Ta Nehisi Coates Nails Why Orlando Shooting Should Be a Wake-Up Call for America

Ta Nehisi Coates Nails Why Orlando Shooting Should Be a Wake-Up Call for America
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

The Ambassador Theater in New York City's Broadway district was packed Wednesday evening for a discussion between literary giants Toni Morrison and Sonia Sanchez and ascending scribe Ta-Nehisi Coates. The three convened for the Stella Adler Studio of Acting's lecture series on art and social justice.

Sunday's tragedy in Orlando, Florida — a hate-fueled massacre at a popular gay nightclub that claimed the lives of 49 victims — loomed large over the discussion.

Read more: Pulse Nightclub Shooting Leaves At Least 50 Dead, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer Says

The renowned 81-year-old poet Sanchez moderated the talk. At one point, she asked Coates and Morrison to weigh in on the shooting in Orlando. The 40-year-old Coates, who authored the award-winning bestseller about race and police violence, "Between the World and Me," responded by relating his experience living in Europe, where guns are not easily accessible.

So where we are is, okay, we need an assault weapons ban. I have to tell you, just from spending some time abroad, we don't understand how far gone we are... Things that really are a means to... correct the problem begin to seem like radical steps, like an assault weapons ban... [It] would not be enough. It would not even be close to being enough.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is pictured at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting lecture event.
Source: 
Craig Barritt/Getty Images

The Orlando shooting marked the fourteenth time that President Barack Obama has addressed the nation about a domestic shooting, over the last seven years. Several of those shootings involved assault style weapons.

Coates went on the say his role as a journalist is to make solutions to complex issues, like gun violence and police brutality, seem less daunting. With Morrison and Sanchez, Coates also discussed the legacy of the late boxer Muhammad Ali and what first inspired each of them to begin writing.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Aaron Morrison

Aaron is a Senior Staff Writer for The Movement at Mic. He covers the intersection of race, justice, politics, diversity and civil rights. He has previously written for IB TImes, Miami Herald, The Bergen Record of New Jersey and the Associated Press. Send tips to aaron@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Amid new revelations, here’s what we’ve learned about the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr.

The picture of Natalia Veselnitskaya is coming into clearer focus.

Republican Senator urges whoever leaked Russia/Sessions phone calls to release whole conversation

Sen. Chuck Grassley wants the person who leaked intelligence about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to come forward with more information.

Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort now to testify before Senate committee behind closed doors

Trump Jr. and Manafort have avoided a subpoena and will testify behind closed doors — for now.

Hope Hicks reportedly tried to rein Trump in during explosive ‘Times’ interview. It didn’t work.

The low-profile Trump Whisperer is one of the few in the president's orbit to enjoy job security.

Scaramucci once asked Obama if he’d be softer on Wall Street. It didn’t end well.

The exchange came during a CNBC town hall on the financial crisis, two years into Obama’s presidency.

Trump blasts Hilary Clinton, Comey and ‘Amazon Washington Post’ in tweet storm

He also defended Don Jr. and called Democrats "obstructionists" with "no ideas."

Amid new revelations, here’s what we’ve learned about the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr.

The picture of Natalia Veselnitskaya is coming into clearer focus.

Republican Senator urges whoever leaked Russia/Sessions phone calls to release whole conversation

Sen. Chuck Grassley wants the person who leaked intelligence about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to come forward with more information.

Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort now to testify before Senate committee behind closed doors

Trump Jr. and Manafort have avoided a subpoena and will testify behind closed doors — for now.

Hope Hicks reportedly tried to rein Trump in during explosive ‘Times’ interview. It didn’t work.

The low-profile Trump Whisperer is one of the few in the president's orbit to enjoy job security.

Scaramucci once asked Obama if he’d be softer on Wall Street. It didn’t end well.

The exchange came during a CNBC town hall on the financial crisis, two years into Obama’s presidency.

Trump blasts Hilary Clinton, Comey and ‘Amazon Washington Post’ in tweet storm

He also defended Don Jr. and called Democrats "obstructionists" with "no ideas."