Speaking from the heart. Jimmy Fallon addressed the Orlando nightclub shooting in the opening monologue of The Tonight Show on Monday, June 13, and expressed the same feelings of hurt, anger and confusion that so many share after a gunman armed with an assault rifle opened fire at a gay club called Pulse on Sunday, killing 49 people and injuring 53 others.
“As you certainly know by now, early Sunday morning there was another senseless shooting, this time at a dance club in Orlando, Florida. A dance club,” the somber host said. “It left 49 people dead, which is the largest loss of life due to a terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.”
“I know everyone is angry right now and doesn’t know how to react, and this is a time when people are looking to us as a country and how we will react,” he told the audience. “This country was built on an idea that we don’t agree on everything; that we are a tolerant, free nation that encourages debate, free-thinking, believing, or not, in what you choose.”
“I, as a new father, am thinking, ‘What do I tell my kids?'” the father of two young daughters continued, his emotions bubbling to the surface. “What do I tell them about this? What can we learn from this? What if my kids are gay? What do I tell them?”
“Maybe there’s a lesson from all this. A lesson in tolerance,” the 41-year-old said. “We need to support each other’s differences and worry less about our own opinions. Get back to debate and away from believing or supporting the idea that if someone doesn’t live the way you want them to live, you just buy a gun and kill them. Bomb them up. That is not OK.”
“We need to get back to being brave enough to accept that we have different opinions and that’s OK, because that is what America is built on,” Fallon added. “The idea that we can stand up and speak our minds and live our lives and not be punished for that, or mocked on the internet, or killed by someone you don’t know.”
Not referring to the shooter Omar Mateen by name, the Saturday Night Live alum said, “This was just one bad guy here. 49 good people and one bad guy, and there will always be more good than evil.”
And then Fallon addressed the people of Orlando. “When I think of Orlando, I think of nothing but fun and joy and families,” he said. “If anyone can do it, you can. Keep loving each other. Keep respecting each other. And keep on dancing.”
Several celebrities, including Lady Gaga, Andy Cohen and Cher, have spoken out since Sunday’s shooting, with J.K. Rowling paying tribute to one of the victims, Luis Vielma, who worked at the Harry Potter ride at Universal in Florida.
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