Just hours after a 17-year-old killed 10 people at a high school in Texas, Dan Patrick, the Lt. Governor of Texas, said that maybe schools should have fewer entrances and exits. But yesterday he explained that there are a lot of other things to blame than just doors. Like Facebook, Twitter, and violent video games.
"George, should we be surprised in this nation? We have devalued life, whether it's through abortion, whether it's the breakup of families... through violent movies, and particular violent video games, which now outsell movies and music," Patrick said in an incoherent rant to George Stephanopoulos yesterday on ABC's This Week.
"Psychologists and psychiatrists will tell you that students are desensitised to violence ... may have lost empathy for their victims by watching hours and hours of video ... violent games. Ninety-seven per cent, George, of teenagers watch video games, and 85 per cent of those are violent games," Patrick said.
Patrick, who is 68 years old, is parroting the same talking points we heard in the 1990s about violent video games being the source of our nation's woes. But it wasn't just video games that Patrick blamed. Social media was also a culprit, according to the second most powerful politician in Texas.
"The problem is multifaceted. It's not any one issue," said Patrick. "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. We have to look at ourselves, George. It's not about the guns, it's about us."
Patrick was ridiculed over the weekend after saying that the problem wasn't guns, it was the number of entrances in America's schools. Patrick floated the idea of limiting the number of entrances at any given school so that police could more closely monitor everyone who comes in and out.
"Maybe we need to look into limiting the entrances and exits into our schools, so that we can have law enforcement looking at the people who come in one or two entrances," Patrick said on Friday before the bodies of 8 students and 2 teachers were even cold. "We're going have to get creative. We're going to have to think out of the box."
The rest of the interview from yesterday is really quite astounding in its level of cognitive dissonance. The lieutenant governor bragged that the school where the shooting took place, Santa Fe High School, had won an award for safety. He also said that schools need to do more to become "hardened," meaning equipped with more armed teachers and security officers.
But he also in the same breath mentioned that their were two armed officers at the school on Friday, one of whom was injured, and acknowledged that under state law Texas already allows teachers to carry guns.
As Patrick rambled about social factors being the real cause of America's mass shooting epidemic, Stephanopoulos gently reminded him that other countries have things like violent video games and social media. What sets the United States apart from other countries is its number of guns. As the Washington Post notes, more American school children have died in class this year than members of the US military.
But Lt. Gov. Patrick wasn't having any of these stats that might contradict his narrative. He said that Texas believes in the Second Amendment and that nothing is going to change that.
"It is our Second Amendment..." Patrick said. "You know, it talks about a well-run militia… our teachers are part of that well-run militia."