Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has labeled school shootings a "cultural problem" as he called for prayer following a recent tragic gun violence incident at a state high school.
Last week, a teenager killed two students and wounded a dozen others with a handgun at Marshall County High School in Benton.
In an interview with The Associated Press last Friday, Governor Bevin said that the school shootings in Kentucky and elsewhere are a "cultural problem."
"We have become desensitized to death, we have become desensitized to killing, we have become desensitized to empathy for our fellow man and it's coming at an extraordinary price and we have got to look at the root causes of this," said Benton.
"We can't celebrate death in video games, celebrate death in TV shows, celebrate death in movies, celebrate death in musical lyrics and remove any sense of morality and sense of higher authority and then expect that things like this are not going to happen."
The shooting at Marshall County High took place last Tuesday in the morning, taking place at a school with approximately 1,150 enrolled students.
"In Tuesday's shooting, 14 students were struck by gunfire, two of them fatally. One, a 15-year-old girl, died at the scene, and a 15-year-old boy was pronounced dead at a hospital trauma center," reported Reuters.
"Five of the 12 surviving wounded students were taken by helicopter to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center's trauma center in Nashville, a hospital spokeswoman said."
In response to the tragedy, Bevin ordered last Thursday that flags in the state be flown at half-staff until this Tuesday and declared that Sunday would be a day of prayer.
"May this serve as a visual reminder to all of us that we must come together in love and solidarity during this time of heartbreak and mourning and in the months and years that follow," stated Bevin on Jan. 25.
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"Together, let us commit to honor the memory of those that were lost and pray for the Marshall County community during the hard days ahead. United we stand. Divided we fall."
Hemant Mehta, who oversees the popular Patheos blog "The Friendly Atheist," took issue with Bevin's assessment that culture was to blame for school shootings.
"Maybe this isn't a battle atheists ought to pick since it's a typical gesture from Christian politicians after any tragedy, but Bevin's insincerity in doing something genuinely meaningful is obvious," wrote Mehta.
"But instead of calling for stricter gun regulations, or more resources for mental health care, or better training for school officials, or any number of ways these kinds of tragedies could be prevented, Bevin was quick to point the finger at ... the entertainment industry."