updated 6/14/2006 3:20:52 PM ET 2006-06-14T19:20:52

Guests: Rick Baxter, Gary Busey, Tom Shanahan, Stephen Perrine, Robi Ludwig, Robert Cheesebrew,  Dean Tong, Shelby Sheehan, Jim Johns, Crystal Truehart, T.J. Wilkes, Michael Diaz, Janice Dickinson

RITA COSBY, HOST:  And good evening, everyone  I‘m Rita Cosby.

Tonight, a man who barely survived an alligator attack joins me live with his amazing story of survival. 

And actor Gary Busey nearly died in a motorcycle crash where he was not wearing a helmet.  Tonight, he will go head to head with a lawmaker who wants to repeal helmet laws.

But first tonight, an all-points-bulletin for a sniper on the loose, a man who may be armed and very dangerous.  Police in Reno, Nevada, are searching for Darren Mack, the man you see here.  You are looking at a picture of him right now on the screen. 

And now a reward is being offered for his arrest.  He‘s suspected of killing his estranged wife.  And he‘s also wanted for questioning in Monday‘s sniper shooting of a judge who presided over his divorce case. 

Joining me now with the very latest on the phone is Jim Johns with the Reno Police Department. 

Jim, any sightings of him?  Any idea where he could be? 

JIM JOHNS, DEPUTY POLICE CHIEF, RENO POLICE DEPARTMENT:  We don‘t have any specific location.  We have had multiple leads come into the department.  We would encourage anybody who thinks that they do him to make sure they call the Reno Police Department, because we‘re willing to track down these leads, wherever they may go. 

COSBY:  You know, as we put the picture up, have you gotten a lot of calls since that picture was released? 

JOHNS:  I would say the picture has encouraged people to call us.  We do want to find Darren Mack.  We want to interview him.  And we absolutely want to arrest him for the homicide of his wife. 

COSBY:  You know, we understand that the police searched Reno Airport yesterday.  We also hear that he might be driving a Ford Explorer with California plates. 

Do you believe he‘s going to try to leave the state?  Is it possible he might even try to leave the country? 

JOHNS:  We have received a couple of reports that he may have already left the state.  But we have not confirmed that.  It‘s possible he could try to leave the country.  And it‘s not going to matter.  Our warrant is going to follow him wherever he goes. 

COSBY:  You know, what‘s your background on him?  We were hearing some stories that he has some hunting in his background? 

JOHNS:  Well, he is reported to have quite a bit of experience with firearms.  He, of course, has had access to many firearms through his business running pawn shops. 

COSBY:  How dangerous do you believe this man is, Jim? 

JOHNS:  I believe this man is probably more dangerous to the people that he‘s upset at than the public at large. 

But, notwithstanding that, we would like to have him here in custody. 

COSBY:  Yes.  What are the details, too, about his estranged wife?  We were getting some—what, he stabbed her to death? 

JOHNS:  Well...

COSBY:  Is that what he is accused of?

JOHNS:  Yes, ma‘am.  We are not going to release all of the information, because, of course, some of it, only the suspect in the case will know.

But, in the court record, in what‘s available, she did die from severe stabbing.  She suffered a couple of wounds to the upper chest area. 

COSBY:  And someone saw him in the area?  Is that the report connecting him? 

JOHNS:  Yes. 

COSBY:  And what can you tell us about Judge Weller‘s condition tonight? 

JOHNS:  Judge Weller‘s family actually gave a release earlier today, through the hospital.  He‘s in good condition. 

He has moved from the local hospital to a nondisclosed location.  And he thanks the public for their concern and the local law enforcement for their efforts. 

COSBY:  Now, when you say nondisclosed, is that for security reasons, because Mack is still on the loose? 

JOHNS:  Yes, ma‘am.

COSBY:  OK.  Well, thank you very much.  Please keep us posted, Jim. 

We appreciate it. 

And we are now learning that Darren Mack has been expressing anger at Judge Weller for some time.  Mack was angry at the way that Judge Weller handled his divorce case.  And he even contacted a local TV journalist to express his angry. 

With me now is that TV journalist, anchor Shelby Sheehan.  She‘s with KRNV-TV in Reno, who personally met with Mack about doing the story.

When did he meet with you?  And under what was the premise, Shelby? 

SHELBY SHEEHAN, KRNV-TV ANCHOR:  Darren and a friend of his who was also in Judge Weller‘s courtroom during divorce proceedings, they—they contacted me a couple of weeks ago and said they wanted to talk to me about a possible investigative piece that involved the judge. 

They wouldn‘t be specific on it.  They said they wanted to gather some evidence and come in and meet with me.  They did come in on May 19 and basically alleged that the judge bases his decisions on the attorney, if they are a contributor or not to his campaigns. 

So, he would side, whatever the testimony, regardless of the testimony, he would side with the judge—or with the—excuse me—with the attorney that had contributed to his campaign. 

COSBY:  You know, and, in fact, Shelby, there‘s a whole bunch of comments on the Web site.  I‘m sure you guys have heard about this. 

Let me put up some of the comments that are out there about Judge Weller.  There seems to be a lot of buzz, and, unfortunately, a lot of resentment against this judge, specifically saying that if you make a campaign contribution, it might help.

One of them even is slugged—this is one of the comments on the Web site.  It says, “the new terrorism,” and it basically says that he threatens to take your children, your freedom and your property.  That‘s what it says on the end.

Another one even says, “Everybody should be outraged at his biased behavior and do everything that can legally be done to get this Hitler off the bench.”

Was this the same sort of verbiage that Darren Mack was using with you? 

SHEEHAN:  In so many words, yes.

He was obviously was upset, you know, that he felt like he had been unjustly dealt with by this family court judge.  He, though—he didn‘t, though, however, seem extremely anxious or, you know, very irate.  He was very well-spoken, very intelligent, just basically said that he felt like many families in this area are—are having to deal with this judge, and that he has outrageous behavior in the courtroom, and that what he is doing is—is really illegal, and was just hoping that this would—these allegations would come to light. 

Basically, you know, he brought in—or what they were calling evidence, records of contributions, blogs, like you were just talking about, from other people who had been in the courtroom. 

But he did not strike me as someone who—you know, he was very organized in this.  He didn‘t strike me as someone who, you know, would, you know, for lack of a better term, kind of snap. 

COSBY:  Well, that‘s what I was going to ask you.  How surprised were you when you found out now this news, the guy you met with just back on May 19...

SHEEHAN:  Right. 

COSBY:  ... has, indeed, according to authorities, snapped? 

SHEEHAN:  Yes, I was completely shocked, because, again, he didn‘t strike me as someone who would be capable of—of doing something like that. 

I think he was just—when he came in, he presented himself as someone who—actually, he said to me, he said, you know, my case is basically over.  I have lost.  I have lost my children.  I have lost money, a home.  But I don‘t want other people to be in this same situation. 

And, so, he was saying that he—he really wanted to put a stop to

that.  And I told him, I said, this type of a situation, you‘re coming to

us with these allegations.  These types of cases take a lot of footwork and

and checking into the issues.  And we can‘t just necessarily turn the story around in one—one day. 

It‘s going to take some time.  And I think that‘s what we felt bad about here, is that we—we felt that, you know, maybe if he had felt a little more confident that we were indeed going to do something, that he wouldn‘t have felt as desperate as it seems like he ended up doing, with—with the actions that took place yesterday. 

COSBY:  Well, of course, Shelby, there‘s certainly no excuse for what he did.

And—and thank you very much for sharing with us at least about your meeting there.  Thank you very much.

And, as police continue their manhunt for Darren Mack, many people wonder who really Darren Mack is. 

Let me bring in forensic trial consultant Dean Tong, who Mack hired for his custody case, and two people who worked with Mack, John Ohl, and also Robert Cheesebrew.  Both of them worked with him. 

Now, Dean, let me start with you. 

You—you worked with him on this consulting issue.  Did you see anything in there in his behavior that he had any violent tendencies?  I understand there were even some tests done. 

DEAN TONG, FORENSIC TRIAL CONSULTANT:  No, nothing, Rita.

I met the man last July.  He seemed like a fine, upstanding citizen.  We shook hands.  We had breakfast together.  We talked on the phone many times before I even came out to Vegas to see him, or vice-versa.

COSBY:  And what about these tests?  Tell us about these tests.

TONG:  Yes. 

He was subjected by my expert to domestic violence and physical child abuse propensity tests.  And he passed the same with flying colors.  So, there was nothing there to give us any forewarning he was a ticking time bomb ready to explode.

COSBY:  Was there anything at all about his behavior, even in, you know, recent weeks at all?

TONG:  Well, unfortunately, Rita, I‘m only as good as the attorneys who work with me. 

And this became a case of incommunicado.  The attorneys and—and Darren Mack failed to communicate with me over the past six months or so. 

I...

COSBY:  But you said to one of our producers that he didn‘t seem like himself recently.  What was it? 

TONG:  Well, the psychologist, whose name I—I cannot disclose at this time, did talk to him and his attorney a few months ago.  And he said he sounded like on the phone like he was distressed, like he was distraught. 

COSBY:  Like someone who might snap? 

TONG:  I don‘t want to use that word.  But, certainly, the case was going south.  He was losing access to his daughter.  He was losing his fortune. 

You know, this was a situation where he—he wasn‘t going to take justice delayed is justice denied.  He felt like the fox was guarding the henhouse.  And—and he wanted justice now. 

COSBY:  You know, and let me bring in John and Robert. 

John, first to you.

What kind of a guy is he?  And did he seem like someone who is losing

you know, losing his temper, getting a very short fuse? 

JOHN OHL, FORMER EMPLOYEE OF DARREN MACK:  You know, he was, honestly, a very, very nice guy.  And, you know, this just, honestly, is an out-and-out shock to me. 

COSBY:  How long did you work for him, John? 

OHL:  I worked for him, I guess it—it was probably close to four, four-and-a-half years, somewhere in there, you know, in the ‘80s and early ‘90s.  And...

COSBY:  And, Robert—Robert, how long did you work for him? 

ROBERT CHEESEBREW, FORMER EMPLOYEE OF DARREN MACK:  I worked for him

for about five years, from—back in ‘89.  But I know Darren well enough

that I even gave him a Christmas card all the way up until last year.  He‘s

he‘s...

COSBY:  And what‘s—what‘s your reaction when you are hearing now what he is suspected of doing? 

CHEESEBREW:  I‘m really surprised about that. 

COSBY:  I mean, you guys, both of you, is there anyone who could be helping him now?  Is there—you know, it seems like he might be on the run.  There‘s a possibility, we just heard from authorities, he might be out of the country. 

Where do you think your former boss is now, John? 

OHL:  You know, that‘s—that‘s anyone‘s guess or speculation at this point.  I mean...

COSBY:  What would you want to say if he‘s watching now?

OHL:  All I would want to say to him is that, you know, you‘re—you‘re a—we—we would, first of all, would want you to please turn yourself in.  I mean, I think that would be foremost for everybody. 

And—and we hope that his health and well-being is OK.  And we—and our hearts go out to the judge, Judge Weller, you know, hope that his family and—and everything is OK. 

You know, my concern, obviously, would be for Darren‘s kids and his mother.  You know, I—I truly, in my heart, hope that everything turns out as well as it obviously can turn out, under these circumstances. 

COSBY:  Absolutely. 

Well, both of you, we hope he‘s watching tonight.  And, boy, do we hope turns he himself in, and not causing any harm to anyone else. 

Thank you very much.

And, still ahead:  What is it about these custody cases that can drive ordinary people into dangerous fits of rage and violence?  That‘s coming up. 

And that‘s not all.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COSBY (voice-over):  Still ahead: one of America‘s top football stars nearly killed in a motorcycle crash without wearing a helmet.  Actor Gary Busey almost died in the same type of crash. 

GARY BUSEY, ACTOR:  Without this, you will be able to split your skull wide open and be dead in a few minutes.

COSBY:  Tonight, he will go one on one with a lawmaker who says, if you want to risk it all, more power to you. 

And forget the hurricanes in Florida.  It‘s the gators you have to look out for.  Take it from this man.  He will join me live with his amazing escape from the jaws of death. 

Plus:  These people want to be models.  But before they get their big break, they have got to prove to the world‘s first supermodel, Janice Dickinson, that they are worthy. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You have to have sexuality to model.

COSBY:  She‘s coming up, LIVE & DIRECT. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Darren Mack is wanted in the homicide of his wife, Charla.  We would like to resolve this situation in a peaceful manner and let the criminal justice system go through its course.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  Well, Darren Mack is also suspected of shooting the same judge who ruled over his nasty divorce and custody battle. 

But how do things get so bad that they end up this tragic?  Today‘s host topic, custody battles gone bad.

With me now is Stephen Perrine.  He‘s the editor in chief of “Best Life” magazine, who had covered parental and custody issues extensively.  And we have psychotherapist Robi Ludwig.  she‘s author of a new book called “Till Death Do Us Part: Love, Marriage, and the Mind of the Killer Spouse.”

You know, Robi, how often do you hear of stories like this, where things go to such extremes? 

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST:  Well, this is what I studied in my book. 

And it‘s—what‘s always so surprising is that these couples often seem like the beautiful couples and the least likely couples for this to happen.  And what we see is, what you see on the outside, it‘s very often not what happens behind closed doors, and that almost any relationship, if taken to a certain extreme, can go in this direction. 

COSBY:  And what causes someone to snap like this, Robi?

LUDWIG:  You know, anybody can become murderous if under enough duress.  So...

COSBY:  When you hear about this guy, this particular guy, Darren Mack, successful businessman in Reno—you just heard from his guys, there wasn‘t really any warning signs.  The only thing is that the—one of the consultants was saying that he seemed out of sorts...

LUDWIG:  Yes. 

COSBY:  ... very depressed recently. 

LUDWIG:  Well, sometimes, people who are very successful are not used to things not going their way. 

And it sounds like what happened in this situation is, you had a husband who was losing everything.  He was losing his money.  He was losing his facade of a normal life.  He lost his wife.  He lost his kids.  The judge had more of a say over his life than he did.  And for this particular man, maybe that sense of humiliation was just too much for him to take.

And he felt that other people were causing him so much pain, that he needed to get revenge.  And, so, this is exactly what he did.

COSBY:  You know, Stephen, there‘s a lot of cases in the headlines recently, of course, Alec Baldwin, Charlie Sheen.  And they talk about something that you‘re very familiar with.  It‘s parental alienation syndrome.

What exactly is that?  How do you prove it?

STEPHEN PERRINE, EDITOR IN CHIEF, “BEST LIFE”:  Well, parental alienation syndrome is when one parent, usually—usually the custodial parent, sort of brainwashes the children or poisons their minds against the other parent.

Usually, it‘s moms against dads, because moms have custody in about 85 percent of cases.

COSBY:  And do you supposed it‘s making so many headlines now, particularly within the case of Alec Baldwin, Charlie Sheen, all these celebrity cases, too—does that bring the issue to the forefront?

PERRINE:  Well, yes.

Part of it is that men are fighting more for custody and—and trying to get more involved in their children‘s lives.  And—and when situations like this, like the Sheen case or like the Alec Baldwin case, happen, it really touches a nerve with them.

COSBY:  And, you know, are these, you know, typical cases, Robi, as we are looking at a picture of Alec Baldwin here?  Are they playing to the cameras?  Or is it just because they‘re—they‘re celebrities that they‘re getting thrown into the spotlight?

PERRINE:  Well, I think they‘re able to claim the spotlight. 

But, you know, hopefully, they‘re educating people about a very important issue.  You know, in the story that “Best Life” has right now, we learn that one in five children of divorce has not seen their father in the last year.  You want to make the assumption that 20 percent of dads just don‘t care about their kids, that‘s a hard presumption to make.  Something else is at work.

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  Robi, go ahead.

LUDWIG:  It‘s also very difficult for children, because children really need to feel that both their parents are good.  And if, really, you have one parent playing against another parent, the child really suffers, because they‘re a combination of both their parents.  And they really need to believe, for their own self-esteem, that both parents are good, even if they can‘t get along together, and that a relationship with both of them is essential.

COSBY:  You know, it‘s incredible, some of the numbers, too. 

And, Stephen, in fact, some staggering statistics that we have looked up.  About 40 percent of the fathers have no access or visitation rights.  Ninety percent of divorced fathers have less than full custody of their children.

Are fathers getting the short end of the stick?  And why?

PERRINE:  Well, you know, it‘s really interesting.

Almost 30 years after “Kramer vs. Kramer,” we haven‘t really seen a huge shift in custody laws.  There‘s still something called the tender years presumption, that children are better off with their moms.  We think that joint—joint custody is the norm, but it‘s really not.  In 80 -- about 85 percent of the cases, mom has sole legal and physical custody.

COSBY:  You guys, hang on, because, of course, a case that made a lot of headlines was model Bridget Marks‘ tragic custody battle.  After she was forced to turn her 5-year-old twin girls over to their father, some of you may remember Marks‘ very emotional breakdown on the streets of New York as her children were put into a car, all the madness right in front of cameras.

So, what drives some parents to such extreme measures? 

With me now is Bridget Marks‘ attorney, Tom Shanahan, to weigh in on some of the issues of this vicious and gut-wrenching issues of custody cases.

You know, Tom, in the case with Bridget Marks, obviously, that made a lot of headlines.  Why did it get so heated there?  And what advice do you give to a client who says, I just can‘t take it anymore?

TOM SHANAHAN, ATTORNEY FOR BRIDGET MARKS:  Well, number one, I think the last two experts on your show are the perfect why there‘s such a problem.      

Stephen is talking about parental alienation syndrome, which is not allowed in New York state courts and has been disregarded by most other states.  It‘s a flawed—it‘s junk science.  It‘s not accepted in the court system.

PERRINE:  Well, that‘s not true.

SHANAHAN:  Robi talks about the fact of, the person in this case, you know, Darren Mack, who—I know a lot of potential Darren Macks—that he wasn‘t used to losing, because he had been a successful business person.

Well, Bridget was a very highly educated person.  Everyone says she‘s a “Playboy” model.  She was a highly educated.  She‘s an author.  When you go into this broken court system, which is what we really should be talking about, untrained judges with large dockets, OK, with no support, with law guardians that are not trained and are not qualified to be there...

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  So, let me—let me bring in—let me bring in Stephen, though.

SHANAHAN:  Sure.

COSBY:  Stephen, are you saying that it‘s not the courts?  What are you saying?

PERRINE:  Well, I‘m just saying that if—parental alienation syndrome was recently recognized by the Illinois Supreme Court.  And the state of Maine in April just passed a resolution recognizing it.

COSBY:  So, what do you say to Tom Shanahan?

PERRINE:  It‘s absolutely controversial.  But...

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  What do you way to folks like Tom Shanahan and others who—who say it‘s junk?

PERRINE:  Some people say it‘s junk.  Some people say it isn‘t.

Whether or not it‘s a syndrome, that‘s controversial.  Whether or not alienation happens is not.

SHANAHAN:  Stephen, it‘s an excuse.

(CROSSTALK)

PERRINE:  Anybody who remembers photos of Patty Hearst holding a machine gun knows that alienation can happen.

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  Tom Shanahan, go ahead.

SHANAHAN:  With all due respect, Stephen, it is junk science.

What courts should be concerned about is whether it‘s the father or the mother.  Who is the best parent?  What they forget, because parents and lawyers—lawyers are so guilty of manipulating the system to make money.  What the courts should look at is what happens before the lawsuit begins, Stephen, not what happens after.

PERRINE:  Surely what they should...

SHANAHAN:  They‘re not paying attention.  And you know it and I know it.

(CROSSTALK)

LUDWIG:  But I think, also, too...

COSBY:  Go ahead, Robi.

LUDWIG:  ... that the judge here obviously made a right decision, because let‘s say he put the custody in the hands of this murderous spouse.  That wouldn‘t have been a good decision.

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  Yes, Tom.  Yes, Tom, Robi makes a great point.  Didn‘t the judge make the right decision here?

(CROSSTALK)

SHANAHAN:  Rita, let me address that.

I work with people day after day that are good parents that have their children taken away from them for no reason at all.  Look at Bridget Marks.  It took 10 months to get those children back.  But...

LUDWIG:  She didn‘t murder anyone, though.

SHANAHAN:  OK.  But, Robi, you—this system, which is broken—and you know and I know it—it‘s filled with conflicts of interest, untrained judges.  It‘s filled with law guardians that should not—are not qualified to be there.

This drives people to this.  Robi, what happens in this case, where he‘s now bankrupted by this entire process, the whole court system, and they take his children away?  What else does Darren Mack have to do?

I‘m not saying...

(CROSSTALK)

LUDWIG:  Yes. 

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  But he didn‘t have to turn—he didn‘t have to turn a gun...

LUDWIG:  I think taking a gun and figuring out how to shoot the judge and then killing his wife, I think that there are other options.  Even in a broken-down system, I think there are other ways to go.

(CROSSTALK)

SHANAHAN:  Robi, I agree with you.  But we all must recognize that this system pushes people to the brink.. 

He was not a murderer.  He was not someone who—and I don‘t condone what he did.  But we have to recognize...

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  Let me bring in Stephen Perrine. 

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  Let me get Stephen Perrine in.

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  Steve?

PERRINE:  I would say the issue not how do we determine which parent is the better parent, but how do we keep both parents intimately involved in their children‘s lives.

SHANAHAN:  I agree.  You‘re absolutely right.

LUDWIG:  Absolutely.

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  Guys, I‘m glad we ended on a good, positive note.

(LAUGHTER) 

COSBY:  Thank you very much.

And, again, no excuse for doing what they did, of course, in this case, what he‘s accused of doing to his estranged wife and also the judge.

Everybody, we will keep you posted on the case, all of you, interesting perspectives.  Thanks so much.

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  And still ahead:  This man was swimming in a pond in Florida, and, unfortunately, he was not alone.  He will tell his survival story—coming up. 

And the motorcycle crash by Pittsburgh Steelers‘ star quarterback has many people asking, why wasn‘t he wearing a helmet?  Should it be a law?  Actor Gary Busey is back.  He says yes.  And he‘s going to go head to head with a lawmaker who says, maybe no helmets are OK. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  Absolutely.

BUSEY:  You will be able to split—you will be able to split your skull wide open and be dead in a few minutes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  And, today, we‘re hearing more about the injuries of Pittsburgh Steelers star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.  The 24-year-old is now in fair condition at a local hospital, after his motorcycle collided with a car yesterday.  Roethlisberger was not wearing a helmet and suffered severe injuries. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. LARRY JONES, MERCY HOSPITAL:  Fractures to his upper and lower jaws, a mild concussion, a fractured nose, fractured facial bones, multiple head lacerations, multiple abrasions and contusions.  He has lost two teeth, and he has chipped several other teeth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  And, as he recovers, the helmet debate is getting new attention. 

The state of Michigan is proposing a repeal to reverse its current mandatory helmet law.  If the governor signs the bill into law, people at least 21-years-old who meet certain safety requirements won‘t have to wear a helmet. 

And that has actor Gary Busey, who joins me now live, furious.  Also joining us is Michigan State Representative Rick Baxter.  He‘s on the other side, supporting the repeal of the helmet law. 

Gary, let start with you, first of all.  What do you want to say to the state of Michigan tonight? 

BUSEY:  The state of Michigan? 

COSBY:  Yeah, what do you think for folks like the representative right there, who are thinking and saying, maybe it‘s OK for no helmets?

BUSEY:  You‘re talking too fast, Rita.

COSBY:  What do you think for folks - what would you say to people who are saying no helmets are OK?

BUSEY:  Well, I think it‘s just absolutely unawareness of the power of life over the power of death.  And the situation with not a helmet on.  Here‘s a helmet I‘ll show you as I did yesterday.  This is what it looks like on.  You can rap it, hit it and when you hit your head on the road coming off the motorcycle, you save your skull being split, a holy in your skull the size of a 50-cent piece which happened to me December 4, 1998.

The people that want to repeal the helmet law aren‘t aware of the families that are going to be hurt, the insurance rates that will go up, collective insurance all across the State of Michigan.  And Michigan is a beautiful state.  It‘s an honorable state, it‘s a great state.  But when they want to repeal the law that keeps people alive rather than have the death rates go up by the thousands, that‘s what they are going to do.

COSBY:  Let me bring in the representative to get his side will quick. 

Representative, why do you think it‘s ok for no helmets for folks over 21? 

Why do you think this newer vision could be OK?

BAXTER:  Well, for me, it comes down to personal choice and personal freedom.  That‘s really what the legislature looked at when we looked at changing the law.

COSBY:  What about Gary‘s point, more accidents?  Doesn‘t it make people more vulnerable.

BAXTER:  Like I said, I think it comes down to personal freedom.  Government can get involved in a lot of different areas of life, regulating it and make it more safe.  If they really wanted to make things really safe, outlaw motorcycles in general, they would outlaw riding a car, that‘s pretty dangerous, or fatty foods.  Government could do a lot of things to make us more safe, make us more healthy.

But really, this country, last I checked was a free country and we really need to give people the choice to make the best decisions for themselves.

COSBY:  Well, why don‘t we give them guns and everything else, congressman, and say, you know, do whatever you want to do?

BUSEY:  Are you talking to me?  You talking to me?

COSBY:  No, the representative - well, actually, let me get you Gary, to respond to that.  Where do we draw the line, what do you make about his personal liberties that everybody should have a choice?

BUSEY:  Well, I think the people that are repealing the helmet law have no awareness of how dangerous a crash is on a motorcycle, off a motorcycle on to concrete.  Public policy should not be made by compromising human safety.

MIAA spokesman Gary Mitchell said in a statement repealing the helmet law would be a tragic and costly mistake and terms of lives and millions of dollars in increased insurance costs and medical costs.  And this, arguing for helmets going to offend those who want to have the wind in their hair and what to have peripheral vision and don‘t want to get their necks broken.

But those statistics have been banished because wearing a helmet doesn‘t injure your neck or cause you to have no peripheral vision.  And the encroachment on their liberty—it‘s not the liberty.  It‘s to save lives.  Keep families happy.  So, wait a minute.  Keep families happy without mourning for the rest of their lives.  And operating a vehicle is a privilege - wait a minute, wait a minute - operating a vehicle is a privilege not a right.  And they need to be protected in the right way.

COSBY:  Go ahead, representative.

BAXTER:  Well, as a free country, as a State of Michigan that is - I‘d agree with him that Michigan is a beautiful state.  But two thirds of the legislature agreed that this comes down to personal liberty and it comes to personal choice.  For this, you know, if this is what the State of Michigan wants.  If people want to go out and take this risk, we want to give them the free liberty to say, this is a free country, you need to be insured, you need to go through training courses, and we try to push education.

COSBY:  Gary, go ahead.  Chime in Gary.

BUSEY:  OK.  Listen free liberties.  If they‘re not going to wear a helmet you should give them freedom to commit suicide in the most stupidest way you can which is not wearing a helmet to protect your head.

When you have 750 pounds of chrome metals, steel and iron between your legs and you have nothing but air between your head and road and you are an idiot to be riding it.  If you are going to repeal the helmet law, you are going to have a legacy of death rate going up up up on your watch.  And that‘s a shame that you have that unawareness.

BAXTER:  Well, motorcycles in general are dangerous vehicles.  Gary, you‘d have to agree that driving a motorcycle in general is a dangerous situation.

COSBY:  So, representative why do you want to make it more dangerous?

BUSEY:  Very good.  Very good.

BAXTER:  Well, you take a chance when you leave your house every single day, whether walking down the steps, getting in a car or sitting on a motorcycle.  We can‘t stop people from having risks.  What we say is you need to take the proper precautions, we want to give you the choice to make the decisions that is best for you and your family.

COSBY:  Real quick, Gary, go ahead.

BUSEY:  The decision you are making, what‘s right for your family, your children, your business, and your friends is keeping safe on the highway.  I know from personal experience it can happen like that.  Skull split open, brains on the street.  It can happen like that.  And the death rate flies up when the helmet law is repealed.  Why do you want that miserable nightmare on your watch?

COSBY:  And both of you.  I‘m going to interrupt we‘ll quick.  I‘m going to have you real, real quick.  What do you think is going to happen in Michigan?  Will the governor veto it?  Real quick, Gary?

BUSEY:  Me, I pray she does because she will be saving lives, the death rate will stay down.  More safety on the highway and Michigan will have a lot—a much better image.

COSBY:  OK, Gary.  Let me bring in Representative Baxter .

BUSEY:  This is great.  This is great.  I love it.

COSBY:  Real quick.  Representative what do you think is going to happen?  Five seconds.

BAXTER:  It looks like the governor probably might veto the legislation and then it‘s up to the legislature to see what we‘re going to do with it at that point.

COSBY:  All right.  Both of you.  To be continued.  Both of you, thank you so much.

BUSEY:  Thank you.  Nice talking to you, Rick.  Adios.

COSBY:  Camaraderie afterwards.

Then there‘s a lot more coming up here on MSNBC.  Tonight, my come, Tucker Carlson, what do you have in store, Tuck?

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST:  Well, I have awe at Gary Busey.  Now in charge of public policy, Gary Busey!

COSBY:  With the helmet, did you see, with the helmet?

CARLSON:  Gary Busey, keep your hands off my laws.  That‘s my feeling.

Rita, tonight, public confidence in the prosecution of Mike Nifong in the Duke rape hoax at an all time low.  Calls tonight for removal and the installation of a special prosecutor in that case.  We‘ll tell you more.

Plus, who would you rather have dinner with, Condoleezza Rice or Oprah?  The numbers are in and you have to watch our show to find out.

COSBY:  And we‘ll be watching in just a few minutes from now, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Thanks, Rita.

COSBY:  Thank you, thank you very much.

And still ahead everybody, if riding a bike without a helmet is a bad idea according to Gary Busey, what do you call snorkeling with alligators?  A man who survived a swim in troubled waters, joins me live.

And talk about a show with teeth.  Supermodel Janice Dickinson joining me to explain why she‘s so tough on the wannabe models in her snarky reality show.  It‘s coming up LIVE & DIRECT, her and two gorgeous models all coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The gator tried to get a hold of me this way and it came down to here.  It felt like a boat slamming into me really hard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  And it was no boat hitting Michael Diaz‘s head.  It was however, a five and a half foot long alligator and Diaz as was trapped by the represent tile‘s potentially deadly teeth.  While three other people have already been killed in alligator attacks, Diaz himself quite lucky to be alive.

Michael joins us live tonight with his harrowing tale.  Michael, first of all, how are you doing?

MICHAEL DIAZ, ATTACKED BY ALLIGATOR:  I‘m doing quite well.  I‘m trying to take it easy and recovering.  I‘m enjoying life a little better now.

COSBY:  You had 33 stitches there.  We‘re seeing it there.  Do you still have it today?

DIAZ:  Yes.

COSBY:  Can we see them?

DIAZ:  I received the stitches on Thursday and I think I have 10 days to keep them on.  They are staples.  So, if you can see this.

COSBY:  Oh yeah!

DIAZ:  Looks kind of like a zipper, I had 33 staples from the top to the bottom, there are two marks which are the teeth marks that went right down my skull and there are two other puncture wounds underneath that and then on the very bottom, I don‘t know if you can see this or not but there‘s  four distinct marks where his bottom teeth were.

COSBY:  We can actually - stay there, that‘s where his bottom teeth were.

DIAZ:  Yes.  So you can see the bite radius, the bite gap.

COSBY:  Show us again, where the bite gap - because we‘re zooming in now.  Show us again where it was.

DIAZ:  OK.  I hope I‘m pointing to the right place, this is the bottom.  There should be four marks going up.  And on the very top, two marks going down and two at the base of the skull right in between those two.  And when I explained the attack, you will probably get a better idea of how this was caused.

COSBY:  Walk us through, first of all, because it‘s amazing, Michael that you are alive.  You are out there, what, you are snorkeling with other people?  First of all, what are you doing snorkeling where alligators are swimming?

DIAZ:  Well, let me just put area perspective.  In Florida—Florida is a swamp.  Lots of swamps, lot of lakes, majority of body of waters, be it a retention pond, swimming pool.  Alligators can probably wind up anywhere because of the range, they‘re territory.  They‘ll drive another animal out of the territory and they have to move on.  And they end up migrating.  And the population is doing quite well, evidently, as you can understand that.  The place where I was swimming is a state park.  It‘s part of the Wachiva (ph) state park area.  It‘s known as Kelly Park by the founding person who donated the land.

COSBY:  And how many people were swimming with you at the time?

DIAZ:  Well, in this area, it‘s a river.  It comes out of a cave in the ground.  Makes a river, going into a lagoon, bigger swim area, pool.  This is where man has gone in and made the walls nice and concrete, very clean.

Other than that, the environment is pretty much pristine and natural.  Families come here, children, large groups of people in the summertime and the good part of the season.  And from this lagoon where people are usually congregating, swimming, there is another part of the river.

And probably a quarter mile or so, there is a walkway that runs along it, it‘s supposed to be safe.  There‘s two landings that go into the water, a bridge.

COSBY:  And that‘s where you were?

DIAZ:  The end landing, yes.  Where the bridge is, I was near that area, I had not yet gotten to the end.

COSBY:  Walk me through.  We just have a little bit of time.  I want to make sure I get to the attack part.  Walk us through what happened?  Did you realize what was attacking you or what did you think was going on?

DIAZ:  Well, you have to understand, it‘s populated by people on rafts, inner tubes, they rent inner tubes from cars and sit on the tubes and go down the river or they just swim along.  Or do some other fun stuff.  There‘s lots of things to see.  It‘s a treasure of the town.

And I was going down on the second part of the river.  I had already swam from the beginning to the pool area and swam around there.  Just getting in exercise just want to have a good time on my day off and get some exercise.  So, when I entered the second part of the system, the second river more or less, if you want to call that, I swam past a group of people.  A woman on a raft, another woman on a raft.  Teenager with an inner tube and a small child, I guess 12-years-old with a mask.

COSBY:  We just have a little time.  All of the sudden .

DIAZ:  Then, I swim past this family group so they were behind me the and when I got to the area where I was attacked basically it felt like somebody punched me in the back of head, or a boat or a raft came up on me and fell down on me and hit me in the head.  When I turned around in the water I was sort of angry and I was expecting a person but what was on top of me in the water, on top of me, was the white belly of the gator and at that point I sort of panicked, jumped out of the water.

I was lucky because what you are looking at is where the gator slammed on top of me and hit me.  He chomped down and closed his mouth and made this mark right here.  Basically I am assuming that the way the gator hit me and forced me down into the water and away from the bite.  So, he didn‘t get a killing grip that would either roll and stab my neck or cause severe bleeding.

COSBY:  Michael Diaz, you are one lucky man tonight.  And I would love to have you back.  You grabbed the gator‘s legs and that‘s how were able to free yourself.

DIAZ:  I was able to pull him off me and keep him at a distance and was able to get to safety and received emergency medical attention.

COSBY:  Well, I‘m glad you are here tonight.

DIAZ:  Thank you very much.

COSBY:  You look good, too.  Thank you so much for being here - amazing story.

DIAZ:  Thank you.

COSBY:  And still ahead, everybody, what‘s going on in Los Angeles that had the entire L.A. Police Department on alert and Darryl Hannah sitting up in a tree?  The details ahead.

And next, half naked young people, snarky judges and the world‘s first super model.  Sounds like it is going to be a hit.  Janice Dickinson explains her new reality show with other models.  It‘s all coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANICE DICKINSON, MODEL:  You walk into “Vogue” or “Bazaar” or “Cosmopolitan,” and an editor says to you take off your clothes, and you say nope, I‘m not going to do that today.  That editor is going to pick up the telephone and call me back and say she is fired.  Now, do you want try this again?  Are you ready to take your clothes off?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  And if you were looking for a reality show with half-naked contestants, snarky judgments and the world‘s first supermodel, pay attention.

The woman known as the world‘s first supermodel is back with the “Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency.”

The show follows Janice as she opens up an agency in Hollywood and tries to turn a group of handsome young people into star models.  Janice Dickinson joins me now live along with two of the show‘s models, Crystal Truehart and also T.J. Wilkes.

Janice, first of all, why did you do this?  Why do you think it was good to do this show?  You‘ve done so much, why open up an agency and expose everything?

DICKINSON:  I don‘t know if I would expose everything it would be on X-rated films.  We don‘t expose everything.  I always wanted to be a model agent, and after trying to do a startup business, which is what Oxygen tuned in for and signed up for, I always wanted to give back to an industry, to give back all of the experience and know how, being in front of the camera in back of the camera to an industry that has treated me so well.

And after open calls and recruiting and searching, I was fortunate enough to meet Crystal Truehart and T.J. Wilkes.  I didn‘t have to try too hard.  These kids just have it.  I interviewed a lot of people, and I found some real model superstars in the making.

COSBY:  Let me bring in Crystal.  Because, Crystal, how did you get discovered?

CRYSTAL TRUEHART, MODEL:  I got discovered on the first audition back in November.  So I have been with her since day one.

COSBY:  And how?  How did you find out about it?  What drew you in?

TRUEHART:  I found out about the audition on line, and I mean what—that‘s the best opportunity that could ever happen to me.

DICKINSON:  It was myspace?

TRUEHART:  I think it was craigslist.com.

DICKINSON:  Lying (ph) kids.

TRUEHART:  Myspace.

COSBY:  I love T.J.‘s story.  Because T.J, what were you doing?  And by the way, here is a picture of you Crystal, you look great.

TRUEHART:  Awesome.

COSBY:  Looking good.

T.J., give me some—you were a male nanny for the dentist of the extreme makeover.  I love this.  This is quite a change.  How did they find you?

T.J. WILKES, MODEL:  I actually—I still am the nanny actually.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You are a manny.

WILKES:  Manny.

COSBY:  You‘re a Manny.

WILKES:  Yes.

COSBY:  And how did they discover you?

WILKES:  Actually, their father, Dr. William Dorfman (ph) is Janice‘s dentist.  And that‘s how I met her, at the dentist office.

DICKINSON:  He walked into the office and he was standing there looking like this guy, just this hunky beefy male supermodel, and I was like whoa.  But then my partners didn‘t see eye to eye with me.  The Duke (ph) and the Gabe (ph) that were on the show, they were like, hmm, pass.

WILKES:  Are you serious?

DICKINSON:  This is the truth.

They called me back and said you better take a second look at this kid.  Once I looked at him and looked at his photographs, I said, wait a minute.  That‘s how he was discovered.

COSBY:  Let me show a little clip.  You give these guys some criteria, and you keep them in line, Janice, like nobody does.   Let me show a little clip from the show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICKINSON:  And walk, walk, walk, walk, like you got a broom shoved up your butt.  It sucks, it really sucks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  Why are you so tough on these folks, Janice?

DICKSINSON:  Oh, come on, Rita, it‘s a billion dollar industry.  One that I started out in 1977.  You do the math.

I used to go to Paris, London, Germany, and even Los Angeles, as far as Los Angeles, Japan, just continuously in an industry where we were booked doing runway.

Now if I wasn‘t runway ready, which is how I‘m trying to prepare Crystal and T.J. and the rest of the kids in the agency, they are going to be told by the likes of the designers, the magazine editors, the hair dressers, the recruiters, the casting directors, they‘re going to hear about it from someone else.  I have to be that true and honest person that‘s going to say it‘s just not good enough.  I‘m like that tough professor, tough love.

COSBY:  You sure are.

Crystal, real quick, how tough is it, how competitive is it behind the scenes?

TRUEHART:  Oh, it‘s very competitive.  But when she‘s tough it makes you want to work harder and want it ma much more.  So .

COSBY:  And T.J. any interesting things .

DICKINSON:  Wait.  Crystal lost 15 pounds.  Crystal lost 15 pounds. 

She did the work.

COSBY:  Did you tell her too?

DICKINSON:  I said you‘re too chunky.  I didn‘t say drop that much, but she did—she had to squeeze into a size six, and, you know, she cut her share, she groomed herself.  Crystal is a real model.  She‘s got that capital I-T.  I don‘t know about him.

COSBY:  We all have to go to a break.  Thank you so much.  You all look terrific and Janice, you look awesome.  Thank you.

WILKES:  Thank you very much, Rita.

DICKINSON:  Watch the show.

COSBY:  We will, and everybody, be sure to tune in to the show.  It airs Tuesday nights on Oxygen Network.  Be sure to check your local listings.  When we come back, Hannah the mermaid.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  And if we told you they were tree huggers in California, you probably would not be surprised.  But take a look at this.  It‘s caught by Cosby.  Police had to remove actress Darryl Hannah and dozens of other protestors from a tree in the middle of a so-called urban garden in a neighborhood in Los Angeles.  More than 350 farmers are being evicted after a bitter fight with the owner who wants to build on the property.

She actually spent 23 days protesting by sitting in the tree.

And that does it for me on LIVE & DIRECT, everybody.  I‘m Rita Cosby. 

THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER starts now.  Tucker?

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 NBC.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon NBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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