The Parkland Florida Shooting remains in the forefront of the American conversation because the kids who survived it have demanded that we continue to talk about it. What that means is that Donald Trump and Washington have to talk about it too, even if they don't really want to. And the late-night comedians are dumbfounded anew every day with what they have to say.
It's not just the suggestions like teaching kids hand-to-hand combat skills and arming teachers that are leaving them scratching their heads. One of Donald Trump's more provocative claims was when he told reporters Monday, "I really believe I'd run in there, even if I didn't have a weapon," referring to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. While the President admitted he hadn't been tested on that claim, he nevertheless felt in his heart he would be that guy. Meanwhile, in the real world, TV's late-night crew wasn't buying that one ... at. all.
Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers all poked fun at the braggadocious claim, but that wasn't nearly as hard for them to grasp as his repeated attempts to try and convince a dubious America that arming teachers is the way to solve this school shooting crisis, even as the armed officer who was on-site at Stoneman Douglas was criticized for being completely ineffective during the shooting there.
"Late Night with Seth Meyers"
Seth Meyers debuted a new segment on his show after Trump's claims that he believed he'd have run into the school, even without a weapon. He called it "It Slowly Dawns on Seth That This Man Is Our President." It started with a light laughter at the ridiculousness of the claim, followed by a slow crawling horror as reality settled in.
"I gotta say, I find it hard to believe Trump would voluntarily run inside a place of education," Meyers said. "The only way you would run inside is if a reporter asked you a question outside."
As for the notion of arming more teachers to solve the problem, Meyers said, "Teachers do our country's most important work, they shape our nation's future leaders and they deserve our utmost respect, but do we really want to give guns to people who haven't fully mastered chalk?" He then put up a picture of a teacher with her butt just covered in chalk dust.
Stephen Colbert also touched on the idea of arming teachers, pointing out, "This idea has not been received well by people who have had or been a teacher." But don't worry. He added, "Faced with the self-evident flaws of Mrs. Ferguson packing heat in homeroom, Donald Trump today reconsidered his position and instead approached the problem with a more nuanced, multi-faceted and comprehensive solution. ...I'm just kidding. Sorry, I'm just kidding."
Even his audience wasn't buying that one. Colbert quickly moved on to Trump's meatier explanation that you can't just arm any teacher, it needs to be someone with a natural affinity for shooting. "Everybody knows shooting a gun is a natural talent," Colbert explained. "Not everybody's got it. You have to be born with at least one finger."
"Maybe principals should scout the shooting range," he mused. "You see somebody who's a good shot, you say, 'Congratulations, you're teaching A.P. Chemistry!'"
For Trevor Noah, the fact that the armed officer didn't enter the school during the shooting in Parkland, Florida, should have been an indicator that arming teachers may not be the solution, "because if a trained officer didn't come to the rescue, then how was Mrs. Flenderson gonna do any better?"
He then showed footage of Trump saying that the difference was that the officer didn't know and love these students the way their teachers would. "So what we need is someone who loves high school kids and knows their way around kids," Noah pondered. "Wait a second, I know just the guy." He flashed up a picture of Roy Moore, to the chagrin of his audience. "What? The dude needs a job. He can't work at the mall!"
But Noah pointed out that the left and the right both seem to think there is one solution to the problem, when it may take more than one approach working together to really solve anything. "Maybe with better training, the deputy would have known how to go into the situation while still keeping himself relatively safe," he acknowledged. "But maybe with better gun laws, when the deputy did go into the school he wouldn't have to face a teenager with an AR-15. There's no one solution that'll solve all mass shootings."
He couldn't resist a quick jab at Trump's claim that he would have run in, either, saying, "When Trump ran for president, that was the first time he ran in his entire life ... Trump cares so much about helping people that he'd jump into the middle of a school shooting with nothing but his fun-size fists."
James Corden slipped in his commentary about Trumps shooting solution as a kind of back-handed diss. He was discussing a former bodyguard of Trump who it was discovered is getting paid $15,000 out of the GOP "slush fund." According to Corden, this could mean only one thing: Trump had an affair with his bodyguard!
He saved his shooting commentary for a quick rundown of the bodyguard's credentials. "The bodyguard has a lot of experience in his field," Corden said. "He served in the U.S. Navy and the New York City Police Department, so according to Trump he has almost enough weapons training to work as a school teacher."