AUSTIN, Texas — On ABC’s “This Week” broadcast, the lieutenant governor of Texas lamented the “culture of violence” in America in speaking on the deadly high school shooting in Santa Fe that took the lives of ten people and wounded more than a dozen others.
“[S]hould we be surprised in this nation?” asked Dan Patrick. “We have devalued life, whether it’s through abortion, whether it’s the breakup of families, through violent movies, and particularly violent video games—which now outsell movies and music.”
He said that young people are becoming desensitized to the violence through various forms of entertainment until they think nothing of it.
“Psychologists and psychiatrists will tell you that students are desensitized to violence may have lost empathy for their victims by watching hours and hours of video violent games,” Patrick stated.
When host George Stephanopoulos noted that Patrick had not mentioned any gun regulations in his statements, Patrick said that he believes gun control begins in the home, but also noted that the problem goes deeper: It begins in the heart.
“[T]he problem is multifaceted. It’s not any one issue. But we, again, we have to look at our culture of violence, just our violent society, our Facebook, our Twitter, the bullying of adults on adults and children on children,” he stated. “We have to look at ourselves, George. It’s not about the guns; it’s about us.”
“We don’t know all the facts yet, but this particular young man got his guns in some way from his parents’ home,” Patrick continued. “You should have your guns locked up. It’s against the law in Texas to let any loaded gun get in the hands of a children, for example.”
Stephanopoulos remarked that other developed nations, however, aren’t as violent despite the availability of violent video games and social media. He said that American students are 82 times more likely to die of gun violence than youth in other nations.
Patrick reiterated that America is a nation full of violence, and it has come to the point now that even children are not safe to go to school.
“Here’s what I know: We live in a violent country where we’ve devalued life. Kids go to schools that are not as safe as public and government buildings,” he said.
“Look, you need all the fire exits you need. But, we should have eyes on students walking into our schools. This student walked in with a gun under a trench coat Friday and no one in law enforcement stopped him,” Patrick continued.
Reports note that Santa Fe High School assailant Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, had posted a photo to social media weeks before the attack of a t-shirt that read “Born to Kill.” He also had utilized the album cover for the electronic and dark wave band Perturbator for his cover photo, a graphic that included a pentagram front and center. Reports state that Pagourtzis identified as an atheist and liked to listen to heavy metal music.
During Sunday’s interview, Patrick said that he is not against gun control, but he believes that it starts at home and with background checks.
“We need to be very sensible about this, George. But remember, we cannot sit back and say it’s the gun. It’s us as a nation, George,” Patrick stated. “On this Sunday morning when we all go to church and pray or go to the synagogue or the mosque or wherever we go, let’s look inward at ourself as a nation.”
As previously reported, Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky made similar in January after a 15-year-old student at Marshall County High School opened fire on his peers, killing two and wounding more than a dozen others.
“Look at our popular culture. Look at our movies. The violence [and] the disregard for the value of human life,” he said in an online video. “We have a culture of death of death in America. We can pretend we don’t. We can think that people can separate fact from fiction—from their lives from that which they see—but if they are immersed in it at every turn, in television, in movies, in music…”
Bevin urged parents to be attentive to what their children are watching, and encouraged youth to be careful about what they put in their eyes and ears. He also admonished film producers to realize the effect of the content of their movies on viewers.
“I know that we’re living in a day and age where [producers think] we need to shock people more than the last time or they won’t pay attention … The shock value maybe gets people to pay attention to something, puts eyes on something, and you can make a buck, but at what price?” Bevin asked. “It’s robbing us of the very fabric of our nation and it’s killing our young people.”
As previously reported, in Mark 7:20-23 Jesus outlined that murder, like all sin, begins in the heart. It is why He declared that men must be born again (John 3:3) and have their very nature changed.
“That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man,” Jesus said. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”