In the wake of the Florida high school shooting in February, many across the country are reeling for answers as to how we can stop mass shootings in our schools. But what is the fix? What solution will prevent more killings at school? Some say it’s gun control. Others suggest arming teachers. But one public leader is taking a stand that America doesn’t have a gun problem; we have a culture problem.
Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky is tackling this issue head-on. “The reality is it’s not a gun problem,” he said in February. He reminded us, “There used to be more guns per person in America than there are now, but children didn’t go to school and kill other children.” He warns those who believe gun control is the answer, “Get a new idea! Because that is not the solution. It’s a cultural problem. We have a culture that is desensitized to death, …desensitized to the value [and dignity] of life.” He continued: “We celebrate death through video games… through our musical lyrics…The television shows that are even on primetime, and movies. Again, these are things that have long existed, but the degree of specificity, the graphic nature of them, the encouraging of people to participate…? And then the belief that none of this is connected to what we are seeing? Give me a break.”
Phyllis Schlafly worked significantly over the years to fight back against courts that protected violence in video games, Hollywood, and pornography under the guise of supposed “free speech.” She had this to say in a 2008 column: “Legitimate free speech expresses violence in a rational context, rather than displaying it graphically to evoke an immediate emotional reaction. It is not a First Amendment right to cause panic on an airplane by shouting that someone has a bomb; nor is it legitimate free speech to evoke violent reactions in children through graphic video games.”
She concluded, “A teenager who learns how to murder and mutilate human beings in video games is desensitized to commit heinous crimes against his neighbors. Nothing in the First Amendment should prevent regulations to stop this, supremacist judges to the contrary notwithstanding.”