Yesterday, a Staten Island grand jury elected not to indict a New York City police officer for killing Eric Garner, who died when the officer placed him in a chokehold. Jon Stewart was preparing to tape his show when the news broke and was still struggling to process everything when he sat down to address the audience, but he was clearly overwhelmed. Even The Daily Show host couldn't find a way to bring in his signature brand of comedic spin to his coverage.
"I honestly don't know what to say. If comedy is tragedy plus time, I need more fucking time," Stewart said in the clip. "But, I really would settle for less tragedy, to be honest with you. I think what is so utterly depressing is that none of the ambiguities that existed in the Ferguson case exist in the Staten Island case, and yet the outcome is exactly the same. No crime, no trial; all harm, no foul."
Stewart pointed out that just a few days ago, the White House proposed a solution to cases like Brown's and Garner's: putting cameras on police officers' vests. Except, someone actually caught the entire Staten Island incident on video. Isn't that exactly what the White House is proposing, Stewart asked? "Maybe, to look at the bright side, we're about to save ourselves a shitload of money on cop camera vests," he said.
The host offered an extremely sobering conclusion. "Damn, we are definitely not living in a post-racial society," Stewart remarked, before adding, "I can imagine there are a lot of people out there wondering how much of a society we're living in at all."
Even the cat video Stewart played as an attempted palate cleanser carried another comment on race. It's a hard truth to swallow.