FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Gov. Matt Bevin’s remarks blaming violent video games, not guns, for deadly school shootings has gone viral on social media, amassing more than 11 million views on Facebook as of Tuesday.
“We need to have a frank and honest dialogue about the cultural reasons for young people killing young people,” he said in the video. “It’s not the guns, because they could just as easily run kids over while they are waiting in line to get on the school bus. What is the mindset of young people for killing other young people? That’s what needs to be addressed.”
Twice in the past month Bevin has publicly blamed culture, particularly violent video games and movies. He first voiced his views during a visit to Benton after two teens were killed and more than a dozen injured in a school shooting at Marshall County High School on Jan. 23 and repeated them after 17 students were killed in last week’s Florida school shooting.
“We can’t celebrate death in video games, celebrate death in TV shows, celebrate death in movies, celebrate death in musical lyrics and remove any sense of morality and sense of higher authority and then expect that things like this are not going to happen,” he said a few days after the Benton shooting.
“We have become desensitized to death,” he said. “We have become desensitized to killing. We have become desensitized to empathy for our fellow man, and it’s coming at an extraordinary price, and we have got to look at the root causes of this.”
The video of Bevin making the most recent remarks has been shared more than 228,000 times. As of Monday, a little more than 1,000 of the 68,000 who reacted did so angrily. There were 56,000 likes and nearly 10,599 loves.
“He’s totally right,” one man commented about Bevin’s video. “Back when I was in school we had our rifles displayed on a rack in our pickup truck windows. Of course, 50 years ago, people were allowed to pray in school, bring their Bibles to school. We didn’t have to worry about someone stealing our stuff if our cars were unlocked or our houses. It’s a discipline problem and people turning their backs on God.”
Other vehemently disagreed.
“If you're trying to say guns have nothing to do with gun violence, you'll get voted out of office,” another said. “Enough.”
“That is the most baseless argument I’ve ever heard,” another said “You people realize that every country has the same movies and video games ... none have military grade weapons and access to unlimited ammunition. We have a gun problem and we have politicians that don’t care about anything but their own ambitions. You all are complicit in the murdering of children and innocent people.”
Bevin said the video games and movies are becoming increasingly violent and graphic, and, he said, school violence has escalated as a result.
“Go back before any of this existed,” he said. “How many children walked into other schools and slaughtered other children? What more evidence do you need? The people who say there is no evidence are full of crap.”
The video can be viewed on the Facebook page of Governor Matt Bevin at https://www.facebook.com/GovMattBevin/videos/1810412182592000/