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Jimmy Kimmel makes plea to lawmakers after Texas shooting: ‘These are our children’

A man in a black tuxedo
Jimmy Kimmel onstage at the 2020 Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.
(Invision/Associated Press)

Late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel struggled to keep his composure Wednesday while speaking about the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that killed two teachers and 19 children.

In an emotional plea, the father of four urged lawmakers to correct their mistakes and enact stricter gun legislation to prevent another tragedy like the Uvalde massacre.

On Tuesday, a gunman barricaded himself inside and opened fire on a fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School, the site of the deadliest U.S. school shooting since Sandy Hook.

“I wanted to speak to you directly without an audience for just a bit before we start the show, because here we are again on another day of mourning in this country,” Kimmel said at the beginning of Wednesday’s show. “Once again, we grieve for the little boys and girls whose lives have been ended and whose families have been destroyed, while our leaders on the right, the Americans in Congress and at Fox News ... warn us not to politicize this.

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“They immediately criticize our president for even speaking about doing something to stop it, because they don’t want to speak about it. Because they know what they’ve done, and they know what they haven’t done, and they know that it’s indefensible, so they’d rather sweep this under the rug.”

Shortly after the somber “Jimmy Kimmel Live” monologue aired, ABC affiliate WFAA/Ch. 8 — a TV station serving the Dallas/Fort Worth area — was accused of censoring the host’s remarks by cutting to commercial for a significant portion of the opening.

“To my friends in Dallas who are asking: I do not know whether our @ABCNetwork affiliate @wfaa cut away from my monologue tonight intentionally or inadvertently but I will find out,” Kimmel tweeted Wednesday night, along with a YouTube link to the full video. “In the meantime, here’s what you didn’t get to see.”

In response to Kimmel’s inquiry, WFAA and its director of digital content, Pete Freedman, offered conflicting explanations for the ill-timed commercial break.

“We’d made the decision earlier in the day to extend our 10 o’clock news to include *extra* Uvalde coverage in our broadcast,” Freedman responded to Kimmel on Twitter. “We’re on the same team.”

However, an official statement from WFAA claimed that “the automated system that triggers commercials aired the first commercial break in error” and apologized on Thursday “for last night’s technical difficulties.”

On its website, the station later uploaded a video of Kimmel’s monologue in its entirety. Both Freedman and the station agreed the interrupted broadcast “had nothing to do with” the content of Kimmel’s speech.

“Most Americans support keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and children ... Democrats and Republicans,” Kimmel continued during his show. “The reason they call them common-sense gun laws is because that’s what they are.

“A bipartisan bill passed in the House. It’s been stalled in the Senate for over a year now. They won’t pass it because our cowardly leaders aren’t listening to us. They’re listening to the NRA. They’re listening to those people who write them checks, who keep them in power because that’s the way politics work ... but it doesn’t have to be that way.”

To underscore his point, Kimmel referenced a 1996 school shooting in Scotland — after which lawmakers enacted gun-control legislation. There hasn’t been another school shooting in the United Kingdom since.

A gunman killed 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, about 80 miles west of San Antonio, on May 24, 2022.

“This is the only country where this keeps happening,” Kimmel said. “Firearms are now the No. 1 cause of death for American children and teens. No. 1.”

Later in his speech, Kimmel turned his attention directly to public officials in Texas — such as Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Greg Abbott — who are against gun control, and desperately appealed to them as “human beings.”

“I don’t believe Ted Cruz doesn’t care about children,” Kimmel said. “I refuse to believe he’s unaffected by this. He’s a father. I bet he went to bed sick to his stomach last night. It’s easy to call someone a monster but he’s not a monster. He’s a human being. ...

“So here’s the thing I would like to say to Ted Cruz, the human being. ... It’s OK to admit you made a mistake. In fact, it’s not just OK. It’s necessary to admit you made a mistake when your mistake is killing the children in your state.”

A Border Patrol agent who works near Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, fired the shots that killed the gunman, a law enforcement source said.

It takes bravery to right a wrong, Kimmel added in an attempt to spur conservative political leaders into action. The comedian insisted that “this is not a time for silence” and called on legislators to “fix this.”

“Do I think these men are brave people? No, I don’t,” Kimmel continued. “But man, I would love it if they surprised me. ... Some people say this is a mental health problem. Others say it’s a gun problem. It is both, and it can be both. So let’s work on both of those.”

After resting his case, Kimmel aired a public service announcement from gun-violence prevention organization Everytown for Gun Safety.

“How does this make sense to anyone?” a distraught Kimmel asked, his voice breaking. “These are our children. And our representatives are supposed to represent us. ...

“We get angry. We demand action. We don’t get it. They wait it out. We go back to lives that we should rightfully be able to go back to. But you know who doesn’t forget it? The parents of the children at Sandy Hook and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and now Robb Elementary School. They won’t forget it.”


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