There used to be a time when you could catch up on the scuttlebutt with your late-night audience after a ten day break with a political joke or some celebrity satire. Now, it seems like a day doesn’t pass in which another impossible-to-ignore shooting isn’t tearing through our lives and country. It’s not a late night host’s job to address the ills of a nation, but sometimes they have to do so.
Stephen Colbert and the Late Show have been on a ten-day hiatus, and in those ten days, two mass shootings ruined countless lives forever. On November 28th in Colorado Springs, a Planned Parenthood clinic was attacked by 57-year-old Robert Dear. Days later, on December 2nd, husband and wife Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik opened fire in San Bernardino, killing 14 and injuring 21 before being gunned down themselves by police. It was the worst act of terror on U.S. soil since 9/11.
Gun sales surged, the Muslim community was ostracized further by a leading candidate for POTUS, and the New York Daily News called out politicians and their “thoughts and prayers” statements.
Meanwhile, Stephen was still on the sidelines thinking the same question. What can we do? Somehow, in 240 hours, the nation had become even further divided on the issue of gun control, and what we can do to stop mass murders while keeping liberty intact. As, a man who “occasionally thinks and pray[s],” Colbert addressed his audience with the candor and sensitivity he’s known for. He defended thoughts and prayers, and he still asked the real question of, “So what do we do?”
“Why is it so easy to buy bullets when I have to show three forms of ID to buy Sudafed?”
What do we do?