Colbert and Corden implore leaders to 'show a modicum of courage' and change gun laws after Texas school shooting

·3 min read

On Tuesday’s The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Colbert opened by stating that he had just found out about the massacre at a Texas elementary school earlier in the day. A gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, killing at least 19 children and two adults.

“Shortly before I came out here tonight, we learned of the unspeakable shooting in Uvalde, Texas, today. And while we can add our prayers for the dead,” Colbert said, before taking a moment to compose himself, “there is nothing that could ever be said that can approach the immeasurable grief of those families. But while we’re at it, let’s pray this time our leaders show a modicum of courage in trying to prevent this from ever happening again.”

As commonly happens after mass shootings — uniquely American tragedies that have been unfolding over decades — leaders sent out messages of thoughts and prayers. These are the same leaders who routinely block any meaningful legislation that could prevent attacks like this from happening. So Colbert had his doubts about the efficacy of thoughts and prayers, and called on his viewers to do their part.

“Prayers won’t end this, voting might,” Colbert said. “So when you vote, ask yourself this question: Who running for office has publicly stated that they’re willing to do anything and everything in their power to protect your children from the criminally insane number of guns in America?”

Nothing will change. Gun money will continue to get in the way of morality.James Corden

Afterwards on The Late Late Show With James Corden, the show began quietly with Corden standing in a mostly dark studio. Like Colbert, he called out the lack of action despite how often massacres like this happen.

“I don’t know what has to happen to change things here,” Corden said. “I am constantly shocked by the number of people who must think that this is an OK byproduct to never make meaningful changes to gun laws. And it doesn’t make sense to me. This doesn’t reflect the country that I think America is.”

Corden went on to say that the U.S. “is one of the most backwards places in the world” when it comes to gun laws. He then pointed out that so far this year, there have been no school shootings in England, Japan, or Australia. However, there have been 27 school shootings and 212 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2022, and that's in less than five months.

On Monday night, President Biden addressed the nation and urged lawmakers to stand up to the gun lobby, but Corden doesn’t believe that will happen, as the gun lobby donates millions of dollars in campaign contributions.

“Nothing will change. Gun money will continue to get in the way of morality,” Corden said. “So, just as I stood here in this studio last week and I talked about a mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, today, heartbreakingly, it is an elementary school in Texas. And I’ll probably be stood here talking again in another week or two about another place.”

Proving Corden’s point, three prominent Republicans — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, former President Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz — are all scheduled to speak at a National Rifle Association event in Houston on Friday.

“Words of thoughts and prayers will come from our leaders, but I fear change never will,” Corden said. “I hold out hope that this country will eventually wake up and change this senseless gun culture, while my heart simply goes out to everyone in Texas tonight.”

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on CBS.

The Late Late Show With James Corden airs weeknights at 12:35 a.m. on CBS.

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