Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more from David Mattingly on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
Makeshift memorials come and go on Chicago’s Southside. Neighborhoods often gather to mark the violent death of friends and family by placing balloons, cards and candles where victims were struck down. But Diane Latiker had another idea. In 2007, she decided to do something to make the city take notice of the wave of violence that was killing so many school aged children. She purchased 30 landscaping stones and wrote the name of a young person who was killed on each of them. Latiker thought the sight of so many names would shock the city to action. She was wrong.
Latiker was moved to create her memorial after the murder of 16 year old Blair Holt. The student and aspiring rap star was killed in the crossfire of a gang shooting on a city bus. His name was one of the 30 she selected for the stones. Today however, Diane Latiker’s memorial has grown and shows no signs of stopping. 30 stones have grown to 153. There are so many, shelves and a roof had to be built to display them. Requests for more stones from grieving families come in all the time.
The expansion of Taliban reach in Pakistan, the only Muslim nation with nuclear weapons, has alarmed much of Washington and is likely to be occupy much of President Barack Obama’s conversations today with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai. In an interview, former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn said the danger is that — when it comes to Pakistani nuclear weapons — the U.S. doesn’t know the true state of that country’s security measures, or the state of its military. Below are extended excerpts:
Insider: When we talked last year, I asked you what posed the greater threat to the United States — Iraq or Afghanistan? Your answer was Pakistan. Is this the scenario you’ve been worried about?
Nunn: Yes, I think it is. The worse combination is a nation that has nuclear weapons and nuclear material and nuclear know-how, and has a very unstable political environment. That’s where Pakistan is right now.
Insider: Should we be worried? In the Boston Globe, I see the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff saying he’s “comfortable” that no nuclear weapons can be stolen. Do you agree with that?
Nunn: I wish that I had the confidence that we really know. And I’m glad that some of our top officials believe that the Pakistan military is dedicated to protecting those weapons. And I have no doubt that the top levels of the Pakistan military are.
That’s where our officials get their information. We’re not doing our own on-the-ground assessment. We don’t have access. So what you’re hearing in the statements of confidence is that top U.S. officials are confident that top Pakistani officials fully intend to protect their nuclear weapons.
The real question is, the generals aren’t guarding those weapons. The privates are — the young people are. And Pakistan has become more radicalized. Weapons security depends on personnel security. And that’s one that’s a big question mark, as the country becomes more subject to revolutionary-type zealots...
Program Note: Tune in tonight for more on the violence on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
The Chicago Tribune With only months left in the 2008-2009 school year, the number of students killed already exceeds last school year's total. Check out this photo gallery of the victims of the violence.
AC360° Associate Producer
The swine flu hysteria appears to be fading – at least for now.
Despite news this week that a second person in the United States, Judy Trunnell of Texas, died while infected with the H1N1 virus, U.S. and Mexican officials hope the worst may be over.
The latest World Health Organization count puts the total number of confirmed cases at 1,516 in 22 countries and 30 deaths. Officials are still recommending that individuals take precautions, but in the U.S. schools were urged not to close. Newly appointed Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said scientists believe that the flu strain is no more dangerous than seasonal flu, and that schools should act accordingly.
And flu fears, stirred up by daily updates from the WHO, the Obama administration and news media, now appear to be waning.
But even a few days of flu frenzy can be fodder for the most brazen of entrepreneurs.
Last week in New York, Alan Wolan – who runs a marketing agency – was taking his son to school on the subway, when he noticed a commuter wearing a surgical mask.
And he immediately had an idea.
Tonight on AC360°, should pot be legalized and taxed? Text 360 with your questions/comments on this hot topic. Just be sure to type AC in the message and sent it to 94553. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke about the possibility yesterday. "I'm always for an open debate on it (legalization). And, I think we ought to study very carefully what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana and other drugs, what effect did it have on those countries?," he said. Keep in mind, California is hurting for cash during this recession, like many other states. Could legalizing pot help fix some of the money woes?
Don't miss Erica Hill's webcast on the pot debate and tonight's other headlines during the commercials. Watch our WEBCAST
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Tonight on AC360°, the growing death toll in Chicago. School children killed. Lives cut short. So far, 36 students have been murdered. The latest is 16-year-old Ramone Morris. He was killed this morning. Police found him on the street, shot in the back of the head.
Chicago is now the deadliest city for school children in the United States. Tonight, we give you an up close look at the problem through the eyes of a 10 year old boy, whose brother was murdered. Anderson will also talk with Chicago's Police Superintendent. What are cops doing to try to stop the violence?
Just two night ago, when David Mattingly reported on the violence the death toll was 34. Two days later and we have two more deaths. He'll have a 360 follow on the story.
Also tonight, 360's Gary Tuchman has an update on his story last night about the Texas town where the cops and the district attorney were allegedly shaking down African-Americans and Latino drivers, stopping them on the highway and taking thousands of dollars in cash from some of them. Police say they were in compliance with Texas law. The victims don't agree.
Join us for these stories and more starting at 10pm ET.
See you then!
Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
First Lady Michelle Obama visited Sesame Street, Tuesday, May 5th, to tape a Public Service Announcement with Elmo as part of Sesame Workshop’s Healthy Habits For Life initiative. (Courtesy Richard Termine)
Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
CNN Associate Producer
Teen mom Bristol Palin had a simple message for teens on Wednesday, the 8th Annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
The daughter of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin – the 2008 vice presidential nominee – said in an interview on NBC's Today Show that she wanted other teens to "learn from my example."
"If you're going to have sex, I think you should have safe sex," the unwed, teenage mother said as she held her infant son, Tripp. "And, regardless of what I did or anything like that, I think that abstinence is the only 100 percent foolproof way of preventing teen pregnancy."