It was about 15 minutes into Monday’s edition of The Late Show before host Stephen Colbert could bring himself to talk about Sunday’s horrific mass shooting at a Texas church. And he seemed far from ready to make any jokes about it.
“The world is a harrowing place and sometimes you just don’t know what to say about it,” Colbert said. “For instance, I haven’t the slightest idea how to adequately address the attack in Sutherland Springs, Texas, yesterday.”
After recounting the numbers killed and wounded, he added, “We are 35 days away from the largest mass killing in American history in Las Vegas, still don’t know why that happened if we will ever know why that happened, or if anyone can ever explain why any of this happens.”
While everyone is “heartbroken,” Colbert said, “You want to do something, but nothing gets done. No one does anything. And that seems insane. And it can make you feel hopeless. Now, I don’t know what to do, but I know that hopelessness is not the answer.” He cited Congress’ utter failure to ban the bump-stock device that was used in Las Vegas as a prime example of that inaction.
“Doing nothing, as I’ve said before, is unacceptable,” he continued. “But it’s unnatural, it’s inhuman, it just goes against our nature. We want to fix things.”
Then, without naming it directly, Colbert turned his attention to the National Rifle Association. “This hopelessness, this powerfulness you feel when nothing gets done is something you can’t give into, because I think there are some truly evil people out there who want you to feel powerless, just for a buck,” he said. “Because if you feel powerless enough, you know what might make you feel more powerful? Going to buy a gun.”
To those who feel “powerless” against this “vicious cycle,” Colbert said, “There’s one power you must never forget and that is you can vote. You can go vote in 2018. Vote for someone who will do something.”
“Because this is an active evil,” he concluded. “And the only thing necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.”