Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin told NPR’s Steve Inskeep on Monday morning that the problem with school shootings isn’t a result of the availability of guns, but of problems with American culture, including drug use and the “lack of morality in society.” Bevin has been getting right-wing love online for making the same point in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer that his office posted on YouTube on February 16. Three weeks before the shooting in Parkland, Florida, a high school student in western Kentucky killed two people and wounded 16 others.
In the Enquirer interview, Bevin criticized violent video games, television shows and movies, saying they have “zero redemptive value.” Bevin added, “We need to have an honest conversation about what should or should not even be allowed in the United States as it relates to some of the things that are being put in the hands of our young people.”
But when it comes to the availability of assault rifles, Bevin warned against a “knee-jerk response.” After the Las Vegas shootings, Bevin criticized “political opportunists” for seeking more gun regulation, tweeting, “You can’t regulate evil.”
In the Enquirer video his office has promoted, he says institutions like churches that were once the “foundation of the mores of the nation” have been told to “keep a lid on it” and removed “any sense of right or wrong.”
That is a recurring theme for Bevin. Last summer, he linked the violence at the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville to the Bible no longer being used as a textbook in public schools. In October, he encouraged “every young person in Kentucky” to “bring their Bible to school” and use it “as a point of conversation, in conversation with other students.”
Bevin himself has said that violence might be necessary to protect the biblical values he promotes. Less than two months before the 2016 presidential election, Bevin spoke at the Values Voter Summit, where he warned that if Hillary Clinton were elected president, the nation would only survive by the shedding of the blood of tyrants and patriots. He made similar comments that same week in an interview with LifeZette:
“The values, the Judeo-Christian principles upon which this nation was built upon which Kentucky itself and its constitution was founded are under assault intentionally and unintentionally,” he continued.
…”We’re at a fork in the road and we going to go towards a more godless, more corrupt bureaucratic, more authoritarian approach or we have the opportunity to do something different,” he said.
“Our founding fathers knew and said that the roots of liberty are watered by the blood of tyrants and the blood of patriots,” Bevin said. “If we don’t step up when we have a chance to engage ideologically, philosophically, politically — then we will ultimately find ourselves forced to the point that as a people we will be forced to shed the blood of both tyrant and patriots.”