After the Las Vegas Shooting

John Cassidy in The New Yorker:

Cassidy-After-The-Las-Vegas-Shooting-Jimmy-KimmelWhat does it say about the state of America when the most powerful response to another awful gun massacre comes not from a politician or a public commentator but a late-night comic? On a dismal Monday, during which the N.R.A. captives who are running the country had nothing more to offer than bromides and prayers, it was left to Jimmy Kimmel, at a television recording studio on Hollywood Boulevard, to register a cry for humanity, and a protest at the failing U.S. political system. “Well, hello, everyone, in the aftermath of another terrible and inexplicable, shocking and painful tragedy, this time in Las Vegas, which happens to be my home town,” Kimmel said in a shaky voice at the start of his opening monologue. After citing the number of dead and injured, he went on: “We wonder why, although there’s probably no way to ever know why a human being would ever do something like this to other human beings who are at a concert having fun, listening to music . . . It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to throw up, or give up. It’s too much to even process.” Kimmel is paid handsomely to send people to bed with smiles on their faces. On Monday, many of his viewers were probably tuning in to escape the round-the-clock news coverage of the Las Vegas shooting. But, rather than looking for laughs, Kimmel chose to state some harsh truths and name names.

“I’ve been reading comments from people saying this is terrible, but there is nothing we can do about it,” he said. “But I disagree with that intensely, because of course there’s something we can do about it. There are a lot of things we can do about it. 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. Second Amendment, I guess. Our forefathers wanted us to have AK-47s is the argument, I assume.” If that was meant to be a joke, Kimmel wasn’t laughing. Noting that President Trump had offered prayers for the victims’ families, and that Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, had said that this wasn’t the time for political debate, he went on: “We have fifty-nine innocent people dead. It wasn’t their time, either. So I think now is the time for political debate.” He reminded his audience that, in February, Trump had signed a bill that made it easier for people with mental illness to buy guns. “The Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, a number of other lawmakers who won’t do anything about this because the N.R.A. 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.”

More here.