to be change. you could hear some booing from the crowd as well as those pleas for the governor to take action. but then also that same protester was also shouting at president biden, telling him to do more. now, here at the elementary school, the president simply just waved at the group but did not come over, but as he was leaving church at sacred heart catholic church where he attended mas earlier, he engaged with some of the demonstrators on the scene. take a look at -- a look at the video.
[ chanting "do something" ] . >> you could sea the president mouthing words we will. of course, the president himself has said that there is not much more he can do on executive action when it comes to guns. the white house is insisting that it is congress that needs to ask. but right now there are so many in the community across the country who are still seeking more answers about how to prevent a tragedy like this. the president is facing those calls as he is here on the ground in uvalde, texas, trying to comfort this community as they're grieving from the loss. >> arlette, thank you so much for that report. and this morning i spoke with breonna and her son daniel. they came here to visit the memorial and pay respects to his fallen friends and his cousin,
nine-year-old ellie garcia. daniel is only nine years old, and he climbed through a broken window to survive tuesday's shooting. >> i was by the funeral home, and i know the layout of his hallway. when they started pulling children out of the classes, i saw all the classes that rounded his area, and my cousin's area as well. once i saw all those children coming out, and i saw that they weren't -- it was a numbing feeling that i got. just because i could feel something was very off, and just knowing he was still in there, the shooter was still in there, it was terrifying. i saw his friends running out,
and i stainless steel hadn't seen him -- i still hadn't seen him. finally when him and another friend came running up together, it -- it gave -- it gave me back -- i couldn't catch my breath. you know? but i ran straight to him, and i just held him, and i remember somebody trying to get him out of my arms, but i just -- i kept holding him until i walked him myself to the funeral home. >> this morning i spoke with a psychologist, one who grew up here and had beautiful, moving things to say about this community as they experience immense grief. >> this is just such a tight knit community. everyone is taking care of each other, so i want to make sure to remind people to take care of themselves, too. >> you're handing this out. what is it? >> it's a grief journal. it gives prompts every day to
allow people to kind of process what they're going through, so i'm handing it out to people who maybe feel like they're not ready to talk now, but can still kind of process their feelings through writing. there's this collective grief that happens. you know? to the whole community. we all knew someone that was impacted in some way in a town like this. >> you can really feel that collective grief as mourners are here. people coming to pay their respects with very heavy hearts. i want to bring in nicole for more on this, a writer with the race and equality team at cnn. nicole, thank you for talking. your piece on cnn.com was moving, talking about where we are right now, this memorial, and about the color maroon, how that has taken on a specific symbol. talk about that.
>> in this town, right when you get here, you feel the love. and before this tragedy, people would wear maroon for sporting events to support their own children. soccer, baseball -- >> the color of the school team? >> yes. yes, the school team. now earlier this week i talked to parents who, they say like, i don't know what to tell my family. that something that -- what words can i share with them for them to face this? and they -- what they took on was just to wear maroon. wear the colors that for them were just unity, that show unity in this town. so now you -- when you walk around town, you see way, way, way too many maroon t shirts. the message has changed. before it was to cheer for their
own children. now it's to show unity, and it's all the t shirts are uvalde strong. >> yeah. that's very well-said. now, you are based in san antonio. and you've unfortunately had to cover mass shootings before. in 2019 the walmart shooting, you were there for cnn. that was in el paso. that hit very close to home for you. 90 minutes away, that's how far we're talking with these mass shootings. what did you notice when you arrived here to report on what happened last tuesday? >> right when i got here, you know, driving into uvalde, the first thing, or one of the first things i noticed was the children were at the center of here. you know, when you -- when you're driving to town, you see the high school portraits right outside city hall. right now -- today we're here just across the street at a
memorial for 21 victims. most of them children. and still, like, you see children everywhere. people come here. holding their children's hands. pushing strollers. still torn between mourning for their lives who are lost, and still trying to keep going for those children who are still with us. >> it is amazing that this is the third day that i've been here, and today's a weekend, so people are off work, and there are a lot of people here, but it has been really packed with mourners, with people just to come and pay their respects. and you can really feel it in the air, the support. obviously there's a huge tragedy, but the connectedness that people feel to one another. >> yes. when you talk to people in town about what happened, and the
victims, especially the children, all of them just describe them as our babies. because there are so many connections. they can be -- people went to get -- have gone to school for generations. they are cousins, grandparents. they work together. like, everybody knows each other in one way or another, so for -- for the people here in town, they aren't just babies. everybody is family. >> thank you so much. i encourage everyone to look at your piece on cnn.com. thank you. jessica dean, i'm going to toss it back to you in washington. >> thanks to dana and nicole. we appreciate it. coming up, we're going to have much more from uvalde. first, ukrainian president volodymyr zelenskyy visits troops in eastern ukraine while the country's military said it's begun a counter offensive against russian forces in the
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volodymyr zelenskyy visiting with the frontlines of the war during a trip to kharkiv. the ukrainian military has started a counter offensive against russian forces. nick paton walsh is joining us live from dnipro. what more can you tell us? >> reporter: this visit by volodymyr zelenskyy to kharkiv is a place i think that is a comparative success story for ukraine. ukrainian forces have managed to push russians forces back away from the city's edge to prevent them from shelling the city's center. it's been so heavily damaged by that over the past months. but it's a limited success, because russia has also pushed
back. the dynamic there certainly fluid, and president zelenskyy in a visit that seemed to show him walking up and down a column of destroyed russian armor from the earliest days of the conflict, the vehicles rusted and also visiting destroyed areas, also had it seems according to his speech, deal with the issue of a local internal security service head who he said was fired because he was reportedly more interested in his own interest than that of ukraine. but it comes on a day of mixed news certainly. we've just come back from near the key city of donetsk where russia is claiming significant advances in a bid to encircle an important town. part of putin completing the goals he sets himself in the second phase of what they call a special operation in this unprovoked invasion of ukraine. increasingly in russian control, and under intense shelling.
it's bad news in the con das area with many forces there appearing nervous, relocating themselves. as you mentioned, too, jessica, in the south of the country there are many claims by ukraine that's managed to push russian forces back. minimal evidence at this stage. president zelenskyy's visit i think clearly a bid to show him on the front. we've heard mixed messaging from ukrainian officials, sounding more negative than they have, over the past week in terms of what's happening in the donbas, but he's been in kharkiv to show he's personally in control and highlight an area where i think you can say ukraine has had some success. as in everything here, as this begins to drag on as a war, we're slowly seeing russia pushing back in areas where ukraine has seen success and questions now as to duration of the war and what both sides can bring to it if this goes on for over a year, perhaps. >> sure.
all right. nick paton walsh, thank you for that reporting. still ahead this afternoon, we asked parents and children to leave a voice mail about the conversations they're having following the texas shooting. you'll hear the heart breaking messages after the break. miss allen over there isn't checking lesson plans. she's getting graded on her green investments with merrill. a-plus. still got it. (whistle blows) your money nevever stops workig for you with merrill, a bank of america company. the more information i found, got me more curious. researching my family on ancestry has given me a purpose. we discovered that our family has been in new mexico for hundreds of years. it showed how much my family was really rooted in campbell county.
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and the president being asked to console grief stricken american families. meanwhile, the investigation into how the gunman was able to enter that school is still underway. a school resource officer was the first to encounter him, and there are growing calls for more armed guards at schools as a solution. tom foreman looks at how effective the presence of resource officers is in protecting our schools. >> reporter: the nationwide push for armed guards in every school began with columbine high in 19 t 99. the murders 13 years at andy -- sandy hook reignited the cause. >> the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. >> reporter: now on estimated 20,000 resource officers are on duty paid from state and local governments hoping to stop violent attacks. but the justice policy
institutes mark schindler says there's a problem. >> i'm a parent of high school kids. if there was evidence to show that school police officers would make their schools safer, i would be all for it. but at the end of the day, there's literally no evidence to show that police in schools makes schools safer. >> i the we got shots fired. >> reporter: at stoneman douglas high in florida, security cameras recorded an arped sro outside the building where 17 people were shot and killed. >> my client is not pleading guilty, because he did nothing wrong. >> reporter: scott peterson faces charges for his inaction but says he just didn't know where the gunman was. >> there is no way in hell that i would sit there and allow those kids to die, with me being
in another building and sitting there. no way. >> in texas, armed sros traded shots with a gunman and helped force him to surrender, but ten people were killed. at red lake high in minnesota, an unarmed guard confronted a shooter only to be shot and killed himself. nine died there. so in texas the attorney general wants more than just officers. >> we can potentially arm and prepare and train teachers and other administrators to respond quickly because the reality is we don't have the resources to have law enforcement at every school. >> reporter: but the national association of sros says what's needed is more mental health care for students. more realistic expectations about how their officers can and do reduce violence. >> if you've got a person with a weapon bent on killing people, you're probably going to lose some people on the front end. i hate to say that. our job becomes trying to contain that and stop further
killing. >> even some fervent defenders of armed officers in schools say they must be seen as part of a larger coordinated effort, because one person with a gun has to be very good, very lucky, and often very brave to make a difference all on their own. cnn, washington. tom, thank you. children and parents across the country are sharing their feelings after the 19 students and two teachers lost their lives when they were gunned down in an elementary school in texas. here's what they told cnn in their heart breaking voice mails. thank you for calling cnn. >> all those kids who got killed and adults, they were all innocent. they did nothing bad. they did not deserve to die.
>> it's unbelievable. isn't it? >> yeah, it is. i saw the picture of one of the teachers, and she looks like an amazing teacher. and i would love if i had her. >> she looks like a really nice person, didn't she? >> uh-huh. >> so, like, i kind of feel like mad, because people should have stricter gun laws. every day there's been more and more shootings i've been hearing about. and i don't like it. and also, like, i want to know if there were any earlier signs before this happened. and if, yes, why didn't people notice them? >> erika, how are you feeling right now after hearing about another school shooting in the united states? >> honestly, right now i'm just kind of feeling a bit vulnerable, and i feel like shootings are reoccurring.
i feel like i can't do anything about it. >> how come an 18-year-old man can walk in a gun store and buy a gun? so many innocent people are dying because of guns and gun laws. now when i enter my school, i won't feel safe as i used to be. i'll always have to check who's around me. i hope everybody who listens to this feels the same as me. >> it was really hard to send them off to school today, because for the first time in his entire lifer, i had to lie to him and tell him that he was safe going to school, and that it wouldn't happen to him, and if anything bad happened that his teacher would keep him safe, and i don't know if that's true with all the shootings that have been happening in all the different areas. >> i'm calling as a grandparent. i'm a long-time gun owner myself, but the time has come that we cannot let firearms go
into the hands of those people who have not been vetted. >> my question is what are you guys going to do about the gun laws? because all we do, all america does is just repeat. >> you had asked why was he so angry. >> yeah. why was he so angry? kids probably teased him a lot, or -- >> uh-huh. >> you be nice if you be nice. he'll be nice back. you know? >> we want to know when is kindness going to be a part of our curriculum in school? >> my son's name is ian, and he is 12 years old, and the question he's asking is if there's a possibility that i can go ahead and purchase for him a bullet proof backpack that if
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president of foster city california parents club and a licensed major and family therapist. it's great to see you. thank you for making time. i just want to start with this kind of overwhelming time for parents. how do you recommend that they keep themselves grounded to support their kids and their families? i think a lot of parents put everybody, obviously, ahead of them, and want to make sure their kids are okay, but that's really -- this can really burn a parent out, too. >> yeah. thank you so much for hosting me on this. it's a critical topic. you know, i think being realistic with their expectations and knowing what their true values are, and being authentic with themselves is pretty critical for this. knowing they're not alone. this is a universally challenging time for parents. and there are places and people you can talk to to get support,
and to feel less alone, and just to get through it. >> yeah. i mean, it really sounds like reaching out to whoever you're close to, other parents, siblings, your own parents, whomever it is, having that support system in place seems to be really key instead of trying to hold it by yourself. >> absolutely. i mean, the biggest thing i've learned in parenting is how you cannot pour from an empty bucket. if you are struggling yourself, it's going to reflect everywhere. especially to your children. >> and so how should people kind of be thinking about this when they're like oh, god, now i have to reach out to somebody and talk to somebody ? how important is it to connect with people over this? >> it's your lifeline. and i think seeking appropriate support is ri tick yulsly helpful. and that looks different for everybody. right? that can be your family. that can be your mommy circle.
i know some of my best friends have got me through some of the hardest times of parenthood, and it can be peers. that's part of why we formed the mother's club was the mother's club. it's not a parent's club. just to get that community peer support, and really hold the space for parents to have difficult conversations when they need to have them. >> right. it can be so important. i'm curious as a parent yourself, and in talking with the people you're facing with all the time, do you get the sense that young parents especially, or parents with young children, especially feel somewhat overseen and overlooked, that they're bearing a brunt of a lot of these crises, yet we don't have a lot of lawmakers that are parents of young children. do they feel like they're being seen by the society at large? >> yes and no. i think there's a valiant effort to really address the current needs, however great they are. you know, and i think parenting
has always been difficult. i'm not going to try to say there wasn't difficulties throughout, but this is really unprecedented times. there's a lot. there's just a lot to face, and there's no textbook on how to be a parent during a pandemic or how to be a parent during a time of mass violence, and so it's just a new thing. and i'm hoping that some of these big feelings that parents are currently going through, you know, the anger, the sadness, the hopelessness, can lead to encouraging them to make those changes and to have the conversations with whoever they need to. lawmakers, peers, or their neighbor, whoever, and really help those voices get heard. >> and when you really start to go through it, i kind of listed them at the beginning of our segment, but you were talking about two years in covid where a lot of parents have struggled with child care and schools, day care. they're in, they're out. the covid exposed so they have
to be home and trying to work while doing that. you have the baby formula shortage where parents are having a hard time finding formula to feed their children. and then you layer into that, again, a mass shooting at an elementary school. that's just a lot of anxiety out there, and a lot of worry. a lot of concern. >> absolutely. and remembering when these big feelings happen, that is your body telling you something is not okay. and these big feelings are happening daily. it takes a lot for parents to face parenthood right now. knowing that there's so many challenges, and the -- if there's a great thing, it's that we're not alone. there are people and places that can help support us and hear our thoughts and hear our voices, and hopefully hear our concerns and be moved to do something with that. >> yeah. thank you for joining us. we appreciate it. >> thank you so much for having
me. well, just another example of just how many americans are on edge right now. chaos erupted at the barclay center in brooklyn, new york after people heard what sounded like gunshots, sending them panicking and running following a boxing match. police report there were no shots fired. they said it was a loud noise that people mistook for fire, and thankfully no one was seriously injured. but it just shows you how scared a lot of people are. that disturbance coming just days after the recent mass shootings in buffalo, new york, and uvalde, texas. and as part of memorial day weekend, the annual rolling to remember demonstration in washington d.c. which raises awareness of prisoners of war and those missing in action is happening. earlier today motorcyclists took laps around the national mall as part of the four-day event. advocates representing a variety of veterans organizations gave remarks including jon stewart who rallied saturday for
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tonight's cnn takes an intergnat look at the war in ukraine through the eyes of a mother who's caught inside a kyiv basement with her family as the war wages around her. tonight on "ac 360 with anderson cooper." anderson? >> thanks, jessica. we've all seen a lot of images of the war in ukraine but this
is something you haven't seen. it's the war through the eyes of one mother as she shelters in a basement with her three children in kyiv. her name is olena gness. before russia invaded, she was a war guide and posted a lot of videos about her family and life in ukraine on youtube. when the bombs started falling and russia invaded she decided to keep a video diary of what she and her husband and kids were going through, never knowing if they would survive through the night. i was able to meet her a few weeks ago in kyiv. when i realized how much video she shot and i started to watch it, i realized what an extraordinary thing this was. it's a view of war we've rarely seen before, intimate and poignant, it's very personal. and she's just lovely and a thoughtful, caring person. this is the war diary of olena gness. here is a brief clip. in the morning against all adds, kyiv is still in ukrainian
control. >> the latest update is that we are alive. i am alive. this is irina. she's sleeping on the floor. there are other people in the shelter woke up. it's already morning. it's like 7:00 in the morning. others are sleeping. it's very important that we survived this night. now the day has come. at night everything looks much more scary for people. so as you can see even many people left the bomb shelter right now because it's more than 7:00 in the morning. >> many in kyiv are leaving. long lines of cars clog the
roads heading west. train stations around the country fill with families trying to get out. olena decides she and the kids will stay. >> i feel safe here. the chances for us to die here in kyiv are equal to the chances for us to die on the road. and another thing, i want my children to be alive, of course, but both physically and spiritually. i want them to be strong. i want them to be free. >> olena's husband brings is your supplies for his family. he has no military training. [ speaking foreign language ].
>> her family, like so many others, have been through so much and it has given them strength to know the world is watching what happens in ukraine. i hope you can watch this tonight. you'll come away understanding the war in a whole different way. jessica? >> sure looks like it. anderson, thank you. a mother's diary of war airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. thanks so much for joining me today. i'm jessica dean in for fredricka whitfield. cnn "newsroom" will continue after the break. but first, a quick programming note. tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. eastern you can catch right here on cnn our new film "julia," about the story of the legendary and beloved culinary icon julia child. here is a preview. >> hello. i'm julia child. >> julia was more than a cook. she was a cultural force. >> julia was a pop icon. >> julia child presents the chicken sisters. >> today you have rock star chefs. >> i think i love you.
>> she absolutely expanded the possibilities of what women could do. >> julia really paved the way for this incredible moment of food and pop culture making this very domestic profession something extremely popular. we were ripe for a change. there i was. >> whether you cooked or didn't cook, people watched her for fun. >> you were mesmerized, spellbound by what she was saying. >> she seemed so unpretention that you thought if she could do it, you could do it. >> the delicious life of america's first celebrity chef. >> bon appetite. >> "julia" a cnn film tomorrow ninight at 8:00. ♪ ♪ (camera shutters)
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you are live in the cnn "new "newsroom." i'm jim acosta. president biden shining in uvalde, texas. summer plans turned to funeral plans. where just days ago children were full of life. now life-sized poorly stands silently in their place. the president and first lady laid hands on those photos today, the children and two teachers lost at the hands of a gunman inside robb elementary school. the town of just 16,000 people is overwhelmed with