Transcript for ABC News Live Prime: Wednesday, November 24, 2021
Long time coming.
Guilty-- that was the verdict tonight for the three defendants convicted in a death of Ahmaud Arbery, the Black 25-year-old who was shot and killed while out for a jog. The defendants, a father and son and the man who recorded the video that shocked this nation, now each face life in prison. Arbery's mother says she never thought this day would come. We speak to his father tonight.
Holiday scramble-- it is that time of year. You know, the time to get out of Dodge-- highways jammed, airports packed, more than two million people flying today alone, Thanksgiving and the holiday season just about underway. But the holidays come with a threat of one guest nobody wants over-- COVID. The CDC warns hospitalizations and deaths are expected to increase for the first time in months. We could hit another grim milestone-- 800,000 dead before Christmas, as the race for millions to get boosters continues.
And as health officials voiced their concerns about COVID, the FBI has a warning about new cyberthreats over Thanksgiving. American businesses and government agencies are told to beware of hackers-- what you need to know. Democracy on the line-- it's the election that could impact everything from the war against drug traffickers to the surge of migrants at the southern border, Honduras set to choose its new leader. Will a party widely believed to be backed by drug money continue its grip on power? We'll take a closer look.
And the adoption battle-- the Michigan parents embroiled in a bitter and unusual legal battle to adopt their twins who were born via surrogate.
She looked at me point blank and said, well, you are not the mother.
And "Tik Talk--" meet the couple who became an online sensation after the husband started cooking for his wife. Now, they're feeding hungry college kids. They sum up the experience in one word--
Good evening, everyone. I'm Linsey Davis. Thank you so much for streaming with us on yet another busy news night. It's been a long time coming-- those were the words of a Ahmaud Arbery's father, just seconds after the judge uttered the word guilty in a verdict that has certainly reverberated across the country. Before convicting the three white defendants for killing a Black man jogging through the neighborhood, the jury asked to see the video of the incident one last time.
And many may remember, it took protests for more than two months after Arbery's death for the men to be arrested, and that was not until the video of his murder was leaked-- released by a criminal defense lawyer who was informally consulting with the suspects, and even gave the tape to a local radio station in an effort to show that the shooting was justified. This former Georgia prosecutor was later indicted on misconduct charges that allege she used her position to shield the men who killed Arbery.
And now, 21 months later, a verdict. In a moment, we speak with attorney Benjamin Crump and Ahmaud Arbery's father, Marcus Arbery. But we begin tonight with Steve Osunsami on the verdict.
I understand we have a verdict.
People around the world were tuning into this courthouse in South Georgia, watching the moment live.
Count one, malice murder-- we the jury find the defendant, Travis McMichael, guilty.
And with those words, the concerns many had about the nearly all white jury went away.
Count two, felony murder-- we the jury find the defendant, Greg McMichael, guilty. Count 3, felony murder, we the jury find the defendant, William R. Bryan, guilty.
After a little more than 11 hours in a quiet room, jurors came out and convicted the three men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery in February of last year, a killing that prosecutors say would have never happened if the 25-year-old were white. Inside the courtroom, the faces of two mothers filled with tears-- the mother of Travis McMichael, who fired the fatal shots, and the mother of Ahmaud Arbery, who never stopped pushing authorities to find justice for her son.
Arbery's father let out such a scream for joy the judge had him removed from the courtroom.
They were feeling that same joy outside the courthouse.
People told us it feels a little safer tonight to be Black in Georgia.
I was jumping up and down. I always-- I'm happy. I'm happy. Finally, we got justice.
Travis McMichael, seen here leaving court in shackles, was convicted of all nine charges against him, including malice murder and aggravated assault. He's seen here in this disturbing cell phone video, shooting Ahmaud Arbery dead. His father Gregory, a former police officer, was convicted of felony murder and all but one of his charges. He's seen here getting out of the back of the pickup truck that they used to chase their victim down.
Even the neighbor who they met just that day, who joined in the chase and recorded the cell phone video, was also convicted of felony murder. William "Roddie" Bryan was convicted of all but three of his charges. Their lawyers tonight say that they're sorry.
These men are sorry for what happened to Ahmaud Arbery. They are sorry that he is dead.
The minimum sentence for murder in Georgia is life in prison.
They're looking at life in prison for all three of these guys.
Well, that's not my concern. They created a-- they can't-- like my grandmama say, you made your bed, you sleep in it.
The prosecutor convinced jurors that the three white men made what she kept calling driveway assumptions about Arbery because he was Black and was seen walking around an unsecured construction site in the neighborhood. She came out tonight to a hero's welcome.
The jury system works in this country. And when you present the truth to people and they can see it--
--they will do the right thing.
It's exactly what the streets were demanding in the summer of protests that surrounded the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and another black man, George Floyd, who was murdered in Minnesota. Arbery's mother came out tonight, thanking those who prayed and protested, saying that this Thanksgiving will be bittersweet.
Back in 2020, I never thought this day would come. But God is good. Now, Quez-- which, you know him as Ahmaud, I know him as Quez--
--he will now rest in peace.
Answered prayer for that family-- and so many families, really, across the country. Steve Osunsami joins us now. Steve, you've been on this from the beginning. You know, I have to say, even in my own household, when my son inadvertently saw that video a while back-- and he said, why did they kill that man? And then there were questions about if they were going to go to jail-- many people really holding their breath, waiting for the result of this verdict today.
That's right, Linsey-- all kinds of families across America were watching this case closely, families who aren't Black who just believe in justice and fairness, and families who are African-American, who can see themselves on that street and possibly being a victim in this same instance. There are so many of these cases like this, where we've seen where the person who was of color was seen as being more suspicious in the first place, which led to the confrontation, or led to the police stop.
So there's a much bigger story here than just this one incident, and these three men who've now been convicted. And the story isn't over for these three men. They still face federal prosecution for potential civil rights violations. And that trial could begin in February-- Linsey?
Steve Osunsami, our thanks to you. For reaction now to this landmark verdict, we are joined by Ahmaud Arbery's father, Marcus Arbery, and the Arbery family attorney, Mr. Ben Crump. Thank you both so much for being here, especially on such an important day. Mr. Arbery, take us back to that moment today when you heard that first guilty verdict read. What were you feeling?
Oh, a lot of relief off my chest, because what we went through. And to get a verdict-- to get a verdict in a case like this, it means a lot to African-American people. It means a lot to us African-American people to get justice in a case like this, because my boy was lynched, and we just felt that we were losing faith in the justice system, because we really just thought we were going to never get no shelter, because you know it's been a long time coming for African-American people.
Were you skeptical you wouldn't get this guilty verdict?
Yes, I will tell you the truth.
Did you wish that the judge gave you just a warning and allowed you to stay to hear the other counts, the other verdicts as they came in. Or it didn't matter at that point, after you heard that first guilty?
It really didn't matter to me at that point, because once I heard that first guilty, it didn't really matter what they did to me.
And Mr. Crump, this was of course racially charged from the start. Were you skeptical that the jury would reach this verdict?
Well, we had concerns, and we would be less than honest if we said we didn't have some worries when the jury was seated, and we found out that it was 11 white people and one Black person. But this verdict, based on this jury deliberating and reviewing all the evidence, it gives us hope for America. This jury really gives us hope to say that a jury can follow the law based on the evidence, and it doesn't matter whether the person was Black or Hispanic or white.
We pray and hope that every jury can do like this jury did in Brunswick, Georgia and base their verdict on the evidence, not the dog whistle, not talking about his long legs, with his dirty toe nails, and all this irrelevant stuff. A young man was lynched for jogging while Black in 2020 on video.
And Mr. Arbery, of course, this doesn't bring your son back, but what does the verdict mean for you and also your family?
Oh, it means a lot. It just means that we can go forward, and we are-- because this guilty verdict means a lot to my family because if we didn't get a guilty verdict, that means we're going to be set back another 20 years. So this guilty verdict mean a whole lot to all African-American people, that the justice system can work for us.
Does it restore any doubts that you may have had in the criminal justice system?
At the beginning, I did, but now I'm gaining some faith in it now, because what we have been through so long.
Mr. Crump, we already saw Georgia get rid of its citizen's arrest law after Ahmaud's murder. What other legal implications do you hope that this case and today's verdict might have going forward?
Well, hopefully it will say that this vigilante justice that seems to be entrenched in racism is going to be met with the hard arm of the law, saying if you try to take the law into your own hands, you will be held accountable. We must remember Trayvon Martin seemed like a long time ago, but in many ways, it seems like it was only yesterday. And the killers of Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery were so similarly-- were so eerily similar when you really think about it.
And so in February of next year, everybody is going to be asking-- 10 years after Trayvon Martin, how far have we come in the quest for racial justice in America? And I believe today was a proclamation that we've come a long way. We have a long way to go, but we have come a long way. So we don't mark this as a celebration, but as a reflection that America, we can do better when we choose to do better. We don't have to have this Jim Crow era justice, like the lynch mob tried to do to Ahmaud Arbery.
We can be better than this. And as we said earlier, the spirit of Ahmaud defeated the Georgia lynch mob today.
And to that point, Mr. Crump, today we heard from Vice President Kamala Harris. And she said that the verdict sends an important message. In your estimation, what is that message?
The message that this verdict sends is so important, because it says to not just America present, but to our children who are watching, that America can live up to its promises to all its citizens, that there is equality and justice for all, and that we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness no matter who you are in America. That is the important message sent from this Brunswick, Georgia jury in the case of the killers of Ahmaud Arbery.
That jury sent a message not just to the Arbery family but to the world.
And Mr. Arbery, what's next at this point? Will there be a civil suit?
Yes. Yes. You know, that ain't going to bring Ahmaud back, but hey, when you're wrong, you got to pay. You got to pay. You've got to be accountable when you're wrong, so yes.
I thank you both so much for your time. I've heard from a lot of people today that they were holding their breath, so I imagine that both of you are breathing much easier today. Marcus Arbery, Ben Crump, appreciate you talking with me tonight.
And to further unpack this verdict, we welcome back ABC News contributor Channa Lloyd. Thanks so much for joining us again, Channa. Travis McMichael, the man who pulled the trigger here, was convicted of malice murder, while the other two were convicted of felony murder. They all got murder convictions, but what's the difference between these crimes?
So the difference between these, Linsey, is that with malice murder, it requires intent. You killed someone with a malignant heart, which means you have the intent to kill them. That's the difference that we see with Travis McMichael in his charges. The felony murders occurred because, essentially, what the jury determined was that the other-- all three of them, actually-- were in commission of felonies, which is false imprisonment and aggravated assault with the vehicles, and that that attaches to the felony murder, because as long as you're in commission of a felony and someone dies, that attaches felony murder to that particular charge.
And walk us through the possible sentences here, even before we get to the federal hate crime charges.
So in Georgia, with the murder charges, it is a minimum of life imprisonment. The judge has the discretion to offer parole, but in Georgia, you must serve 30 years before you're eligible for parole. For the underlying aggravated assault as well as the false imprisonment, aggravated assault carries a sentence of one to 20 years, and the false imprisonment carries a sentence of one to 10 years. And we'll see that come through with any sort of aggravating factors that the state may allege-- will determine where on that scale we land for those underlying felonies.
And you've, of course, been right here with us as we follow the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse as well-- who was acquitted. Obviously, the cases are quite different, and so are the jurors. But in both trials, we heard about this vigilantism and self-defense claims. What do you think the prosecutors-- why do you think the prosecutors were successful here, but not in the Rittenhouse trial?
Well, I think that they were successful here because it was very clear that at every opportunity, Ahmaud Arbery attempted to go around them. He attempted to not engage with them. He never spoke to them at any point in time. He was completely disengaged. They were clear in their pursuit of trying to trap him, and later killing him. In the Rittenhouse, what we see is that Mr. Rosenbaum chased Mr. Rittenhouse. He threw some things at him. There were threats. The other gentleman hit him with a skateboard, and the third gentleman was armed with a gun.
So what we see is that in Rittenhouse, there was a pursuit of him, as opposed to what we see in Ahmaud Arbery, where the defendants were doing the chasing and trying to entrap Ahmaud Arbery.
In closing arguments, one of the defense lawyers said that Arbery died because, quote, he chose to fight instead of facing the consequences. But as we heard during the trial, Arbery was doing nothing wrong. He was simply out for a run. He didn't need to stop what he was doing just because these men told him to. What's the takeaway here?
The takeaway here is that no matter what you're protecting, whether you believe you're protecting property, or some other personal rights, your rights end where another person's begin. Ahmaud Arbery had no duty, he had no responsibility to say anything to either of the McMichaels, so he was well within his rights. If they wanted to report something, they should have called law enforcement, or they could have stayed in the car.
So what the jury is-- sending the messages that they are not condoning vigilante behavior, such as the McMichaels and Mr. Bryan. I think they're also sending the message that Ahmaud Arbery and those that look like him-- his life mattered. The jury saw what he went through and they decided the verdict accordingly. And I think that that's a big step in the right direction for the criminal justice system as a whole, is that we see that these lives are being recognized in a way that they previously have not been.
Thank you so much for your expertise. I want to wish you a happy Thanksgiving, Channa Lloyd. Appreciate your time.
Thanks, Linsey. Happy Thanksgiving.
And be sure to tune in to a special 20/20 Friday night-- "Nowhere To Run: The Ahmaud Arbery Story." That's at 9:00 PM Eastern on ABC.
Next, to the holiday dash playing out in all corners of our country. Airports are experiencing the largest surge in travelers since the start of the pandemic. And at least 48 million people are expected to drive, despite those higher gas prices. ABC's transportation correspondent Gio Benitez has more.
Tonight, more than 48 million Americans hitting the road for Thanksgiving, part of the biggest holiday travel rush since the pandemic began.
We started at 9:30--
Every time we go to see Grandma in Delaware, we're usually on the road before 4 or 5 AM.
Drivers making the trip to see relatives, paying the highest gas prices in seven years. The average for a gallon of regular, soaring to $3.40 a gallon, more than $1 higher than just a year ago, when demand was lower because of the pandemic-- prices in the Northeast jumping 60%, and approaching $5 a gallon in California. Millions more, packing airports for the holiday--
It's nice to be able to kind of freely go wherever you want.
We're going over there to visit my sister and then from there go to Disney World.
We're super excited.
The TSA screening more than two million travelers a day for the past week--
Kind of freaking out a little bit, I'm worrying about getting to my plane on time.
The TSA says it expects Sunday to be the busiest travel day of the year as people head home, with an estimated 2.4 million passengers catching flights-- parking lots filling up at some major airports, with customers told to reserve spots ahead of time. As for the weather, travelers can expect clear skies and no major storms impacting their plans.
And Linsey, if you're driving for the holiday, the best times to get on the road are tonight after nine PM, or tomorrow morning before 11:00-- Linsey.
All right, Gio, thanks so much. As millions gather for Thanksgiving, a new sobering forecast about the COVID pandemic-- new infections, hospitalizations, and deaths are all on the rise, and millions of Americans and children have yet to get either their first shot or a booster. Erielle Reshef has more.
On the eve of Thanksgiving, a sobering forecast from the CDC-- a new model projects COVID hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise.
Thanksgiving can represent a real superspreader event for many parts of this country, ultimately exacerbating a surge, and likely leading to unnecessary hospitalizations and deaths.
Nearly 15,000 Americans could lose their lives to COVID in the next two weeks, with the country reaching a staggering 800,000 before Christmas. Hospital admissions are now climbing in nearly half the country. In Massachusetts, strained hospitals are reducing elective surgeries.
We have a half dozen ICU patients that are waiting for beds and don't have beds for them yet.
Michigan hospitals are so overwhelmed that the state is asking for open beds at VA facilities.
It's very concerning about where this will go, especially heading into the holiday season. We know we're going to have a lot more gatherings.
The rising infections, fueled by 100 million still unvaccinated Americans, mixed with relaxed restrictions, colder weather, and waning protection from the vaccine. Mike Cook says his parents, who are in their mid-70s, were vaccinated. They were planning on getting a booster shot when they got COVID and had to be hospitalized. His father is on a ventilator.
Their body just felt very worn down, so they had been in-- literally in bed for, like, a week. My mother hadn't eaten in over a week.
2 in 3 Americans will spend Thanksgiving with people outside their households, and about half of those say that could include unvaccinated guests. If family members are unvaccinated, immunocompromised, or elderly, the CDC recommending wearing masks, possibly gathering outdoors, and getting tested ahead of time.
One extra layer of protection that you might take is to take a rapid test before you gather together.
And Linsey, Dr. Fauci saying tonight in order to beat back a winter surge, we have to get more people boosted now. He says we're doing a good job, with more than 30 million people boosted so far, but we have to get it into the hundreds of millions of people boosted and vaccinated. Linsey?
Erielle, thank you. And next, there's a new FBI warning that cyber criminals could be trying to game the system this holiday season. ABC's chief justice correspondent, Pierre Thomas, has more.
Tonight, on the eve of Thanksgiving and the holidays beyond, the FBI and Homeland Security now warning critical industries to be on the lookout for crippling ransomware attacks, like the one on Colonial Pipeline that triggered gas shortages along the East Coast. In issuing the new bulletin, authorities noting they've seen a troubling pattern this year-- attacks during holidays, when they can do the most harm and get the most attention.
In addition to Colonial, there was a ransomware attack on the meat giant JBS around Memorial Day that disrupted production across the US.
If you would have asked me a year ago and said, hey, Paul, what about ransomware-- you know, I probably would have said it's not something we do.
General Paul Nakasone, head of the NSA and US Cyber Command, now says ransomware is a national security threat that he's zeroing in on. He's established so-called Hunt Forward teams who travel to other nations to help allies identify malware and hackers on their networks, and then report back to the US.
Once we do that, we share that with the private sector, and that provides a level of inoculation.
To cope with the surge in ransomware and other attacks, the NSA is evolving, increasingly engaging with private companies.
January of 2020, we had noticed some very unique vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows 10. We shared that information.
And 10 years ago, you would have never done that.
We would never have done it.
This, as the NSA director describes an incredibly dynamic, but covert battle being waged in cyberspace. And Linsey, authorities say the number of ransomware attacks targeting the US is up a stunning 300%.
Pierre, thank you. When we come back, the disturbing scene unfolding outside the home of a Minnesota Viking star, the couple fighting to get custody of their child from a surrogate. But up next, the election in our part of the world that we should all be tracking-- will a party with alleged ties to cartels be re-elected in Honduras, helping to fuel the migrant crisis, or is a new day near for that country and the region? Stay with us.
Now, to an election that could have major implications for both immigration and the war on drugs. On Sunday in Honduras, millions will be heading to the polls to choose their next president, but fears of rampant fraud and, in turn, violence have voters on edge. And the US State Department, keeping a close eye-- ABC'S Maggie Rulli has this report.
A vulnerable nation teetering on the edge of democracy.
[SPEAKING IN SPANISH]
Honduras, a country plagued by political corruption, now pushed to its limit-- a presidential election that some say is the country's last chance to prove democracy is still alive in one of the poorest nations in the Western hemisphere. A system in peril, allegedly perpetrated by the highest office, for more than a decade-- June 2009, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya is ousted by his own military after trying to hold a referendum to change the Constitution in order to be re-elected.
November 2009, elections are held, and Porfirio Lobo Sosa wins. The reign of the right wing National Party begins. January 2014, Juan Orlando Hernandez takes over as president after defeating Xiamara Castro, wife of the ousted Zelaya. April 2015, the Honduran Supreme Court strikes down a law that prevents presidents from seeking a second term. November 2017, Hernandez claims victory in a contested election, defeating Salvador Nasralla, who was the front runner and expected to win. Hondurans take to the streets to protest.
February 2021-- a Honduran drug trafficker testifies in US federal court that he bribed both Zelaya and Hernandez. Both deny allegations. Hernandez and his brother, Tony Hernandez, a former Honduran Congressman, both accused by the US Drug Enforcement agency of being key figures in a violent, state sponsored drug trafficking conspiracy.
Now, the Honduran people will be heading to the polls yet again on Sunday, choosing between a familiar face-- Democratic socialist candidate Xiomara Castro, and a familiar government, right wing candidate Nasry Asfura.
What is it about this election? What's at stake here?
This election will define the direction in which the country goes in the next 10, 20 years.
But now, Xiamara Castro is back. According to some local polls, she's leading the race.
[SPEAKING IN SPANISH]
She's become a force in Honduran politics, leading the movement against the 2009 coup that deposed of her husband, and creating a new, liberal political party. If she wins, she'd become the first woman to be president of Honduras, and the only female leader in all of Latin America.
For the first time in Honduras' history, probably, you have the opportunity of a woman to become the president. Honduras has been considered a very conservative country.
Last month, her campaign got a boost-- the backing of rival turned supporter Nasralla.
[SPEAKING IN SPANISH]
It's going to be a step forward to show women are more qualified than men to run the government.
The man who lost to Hernandez in a controversial ballot in 2017-- now, the new VP candidate.
[SPEAKING IN SPANISH]
I wouldn't have won. I would have taken votes away from the opposition movement, and that would have made me a bad Honduran.
Nasralla, giving his first US English language network interview this election cycle to ABC News--
[SPEAKING IN SPANISH]
A country cannot have a poverty rate of 74%, of which 55% live in extreme poverty, meaning they could only afford one meal a day. It's too much poverty, too much abuse.
Castro's agenda and her possible history making win could be thwarted if her opponent, Nasry Asfura, currently the mayor of the nation's capital, Tegucigalpa, and candidate for the ruling right wing National Party wins the election.
[SPEAKING IN SPANISH]
Can Honduras have lawful, legal elections right now?
Yes, I have to believe, too, and I want to believe.
Fears that if they don't happen, violence that could turn into something that the Central American region at large hasn't seen in decades.
[SPEAKING IN SPANISH]
The people are in a state of crisis. I don't dismiss the possibility of a Civil War in the country.
The high stakes election even has Washington paying close attention-- a State Department representative traveling to Honduras just this week in an effort to support Honduras's democratic institutions and encourage peaceful and transparent elections.
We'll be looking to Honduran electoral authorities to carry out their responsibilities professionally and transparently.
In 2021 alone, over 300,000 Hondurans arrived to the US southern border.
[SPEAKING IN SPANISH]
Despite supporting different candidates, Clara and Ella both agree the common goal is to make Honduras a better country.
[SPEAKING IN SPANISH]
Maggie Rulli, ABC News, London.
So much at stake there-- our thanks to Maggie for bringing us that. Still ahead here-- on crime charges filed against several suspects following those flash mob robberies out in California, the Pentagon forming a new group to investigate UFO reports, we'll explain. And it is Native American Heritage Month. We take a look at the history and accomplishments of our Indigenous community by the numbers.
But first, our tweet of the day-- Vice President Kamala Harris announcing the racial vaccination gap with COVID has effectively been closed.
Welcome back, everyone. November is Native American Heritage Month, and this Friday is Native American Heritage Day. It's a time to celebrate the history, heritage, culture and accomplishments of America's Indigenous people. And tonight, we take a look at this commemoration by the numbers. More than a century ago, in 1914, Red Fox James, a so-called Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indigenous people, but a national day would only come decades later.
In 1916, the governor of New York declared the first-- what was then called American Indian Day on record, and several individual states then followed suit. It wasn't until 1990 that President George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November National American Indian Heritage Month. Similar proclamations have been issued each year since 1994.
The mass murder of Native Americans is, of course, one of America's original sins, and this is a time of somber reflection, but we also celebrate the 7.1 million American Indians and Alaska natives living in the US today, and their contributions to this country. And lastly, 574-- that's the number of federally recognized Native American tribes, with many of their members living on the 324 Native American reservations across the country.
And still lots to get to here on Prime tonight-- the encouraging signs our economic recovery is real. We dig into the numbers. Are guns helping to fuel the radicalization of America? We take a deep dive into that issue, but first, a look at our top trending stories on abcnews.com.
In the case at the center of a nationwide outcry for racial justice, the jury reaching a verdict in the murder trial of the three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man.
We, the jury, find the defendant Travis McMichael guilty. We, the jury, find the defendant Greg McMichael guilty. We, the jury, find the defendant, William R. Bryan guilty.
Travis McMichael, guilty on all charges. Gregory McMichael was not guilty of malice murder, but guilty on all of the other charges. William "Roddie" Bryan Jr. is not guilty of malice murder and one of the felony murder charges, but guilty on three other charges, along with assault. Outside the courtroom--
Wanda and Marcus still are devastated because they're missing the Ahmaud.
I never thought this day would come, but God is good.
The family of Ahmaud Arbery enduring the trial process from start to finish, hearing and watching Arbery's final moments as they played before jury. With the verdict now in, they now begin the journey to healing.
A new milestone when it comes to unemployment in the US--
The last time there were fewer than 200,000 jobless claims in a week, it was 1969. 199,000 people filed first time claims for unemployment benefits last week, showing how reluctant employers are to lay anyone off. There are millions of job openings in the country, and some businesses are having to raise wages to compete. This is a remarkable comeback for the job market, after 22 million people lost their jobs at the onset of the pandemic.
A disturbing scene unfolding at the home of Minnesota Vikings star Everson Griffen, the defensive end surrendering after a day long standoff at his home, telling police he fired his weapon at an intruder. He says no one was hurt, and police found no sign of a break in. He posted, then deleted, alarming messages, saying he needs help and that someone is trying to kill him, along with video showing him holding a gun. Viking officials and mental health workers going to his home, working with authorities, until he finally came out. The team says he's now getting the care he needs.
You know, we're just-- we're only concerned about his well-being. And, you know, he's been with us for a long time.
More arrests in another so-called smash and grab robbery in California-- police in San Jose say two suspects are responsible for stealing $2000 worth of cologne and perfume that were taken from the Macy's women's department.
In San Francisco, DA Chesa Boudin announcing felony charges against five people accused in a flash mob style burglary of a Louis Vuitton store on Friday night.
We will do whatever it takes to keep San Francisco safe.
In LA, at the Grove Mall, spiked barricades have been put up at night to prevent crowds from smashing windows and breaking in.
People have, like, pulled out knives and threatened us.
I know Shoe Palace in LA-- an employee got shot over trying to grab the shoes that a person was stealing.
The government isn't confirming the existence of aliens, but the Pentagon is forming a new group to investigate reports of UFOs. The group will respond to reports of airborne incursions possibly threatening flight safety or national security. The Pentagon released its highly anticipated UFO report back in June, admitting it could not explain 143 incidents, saying 18 appeared to involve advanced technology.
It's lunacy. It's fascinating.
It's New York City. We are back. We are strong.
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade returns to the streets of New York tomorrow. An NYPD assessment obtained by ABC News said there are no specific credible or active threats against the 95th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Police expect 3 and 1/2 million people along the route, a bigger crowd after last year's pandemic parade marched virtually, with no in-person spectators.
Welcome back. Next-- to the unusual adoption battle that's playing out. It involves a couple trying to get their kids back from a surrogate, but there's a twist. Here's ABC's Megan Tevrizian.
A Michigan family is fighting to adopt their own biological twins.
Since they got out of the NICU, we have had them with us every second, but we are still not listed on the birth certificate as their parents.
Tammy and Jordan Myers, telling People magazine about their struggle to gain custody of their babies Eames and Ellison, who were born last January via a surrogate.
We had a meeting with an adoption agency to start the process. And she looked at me point blank and said, well, you are not the mother.
Michigan's laws surrounding surrogacy requires families like the Myers to go through the adoption process, meaning a rigorous process of background checks and a home inspection, before bringing home their own children.
They use DNA in criminal cases. It's like, why wouldn't you be able to use DNA in this situation?
The couple's dream of growing a large family was put on hold in 2015, when Tammy was diagnosed with cancer. At that time they had one child--
Hi. What are you doing?
Tammy's cancer was highly hormone positive, so doctors say caring a second baby would have likely brought the cancer back, so she froze her eggs and eventually had twins through a surrogate.
She's never contested any of this. She has stood right behind us, and would want nothing more than for us to be recognized as the legal parents of both babies.
The Myers hope their struggle will help other families avoid a similar ordeal.
Our thanks to Megan for that. We're tracking several headlines from around the world-- horror on the English Channel, after at least 31 migrants heading to the UK drown after their boat sank. One organization says it was the biggest loss of life in the waterway between Britain and France since they started keeping records. The British Prime Minister said he was appalled, adding that he would leave no stone unturned to stop human trafficking gangs.
The Caribbean nation of Barbados plans to ditch Queen Elizabeth as head of state and break with Britain for the first time in the nearly 400 years since an English ship arrived on the island. This is the first time in nearly 30 years any nation has become completely independent from the UK. And take a look at these two chimney towers from a coal fired plant in Australia that were demolished earlier. The site, according to local media, will be turned into a renewable energy hub.
We turn now to the ongoing battle over gun rights and gun control in this country. Tonight, we're joined by former firearms industry executive Ryan Busse, author of the new book Gunfight: My Battle Against The Industry That Radicalized America. Ryan, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me. Great to be here with you.
For years, you built a successful career selling and marketing millions of firearms for one of America's most popular gun companies. But now you write, "my industry has played a leading role in fomenting the division of our nation." Can you explain that and tell us who you blame for the radicalization that you write about?
Yeah, I think it's inescapable that somewhere throughout the last 15 or so years, an industry that was part of an America, that was a healthy part of America, has gone off the rails. And I blame the NRA, largely, for that. I think it was accidental. The NRA stumbled on to this idea that hate and division, and keeping the country of this near boiling point, and sometimes boiling over, it could be used to drive political outcomes. And that's also the same thing that ended up driving gun sales outcomes. And I think that has proven to be a toxic combination.
And you ultimately left the multibillion dollar gun industry and became a senior advisor to the gun violence prevention group in 2021, quite a dramatic shift. What were the deciding factors for you?
You know, I know it may sound like a dramatic shift to some, but it doesn't feel like a dramatic shift to me. I'm still a gun owner. I still believe in responsibility. I still believe in decency. I know there are millions of people like me. The ultimate sort of over-the-top thing was the 100% devotion to Trumpism, this celebration of armed intimidation, this looking the other way as people invade the Michigan Capitol and the Kentucky capital-- ultimately, the US Capitol, with come and take it AR-15 flags.
There were a lot of things added up on me over the years. I think for a lot of gun owners, those things have pushed people over the edge-- maybe the Rittenhouse thing being a culmination.
And you talk about Kyle Rittenhouse-- and additionally, Ahmaud Arbery verdicts have also reignited a debate about guns, self-defense, and vigilantism in America. Of course, Rittenhouse was found not guilty, while three men have just been convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery. What are your takeaways from these verdicts as they relate to our gun culture in this country?
Well, I think-- I'll start with the Rittenhouse case. I think it portends something very dangerous. And I don't pick on the jury. I don't pick on the legal decision. I think it was a complex thing, because the way the laws are written, and the way that the jury had to interpret those laws is a complex thing with self-defense. But that does not mean-- so Kyle Rittenhouse may have been exonerated, but that does not mean he's morally right.
Every responsible gun owner knows that carrying a firearm into a tumultuous, emotional situation-- a loaded gun like that, it violates so many gun safety rules, all of them which we were taught as kids. It's just morally wrong to do that. I think the Arbery case has the same twinges of vigilantism, but there was a just verdict there. I think it was just-- it was insane to think that anybody could argue self-defense after they had done what they had done to Ahmaud Arbery.
And a gun was central to both of those cases, because that's the thing that gave both of those vigilantes power.
And you write that gun sales tend to spike right after mass shootings and efforts to pass gun control laws. Are you expecting gun sales to keep rising with these kinds of upticks in violence?
Well, I don't think it's a mistake or a coincidence that the highest gun sales period in our nation's history, the last 18 months, coincides with the most fearful, tumultuous political and cultural time of our history, at least our modern history-- all of our lives, the last 18 months. And fear and hatred and conspiracy, worrying about the other, that drives sales. So I think that gun sales will continue on this high pace as long as we're in this sort of really ugly environment where we hate each other, and where half of the country seems to be arming itself for Civil War against the other half. It's a frightening thing.
And you talk about that division-- speaking of that, I mean, do you think there's ever a chance that there could be some kind of gun control law that Republicans and Democrats could agree on, that they could see eye to eye on this issue.
Well, I think the first thing we need to do-- and I hope we can-- we need to outlaw across all 50 states open carry and armed intimidation. This-- allowing Kyle Rittenhouse and others like him to march into streets and intimidate others with armed, loaded rifles, that's not the way a democracy functions. That's-- civility depends upon two sides being equal. And there is no civility when one side is standing over the other with a loaded gun. So I would hope that we could start with a cultural problem, and that's armed intimidation right now.
Ryan Busse, we thank you so much for your time. You can buy Gunfight: My Battle Against The Industry That Radicalized America wherever books are sold.
Thanks for having me, Linsey.
And coming up on Prime-- the husband who started cooking for his wife and is now cooking for complete strangers, hundreds of them.
Welcome back. We turn now to our weekly segment, "Tik Talk," where we interview some of our favorite TikTokers, taking a closer look at the story behind the sensation. Joining us now, Tom and Rachel Sullivan, an inspiring couple that became a viral sensation after Tom started making cooking videos while preparing special meals for his wife. Eventually, this would lead the couple to create a free meal service for hundreds of college students. Tom and Rachel, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having us.
So Tom, your journey initially started with your brand "Meal She Eats," where you curated different food options for Rachel. Tell us more about that, and why you decided to take this holistic approach.
Well, starting when Rachel learned she had PCOS, and--
That was about a year ago, I was diagnosed with PCOS. The only option that we were given to kind of regulate my cycle was to go on birth control, and we're trying--
We're trying to start a family, so--
That wasn't really an option for us.
We found some options that talked about food, and that can help with that. And I love cooking, that's my joy. And I figured if I can help her, we'll try to tackle that. So we did.
And let's talk about startling statistics-- in 2020, 34% of college students were struggling with food insecurities, and the pandemic only exacerbated that problem. You've since started an initiative called Adopt A College Kid addressing this very issue. Tell us more about this passion project and what you hope comes out of it.
Well, starting with one student, when we found out the cafeterias were closed in the dorms-- and I'm, like, how do you get through college without a cafeteria? I started inviting him over for meals to-- and Tupperware to go, and Rachel made a video that went viral.
Yeah, I made a video that went viral, and millions of college students saw it, commenting that they wished that they could also be adopted and invited over for free meals. So we were like, let's do it. And so--
We had some students ask. And we're, like, yeah, we'll do one this weekend. And that started with five, and--
And now we're up to over 500.
Well, you guys maybe ever consider going beyond the college graduates, because I'm in. I need some meal help, with the prep and all of that. Rachel, last month, you had nearly 500 college students come over to grab a meal. Is this a regular occurrence for you guys at this point? How do you prepare to feed so many hungry college kids?
Yeah, we do this every other weekend. And we actually have a meal coming up on Sunday. Tom-- surprisingly, I don't do any of the cooking. I'm the storyteller. Tom does all the cooking. We also have students who are involved with it now.
As it grew bigger, students actually asked us if they could help, whether it was to learn how to cook, or for some of the PCOS stuff we cook, or they just wanted to help. So now I have some extra hands--
We also have brands reaching out to help sponsor now, so it's really cool. It's really growing beyond what started in our kitchen. And hopefully, we can bring this on a national level. I think that would be a cool goal for us.
We could use two more ovens.
I'm sure-- industrial size. And of course, it's more than just cooking meals for college students. You both are making lasting impacts on the community. What has this experience been like for both of you?
It started with-- I mean, the community were starting to-- like, people recognize us out and say hi. They help donate. They help supply things. Some of the community has given us free shopping sprees for bigger equipment.
I think it's been cool, because for us, we just moved to Raleigh, North Carolina two years ago, and we moved in the middle of the pandemic. And we didn't really have a community. And so starting this movement-- and all of the people that it's brought together, not only college students, but companies who are local, who are reaching out, it's really-- we've started this whole community that didn't exist.
Are there any Thanksgiving dinner plans for the college students, for tomorrow?
I just put in the order for the turkeys. I'm picking them up Saturday morning--
We're doing it Sunday.
I'll start smoking them, probably Saturday through the night, roasting, and yeah, Sunday, we'll have another meal.
Really fun, guys. Your generosity is contagious, and we really appreciate all that you're doing for the community. And good luck with the baby making as well-- Rachel and Tom Sullivan--
Thank you so much for your time tonight.
Thank you for having us.
And before we go tonight, our image of the day-- Wanda Cooper-Jones, the mother of Ahmaud Arbery, breaking down after hearing that the men who killed her son were found guilty by a Georgia jury. That is our show for this hour. Be sure to stay tuned to ABC News Live for more context and analysis of the day's top stories. Happy Thanksgiving. I'm Linsey Davis. Thanks so much for streaming with us. Have a great night.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.