Stephen Colbert got serious at the beginning of Monday night’s Late Show broadcast to talk about the recent massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas in which 26 people were killed. Colbert reminded the audience that the largest mass shooting in American history was a little more than a month ago, and frustratingly little has been done to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again.
“You wanna do something, but nothing gets done. No one does anything,” said Colbert. “Nothing gets done about what happened in Las Vegas. They can’t even pass a restriction on gun stocks, those bump stocks that turn a semiautomatic weapon into almost a fully automatic weapon. Nothing gets done to control the guns that kill 10,000 people a year around America—not just in these mass killings.”
Colbert urged against hopelessness and pointed out that not doing anything to affect change isn’t just morally wrong—it’s also unnatural. “Five thousand years ago if your village had a tiger coming into it every day and was eating people, you wouldn’t do nothing. You would move the village, you would build a fence, or you would kill the tiger,” he said. “You wouldn’t say, well, I guess, y’know, someone’s going to get eaten every day because the price of liberty is: tigers.”
After that clear dig at certain politicians who seem unable or unwilling to pass sensible gun control measures, Colbert also had some more strong criticism for the gun lobby. “I actually think there are some truly evil people out there who want you to feel powerless, just for a buck,” said Colbert. “Because if you feel powerless, you know what might make you feel powerful? Going to buy a gun. It’s a vicious cycle.”
It’s true that mass shootings have led gun stocks to rise as people rush to buy guns in the face of violence, though that’s thought to be motivated by a fear of new, stricter gun control laws that never materialize. The president even suggested that gun control would have made the events in Sutherland Springs even worse, but the actual events of the massacre show that it wasn't quite the “good guy with a gun takes out shooter” scenario the president makes it out to be. That should be good motivation to follow Colbert's advice about how to avoid feeling powerless, and that’s by voting. (Though he was talking about 2018, it’s worth pointing out Tuesday just happens to be an election day.)