In his first opening monologue after the Las Vegas shooting that left 59 dead and more than 500 injured, Jimmy Kimmel struggled to hold it together. Tears ran down his face as he offered his take on the shooting, which hit him very close to home.
“Well, here we are again, in the aftermath of another terrible, inexplicable, shocking and painful tragedy, this time in Las Vegas, which happens to be my hometown,” he said. “Of course, we pray for the victims and their family and friends, and we wonder why, even though there’s probably no way to ever know why a human being would do something like this to other human beings at a concert, having fun and listening to music.”
He continued, “This morning, we have children without parents, fathers without sons, mothers without daughters. We lost two police officers. We lost a nurse, a special ed teacher. It’s a kind of thing that makes you want to throw up or give up. It’s too much to even process.”
Kimmel: "They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country" https://t.co/Roy3hkzq1W
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) October 3, 2017
But Kimmel did more than just get emotional. He also made a harsh call for action to address the continued gun violence that Americans face.
“I’ve been reading comments that say this is terrible, that 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,” he said. “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 do about that.”
He continued, “Five people got shot in Lawrence, Kansas, last night. Three of them died. It didn’t even make a blip because this is just a regular part of our lives now. You know what will happen. We’ll pray for Las Vegas. Some of us will get motivated. The bills will get written. They’ll get watered down. They’ll fail. The NRA will smother it all with money and over time, we’ll get distracted and move on to the next thing. And then it will happen again.”
Kimmel then turned his attention to members of Congress and the president’s staff, who say this isn’t the time for political talk or who vote against stricter measures for background checks, including the ones who, this very week, are debating a bill to allow the sale of gun silencers in the U.S.
— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) October 3, 2017
“We have a major problem with gun violence in this country, and I guess they don’t care,” Kimmel said, tears running down his face. “If I’m wrong about that, fine! Do something about it, because I’m sick of it. I want this to be a comedy show. I hate talking about stuff like this. I just want to laugh about things every night, but that seems to be coming increasingly difficult lately. It feels like someone has opened a window into hell. And what I’m talking about tonight, it isn’t about gun control. It’s about common sense. Common sense says no good will ever come from allowing a person to have weapons that can take down 527 Americans at a concert.”
He also called out the hollow-sounding response to send “love and prayers” to Las Vegas.
“In 1980, we had a big fire at the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas. It was horrible. Eight-five people died. I was 13 years old. I’ll never forget a man jumped out the window. It was a terrible thing to see,” he said. “And then a few months later, there was another fire at the Hilton, and five people died. So you know what they did? They changed the laws. 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, so tell your Congress-people to do something. It’s not enough to send your love and prayers.”
— Colton Haynes (@ColtonLHaynes) October 3, 2017