Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin on Tuesday blamed cell phones, violent video games, and psychotropic medications for school shootings, the Louisville Courier-Journal is reporting. He didn’t mention guns at all, and neither did any of the other attendees at the meeting where he made those remarks.
Bevin was attending a roundtable listening session hosted by the Federal Commission on School Safety, a commission started by Donald Trump to come up with solutions to the epidemic of gun violence in schools. He was joined by officials from Tennessee, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana.
One person who was not there, however, was Trump’s secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, who heads the commission. DeVos has drawn criticism for saying that the group will not consider gun control legislation as part of any recommendation to end school shootings.
Bevin first blamed the cell phone for the problem of school shootings, holding a cell phone in his hand as a prop.
“This is a very, very, very dangerous tool in the hands of young people, and I don’t say that lightly or flippantly.”
Tonnette Walker, first lady of Wisconsin, disagreed, according to Louisville public radio station WFPL.
“I think the phone is a problem, I think it’s a huge problem, and if we could take it away I’d take it away. But the root of the problem is adverse childhood experiences.”
Bevin also attempted to place some of the blame on violent video games.
“Culturally, we are feeding this epidemic.”
However, according to a March NBC News report, though the National Rifle Association (NRA) also perpetuates the notion that violent video games produce violent teenagers (and adults), the psychiatric community wholly rejects that idea.
Bevin also suggested that psychotropic medications prescribed to kids bear some of the responsibility.
“Psychotropic drugs… come with a severe list of warnings, not the least of which is… suicidal thoughts, thoughts of self-harm and harm to others.”
Other attendees at the meeting also offered suggestions. The Tennessee delegation, for example, said that they were working on creating a smart phone app that will allow students or teachers to notify school officials if they believe a fellow student is a threat.
Another member of the Kentucky delegation, Marshall County Sheriff Kevin Byars, focused on the need for keeping school buildings secure, including by placing armed school resource officers in the buildings.