Christina Wolfgram
October 03, 2015 12:20 pm

Stephen Colbert wants us to stop pretending.

During last night’s monologue, The Late Night Show host expressed that he didn’t know how to gloss over the horrific shooting on a community college campus in Oregon that left ten people dead and seven seriously injured less than 24 hours before airing. Even though late night shows are often considered pure entertainment, a way to unwind at the end of the day, Colbert faced the tragedy head on, admitting that the worst thing we as a country can do is ignore terrible events like the Oregon shooting for the sake of our own comfort.

Obviously, discussing the incident in Oregon was a decision that probably had to get an OK from multiple producers and network executives. Colbert followed through with his decision, and noted that he’s still trying to figure out his role as a late night host. “Whether or not we hit the right notes on any given night,” he said. “I think that the least that we can do is not pretend to always know what to do or say, and in the face of the killings in Oregon yesterday I don’t know what to do or say, other than our hearts are broken for the people struck by this senseless tragedy.”

In a call to action, Colbert turned the theme of pretending back on his audience, reminding us that hiding our heads in the sand won’t prevent future tragedies. “These things happen over and over again and we’re naturally horrified and shocked when we hear about them, but then we change nothing, and we pretend that it won’t happen again,” he said. “Over and over again” is almost generous: there have been 294 mass shootings (where four or more people are killed by gunfire) in the U.S. this year. That’s 294 too many for nothing to change.

Colbert did not take a side about what should be done to prevent monstrous events like the one in Oregon this week. “Some say the answer is stricter gun laws; others say the answer is mental health care, that we need better treatment or just keep the guns out of the hands of the insane. Maybe it’s both, I honestly don’t know,” Colbert said. “But I do know that one of the definitions of insanity is changing nothing and then pretending that something will change.”

Watch the full clip below:

(Images via YouTube)

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