Transcript: Gore calls on software and movie industries to reduce violence in products
Appearance on 'Larry King Live' aired May 6, 1999, 9:00 p.m. ET
May 7, 1999
Web posted at: 10:14 a.m. EDT (1414 GMT)
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Vice President Al Gore is just back from touring tornado damage in Kansas. He joins us with details on what he saw. Plus, in a dangerous world, good parents are a child's first and best protection. The vice president will join us to talk about that, along with Reverend Robert Schuller, and also in Washington, Dr. William Pollack, author of "Real Boys." It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: Good evening. Thanks for joining us. You may be wondering why I'm here, since we told you last night that Vice President Al Gore would be sitting in for me tonight. LARRY KING LIVE has a tradition of using famous guest hosts. I won't run down the lists; trust me -- it's impressive. Vice President Gore had a long- standing host invitation from us, and he finally accepted. But after taking a long, hard look at the political calendar, we decided it was too close to the 2000 election to have a presidential contender as an interviewer, not interviewee.
So the good news is, the vice president has graciously agreed to give me back my microphone.
He'll be with us through the entire hour.
And the reason I'm wearing this garb is tonight was the annual Police Athletic League Dinner in New York. I am a member of the board, and I emcee that dinner every year. They honored Governor George Pataki and Robert Morgenthau, as chairman, and they were kind enough to do all the proceedings early so that I could get over here to and have the vice president, and later, our panel members join us.
And I understand you wanted to say something, and then we'll get into the gist of the show -- is that correct, or can we go right into it?
ALBERT GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, all I want to say, Larry, is thank you for having me on -- whether it's on this side of the table or the other side of the table, the controversies that have arisen out of the tragedy in Littleton, Colorado are ones that ought to be separated from politics, and I am pleased and honored to have a chance to talk about these issues. And I am also grateful to you for giving me chance at the top of the show to give to give you a report on the Great Plains tornadoes.
And also, you know, they hit my home state of Tennessee, last night -- five dead there. And in Kansas, the devastation that I saw with my own eyes and that which the president will see the day after tomorrow in Oklahoma, of course, is just incredible. This has destroyed many thousands of homes. We haven't seen tragedies like this in a long, long time.
KING: Oklahoma got most of the attention. What was Kansas like?
GORE: Well, Kansas had almost as many homes destroyed as in Oklahoma. There were not as many lives lost, but there were quite a few live lost. You see that girder there on the screen? That's 30 feet long, and 20 of the 30 feet was driven straight down into ground. That's a camper there turned up on its side in front of that person's house.
Many of those who survived listened to the warning sirens and the meteorology reports on television, and escaped with their lives. Tragically, many did not.
But the spirit of this community -- these communities, in Kansas and Oklahoma, is quite inspiring. And I know it will be in Linden, Tennessee, and the other Tennessee communities affected -- neighbors helping neighbors, clergy and volunteers, the Red Cross, the Mennonites, the Salvation Army, the National Guard -- people are coming together and supporting one another in a very impressive way.
KING: And the government reacting quickly?
GORE: Yes, indeed. James Lee Witt, you know, is a real all-star and has transformed the way our Federal Emergency Management Agency works, and we have teams on the ground, with the Small Business Administration and many others.
The 1-800-number, incidentally, is 462-9029 -- 1-800 462-9029; for anyone who wants to get help, they can start the process that way.
We have already declared major disaster areas in Oklahoma and Kansas, and I conveyed the declaration from the president on Texas today. It's still in process in Tennessee, because that was just last night. But people are eligible for loans, and help, and lost wages, and repairs and all of the things you would expect.
And the United States is going to stand with these people and help them get their families and communities back together as quickly as possible.
KING: All right, Mr. Vice president, the subject tonight is post-Littleton, and we have some experts joining you in a little while.
But first, now that the dust has cleared -- forgive the pun; none intended -- what do we know now that we didn't know before Littleton?
GORE: I think what most people think we know is that this is a warning of something deeper than just the widespread availability of guns, and violence in the media, and video games and the Internet sites that have been involved, and deeper even than whatever failures of parenting have gone into this. I think that it is being seen and heard all across our country as a spiritual signal, that we really have to take stock of what we want in our country -- what kind of families, what kind of communities. I think we've got to make a lot of changes.
Larry, I was deeply affected -- and I told this story the other day. I thought a long time before I told it, because it was shared with me in a private moment. Tipper and I went out a couple of Sundays ago and physically embraced the families of all those who died in Columbine High School. And one of the fathers -- I won't use his name to protect his privacy; he might not even care, but it was so private -- he whispered into my ear during the midst of the embrace, "These children cannot have died in vain. We have to make changes. Promise me we'll make changes." And then he repeated it with a tone of urgency and insistence that went just straight to my heart and my soul. He said, "Promise me." And I said, "I promise," and I meant it; and anybody would have said the same.
GORE: And I think this country is reacting that way. And I think the debate now is all about how we keep that promise.
KING: But is there something concrete a government can do, when it has all the things that this society presents its young?
GORE: Well, sure. The government can catalyze changes and lead our country toward changes.
Frankly, we need leadership in every family. We need fathers more involved and mothers, and better parenting, and better role models and adults have to be involved in the lives of all children. We all have to accept more responsibility. A lot of adults are behaving quite irresponsibly, in spreading these images and messages of violence, and hatred and division, and people just want to say, stop it; it's enough; let's get back to the course that we're intended to travel in the United States.
And I think that leadership in our country, both at the national level and at the community level and in every family, I'll repeat, is critical to making those changes.
KING: All right, let me -- we're going to get a break and spend some more moments with vice president and then we'll be joined -- he'll remain by Dr. William Pollack, author of "Real Boys," a book that' getting a great deal of discussion -- the paperback is out; the hardbook cover came out last year -- and reverend Robert Schuller, who deals with mending.
We'll be right back with Vice President Gore, and then our other two gentlemen will join us for the rest of the hour. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, you got more china? Oh, yes, we got a boxful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Let's discuss, Mr. Vice president, two areas that have come in for a great deal of criticism in your thoughts: one, television -- and hyphenated -- video games, movies, et cetera -- the entertainment industry,
Do they -- can you prove their causal effect in this?
GORE: Well, there are a lot...
KING: Or is it an educated guess?
GORE: No. There are a lot of scientific studies actually, and they all, virtually all of them, point in the same direction. Yes, there is a connection.
But I fall back on a story that I learned in my religious faith, Larry. It's called the parable of the sower. And if you'll bear with me a second, it's about sowing seeds and some of them fall on barren ground and some of them on fertile ground. And some sprout and some don't.
And broadcasting as a word comes from sowing seeds. And I think when you spread all of these many violent, even grotesquely violent images out over our country into the minds of all the children, even young children, most kids are probably able to deal with it and it has no effect on them. But I think that some of those seeds bear bitter fruit. And yes, I think it's undeniable.
Why would all the billions of dollars spent on advertising be spent if the images conveyed had no effect?
KING: All right. So therefore, it works. But most people don't -- we don't know why the people who do, do things from it do it, do we? Most people don't.
GORE: Well, it's always -- it's always complicated. I think that in every person, there is a struggle to do right. And if you're equipped with your -- by your family and your community with strong values and you -- you make the right spiritual decisions, then, you know, you're going to do the right thing. But if not, you may be more vulnerable, and if the environment is such that violence is ubiquitous and fear is ubiquitous and people start going in the wrong direction, then they make mistakes.
And I think that as a national community, we should make changes that include reducing the absurd amount of violence in our culture...
GORE: ... especially where children are involved. Well, I made an announcement yesterday involving the decision by the Internet companies to give parents a new tool to sharply limit the exposure of children to sites on the Internet that they shouldn't be seeing or using. I think that the V-chip for television sets will be in effect next year. And I hope all the networks will cooperate with that, including NBC, which is the one that has not so far.
I think that the videotapes stores ought to all have a policy, like some of them do, of not renting the R-rated and other tapes to kids that are not old enough in the judgment of their parents to see them.
And I think, frankly, perhaps most importantly, we need a dialogue within the entertainment community to point in the direction of more self-restraint and more responsibility in the kinds of images that are produced and sold.
KING: And video games you include in the that?
GORE: Oh, absolutely. There are ratings systems now for video games, and the online distribution of video games will now be -- be restricted a little bit more under the new policy announced yesterday. But here, too, there must be restraint because some of these games are just grotesque.
You know, one of them, as was pointed out in one of the Senate hearings yesterday, is actually licensed to the United States Marine Corps to help people train how to kill enemy soldiers.
Now, if you have got 11-, 12-year-olds obsessing on a game that is used in a -- in a slightly altered form to train people how to kill other human beings -- well, a soldier is one thing. I mean, we're honored that they are doing their job. But to have that as a game for young kid -- it's -- it's crazy for us to tolerate this.
KING: Anybody can get anything, right, is the way...
GORE: Well, that shouldn't be the way that it happens. And let me emphasize again that the first line of defense is with the parents. And where parents are not doing the job, for whatever reason, I think that we need to strengthen families. We need to make it easier for them to -- to cover the times that aren't covered with after-school programs, for example, and more options for -- for particularly the forgotten adolescents who are going through such storms in their lives, and overworked parents who are having trouble balancing work and family, or just plain tired, make the mistake of assuming that these kids are old enough to kind of fend for themselves. And actually, they're the ones that need the most guidance.
KING: We'll get a break, and then Dr. Pollack and Reverend Schuller will join us. And Vice President Gore will remain as we continue on this very important topic. Tomorrow night, Richard Gere will be with us. Saturday, Bob Costas. We'll be right back.
KING: Our panel is now assembled. After we ask initial questions, everyone can jump in.
Vice President Al Gore remains with us. And we're joined by Dr. William Pollack, Ph.D, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and author of "Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons From the Myths of Boyhood." It was published last year in hard cover, now out in paperback.
And of course, the world-famous Reverend Robert Schuller -- evangelist, television pastor. His newest book comes out tomorrow, "Turning Hurts Into Halos."
We'll start with Dr. Pollack. What do you mean real boys? What do you mean by "myths of boyhood?"
DR. WILLIAM POLLACK, ASSISTANT CLINICAL PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Well, I think, Larry, we mean by real boys is that we have an image of what a real boy is supposed to be like, but that really is a myth. We narrow boys into what I call a gender straitjacket. And in fact, I mean, the vice president beautifully spoke about how we have to change families, how the government has to take leadership, the devastation that occurred in Littleton and last year with all of those killings.
But the one thing that wasn't talked about that, that isn't mentioned is that it's not a coincidence that these heinous acts are done by boys. And it happens because of the way we bring our boys up in America.
And we bring them...
KING: So girls don't do this?
POLLACK: Girls do not do this. And boys do this because we separate them too early from a kind of love and succor and caring and attachment. We tell them to stand on their own two feet before they're ready, and they get a sense of shame and a mask in front of their real feelings, and hate and shame builds up inside.
Now, most boys are never going to pick up a gun and kill someone, themselves or someone else, even though boys are four times more likely to kill themselves in America than girls.
But many boys live lives of lonely despair and isolation because of these myths, the main myth being boys will be boys, that they have to be this way or it's testosterone.
POLLACK: Absolutely not. KING: All right. We'll pick up on that. Reverend Schuller, "Turning Hurts Into Halos" -- is that too simplistic?
REV. ROBERT SCHULLER, AUTHOR, "TURNING HURTS INTO HALOS": No, I don't think so. I have -- I have seen positive people do this. I am in my 49th year as a pastor. And you name the hurts, I think I have walked people through it.
In this book, I tell a story of one of my closest friends, the photographer who takes my Christmas pictures every year for 25 years. His son went to Colorado a couple of years ago. They got a telephone call one morning that their son was shot dead. His two roommates were shot dead. The murderer was on the loose, going through the university to kill his girlfriend, and he was shot, killed by the police.
Murdering by angry, nonself-affirming people, lonely persons -- it's nothing new. And this -- this family, they turned their hurts into a halo. The anniversary of their son's death, they called the murderer's mother and said, "We care about you."
KING: The highest form of forgiveness.
KING: Dealing with it, Dr. Pollack -- and then we'll have questions for Al Gore and Robert Schuller, and opinions on all of this -- is what do you do about it? If that's the way -- if macho is macho is, you're always going to have boys will be boys, right? What do you do about it?
POLLACK: Well, what you do about it is you educate parents and teachers that they don't have to bring boys up according to what I call this "old boy code," that boys don't have to stand on their own two feet, that boys do cry, that big boys do cry, and you create what I call shame-free zones, where boys can express their feelings.
I was down in Littleton as well, and I was impressed by the survivors' expression of feeling, and love and caring. And one boy talked about the fact, I never realized how teasing could hurt someone that way. He was a poster child for America, telling other boys that that way of treating people is unnecessary, unnecessarily hurtful and does not have to occur.
KING: Does that mean, Dr. Pollack, that Littleton did not shock you?
POLLACK: In fact, Littleton hurt me deeply, but I wasn't shocked. In fact, I'll go on record as saying, I am shocked there aren't more Littletons. If we don't let boys cry tears, just like girls, many boys are going to pick up guns and cry bullets.
KING: We'll ask Vice President Gore and Dr. Schuller what they think of what Dr. Pollack has just told us. We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: I want to discuss and get into the Internet more.
But just off the top, Vice President Gore, what do you make of what you've just heard?
GORE: I think it's very profound. You know, there was a big discussion several years ago about how girls were being raised, and there were books written about it, and I think Dr. Pollack has wisely pointed out that some of those insights need to be examined with respect to boys also.
But, Larry, I think that this problem begins right after birth -- I mean, really with prenatal care, if you want to get to that. But when kids first come into the world, in their earliest years, they either form an attachment to a reliable care giver who gives them love and meets their needs, or not. If they don't get that, they learn powerlessness, which turns to anger, which in turn, frequently, becomes violence.
And, so I think that there has been a sharp reduction in the amount of time that parents are spending with children in the United States of America, and I think it has to be -- that trend has to be reversed. I think we need to get much more involved with all of the children in this country.
KING: Early on?
GORE: Parents have to lead the way, but others have to help.
KING: Reverend Schuller?
SCHULLER: I agree very much. You know, I am so happy to hear the vice president say, "We need changes in this country."
On page 1, of chapter 1 of my book, I say -- coming from Mother Teresa's funeral -- I say, "There is an epidemic in this country of insults, put-downs, dishonoring and besmirching the dignity of individuals with negative attacks." But this calls for a civility in our emotional environment.
The vice president has been very concerned about the pollution of environment, and I share that concern, but we've got to start thinking about the emotional environment. And we have not been taught how to be civil in communicating. I have had professors, and preachers and politicians that use the negative attack that is mean, that is demeaning, it is insulting, it is a putdown.
KING: Dr. Pollack, do you buy this self-esteem concept?
POLLACK: Oh, absolutely. The vice president was talking about early attachment. Or what's so striking about boys is that, in fact, male infants biologically at birth are as attached, if not more so, as emotional as girl infants; and by the time they're five years old, they can't talk about their feelings, and they're often pushed away from a kind of caring expression. KING: So what do you do differently as a parent? And Al has had sons and daughters. What do you do differently as a parent than we've done?
POLLACK: The first thing you do for all children -- but you have to do it especially for boys -- is that you don't push them away -- you give them the loving and the caring that we learn to give to girls.
And I say to fathers: You be at home with sons and you be there for them.
And to mothers: You hug them and you kiss them at one, at four, at five, at 15, if they'll let you, in a shame-free zone at home, and at 50, if you're both around. That's what makes for a strong, healthy, civil, caring man.
KING: But we teach them, Mr. President, to be tough, do we not? He's a tough little kid. Boy, look at those muscles. Watch him grow. Johnny can fight.
GORE: My mother gave me a hug at 51, the night before last, and I am grateful for it.
KING: That's true, isn't it?
GORE: I think it is true, Larry. And I think that the pressures on working families are so intense in these modern times that children are often being deprived of the affection, the caring, the concern and the time and the attention that they need. You've got to tune into them.
And, you know, all adults ought to be involved in the lives of all children in this country, including the adults that are preparing the entertainment for them, that are making money off them, that are treating them like miniature adults, when kids are not that way. We need to tune in to what their real needs are -- give them better schooling, better health care and all of that -- but in the emotional realm, we need to love them, and care for them and spend much more time with them.
KING: Reverend Schuller -- I want to get to the Internet in a minute -- does the church play a role when they're really young, or they can't, until they start being five, six or seven?
SCHULLER: Oh, the church can and it must. But I -- The church does face a problem, as the school faces a problem, that is, we are intimidated by the threat that hugging could be a dangerous thing. Gosh, it used to be we hugged kids, and I hugged people. I am a hands-on guy, but what's happening in our society, Mr. Vice President? And so Dr. Pollack used the word "lonesome," -- absolutely right; these kids are lonesome.
KING: Let me get a break and come back -- this is fascinating -- with Dr. William Pollack, with Vice President Al Gore and Reverend Robert Schuler. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: Polls in "Time" and "Newsweek" this week show that 80 percent of kids polled trust their parents more than anything else. Only 61 percent trust their teachers; 48 percent, their friends; 13 percent, the Internet -- but we hear a lot about the Internet. On the other hand, 45 percent said their parents know very little about the Internet.
Is this a huge problem, Al, that many -- I'm sorry, Mr. Vice president -- that many parents are computerphobic? They don't know what's going on with Johnny in that room?
GORE: Well, it is a problem, Larry -- I mean, Mr. King.
KING: Cute. Cute.
GORE: I mean, I think that a lot of parents do not know that the Internet, for all of its great wonders and riches, has some dark alleyways that are red-light districts and free fire zones. And it's just not appropriate to let a child get behind the car of an automobile -- drive down the freeway; it's not appropriate to let a child go on to the Internet without any supervision.
This new tool that was given by the industry yesterday to parents -- it will be available in July -- will operate as follows: Every time you turn on your computer to the Internet, the first thing that comes up automatically, pops up on the screen, a tool for parents that's easy to use, one click. You can block and filter material you think is inappropriate. You can also track what sites your children have been going to. Now, if the children know that their parents are able -- no one else -- but if their parents are able to do that, that's a pretty powerful intimidating force to -- to cause them to take their parents' guidance.
KING: Dr. Pollack, what do you make of that?
POLLACK: I think controls are very important, but I would follow the vice president's lead and say it's the connection with the parents. I say that fathers and mothers should be sitting down with their kids at the Internet, not sending them off like they did TV 10 years ago as a baby-sitter.
And when fathers and mothers call me and say, well, how do you help a boy not become violent or not look at -- sexualize violent images on the Internet, I say sit there with him. Have you sat there with them?
GORE: But Dr. Pollack, I agree with that, of course. But sometimes that wisdom flies in the face of the practical reality that today's families face. And sometimes families are told, look, either you should sit there every single minute that your child is watching television or playing a video game or cruising down the Internet, or you should unplug it and throw it out of the house. And for most families, neither one of those options feels like it's appropriate. So a third set of options, to give them the ability to enforce their values and to set down rules for their younger children, even when they can't physically be present and they're working, for example, can be very valuable.
KING: Dr. Schuller can this work in a society that loves its democracy and its freedoms?
SCHULLER: I think it probably cannot work in a society, as you describe it...
KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) it's supposed to be.
SCHULLER: ... without instilling the development of a healthy conscience in infancy and in childhood.
KING: In other words if you don't establish the values, you're barking down the wrong tree to begin with.
SCHULLER: We have forgotten about a thing called "conscience." Immanuel Kant said -- Kant said, you know, the moral law within. And it used to be that the religious houses of worship -- the synagogues, the Roman Catholic churches and schools, and the Protestant Sunday schools -- gave to the children from first grade on up a sense of morality, and that gave them a conscience. And ultimately, no person is eligible for responsible freedom if he doesn't have a moral law within.
KING: Doctor, why are so many -- and "Newsweek" reports this -- survey after survey, many, many kids, despite trust and being good kids, feel alienated? They feel left out, especially in that 14 to 19 group. Why?
POLLACK: They feel alienated because they feel that their parents don't really understand the pain and confusion...
KING: Hasn't that always been true?
POLLACK: To some extent. But things have dramatically changed over the last 25 years. The roles for women and men have changed dramatically. The two-parent family has changed dramatically. The role for a boy growing up into a man has changed dramatically. And parents have not caught up.
Parents love their kids. They want their boys and their girls to grow up healthy. But often they don't have the tools.
I mean, in "Real Boys," for example, I give 10 examples of how parents can relate to boys in a different way. I mean, there are so many books about girls to do that.
I think what happens with teenagers is that they are coming to see what adulthood is like and they don't like what they see. They don't like what we're doing. And they're telling us that, but the actions are telling us rather than the words. KING: Do we know why, Mr. Vice president, we like -- we, the collective -- we like guns, we like shoot them up, we like -- we're attracted to violence?
GORE: You know, if you have ever sat around the campfire, the fire is just kind of mesmerizing.
GORE: You can hardly take your eyes away from it. I think that violence has that capacity because of our evolutionary heritage, because of the laws of nature -- tooth and fang. And we have with our power of conscience, with our beliefs in God, if we have those, as most of us Americans do, we have the ability to -- to overcome those impulses with higher ones. We have the ability to overcome evil with good.
But I think that heritage is always present with us. It was for most of humankind's existence part of our way of surviving. And so I think it has a primitive appeal.
But to play on it and use that as a way of -- of making money easily by just luring kids along with it I think is unethical.
KING: Let me get a break, and we'll come back with more. We're zipping along. Don't go away.
KING: Dr. Pollack, in your book you say that boys who kill generally talk about it or write about it or brag about it or give warnings about it. Eric Harris is supposed to have done that. Do you want to elaborate?
POLLACK: Yes. Well, we miss the signals that boys give, because boys' pain remains invisible. Boys that kill, first of all, are often quite sad and depressed inside. There's a very thin line between suicidal feelings and homicidal feelings. This last mission was a suicidal, taking others down.
But they often either act with bravado and impulse, and tell people, I am going to hurt you or kill you, or they talk even about sadness, but we don't take it seriously enough.
POLLACK: Because we say boys will be boys. All boys brag. One principal said last year around one of these killings killings, "If I had to talk to every boy who talked about hurting someone, I'd have to talk to 20 boys a week." My answer is, start talking.
KING: Reverend Shuller, have you had to counsel boys who threaten violence? Have you ever dealt with this?
KING: Never dealt with it?
SCHULLER: No, I think it's the kind of world I live in; it's the kind of people I connect with.
KING: You don't see these boys?
SCHULLER: I don't think so. I think I deal -- and have for 49 years -- with a positive theology that focuses on building self- respect, self-esteem, self-worth, and this is what we teach and this is what we preach. Build the dignity of the individual. Don't insult, and don't embarrass; don't humiliate; don't shame.
The opposite of humility is not pride. The opposite of humility is shame.
KING: Could this...
SCHULLER: And this is what we teach and preach, and that creates healthy human beings.
KING: Mr. Vice President, could this hit any family, or does it require these not-seen problems we talked about?
GORE: Well, no, I don't think it can hit any family. I think if families are really attentive, and involved and connected with one another, the odds are very low that it's going to happen.
KING: So how do we look for the aberrations?
GORE: Well, I think it's instructive to listen to these communities that have experienced this violence, because they say the lesson for them is: It can happen anywhere, and I think that we should proceed as if that were the case, and start paying close attention to these kids.
Dr. Pollack says that the warning signs are there. The kids in -- at Columbine High School, certainly, saw them and heard them.
I think that we've got to pay much closer attention. Maybe some of these schools are way too big. Maybe we need schools within schools when they get to that size, so that when the fellow students say, listen, something's wrong with these two guys you know, those warning signs are heeded.
KING: What do you do, Doctor, if kids are talking like this?
POLLACK: Well, the first thing you do is you respond, and you respond in a way that is sensitive to their sense of shame. You don't respond in a large group. You take them aside. I talk about a special way that you can play and do activities with younger boys or action activity, positive action, with older boys, and you get them to open up.
And it's amazing -- when I started to do my work on my book -- and these were very healthy boys I talked to -- they had the same kinds of despair, and people said, they'll never talk to you, but in fact, when I found way to talk their language and their language of action, they were able to talk. But once you hear this, you interact. As an adult you have a responsibility -- you don't let it go by.
KING: Conversely, we also always hear from the neighbor down the street who says, he was a nice boy.
KING: This was a good boy.
POLLACK: Right, because we only see the outside. We don't see the inside.
But these signs -- you see, boys show different signs. Girls will show some weepiness and sadness. They may cut. They may engage in all kinds of behaviors we've learned about over the last ten years. We have to learn the signs for boys who dress in black shirts, who show bravado, who show anger. But it's not just anger -- It's sadness behind that. It's intense, horrible pain that they're afraid to talk about.
Now I want to follow up on what Mr. Vice President has said about schools. Schools have to reach out to their kids. The research shows that if a boy is in a school where he feels understood, he's two times more likely to be protected from harm; and if he has one adult who is a mentor who can talk to him, he's twice as likely to be safe...
GORE: That's interesting.
POLLACK: ... and we have to find schools where that happens, and we have to teach that in schools.
KING: And you agree, Dr. Pollack, with Dr. Schuller about tormenting kids, and making fun of kids and the way we shame people?
POLLACK: Absolutely. It is shame and blame that leads to these acts of violence.
In fact, when I was in Littleton, and people said, what can we do? They felt so badly. I said, the first thing is, don't feel ashamed, and don't blame yourself. Part of the healing is not to feel shame and blame, but to have accountability. That's very different.
GORE: And, Larry...
KING: When we come back, I am going to ask Dr. Schuller if sometimes people of the cloth are guilty of this. We'll be right back.
KING: Reverend Schuller, do you think people of the cloth are sometimes guilty too much of damnation?
SCHULLER: Absolutely. I don't know where it started most. But I know that we have to create a new sociology, in my case, a theology of communications: How do you talk? What words are bad words? What words are really profane? We have to learn how to be positive in affirming people -- you're terrific. You're fantastic. Encourage them. And ultimately, I am not what I think I am -- I am what you think you think I am -- I am what I think you think I am.
KING: Mr. Vice President, in "Newsweek" they cited that these two boys did a video in their video class last year, the film class, that was very excessively violent, and no one went over it and criticized them.
GORE: Yes, well, I think that's another problem associated with the incredible amount of violence in our mass media.
KING: Live and let live? We'll leave it alone?
GORE: Well, I think it's a problem of desensitization -- you get so used to it, you just get numb to it, and it doesn't have the shocking impact that it probably should.
You know, years ago, what was considered very violent in entertainment would be so tame by today's standards, it wouldn't even make us sit up; and so I guess when they showed their student video, kids used to seeing so much worse...
KING: Probably thought they'd be a famous director someday.
GORE: Well, I don't know.
But I wanted to make a point earlier, just briefly about what Dr. Pollack said. Many have pointed out that the number of children killed at Columbine is roughly the number killed every day if you aggregate those, many in the inner cities, and a lot of the fights that start that lead to violence there are started when a boy says he feels disrespected, and that just fits right in with what Dr. Pollack was saying, and it plays on their lack of self-worth, their feelings of shame. And I have to think that in many of those cases, what those boys are really saying is that they didn't get the respect or attention from their fathers or from their families, and they just have an empty place in their hearts that is leading to that violence.
KING: Anyone could be a parent is one of the problems, right?
GORE: And a mentor. And thank goodness, there are so many stepping up to the plate. There are so many Americans who are filling these gaps and who are organizing in groups to take these kids by the hand and give them guidance.
KING: Yes, just as there were heroes in the violence of natural causes -- like in Oklahoma and Kansas, there were heroes, there are heroes in classrooms; that teacher was a great hero.
GORE: Just fantastic. Dave Sanders -- he'll be long remembered and Cassie Bernall. And my goodness, what courage that young woman had to look into the face of -- into the mouth of that gun and say, yes, I believe in God. SCHULLER: You know, may I say something at that point? I met with her grandparents, too, the other day in Littleton. I think she's the first Christian martyr in the United States of America. When she was asked, at the point of a gun, "Do you believe in God," and she said "Yes," she knew she'd be blown away.
KING: She is a martyr.
SCHULLER: And I think another thing I would like to make a point of, and that is the opposite of love is not hate. When we see a lot of hatred and a lot of violence that we say is hatred, it's really not hatred. The opposite of love is not hatred. The opposite of love is fear. And fear is only handled when we give people a sense of their self-worth, and we love them and we hug them and we tell them how great they are and how beautiful they are. And that's the classic role of the Judeo-Christian faith, whether you're Jewish, Roman Catholic, Protestant or Muslim.
We all look at the creation of the human being, and we need to love each other -- no substitute for that.
KING: We'll be right back some more moments with this panel on LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
This week on LARRY KING LIVE, Friday night actor-activist Richard Gere, his first interview since his trip to Macedonia. Tony Robbins and "Forgive or Forget" host Mother Love will give you advice on life, love and money. And then on LARRY KING WEEKEND, one of the broadcasting greats, Bob Costas for the hour. From baseball to basketball, he knows it all.
It's all ahead on LARRY KING LIVE, 9:00 Eastern on CNN.
KING: In our remaining moments, gentlemen, last night on this program Bill Bennett and Sen. Joe Lieberman and Jack Valenti has a spirited discussion about the way we market -- the way the films and movies and like are marketed to the children. Does that concern you, Mr. Vice President? Not just what's on the film, the way it's sold?
GORE: Yes, it does. Now, there have been some changes over the years. They used to sometimes have the previews that were rated R for movies that were -- that -- that...
KING: You want a PG movie and you see an R?
GORE: That's what I'm trying to say, thank you. And I think they have made some positive changes there.
But yes, of course, there is a tendency to use the violence and sexuality. And I think that some of them were singling out the way some of those video games are advertised. And some of the ads have been grotesque.
KING: Are you surprised, Doctor, that in a survey at Emory University, 110 kids were asked if they were bullied in school, all said they were?
POLLACK: I am not surprised at all. Bullying is a national crisis. There is a national crisis of teasing and bullying that leads to hurt and pain, and that leads to violence. And there is a national crisis of boyhood in America. Until we recognize that boys are in pain and boys have the same kind of feelings and we understand and reach out to those boys with love, we are not going to see the end of this kind of hate.
KING: Reverend Schuller, whose new book comes out tomorrow, "Turning Hurts Into Halos," can you -- and you are basically one of the most optimistic people we have ever had. Can you remain optimistic after what we have heard in this hour?
SCHULLER: Yes, because I -- pardon me, I have got to be honest. I believe in God, and I am a follower of Jesus Christ. And I believe that a people that are given spiritual values that will develop -- responsible conscience, they're going to become good people. And I am believing that people are going to start going back do their synagogues and back to their Catholic churches and back to their churches and take their kids to Sunday school and use these devices to give them the kind of faith that'll make them healthy people.
KING: Do you think, Mr. Vice president, then, if we accept that, good can come out of Littleton?
GORE: Oh, absolutely. It is already coming out of Littleton. And for those who are people of faith, they would say it as Dr. Schuller just did, as I would. But I would also add I believe in the United States of America. And I believe the spirit of America was not expressed by those two young killers, but by all the heroes that came forward to save lives and to stare down death and reaffirm their faith and to speak for what is best in our country. And that is going to be what prevails in the United States.
We do have to make changes and individually accept responsibility for making changes in order for our country to change as we have constantly renewed ourselves.
KING: So the dialogue is worthwhile, all of this?
GORE: Not only worthwhile -- it's essential.
KING: Are you going to be at that Monday White House conference next week?
GORE: Oh, yes, indeed. And it will be the beginning of a national dialogue on violence, a national campaign against violence. We do have to limit the availability of guns and do something about the violent entertainment, have better parenting, more character and values taught in schools. We have to make a lot of changes, not just one or two changes.
And we shouldn't get into an argument where people who are in favor of one kind of change start battling people who put the emphasis on something else, because actually, it's a complex problem. And many changes are needed. And we can't duck the responsibility. We have to accept it.
KING: Dr. Pollack, with all you know and all you have written, can you be optimistic?
POLLACK: Absolutely. I think that parents out there are looking for information. They're hungry for the kind of hope we have heard about, for the kind of policy changes and support from the government, the vice president is promising, and for the kind of information they hear in "Real Boys."
They want to know how to do things differently. They care. They love. They need our support to carry this off.
KING: And Dr. Schuller, you carry on the worth of these discussions on Sunday morning as well, right?
SCHULLER: Oh, yes. Yes, last Sunday I had a difficult job delivering my message. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- it will be aired in a week. And you'll probably see my lips quiver and water flow out of the eyes, but I had just come where I spoke Saturday night at Littleton and I stopped at all the crosses. And it's a tough thing. I think it's one of the toughest things I have gone through.
KING: Thank you all very much. Vice President Al Gore, Dr. William Pollack, the author of "Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons From the Myths of Boyhood," and Dr. Robert Schuller, whose new book, "Turning Hurts Into Halos," comes out tomorrow.
Tomorrow night on this program, Richard Gere. On Saturday night, Bob Costas. Thanks for joining us and good-night.
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