The Last Word | February 06, 2013
>>> should scouting be hoopen to gays?
>> why so?
>> well, my attitude is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does in every institution and walk of life .
>> in the spotlight tonight scouts dishonor. the boy scouts of america decided to hold on on a vote on whether to change its policies and allows gays to join it's troop. they said due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy. only 33% believe the ban should stay. joining me now, zach walls and daniel hernandez , the former intern who helped save gabby giffords ' life and author of the new memoir "they call me a hero." zach walls, are you in a broadway play or something?
>> absolutely not.
>> i'm getting the feeling you know something about this scouts thing.
>> that's right. i'm an eagle scout .
>> an eagle scout is like what? it's like a general or something?
>> it's the highest youth award can you get in the scouts.
>> this is absolutely something what we were a little disappointed about, our organization scouts for equality has been working on this for the last several months. we thought while today's announcement was punting the ball, if they had the votes to shoot it down, they would have done that today.
>> daniel , were you a scout?
>> no, i was like you, one of those punks.
>> the uniforms were awesome.
>> i think the decision today is a victory in and of itself because we didn't get a straight no.
>> that's the interesting part. they've been pretty hard line about this.
>> zach , your mothers are gay.
>> that's right.
>> and you joined this organization knowing that they would not let your mothers be involved, say, on the girl scouts side as a troop leader or something.
>> i joined this program when i was 6 years old because i wanted to experience the great outdoors and all that stuff. my moms did get involved. it was a don't ask/don't tell policy and the leaders in iowa where i was growing up were willing to turn a blind eye . my mom, jackie, became a den mother, a mama grizzly, if you will and was a highly revered leader. so they were part of the scouting experience and i saw first hand there's no incongruence with scouting values in lgbt people . people who are trying to speak out about lifting this ban, it's not about the boy scouts . it's about the problem they have with people who are gay, people who save people's lives, people like my mom who work for the veterans affairs hospitals and protect the men and women in uniform.
>> daniel , for those of us who live outside of boy scout world, what does it mean to the larger community, do you think?
>> i think it's one of the larger parts of sea change ? acceptance of the the community. we are mainstream america . we put our pants on one leg at a time just like everybody else .
>> he puts short pants on. look, if you show up like that, there's going to be jokes.
>> i think it goes towards saying people in the lbgt community are like everybody else . it's a symbolic step but it's an important one. our kids want to be involved in these issues as well.
>> 63% of catholics supported raising the ban, we've had from the episcopalian change-up, the united states of christ, it's only a couple of people on the fringe speaking out against it.
>> you've lived through tragedy of having your life changed by a mass murderer , well equipped by our firearms strained by our laws that allow such easy access to it. you also have congressional experience. where do you think we're going with president obama 's attempt to push through some reforms?
>> i think it's so encouraging to see such bold moves coming from the obama administration as we've seen, not just on this issue but on the issue of immigration, to see him coming out and saying strongly --
>> by the way, at the same time.
>> at the same time, which is something i think a lot of people never would have expected. but to see him coming out and starting this task force . as a young elected official, i was so struck by what happened in sandy hook . i lived through tucson but for a long time i said i'm not going to get involved in this issue, this is not going to be something i'm going to politicize. but we saw aurora, but when it hit close to home , when it was our children, our most vulnerable, that's when it started. and seeing gabby saying we need to be brave and america is counting on you, that was a message for all of our elected officials up and down from the state house all the way to the white house .
>> zach , on this issue, it's a children's protection issue that the democrats are trying to frame. it seems like the kind of thing that the boy scouts would want to get behind, for example. but they've really -- what they're trying to say here is how much risk should be involved in going to kindergarten in america ?
>> none. absolutely none. just like there shouldn't be any risk in being a boy scout . when i look at these kinds of sporadic massacre, people who have been support for looking over the last 10, 15 years, young adults who are not properly prepared for the life experiences of being a person who has a lot of responsibility. i think as a society we have a very serious question to ask ourselves about how are we preparing our least experienced adults to deal with the pressures and tribulations of modern society absolutely.
>> and, daniel , the way this -- you made the point about immigration and gun control at the same time. it's hard to explain to civilians. how difficult it is in the congressional pipeline to move two things at once.
>> to move anything.
>> anything at all.
>> when we looked at the last session, it was one of the most unproductive congresses. so to see the president says these are such important issues that i know i can get people on my side, including republicans, when we saw that gang of eight republicans and democrats in the senate saying we're going to take on immigration, including people from my state, senators johnson mccain and jeff lake, that's an encouraging thing. the gun safety thing is more important. coming from a state like arizona where we have a gun culture , it's not about taking people 's guns away, it's about imposing common sense changes to legislation to background checks and to making sure we're reducing the easy availability of assault weapons and extended magazines. these are not things when you go hunting. they are not things you need for self-defense.
>> zach walls, thank you and thank you for joining us in the studio tonight.
>> coming up, how afraid is karl rove of ashley judd ? he's running ads against her before she's even decided whether she's going to run for office. and the politically brave decision that has cost andy cuomo 15 points in the