Holding back tears throughout his entire 10-minute monologue, a frustrated, emotional Jimmy Kimmel reacted to Sunday night’s events in Las Vegas — one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history. To Kimmel, who grew up there, the atrocity was especially personal.
“This morning, we have children without parents and fathers without sons, mothers without daughters; we lost two police officers, we lost a nurse from Tennessee, a special-ed teacher from a local school here in Manhattan Beach,” the shaken Kimmel noted. “It’s the kind of thing that it makes you want to throw up or give up. It’s too much to even process.”
Here are five hard truths Kimmel laid out last night:
1. The way we react to international terrorism vs. domestic terrorism doesn’t make sense.
The shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, wasn’t known to be affiliated with any global terrorism network. That doesn’t mean he’s not a terrorist.
“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.”
2. The fact that it’s perfectly legal for civilians to buy guns solely aimed at killing people doesn’t make sense.
Everyday Americans can purchase semi-automatic rifles in America. But why?
“Our forefathers wanted us to have AK-47s is the argument [from 2nd amendment proponents], 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.”
3. The argument that it’s “too soon to make this political” doesn’t make sense.
Not making the Vegas shooting political means we’re accepting this nightmare reality in which going to a concert, or to school, or to work, or to a movie means risking death.
“Last night, the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said this is not the time — or actually, it was today, this morning — she said it was not the time for political debate. I don’t know. We have 59 innocent people dead, it wasn’t their time either. So I think now is the time for political debate.”
4. The amount of power the NRA has in this country doesn’t make sense.
As Kimmel noted, the gun lobby is using too many of our leaders as puppets.
“President Trump is visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday. He spoke this morning; he said he’s praying for those who lost their lives. You know, in February, he also signed a bill to make it easier for people with severe mental illness to buy guns legally. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a number of other lawmakers who won’t do anything about this because the NRA has their balls in a money clip also sent their thoughts and their prayers today — which is good, they should be praying. They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country.”
5. The disconnect between what Americans want and what their representatives fight for doesn’t make sense.
Americans overwhelmingly back common sense gun control to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous people. But many congresspeople care less about that than getting elected next year.
“90% of Democrats … and 77% of Republicans support background checks at gun shows. 89% of Republicans and Democrats are in favor of restricting gun ownership for the mentally ill. But not this gang [indicating a group of senators]. They voted against both of those things. So, with all due respect, your thoughts and your prayers are insufficient.”
“Tell your congresspeople to do something,” Kimmel said. “It’s not enough to send your love and prayers.”
Tell your representatives to fight for better gun laws.