Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin spoke recently at a town-hall style forum and took questions from the audience, including one from a woman who challenged the Governor on a supposed hypocritical stance on gun control.
Bevin took some heat in the media recently after referring to mass shootings as a “cultural problem” rather than a gun problem. After initially praising Bevin for his work with foster children, the questioner then changed her tone and went on the attack. She challenged the governor on his views and asked how he could reconcile them when children are dying at schools. Here’s the entire question:
“I really admire the work that you’re doing to help foster children and you’ve said number of times that, you know, the children’s lives is most important. We had a murder a little while ago where 17 people, including the kids were murdered in their schools, and how do you reconcile the children’s lives are most important with the comments you’ve made to the media about it’s naïve and premature to talk about gun control and that it’s culture and not guns that is causing these, these horrible things,” she concluded.
His full response is worth watching in its entirety, as he articulately explains all of the different areas in which society has devalued and degraded life. He even discusses his own personal tragedy, having to bury his own teenaged child.
“I’ll tell you exactly how I reconcile that. A month ago, we made a very concerted effort to make sure that we removed the media circus from the healing process,” Bevin explained, referring to a school shooting that happened in his home state earlier this year.
“We had a 15 year old come into a school in Kentucky last month and shoot 16 children at point blank range, two of whom died,” Bevin said. “This is very real to me… you also probably are not aware of the fact that I buried my oldest child. She died under different circumstances, but went to school and didn’t come home. She was 17 years old. It’s not possible to know exactly what another person is going through, but I know exactly what it feels like to bury your oldest child,” he said.
Then, the governor pointed out the fact that guns have always been present in American society, but school shootings have not. He went so saying it’s “delusional” to think that a single gun-control law, or any law, could “solve” the school shooting problem we have today.
“I don’t come at this with a sense of sympathy, but empathy,” Bevin explained. ” The point that I’ve made that’s been largely misconstrued. I’ll reaffirm with you and tell you exactly where it comes from. This idea that this issue is able to be solved with a single law or rule or change is naïve and delusional and so we shouldn’t allow ourselves to entertain,” he said. “It is part of a broader construct,” the governor said as he reacted to the questioner’s apparent eye-rolling and smirking. “The point that I made that I’ll reiterate is that if we think that a part of what we are seeing is not a cultural problem, we’re kidding ourselves. The point that I’ve made is this, what has shifted in the last 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years? Not the percentage of guns that we find in homes,” he said.
“When I was a kid, kids brought guns to school. Kids brought guns on the school bus. Kids brought guns to school in their own vehicles – they just didn’t shoot each other. So some things have not changed. What has changed? We as a culture, as a society… we don’t value human life like we did. We remove increasingly respect for the dignity of other people. You look at how rampant pornography is, degradation and disrespect for women and for human life in general.”
Thought provoking points, to be sure. Bevin took the discussion to another level when he then said he and other leaders should be “ashamed” if they do not appeal to a higher power.
“Those of us that are in a position of influence and have the ability to say something, shame on us if we don’t step up and call people to a higher authority,” Bevin said. “Shame on us if we don’t sound the alarm. You want to take away any kind of morality and change the mores of a nation, remove any sense of higher responsibility. Try to pin it on any one thing and assume the government and a piece of regulation or rule is the solution, and then we’re shocked when these things happen. We’re kidding ourselves.”
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