All-Star Panel: Analysis of how people will react to CT shooting

All-Star panel reacts to gruesome violence


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," December 14, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of five and 10 years old.

They had their entire lives ahead of them -- birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams. So our hearts are broken today. For the parents, and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: An emotional President Obama reacting to the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. For analysis let's go to Washington, D.C. and out panel, Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard, Kirsten Powers, columnist for The Daily Beast, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Charles, words today?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, the first thing I think we have to say is in trying to look at this or analyze this requires a huge amount of humility. The true fact is that we do not know and often even after these events are analyzed and thought through we really don't know. This is the problem of evil, and it's been struggled with forever.

What we know about the current shooting is that people are going to divide into three camps, there are three elements here. You've got the psychology of the shooter, you've got the weapon, and you've got the cultural environment. People will choose whichever cause they want to blame. They will say it was the guns that were available. The laws ought to be tightened, although the Brady campaign says that Connecticut has the fourth strictest laws in the country. Then you have the environment. People on the right tend to say that our culture desensitizes young people in movies, video games to killing in way that older generation find inconceivable and disturbing.

I tend to gravitate toward the psychology of the killer. When you think about the details of the crime, he began by shooting his mother in the face. Taking her weapon and then destroying everything precious to her, her colleagues and her children, and then killing himself. That I think is where I would start, although I think all the issues have to be discussed.

BAIER: Kirsten?

KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK POST: Yes, I think all the issues have to be discussed but the psychology part has to be paired with the semi-automatic weapon in order for something like this to happen. And as the president said today, we need to have some meaningful action to deal with this issue.

This is something now that is starting to almost become epidemic in our country. It's not -- in my entire childhood I don't even -- you know, if it happened, this was such a rarity. And now it's become almost commonplace, these shootings. This is particularly terrible because it involved all these young children, five-year-olds. Just the most innocent of the innocent you can think of.

But I think we have to look at the factors, the mental health factors.  Are we looking for signs, are we offering mental health treatment to the people? But also looking at the gun laws, do we have the right gun laws? All the different aspects of it and try to seriously address this issue and not just throw up our hands and say well, there is nothing we can do about it. These things just happen. These things just shouldn't happen.

BAIER: Fred, Attorney General Holder earlier talked about freedoms and analyzing what happened today in contrast or context of our freedoms.

FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, one of the freedoms we have had in this country that has been ratified by the Supreme Court is the right to bear arms. Individuals can do it and they do. But there are other countries where arms are plentiful, countries like Israel and Switzerland, where we don't have the same homicide rate that we have in the United States. And we don't have these mass killings over and over again.

My reaction was, oh, not again. I think that was a lot of people's reaction. So the problem in the United States is one that Charles mentioned, the psychology of the people who do these killings, the one at Virginia Tech, at Columbine, and the theater in Aurora, Colorado and all these killings. We have to find ways to keep guns out of the hands of these people.

But it's hard to do, because look, these guns belong to this killer's mother. She had them at the home. The son who was not old enough I think to own a firearm got them and took them and used them. I don't know how you could really stop that even in a state, as Charles said, with pretty strict gun control laws.

The problem is we do have, compared to other countries with a lot of guns, a culture of violence in this country that allows -- that allows a lot of violent acts to happen. They aren't curbed very well here, and people do get guns. Look, we are not going to ban guns in this country. We can curb the number of them, but these were legally owned guns and were used by presumably, a psychotic person. Hard to stop that.

BAIER: Charles, very quickly, if you a parent tonight put on the psychiatrist hat and your child, what do you say to them?

KRAUTHAMMER: I mean we live in a culture you can't escape from these events, which itself is rather tragic. So everybody is exposed. All you can do is provide them safety and love. That's all you can do. There are no explanations, I don't think that's what you want to do. You just show them that you will protect them, because you love them. And they do not have to fear. That is all you can say.

BAIER: Panel, as always, a tough day, but thank you. Next up, reaction from all over the country to today's events.

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