On Monday evening, late night television talk show hosts opened their shows with emotional pleas for gun control in the wake of the mass shooting that occurred Sunday night in Las Vegas at a country music festival. The common theme among all of them was that “thoughts and prayers” aren’t enough and all derided the GOP for its inaction on passing so-called common sense measures to stop these attacks.
Jimmy Kimmel, a Las Vegas native, was very upset by the tragedy and rightfully so. At latest count, 59 people are dead and 527 wounded by a 64-year-old gunman perched in a corner room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay who used legally-owned automatic weapons, or at least modifications to semi-automatic weapons, and unleashed hell on his unsuspecting victims below.
However, Kimmel’s plea was the most emotional of the bunch and while all of the late night talkers blamed a do-nothing Congress, it was Kimmel who pointed the longest finger and even put up a collage of faces — twice — of the Republicans who oppose gun control. Hopefully, that won’t be misinterpreted by anyone as a hit-list like has been done by those reading the “hate” group map of the Southern Poverty Law Center, especially when he asks, “Why do we continue to let them allow it to happen?”
"I’ve been reading comments from people who say, 'This is terrible, but there’s nothing we can do about it.' But I disagree with that intensely. Because of course there’s something we can do about it, there’s a lot of things we can do about it. But we don’t, which is interesting. Because when someone with a beard attacks us, we tap phones, we invoke travel bans, we build walls, we take every possible precaution to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But when an American buys a gun and kills other Americans, then there’s nothing we can about that.
"The Second Amendment, I guess, our forefathers wanted us to have AK-47s is the argument, I assume. Orlando, Newtown, Aurora, San Bernardino, every one of these shootings the murderer used automatic or semi-automatic rifles, which are not weapons you use for self-defense. They’re weapons designed to kill large numbers of people in the shortest possible amount of time. And this guy, reportedly he had 10 of them in his room, apparently legally. At least some of them were there legally. Why is that allowed? I don’t know why our so-called leaders continue to allow this to happen. Or, better question, why do we continue to let them allow it to happen?"
Kimmel goes on to name Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan as having “their balls in a money clip” by the NRA. His reaction to these lawmakers offering their thoughts and prayers: “They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country, because it’s so crazy.”
And then came the erroneous “no background checks at gun shows loophole” arguments, et. al., before he put up a picture of the GOP members:
“These are the faces of the senators who, days after the shooting in Orlando, voted against a bill that would have closed those loopholes. These are the 56 senators who didn’t want to do anything about that.”
Kimmel recalled a story when he was 13 and watched the MGM hotel burn. He was traumatized by seeing a man jump out of a window. In all, 85 people died in the blaze. A few months later, another fire broke out at the Hilton and that killed five people.
“So you know what they did? They changed the laws!” he said. “They made major changes to the fire safety codes and it hasn’t happened again. Why would we approach this differently? It’s a public safety issue, and something needs to be done already.”
British comedian James Corden added his two-cents from the perspective of someone from a country where mass shootings are extremely rare, he said. Corden also marveled that this shooting broke the previous record for worst mass shooting in America in only the two-and-a-half years he’s lived in the U.S.
“Gun violence should not be a staple of American life,” Corden said. “But how does every other developed country do a better job of preventing these attacks?”
Stephen Colbert said Congress could become the “heroes by doing literally anything but nothing.”
“Doing nothing is cowardice,” Colbert added. “Doing something will take courage.”
Conan O’Brien opened his show, seemingly choked up. His biggest regret is having to address yet another U.S. mass shooting at this point in his 24-year career. Upon arriving to work on Monday, O’Brien said a staff member was waiting on him with his previous comments on Sandy Hook and the Pulse nightclub.
“That struck me,” O’Brien stated. “How could there be a file of mass shooting remarks for a late-night host? When did that become normal? When did this become a ritual, and what does it say about us that it has?”
“I don’t think it should be so easy for one demented person to kill so many people so quickly,” O’Brien said. “The sounds of those automatic weapons last night are grotesquely out of place in a civilized society… Something needs to change.”
Saturday Night Live alum Seth Meyers addressed Congress and urged them to be more honest to the American people about their intentions on securing the Second Amendment:
“When you say, which you always say, ‘Now is not the time to talk about [gun control],’ what you mean is, there is never a time to talk about it. And it would be so much more honest if you would just admit that your plan is to never talk about it and never take any action.”