Stephen Colbert was one of a number of late-night hosts to comment on the mass shooting at an Orlando, Florida gay nightclub on Sunday that left 49 people dead and 53 wounded.
Colbert opened Monday’s Late Show by saying he was “sickened at the news.”
“Naturally, we each ask ourselves what can you possible say in the face of this horror,” he said. “Then sadly you realize you know what to say because it’s been said too many times before. You have a pretty good idea of what most people are going to say. You know what a president, whoever it is, will probably say. You know what both sides of the political aisle will say. You know what gun manufacturers will say. Even me, with a silly show like this, you have some idea of what I will say. Because even I have talked about this when it has happened before. It’s as if there’s a national script that 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.”
Colbert continued, saying it’s easy to be “paralyzed” by what he called “a monstrously hateful act,” “to despair and say, ‘Oh, well that’s the way the world is now.'”
But, he added, that mindset was a slippery slope to more trouble. “I don’t know what to do,” Colbert said. “But I do know that despair is a victory for hate. Hate wants us to be too weak to change anything. Now these people in Orlando were apparently targeted for who they love. And there have been outpourings of love throughout the country and around the world. Love in response to hate. Love does not despair. Love makes you strong. Love gives us the courage to act. Love gives up 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,” he said, closing the remarks. “But let’s remember love is a verb. And to love means to do something.”