Morning Joe | December 21, 2012
>>> 6:38 here in new york. with us now, the head coach of the university of connecticut women's basketball team , the legendary geno auriemma . coach, great to see you this morning.
>> great to be here, willie.
>> you're here not to talk about basketball but for something that obviously hit close to your home.
>> that struck a chord with you, and you're doing something pretty remarkable for those families in newtown , connecticut . tell us about it.
>> well, of all the short-term things that are being done with whether it's vigils or people coming up to newtown to show their support, kathy and i, we thought there's got to be some long-term things that are more sustainable. and i talked to president herbst at the university of connecticut and said why not set up a foundation so that we can ensure that all the dependents of the adults that were killed and all the siblings of the children that were killed, that we can educate them at the university of connecticut at no cost to them.
>> and i think that's something that going forward, we can do that, it's a little more meaningful, i think, than, you know, us taking our team out there for a practice or something, which would also be good, but --
>> so we're talking, coach, full scholarships to the university of connecticut for any sibling?
>> yeah, yeah.
>> that's incredible.
>> that's amazing.
>> obviously, what we're going to try to do is take care of dependents of the adults and then if we have enough money, if we raise enough money, if people watching , we're already at $350,000 in just three days, that we can have scholarships in the name of the 26 people and endow those scholarships so future students --
>> that's fantastic.
>> and students that were at the school the day that this happened, you know, we all have children. the kids that died, the adults that died, the people that were left behind are going to be affected by this for the rest of their lives. they're never going to be -- the first responders walking in there and seeing these children, i mean, there's just no end to how many people were affected by this tragedy.
>> how can people help if they're watching this morning and they want to give a little money to help get this going.
>> that's one way your family can become part of our family, go on the website, university of connecticut , it will be on there. you can write a check, send it to the sandy hook elementary fund.
>> it's on the bottom of our screen right now.
>> if you want to contribute, that's your way. if you're a corporation and you want to contribute a large sum, if you're someone that can only, you know, write a check for $5, $10, we've got 1,600 donors already in just a couple of days. i think there's a lot of people around the state, around the country, around the world that are looking for, like, how can i help?
>> something tangible.
>> that would really do something good and find some sort of way forward for the people left in the wake of this.
>> yeah. there's no way to bring back anything that happened. there's no way to erase what happened. and, you know, we're pretty good at trying to make ourselves feel good. and i think in this tragedy, we can make ourselves feel good by maybe doing something that helps people.
>> and there's some of the adults that died that have high school -age kids. and now all of a sudden they look up and one of their parents is gone. and we can take care of them right now right away with the money that we've raised.
>> can you talk about what this horrible, horrible event has meant to the relatively small state of connecticut ? it's hard to believe one week ago right now, all those kids and those teachers were still ali alive.
>> it's become part of who we are as a country. can you just talk about connecticut and what it meant there?
>> you're looking at a state that's got a little over 3 million people. you know, we're the size of a smaller big city in this country, and it's made up of a lot of little towns. and each town has kind of their own identity. they band together, and any little thing that happens affects the town, something like this. not only does that community become scarred for life , but because that community is tied into the next community and the next community. every single person in the state of connecticut , my players, everyone was just -- it's about as stunned as i've ever seen anyone. you know, i'm 58 years old. i've lived through all the '60s and all the things that happened all the way up to today. i don't think i've ever seen anything that affected people the way this tragedy affected people.
>> i never have either. and you know, 9/11 was such a cataclysmic event in this country and brought us all together. and mika, you know, you, ground zero for a couple of weeks reporting. you've reported in connecticut as well. people could figure out how eventually compartmentalize that evil. it was terrorist. it was al qaeda . they were angry because we were, you know, it was a clash of civilizations. there's no place to put this. there's no way to explain this or justify this. it makes it impossible for connecticut to heal.
>> there is a certain raw difference to it. i'd say that sort of in a career of journalism and covering stories, 9/11 stands out as like a turning point in our lives. and i think this does, too. i think that this has to be a turning point because whenever the brain goes to, whenever the mind starts to go there, you're left just torn to shreds.
>> it will be. this is a -- it's an horrific moment in time, but lives will change because of it, and the laws will change because of it. we all feel that. we all know that.
>> i think that's exactly right, donny. joe, you talk about 9/11 changed the way we live in this country. if al qaeda wanted to change america, they didn't just tear down buildings. they changed the way america lives. had this been 20 adults in some random place which has happened in the past, i think we would have looked at it as, my god, another tragedy. the fact that it's, you know, 6-year-old children, i think it's going to change -- it's going to be one of those events that we're going to look back and say, because of that, things that were supposed to change that were changing slowly, all of a sudden became rapid change and became the change that unfortunately every american wants, but it took something like this, maybe, to get people to move instead of just stand and say i hope somebody changes this someday.
>> it's got to change our culture.
>> we want to remind everyone watching, if you want to contribute to the sandy hook fund, you can text 50555. 50555 with the phrase "uconn newtown ." or visit ww www .friends.uconn.edu/sandyhook . geno auriemma , your legacy as a coach is set in stone, one of the all-time greats, but this says so much about you as a man. we're grateful.
>> thank you, gene.
>> i hope we can do a lot for those people and future students at sandy hook . and i thank you for having me on here.
>> well, we appreciate you coming despite the fact you say you're very comfortable because there are so many s.e.c. guys around here.
>> growing up in the northeast, you know, but as i said, you know, i know roll tide, man.