Stephen Colbert: Don’t lose hope in battle against guns

(Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP,File)

Last night, Late Show host and Catholic enthusiast Stephen Colbert addressed a killing spree at a Texas Baptist church on Nov. 5 that left 26 people dead. In a monologue during his show, Mr. Colbert said that the greed of the gun industry hampers efforts to regulate firearms.

“I actually think that there are some people out there—some truly evil people out there—who want you to feel powerless just for a buck because if you feel powerless enough, you know what might make you feel more powerful? Going to buy a gun,” Mr. Colbert said. “It’s a vicious cycle.”

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Mr. Colbert’s words called to mind Pope Francis’ critique of the arms industry during a speech to the U.S. Congress in 2015, in which he asked why weapons were so readily available to those who would use them to harm others.

“Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood,” the pope said.

The CBS host urged his viewers not to lose hope.

“Everybody is heartbroken when this happens and you want to do something but nothing gets done; no one does anything. That seems insane,” Mr. Colbert lamented. “And it can make you feel hopeless. I don’t know what to do, but hopelessness is not the answer. You cannot give up in the face of evil.”

He contrasted the inaction to a story about an ancient village under siege from a tiger who was killing villagers everyday.

“You would move the village, you would build a fence or you would kill the tiger. You wouldn’t say, ‘Well, I guess, someone’s going to get eaten every day because the price of liberty is tigers,’” he said. “You take some action.”

“Doing nothing, as I’ve said before, is unacceptable. It’s unnatural. It’s inhuman. It just goes against our nature. We want to fix things,” he said.

He suggested that for Americans, it means exercising the right to vote.

“Vote for someone who will do something because this is an act of evil and the only thing necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing,” he said.

Austin Schafer
1 week 5 days ago

The U.S. should look to its laws, not armed civilians, to address gun violence. Thank you for your excellent journalism.

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john still
1 week 5 days ago

If only Colbert cared that much about the unborn, hundreds of thousands killed every year.

Criss Cole
1 week 5 days ago

Unfortunately, extremely liberal Christians will harp on gun laws all day but never address the millions of innocent people killed every year.

Chris Hohowski
1 week 1 day ago

They do, abortions always go down during liberal administrations. There were lots of abortions before 1973. Law alone doesn’t help the unborn. Getting at the root causes, financial, social, dignity of women, etc. You argument is not realistic. Go out and save lives if you care about the unborn. Our crisis pregnancy centers need help, all they can get.

Tim Donovan
1 week ago

I was a registered Democrat for more than 30 years, from age 18 in 1980 to about 5 years ago (I'm now 55). I now am a very reluctantly registered Republican, who often disagrees with typical Republican policies. (Please refer to my other post for my general viewpoints). I agree that defending the right to life takes many forms, but I do believe that the killing of almost one million innocent unborn human beings for any reason up until the viability of the unborn infant(our present law, thanks to the 1973 Supreme Court Roe and Doe decisions) makes legal abortion of paramount concern. I happen to be gay, so many people undoubtedly don't think my opinion is relevant, but I think this is a human rights rather than a solely sexual issue. I. do understand that unplanned pregnancy can be a difficult matter. My friend was 17 and a senior in high school when she became pregnant by her 19 year old, college attending boyfriend, my best friend. She gave birth one month after she turned 18, and she and my friend got married nine months later (ironic, no?). I also agree that we must support crisis pregnancy centers. Some years ago, I helped with the formation of a home for pregnant women and their born children that provided many practical services. I contribute when I can modest amounts to pregnancy aid centers, most recently to Mom's House. With about 6 homes, this superb agency provides free day care and other services for low-income pregnant women so that they can complete their education. I think our government should enact policies to promote adoption, and eliminate the marriage penalty to promote marriage. I'm a very imperfect gay Catholic who some years ago had sex with men. I regretted my acts, and found forgiveness and consolation through the Sacrament of Reconciliation with compassionate priests. I admit that being celibate and childless can be difficult, but I find fulfillment and love among my family (including 3 adult nieces and 1 nephew whom I enjoyed helping to care for when they were young) and my friends. My love for children also led me to become a Special Education teacher for students with brain damage and physical disabilities. I agree that we should do our best to resolve the root causes of abortion, but I see at least two difficulties. First, sadly, the Democratic party platform last year affirmed support for the federal funding (that is, taxpayer funded) killing of the unborn. There is evidence that prohibiting tax funded abortions reduces the number of abortions. It's unfortunate that what was once a bipartisan law against taxpayer federal abortions has been abandoned by my former party. Now, the small number of pro-life Democrats are outcasts in the party. I fear bringing up my second reason why I think it's difficult to reduce abortions by addressing what I believe is a root cause. Let me assure you that I'm not being judgemental. I experienced the pleasure of sex with men for several years before deciding (once again) that it was immoral and returned to following the church's teaching about the wisdom of refraining from sex outside of marriage. The great majority of abortions are obtained by unmarried women in their early to mid-twenties. I think it would be wise and hopefully would have a positive impact to teach children that while sex is a beautiful act of love, that it should be reserved to marriage. Sexually-transmitted diseases according to the latest Center for Disease Control and Prevention statistics are rampant, and older children should be given these facts to caution them that sex within a monogamous marriage is not only morally right but good sense from a purely practical standpoint.
Again, I apologize if my comments in this regard are seen as irrelevant because I'm gay and without children or judgemental. However, I think given my experience lovingly caring for my nieces and nephew and disabled students, plus my intimate knowledge of the pleasure sex brings hopefully make my remarks reasonable and nonjudgemental.

Johnny Salcedo
1 week 5 days ago

Why not both? As a Christian, I am compelled to care about all things that threaten to degrade the dignity of the human person. Abortion is one of many causes that God has called us to stand against. Guns enable suicide and violence.

Criss Cole
1 week 5 days ago

We need accountability from the government agencies to record when those with mental illnesses attempt to buy guns. If the Air Force would have updated the national database, this wouldn't have happened. We need to allow citizens to still own guns but keep guns out of the hands of those mentally unstable.

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Chuck Kotlarz
1 week 5 days ago

Half of gun owners cite personal safety and protection as the reason for owning a gun. One third of the world’s guns residing in the U.S. perhaps indicates a trust deficit in America.

Since 1947, higher gun ownership growth generally coincided with falling trust in government. Slower gun ownership growth coincided with rising trust in government.

Orlando, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs mark three of the worst mass shootings in modern U.S. history and all happened in the past seventeen months.

Randolph Roth, author of “American Homicide”, suggests, “when trust disappears, no one’s life matters.”

Roth notes other correlations between trust and violent deaths. Google: randolph roth + washington post

Dimitri Cavalli
1 week 4 days ago

Firearms, including handguns, were always readily available in the United States. Yet there was little violent crime, including during the Great Depression.

What happened (besides the decline in the two-parent family and moral standards, and the increase of recreational drug use)?

Ellen B
1 week 4 days ago

A gunman carrying a rifle or handgun that was available in the Great Depression would be tackled or people would have time to take cover before he had a chance to shoot & kill over 20 people. No one has argued that all firearms be eliminated. The majority of people in this country agree that military style weapons do not belong in the hands of civilians. Congress allowed the assault weapons ban to expire in 2004 after Tom Delay called it "feel good legislation". That's what happened. Angry people have easy access to weapons. Frightened people buy more weapons. And our congress does not act because they are well financed by the gun industry.

Christopher Lochner
1 week 2 days ago

Well, The Editors of America Magazine DO believe that the second amendment should be rescinded. It's right here on their site!

Chuck Kotlarz
1 week 4 days ago

Dimitri,

Mr. Roth notes, “…declining trust in our institutions, our social structures and one another leads to more lethal violence, including mass murder. As abstract as these sentiments may seem, they predispose certain people to kill. In fact, they explain homicide rates better than any other factor, including unemployment, guns, drugs or a permissive justice system…Small disagreements, indignities and disappointments that we might otherwise brush off may enrage us — generating hostile, defensive and predatory emotions — and in some cases give way to violence.”

Chuck Kotlarz
1 week 4 days ago

Dimitri, “Officers are three times more likely to be murdered on the job in high gun ownership states compared to low gun ownership states.”

The high gun ownership rate clearly indicates a deficit of trust. That would support Mr. Roth’s comment, “when trust disappears, no one’s life matters.”

Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island have the lowest rates of gun ownership and the lowest rates for law enforcement killings. Perhaps we should focus on understanding what builds trust.

E.Patrick Mosman
1 week 4 days ago

"he(Pope Francis) asked why weapons were so readily available to those who would use them to harm others."
How about trucks, cars, knives, machetes, pressure cookers and even household items(bombs) of daily use that have been used as weapons in mass murders recently? Inanimate objects kill no one, individuals kill and Chicago and other major cities with the strictist gun control laws show the folly of stricter laws.

Ellen B
1 week 4 days ago

A truck used in NYC only killed 8. You would compare that to the assault type weapon used in Las Vegas? In the Texas church? False equivalency my friend, false equivalency.

E.Patrick Mosman
1 week 3 days ago

False equivalency? Suggest you do a little research starting with a CNN website on the world-wide ISIS sponsored attacks using vehicles,trucks,cars which have resulted in mass murders.

Carlos Orozco
1 week 4 days ago

Stephen Colbert pushes gun control on The People and, at the same time, constantly propagandizes the Putin-Trump conspiracy theory in order to justify conlict with Russia on to the ignorant masses.

Odd, is it not? Not so much. Let's remember that last year WikiLeaks unmasked Colbert, through its Podesta archive, as a Clinton Global Initiative lackey. Even Donna Brazile, former DNC boss that passed primary debate questions to Clinton, has had enough of the Hillary "cult" (her words).

Wilfreda Castellanos Rodriguez
1 week 2 days ago

We used to like Colbert in our home. However as he became more complacent with his popularity and seeing his name in lights, he became as sinister as all of the many other vitriolic, hateful, vulgar, unhinged “comedians”. Colbert had lost his salt.

We got tired of defending him to our non-Catholic friends and admitted he was an eyesore

Tim Donovan
1 week ago

No laws, whether prohibiting the violence of abortion or restricting guns, will ever be entirely successful. But laws can and often do change people's minds, and consequently their behavior. Although an imperfect Catholic, I try to be pro-life across the board. I oppose legal abortion, capital punishment, and support stringent gun control laws. I also support reasonable regulations and laws to protect our environment, and reasonable laws to assist the millions of Americans in need. I believe in increased foreign aid for humanitarian purposes, and to promote economic development. Finally, although I'm not a pacifist, I respect their convictions. I support war only as a last resort after diplomatic efforts have been exhausted; it's monstrous to deliberately kill civilians. Nor do I think it's necessary to increase our military spending to properly defend our nation.

Eileen Malloy
6 days 15 hours ago

Why is a serious publication referencing a comedian and cafeteria-type Catholic? Actually, Colbert isn't even funny, about as funny as Lenny Bruce.

Kevin Murphy
4 days 7 hours ago

Nobody pumps as much bile into the body politic as Stephen Colbert. You don't have to like Trump to object to his nightly, over-the-top hate-fest. It serves no good except for his ratings. I'm not surprised that America disregards all that and looks to him as a moral voice. He has no business lecturing anyone.

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