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CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
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May 29, 2022 12:00 pm

CBS Sunday Morning,

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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May 29, 2022 12:00 pm

Jane Pauley hosts this edition of “Sunday Morning” on this Memorial Day weekend. Conor Knighton says it will busy this summer at U.S. National Parks, so make sure to plan ahead. After a deadly school shooting in Texas this past week, Tracey Smith speaks with parents from another tragedy trying to end the bloodshed. And Steve Hartman discusses “Taps Across America,” a way to honor America’s fallen heroes.

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Learn more at Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley and this is Sunday morning. Memorial Day weekend 2022. Summer is almost here. There are hopes COVID will soon be winding down and vacation time beckons. We'll of course spend part of this morning looking back at another week of unspeakable and seemingly unstoppable gun violence. But we'll also spend time looking forward to summer and its pleasures. Including the prospects of visits to our national parks, coast to coast. Just make certain Connor Knighton reminds us to plan ahead.

If you're planning on visiting Arches National Park this summer, be sure to bring sunscreen, plenty of water, and your reservation. Hi, welcome to Arches. How are you guys doing? We're doing good. Do you have the time? Don't you pass?

We do. For the first time ever, daytime tourists must have a timed ticket just to get in the gate. After years of record-setting crowds, popular parks are insisting the visitors RSVP.

Preserved and reserved ahead on Sunday morning. All this past week the nation's eyes have been on Texas where 19 children and two of their teachers were killed on Tuesday. Tracy Smith will tell us about the years-long battle by the parents of another town gun violence put on the map to somehow bring an end to the bloodshed. Three mass shootings. He had an AR-15 rifle. Three states. The AR-15 style weapon.

One constant. The AR-15 was used at Sandy Hook. Francine and David Wheeler's six-year-old son and 25 others were killed by a gunman with an AR-15 style rifle.

What do we have to do to make sure no other mother and father ever go through this? Coming up on Sunday morning, what they did. And much more besides. Ben Tracy takes us to a California town nearly wiped out by wildfires now hoping to be reborn.

Lilia Luciano looks back with activist and author Angela Davis. Plus on this Memorial Day eve, a story from Steve Hartman and commentary from the man who heads the United States Air Force. It's the final Sunday morning of the month, May 29th, 2022.

And we'll be back in a moment. Last year, 92 million people visited one of our 63 national parks. Given those numbers, let's just say Connor Knighton reports what follows with reservations. At Arches National Park, Memorial Day weekend is typically the busiest weekend of the year. This is what last year looked like. The park had to shut down the entrance several times to control the crowding. All of the parking lots would be full.

There'd be bumper to bumper traffic all along the road. So it just was a terrible experience for everybody involved and not good for the park resources too. Caitlin Thomas is the public affairs specialist for Arches, located in southern Utah. Over the past two decades, crowds have more than doubled at the park. Last year, it received a record-breaking 1.8 million visitors, which meant a lot of days felt like Memorial Day. Last year, how many times did you have to close that gate? Oh gosh, 158 times. Wow. So a lot. And that's for hours at a time. Yes, yes.

Mm-hmm. In the nearby town of Moab, reservations for hotels and restaurants are hard to come by. But this year, for the first time ever, the park itself is requiring reservations.

Hi there, how are you? Perfect. Do you have your reservation? From April to October, tourists hoping to access Arches during peak hours need to have a ticket obtained via

Thank you so much. Popular time slots can get booked up months in advance. So with timed entry, the idea is that we take all of those visitors and we distribute them throughout the day and throughout the season so that we can hopefully mitigate the traffic and also improve those visitor experiences. Popular parks across the country are trying similar approaches. Rocky Mountain in Colorado is requiring timed entry reservations from now until October 10th. In California, Yosemite requires them until the end of September. At parks like Zion and Shenandoah, certain hikes now have to be scheduled.

If you're planning on driving up Acadia's Cadillac Mountain to see the sunrise or weaving through the mountains on Glacier National Park's famous Going to the Sun Road, you're going to need to book in advance. For decades, the national parks have done a really good job with wildlife management and landscape management and ecological management, and I think they're just going to have to sort of turn their focus to people management. Brian Jablonski is the CEO of the Property and Environment Research Center, which has been studying a number of possible approaches to deal with the record-setting crowds. If you think about it, 50% of the park visitors are crowding into 6% of our national parks. Over the past decade, our 63 national parks have received 34% more visitors. We're in uncharted territory when it comes to visitation, so there's a lot of room for experimentation and creativity. That could mean creating more shuttle bus systems like the one already in place at Zion National Park. It could mean taking some cues from the theme park world.

Create your best Disney day. Using technology to show what sites at a park are less crowded. And at some locations, it could mean reservations.

Thank you for having me. While many of the timed entry programs are trial runs for now, they could become permanent. So I think some of those parks are going to have to do the thing that might not be popular. What we'll lose in that process is spontaneity.

I think Americans like to be spontaneous. Naturalist John Muir wrote, the mountains are calling and I must go. Not the mountains are calling and I must go at 2 p.m. on a Wednesday because that's the only ticket I could get. The job of the National Park Service is to protect the land for the people.

And it almost seems like the land is being protected from the people. Moab developer Michael Liss first fell in love with arches on a road trip decades ago. A spontaneous detour? Yeah, pretty much spontaneous detour. The idea that a reservation system might prevent others from doing the same doesn't sit right with them. Those people are, you know, on their spontaneous journey. So yeah, the fact that you'd arrive here and couldn't get into arches, that's really disappointing to me. And so far, under the new system, that's happened to 10 to 15 percent of visitors. Those tourists can always come back and visit outside of peak hours, or try the night before for one of several next day tickets that are held back.

But that might not work for everyone's schedule. Liss thinks more cars could be accommodated. The infrastructure of Arches National Park was designed in the 1950s. They built the one entrance, one entry road. The parking lots have grown, you know, a little bit over the years, but substantially nothing has changed in 70 years. So when I look at this, it's like, isn't it time to upgrade the park? Of course, building new entrances and parking lots costs money and takes time. There's already a multi-billion dollar maintenance backlog in our parks. Plus, the idea of continuing to pave paradise can be a tough sell. Here in the Park Service, we're in the forever business. We protect these parks for perpetuity, and we want to make sure that we leave them just as they are for future generations. Thomas and the team at Arches have been encouraging visitors who show up without reservations to check out other beautiful destinations. Can I recommend a couple of other alternatives in our area? The story of overcrowded parks is mostly the story of a select group of super popular parks.

There are plenty of other under-publicized places where you can still get away from it all. Only time will tell if these timed entry systems will stick around or expand to other sites. What's the feedback been so far from the visitors?

Oh, fantastic. You know, we have folks saying that this is the best trip to Arches that they've ever had if they've been here before. I think people are seeing that there's an improved experience here, and they're having just better connections with the landscape while they're visiting.

That sense of connection is difficult to quantify. For now, by giving up some spontaneity, visitors have been getting a bit more solitude. Twenty-three weeks into the year, we've suffered through 27 shootings in classrooms, grades K through 12.

Sadly, it's a safe guess more could be on the way. Tracy Smith tells us about a new way families in one town are fighting back. The latest unspeakable act of gun violence in this country. Uvalde, Texas. An AR-15 rifle. Buffalo, New York. The alleged gunman purchased the AR-15 style weapon legally. And of course, Newtown, Connecticut. The AR-15 was used at Sandy Hook, was used in Aurora, it was used in Clackamas. Can I go right now and buy one of these myself without much of a check and go pick one up?

Sure you can. Again. All of it. Again. Why? Why are we here if not to try to make sure that fewer schools and fewer communities go through what Sandy Hook has gone through?

What Uvalde is going through? Chris Murphy is from Connecticut, home to the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. I'm here on this floor to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees and beg my colleagues. Find a path forward here. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, shortly after the school shooting in Uvalde. The policies the Democrats are proposing, they wouldn't have stopped this crime or any others. They're not focused on stopping crimes. Their solution is to try to take away your firearms. Please help us do something before our tragedy becomes your tragedy. Four months after the Sandy Hook shooting, Francine Wheeler with her husband David made an impassioned plea. Sometimes I close my eyes and all I can remember is that awful day waiting at the Sandy Hook volunteer firehouse for the boy who would never come home.

What were you hoping for at that point? If I could have people empathize with me as a parent, then maybe you would vote for the background check so that if you bought a gun at a gun show and if you bought a gun on the internet, you'd have a background check. That's what we were fighting for. Mr. McConnell, no. Later that month, those gun law amendments were rejected by the Senate.

The amendment is not agreed to. The Wheelers began looking for other ways to make change. This is beautiful. Yeah. A lot of them, I'm like, I don't know what that is, but it's awesome. You know? That's what abstract art is all about, right?

That's what he was an abstract artist. We'll never stop being Ben's parents. It's just that our parenting experience is now frozen. Their son Ben was six years old when he was killed. In the small classroom where our son was in school, law enforcement recovered 80 casings. 80. All from one AR-15 style rifle.

In total, 154 rounds in less than five minutes. If I had been told when Ben was born that I would only get six years with him, would I have done it? Absolutely.

Absolutely unquestioningly, yes. But what happens after that is part of his legacy, right? What do we have to do to make sure no other mother and father ever go through this? What the Wheelers and eight other Sandy Hook families did at first seemed impossible. They sued the gunmaker, Remington Arms, and in February, they settled the lawsuit for $73 million. It's the largest payout by a gun company to victims of a mass shooting.

Who else do you all blame? The gun company. The gun company for sure. Earlier this month, the family of Andre McNeil, who was killed in the Buffalo shooting, announced they too will sue Remington Arms, which made the gun used at the supermarket.

It's a weapon that was designed for war. One of their lawyers' first calls was to this man. How much did you know about guns going into this case?

If there was such a thing as less than zero, I would say that. Nothing? Nothing about guns, nothing about gun law. Josh Koskoff represented the Sandy Hook families.

He says he approached the case like a puzzle. First, he studied everything he could about the AR-15 style rifle. What did you learn about that gun? What is an AR-15? It's the weapon that the United States military considers the most effective, efficient, lethal weapon for its soldiers. The AR-15 was developed by Armalite as a military rifle in the 1950s. AR, commonly thought to stand for assault rifle, in fact stands for Armalite rifle.

Early in the 1960s, the Department of Defense field tested the weapon. This is not for the faint of heart, but it is important to know that this is no ordinary firearm. A back wound caused the thoracic cavity to explode. Stomach wound caused the abdominal cavity to explode.

Chest room from right to left destroyed the thoracic cavity. So you can't help but think about these little six and seven year olds. Right. In the late 60s, a semi-automatic version was made for civilians. And by the time of the Sandy Hook massacre, Remington Arms and their Bushmaster brand had the most popular AR-15 style rifles on the market. Up until 2005, they sold about 100,000 units a year.

By 2012, the year of the shooting, they're up to 2.1 million. And the weapon itself didn't change. So what changed the marketing? And there was another change that may have emboldened gun manufacturers. A little talked about law, passed in 2005. Known as PLACA, Protection of Lawful Commerce and Arms Act, it's a way to protect gun companies from liability for shootings. It basically eliminates the common law rights that people would otherwise have to bring a lawsuit against automobile industry or tobacco industry or pharmaceutical industry. But the law contains a few exceptions, including one that allowed Koskoff to go after how the gun was marketed. Until our case, I think people thought of it as a perfect immunity that couldn't ever be overcome.

But they engaged in marketing that anybody would say was just beyond the pale, immoral, unethical. Koskoff says Remington not only aimed ads like this at lonely young men, they highlighted the gun's ability to inflict mass casualties. This one says forces of opposition bow down. You're single-handedly outnumbered. There's no non-criminal use for making your forces of opposition bow down in our neighborhoods and our towns.

That's an assault, period. According to Koskoff, the key to the case was tying the Remington marketing to the 20-year-old shooter at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. He didn't go out and buy the gun.

His mom bought the gun and then just left it unlocked. But that's the way marketing works. Marketing isn't targeting the purchaser. They're targeting the end user. No better example of this than Disney. Disney's not marketing their products to us. They're marketing it to our kids.

They didn't aggressively market their combat weapon to a suburban housewife. They aggressively marketed a combat weapon to her troubled son. The Sandy Hook shooter was a frequent player of the video game Call of Duty. Koskoff had played the game with his own son and saw something familiar in a crime scene photograph.

This is the floor of the first grade classroom, and it's two 30-round magazines duct taped together? Correct. From Call of Duty, you knew what this looked like. And I knew what the purpose was.

And the purpose? When you were playing the game, it allowed for almost zero downtime to quote-unquote change mags. So you fire 30 shots, flip it.

You could kill 60 people with this instead of 30 with almost no lag. The simulated gun in Call of Duty was Remington's Bushmaster ACR. Koskoff says Remington Arms licensed the AR-15-style gun for the video game. It was part of the gun company's marketing plan. This allowed children and teenagers to experience what it was like to use a combat weapon. You could feel the vibrations of the controller. Before this, to actually understand how a weapon worked or felt, you'd have to go to a gun range and no gun seller is going to have a child come in and test out an AR-15, but they don't have to anymore. So a kid could be sitting on his couch feeling what an AR-15 felt like to shoot?

There are kids sitting in the couch right now doing exactly that. Like many parents, David and Francine Wheeler hadn't seen any of the Remington marketing until this case. I was like, you've got to be kidding me. Unbelievable. Unbelievable. My first thought was, do you think this is a game?

My son is gone. Our legal system has given us some justice today. Josh Koskoff says the settlement's $73 million will be distributed among the nine plaintiff families, and Remington's internal memos, also turned over in the agreement, will be released to the public.

What will these documents show? It'll just teach us a lesson that we've all learned, which is that greed kills. He says the case is about corporate misconduct, not politics. This company just crossed a line and it exposes all of us to risk. The shooter at Sandy Hook didn't line up children of gun owners and children of non-gun owners or Democrats or Republicans.

He shot everybody. Gun industry representatives argue the Remington suit is unusual because it was settled after Remington went bankrupt. In a statement, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearm trade association, said, The settlement orchestrated by insurance companies has no impact on the strength and efficacy of PLACA, which remains the law of the land. PLACA will continue to block baseless lawsuits that attempt to blame lawful industry companies for the criminal acts of third parties. When people say, how do you live?

I say, well, how do I not live? Francine and David Wheeler have always said they wanted to save other families from going through what they have. The events of recent weeks show their lawsuit hasn't stopped mass shootings, but they say it's a start. We hope that this will make changes in the future. I have hope. I always have. I've never given up hope.

Otherwise, I probably would have never left my bed. And you're still hopeful. Yeah. And I grieve.

I have both at the same time. Every day. But I have hope.

Yeah. Now, a tale of paradise lost. You may recall the wildfire that all but destroyed Paradise, California in 2018. Well, the town is slowly building back, but this time, Ben Tracy shows us with wildfires in mind.

On the road to paradise, you can see signs of a comeback. And if you want to hear what that sounds like, all you have to do is visit the only hardware store in town. If I ever get a house, I'm going to have these.

We're working on getting ours almost done. We're maybe a month away, so... Mike Peterson manages this ace hardware store that somehow survived the worst fire in California history. But like most people here, Peterson lost his home. A year ago, these three homes here weren't there. Now, when he looks out at his neighborhood, he sees all the skeptics being proven wrong. You know, I think a lot of people had their doubts about how many people would rebuild.

It's nice to see the progress, for sure. Rebuilding this town nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada was far from certain after Paradise was lost to the inferno known as the Camp Fire. The 2018 blaze killed 85 people and destroyed nearly 20,000 homes and businesses. So, the old house sat here. Peterson is not only rebuilding, he's building something he hopes will survive any future fires. Do you feel like you're going to worry less about your home?

Yes. And my insurance company loves it. He and his wife are about to move into this two-bedroom house that looks a bit like a modern barn. They like the architecture, but their real selling point is that it's built not to burn. It's non-combustible. It's a product that you can't really light on fire. Vern Sneed is the owner of Design Horizons, a company building what it calls the Q-Cabin, short for Quonset Hut. It takes its name from Quonset Point, a naval facility in Rhode Island where these corrugated metal roofed buildings were first made during World War II.

Sneed says today's version costs about the same as a house built with conventional 2x4s. So none of this can burn? Correct. So we would have a non-combustible siding out here, then we've got our non-combustible sheathing, then we've got our non-combustible structure. So you would have to get through all of these non-combustible layers before you got to the inside. Scientists say most homes ignite in wildfires because embers get into window frames or in between roof shingles. With the Q-Cabin, those entry points don't exist. And so I understand why you won't call this fireproof because you can never guarantee that, but this is about as close as you're going to get.

This is about as close as you can get. Of course, getting too close to nature is part of the problem. Communities like Paradise are known as the Wildland Urban Interface, where the great outdoors collides with someone's front door.

We need to go! Nearly 50 million U.S. homes are now in these areas, which are prone to wildfires. When you see all of the natural disasters, especially a state like this, is facing and what we know is coming as climate change accelerates, is this the future of home building? I think non-combustible housing is the future. The Camp Fire left behind more than burned trees and empty lots. It also transformed a lot of the people here.

I think people just let go of their need to control because we all learned that there is no such thing. It's so exciting. Gwen Nordgren is president of Paradise Lutheran Church. It's rebuilding, too. So this is our gorgeous building. A four-plex Q-Cabin will replace the Parsonage Building that once housed their pastor and was lost in the fire. Given what you've gone through, what is it like for people to see something being built out there?

Well, it isn't just something. It's something like this that we're so excited about because, you know, it's all going to be new and beautiful and fire resistant, which is on most people's minds. It's really happening. Everybody's so excited.

They plan to rent it out to four families to generate income for the church, which lost nearly half its members after the fire. But now people are flooding back, making Paradise the fastest-growing city in California. Nobody who's here gave up. This is Paradise, brother. Nobody gives up.

There's a spirit in this town that was here before the fire and that's here now, and it never went away. For more from this week's conversation, follow the Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Hi, podcast peeps. It's me, Drew Barrymore.

Oh my goodness. I want to tell you about our new show. It's the Drew's News Podcast. And in each episode, me and a weekly guest are going to cover all the quirky, fun, inspiring, and informative stories that exist out in the world because, well, I need it.

And maybe you do too, from the newest interior design trend, Barbie Corps, to the right and wrong way to wash your armpits. Also, we're going to get into things that you just kind of won't believe and were not able to do in daytime television, so watch out. Listen to Drew's News wherever you get your podcasts. It's your good news on the go. To Steve Hartman with a Memorial Day tradition that hits all the right notes. Monday at precisely three o'clock your local time, a call will sound and it will sound everywhere. It will echo past the fissures and fractures of our torn country and ask Americans to set aside their differences and unite.

If only for these 24 notes. Musicians get ready for the third annual nationwide performance of Taps. We originally started Taps Across America to move focus away from the hamburgers and hot dogs and back to the real purpose of Memorial Day, to honor. And by the thousands, musicians have answered our call. 86-year-old Paul Freeburg of Surprise, Arizona will be playing for a second year. Because I love our country, so actually there was no way I could say no.

So actually there was no way I could say no. The Frisbee brothers of Newcastle, Delaware will be back again too. A lot of men in our family have served in the army.

Our great-grandfather, our grandfather, and our father. And Eagle Scout Ricky Lazaro is returning, but he lives near Uvalde, Texas, so he'll be playing with a new purpose this year. It's deeply sad in me, sir. Playing Taps is the least I can do. The reasons they play are as varied as the landscapes on which they stand. Some performers are heard by hundreds, while others, like Lori Williams of Moriarty, New Mexico, play for no audience at all.

At least, none apparent. I don't think it matters where you play, because those who need to hear it hear it. So you're playing for those above? Absolutely. And that's the audience. Our omnipresent past, who we honor with this coast-to-coast concert. But of course, it's also for the living, who this week especially may need this 24-note reminder that there are still some things we all stand for, and one thing that will forever bind us.

Ever bind us. Our shared grief. After every mass shooting, sadly, it seems the answer is, there is no answer. No way to stop the violence. Six years ago, Seth Doan traveled to one country that actually seems to have found a way.

We decided it was worth a second look. It's said that when you lose your parents, you lose your past. When you lose your child, you lose your future. Carolyn Lawton flung herself on top of her daughter when a gunman started shooting. But it was not enough to save Sarah's life. She was 15.

She'd just turned 15, yes. One American is among the injured in what is being described as the worst massacre this century. A lone gunman with a high-powered rifle. The shooting in a cafe in the Tasmanian town of Port Arthur happened 26 years ago.

But telling the story decades later still makes Lawton shake. What's it like being in a mass shooting? It's beyond frightening. It's haunting, and for every bullet that's fired, that's a life gone. And bang, there's another life gone. And bang, there's another life gone. And bang, and when is it going to be my turn?

Lawton was shot. And this is actually me. This is you on the stretcher here?

This is me on the stretcher. And did not know for hours her daughter had died. This is what's left of that cafe where the gunman started shooting. In the end, 35 people were killed, and it rocked Australia. It came just six weeks after a new prime minister had been elected. I thought to myself, if I don't use the authority of this newly acquired office to do something, the Australian people are entitled to think, well, this bloke's not up to me.

People are entitled to think, well, this bloke's not up to much. As to the question of gun control laws... So then Prime Minister John Howard, a conservative politician and close friend of George W. Bush, pushed through sweeping gun control legislation just 12 days after the massacre.

The hardest things to do in politics often involve taking away rights and privileges from your own supporters. The tough new laws banned the sale and importation of all automatic and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, forced people to present a legitimate reason and wait 28 days to buy a firearm, and perhaps most significantly called for a massive mandatory gun buyback. Australia's government confiscated and destroyed nearly 700,000 firearms, reducing the number of gun-owning households by half. People used to say to me, you've violated my human rights by taking away my gun.

And I'd say, look, I understand that, but will you please understand the argument? The greatest human right of all is to live a safe life without fear of random murder. Consider this, if we tally public mass shootings that have killed four or more people, in the United States, there have been well over 100 since the Port Arthur tragedy. But in Australia, there has been just one in the 26 years since their gun laws were passed. Plus, gun homicides have decreased by 60 per cent. It is incontestable that gun-related homicides have fallen quite significantly in Australia.

Incontestable. It's clutching at straws. John Howard just simply didn't like guns. Former Senator David Lionhelm left Howard's political party in protest over the strict gun laws.

He insists they've had little effect. There could have been something done about keeping firearms out of the hands of people with a definite violent potential, but instead all firearm owners were made to pay the price. I don't think there's any relationship between the availability of guns and the level of violence. And to critics who say, you can't say that these changes in gun deaths happen because of this legislation. Well, I can say that, because all the surveys indicate the number of deaths from mass shootings, gun-related homicide has fallen, gun-related suicide has fallen. Isn't that evidence?

Or are we expected to believe that that was all magically going to happen? This one's where I keep the pistols and the rifle ammunition and the rifle bolts. Lawyer and winemaker Greg Mellick showed us where he locks up his weapons. If the weapons are in here, there are ammunitions in there. You have them locked separately?

Yes. Locking up guns and ammunition in separate safes is another regulation, as are surprise inspections by police. Mellick had to part with some of his prized guns in the buyback. How many firearms do you still own? When you were going to ask me that question, I should have checked, I don't know.

The answer, about two dozen. This is a Browning 9mm. Which he uses for sport, hunting and shooting pests on his vineyard.

Basically from here down is Riesling. Mellick sees gun ownership not as a right, but a privilege. I'd be very uncomfortable going back to the way it was before when anybody could go in and buy a firearm. Really?

Why? Quite frankly, I find it surprising it was an American who asked me a question like that. It's just bizarre the number of people get killed in the United States. And you have these ridiculous arguments, well if people carry guns they can defend themselves. But this is being said by a gun owner, you, someone who shoots for sport.

Yeah, I have a genuine reason for using firearms. From Tasmania, to Sydney, to Carolyn Lawton's living room. The bullet went into my scapula. We kept asking if there were lessons for the US in all of this. I'm loathe to comment. But my question is, how is it going for you over there?

But I can't answer that for you. My heart goes out to all of you over there in America. Life is so short, and all and every one of us is somebody's child.

And when we see what's happening, your heart bleeds. For more than half a century, her revolutionary ideas have sparked both hope and controversy. Lilia Luciano is in conversation with Angela Davis. After more than 50 years, she's still instantly recognizable worldwide as the face of revolution. How does the woman professor Angela Davis relate to those posters? I felt really uncomfortable.

And that is because I think I was expecting to find myself in those images. But at the age of 78, Angela Davis has come to terms with her image. Now I look at them and I see all of the millions of people who came together to participate in a struggle. Racism is indeed the key problem faced by the people of the country. And the threat of fascism is growing. For half a century, Angela Davis has been sounding alarms. There is a proliferation of police assaults on the black community all over the country.

Alarms that are still going off today. Those who still defend the supremacy of white male hetero patriarchy had better watch out. Of course, I love being a revolutionary and I love being radical.

It's important to be radical. The roots of that radicalism can be traced to her upbringing in Birmingham, Alabama. I grew up in a world that was entirely organized according to the dictates of white supremacy. I understand you grew up in a street that was known as Dynamite Hill because of the amount of terrorist bombings when black families moved into that community.

My very first memories are the sounds of dynamite and then also the fear of watching my father bring his gun out when we thought that the Ku Klux Klan might be assaulting our home. Miss Davis was a Phi Beta Kappa at Brandeis University in Boston. She did graduate work in Germany and San Diego.

What does that mean when he talks about the socialization of production? By the age of 26, Davis was an assistant professor of philosophy at UCLA. She had joined the Black Panther Party and the Communist Party, and that made her a target of California Governor Ronald Reagan. When the regents finally decided to fire me, I said that it was obvious that there was racism involved. The very first press conference I held in the immediate aftermath of my firing at UCLA, I think my eyes were wide open and my knees were shaking under the table. And today people look at that and they say, oh, you were so much more militant.

I said, no, I was just afraid. Gunfire came from automatic rifles, shotguns and pistols. A year later, a bloody courthouse siege brought her worldwide attention, though she wasn't even there. An attempt to free the so-called Soledad Brothers, a group of inmates accused of killing a prison guard, ended in a shootout. When it was over, Judge Haley was dead.

Two of the inmates were dead. The guns used in the attack were traced to Davis. She said she had bought them for her security team after getting death threats. And she went into hiding. The FBI has put black militant Angela Davis on its list of the 10 most wanted fugitives. Why did you run?

I didn't have a choice. All of my comrades and friends and I were aware of the ways in which people who were trying to turn themselves into the police had been killed. The FBI caught up with her at a hotel in Manhattan. She was put at times in solitary confinement. While around the world, protesters called for her release. Then she was extradited to California. Ms. Davis entered the courtroom, turned and gave a black power salute to the gallery. Davis was charged with conspiracy, kidnapping and murder. She faced the death penalty.

Outside, there were a thousand of Ms. Davis supporters shouting, Free Angela. They've pledged to be here as long as she's in court. The moment was a long time coming. The jury had deliberated for 13 hours. An all-white jury delivered its verdict on June 4, 1972. The tension was electric waiting for the clerk to read the verdicts. The first charge was murder, not guilty.

She was acquitted on all counts. It was not until that moment that I realized that I had a future ahead of me. I would simply like to thank all of you who struggled so long and so hard for my freedom. Davis set off on a tour of the U.S. as well as the Eastern Bloc in Soviet Union. Bring greetings from the Communist Party to the Soviet people. She would leave the party 20 years later.

When I left the Communist Party, I made it very clear that although I may no longer be a communist with a capital C, I remain a communist with a small c. Historical experiments don't necessarily produce what we want them to. The 16 months in jail before her acquittal had given Davis a new commitment. I have come to think about my incarceration as a gift, witnessing the ways in which other women in prison were being treated.

That really consolidated what I think has been my vocation. She has since dedicated her life to the issue of prisons, not reforming them, but abolishing them. There are words like defund or abolish. At the same time that they elevate a cause, they also create such division. Why not advocate for reform?

Well, I've really tried to learn from history. So if someone made the argument that abolition is too strong a term, I would remind people that during the era of slavery, there were those who made the very same argument. The United States has 4% of the world's population, but 20% of the world's prisoners. 38% of the U.S. prison population is Black. What does a world post-prison look like? My question would be, what would a world have to look like in order not to require the persistent interventions of police and imprisonment? We need better education. We would need a better health care system.

We would need a better world. So abolition urges us to expand and make more capacious our very vision. Angela Davis is still writing, still teaching. After 50 years of fighting the same fights, it may seem the more things change, the more the causes remain the same. But Angela Davis is still energized and optimistic. There are so many issues that you fought against that seem current.

You were fighting against them 50 years ago. How do you not lose hope? No change is possible without hope.

No movement is possible without hope. We have to march on with the unshakable confidence that we will win our fight for a new society, our fight for a society where freedom, justice, equality, abundance, dignity, and happiness belongs to all. On this Memorial Day weekend, some thoughts from the chief of staff of the United States Air Force, General Charles Brown.

This isn't about me. Memorial Day isn't about just anyone who wears the uniform. It's about honoring those who were wearing the uniform when they gave their lives for our nation, when they gave their lives for our nation and its ideals.

So we can spend each day doing what we love, the ultimate measure of freedom. For 75 years, our Air Forces played a defining role in the outcome of every conflict our country has faced. But it's not been without sacrifice. I experienced the pain of loss for the first time in my military career when my friend, First Lieutenant Josh Levin, died in an aircraft accident over the Philippines. We were lieutenants together at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, and Josh had planned to attend my wedding the following year.

This is a familiar pain for so many. Earlier this month, I met with mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, whose loved ones died in service to our nation. I'm forever grateful to those who gave their lives and to their families, who will always feel the pain of loss. And I'm proud to lead an all-volunteer force, comprised of Airmen representing all walks of life and from all across this great nation. For each of our service members who raised their right hand and taken the oath of office or the oath of enlistment, and take solace in their selfless service and reflect on the Bible verse, whom shall I send and who will go for us? Then I said, here I am, send me. Each morning on my way to the Pentagon, on my way to the Pentagon, I drive past Arlington National Cemetery and small stone markers that represent those who wore the uniform, who said, send me. It's a daily reminder of what Memorial Day is about and inspires me to work harder to ensure Airmen have what they need to protect the freedoms we all enjoy. God bless. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. Good people is to convict the bad. So here's to us. The Good Fight, the final season, now streaming exclusively on Paramount+.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-29 17:55:25 / 2023-01-29 18:12:27 / 17

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