tv PBS News Hour PBS January 14, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. violent anti-government protests pushed the tunisian president from office after 23 years of rule. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the newshour tonight, we have the latest on the north african country after a state of emergency was declared and the prime minister assumed power. >> lehrer: then, margaret warner previews her upcoming reports from korea, as secretary of state clinton urges china to enforce u.n. sanctions against north korea. >> brown: we continue our series of reports from haiti. tonight, the struggle to contain an outbreak of cholera.
>> this is terrifying. you've got salts, afeces and not much municipal water service, this is an area where we would expect to see dangerous levels of transmissi >> lehrer: tom bearden, in tucson, reports on how the shooting survivors are coping, including staff members of congresswoman gabrielle giffords. >> nearly a week after the shooting representative gifford's constituents are still coming by her office to show their support. >> brown: and mark shields and david brooks analyze the week's news. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> lehrer: the government of tunisia unraveled today, as a state of emergency was declared in the north african nation protesters took to the streets demanding democratic elections. the president's whereabouts were unknown, and the prime minister assumed power for now. jonathan rugman of independent television news has this report. outside tunisia's interior ministry a vast crowd gathered in scenes which will send shockwaves across the arab world. thousands of people yelling for revolution after 23 years of being ruled by the same man. at first the police held back under orders not to shoot from tunisia's president. a few demonstrators chanced
their luck and climbed on top of the ministry's doors. we come in peace. don't kill us, their banner said. and all around us the extraordinary sight of a people deprived of democracy for decades now intoxicated by the sweet smell of freedom in the air. everybody is so happy, it's unbelievable. >> reporter: what do you want the president to do? >> i want him to-- we don't believe him when he say that he will bring us democracy and all this. i think it's all lies. and i think the best thing for him is to go out. >> reporter: what has he done wrong, the president? >> the president is a killer. >> reporter: he's a killer. >> he kills tons of tunisian people. >> you can't take care-- who can be -- >> look around you, there is a lot of people who can take over. >> there is many people. >> we are responsible. we are educated.
we have, we can take care of ourselves. >> this is historical what's going on right now. this is absolutely incredible. and for to us witness this and participate in it is incredible. >> reporter: ton easians watched from roofs and ornate balconies as people power confronted the police state. then a van drove past carrying the body of one protestor killed yesterday. the crowd roared in anger. and the police responded with tear gas. the people ran to the safety of the back streets shouting the president's name and calling him an assassin. later we discovered that we had left behind us one man who could not escape. >> anger here mixing with the smell of tear gas. i know this is the first arab revolution of the 2 1s century or it will be suppressed. it's been a violent few weeks here with scores of tunisians believed it to have been shot dead by the
security forces. mounting anger on the streets forcing the president to dismiss his entire government tonight and call elections three years early. >> then a news readary nounced a nationwide state of emergency with no public gathering of more than three people allowed, he said. another development, the prime minister ghannouchi announced for the time being he is president and that he will restore the dignity of the state. it's been a remarkable day here. and nobody knows what will happen next. a day which has witnessed a less on in people power from the arab world. >> lehrer: judy woodruff has more. >> woodruff: late today, president obama condemned and deplored "the use of violence against citizens peacefully voicing their opinion in tunisia." in a statement released by the white house, the president said "the united states stands witness to the tunisian people seeking to make their voices heard." he called upon the "tunisian government to hold free and fair
elections in the near future." for more on tunisia, we turn to mary-jane deeb. she's chief of the african and middle east division at the library of congress, but the views she expresses are her own. >> mary-jane deeb, thank you for being with us. this seems to unfollowe unfollowed-- unfolded so quickly. what has brought it to this place? >> i think it's an explosion. it's an explosion of frustration of anger and the fact that things are happening throughout the region. i mean the last year's events in iran, the young people going out there, in cairo, in egypt, the cops with the muslims going out and protesting. elections that are fake and anger, you see the rise there. in other words, what happened with one man burning himself was really the-- . >> woodruff: in tunisia do
you think the protestor will be satisfied with this caretaker president who was the prime minister? >> well, it depends. mohammed ghannouchi is a politician that's respected by most of the people in tunisia. and the important thing is whether he is going to go for elections rapidly, whether there will really be free and fair elections. it will depend on how he behaves. >> woodruff: tell us pore about who these protestors are. are they a broad cross-section of society? what w what do they represent? >> they're young people. the majority, the vast majority are students, school students, high-school students and university students. they are women, they are lawyers. the interesting thing here is they're not islamists. they're not fighting on an islamic platform which is new in a way. they're also using blogs, facebooks to communicate.
they are making demands that are purely economic and political. they are completely secular. and in a way, that is new. it's different from what happened in the past decade. >> woodruff: so are you saying completely secular. they wanted the removal of this president. they seem to have gotten that. >> absolutely. >> woodruff: what else do they want, they want fair elections. >> freedom of speech, free press, they want to be able to-- . >> woodruff: jobs. >> jobs, absolutely. they want to be able to travel freely, speak freely, write freely, communicate with the rest of the world wand be part of the global community. >> woodruff: and you know this country so well. what's the likelihood they're going to get what they want? >> it possible. i have a feeling that this is the beginning of a house of cards falling throughout the region. it is very much something that has been simmering under the surface, not only in tunisia but in algeria, but in morocco, but in many
parts of the arab world. certainly in iran. perhaps in pakistan as well. what was interesting was to see the lawyers in their robes at the beginning, a few weeks ago. coming down. the young people using filming the events taking place, this is the example of iran. in other words, each country is learning from the other. and those young people are in touch with each other. they communicate freely. they get the support with each other. so it's a beginning. >> woodruff: and in many of these countries the government, the police oppressive, not repressive enough that the people aren't able to accomplish what these young people in tunisia have accomplished. what does that say about the system there though that may set it apart. >> you're right. i mean tunisia's military is much weaker, let's say, than the military in algeria or in egypt. on the other hand, the government has cultivated the generals and top brass but have forgotten that the
army is also made up of young people who don't have salaries high enough to pay for, to get married, to have families, to, they are part of the tunisian society. and the military in many of these countries are also dissatisfied. and i'm expecting something coming through the military. >> woodruff: for americans watching this, what is the american, what is the united states interest in tunisia? within tunisia is north africa northafter is important for the united states for different things. first of all energy, tunisia is part of the mediterranean and algerian, libya, are the energy sources. if it's unstable, then instability in libya and algeria could take place very easily. the second thing is its proximity to europe. and the third is that tunisia is one of the countries that is with the
united states to fight terrorism. and so an unstable region makes it difficult to have partners in the region, in the fight against terrorism, in economic development in the region. >> woodruff: so from a u.s. point of view this a positive development or it's not clear yet? >> it is certainly a positive development in the sense that you have young population asking for democracy, open and wanting to change. it's not a population that has overthrown a government in order to become morris lambist or against the west. it is not against the west at all. so it's positive. the negative side is instability in the region. and that in the short run is always a negative. >> woodruff: mary jayne ddb, the library of congress, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> brown: still to come on the newshour: tensions on the korean peninsula; haiti's struggle to contain cholera;
coping with loss in tucson; and shields and brooks. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman. >> holman: this was a day for more recovery and remembrance in the aftermath of the arizona shootings. doctors for congresswoman gabrielle giffords continued to be heartened by her progress. >> we can even think she is beginning to carry out more complex sequences of events, more complex sequences of activity in response to our commands or even spontaneously. so we're very encouraged that she's continuing to make all the right moves in the right direction. obviously, we're very cautious that she makes them at her own pace, but again, we couldn't have hoped for any better improvement than we're seeing now, given the severity of her injury, initially. >> holman: meanwhile, security was tight at the private funeral for u.s. district judge john roll. he was one of the six people killed in last saturday's shootings. in attendance were a number of federal judges and members of congress, along with ron barber,
a staffer from giffords's tucson office who was wounded in the attack and just released from the hospital this morning. other survivors are beginning to speak out. 76-year-old mavy stoddard was wounded, but shielded from the worst of the gunfire by her husband, dorwin, who died of his wounds. >> i'll get through this. he gave his life for me. i have to live mine for him and make something more of it. >> holman: and investigators continue to collect evidence against the accused assailant, jared loughner. he remains in a phoix prison. in washington, the shootings halted work in congress for the week. but republican house leaders said they will resume their schedule next week with the postponed debate and vote on repealing the health care reform law. a memorial service was held in washington today for richard holbrooke, the veteran diplomat who died in december. he served as the obama administration's special envoy to afghanistan and pakistan. he also was architect of the 1995 peace accord that ended the
war in bosnia. an array of dignitaries attended the memorial at the kennedy center. president obama remembered holbrooke this way. >> his legacy is seen in the children of bosnia, who lived to raise families of their own; in a europe that is peaceful and united and free; in young boys and girls from the tribal regions of pakistan, to whom he pledged our country's friendship; and in the role that america continues to play, as a light to all who aspire to live in freedom and in dignity. >> holman: pakistani president asif ali zardari also attended the service. in a white house meeting earlier, he and mr. obama held talks on economic reforms, fighting terrorism, and promoting democracy. the death toll from flooding and mudslides in brazil topped 500 today, and many remain missing in the area north of rio de janeiro. we have a report narrated by
nina nannar of independent television news. >> reporter: after the landslides, there is now the agony. nature had buried so many alive, now brazil is beginning the grim task of laying the victims to rest properly. there will be many more freshly dug graves to come. "the world is over," says this grieving man. it was nearly all over for 53- year-old ilair pereira de souza. she is the one in these extraordinary pictures. plucked to safety after the water tore her brothers house apart. hers was an image of hope, but she feels only despair today. "i really don't know how i am alive," she says. i also don't know how i will buy everything i've lost. there is no way of doing it." this mountainous region has been turned upside down by freak storms that dumped the
equivalent of a month's rain in just a few hours, unleashing deadly mudslides. rescue efforts continue, but some remote areas have yet to be reached. "it is," says the president visiting the devastated area an "act of god, made deadly by illegal construction in areas prone to mudslides. it must stop," she warns. but that is for the future. for now, there are the survivors bereaved and homeless dependent on help, bracing themselves for more rain forecast for this weekend. >> holman: in australia, troops worked hard to clear a thick layer of mud from the streets of brisbane, as floodwaters there continued to recede. more than 30,000 homes and businesses were affected by the flood disaster. 26 people died and 53 still are missing. pope john paul ii came one step closer to sainthood today. his successor, pope benedict xvi, declared a french nun's recovery from parkinson's disease was a miracle, and it
can be attributed to pope john paul, who died in 2005. the catholic ceremony to beatify him will be in st. peter's square on may 1. a second miracle is needed for pope john paul to become a saint. u.s. economic data released today signaled the economy is picking up. retail sales and industrial production both rose in december. but consumer prices also rose, mostly from higher gas prices. stocks on wall street moved higher. the dow jones industrial average gained 55 points to close at 11,787. the nasdaq rose 20 points to close at 2,755. for the week, the dow gained 1%; the nasdaq rose nearly 2%. the republican national committee elected a new chairman today, reince preibus. he beat out the current chairman, michael steele, who dropped out of the race in early rounds of voting. his tenure was marred by allegations of financial mismanagement. priebus has been chairman of the wisconsin republican party since 2007. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jim.
>> lehrer: the obama administration today called on china to help solve a number of the world's problems, including reining in north korea. ray suarez has our story. >> america and china have arrived at a critical juncture, >> suarez: in a major policy address at the state department today, secretary of state hillary clinton said a summit next week between president obama and chinese president hu jintao must produce "real action on real issues"-- trade, climate change, recession, and north korean nuclear proliferation. she also urged china to assume the responsibilities of being "a world power in the 21st century." >> but that means accepting a share of the burden of solving common problems, abiding by and helping to shape a rules-based international order. >> suarez: clinton emphasized one of those burdens was north korea. she challenged china to get more
involved in reining in pyongyang. >> we fear-- and have discussed this in depth with our chinese friends-- that failure to respond clearly to the sinking of a south korean military vessel might embolden north korea to continue on a dangerous course. >> suarez: defense secretary robert gates was in china earlier this week, aiming to improve u.s.-china military relations. he then went on to japan and south korea. today in tokyo, gates reinforced that idea that relations between the countries need to be bolstered. >> it is north korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons and the proliferation of nuclear know- how and ballistic missile equipment that have focused our attention; developments that not only threaten the peninsula, but the pacific rim and international stability, as well. >> suarez: margaret warner has been reporting in south korea since the new year. i spoke with her earlier today about the situation on the korean peninsula.
>> suarez: margaret, secretary of defense gates visited seoul on his way home from china and japan. what was on the agenda? >> warner: ray, this was really a message of solidarity to china, to north korea and to the world that the u.s. and south korea stand together in how to deal with with the north korean threat, both their attacks on the south recently and their missile and nuclear programs. secretary gates did say today that he thought dialogue could resume between north and south, talk kos resume among the six nations talking about the nuclear program. but he stood by the south in its insistence that before they'll sit down with the north, the north has to be ready to talk about what they did last year. so the basic message was u.s. is eager to get talks going but no one is going to split washington and seoul. >> suarez: of course are you referring to that attack by the north koreans on a south korean healed held island around thanksgiving. is south korea on edge. is the country still living in the shadow of that very
provocative north korean assault? >> warner: ray, i would say that people's anxiety level has calmed a little bit compared it to what it was described to be like last november and december. but there's a new mood here, a new soberness about the threat from the north. 50 south koreans total were killed last year in two attacks by the north. the other one on a warship. and the ones killed in november were the first civilians sort of deliberately targeted. and so if you talk to south korean people as we have in the streets and in shops here, they have a new appreciation for the seriousness of the threat from the north. and if you know, the dmz and the border with the north is just 30 miles up the road from the downtown behind me. >> suarez: in the past it appeared the north korean unpredictability really has kind of worked for the country while south korea has tried to build down tensions between the two countries. but it sounds like this time around is more of a resolving, more of a willingness to get tough
with the north. you interviewed the south korean national security advisor, what did he have to say? >> ray, you're absolutely right. the national security advisor just after the gates meetings, i met with him at some length and he was vest firm about the fact that they wouldn't sit down with the north until, as i said, the north was ready to talk about what the north did last year. some of which they have been denying. what was interesting to me was the rational, that despite the threat, the north poses militarily, this government in the south thinks they've got the north in a bit of a box. he said that he thought north korea's economy was in such dire shape that they face what he called an existential crisis and unless the north agrees to denuclearize in exchange for aid, financial food and fuel, that they could be closer to collapse than most people think. now he didn't use the word collapse. but that was the clear implication of what he said. we have an excerpt. >> well with, nobody can
tell with constance how long they will survive. i don't think they can go on like that forever without fixing their economy, without reviving their economy. and i don't think they can turn their economy around without massive outside assistance. i think the energy for change in north korea is growing. we do not know when this energy will reach critical mass. >> suarez: you've mentioned that seoul is very close to the north korean border. do you get the sense when are you there that this is a city always on defensive alert, that always has to be thinking about the possibility of an attack? >> absolutely, ray. because it's so close and because of the way the north has amassed its forces, remember that the north has the fourth largest army in
the world, over a million men. huge, huge network of artillery systems, 13,000 or so. the largest special ops forces i'm told in the world. and most of it, 70% of it in the last couple of decades has been moved right up against the dmz. now a lot of it is hidden underground but right up against the dmz, as i said, so close to where we are standing here. so the prospect of surprise attack is a very real one and that's not to mention the fact that of course they've got missiles, enough plutonium for it's believed six nuclear devices. and authorities here believe potentially thousands of north korean sleeper agents embedded in south korean society. >> suarez: next week you'll have a series of reports on the newshour, tell us what you are covering. >> warner: ray, we will take a closer look at this military standoff, the north-south tension, what's behind it, where it's going. we're really going to spend the entire piece talking to ode south koreans about how they feel and how their
feelings have evolved. and for something different we're going to look at the south korean education system which with you may know produces students that score in the highest ranks internationally, frankly far ahead of the united states. and of course we will be keeping a close eye on south korea's reaction to the hu visit to washington. >> suarez: margaret, good to talk with you. stay warm. >> warner: thanks, ray. >> brown: now >> brown: now, we continue our look at haiti one year after the earthquake. tonight, a battle against an epidemic unfolding in the countryside and cities. in the village of saut d'eau, high in haiti's central plateau, mourners gathered to share their grief over loved ones lost to cholera. a haitian psychologist working with the aid group partners in health had organized the meeting. one by one, people told their stories. the first man described his five-year-old son-- one minute playing soccer, and then soon after, falling gravely ill.
his son, he said, died in his arms. another man told of losing several family members and friends. he said, "i feel like a bird left without a branch to land on." even as they spoke, in a tent nearby, the sick were being cared for. this small facility, miles from a major treatment center over bone-crushing dirt roads, has seen about 1,000 people, and at least 30 have died here. >> ( translated ): the cholera disease is breaking people in this area. it's killing us poor people. >> brown: nationwide, in the first outbreak of cholera this country has seen in more than 100 years, there have been some 140,000 cases, with the death toll now well over 3,000. >> that was emblematic of how
quickly this overtook kind of the communities, and how much our focus had to be shifted away from primary care and other types of care, really, to be focused on containing this epidemic. >> brown: dr. david walton heads the main partners in health cholera treatment center, a makeshift camp of tents just outside the small city of mirbalais. has the response that you've seen been adequate? >> i would say there's a strategy in place that i think is a sound strategy of community-based interventions, of treatment centers, of an architecture of a response. the resources and the rapidity of the response have been too slow. >> brown: one young man had just been carried into the treatment center. his aunt told me they'd come from a village ten miles away. >> ( translated ): i suspected it could be cholera, because this morning, the diarrhea took hold of him. we just see the sickness fall upon on us, but we don't know how we catch it. >> brown: one of the tragedies of the outbreak is that the disease is so easy to treat. cholera is a bacterial infection that spreads through human waste
in contaminated water. its victims suffer intense diarrhea, a catastrophic flushing out of all fluids, that can cause bodily functions to fail within hours. if caught in time, rehydration and antibiotics will save the great majority of people. but so many here live in remote areas, far from help. dr. hebert thelusma runs the clinic. >> ( translated ): of the people who live far, far away, we lose many. they end up dying en route or at home, because they don't have the means to get to care. >> brown: this beautiful region along the artibonite river is ground zero for an outbreak of cholera that's brought a new public health emergency to this nation, one still reeling from last januarys earthquake and so much more. nearly 60% percent of the country's population lives in the countryside in small communities. life in these rural areas is a daily struggle-- wood and food must be fetched and carried. there's often no electricity, toilets, or access to clean drinking water.
the river is a lifeline used by farmers tilling rice paddies, families bathing, women washing clothes. but all of this is a breeding ground for disease, including cholera. >> ( translated ): the person usually comes in and has an upset stomach, they've had diarrhea and the symptoms of cholera. >> brown: nadia guerrier is a young volunteer working with the aid group oxfam. at her tiny way-station by the river, she showed me how she mixes a chlorinated solution of drinking water for villagers. in kacite, where she lives, oxfam is working with locals to get out the word about cholera prevention. they test water for contamination, offer purification tablets, and explain that the chlorine taste, while not to the villagers' liking, is necessary. new latrines have been built that can last many years and be shared by members of the
community. the message, carried by a local community leader and an aid worker, is simple, if not always easy to follow in practice-- drink only treated water, wash your hands, and use the latrines. >> ( translated ): i come around every three days to get the word out and help people understand that cholera can kill them very easily. the emphasis is to make sure that personal hygiene is the most important thing to prevent cholera. >> brown: such messages are now everywhere around the nation. while cholera began in the countryside, a great fear has been that it will sweep the overcrowded city, as well, into places like this. la saline is one of port-au- prince's notorious slums. this is a kind of unofficial community of thousands who live without municipal services. conditions here are dreadful, with fields and ditches of human waste and garbage. >> epidemiologically, this area is terrifying. you've got salt, you've got
feces everywhere, you don't have much municipal water service. so it's a tremendous challenge. this is an area where we would expect to see potentially really dangerous level of transmission. >> brown: ivan gaton, with doctors without borders, took us to a makeshift reservoir, a small basin of water from a broken pipe on this area's one paved road. residents, mostly women and children, gather here all day long to fill their plastic buckets. volunteers for the aid group offer purification drops-- a quick squirt-- for anyone who wants it. >> ( translated ): before, the water was no good. it had many diseases. but now it's clean. >> brown: how do you get the word out? >> no need. we just set up here, and there's already people coming to this unofficial water point. so all we do is sit here with our chlorination. people really know that there's a problem, and they know they
need something, so they're actually quite eager. >> brown: and there are signs of progress. gayton says there's been as many as 500 cases in this area, but the number has fallen recently. a giant slum-- makeshift approaches-- but this qualifies as a success story in the cholera fight. the risk in most of the tent communities that dot the city is actually not as high, because international organizations provide sanitation services regularly. but even as aid groups try to head off the epidemic, the questions remain: how did this outbreak happen? why now, amid the massive humanitarian relief effort after the earthquake? the immediate focus has been here-- a u.n. peacekeeper base manned by soldiers from nepal on a tributary of the artibonite river. the u.n. first denied its soldiers had channeled their waste into the river. subsequently, the strain of cholera now in haiti was determined to be one predominant in asia. and after much criticism, the
u.n. has just named a panel to investigate. nigel fisher is the u.n.'s humanitarian coordinator in haiti. >> we've had a number of different epidemiologists with different viewpoints. one from france saying, "yes, it has to be the nepalese." others saying, "no, we don't think you can pinpoint those." others saying it's a climatic factor. i hope this independent commission could at least start to dig in and come up with a point. in retrospect? yes, maybe we should have had the commission much sooner. >> brown: whatever the results, everyone we talked with reminded us that disease in haiti is a longer-term problem, one that pre-dates the earthquake, and ultimately relies on building a proper water and sanitation infrastructure. the haitian government has a proposal to make a start at that, as a part of the larger reconstruction plan. it's awaiting funding. for now, the hope is to contain the cholera outbreak in haiti. there are some signs it may have
peaked in certain areas, even as it spreads to new ones. from the city to the countryside, health experts say, cholera may well be here to stay, endemic to haiti, another disease of poverty in this nation struggling to survive. >> lehrer: now, coping with the aftermath of the shooting in tucson. newshour correspondent tom bearden reports from arizona on how survivors are dealing with their losses. >> reporter: the street corner where congresswoman gabriele giffords' tucson office sits is covered with mementos left by hundreds of people. a constant stream of visitors stop to read the placards, some of them kneeling, as traffic roars through the busy intersection. evidence of the outpouring of sympathy is even stronger inside the congressional office, where thousands of letters have poured
in. stacks of envelopes are methodically opened by young volunteers. some are former interns and staffers who've come to help log the contents on laptop computers. >> it kind of helps heal. understanding that people really care. >> reporter: c.j. karamargin is rep. giffords' communications director. he says the congresswoman has always been diligent about responding to constituents, that the staff will continue that practice even during this difficult time. >> that's gabe. >> reporter: karamargin showed us a large photograph from happier times. >> it's a family photo. >> reporter: and that's the feeling in the office, that its a family? >> totally. >> reporter: one member of the staff-- 30-year-old gabe zimmerman, who was in charge of community outreach-- was killed. two others were wounded. many on the staff had been working with the congresswoman since she was first elected in 2006. how are people holding up? >> with difficulty.
it is really hard. when you lose a colleague and a friend, like gabe zimmerman, the emotions are hard to come to terms with. the closeness that we have for one another is the reason that many of us are taking this pretty hard. >> reporter: karamargin says the staff refused to let a gunman shut them down. >> we decided to keep the office open, because the congresswoman would want us to continue to do the job that she's asked us to do. we opened back up first thing monday morning, and we went about our business as best we could, given the circumstances. it was important for us to be together, but it was also important for us to send a message that no act of violence was going to deter us from doing the job that the congresswoman
wanted us to do. >> reporter: sara hummel rajca is an outreach coordinator and staff photographer. last saturday, she was snapping pictures of the representative as she met with voters. she says the gunman stepped right next to her and shot the congresswomen in the head. >> i saw it, i heard it and i just ran. and its a miracle that he didn't shoot after me. a miracle. >> reporter: how have you and your colleagues been holding up? >> i think we just know that it's what gabriel zimmerman and congresswoman giffords would have wanted, to have the office continue, for us to be helping constituents. >> reporter: randy gardner is a semi-retired former mental health worker who went to the safeway to talk to his congresswoman. he was standing about 20 feet way from hummel-rajca, talking to 79-year old phyllis schneck, when the shooting started. >> then we heard the pop, pop, pop very quickly. and it was difficult to see. i never saw the shooter, and yet
he was somewhere in front of me. i turned around and told her, "lets go." and right at that point, i got hit. i took a step, got hit. i turned around to see what she was doing. >> reporter: mrs. schneck was killed. a nine-millimeter bullet passed through gardner's foot. >> it came in here at the lower level. and it supposedly danced around here for a little bit and then out here. i've got two dime-sized holes on either side. >> reporter: this is not the first time gardener has been at the scene of a mass killing. he was in the crowd at kent state university in 1970 when national guardsmen killed four students. gardner says he's discouraged by the fact that these acts of violence have been repeated so often. >> i've kind of resigned myself
to hopelessness after virginia tech, that 32 kids lose their lives at such a young age. and about three weeks later, we just wash our hands and go on. i think we need to have a talk, and a serious one, about our culture-- why it is so violent and what we can do to improve it. >> reporter: as for coping with the experience, gardner says he's had some sleepless nights this week, but he's sure eventually he'll be fine. >> this is something all of us will get over. all of us will. we're changed, but we'll go on. >> reporter: the memorial at representative giffords' office will go on, too. the crowds show no signs of diminishing. >> lehrer: and to the analysis of shields and brooks-- syndicated columnist mark shields, "new york times" columnist david brooks.
mark, is the tucson tragedy likely to change the calibre and kind of the political discourse in this country? >> i'm hopeful, jim, i really am. i think that it is a time when americans have stopped. i think that the leadership certainly the presidents, this week, and i think speaker bainer as well has been thoughtful and measured. we'll see an early test and a real low test in the health care debate next week. >> lehrer: what did you think of the president's speech, david? >> i thought it was wonderful, like everyone. i thought it was one of the best speeches he's given as president. it was a speech he was sort of born to give, someone who is a natural transender of differences. i guess the thing that struck me was a he didn't have a pat theory about why what happened happened. but he used it as an example, an occasion to step back.
and also what struck me was the uplifting naingt of the event. and some people sort of objected to that, that it should be a moment of mourning and loss but many funerals are not like that. many are celebrations of life. and celebrations of the possibility of renewal. and both he and the students in the audience contributed to that. and i thought it was appropriate to do so. and i think the lesson of the week is never underestimate the power a great speech because it really z there was controversy, the first couple days of the week after the shooting. but after that speech, i really think there's been a psychological, emotional shift nationwide among republicans and democrats which leaves me and i think a lot of people a little more hopeful that things, you know, that there could be some lasting res i due. i'm not sure it will happen in the health care debate. i think we'll have that debate. it will be fine. we should have that debate. but i think it creates an occasion for people to create a practical agenda to go forward. and i think the president's thinking about that for the state of the union address there are some issues like tax reform 24r6789 are other
issues that both party kos sort of work together on r have a conversation about. and i think the events of this week have really made that more likely. >> lehrer: do you agree with that things are more likely. >> about the speech. first of all, i think that there are limited numbers of times and in any president's career that he has a window where the public looks at him anew. usually it follows a tragedy. certainly president reagan at the time the challenger, president johnson upon assuming office after at sass nation, both speeches i went back and looked at this week. and this was a chance for president obama. president obama's speeches have always been quite cerebral, quite thoughtful. well crafted, well delivered. but there has never been that emotional connection with the american people. always supporters and admirers have been concerned about this. and i think this week he did. i think he spoke to and for in a way that the country needed it.
and we reaffirmed that we were a good country. and he did it, i thought, in a way that he hasn't done it before, very personally to the lives of the people who had been the victims. and he got particularly affecting, i thought when he spoke about christina and as the father of girls of that age, he himself undoubtedly and obviously was moved. so i think, i really do think it was a very important speech for the country. a unifying time. the country needed unifying. david's absolutely right that he did not, there weren't cheap shots in it. there was no attempt to get score political points. i thought he did what a president is supposed to do. and did it in a way that people now look at him with a different eyewitnesses which think he took a risk especially in that passage about christina because the statement on the book about her when she was born, the statement that children should dance in rain puddles. >> lehrer: she was born on
september 11th. and so he then issued a line which when he said it struck me as sort of unobama like which that now she's dancing in the puddles of heaven. there has been some discussion about whether that was cheesey or sort of not up to rhetoric. i thought he was absolutely right for him to go for that. because it was an emotional connection. and it had a bit of a hallmark card but i thought it was him unbuttoning and really using the moment to sort of throw himself trustingly on the audience. and that's something he hasn't always done. and so i thought it was absolutely right to do that. >> lehrer: what about david's point that some people took a hit on the speech or on the event because they said well, this it was supposed to be a memorial service and yet people were shouting and clapping like it was a pep rally. did that bother you? >> it was-- it was jarring to hear it at first. you realize it's in a field house. it's not a cathedral. it's not a chapel it is a
field house. and it was a community, tucson, which for people who haven't been in arizona, it's the place you want to be in arizona. it's the college town. it's really a wonderful city and it was shaken to its roots. and i think there was an emotional need to affirm. and i think this was a form that the affirming took was the cheering. there was one observation that was made this week. i just have to pass on here, by a friend of mine, allen ginsburg who is an historian up in maine. and he said this week, we saw a white catholic republican federal judge murdered on his way to greet a democratic woman, member of congress who was his friend and was jewish. her life was saved initially by a 20-year-old mexican american college student who saved her. and eventually by a korean
american combat surgeon. >> lehrer: dr. chi. >> that's right. and then it was all eulogized and explained by an african-american president. in a tragic event, it's a remarkable statement about the country. >> lehrer: so then now what happened in? >> well, we go to politics. and there's ways to conduct politics and ways no the to conduct politics. and like i said, speeches are great. and speeches make a difference as we swau this week. but they have to be built on and i think they have to be built on by two things. first like i said they have to be built on with a sense that we're going to have a practical agenda, that we can work together. actions really change behavior, thoughts don't some of. but second and more deeply i think what has to come is a sense of humility, that the reason people behave civilly toward one another is because alone no one has the resources to really conduct an intelligent policy. that you need the conversation, you need the back and forth and that's where you get your meaning.
and if you don't respect that conversation, if you think you can do it alone, your side is 100% of the truth of course will you behave uncivilly. if you don't have that humility, the sense that you need the other side t will be hard to be civil. but we have to have that sense of civility that we fwheed the back and forth or else we're be carried away by the falsehood in our own position. >> lehrer: and the big test is coming next week on the health-care reform repeal. >> i think a first test really is, and i think this will be a question of restraint and respect. all of vus to he are mind ourselves that when i say that david is 100% right 42% of the time, that maybe i'm 42% right 100% of the time. there is a humility and a reminder that you know, we're not all in this alone. i mean i think it was jesse jackson who said we came over in different ships but we are aim in the same boat. and i think that has to be acknowledged, admitted and worked upon. at this point. one of the encouraging signs
as mark ud does hal, freshman democratic senator. he's proposed, we've all watched this puppeteering in the state of the union, our side gets up and cheers, then the other side gets up and cheers and we sit on our hands and they sit on their hands. and he suggested that they all sit together. i mean, you know, not sit on strict democratic side and republican side. lisa murkowski the republican senator from alaska cosigned a letter with him. 19 senators have agreed including john mccain. ten of the 19 interestingly enough, a number of them republican, are women. maybe that will be the leader in civility but that is an encouraging sign. and even kevin mccarthy the republican whip in the house has sort of given it a semi endorsement anyway. but that's a step. we can sit and talk with each other and we're human beings. >> lehrer: why would that be important? >> because the chief dynamic in the congress is the herd mentality, my herd and your
herd. i've stopped. when a member of congress starts telling about the other the party i want to stop listening because i know what will follow will be false. because they don't know the people this the other party very will well so they get this herd dynamic and it is materialized in the way they sit together and meet together and react as one with. and if you actually physically interspersed them i think would defang that herd mentality and actually have a material difference because the geographical way they organize their lives is, has an effect. i was on the senate floor before the session with a senator and he was showing me the desks. and i wanted to go see the kennedy desk but he was a republican. and he said oh, it's somewhere over there. he didn't quite know where it was because it was on the other side of the floor. and that's -- >> it is a room, not very far. >> and he is a great senator but you know, there's that difference. and it's worth breaking up on every occasion. >> lehrer: do you think it could really matter too, right, mark?
>> i'm hopeful, jim. i mean it's subject to verification. and you don't want to be unrealistic. but mi hopeful. i really am. >> lehrer: what about issues like gun control and things like that that have been mentioned that could-- changes in gun law, let's put it that way. it could happen as a result of that. do you see anything like that falling out from this? >> no, as somebody who doesn't use guns and hasn't touched a firearm since a left the marine corps and don't view it as sporting goods, a view catchers hits as sporting goods, they're instruments of death and destruction. so i state my bias at the outset. i was looking at the state of arizona yesterday. and arizona, in order to cut toe nails ought to give somebody a shampoo, you have to have a background check and a licence. to sell minnows an live bathe you have to have a licence and a background check. to be a pest control
applicator, licence, the state insists upon this. but to go in and buy a glock 9 millimeter handgun with a 31 round magazine attachmen attachment-- cash. >> lehrer: people need to keep in mind -- rounds. >> that means, seven seconds you can shoot 30 bullets. and the death and destruction, that's 20 people whose lives and hundreds others whose lives have been changed permanently by that. but i will fell you, tragically, support for gun control legislation with with the one exception of the blip after columbine has declined in this country other than the past 20 years from 80% believing that we had though do something to limit, control, to now we're down to 43, 44% who believe that. >> lehrer: how do you see it, david? >> well, i agree that control needs to be, especially on the magazines which have no legitimate
sporting use. the prognostication i also agree with mark, it's very slim chances they will be increased gun legislation out of 246789 one thing i do think will happen is if you are at a college or an organization and somebody starts acting bizarrely in a way that is repeatingly, you will pay a lot more attention to that. and i think there should be some, there will be changes just in terms of people's awareness of what might happen if this person spins out of control. and personally i think there have to be some changes in whether we can involuntary treat people who are clearly mentally ill. >> lehrer: david, mark, thank you both. >> brown: again, the major developments of the day: the government of tunisia unraveled, as a state of emergency was declared in the north african nation. violent anti-government protests pushed the president from office after 23 years of rule. and the death toll from flooding
and mudslides in brazil topped 500, with many more missing. and to kwame holman for what's on the newshour online. kwame. >> holman: jeff talks to haitian scholar thomas spear about the state of the country's literature. find that and a series of guest posts from haitian-american poet and writer patrick sylvain on "art beat". and we've posted excerpts of today's memorial service for diplomat richard holbrooke. watch the remarks of president obama and secretary of state hillary clinton. plus paul solman talks to a group of economists about what they'll be watching for in the year ahead. that's on paul's "making sense" page. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. jeff. >> brown: and that's the newshour for tonight. on monday, we'll look at the heightened security situation on the korean peninsula. i'm jeffrey brown. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. "washington week" can be seen later this evening on most pbs stations. we'll see you online, and again here monday evening. have a nice weekend. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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