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North Korea Targeting U.S. Bases; Washington Homeowners Teetering on Cliffside After Landslide; Gun Advocacy Group Gives Out Shotguns; Boston College Students Defy Administration, Continue Condom Distribution

Aired March 30, 2013 - 09:00   ET


ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning everyone. I'm Alison Kosik.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. 9:00 on the East Coast, 6:00 a.m. out west Thanks for starting your day with us.

We're going to start with the new threats from North Korea. Remember earlier this month the Pentagon started expanding the missile defense system in response to one of those threats. Well now, North Korea says they're aiming at the U.S. bases in the Pacific and are in a state of war with South Korea.

CNN international anchor Jim Clancy is live in Seoul, South Korea this morning. Jim, you have heard a lot of these threats over the years. Is there any reason to believe this latest run of threats is any different?

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Absolutely. I think, yes, because you've got the nuclear threat. It's been magnified. It's a reality. You got the intercontinental ballistic threat, the threats to attack the U.S. mainland drawing lines to California, and other places. You have specific threats against U.S. bases in Guam, in Hawaii, that is the United States.

All of these things add up to a very worrisome problem not just for the U.S. and South Korea, but for the entire region. He's making this entire region nervous, people look at Kim Jong-un, they see a young man rather inexperienced, he's got some great technological breakthroughs but at the same time he's not opening up to the rest of the world, not backing down, and many people feel that he's unpredictable. That's what's changing, that's why the threat is greater. Yes, Alison.

KOSIK: But Jim, what prompted the latest round of threats, I mean, this is sort of nothing new at this point.

CLANCY: Well, it is somewhat new at least in the eyes - imagine this, you're in Pyongyang, you launched a missile, a rocket, it goes into outer space, it puts a satellite in orbit. That is a great technological achievement for a country of 22 million people that is called the hermit kingdom. What did they get for it? A slap in the face and slapped with U.N. sanctions.

Then they responded, that was back in December, then they responded in February with another nuclear test, again, more U.N. sanctions, pushing them further away, punishing them, and what's really significant here, and don't lose sight of this, because it matters when you're looking at it from Pyongyang.

The Chinese went along, the Chinese are seeing them perhaps as a strategic liability. The Chinese see them as pulling away and the Chinese, frankly, wonder if they get a nuclear weapon, are they going to blackmail us with it. The Chinese see themselves as ideologically, they're probably in reality closer to the west than they are to the Stalinist regime in North Korea. They are the main supporter for North Korea, and when they're pulling away or wondering about pulling away, that's got to make Pyongyang nervous. Alison.

BLACKWELL: Jim Clancy, a wealth of knowledge of the peninsula, now from Seoul, South Korea. Jim, thank you.

KOSIK: Health officials in Oklahoma are offering free HIV and hepatitis tests today to as many as 7,000 patients of Dr. Scott Harrington, the dentist and oral surgeon stopped practicing this month after health inspectors found filthy, rusty dental tools in his office. They say some of his staffers were unlicensed and that he may have given patients expired drugs.

Imagine this, your home in danger of tumbling off a cliff, that is the scariest situation this morning for some homeowners in Washington state.

BLACKWELL: A massive landslide carved a chunk off a hillside in an area north of Seattle. It took with it one home and more than two dozen others still threatened or cut off entirely.

CNN's Kyung Lah is following the story for us. Kyung.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, Alison, the sign says it all, danger, active landslide area. The people who live here are still seeing loose dirt falling off the cliffside and for the people who live on those cliffs it is simply frightening.


LAH (voice-over): The view is breathtaking, until you look closer, the earth is still tumbling down hundreds of feet, the grass of this backyard dangling on the edge above an impromptu cliff side that took out one house and cut off 17 others. Daniel Garcia lives or lived here. His house tagged yellow means it's possible it could go tumbling.

DANIEL GARCIA, HOMEOWNER: It kind of seems like the best interest to go.

LAH (on camera): So you want to get out of here.

GARCIA: I'd rather not but the situation kind of dictates.

LAH (voice-over): This sort of large landslide in Washington state is a one in 100 or 200 year event says geologist Terry Swanson. TERRY SWANSON, GEOLOGIST: Just beyond the cliff, you don't want to get too close the entire row, this whole section about 600 to 800 feet has been completely rotated.

LAH: Swanson says scientists knew this was coming but couldn't predict exactly when.

SWANSON: When you get lots of water the water pressure can push the sand grains apart and there's no cohesion and the stuff moves.

LAH (on camera): And is this an example of man versus nature? Have we built on stuff we just didn't understand?

SWANSON: Yes, absolutely. Back in the 1930s and '40s when they were plotting this in the 1950s and even in the 1960s, people weren't thinking about this.

LAH (voice-over): Resident Karen McCoy certainly wasn't when she moved in a few months ago.

KAREN MCCOY, RESIDENT: I thought of it as a huge, huge wave crashing against a cement wall and it was just really strong.

LAH: It cut off the main road to her house. She finally climbed through a dirt trail at night to get her cat.

MCCOY: She's a little freaked out right now.

There's just a lot of anxiety list what's going to happen, will I be able to move back home.

LAH: Daniel Garcia isn't anxious. He has made his choice, the man who moved into this house for the view is now leaving because he has too much of one.


LAH: Not everyone is leaving. Many residents who say they want to stay here. There are a couple reasons for it. One is that these houses have been in their families for generations, they love it here but other residents are stuck, their homes are uninsurable, and for obvious reasons it would be very difficult to sell their property right now. Victor, Alison?

KOSIK: Kyung Lah, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Former South African president Nelson Mandela is resting comfortably in the hospital this morning, a statement from the president's office said that the soon to be 95-year-old was admitted this week because of pneumonia. Doctors say the treatment is going well and he's able to breathe without any difficulty.

The research is not clear on whether arming law-abiding citizens reduces gun violence.

KOSIK: But that's not stopping one nonprofit group from giving away shotguns for free. We're going to talk with the organization's founder.


BLACKWELL: A gun advocacy group is putting one of the National Rifle Association's most persistent arguments to the test. I want to you hear it from the NRA chief Wayne Lapierre himself. This is days after last year's shooting in Connecticut.


WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA CHIEF: The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.


KOSIK: And what's happening now is the Armed Citizen Project is actually giving away shotguns for free to people who pass a background check and get safety and legal training. The group has already armed a handful of single women in Houston and now taking its mission to all places to Tucson, Arizona, because that's where six people died and a dozen more including then Congressman Gabrielle Giffords who was hurt in a mass shooting in 2011.

BLACKWELL: We're joined now by Kyle Coplen, he is the founder and executive director of the Armed Citizen Project. First, it's good to have you on the show.


BLACKWELL: So here's my question, first, what are you trying to accomplish here and second, why take it to Gabby Giffords' former district?

COPLEN: You know, I honestly didn't even think about that until about four days ago when a reporter from "The Huffington Post" called me and asked me about the insensitivity of what we were doing. It didn't even occur to me because in my mind the only thing related with that is geography.

What we're doing is we are training and arming residents in high crime areas as a crime deterrent and we are looking to analyze the crime data that comes out of this and to see if there really is a correlation or a causal link between armed citizenry and crime.

KOSIK: Well, why not go ahead since you just learned about this, why not pull back on this gun giveaway? Are you considering that?

COPLEN: No, absolutely not. I'm not going to stop doing what I'm doing because others, you know, have a false impression of my organization. Tucson, Arizona, has a crime problem. They are currently short 150 officers, and we would like to go ahead and move into Tucson, help the folks out there.

KOSIK: OK. So you're doing background checks, you're doing training programs. It's all very responsible. You're going about it apparently in a very responsible way, but you are headed to Tucson then, knowingly, now that you know the background behind it, and it's a city that's become known for gun violence since the 2011 shooting. Doesn't that choice undermine your credibility? Aren't you kind of stirring the pot especially at a time when you're trying to win over Americans to be more accepting of gun ownership?

COPLEN: Absolutely not. Like I said the Gabby Giffords' shooting had nothing to do with us deciding to go into Tucson. I'm not going to be bullied to inaction by the anti-gun crowd. We've made the decision to go there and I'm not going to change my mind because some people choose to misinterpret what we're doing.

BLACKWELL: You know, the rest of the week I'm reporting out in parts of the country and we speak with police chiefs and they will tell you and they've told me that many of the gun crimes occur using stolen guns, so if you increase the number of guns in a community, do you not also increase the potential for those guns to be stolen and then increase the possibility of gun crimes in these communities you're trying to protect?

COPLEN: So we are training and arming responsible new gun owners. So if you're going to operate on the premise what we're doing is inherently a bad thing because these guns can be stolen then you're just anti-gun to begin with. I mean, a lot of the people that come out and use that as our criticism, it's obvious they just don't believe in personal use of firearms for protection, and that's completely counter to the American history of the firearms and the American right of self-defense so I don't listen to that criticism.

BLACKWELL: What is the definition of success for you here?

COPLEN: The definition of success is to empower citizens and decrease crime. We want to give folks the tools to be able to defend themselves against those that would do them harm.

KOSIK: What kind of turnout are you expecting at this point?

COPLEN: We've had a lot of support. I've had as many as, probably around 1,000 folks who have contacted me, wanted to take part, maybe gotten 15, 20 contacts that have been negative. Folks are really coming out in support and we appreciate all the support we're getting. We plan on expanding into at least 15 cities by the end of the year, and we're on track to do that.

BLACKWELL: Well, you know, the gun debate and the conversation is going to continue. I appreciate you Kyle Coplen for joining this conversation this morning.

COPLEN: Thank you. And you can check us out at, we're taking donations and raffling off a brand new shotgun right now.

BLACKWELL: OK. Thank you, Kyle.

KOSIK: All right. Some controversy at Boston College, officials are blocking students from handing out condoms on campus. Find out why, next.


BLACKWELL: So when you're out with your friends this weekend here is one you can bring up, philanthropist Bill Gates he wants inventors to design a better condom and this is not in early April fool's joke. This is real.

KOSIK: Yes, you know, you don't want to joke about condoms. What is actually happening is he's hoping that he can combat AIDS this way so he's offering up more than $100,000 to anyone who can make a condom more people will want to use. That's your challenge.

BLACKWELL: All right. We're staying on the topic, a clash going on now between safe sex and Catholic values at Boston College.

KOSIK: A group of students have been told to stop handing out condoms on campus because it doesn't fit with the school's mission, but the group says they're providing an invaluable service.

Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has more.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Alison, Victor, Catholic doctorate doesn't support contraception, but for some Boston College students that teaching isn't resonating.


COHEN (voice-over): Boston college, a deeply Catholic institution where crosses don't go well with condoms.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Male condoms, female condoms.

COHEN: Senior Lizzie Jekanowski has organized a condom distribution network on public street corners and in dorm rooms marked with this safe sight symbol. If you're in need of condoms you may knock on one of these doors and just ask, the group's web site says.

LIZZIE JEKANOWSKI, SENIOR, BOSTON COLLEGE: We go through almost 2,000 condoms every semester for students that need them. It is an important need here.

COHEN: And that is getting these students in trouble.

(on camera): Boston College sends this letter to the students demanding that they stop distributing condoms here. The letter said, "It isn't in concert with the mission of Boston College as a Catholic and Jesuit university and if you don't stop, they said, "there could be disciplinary action."

(voice-over): Jack Dunn is a spokesman for Boston College.

(on camera): You know that students here are having sex.

JACK DUNN, SPOKESMAN, BOSTON COLLEGE: If students want to purchase condoms and they want to have them available for their private lives, that's their business. Our issue is don't try to publicly distribute condoms on our church steps, on our campus, through our dormitories.

COHEN (voice-over): He says even he was approached while coming out of a church service.

DUNN: A person from this group attempted to hand me a condom and it was inappropriate and I told them I said "Really, on Ash Wednesday. Do you really need to do that?"

COHEN: But Jekanowski says the group has never distributed on campus except in dorm rooms. This isn't the first high profile condom dispute on a Catholic campus. In 2009, the Boston Globe have reported Stonehill College in Massachusetts confiscated condoms that were being handed out for free in student dormitories.

Dunn says he hopes to sit down and work this all out when students come back to campus after Easter break but Jekanowski doesn't seem to be in a mood to talk. She says this is a health issue, stopping unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, and even if BC threatens to yank her diploma this spring, she won't stop.

JEKANOWSKI: The work that we are doing is invaluable and that will not compromise what we're doing in any way.


COHEN: The Boston College spokesman said if the students distributing the condoms had just been more discrete none of this would have happened plus he said this is Boston, there are plenty of places to go buy condoms, the students don't have to get them here on campus. Alison, Victor?

KOSIK: Elizabeth Cohen, thanks.

BLACKWELL: Camden, New Jersey, it is one of the poorest and most violent cities in the U.S., its graduation rate is also so low the state just stepped in this week to take over, but despite the odds, there is hope for Camden. This week's CNN hero is on a mission to help kids escape the deadly streets, one drumbeat at a time. Meet Twanda Jones.





It's very hard for children growing up in Camden today. It's dangerous. You can hear gunshots almost every other night. These kids want more. They don't want to be dodging bullets for the rest of their life.

TAWANDA JONES: My name is Tawanda Jones and my mission is to empower the youth of Camden, New Jersey, through the structure of drill teams. What I try to do in order for them to go to the right path is simple, you instill discipline. Drill team is really just a facade to bring these children in because it's something they love to do. And once I have them, I introduce them to the college life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: CSS changed me a whole lot. My dad was shot and killed. When my dad passed, I stopped going to class, I started hanging with the wrong people.

JONES: Did you complete your homework? Let me check it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's my second mom. Without her I really don't know where I would be right now.

JONES: In Camden the high school graduation is 49 percent but in my program it is 100 percent graduate. We have never had a dropout.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My grades now I have a GPA of 3.0, I want to be a sports manager.

JONES: We need to take back our city and most importantly take back our youth, let them know we really care about them.

I don't think people really understand how important it is to have these children succeed. When you do this, you get great rewards, it's better than money.



KOSIK: Did you notice, temperatures finally getting back to normal after a late season blast of winter, but looks like it's going to be wet for the rest of the country.

BLACKWELL: Yes, nobody wants to go out for Easter in their wet clothes and their great colors. Let's bring in CNN weather center and meteorologist Alexandra Steele. What are we expecting for tomorrow?

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, I thought you were going to say no one wants to go out and fish for some wet peeps. Yes for peeps, so those yummy chocolate, all that stuff out there.

All right. Well, what are we going to talk about as we head toward today and tomorrow, we are going to see some wet weather. So Easter bunny is out there, we are going to kind of hit and miss showers. So I'll show you where they'll be. This morning though here's a live radar look, a line of showers and thunderstorms, some strong, damaging winds not out of the question and some hail as well. I don't think tornadoes really today. Maybe tomorrow in Texas but I think today we really won't see that.

Here is the line - here is the future radar where we'll see the rain today and tonight and tomorrow. You can see it kind of breaks up, kind of negligible in scope so no major washes out of today, but as we head toward tonight into tomorrow, you can see kind of destabilizes here in the southeast, and we'll see it move through tomorrow and kind of enhances.

So tomorrow morning whether you're going out to services or you are going to do some Easter egg hunts, it will be dry in the northeast. The southeast as well is kind of more hit and miss showers and then pretty unstable tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow night, but then it all pushes eastward, and we're going to get into much colder air so it's pretty mild today, in the southeast and in the northeast, but behind this front another, I think probably our last shot of Arctic air.

Sunny in the northwest today and in the southwest. Here's the Easter forecast, we stay dry in the southwest and the northwest, but here's the rain for pretty unsettled Eastern seaboard. Again no major washes out but we will see rain.

So here's a look 51 tomorrow to give you a perspective in Minneapolis, very warm, 70s today in Atlanta, Georgia, but then here comes the colder air, you can see 40 degrees, that's just a taste of the Arctic air that's in place, guys, to come in, and then spread eastward so a very cold week next week especially from Tuesday on.

BLACKWELL: All right. Alexandra Steele. Thank you.

KOSIK: And thanks for watching today. I'm going to see you right back here at the top of the hour.

BLACKWELL: It's good to be with you this morning. There's a 13 inch height difference but through the magic of television we made it work.

"YOUR BOTTOM LINE" starts now. Thanks for watching, everybody.