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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  May 25, 2022 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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judy: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight, an atck on children -- uvalde, texas mourns the students and teachers killed in a horrific shooting at an elementary school as new details emerge. then, the results are in -- voters in georgia make their voices heard in critical primary elections as former president trump's endorsement yields mixed results. and, two years later -- a new biography of george floyd contextualizes his life against the united states' legacy of systemic racism. >> he was surrounded by the crime and the drugs and the issues that come along with deep poverty. and it made it very difficult for him to envision how to escape. but that was always his goal.
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thank you. judy: investigators continue to continue to search for a motive tonight in the elementary school massacre that left 21 people dead, including 19 children, in uvalde, texas. texas governor greg abbott said the gunman shared messages about his intents on facebook shortly before the attack. facebook said those messages were sent privately, not publicly. calls are growing here in washington and elsewhere for changing gun laws. and, in uvalde, residents are grieving over indescribable loss. amna nawaz is there now, and she begins our coverage. amna: today, the community of uvalde, texas, is reeling, one day after some of its youngest members were killed by a gunman at robb elementary school. jarrett: this just doesn't feel real. like, it's unbelievable. amna: 17-year-old jarrett hernandez said his friends'
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siblings were among those killed. his little brother, a second grader, survived. jarrett: he was in shock when i saw him. he's just -- i have never seen him like that. i just -- he was just scared. amna: has he talked to you about what it was like or what he heard or saw? jarrett: he told me when he was -- at the moment he was at lunch, when he heard, like, when he was going back to his class, and he's -- i asked him if he heard, like, anything. he just said he heard screaming and gunshots firing. amna: the uvalde attack is now the nation's deadliest school shooting since 2012, when 20 children and six adults were killed at sandy hook elementary school. residents here are now grappling with grief rippling across this tight-knit community just 85 miles west of san antonio. adele: my heart is bron for the parents here in uvalde. it's -- never thought something like this would happen in a small town and friendly as uvalde, where we know each other.
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and it has been a very -- very bad, tragic here. amna: investigators have since shared more information about the shooting and the gunman. 18-year-old salvador ramos was a uvalde resident.und s grandmothe driving to the elementary school, crashing nearby, and running into the building. ramos carried one assault rifle, walked into a fourth-grade classroom, and, officials y, shot everyone in sight. christopher: what we do know, at that point, the shooter was made to able to make entry into a classroom, barricaded himself inside that classroom, and, again, just began shooting numerous children and teachers that were in that classrm, having no regard for human life. amna: among the victims, eliahna garcia, whose aunt found out late yesterday she was killed. like many others, her family had congregated at the civic center, hoping for a different outcome. siria: she was very happy and very outgoing, loved to dance and sing and play sports.
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she was big into family, enjoyed being with the family. amna: also among the victims, eliahana cruz torres, xavier lopez, amerie jo garza, and cousins annabelle rodriguez and jacklyn cazares, all of whom were just 10 years old, and special education teacher eva mireles, who had worked in the district for 17 years, dedicating herself to children like audrey garcia's daughter, gabby. audrey: that kind of teaching, that hands-on, doing whatever she could do to help gabby, i mean, she -- that's the kind of ing she did every day. amna: the gunman was shot and killed by a border patrol agent who was in the area when reports started coming in. authorities confirmed ramos left one of his two assault rifles in his car. both weapons were purchased legally just days before the shooting, ramos even posting about the purchases on instagram. his motive for targeting the school is still under investigation.
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the tragedy has re-sparked the debate over gun control. tension spilled over today during a press conference in uvalde, when democratic gubernatorial candidate beto o'rourke interrupted texas republican governor greg abbott and uvalde mayor don mclaughlin. beto: you're doing nothing. >> no. he needs to get his ass out of here. this isn't the place to talk this over. beto: this is totally predictable when you -- >> sir, you're out of line. sir, you're out of line. sir, you're out of line. please leave this auditorium. i can't believe you're a sick son of a bitch that would come to a deal like this to make a political issue. amna: meanwhile, in washington, divisions along party lines showed on the senate floor. senate minority leader mitch mcconnell stopped short of calling for legislative action, while majority leader chuck schumer demanded votes. sen. mcconnell: it's literally sickening, sickening to consider the innocent young lives that were stolen by this pointless, senseless brutality. sen. schumer: i just had heard
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the minority leader say he was sickened by what happened in uvalde. will he join us in allowing a dete and amendments to that bill that will address the gun plague in america? thoughts and prayers are not enough. we need action. amna: back in uvalde, residents are relying on themselves and their community in this moment of shared grief. jarrett: i don't want people to think uvalde is just a scary place because of this. like, we're just a loving community. and we just want -- we just want to take care of people and just show love. and everyone's here for each other pretty much. amna: and that is exactly what we have seen here on the ground, people here for each other. the area outside of robb elementary school behind me has turned into a command post for federal and state investigators, trying to figure out how and why this happened. meanwhile, this school is nestled right in the heart of a community that is very much still in shock, very much still in disbelief that this happened at all. judy. judy: and, amna, we are learning
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more about this community. what is it, just 16,000 people live there. it's a farming community. what else are you hearing from the people who live there, amna? amna: judy, it's a remarkable thing. i can tell you, from the moment we have arrived, we have not met a single person who hasn't been touched by this in some way. that's how tight-knit this is. i met one woman earlier today who told me her grandson is in second grade here. he is luckily safe, but her usin's daughter is among those who was killed i met another woman who was leading her third grade son by the nd out of the civic center, where they're offering support and counseling services. they looked very shell-shocked, both of them. and they said, we just wanted to come here to find his teacher. he wanted to make sure his teacher was ok. look, just 600 kids went to this school. this is a town where everyone knows everyone. even if they weren't personally impacted, people know these kids' families. they have watched them grow up for the last nine or 10 years. and now they are mourning their deaths. i mean, the sense of grief and loss, it is palpable here, judy.
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judy: and, as you said just now in your report, amna, this has reignited a national conversation about guns and what to do about guns. is that what people are talking about there? amna: judy, here, people are very focused on each other, on healing, on helping each other. they're moving from site to site, offering services. one woman set up a blood drive and said they were so overwhelmed with walk-ins, they had to bring in extra trucks from san antonio just to handle the load. but, look, at the end of the day, they know the world is watching. they know the questions outside will resonate here. judy, 19 children are dead. 19 nine-and 10-year-olds started their day like any other in what should have been their last week of school, and they were murdered in their classroom. and there's just no making sense of that, because it should not happen. this is a uniquely american community to feel this kind of pain. judy. judy: it is just impossible
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understand. amna, thank you very much. as we have been hearing, the shooting in texas has renewed calls for more gun regulations. but congress remains gridlocked on the issue. democratic senator chris murphy represents the state of connecticut, where the deadliest elementary school shooting in american history happened in 2012. and senator murphy joins us now from capitol hill. senator, thank you for being here. you stood on the senate floor yesterday. and you said to your fellow senators -- and i'm just quoting -- what are we doing? you said, why are we spending all this time running for the senate if your answer is, as the slaughter increases, we do nothing? have you heard any answers from your fellow senators? sen. murphy: this is a moment that compels us to action. i mean, my question was sincere. i don't understand why you spend all this time trying to be a
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member of the world's greatest deliberative body if you're just going to sit back and let the slaughter continue without answer. i have been engaged all day today in conversations with republicans and democrats trying to see if we can find some common ground. i understand republicans aren't going to support everything that i support. we probably can't get a universal background check bill. we probably can't get the votes r a ban on assault weapons. but maybe we can do some smaller things to at least show parents and kids in this country that we take seriously the fear, the anxiousness that they labor under every single day in their classrooms and at home. senator schumer has said that he will give us about a week to 10 days to try to work out that compromise. but then he's going to bring votes before the senate, either a compromise that we work and put before the body or something very much like what has passed the house of representatives, expanded background checks in this nation. i think he's right. let's have some space for debate, for discussions and negotiations. but, ultimately, we need to have a debate and take some votes. judy: so what kinds of smaller
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things do you think are possible? and just remind us again, why can't bigger things get done? sen. murphy: well, we have 50 votes in the senate for expanded background checks. that's the clearest intervention that would reducthe pace of gun murder in this country. remember, we pay attention when these mass shootings happen, and they areataclysmic, but, every single day, more people are dying from guns than at any time in the last several decades. we have had a huge surge in gun violence in our cities, in our rural areas in the last several years. so, we have the majority of senator who support things like universal background checks. we just don't have 60 senators, which is what is required under the rule. so we need to find 10 republicans that will support any of these interventions. so what are we talking about? we're talking about some minor expansions of background checks, getting more sales through the background check system. we're talking about red flag laws. these are the laws that allow you to take weapons away from people who are showing signs of breaks with reality or are
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showing signs of future violence. those are the kinds of things that we might be able to find 60 votes on. but we will see. we're going to work at it in the next coming -- in the next several days. judy: but you're saying, at this point, you don't even know that you could get the votes for one of these, as you describe them, smaller things? sen. murphy: i don't. i mean, the problem is that the gun industry has had such a grip on the republican party here in congress, that it's hard to break. but, sometimes, when these particularly cataclysmic shootings happen, enough republicans are willing to enter into discussions that we can get a breakthrough. i don't know if this is one of those moments, but i'm going to try really hard in the next coming days to find that compromise. judy: are you sensing any movement on the part of your republican colleagues? sen. murphy: i don't know yet. i mean, i have been in conversations all today.
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i don't know that i have seen any of my republican colleagues have an epiphany. but there's a willingness to sit down and talk. and that's my job, right? i went to the floor last night and told my colleagues that they weren't doing their job if they weren't prepared to be engaged in conversation about fixing this problem. so, i'm going to meet them where they are, sit down and talk about some changes we can make but if we can't come up with a compromise, then we just have to take some votes and show the american people where their senators stand. judy: are you putting any energy, senar, into trying to change the filibuster rule? or is it just -- i mean, we know there's been opposition from senator manchin in west virginia, senator sinema of arizona. any sense of movement on their part? sen. murphy: no, i don't have any sense that that is going to change. i think, right now, we have to deal with the rules as they exist. that requires us to get 60 votes. but you can see why people are
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kind of giving up on democracy across the country. the american people did everything we asked of them. they elected to congress a majority in the house, a majority in the senate, and a president who all supports universal background checks, which would undoubtedly dramatically stem the number of murders in this country. and, even having gone through that exercise of electing majorities in the house, senate, a president who believes in changing the gun laws, they still can't get it done because of this requirement in the senate of a supermajority. and so you can see the american public has a right to be very frustrated with washington right now, when they do their job, but the rules prevent us from enacting their will. judy: senator, what does it say about the senate, about the american system of government that even a shooting as unspeakable as this one, another sandy hook, if you will, what happened in your home state 10 years ago, is not changing any minds? sen. murphy: well, i haven't conceded that yet. so, we are 24 hours since this horrific incident. and i am going to meet with some republicans and democrats in the
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capitol in about 10 minutes to begin those discussions. and so i'm not going to concede that this is not a moment where something different can happen. as a parent of two school-age kids, i know what parents and kids are going through right now. and as terrifying as it is to deal with the prospect of your child being shot at when they go to school, just as terrifying is the idea that the adults in charge of your country are going to do nothing about that. and my belief is that we could potentially find some common ground. so i'not giving up. i'm not willing to concede that this moment isn't different. judy: senator chris murphy of connecticut, thank you very much. sen. murphy: thank you. judy: and, as we just heard, many of those prior efforts to pass new gun laws have hit a wall in the u.s. senate and in many state capitals. the national rifle association,
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also the nra, called, has been a key player in those battles, particularly at the federal level. john yang looks now at the organization and its influence. john: judy, the nra's blessing or opposition has meant passage or defeat for gun legislation over the years, as the group argues the supremacy of the constitution's second amendment right to keep and bear arms. in a statement today, the nra said its deepest sympathies are with the families and victims involved in this horrific andeve the statement never mentions the weapon used, saying instead that, while an investigation is under way, and facts are still emerging, we recognize this was the act of a lone, deranged criminal. mike spies has long written about the nra. he's now a senior writer at the trace, a nonprofit newsroom that focuses on gun violence in america. mike, we just heard senator chris murphy of connecticut talk about what he calls the unbreakable grip that the gun industry has on the republican party. and he talked about
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conversations he's having with some republican colleagues to try to seek common ground. the nra may not be present for those conversations, but do you think their influence is going to be felt? mike: to be totally honest with you, i think it's not. i think, historically, the grip was a reality, and up until probably 2016, its ability to outspend its opponents in elections and its base that it did such a great job of socializing into this absolutist idea of the second amendment was -- hung over every gun debate. but i think their influence has been significantly lessened over the last few years, in particular owing to their deep financial troubles. their demonstrated inability to spend to influencelections sort of takes the teeth out of anything they can do. and, additionally, what was such a potent force that they had for so long was their messaging
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apparatus. and that was largely driven by the p.r. firm that was their contractor for such a long time, ackerman mcqueen. all the combative messaging, ads, personalities that people are familiar with, those were all -- those are all created by an ad firm, and that no longer works with the organization. john: but -- mike: so, i do't -- i -- go ahead. i'm sorry. john: no, i was going to say, but given -- given those changes, have they -- were they so successful at creating a gun culture in america, at making nra support a must-have credential for conservative politicians, that the inuence continues beyond their current power? mike: absolutely. yes, i mean, i think, ultimately, the machine works on its own now. and i think, actually, what they did so successfully, and what republicans helped them do so
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successfully, was to socialize their constituents into this idea that not just -- i mean, socialize their constituents into gun culture, but also this idea that they're citizen protectors, this idea of being a sheepdog, where you're protecting the helpless flock of sheep from the wolves that could do harm to society. a lot of people have really bought into that very potent narrative. and i think actually now the ise is that the party, the republican party, in pticular, specifically, is beholden to its constituents, who have been socialized into that and will punish them whether the nra is involved or not. john: u talk about some of the financial problems the nra has been having, the internal dissension. has that shown any sign of affecting their membership, support from the membership, support from the grassroots? mike: it has. i mean, there are people on the board right now that are seeking to oust wayne lapierre, who's sort of the last holdout in some ways from the old nra.
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there are definitely members that have voiced anger and have broken ranks with the organization. there's, i believe still going -- there was a class action lawsuit. it has. it's definitely resonated. people feel like they have been taken advantage of, and there's definitely a desire to kick the money changers out of the temple. john: but, as you say, that they have created this culture, and created a constituency that the republican lawmakers still have to answer to. mike: right. it's effectively -- it's like a classic frankenstein story, i guess, right? you create the monster, and then, ultimately, you no longer have control over it. and i think that's basically what happened. john: given all that what you said and what's been going on internally with the nra, their convention is coming this weekend in houston, which is only about 300 miles from uvalde. do you think that what happened yesterday, the events of yesterday, are going to have any
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change on the rhetoric, on what we see at that convention? mike: i think it will have no change at all. i think that those who are willing to even talk about it will focus on the idea of this sort of fallacy that the school was a gun-free zone, and disregard the fact that the shooter encountered law enforcement at various points while entering the school and then after entering the school, and managing to still kill 19 ere's going to be - if you're -- like, there's not going to be any soul-searchi, if that's what you mean. i mean, i think it's going to be the same as it always is. and, largely, the purpose of that eve is to, in some ways, be a pep rally, both for the membership and then also for the featured speakers, who are some of the most well-known republican lawmakers in the country, and then, of course, the former president. john: mike spies of the trace, thank you very much. mike: thanks for having me on.
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stephanie: i'm stephanie sy with newshour west. we'll return to the full program after the latest headlines. updating our top story, grieving residents of uvalde, texas gathered this evening to mourn the victims of the shootings there that killed 21, including 19 elementary school students. the program included prayers in english and spanish, as mourners joined together in song. in other news, the head of the u.s. food and drug administration acknowledged failings by his agency in the baby formula shortage. robert califf testified remotely at a congressional hearing. he said the fda made missteps after contamination closed the nation's largest formula-making plant in february. robert: it was too slow and there were decisions that were suboptimal along the way. and i'm sure you also know that as i was going through
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confirmation, i got many calls from people concerned about the food side of the fda because of the lack of resources and concerns about the organizational structure. stephanie: meanwhile, a second shipment of infant formula from germanarrivein the.s. first lady jill biden and the u.s. surgeon general, dr. vivek murthy, welcomed the plane at dulles international airport, outside washington. oklahoma's republican governor kevin stitt signed the nation's strictest abortion ban today. the action takes place immediately and ends the procedure in the state with few exceptions. those exceptions include measures to save the life of a pregnant woman or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. the president of ukraine insisted today he will not trade land for peace with russia. volodymyr zelenskyy spoke via video link to the world economic forum in switzerland. with rocket strikes blasting towns in the donetsk area, zelenskyy demanded that russian
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forces begin withdrawing, and that president putin agree to direct talks. pres. zelenskyy: today you can only talk to the president of the russian federation. there is no point in doing this with intermediaries. when he is ready to come to reality, and when he gets to reality, he will understand that many people are dying. innocent people are dying. stephanie: in turn, president putin said today that russia's growing economic problems are not all due to the war. the u.s., south korea, and japan have issued fresh condemnations of north korea for firing three missiles into the sea. south korea said one may have been an intercontinental ballistic missile. ese,. so korean forces fired short-range, surface-to-surface missiles into the sea off the korean peninsula. police in pakistan used tear gas today to push back protesters who threw stones and tried to march on islamabad. ex-prime minister imran khan
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called for the rally in a bid to oust the new government. authorities banned the march and used shipping containers and trucks to block roads. they reported arresting more than 1700 people. in britain, an investigative report formally blamed senior government leaders for an office culture that allowed parties despite covid restrictions. the gatherings took place at prime minister boris johnson's official residence. johnson apologized again to the house of commons, but also dismissed calls on him to resign. pm johnson: i overwhelmingly feel it is my job to get on and deliver. and no matter how bitter and painful the conclusions of this may be -- and they are -- and no matter how humbling they are, i've got to keep moving forward. stephanie: johnson still faces a parliamentary inquiry into whether or not he lied to lawmakers. israel and turkey took a major step today toward repairing
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relations after years of tensions. the two nations' foreign ministers met in jerusalem and said they agreed to re-energize diplomatic ties. it was the first trip to israel by a senior turkish diplomat in 15 years. still to come on the "newshour”" a new biography of george floyd puts his life in context against the united states' legacy of systemic racism. former president trump's endorsement yields mixed results in georgia's republican primaries. and in the wake of the uvalde massacre, how parents might talk with their children about school shootings. >> ts is the "pbs newshour" from weta studios in washington and in the west from the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. judy: today marks the second anniversary of george floyd's murder at the hands of police in minneapolis. his death touched off protests and a global movement for racial justice. since then, reforms at the
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federal level in the u.s. have stalled. signed an executive order aimed atlirh oaung policing but, first, special correspondent fred de sam lazaro reports on a new book that examines what we didn't know about george floyd's life and america's struggle with systemic racism. it's part of our ongoing series, race matters. fred: his face became a global symbol. >> what's his name? >> george floyd. fred: his name, a rallying cry. within days of his murder on may 25, 2020, george floyd became an internationally recognizable figure. millions watched the video of his death under the knee of a minneapolis police officer. >> say his name. >> george floyd. fred: and took to the streets demanding justice. but who was george floyd? robert: the first thing that we thought about was how much people saw his face, but had no
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sense of who he was. fred: robert samuels and toluse olorunnipa are the authors of "his name is george floyd: one man's life and the struggle for racial justice." toluse: we wanted to bring back some of his humanity and not reduce him to just an image of a protest movement, but a human being who had loved ones and who had thoughts and dreams and who really saw a lot of those deferred and derailed, in part because of who he was and how society treated people like him. meed: watwthgtvishewo os sonpeii with floyd's family and friends, civil rights leaders and politicians. they reported in third ward and the sprawling cuney homes public housing complex in the shadow of downtown houston, where floyd came of age, and where we met them recently. toluse: he was surrounded by deep poverty. he was surrounded by the crime and the drugs and the issues that come along with the poverty. and it made it very difficult for him to envision how to -- how to escape, but that was always his goal.
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for as long as anyone can remember, george perry floyd jr. had wanted the world to know his name. he was young, poor and black in america, a recipe for irrelevance in a society that tended to push boys like him onto its margins. but he assured everyone around him that, someday, he would make a lasting impact. sis, he told his sister when h was a teenager, i don't want to rule the world. i don't want to run the world. i just want to touch the world. fred: the book traces floyd story from his enslaved ancestors through the struggles of his single mother to his own challenges in third ward's poorly funded, nearly all black schools. toluse: when floyd was being educated here, it was very clear that he was not getting the kinds of educational investment that he needed in order to see this as a place where he could build his dream. it was a place where he just kind of did time and spent time here in the classroom, but was really focused on athletics. fred: he did become a football star at the athletic powerhouse
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yates high school. people around ird ward thought floyd could play in college or even the pros, but he repeatedly failed the tests needed for a high school diploma. robert: he worked himself into having this massive frame, because he was given a promise. and that promise was, if you become an athlete, you will be able to be successful and lift your family out of poverty. and then, when that dream didn't happen, he had this body that was big that was ultimately thought of as a weapon. fred: robert and olorunnipa write that floyd was acutely aware of his 6'6", 225-pound frame. toluse: he told his family members, whenever i go into a room, i go to shake everyone's hand. i want to make everyone feel comfortable. i know i'm a big guy. i know some people may be afraid of me, and i need to let them know that i'm ok. fred: floyd often used his stature around cuney homes for good, they say. toluse: he was someone who broke up fights because he was respected by people from different parts of the
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community, different parts of third ward, from difrent backgrounds. especially for younger people who were coming up behind him, he was the one sort of saying, put the guns away. fred: he wanted people to avoid the traps in which he ultimately fell, which are detailed in the book, petty drug dealing, addiction and prison time in an unforgiving texas judicial system. after spending four years in prison for armed robbery, floyd came to this third ward church and its pastor, john riles. robert: when pastor riles started this church, he knew that it couldn't just be an everyday ministry, that he saw so many people struggling with drug addiction, with an inability to get a job, with trying to get their lives together after being incarcerated. he started to try and find places to -- for people to go to get their lives together, to go to rehab. and the sad truth of the matter was that a lot of that
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infrastructure didn't exist in texas. so he started looking around and found minnesota. fred: but minnesota, a state with some of the worst racial disparities in the nation, presented its own challees. robert: when george floyd getsho confront those things, most tosoinne notably, an alarming rise in the number of black people living in that state who are getting addicted to opioids. and it isn't until a few months before george floyd dies that public health exrts start to realize it's happening. the help that could have come to george floyd came too late. it was all supposed to be a fun, freewheeling day, an afternoon barbecue, a trip to wendy's with a friend, a rendezvous with an old flame. and yet it ended with floyd's
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face on the warm asphalt on a muggy late spring evening, begging an agent of the state to believe that he wasn't a bad guy. he told officers he could not breathe at least 27 times. and, each time, he was ignored. the last conversation floyd had was under duress with an elderly black man he did not know, who told him that, in this country, he could not win. fred: in the aftermath of floyd's death, you saw this incredible outpouring, not just onto the streets and all of the uprising that happened, but you also heard commitments toward some form of equity. two years on, do you sense that that needle has shifted much? robert: all the time, i think about the idea that there's george floyd the man and there's george floyd the movement. we have to ask ourselves the question if the country would be more accepting to listen to george floyd's cries for help
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now, compared with the day that he died. i think, in a large sense, for a lot of people, that would be yes. if you look at george floyd the movement, it's a lot more complicated. fred: there's been little movement on big issues like police reform. the george floyd justice in policing act stalled in congress, prompting today's more limited executive order from president biden. and voters in minneapolis rebuffed an effort to drastically reshape policing and public safety in the city. and the authors say there's even been some regression on confronting inequality. toluse: this broader idea that maybe there's too much focus on racism, there's too much focus on this country's history, there's too much focus on addressing issues of systemic racism, and that backlash is having a lot of political force, and it's causing some of the people who are in favor of making those changes to shy away from it now. fred: and, in third ward, the conditions that plagued george floyd mostly persist two years
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after the world learned his name. for the pbs newshour, i'm fred de sam lazaro in houston. judy: and a reminder, fred's reporting is a partnership with the under-told stories project at the university of st. thomas in minnesota. and now, geoff bennett has a closer look at the president's executive order on policing. geoff: judy, the president's executive order, among other actions, revises use of force policies for federal law enforcement and creates a national registry of officer misconduct. it also encourages local agencies to change their practices regarding use of force and no-knock warrants. to discuss what kind of effect these changes could have, i'm joined by christy lopez of georgetown law school. she worked at the justice department to change police practices. and she led the department's work on reforming the ferguson lice department. it's great to have you with us. and this executive order, it instructs federal law enforcement agencies to revise some of their policies.
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the president can't order local police agencies to follow suit. he doesn't have the authority. but the white house's hope is that this could be a blueprint. is that an effective approach, do you think? christy: i think it is an effective apprch. at least, it's the most you can do at the federal level to regulate policing, which, of course, is so state and locally regulated in the united states. and these are really strong federal standards. so they couldn't -- they have the potential to be a transformative blueprint. geoff: do you think localities will be inclined to follow suit? on all of the reporting i have done on this police reform push, i get the sense that these policies mean one thing on paper, but, if they don't make their way into the culture of a police department, they're effectively meaningless. christy: oh, i think you have hit on the key question here. these are, in the end, just words on a page. and what's going to be really important is for there to be the political will at the state and local level to follow through on these measures. and that's going to require
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people, advocates, people who care about effective policing and respectful policing, to keep doing the work they have been doing, so that state and local agencies will actually avail themselves of the resources this executive order makes available. geoff: this order also directs the justice department, as i mentioned, to create a new national law enforcement accountability database, which would keep track of substantiated misconduct claims and disciplinary records of officers. so the idea is to prevent officers who are fired for misconduct in one jurisdiction from finding jobs someplace else. but, as i understand it, there's already a privately run database, and only about one-third of police departments ever check it when hiring new officers. so, how will this new system be different or more effective? christy: i think that this new database -- and i do think it's a really important accountability database. and having it be run through the federal government, rather than a private entity, will give it both legitimacy and elevate its status, people's knowledge about
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it. and it should result in more agencies entering information into it, and in agencies checking it before they hire an officer. and there's going to be incentives. the executive order requires incentives to provide agencies technical assistance and guidance on how to actually use this database, as well as another really important database that is in the executive order, the use of force database, which has the potential, again, to be quite important. geoff: the president is signing this executive order because his overhaul, that sort of sweeping police reform push, fell apart because it was blocked by republicans in congress. on this executive order, the white house says it consulted with progressive activists, but it also consulted with law enforcement groups. the international association of chiefs of police and the fraternal order of police, both organizations put out statements in support of this executive order. and there will be people who will see that and say, there's no way this executive order can be significant if you have law enforcement coming out in support of it. what do you say to that argument?
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christy: i definitely understand that argument and that concern. and i actually -- i mean, i have looked -- i have looked at this language, and i think there's actually some really important stuff in here. and i think part of the reason that law enforcement is signing on is because they're feeling the political pressure at the state and local level to support efforts like this. it's just going to mean that people need to really work to make sure the words on this page are actually implemented. i think that's what's going to be key here. and if they look at what is in the order, i think they will see for themselves that it's really significant, yes, despite the fact that so many law enforcement agencies signed on. geoff: in the minute that remains, i just want to draw on your personal experience working at the doj and reformi the ferguson police depantrt. what three or four things did you pull from that that might be instructive for other police agencies, local police agencies that might want to take a deeper look at their own practices? christy: so, i think one of the things that's really important here is actually the technical
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assistance that the executive order requires be provided to departments creating alternative responders for persons in mental health crisis. i think that's going to be a potentially really important part of this. i think that the provisions requiring training on active standership and on de-escalation could be very important. and i think the provisions around data collection and transparency have the potential to be really transformative as well. geoff: georgetn law school professor christy lopez. christy, thanks so much for your time and for your insights. christy: thanks so much. judy: the results from georgia's primary elections yesterday are the most high-profile rebuke of former president donald trump's chosen candidates so far this season. two republican incumbents who both stood up for the 2020 election results survived primary challengers.
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georgia's secretary of state brad raffensperger, whom the former president once pleaded with to help find the votes to overturn the 2020 results, won his race. and governor brian kemp easily beat former senator david perdue, with more than 70% of the vote. gov. kemp: even in the middle of a tough primary, conservatives across our state didn't listen to the noise. they didn't get distracted. they knew our record of fighting and winning for hardworking georgians. judy: governor kemp will face democrat stacey abrams in november. that's a rematch from four years ago. but yesterday wasn't all bad news for the former president. his pick for the u.s. senate, former nfl player herschel walker, easily won the nomination. and controversial congresswoman marjorie taylor greene won the backing of 70% of republicans in her district.
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stephen fowler is here for a closer look at the results. he's a political reporter for georgia public broadcasting. stephen fowler, welcome back to the "newshour." so we see that some of former president trump's endorses did well, others didn't. what does this say to you all -- if you put it all together, about his influence among georgia voters, and also, frankly, the strength of the big lie, that he actually won and joe biden didn't in 2020? stephen: well, judy, i think there's a ceiling on just how far focusing on false claims about the 2020 election can get you as a republican candidate. we saw that with david perdue struggling and jody hice struggling in the secretary of state's race. but the reason trump's candidates lost as well is that you had two popular incumbents that have a long record with georgia voters, that have a long conservative record. for example, brian kemp flexed the power of his office in recent years to cut taxes for
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people and to pay teachers more and state employees more and to enact conservative policies around abortion and voting rights and firearms, and really didn't give georgia voters that were republicans much reason to go with somebody else. same with secretary of state brad raffensperger, who touted georgia's election laws and record early voting turnout to say that he's the one that should be in charge. judy: so, when it comes to belief and, as we said, the big lie, can -- does it give -- do these results give you a sense of how firm a hold that view has on many -- on republican voters in georgia? stephen: i think the message that republican voters are sending is that it's time to move on and that there is a future for the republican party, not the past. and the resounding margins for kemp and even raffensperger show that most voters are looking ahead, and not focused on the past, and that trump's sway doesn't necessarily carry as much weight as it used to.
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judy: and then let's -- and we're including in that the look -- a look at herschel walker, bu as you point out, he didn't have the significant opposition that the others did. let me ask you about marjorie taylor greene, congresswoman, controversial. what about her race,er congressional district? stephen: marjorie taylor greene is exactly what the voters in thatistrict want in a representative. she also too now has the power of incumbency and time in office. and many of the people running against her ran as an opposition to marjorie taylor greene. and that's just something that the voters didn't want. she's very controversial, but she is very representative of trump's policies. obviously, trump endorsed her. she's very close to the former president. and for the people of northwest georgia, which is one of the most conservative districts in
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the country, that's exactly who they want representing them in the halls of congress. dy: so, stephen fowler, look ahead to the fall, to november for us. what does it look like for brian kemp facing -- in a rematch with stacey abrams? stephen: well, brian kemp won by about 55,000 votes in 2018. and georgia's politics has become even more of a hardened battleground since then. so, both sides are expecting a really, really tough race. i mean, kemp is riding this wave of incumbency, where he had a decisive victory at a time when people were saying maybe he would face a run-off. so it's going to be tight, it's going to be expensive, and it's going to be really a nationally watched election. judy: and the senate race tight as well? stephen: absolutely. raphael warnock is the democrat who won in the 2021 special election, and is one of the most vulnerable incumbents on the ballot across the country. and herschel walker has a lot of celebrity power in georgia that trump's endorsement probably
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wouldn't even matter, because georgians love him so much and know him so much from his football past. but walker has a past where there's some questions about domestic violence allegations and overstated resumes. so this too will be a deciding race for georgia, but also potentially for the u.s. senate and who controls it. judy: all eyes on the peach state now and for the months to come. thank you very much, stephen fowler. stephen: thank you. judy: the uvalde school massacre is leading to tough questions all over again about how adults should talk with children about these shootings. william brangham has our own conversation on this. william: judy, parents and families around the country are struggling with that very issue today, trying to figure out the
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right balance of reassuran, information and honesty. research has shown that, even if they didn't witness a terrifying event, young people can still suffer knowing that it happened or hearing about it. dr. melissa brymer helps parents deal with these concerns. she's the director of terrorism and disaster programs at the ucla/duke university national center for child traumatic stress. dr. brymer, very good to have you on the "newshour." this is something that so many parents are struggling with. a national tragedy like this occurs. we know our kids are going to hear about this in some way, and we wonder, how do we talk to them about it? can we start with the youngest kids? how do we approach this with them? what should we be doing? dr. brymer: absolutely. but let's take a step back. and, as adults, we need to take care of ourselves first. we need to have a moment, maybe talk to a friend or a loved one about what this event has meant to us. then we can have that conversation with our kids.
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it's important to be honest, that we initiate the conversation. for those young kids, we're going to have to he several small conversations that are ort. and, most importantly, they're going to want to know that they're safe, that you're safe, that their family is safe, and providing them extra love and attention during this time, when they might be feeling a little bit uneased. william: can you help us understand, how do kids process? is it accurate that hearing about these things or learning about these things can, in and of themselves, cause trauma for kids? dr. brymer: it can cause additional anxiety. but some of our kids, if they have had traumas where they might have had recent losses because of the pandemic or have experienced violence before, it could be a reminder about what they have experienced in the past, and that could cause a re-experiencing of their trauma. so it's important that we provide these kids the support that they need to help to heal. william: let's talk a little bit
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about older kids, late middle school, high school. again, do we assume that they have heard about this, seen it online, and then we initiate the conversation? or do we wait for them to come to us? dr. brymer: i always assume that they're going to find out, whether it's through texting or through social media. most kids will wait for us to start the conversation. and so we need to initiate it. we need to be truthful about the conversation. and might be having to discuss about what our family values are or how this has impacted us and sometimes have those societal discussions about what the situation has meant, and how maybe we can help to support change. william: i want to ask about something. this is something i have struggled with in my own family, which is older teenagers, who know a great deal about the world, and they look at these types of events, gun violence, or climate change, or racial
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injustice, and they have a sense of pessimism because, in their lifetimes, things have really not moved. how you wrestle with that, to be honest with them about the shape of the world as it is, and yet not contribute to their despair? dr. brymer: you have to acknowledge how painful it is that this happened again. we can't sugarcoat that. but, at the second time, i would challenge our teens, what are they going to do this summer or next year to maybe be that change? so can they initiate something at school? can they think about, at school, is there somebody who doesn't have a lot of friends, or who just moved to the neighborhood, or their family members are in the military, and that we reach out? there are things that all of us can be doing. so helping to have our teens get anchored into those things that can be done, that can actually make a difference. william: i want to touch back on something you mentioned before, which is the pandemic. i mean, kids have already been
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under a lot of stress from the isolation and school closures. and we lost a million american that's many millions of families and children that have lost a loved one. this is a compounding issue, right? these add up onto each other. dr. brymer: well, we know that so many kids have lost a primary or secondary caregiver. so, as they're seeing the news of how many have died in this incident, they're also thinking about their recent losses. so we need to make sure that they're getting support for their own loss of a loved one, and giving them at comfort. and if they are struggling with their grief, there are so many resources out therto support youth who might need additional levels of support. william: how does a parent or a grandparent or an aunt or an uncle or a caregiver know when a kid has moved from just being upset and distreed about events to something more serious? like, how do you know when you
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need to pull the lever for more professional help? dr. brymer: well, i say, has there been a change in the functioning? are they stepping away from doing those things that they enjoy? are they retreating from spending time with their friends or with their loved -- with their family members? do we see a change in academics? and we can ask our kids, do you feel like this has been too much and you need to talk to someone right now? school guidance counselors, a pediatrician -- 211, for example, is available in most communities that can show what kind of resources are in your community, so that child can get help. william: all right, dr. melissa brymer, thank you very much for helping us wade through all of this. dr. brymer: thank you so much. judy: so important not to rush on after this terrible event in texas, to take the time to have these conversations and to be there for each other. and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here
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tomorrow evening. for all of us at the "pbs newshour," thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the "pbs newshour" has been provided by. >> for 25 years, consumer cellular's goal has been to provide wireless service that helps people communicate and connect. we offer a variety of no contract plans and our u.s.-based customer service team can help find one that fits you. to learn more, visit >> the ford foundation, working with visionaries on the front lines of social change worldwide. and with the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions. wasade possible
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by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> this is the pbs "newshour" from weta studios in washington and in the west from the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.] >> you're watching pbs.
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