Kentucky governor says shootings are a "cultural problem"

Kentucky governor says shootings are a cultural
A school bus leaves Marshall County High School in Benton, Ky., Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, on the first day of classes since Tuesday's fatal school shooting. The 15-year-old boy accused of gunning down classmates at the western Kentucky high school was ordered held on murder and assault charges as the shaken community where it happened strained to cope with the devastation. (Ryan Hermens/The Paducah Sun via AP)

BENTON, Ky. (AP) — This was supposed to be Spirit Week at Marshall County High School.

Instead, homecoming events were canceled and the governor was in town lamenting the nation’s moral decay as this rural community prepared for dual funerals to mourn the killings of a 15-year-old boy and girl. Tuesday’s attack by a fellow classmate left 14 others with gunshot wounds, three of whom remain hospitalized. Hundreds more were scarred by what they saw.

Kentucky’s Republican Gov. Matt Bevin called on Americans Friday to “wake up” and recognize that school shootings 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,” Bevin told The Associated Press.

“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,” he added.

Bevin spoke at a community event in Benton where he was followed by the father of a slain student. He asked for prayers for all the “sweet kids” who were killed, injured or traumatized.

“It’s not only ours, it’s about all of them,” said Jasen Holt, whose daughter Bailey Nicole Holt, was the first to die. “Just pray and take care of each and every one of them.”

The high school reopened with an assembly in the gymnasium after Kentucky State Police finished processing evidence from “the commons,” a gathering place inside the school where the suspect walked in and began shooting just before the morning bell.


Schreiner reported from Frankfort, Kentucky.