Stephen Colbert, in his first Late Show broadcast since the latest school mass shooting, said he was “sickened and heartbroken” not only by the attack but by what he feared would be a complete lack of action by political leaders.

Sure enough, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida gave a speech saying that “if someone has decided ‘I’m going to commit this crime’ they’re going to find a way to do it,” by way of explaining his opposition to gun control/background check measures.

“If laws are useless, then why do we need you?” Colbert asked Rubio. “It seems like a houseplant would do a better job, and need a little less water,” he snarked, playing a clip of Rubio’s infamous water-bottle break while delivering the GOP response to Obama’s 2013 SOTU address.

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The only group that gives Colbert hope we can do something to protect children from gun violence “sadly is the children,” he said, noting that when students from the shot-up school saw their leaders do nothing, they responded, “Hold my root beer.”

More than just talk, the students have organized a series of walkouts at schools and a march in Washington D.C. And, hours before Colbert taped his show, the students bused to Tallahassee to beg their lawmakers to reinstate the assault weapons ban. “And, with these students watching from the gallery, legislators proved they hears their anguished cries – and voted ‘no’ anyway,” Colbert scoffed.

“I hope these kids don’t give up, because this is their lives and their future. There is reason for hope,” he assured them. “Look at the #MeToo movement. A lot of men in power did not see that coming, but it proved change can happen overnight. And this is an election year.”

“So if you want to see change, you have to go to the polls and tell the people who will not protect children that their time is up.”