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SEAL Commander Dead in War Zone; 100-Plus People Killed in Syria Bombing; NRA Responds to Criticism
Aired December 23, 2012 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: He considers it a call of duty after the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. A father and former Marine decided to do what he could to keep his kids' school safe. He now spends his days standing guard outside the entrance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JORDAN PRITCHARD, FMR. STAFF SERGEANT, U.S. MARINE CORPS: I'm doing this because we need hope, man. If you're able and capable of doing something, you have the responsibility to act.
SARAH KNIES, MOTHER OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENT: He made me feel good just to know that he stood up and did something to make us all feel better today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Former Marine, a dad, doing what's right, doing his duty.
Hello, everyone. Don Lemon here, top of the hour. You're in THE CNN NEWSROOM.
We're going to begin with this: a senior Navy SEAL officer dead in Afghanistan. The Pentagon says Commander Job W. Price, leader of SEAL Team 4, was found dead yesterday by members of his unit. The initial conclusion is that Price committed suicide. The Navy's investigating.
Stay with CNN for more details from our Pentagon correspondent in just a minute.
More than 100 people were killed in Syria today. Civilians doing nothing more than waiting in line for bread.
Witnesses say a Syrian military aircraft dropped bombs on this small village and hit a bakery where scores of people were gathered trying to get desperately-needed food. Witnesses say the hospitals cannot handle all the casualties.
The people of Egypt give a thumbs-up to a new constitution drawn up by the country's most Islamist assembly. This weekend was the second round of a nationwide referendum. The new constitution adjusts the leadership positions and clarifies how the country's laws are made. We'll know the final results in just a few hours.
Hours ago, Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye was laid to rest. He represented Hawaii in Washington for more than five decades, ever since Hawaii became a state in 1959. The 88-year-old senator was also a war hero. He lost his arm in World War II.
President Obama and the first lady attended today's funeral in Hawaii. Obama has said Inouye was his earliest political inspiration.
We are not going to budge. That's the message from the National Rifle Association. Making it clear today its opposition to any new gun laws in the wake of the Connecticut shooting. The group's CEO is standing by remarks he made at an event on Friday.
CNN's Barbara Starr has more on the debate that dominated the Sunday morning talk shows.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Newtown.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Newtown.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Newtown.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Newtown.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many more?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Performers and artists now joining with 800 mayors calling for a plan to end gun violence.
But Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive officer and public face of the National Rifle Association made clear on NBC's "Meet the Press" that his organization will oppose legislation adding new restrictions to the sale of weapons or high-capacity ammunition magazines.
WAYNE LAPIERRE, CEO, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: Look, I know there's a media machine in this country that wants to blame guns every time something happens. I know there's an anti-Second Amendment industry in this town.
I know there are political elites that for 20 years always try to say it's because of American-owned guns. I'm telling what I think will make people safe, and what every mom and dad will make them feel better -- when they drop their kid off at school in January is if we have a police officer in that school, a good guy.
STARR: As the last of the Newtown massacre victims are laid to rest, the NRA has taken the position that armed security officers in schools are a major part of its solution.
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: I have found the statements by the NRA over the last couple days to be really disheartening because the statements seem to not reflect any understanding about the slaughter of children that happened in Newtown, Connecticut.
Here is what bothered me: they were -- the NRA spokespeople have been willing to deal with every possible cause of gun lens except guns.
STARR (on camera): School districts across the country have grappled for years with the question of security. But advocates of more gun laws, the opposite of the NRA, offered this: they remind everyone there was an armed security officer at the Columbine High School the day of that 1999 massacre, and they say controlling gun violence requires a package of solutions beyond the schoolhouse door.
Barbara Starr, CNN, Washington.
LEMON: Barbara, thank you.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence weighed in on the current debate. They released a statement today from a father whose 8-year- old son was saved from bullets by a courageous teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary.
He writes, "Our hearts are heavy this holiday in Newtown. Nothing will bring our children back or ease the pain we all feel. But we can do something to make this nation safer. We can make this the nation we all want.
So, today, I want to speak specifically to all responsible gun owners and NRA members with the message to join us. Join us because you know in your heart that we are better than this."
Hope you're listening.
Coming up in 30 minutes here, I'm going to talk to Ken Trump. He says calls for arming teachers, making kids wear bulletproof backpacks, and teaching kids to attacked armed intruders is borderline insane. That's at 7:30 Eastern, right here on CNN.
Is Congress ready to do a "Thelma and Louise" and plunge over the fiscal cliff? Some lawmakers sounded gloomy about any chances for a compromise deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
REP. MICK MULVANEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Passing Plan B would not have changed the outcome. We would have gone over the cliff before. We're going to go over the cliff now because it's what the president wants. You cannot negotiate with someone who does not want to negotiate.
LIEBERMAN: In the aftermath of the House Republicans rejecting Speaker Boehner's so-called Plan B, it's the first time I feel like it's more likely that we will go over the cliff than not. And that -- if we allow that to happen, it will be the most colossal, consequential act of congressional irresponsibility in a long time -- maybe ever in American history.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
LEMON: Nine days remain to get a deal done. Lawmakers are home for the holidays. House Speaker Boehner is in Ohio. President Obama as reported is in his native Hawaii.
Before leaving Washington, President Obama urged Congress to pass a mini plan that would preserve middle class tax rates.
Brianna Keilar joins us now live from Hawaii.
Brianna, what do we think will happen as the holiday week rolls out?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, and, Don, we should probably say where our Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, because now all eyes turn to the Senate. They're set to come back to town on the 27th. That is Thursday.
And at this point, there are a number of options for some sort of bill that Senate majority Leader Harry Reid could put on the floor. But right now, it appears Democrats in the White House are pushing for something that still concentrates on making sure that income tax rates for those making a quarter million dollars or less don't go up.
That said, it's really hard to see how at that rate, Senator McConnell might allow some Republican senators to support it or that some Republican senators would even want to jump on board with that and even harder to see how a bill like that is something that House Speaker John Boehner would allow to the floor vote -- allow to the House floor for a vote.
So things are very uncertain at this point. And it really, as you're hearing a lot of pessimism as we just heard from Democrats and Republicans about what will happen with the fiscal cliff and whether we'll go over it. It is unclear.
LEMON: Brianna, can we expect any other lawmakers to like jump in and try to -- you mentioned Harry Reid, right? What about Mitch McConnell or someone, can we expect anybody else to do something besides the House speaker and the president?
KEILAR: Well, at this point, I think the ball is really out of the court of President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner. Obviously, something would have to get through the House, but we're definitely focusing on the Senate.
I will tell you talking to sources that it doesn't even appear that Senate Majority Leader Reid and Senate Minority Leader McConnell are talking. The discussions aren't under way yet. You talk to sources on the Hill and you get the sense that Reid is waiting for McConnell to chime in and McConnell is waiting for Reid to chime in.
So this is a bit of a standoff right now and we are waiting to see who is going to blink. That's really the question, is who is going to blink first, Don? And the fact is we just don't know at this point.
LEMON: Brianna Keilar, thank you very much.
Next, they were only trying to buy bread. Now, more than 100 people are dead after a bakery is bombed by warplanes. We're live from the Middle East as the violence in Syria escalates.
And their job was to make people laugh, but that was before the Newtown school shooting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was one of the first responders to the scene. How are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm doing okay.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never in your life could you imagine you'd pull up to a scene so horrific.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely not. There are certain things that people just shouldn't see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: How a Connecticut morning radio show has become a way for listeners to heal.
LEMON: Horrible, horrible news from the Syrian civil war today. Sadly, we're accustomed to high death tolls and civilian casualties in Syria. But what happened today, what happened today was brutal even by that war standard.
We've made this video blurry on purpose because the scene is so awful. It's a small village in western Syria. Witnesses say a government warplane dropped bombs on a bakery today where long lines of people were waiting just to get some bread. More than 100 people are dead now.
I want to talk to CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom. He is in Beirut, Lebanon, right now.
Mohammed, this news is heartbreaking out of Syria. What more can you tell us about what happened there today?
MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, it's absolutely horrific details that have emerged the past few hours since we first reported this bombing in Halfaya, that's in Hama province. Activists tell us that around 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. local in Syria today that this warplane dropped this shell on this bakery. They say that hundreds of people were lined up outside, that there had been shortages of food throughout the last week. That this was the first day that that bakery that had been hit was open and that because of that, at least 100 people they say were killed.
The video that we've seen posted online, we can't independently verify it, but it seems to be corroborated by what we've been told by activists. It shows an absolutely grisly scene, mangled bodies there in the wreckage of the building and the rubble. You see rebel Free Syrian Army soldiers and civilians trying to tend to the wounded, taking them to the hospital, as well as trying to pull dead bodies out of the rubble.
Men screaming into the camera angry at the Bashar al-Assad regime who they blame for this and asking the world, "Where are you, why aren't you helping the Syrian people?"-- Don.
LEMON: Any explanation, Mohammed, from the Syrian government for this bombing? I mean, what possible reason would they have to bomb this village?
JAMJOOM: Well, Don, the Syrian government hasn't commented on this aerial bombardment yet. But opposition activists that we've spoken with say they believe the reason this town was targeted is because they say that the town was liberated in the past week, that rebel Free Syrian Army members went into the town, that they took it away from the control of Syrian regime forces that had been there.
The opposition activists we speak with say there had been a lot of anti-Bashar al-Assad sentiment in that town. And they say that because of that, they believe that this town was deliberately targeted as a part of a retaliation plan by the government -- Don.
LEMON: U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is in Syria today. He's expected to meet Bashar al-Assad. Russian diplomats have been talking about possible asylum for Assad. This bombing today has to play a part in the discussions in Damascus.
JAMJOOM: Well, we certainly think it would have to, absolutely. And really is there any more striking juxtaposition as far as the failed attempts thus far by the diplomatic efforts of people like Lakhdar Brahimi and Kofi Annan before him when you compare that to the horror on the ground, what's happening in the town like Halfaya, where hundreds of people have been killed, according to the activists.
Time and again we've seen either Lakhdar Brahimi or before him, Kofi Annan, regional power players, international power players, the U.N. and the Arab League try to go into Syria, try to forge some sort of path to peace, and yet it seems to have fallen on deaf years every time. These peace plans just don't seem to take hold. And the activists that we speak with today said they don't believe that this time will be any different.
And they fear for what's going to happen next. We must remember that in nearly two years since the uprising began in Syria, since the civil war started, over 40,000 people have been killed there as a result of the violence -- Don.
LEMON: Mohammed Jamjoom, thank you very much.
A ban on protest defied in New Delhi, India.
For a second straight day, riot police blasting protesters with high pressure water hoses. Demonstrators returned to the states after a woman was gang raped on a moving city bus last weekend. They're demanding a toughening of India's rape laws.
Meantime, further north, a protest over the assault of another woman turned deadly. A journalist was killed by police gunfire in protests there.
People in Chile and Argentina are watching a volcano that straddles the border between the two countries. The volcano has been spewing smoke into the sky and ash has been raining down on surrounding towns. But so far, no evacuations have been ordered, although some people have fled the area.
Police officers see a lot of interesting things, but this may be a first. Check out what a cop spotted darting across the road -- a baby in a shopping cart heading right into traffic. Stick around for the ending.
LEMON: It's hour top story this hour on CNN: the death of a senior Navy SEAL commander in Afghanistan. Here is our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr with what few details we know at this hour -- Barbara.
STARR (voice-over): Don, very sad news this holiday weekend for U.S. Navy SEALs. The Navy is now investigating the death in Afghanistan of one of its most senior deployed SEAL officers as an apparent suicide, a U.S. military official tells CNN.
Navy Commander Job W. Price, 42 years old, died December 22nd while serving as the commanding officer of SEAL Team Four, a group of more than two dozen commandos conducting combat operations in the southern region of the country.
Now, while the death remains under formal investigation, that U.S. military official who's directly familiar with the event, said the family has been notified of the death and has also been notified it is being investigated as an apparent suicide. There is no indication at this time that Commander Price was involved in any military-related investigations or any controversies, the official said.
All indications are when he did not appear at an expected time, other military personnel went to look for him and discovered his body with an apparent gunshot wound -- Don.
LEMON: Barbara, thank you very much.
A bank robber who escaped a prison in Chicago on a rope of bed sheets and dental floss has made his first court appearance. Joseph "Jose" Banks and a fellow inmate squeezed down a window and rappelled 15 stories to freedom early Tuesday. But the breakout didn't last long for the inspiring fashion designer turned prolific bank robber. A swarm of police and FBI agents arrested banks at an apartment. The manhunt for the other escapee continues.
A police officer in the right place at the right time. Take a look at this video. This is footage from a police car dash cam in Spooner, Wisconsin, capturing what police officer Adam Brunclick (ph) saw as he was driving along his beat. A child you see there in the yellow jacket in a shopping cart rocketing towards a busy street. The officer realized he couldn't stop the car so he stopped traffic instead. It worked and the little boy escaped unharmed.
Their job is to make people laugh, but not these days. How a Connecticut radio morning show has become a way for listeners to heal. Powerful words, coming up.
LEMON: Connecticut's number one FM radio morning show usually sounds like fraternity -- like a fraternity party but since the shooting, the two radio hosts got serious and started taking hundreds of calls from people trying to deal with tragedy.
ANNOUNCER: Chaz, AJ, mornings.
CHAZ, FROM "CHAZ AND AJ IN THE MORNING" 99.1 WPLR/95.9 THE FOX: Our normal show we like to call it a town hall meeting held in a frat house. Friday was strange. We went from in the morning doing one of the most happy, upbeat, fun shows of the year --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Next year is going to be even better.
CHAZ: To in the afternoon doing the saddest show of our careers.
AJ, FROM "CHAZ AND AJ IN THE MORNING" 99.1 WPLR/95.9 THE FOX: He was one of the first responders to the scene. How are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm doing OK.
AJ: Never in your life could you imagine you'd pull up to a scene so horrific.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely not. There are certain things that people just shouldn't see.
AJ: Every moment it was getting worse and worse and you couldn't help but feel, OK, did we reach the bottom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My sister is a behavioral therapist at Sandy Hook Elementary.
CHAZ Is she OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't know. We haven't heard from her.
CHAZ: How long ago did she start there?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her second week there.
CHAZ: She's probably very busy right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. She's probably -- will be very terrified when she gets home but right now her priorities are children.
CHAZ: And Monday we had her on the show and she was not OK.
I'm so sorry for your loss.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, thank you very much. We're all surprised and shocked.
AJ: There's almost a threshold for a nightmare. This left nightmare in the rear-view mirror.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My heart goes out to those parents because they will never be the same.
AJ: The fact folks were able to call in and get it out of their system, to talk about it instead of keeping it bottled in, I think it helped them and it helped us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jim in Sandy Hook.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a father of a third grader attended the school. So, you can imagine how our world has been turned upside down.
CHAZ: Frank in Shelton.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. How are you doing, guys? A very close friend of ours lost his son.
CHAZ: Gretchen in Seymour.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You bring us hope to all of us who remain a little bit hopeless.
CHAZ: Barry in (INAUDIBLE) today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know how any of these parents are doing what they're doing.
CHAZ: A tough day after another tough day and then a harder day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm choking up as we speak and I can't get over what has happened.
CHAZ: Scott in Roxbury.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A very close friend of mine, his son was one of the victims.
CHAZ: Mary in Shelton.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, how are you? CHAZ: We're hanging in.
FEMALE: As we all are. It's really, really tough.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And at the cemetery also there was probably 200 to 300 firefighters.
CHAZ: They're all lined up along the funeral route.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're having their service for his son today in Newtown.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a lovely poem. Can I share it with you?
AJ: Can you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please don't cry, we're okay. We won't on a field trip today. It's really nice so I think I'll stay and hold your spot until your field trip day. I know Christmas is here and there's toys to be given, so please tell Santa to send them to heaven.
LEMON: Arming teachers, cops in school, bulletproof backpack, just some of the ideas that have been proposed to protect students. What does a school safety expert think about those ideas? He sums up his thoughts about arming teachers in two words: borderline insane.
We talk live with him, next.
LEMON: Half past the hour, getting a look at the headlines right now here on CNN.
A senior Navy SEAL official dead in Afghanistan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (voice-over): The Pentagon says Commander Job W. Price, leader of SEAL Team 4, was found dead yesterday by members of his unit. The initial conclusion is that Price committed suicide. The Navy is investigating right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: More than 100 people were killed in Syria today, civilians doing nothing more than waiting in line for bread.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Arabic.) Allah Akbar!
LEMON (voice-over): Witnesses say a Syrian military aircraft dropped bombs on this small village and hit a bakery where people were gathered, trying to get desperately needed food. Witnesses say the hospitals cannot handle all the casualties.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. Here we go. Another conversation about this school shooting and gun laws, arming teachers, giving kids bulletproof backpacks, teaching kids to attack armed intruders. The conversations about school safety after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School are endless. Everyone tried to come up with a solution to keep our children safe.
So joining me now from Cleveland is Ken Trump. He's the president of the National School Safety and Security Services.
Thank you for joining us again. We were in Newtown together, so it's good to see you. How are you doing?
KEN TRUMP, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL SCHOOL SAFETY AND SECURITY SERVICES: Hanging in there, Don. It's been tough, more so as a father than as a school safety professional and I know we spent some time there in Newtown and, you know, the people's faces, they were shell-shocked as I drove around town, worked with you and Soledad and others.
It's just something that I'll never forget and a punch in the gut as a father.
LEMON: Yes, when I hear people who come up with some of these ridiculous proposals and who say we should, you know, be looking at other things besides, you know, the gun rules, I just wish they could see all the faces that we saw, who -- the people we saw and what they were dealing with. And maybe they may change their minds a little bit or there may be some more compromise.
TRUMP: I have been in this business for over 25 years. I have had hundreds of emails and people with bulletproof vests for teachers and arming teachers and bulletproof backpacks and the list just goes on and on, and it's -- you know, we're struggling to get people to focus on the fundamentals.
The best practices have been in place since post-Columbine. We know it's prevention, it's mental health support service for kids, building relationships, basic security measures. Your school-based police officers are effective programs, school emergency planning.
But it's a balanced approach and this has been -- this issue has been politicized. I'm just angry. It's been politicized on all angles. It's been opportunists who are jumping on for products and the conversation isn't even in the ballpark. It's been borderline insane and it just gets worse every day.
LEMON: Yes, that's what I was going to say. Your quote was that, any of this with the backpacks and all that -- I mean, don't we want to preserve our kids' innocence for just as long as we -- maybe a little bit longer and not have them have to go to school with bulletproof backpacks or when they go up to their school, to see an armed guard? TRUMP: Well, I tell you, Don, the devil is always in the details of implementation and even if you entertain the idea, which I don't; bulletproof backpacks for example -- if you understand how schools work, most schools, the kids put the backpacks in the lockers anyway. I mean, what are you going to do in gym class? I just have this vision of kids running around in gym. Are they going to be carrying the book bag over their heads in front of them? It doesn't even make sense, period, but especially in implementation.
Armed police officers, school resource officers do a lot of preventative work relationships with kids. Those -- the funding for that has been cut more and more for the past five or six years, as has prevention, and -- but you start talking -- you know, teachers want to be armed with textbooks and computers.
And every teacher I talk with in my kids' school and elsewhere around the country said, no thanks, no way, no how.
But the conversation just goes on like wildfire, and we're missing the fundamentals. Let's talk about the counselors, the psychologists, the social workers, who have been pulled from schools in recent years. Talk about the school-based police and security personnel, the lack of training, basic access to your buildings. And the list goes on and on. There are a lot of -- people in our schools want reasonable, practical help now.
LEMON: Let me jump in here, because my thing is for the thrill of being able to, whoo-hoo, is that worth the safety of a kid with, you know -- because these are recreational rifles that we're talking about --they should be -- and that's what most people use them for. They're not -- you can't use them to really protect your home or you can't really use them to hunt.
But I want to say this; leaders of the NRA have said they will not budge an inch on their stance against new gun laws.
NRA president David Keene was on CBS "Face the Nation." I want you to listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID KEENE, PRESIDENT, NRA: The first thing we have to do is protect our kids. We're willing to debate the whole question of these semiautomatic so-called assault weapons. We've debated it before. They've been -- We had an assault weapons -- so-called assault weapons ban for 10 years. We had what Senator Feinstein is suggesting.
It was allowed to expire. The FBI, the Justice Department and others who studied it said it made no difference. So if we're looking at things that are effective, let's talk about them. But first let's talk about protecting our kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Ken, don't go anywhere, we'll get your answer to what he had to say after this quick break. OK, Don.
LEMON: Ken Trump, president of the National School Safety and Security Services back with us.
OK, so you heard what David Keene, who is the NRA president, had to say on CBS "Face the Nation" regarding gun laws. What did you -- what do you think?
TRUMP: Well, with all due respect to the NRA, and I believe in the 2nd Amendment in general, but I also believe that I won't pretend to be a gun rights lobbyist if they don't pretend to be school security experts, and that way we can respect our field.
Look, one gun in the hands of a kid is one too many in a school, and when we look at the firepower, I think we need to have some rational conversations on the gun issue and stop politicizing it. I mean, it was jumped on immediately. I'm talking, as you know, within 24 hours, people -- we started circling the wagons on this issue.
And, yes, it needs to be a conversation, but we also need to balance out that conversation with what are we going to do when kids come back to school in two weeks? And how do we pull back all these other resources that we know work in schools that we've taken away?
And I just want a practical conversation that's helpful in the big picture, in the long term on gun issues and broader societal issues, but I also want to see the conversation on what are we going to put into schools in the next few weeks to give people some resources who need the help, Don? And we haven't had that conversation. It's fallen to the wayside; the budgets have been cut.
I want some practical stuff and I want stuff that's going to help a principal in two weeks when they get back to school and the politics and the political rhetoric and the tone of this has to be not ratcheted up but toned down and serious on all ends. And stop circling the wagons, taking -- politicizing it, using it to further the agendas. And let's get real. Let's get real.
LEMON: Ken, I spoke with two moms there, who, you know, they wanted a police officer at every school. And, you know, I spoke with them and I felt -- obviously my heart went out to them.
LEMON: But it's not -- we can't afford it. It would be great if it could happen but we can't afford it, and there are so many other programs that are cut. I just had this conversation with my friend who is a police officer this morning, who was saying there should be police officers at every school, and I said, well, where is the money?
And he is a Republican. He's a conservative. And I said where is that money going to come from? You keep saying the government is spending too much money. So then where are you going to get the dollars from?
TRUMP: Well, if you recall, this is Columbine deja vu. We had this conversation right after Columbine and the Clinton administration very appropriately developed the Cops in Schools program in the Justice Department.
And in the past five or six years that -- and, again, this crosses both administrations. It's not a political statement; the last five or six years across multiple Congresses, congressional sessions, that money disappeared. So the issue is even if you could afford -- and I support school resource officer programs.
As a father, I can understand, every father would like, you know, a police officer in their school and many parents right now after Sandy Hook would like a one-on-one ratio with their kid, one officer per kid, but my challenge and question is fund it now. If Congress throws money when they come back in January at this, what are you doing for sustainability?
And, Don, you hit it in the head. Five years from now, six years from now, when the grants run out, how do you sustain that and who is going to pick up the tab? After the Cops in Schools program ran out under the Clinton administration, local school boards pointed to the police departments. Police departments pointed back at the school boards. And those programs ended up being cut.
I support them. They're proactive. They're prevention programs, but, you know, we're a roller coaster society, roller coaster public awareness, public policy and public funding. The question isn't whether Sandy Hook or Columbine or any other incidents are wake-up calls, the question is six months or six years down the road are we going to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep?
LEMON: Ken Trump, questions to be pondered. Thank you.
TRUMP: Take care, Don.
LEMON: How do you buy gadgets for people who are kind of leery of gadgets? Maybe you probably shouldn't buy them a gadget. Christmas tech gifts from the technophobe on your list. How cool is that thing that you see right there? That's next.
LEMON: All right. Let's see if I can work myself up some Christmas spirit. I'm pretending I'm at the mall now. Whatever.
Gadgets are always a great holiday gift but what about the people on your list who don't always want the latest thing and they don't want to buy the latest thing? People who are a bit hesitant with new tech? The technophobes -- that's what we call them. CNN Money's tech pro is Laurie Segall. She's back.
I like to call her Laurie Seagal.
So you got your tech gifts for the technophobes and there's a retro gadget thing that actually is a trend right now. I think I owned it. Go ahead; take it away.
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes, so this one, I brought it in for you, Don. It's right here. You see that it is attached to my phone and if I want to take a phone call, I can just do it like this.
LEMON: I had one.
SEGALL: For those of us --
LEMON: I lost it at the supermarket.
SEGALL: Well, you know, Christmas is coming up and they're flying off the shelves, so maybe I will send you one, Don. But I'm already sending -- I'm pretty sure my mom is getting one of these in the mail, too. But we're seeing these fly off the shelves. You see it right there on Amazon.
They also have them at fab.com. But it's for people who have a smartphone but who still miss having that land line and having the feel of an actual telephone that you can hold in your hand. So we're definitely this a lot this holiday season.
LEMON: OK. I left it in a shopping cart I think or someone snagged it out of my shopping cart. So I would walk around and people would be like are you kidding me? I'm like, no, it's real. And it's -- I mean, it's great. I used to do my radio interviews on it. It was really clear.
SEGALL: I'm sure you looked very cool walking around with it. I mean, I think that people love these things. Someone probably did steal it, Don.
LEMON: Yes, but you know what? Honestly, Laurie, if someone is a technophobe, you don't buy them a tech -- you don't buy them a gift. You buy them a sweater.
SEGALL: Maybe. But maybe you just got to ease them in. That's -- it's all about easing them into it, Don.
LEMON: All right. My go-to is like socks or a knit cap. It's easy. Keep them warm.
OK -- or gloves.
Sticking with phones now -- and this one may be one of the easiest phones to use ever, right, Laurie?
SEGALL: Yes. I mean, imagine -- so this is -- this is very technological. Imagine if you could completely replace your phone with your glove. It sounds very crazy but there's a company called High Fund (ph) that's created these Bluetooth gloves that are just awesome.
So instead of exactly telling you about it, let me show it to you. I demoed the gloves with a rep from Think Geek (ph) and take a look at how they work in action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the thumb you've got a speaker and in the pinkie you have a microphone. So you can make the classic (inaudible). And you talk on your phone that way.
SEGALL: This is very strange. I hear your voice coming from my thumb right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEGALL: Crazy stuff, Don. Very, very interesting. I could hear his voice in my thumb. It was very Inspector Gadgetesque. But they're $69.99. They're not cheap and they don't exactly look cool but I can imagine just walking down the street like this, you're going to get a lot of looks.
LEMON: All right. So let's go -- for us children of the '80s, really, I'm really a child of the '70s. We are bringing back Arcade to your pocket. What's this one?
SEGALL: Sure. So, I'm a baby of the '80s. And essentially, think about going to the arcade and being able to play these arcade games. There is now something called iCade. And you can actually put your iPhone into a device and make it so you can play arcade-like games. You can download Pac-Man, Tetris; and you can actually use that joystick to play these games. And they also have this for the iPad, too.
And they are just flying off the shelves. They are now $15 on thinkgeek.com (ph). You can get them at a lot of different places. And it's the perfect gift and something that's so unexpected, but definitely a throwback to the past, Don.
LEMON: That is tiny, Laurie. It's like the phone in "Zoolander," you're like ...
SEGALL: I know. But, look, people love playing their Pac-Man. I play Pac-Man on it. And I mean, I forgot how good I was at Pac-Man actually.
LEMON: I still have my old -- I think it's Mattel, the football game. I lost -- I had the baseball. Remember the one where you would do with your -- yes. I still have it somewhere.
SEGALL: My brother would know, Don.
LEMON: Laurie, thank you. I look forward to that phone thing. You don't have to do that. Thank you, though. Happy holidays to you.
SEGALL: You, too.
LEMON: Someone called it the most subtle end of the world ever. Friday was not the apocalypse, of course. But some had braced themselves. And Doomsday just came and went. Are these people nuts or do they know something we don't? Stop laughing in the studio. We spoke to a man who spoke to a bunch of them. His take next.
LEMON: It was the apocalypse that wasn't. The end of the Mayan calendar on Friday meant simply time to put up a new calendar. The Earth didn't stop spinning. Time itself did not end. And it never was going to.
But don't take my word for it. Listen to the calm, learned words of wisdom from celebrated physicist Michio Kaku.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHIO KAKU, PHYSICIST: Hey, look up in the sky. The sky is not on fire. We are not falling into a black hole. We are not colliding with Planet X. In fact, it's raining and snowing, for God's sake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Earlier, I spoke with bestselling author and host of "Brad Meltzer's Decoded" on History Channel, Brad Meltzer, of course, for his Doomsday special on History, he and his team spoke with many people who truly believed December 21st was it. All over. I asked him what he thought their reaction was when the sun came up on Saturday morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRAD MELTZER, AUTHOR: Listen. This is the danger of what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket. And I can't help but think when they woke up that they're almost a little disappointed that the world didn't end. Right?
I mean, we have people who were on the show and convinced, so convinced that they were going to do it, they invested, you know, they bought bunkers, they filled, you know, their bunkers with DVDs. They got -- you know, one guy was showing off his 42-inch flat screen.
We had a group called VEVOs that is, you know, for really wealthy people who cared about this charged $50,000 a head, $35,000 for children to be in their specialized bunker for when the apocalypse was going to hit. And, again, when that day wakes up, you know, I know you're supposed to be happy that we're not all dead but you're definitely out 50 grand.
LEMON: Well, OK. So you've got to ask. I have to ask this question. How, then, would you characterize these people? Eccentric, paranoid or, I don't know, just well prepared?
MELTZER: I mean, you know, they're only well prepared if the world ends. Then they are geniuses, right? Today they are like the Hale- Bopp comet guys, right, who you look at and you're like, wait, you know, they're like the guys who screamed about the millennium bug. And you know, no offense to them, you know, again, I was -- I said to History Channel, I said, you know what? Can we just do a live show where we just from, you know, 11 o'clock to 12 o'clock, I just sit there with a watch and I go like this? And it ain't going to happen.
So, you know, these guys, I know that you have to always do what you want and do what makes you feel comfortable. But, again, I think they're just a little overprepared is maybe the best word for it.
LEMON: OK. Overprepared, that's a good one.
So, Brad, nearly every religion and every culture has one thing in common, a Doomsday scenario. Do you think that's why so many people take these predictions so seriously?
MELTZER: And listen, you said it right there. Right? Every religion no matter what they disagree on has that kind of end of the world moment. Almost every single one of them. The answer is oddly always in the fine print. And I think that's the interesting part. So, you know, who knows what's going to be next.
But I'll tell you this: there will be one that's next. And I don't think it is because, you know, the religions tell us. But I think we don't want to be like the dinosaurs, you know? We don't want to be like it's just some kind of happenstance that happens, that we're just some dumb animal that gets wiped out.
We want to do and why we're going to have some other thing that scares us is because we really see it as judgment. That's what you see in all these religions, is you see judgment. We want to feel like we're not alone. We want to feel like someone is out there. And there is nothing wrong with feeling that. There's nothing wrong with wanting to feel like we are not alone in this universe.
But I really do think as a culture, that's the smart question, you just asked, Don, is like, why. Why do we keep looking to this disaster and why will there be another? And I think it is that we just want to feel like we are not alone. The only thing you don't want to see is people being taken advantage of for that.
LEMON: Well, yes, and there are several more Doomsday predictions in the near future that I'm sure will get just as much hype as the dates get closer here. So why do you think people, again, are so fascinated with this topic, even when this one didn't pan out and others don't?
MELTZER: You know what, well, some of them are just -- you know, listen, it's like that great old time machine story, right, is if you can go into the future, what do you want to look at? And you know, some people say that they want to read the stock market or do something silly like see if the new "Star Wars" movies are going to be good or not.
But the honest truth is, you ask me, I'm like, I want to know how I die. That's really what I want to know. Right? We are fascinated with our own demise. If someone said to you, if you could know, you want to know. So, yes, there -- you hit it right on the head, right? There's going to be something else whether it's bird flu, or whether it's going to be a pandemic that globally goes out. You know, we did a story on ebola pox that these Russian scientists came up with. And it acts like ebola, but spreads like chickenpox. Right? It's crazy stuff.
But I think the thing we have to remember is you can worry about asteroids, and you can worry about meteors, and you can worry about NASA saying that there's going to be solar storms. But look at what's happened in Connecticut. Right? No one kills us better than just us.
And at the end of the day, that's what I worry about, is just what we're going to do to ourselves, not some grand prediction by an old culture.
LEMON: Brad's new book "The Fifth Assassin" will be out January 15th. And of course, you can check out his show, "Brad Meltzer's Decoded" on the History Channel.
Thank you, Brad.
MELTZER: Always. Thanks, Don.
LEMON (voice-over): Be sure to watch as CNN revisits the stories that captured the country's attention this year: crime, politics, money, even the most scandalous stories of the year. It's the top 10 of 2012. Catch it Tuesday night, Christmas night at 7:00 Eastern right here on CNN.
And as I said yesterday, I know you'll like it because I'm anchoring it. That's a joke. Don't take me seriously in that, y'all.
OK. But it is a good show. I'm Don Lemon at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. Thank you so much for watching. We're going to see you back here at 10:00 pm Eastern. "TOUGH DECISIONS: A FAREED ZAKARIA GPS SPECIAL" begins in four seconds.