Wednesday marked the one-month anniversary of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, and the National Student Walkout to honor those lost and serve as a peaceful protest in search of sensible gun reform. Led by teens and young people, the #NationalSchoolWalkout inspired Trevor Noah, Seth Meyers and Samantha Bee, who were all visibly moved by the passion and maturity of the younger generation.
Both Noah and Bee showed the same clip of a 12-year-old's response when asked if he thought he could make a difference. "By myself I don't have the power, but together with all these people here, I think we can," the boy said. It was a powerful statement about the strength of numbers and the reason that peaceful assembly is protected just as much by the Bill of Rights as the right to bear arms.
There are no easy answers to the growing problem of gun violence in America, and in American schools, and the late-night comedians weren't saying these kids and this march are the answer. But they are continuing the conversation, and for the moment at least, they're still being heard.
"The Daily Show with Trevor Noah"
"Let's make like Roy Moore now and turn our attention to high school kids," Trevor Noah said, shifting into a discussion about the national protests.
After showing a clip of that young boy being asked if he could make a difference, Noah pointed out, "People keep asking these kids if they're not too young to protest. You do realize some of the biggest political movements were led by young people. Kids fought for civil rights, kids fought apartheid in South Africa, and to stop the Vietnam war.
"And never forget the inspiring young woman who used a can of soda to stop racism forever," he concluded, showing a shot of Kendall Jenner's world-changing Pepsi commercial. Will she ever live that down? Probably not, but we're OK with that.
He then took a look at the GOP response to the epidemic of gun violence by reporting on the story of the armed teacher whose gun accidentally went off in school. The teacher was a reserve police officer, and while the bullet discharged into the ceiling, bullet fragments hit a student in the neck.
"A bullet fragment hit a child," Noah reiterated. "And the worst part is that this whole thing could have been avoided if we just gave that kid's neck a gun."
While Seth Meyers was impressed by the maturity and thoughtful message most of the kids carried with them into the walkout, he had to acknowledge that this wasn't going to be the case for every teen.
"You know there's that one kid who's going to see this and start watching the news for any reason to walk out of school," Meyers acknowledged. "'You guys, Republicans are pushing a bill that could delay negotations over the debt ceiling. Walk out! Walk out! Just me? Walk out! I'm on my own here? Walk out!'"
Bernie Sanders was one of several Democratic political figures who joined the kids at various marches. "It's an issue that's close to Bernie's heart because when he was in school, he once led a protest against catapult violence," Meyers joked.
Samantha Bee talked about how covering gun violence and mass shootings is one of the worst parts of her job, and showed images of her praying and hoping for something to change on previous shows. Honestly, she admitted she didn't think it would ever happen, until this generation showed her the way.
"These kids have been filling me with hope, and I'm sure they've also been filling the GOP establishment with fear," she said. "In fact, here's footage of Mitch McConnell reacting to the protest." With this she showed footage of a turtle racing away at top speed.
"This will be the first generation that the generation before won't be able to call lazy," she said of the kids standing up for what they believe in. "These kids are so mature that now I'm going to have to be the one to TP that lady's house."