David Letterman Addresses Newtown Tragedy on 'Late Show' (Video)
"I'm not dumb enough to think this is a problem about guns," the talk show host said in an unprepared statement that lasted nearly 7 minutes.
David Letterman spent close to seven minutes of Monday's Late Show broadcast addressing the senseless shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that took the lives of 20 first-graders and a half-dozen adults.
Returning from commercial, the host, looking visibly saddened, noted the beauty of the Christmas decorations on the Late Show set.
"It makes me so sad," Letterman began. "They're really for kids. You think about this horrifying circumstance. What part of that do you think about that's going to make any difference? Do you think about the kids in the class? That's too awful to think about."
He continued: "Do you think about the parents and their friends and getting that message from the school and finding out that their lives are irrevocably broken, ruined? You think about your own kid. I take him to school every now and then. Are we supposed to be worried about dropping our kids off at school now? I never worried about it before. I always thought, 'Well, here -- school -- is a good place where my son will be free of the idiot decisions made by his father."
Letterman then addressed the topic of guns and mental health -- two problematic areas that have become the focus of a fiery public debate over policy reform.
"Believe me, I'm not dumb enough to think that this is a problem of guns," Letterman said. "Before there were guns, people were killing one another. And you can't just say that it's mental health or emotional problems because people with all manner of problems don't necessarily kill each other."
But citing a document prepared by the show's researchers, Letterman did go on to acknowledge some frightening statistics about firearms.
"Since 1994, there have been 70 episodes of school shootings, [all] after the Brady Bill had passed [in 1993]," he said. "Good Lord, does that surprise you?"
Letterman acknowledged that listening to President Barack Obama speak to the Newtown community at Sunday night's memorial made him "feel a little bit better about the situation."
"He's going on the record, [taking] some kind of action," he said. "In a small measure, I feel better that he's looking out for us in that regard. It's a sad, sad holiday season."