John Oliver used the Sunday’s opening segment Last week tonight to reflect on the tragic event that took place in Tennessee last month when three children and three adults were killed in a school shooting.
Following the tragedy at Covenant School, a private elementary school in suburban Nashville, young activists took to the Capitol on March 27 to protest “the legislature’s lack of response as they engaged in some catchy chants about Governor Bill Lee,” Oliver remarked, before showing footage of the protesters repeatedly chanting “Fuck Bill Lee!” scanned.
The host of the HBO show replied, “Look, you can try to be smart about it. But at the end of the day, there’s just nothing like a chant that goes “fuck” and then the name of the person you’re mad at. It’s short. It’s sweet. It comes to the point. It’s ‘Fuck Bill Lee.’”
Oliver further argued that the response from both Lee and other Republicans was “deeply disappointing.” He showed a clip of State Representative William Lamberth insisting it would be pointless to ban AR-15 rifles.
“You’re not going to like my answer, and look, I’m going to say that outright,” Lamberth said. “It’s not about that one weapon. If there’s a gun anywhere you’d like to be shot with, please show me what gun it is.”
Oliver responded, “I mean, that’s a crappy response from the Hall of Fame. But also, if your opener is, “you won’t like my answer,” maybe start thinking of some better ones. And just for the record, I don’t want to be shot by guns. I don’t even want to get shot by a Nerf gun.
Meanwhile, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, two Democratic state representatives who took part in a gun control protest, were evicted from Tennessee’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives last week. A third representative, Gloria Johnson, who also joined the gun control protest, was spared from eviction by one member’s vote.
Chamber Speaker Cameron Sexton gave a news interview defending the evictions, claiming the pair incited violence. When asked if he had any evidence for that, Sexton replied, “I mean, you can’t prove that.”
“Oh, okay,” Oliver said. “So you can’t prove they incite violence. But in the interest of safety, you feel you have a responsibility to take their dangerous platform away from them. But if instead of megaphones they had something that can fire 100 rounds in minutes, for example, then unfortunately it’s literally impossible to do anything to prevent that because we asked the prematurely embalmed mayor of Whoville and he said no. .”
It is worth noting that Johnson is white while Jones and Pearson are black. When asked why Johnson escaped eviction and the other two did not, she replied, “It may have to do with the color of our skin.”
“There was a pattern in the results that was hard to overlook,” Oliver noted.
Johnson has also pointed out that the Tennessee legislature has allowed much worse behavior without repercussions: “We had a child molester on the floor for years. They helped him get re-elected and did nothing to expel him. We’ve had members pee in each other’s seats. We had members prescribe drugs to their cousin mistress and nothing happened.
interposed Oliver: “Sorry, ‘cousin mistress’?! Do you know how crazy a list of allegations must be to have someone say, “There was that child molester for years, but honestly don’t even bother writing that down because wait till you hear about the next few things I’m going to do” am I going to say?’”
He further argued that “It wasn’t a good sign for Tennessee when they punished those who spoke out against gun violence while detaining those who asked, ‘What gun would you be comfortable getting shot with?'”
He added: “Look, there are pretty clearly two big issues going on here – racism and gun violence – which incidentally will most likely be the name of the next Kid Rock album. And Tennessee legislators can keep brushing aside both issues saying “guns aren’t the problem” or “we don’t see color,” but Tennessee’s young people are making it very clear that they are tired of waiting and that change is long overdue .