One day after 17 people were killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the governor of Kentucky is pointing a finger at violent video games.
During an interview with Leland Conway on WHAS Thursday morning, Republican Governor Matt Bevin said he's heartbroken for the people of Florida, and blamed a "culture of death that is being celebrated" via violent video games, TV shows and music.
"There are video games that, yes, are listed for mature audiences, but kids play them and everybody knows it, and there's nothing to prevent the child from playing them," Bevin said. "They celebrate the slaughtering of people. There are games that literally replicate and give people the ability to score points for doing the very same thing that these students are doing inside of schools, where you get extra points for finishing someone off who's lying there begging for their life."
"These are quote-unquote video games, and they're forced down our throats under the guise of protected speech. It's garbage. It's the same as pornography. They have desensitized people to the value of human life, to the dignity of women, to the dignity of human decency."
While Bevin, who is endorsed by the NRA and spoken at the NRA-IRA Leadership Forum, didn't call for an outright ban on video games when pressed, he said he thinks people need to question what value such things have in our society. "Why do we need a video game, for example, that encourages people to kill people?" he said. "Whether it's lyrics, whether it's TV shows, whether it's movies, I'm asking the producers of these products, these video games and these movies, ask yourselves what redemptive value, other than shock value, other than the hope you'll make a couple of bucks off it. At what price? At what price?"
Bevin made similar statements back in January after a shooting in his own state left two students dead and 18 injured at Marshall County High School. "We are desensitizing young people to the actual tragic reality and permanency of death," he said in statement posted on Facebook. "This is a cultural problem."
Following the Marshall shooting, controversial anti-gaming activist and disbarred Florida attorney Jack Thompson also suggested video games were to blame. He wrote letters to Gov. Bevin and Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders accusing state police of stonewalling the investigation. Thompson also claimed he was told by Marshall County attorney Jeff Edwards the 15-year-old suspect in that case played violent video games and his grandmother had recently taken them away, according to the Paducah Sun. Thompson, who was disbarred for life from practicing law by the Supreme Court of Florida in 2009, made a name for himself in the 90s and 2000s through a series of failed lawsuits that attempted to connect violence in video games with real-world violence.
Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce claimed that talking about firearms doesn’t get to the “core issue” of “the human condition.” She and the hosts of Fox & Friends also blamed drugs, virtual reality, and video games for the shooting.