NOW with Alex Wagner | January 08, 2013
man: second anniversary of the gabby giffords shooting with a ringing of bells and a renewed call to action from giffords and her husband astronaut mark kelly . announcing the formation of a new group americans for responsible solutions, giffords and kelly said the group will be dedicated to raising money to match the nra and gun lobbyists and both their reach and resource. an usa today op ed they spoke for urgent need for action. in response to a horrific series of shootings that have sewn terror in our communities, victimized tens of thousands of americans, and left one of its own bleeding and near death in a parking lot , congress has done something quite extraordinary. nothing at all. the two also spoke about their effort to abc's diane sawyer .
>> gabby and i are both gun owners . we are strong supporters of the second amendment, but we've got to do something to keep the guns from getting into the wrong hands.
>> when it can happen to children in a classroom, it's time to say --
>> mayor michael bloomberg is also out pushing the message saying the upcoming debate is one gun control activists can win.
>> there are some legislators who think differently or they think that their careers would be limited if they go against the nra . i don't happen to think that's true. the nra was notoriously unsuccessful in the last election term. i create a little pac, and we went against four nra members, in three cases the opponent won. you can beat the nra .
>> while the white house task force led by vice president joe biden is considering an array of measures to combat the problem, including reinstating the assault weapons ban , banning high capacity magazines, requiring background and mental health checks, opponents to any changes in the nation's gun laws are using a familiar refrain.
>> within minutes we saw politicians run out and try to exploit this tragedy, try to push their political agenda of gun control .
>> meanwhile, the chief obstacle to any weapons reform of any kind ever, the nra , stands by this prescription.
>> the only way to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection. the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
>> on the first day of the 113th congress no fewer than eight gun control bills were introduced, but the question remains the same as always. will congress actually pass any of them? joining the panel now is the star of the new film "love, artist, and actor common. it is a pleasure to have you on our set. thanks for joining us.
>> thank you. thank you for having me.
>> thank you for coming. common, the film that you're in which we'll talk about in some detail coming up focuses on sort of the perils of urban life, but also you're from chicago where you're no stranger to violence and the perils of urban life. chicago of the city with the number one murder rate in 2012 . i wonder from your perspective when you look back and as we talk about gun control in this country and you hear stuff like the nra saying what we need are more guns, i mean, we need guns in our schools, what do you make of that?
>> i mean, i think the biggest issue for our young people is to have opportunities to dream, to have guidance, to have love, to have support, and i don't think guns are the solution. more guns are never the solution. young people just want to live and have a dream and some of these kids just don't have the opportunity to even, like, say, hey, well, this is what i want to do with my life. it's bigger than -- it's bigger than the guns, and it's putting more guns in there is not going to solve anything.
>> well, and then if you talk about the root of sort of widespread violence, reuters talks about chicago , and they say the root of violence in chicago today is in the desperate conditions in the black community and alienation of black youth. not some gang war that could be ended by suppression or negotiation.
>> the root. i really feel like one of the biggest roots is we have to reinstruct the black family, and in that way i mean, like, by saying, hey, letting the images of black men be something that is of intelligence, letting them see, like, black men being successful, the black woman being heralded and being respected. basically it's like, you know, within the inner cities, we don't have a lot of correct parenting, and we have to change that. if the children don't have parents well, know we're starting from a deficit right now, then we got to figure out what can we do as elders, as people, even young people just to support each other. you know, like --
>> you know, i think it's a great point. i think also but the resources that permit people the time to parent correctly as well. join whatting common has brilliantly deconstructed there is you have latch key kids at home. they have to go homes because parents are working two, three jobs. if they stay home from one job to go get the report card, they get fired, and then they can't take care of that child. it's a tremendous affect there. from within i think the integrity of the black family certainly has to be -- you know, has to be strengthened and bolstered, but from without that point about reuters is the devastation and alienation. that alienation comes from economic opportunity that's been foreclosed, educational vistas that have been closed, and the possibility of seeing yourself as a human being . you can look at what happened in newtown , which we know is evil and horrific, and yet, the silence and invisibility of what happens in chicago , philadelphia, new york, detroit, oakland, and the like has to be addressed.
>> michael, i think this moment needs to become a movement that binds newtown , that binds the fact that black young men are eight times more likely to be killed in gun homicides than young white men. i think there needs to be a sense of the urgency. what worries me is what you are talking about is critical in the short-term, the medium term, the long-term. in that poverty and despair, if there is access to guns and easy access to guns, we can talk about the mental health situation in this country, which is so important. we can talk about the violent culture, but other countries have mental health problems. other countries have violent vamz, but they don't have that easy access to guns which make this so deadly.
>> they haven't been --
>> disposable youth.
>> we said afternoon newtown , never again. we have not said never again when it happens in other communities, and the psychic signal it sends to young people that my life is not really worth the kind of political projection -- protection is really deaf stating.
>> you know, i was telling common in the break, we were on the air together when newtown happened.
>> it is a tragedy, and a massacre. it is worth all of the attention that it's gotten, but so is the fact that 74.6% of murder victims in chicago were african-american. i mean, this is a slow motion massacre that people don't pay attention to. if newtown prompts a broader discussion about guns weaponry, the breakdown of societial structures in this country, mental health resources, then good, but the question is, ryan, is this time different?
>> i think it is different, but this really all comes back to the criminal justice system because, yes, everybody else has mental illness problems across the world. nobody treats them the way that we do. we treat mental illness as a criminal problem, and until you reform that in a radical way, nothing will change, and particularly the juvenile justice system . you take a troubled 10 or 1 1-year-old kid. he gets into the juvenile justice system . it's almost impossible to get out of that. as soon as you're in the juvenile justice system , you don't have the same rights.
>> that's a great point. look, amnesty international did a study 15 years ago that said in. little sally and johnny in white america , don't do that again. little black and latino kids, sent to juvenile detention , which is a warehouse for jail, which becomes a pipeline for prison. now youhem and stigmatize them from the very beginning, and you set them up for the kind of dissent into so-called criminalality which fr which they are unable to recover.
>> i think it's very important what you said, like, a lot of the problems haven't stemmed from within the family. it comes from outside resources, but now we have to have programs that will allow the kid that doesn't have the parents there. okay, what kind of programs can we have that will allow these kids to not just be out in the streets because, i mean, i talk to kids on the south side of chicago from inglewood that said, hey, we just want to, like, do something after school. we don't want to hang out and be around murder. they want to be in programs. they want to do something.
>> one of the great tragedies of this moment is while there is a sense of urgency and the need to do what you say, we're -- they're sitting in washington talking about cuts. cuts, cuts, cuts to the very programs that we need to not only rebuild the possibilities of dreaming for young people , but the possibilities of this country and the families.
>> those kids are disposable. we're sitting -- david cole , my colleague at georgetown, law school , has said that the reason we accept this is because largely black and latino men are dying at the hands of other black and latino men, and we see this as the necessary price to be paid for doing business in america, and when we say enough of that, then we're going to have serious --
>> we play a role, and we nus play a role because the media and the culture should lift up those stories of what's going on in those communities because newtown deserves all the attention. so does the day to day --
>> chicago , detroit.
>> rampage and massacres.
>> resist the notion. we got a well healed black couple in the white house too. they're catching hell too. but the image is powerful. the image is powerful.
>> the image, and i think none of us can forget the image of grant park in 2008 , and hopefully, you know, there will be another powerful image on january 20th as he gets sworn in for his second term. we cannot underestimate, i think, what that means for an entire generation of children, black , white, latino , asian growing up that there is that -- the couple that there is in the white house and that he got re-elected.
>> i mean, that's the best image we can see for a young black and latino people. i can remember i had an opportunity to do a film -- i was going to do a film, and some young people saw that i was going to play a superhero, and they were, like, wow, this is the first time that we ever seen a black guy playing a superhero and another character with me was, like, man, my family feels proud. he was latino . he was, like, man, they seen a latino superhero. it's a boofl thing for us to see outside of entertainment to see the president and the first lady in office, and i mean, that's what we need.
>> plus, i bet you look great in a cape. just saying. just saying. just saying. i just had to say it. we have to go to break, but katrina, thank you for joining us. katrina van den hoogel, thank you as always. we will talk with common about his new film "love" and the cycle of poverty and crime in american life just ahead. [