After the horrific event that took place at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Fl. on Saturday night (June 11), as with the many other mass shootings in recent years, pundits and personalities have taken to the Internet, TV and radio waves to discuss their thoughts and feelings on the issue. Sunday found John Oliver addressing the shooting, saying, "This just hurts." And he's right, it does.
The pattern of late show hosts addressing the attack continued on Monday with Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and Conan O'Brien all speaking out on Saturday's shooting. While their messages came from a similar place, each man had different things to say.
"Naturally, we each ask ourselves, 'What can we possibly say in the face of this horror?' But then sadly, you realize you know what to say. Because, it's been said too many times before," Stephen Colbert said in his opening monologue. It is true, we have heard it all before. But there is something comforting about hearing the comedians we tune into each night speak from the heart and join the country in mourning.
Colbert continues, "It's as if there's a national script we have learned and I think by accepting the script, we tacitly accept that the script will end the same way every time -- with nothing changing ... except for the loved ones and the families of the victims for whom nothing will ever be the same. It's easy ... it's almost tempting to be paralyzed by such a monstrously hateful act -- to despair and say, 'Oh, that's the way the world is now.' Well I don't know what to do but I do know that despair is a victory for hate. Hate wants us to be too weak to change anything."
His opening monologue -- different from the normal musical spectacle he delivers to his audience -- took a somber note. But within the sadness, Colbert offered hope in the form of love:
"Now these people in Orlando were apparently targeted because of who they love. And there have been outpourings of love throughout the country and around the world. Love in response to hate. Love is not despair. Love makes us strong. Love gives us the courage to act. Love gives us hope that change is possible. Love allows us to change the script. So love your country, love your family, love the families and the victims and the people of Orlando, but let's remember that love is a verb. And to love, means to do something."
Continuing the sentiment on "The Tonight Show," was Jimmy Fallon. The above video looks like it may have been taped in an impromptu manner which adds more heart and humanity to the message Fallon delivered.
"I know everyone is angry right now and not really knowing how to react but this is a time when people are looking to us as a country and how we will react. This country was built on the idea that we do not all agree on everything; that we are a tolerant and free nation that encourages debate, free thinking and believing -- or not -- in what you choose. I as a new father, am thinking, 'What do I tell my kids? What do I tell them about this? What can we learn from this? What if my kids are gay? What do I tell them?' Maybe there's a lesson from all of this -- a lesson in tolerance."
It's possibly there's a lesson in tolerance here to be learned, but that would mean getting back to, as Fallon says, "being brave enough to accept that we have different opinions."
Taking a different, more confrontational approach, Conan O'Brien opened his show angered at Saturday's attack and used his time to vocalize that outrage towards the current gun situation in America.
"I'm a father of two," he says, "and I'd like to believe I have a shred of common sense and I simply do not understand why anybody in this country is allowed to purchase and own a semi-automatic assault rifle. It makes no sense to me. These are weapons of war and they have no place in civilian life. I have tried to understand this issue from every side and it all comes down to this: Nobody I know, or have ever met in my entire life, should have access to a weapon that can kill so many people so quickly."
Whatever the solution is, we can all agree with Conan when he says, "It's time to grow up and figure this out." In the meantime, to help the many people suffering in Orlando, visit GoFundMe.com/PulseVictimsFund.