tv Amanpour on PBS PBS February 23, 2018 6:00am-6:30am PST
welcome to amanpour on pbs. tonight, students keep up the pressure after the florida school marker. and president trump shifts his views closer to their cause. i'm joined byne of the students survivors who started e never again movement and a young conservative who might be ready to challenge the nra. plus, folk legend joan baez on her fair thee well tour and her lifelong activism. >> announcer: amanpour on pbs was made possible by the generous support of rosslyn p.
walter. good evening, everyone and welcome to the program. i'm christiane amanpour in london. left shouts at right, right shouts at left but on guns could a group of high school students turn tragedy into breakthrough? president trump today appears if only inincrementally to want to act on gun control. listen to what he said. >> i called many senators last night, many congressman, and jess and pam and everybody in this room, i can tell you curtis, they are into doing background checks that they won be thinking about maybe two weeks ago. we're going to do strong background checks. we're going to work on getting the the age up to 21 instead of 18. we are getting rid of the bump stocks and focusing strongly on mental health. >> this comes a day after he was confronted by a father andrew pollack whose daughter meadow
was shot and killed last week at the school. pollack poured his sadness and the frustration share by millions in america. >>t doesn't make sense. fix it. it should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it. and i'm pissed. because my daughter i'm not going to see again. she is not here. she is not here. she's at -- no north lauder dale at king david cemetery. where i go to see my kid now. >> it's so hard to hear. but could a solution to all of us o this lie with the young people? solvy is a senior at the high school in parkland, florida. and we are also joined by a rising star in the young conservative movement charlie kirk, president of turning point usa which advocates for
conservative principles on american college campuses. i want to welcome you both to the program. and this country, your country appears to be in the midst of truly profound conversation. and i want to first ask you whether you believe that it will be more than just this one week of tragedy? soef sofye what have you heard that gives you who hope one week later. >> i feel like the political leaders across the country are really understanding that we're serious and that we're not backing down. >> and did -- do you feel like you're really having an effect? you've been marching on the state capitol. you spent a week in the aftermath of the tragedy really showing an amazing and unprecedented activism. >> i think that we actually are going to have an effect and we are going to change because no one has ever seen anything like this before.
no one has seen high school students have this kind of voice about something so important that our government really has avoided for so long. >> the let me turn to you, charlie, because i believe you are coming to us from the c pac conference and thehead of the nra was there and he give a rather blisters counterpoint to some of the words we hear from left andright about trying to find a slugs. i wonder whether his fiery rebuttal is something you expected to hear and what you made of it today. >> well, first of all i want to say that soeffy and students doing in activism are no short of american heroes in what they're doing. i run a student organization and i know how important student activism is and it's horrific what happened last week and the best way for change is to do something. which i'm in support of. as far as the comments here, look i think that transskrends
politics. i'm a lifelon nra member and i support the second amendment. but the status quo isn't okay. our generation puts everything on the internet. we have limitless access to technology and information. yet somehow we don't have laws calibrated to make sure that mentally and are able to do this harm. it's our generation sufrpg because of this. that transcends politics. i come from a conservative mind you one respecting the second amendment. we need to readdress public policy and incorporate new age technologies so this doesn't map again. we have to make in decision. >> i can see sofie nodding her head there is a meeting of minds. and those words are comfort those wanting safety. what are you suggesting charlie in obviously nobody is talking
about taking guns away but what is your specific solution? >> first and foremost you shouldn't be able to purchase a weapon in this country and cash alone. ious after 9/11 it was a wake up call. it's a horrible analogy to make but i'll entertain it for a second. it was a wake up call. we totally change the which people interacted with air travel. we didn't ban it. but there were no fly lists you had to buy with a credit card or show a photo id to get on an airplane. if you look at the information out there, master card or american express know more about me and you than the federal government knows about the people buying the weapons. the solution has to be some form of national legislation we can use new age technology wlb the big sol convalley firms to the nut cases can't get the weapon. this guy shouldn't have been able to purchase the weapons in the first place.
i would support using doll o technology, information readily available so that this sort of stuff doesn't happen again. because i guarantee you right now as we have this topic there is sun uno someone unhinged going to try to purchase a weapon right now. what are we doing to prevent that right now? and we need to have that conversation. >> i'm getting to wayne lapierre who made a comment on the notion. but i want t follow up on what you said. i want to play for you and soeffy something from the townhall cnn hosted last night it was one of the classmates who confronted in a passionate and logical way senator marco rubio. listen to this. >> we'd like to know, why do we have to be the ones to do this? why do we have to speak out to the capitol? why do we have to march on washington just to save innocent lives? >> you're absolutely right. and let me start by saying it goes without saying what you lived there through and what you lived through is not supposed to be a part of your high school
experience. it's just not supposed to happen. >> what did you make of that sofie? i know you say you believe that the politicians for the first time are hearing you and listening to you and they understand what's going on. but were you surprised that he did seem to really hear the pain in the room and at least he showed up there to have a live discussion. >> yeah, i mean, i think that senator rubio was probably scared of that question. because like ryan said, we're the ones doing this when it's his job. >> how long do you think you are going to be able to continue doing in? i mean activism i a really 100% job. and i think everybody wants to know whether this is going to be ar major momentum that you're
hanging onto? what are you all talking about with classmates right now. you're on day two, week two, week four. >> what from what i've talked about with my team process, i feel we are all in, ready to do whatever it takes to make this dsh make this movement -- make it big enough and strong enough so we can pass legislation so no one else has to die. >> i want to turn to you, again, charlie, because you have just given us a specific proposal to be able to track through credit cards through all the other issues. but wayne lapierre is the head of the nra, he was toemgtsly sort of dised that in his speech. let's play a little bit of what he said. >> good, law-abiding people were automatically and unjustly declared mentally incompetent and put on a new government
list. and oh, how socialists love to make lists. especially lists that can be used to deny citizens their basic freedoms. >> so, charlie, you know, he is dismissing the notion of any kind of list. the one you said, the one he just, you know, said people want. how are you actually -- from your end going to fight in leadership? well, look, i don't need to find it. i know wayne, i support what he says -- he is not wrong that lists are abused when government gets in re hands on it. but you have to have a conversation about what expense are you going to sacrifice a little bit of freedom for safety? i think at this moment, yeah, people that have questionable mental health backgrounds that's a list that is worth taking. that's a conversation that i'm willing to have. and whether it's a -- a few points of disagreement here and there, i think that that's okay to have bup here is broader question is how many other
people are out there right now that sunt shouldn't have with firearms? and i don't think it's wildly controversial. i can say this as a legal gun owner. i don't feel my rights would go away if there is more serious mental health checks. and i also think there needs to be more pressure put on the community that's actually communicating with these individuals such as the mental health community. they need to to put m redore flags and be incentivized to do so and the fbi needs to to their job when notified. but if you look at the information out there and you look at what the horrible evil person nikolas z cruz. there was a lot of warning signs we could have found. he was taking medication. he had to -- he had both of his parents die. he said questionable things, posted negative comments. any sort of somewhat sophisticated artificial intelligence platform can be programmed to detect these things with readily already publicly available information. and also some of the burden has
to be on the firearm industry as well. it can't be only government. i mean, the firearm industry has to take more responsibility of who they're actually selling the weapons to. it's not a easy discussion. it's highly personal. for those us owning weapons and take it personally you have to understand there is this a fear government will take away guns. it's not going to happen. but it's a conversation worth having appear and it transskrends politics. >> on that note i would like to play you something that van jones, the political and social commentator last night. he is a progressive, liberal. he had a message for liberals and conservatives on this issue about, you know, hearing the story of the other, listen to what he said. >> i think liberals have to do a better job of saying we want you to be able to defend yourself and your home. we recognize a right to hunt. we are talking about a particular set of superlethal weapons we don't think have place in civil society. and those we want more
restrictions. but first we have to do a better job of giving that respect. on the other side, i think the gun owning community and the responsible gun community has to recognize even the first amendment is not without any restrictions. you can't cry fire in aroed theater. all of our rights have to be balanced with responsibilities and the second amendment is no exception to that. >> so i want to give you both a last word. short last word. sofie, what do you make of what he said that liberals have to do in terms of, you know, accepting you know the rights of gun owners and all of that? >> i completely understand and i agree. we are not trying to take guns out of the hands of mentally available law abiding citizens. . that's not what we want. we're trying to make it safer for people to not get killed. >> and i guess, charlie, you addressed some of these restrictions you think need to be put in.
but do you believe, perhaps -- and listening to what van just said, that this is a game-changing moment, that your generation, you young conservatives and young liberals perhaps are the ones to take this further and change the conversation in a respectful, safe and productive law-abiding way? >> why not? and look what we are having right there you don't see very often. no one raised their voice. no one -- highly emotional. but our generation are looking for solutions. because our generation is the one targeted by a lot of the horrible events, even in las vegas, the country music festival was millennials unthe age of 30. it transcends politics. but it has to be based on mutual respect for finding solutions and understanding where both sides come from. are coming from a age where
we have a 19th century process for balancing 21st century weapons. i'm confident our generation can come to a solution. >> well i think you two have said some very important things here ton. i think you have demonstrated the possibility of having a civil conversation. and i think the country and certainly the world probably depends on your wise generation. so good luck to you, as you toe this very difficult and hard road ahead. thank you so much indeed for joining us. and today's student activism is a timely reminder that it is a long and proud american tradition. one that my next guest embodied even as she wrote and sang some of the best loved folk songs. joan baez could hit all the high notes. and she used the voice for civil rights and against war.
she is indeed a legend and a hero to generations of americans. and now, 77, she is release agnew album and embarking on a fare thee well tour. she may be parking the bus but is still true to believes. in the twilight of her career she has been brutally honest about the limitations that age brings. >> joan, welcome to the program. >> thank you very much for having me. >> tell me what it takes to be on the road for six weeks? i mean how much morp difficult it is at your age to get your voice ready to be on stage? >> well, just that, this muscle in here is not flexible the way it used to be. if you picture a tennis players and somebody says play the way you used to well spending all that time keeping the muscle toned up takes effort and time. >> i want a play of an excerpt of a famous song be, diamond in the rust and we'll play it and talk about it.
♪ i remember your eyes than bluer than robynn's day ♪ ♪ my poetry was lousy ♪ where are you calling from? ♪ ♪ ♪ ten years ago i bought you some ♪ ♪ you brought me something ♪ we both know memories spring ♪ every diamond in the rough ♪ ♪ you talk about the muscle that created that voice. it's one of the purest, one of the truest notes in music history and many described it like that.
do you miss that voice? do you still have that. >> i do not have it, and i do miss it. i had to come to terms with what i do have. and that took me -- actually took me several years because i didn't like the sound coming out. i didn't like any of it. and i saw ear nose and throat guy. i thought maybe i have a pimple on the vocal chorussed i'll take it off i'll be fine. he said no this is you. this is it. the first half was accepting working with what i have there. and then he suggested a vocal therapist. this woman in two sessions gave me so many new tools. and the fun game are came back. i wanted to walk out on stage and enjoy myself. and so that started coming back. and that was -- that was a real treasure. >> sos in whistle down the win, some of the new stuff. ♪ i grew up here all of my life ♪ ♪ but i dream some day i'd go
♪ with a blue-eyed girl ♪ and the red guitar ♪ and the naked river flows ♪ i'm not all i thought i'd be ♪ i've always stayed around ♪ and i've been this -- ♪ >> it does soubd different. what have you done differently? how have you had to reengage the vocal chorussed and muscles. >> you reinvent. you reinvent. this is a more honest voice reflecting 60 years on the road. it's raspy. and i like the results of what we got in the album. >> and you have said that for
about a quarter of a centerry, literally 25 years you didn't write a word, a lyric. >> yes. >> until the election of donald trump. >> yes. >> you found donald trumps inspiring on many levels not just that he got you to write again. but the activism in your heart seems to have flourished. >> in the past week it's had the biggest bump since the million woman march. it's come out of no where. it's honest. it's huge. i mean we never heard the ceo of the national rifle organization out there defending himself and making -- well politically stupid remarks. the kid not really interested in that talk at all. and they are suddenly having this momentum. and they have people wanting to support them and be with them. they're making sense. i mean we may have written off that generation thinking all
they think about is themselves. some of them yes buts in astounding. >> i'm going to play what ema gonzalez said here. >> they say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence. we call, b.s. they say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. we call b.s. they say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. we call b.s. no, they say that no laws could have been able to prevent the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. we call b.s. that us kids don't know what we're talking about that we're too young to understand how the government works. we call, b.s. >> i have my makeup on and she makes me cry every time i see that. just astounding. >> they really put themds out the there these kids. did you that when you were 15. one of your first acts if not the first act was refuseding to
salute the flag. you were 15 years old process. why was that. >> because my family became quaker we i was about 8. in quakerism the most important thing is putting the human being before the nation state. you don't get to kill people for any reason. but looking around the main reason we fight each other is we have partitioned each other in nation states. as a symbol of that i wouldn't salute anybody's flag. that didn't matter. in this state if you don't salute the flag they just can't believe it. i was immediately labelled a communist and whatever else they could possibly say to denounce me. >> you stayed true to what you believed in despite the prevailing winds, despite getting knocked around frequently. how hard is it going to be for them to stay firm on this issue of all issues in today's climate of all climates? the climate may help them stay
strong. sure, i mean i would want to talk to them about when there is a dip, when you feel as though it's not going to work, when you get discouraged and all of that stuff and how to try to stay on track. because that will happen. and how to keep from infighting with each other. i mean there are pool people leading this right now. will they have problems? you have to be prepared for that. for me what alway prepared it was ghandi and non-violence because i was ready to deal with whatever came my way and not expect everything to be wonderful. >> it's extraordinary -- i can't brave i'm sitting here and you were at the 1963 march on washington with dr. king and the others and you sang. >> yes. >> and i believe you were with bob dylan at that time. you went together. did you steer him into activism? >> well he didn't become an activist. he wrote the songs. and i think he had been in the
deep south a little before all of this happened doing some things i think he really didn't want to do, you know, the present and visible for the marchs and demonstrations. so wrote our background mukds. >> everybody always wants to talk to you and ask you and focus on the relationship with him. i mean it seemed to be the most perfect union in terms of voice, in terms of -- because it ened up not being right. >> it never does. anybody you're there for a while and then gone. how did it work out? and i think right now i think each of us -- i don't see him but i have heard him say lovely things about me. and i will certainly say lovely things about him. whatever went wrong back there doesn't really matter. >> what does dr. king like? so many people who never met him talk huss a demmy god. you had a personal relationship with him and you said he had a
great sense of humaner >> very funny. he couldn't be funny on camera so he saved it for off stage. a lot of leafter and then he had to get serious again. >> what do you tell anybody when you go out on the final hard slog tour? what are you hoping to get and give. >> i will sing and try to bring beauty to the world, you know the best i can. i will tell people they should happily choose denial 80% of the time and then figure out what they're going to do with the 20% where they can be of use to somebody. to reintroduce empathy, compassion, kindness, intelligence, all these things, fake that 20 or 15% of your life and do that on any level. i mean, when a kid says or somebody says well what can i do? it's what -- i can't tell you
what to do. but i say follow your heart where -- you know, any compassion news it's giving you, listen to it and act upon it. >> well that's a very good note to end in a master class. joan thank you very much. notes from the activist. and that is it for the program tonight. thanks for watching amanpour on pbs and join us tomorrow night. >> announcer: amanpour on pennies was made possible by the generous support of rosslyn p. walter.