A February 26 interview by NPR’s Steve Inskeep with Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin on the curiously-ignored mass school shooting in his state in January was one of the most disturbing discussions with a politician I have heard recently. In short, Governor Bevin has no explanation for school shootings except “evil,” and thus no useful suggestions for countering this national tragedy. He says, “When you are dealing with evil, it’s important to understand, how can you stop it?”
This viewpoint is what I call “parochial ignorance.” People like Bevin think that there is no bigger world beyond their state and country that has to deal with these same issues every day. But there is a bigger world, and they have far greater success than we have in the U. S. So, here is a simple logic quiz to try to help you escape parochial ignorance, Governor Bevin:
“What factors are present in the United States, and not present in the rest of the ‘First World,’ that might explain our epidemic of gun violence?
- Mental illness? Every country has people with mental illness. It’s a problem, but not unique.
- Violent video games? They’ve got ’em in Europe, too.
- Angry people? I’m really angry with Governor Bevin, but I won’t shoot you.
- Too few “good guys” and teachers with guns? Ahhhh…no. This is a really stupid idea.
- “Evil” – Maybe Kentucky and Florida have an excess of demonic influence, especially in their respective governors’ offices, but I don’t think so.
It’s the damned guns. We have too many.
It’s the unrestricted access to those damned guns.
It’s the increased lethality of those damned guns.
It’s the math. More guns + more access + greater lethality.
Reduce these three factors, and gun violence will go down by that percentage. It is your choice.
- If you missed my earlier deep dive into the gun math, here is a link to “The gun violence lottery.”
- Still think it is about mental illness? Read my earlier post, “The mentally-ill shooter fallacy.”
- Finally, a 2013 Army study showed why some military bases have ten times or more the rate of gun suicides than others. This problem is fixable: “Army suicides and gun policy.”