Sick Culture Causes School Murders, Texas Official Claims

Dan Patrick insists U.S. shouldn't be 'surprised' after Santa Fe because the nation has 'devalued life' and 'desensitized' children to violence

Americans should not be “surprised” by the recent uptick in school shootings because the nation has “devalued life,” “desensitized” children to violence and hasn’t “done anything to harden the target at our schools,” Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) said Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week.”

Patrick reacted to Friday’s Santa Fe High School shooting — which was carried out by suspect Dmitrios Pagourtzis, 17, and left 10 people dead and 13 others wounded — during appearances Sunday on both “This Week” and CNN’s “State of the Union.”

As the national debate regarding gun control and Second Amendment protections reignited with renewed vigor following the shooting, Patrick urged Americans to seek and recognize the source of the violence.

“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 particularly violent video games, which now outsell movies and music,” Patrick said to “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos.

“Psychologists and psychiatrists will tell you that students are desensitized to violence, [and] may have lost empathy for their victims by watching hours and hours of video violent games. Are we desensitized, are these children, are these teenagers?” Patrick asked.

Incoming National Rifle Association (NRA) President Oliver North reiterated Patrick’s concerns about the desensitization of American children and teenagers during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”

“The problem that we’ve got is, we are trying like the dickens to treat the symptom without treating the disease. And the disease in this case isn’t the Second Amendment. The disease is youngsters who are steeped in a culture of violence,” North insisted.

“They have been drugged in many cases. Nearly all of these perpetrators are male, and they are young teenagers in most cases. And they have come through a culture where violence is commonplace. All you need to do is turn on the TV, go to a movie,” he added.

Patrick pointed to the need to secure schools in the wake of tragedies like the Santa Fe High School shooting and the deadly shooting February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

“We have our schools, that [are] not hard targets. We have done a good job since 9/11 of protecting government buildings and airports and private buildings, but we have not done anything to harden the target at our schools,” Patrick said.

“And we still have this gun debate, George, on whether or not teachers should be armed or not. I believe, and the parents of the students I’ve talked to in Santa Fe since Friday believe, they should be,” he said.

Patrick expanded upon his views of hardened schools during an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union,” saying, “We need to get down to one or two entrances into our schools” to boost security measures. “You have the necessary exits for fire, of course, but we have to funnel our students into our schools so we can put eyes on them.”

Instead of enacting far-reaching restrictions on law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights, Patrick urged gun owners to practice “gun control at home” by keeping their firearms locked away and out of children’s reach.

“If that means five metal detectors getting in and out of the high school, you get five metal detectors.”

“Be sure that your kids and grandkids or anyone who might have access to your home cannot get your guns,” Patrick said on “State of the Union.”

North also advocated hardened schools, noting that the NRA offers School Shield training programs.

“If you want to stop the carnage … you are not going to fix it by taking away the rights of law-abiding citizens. You’ve got to take it away to harden the place sufficiently, that those kids are safe inside the door,” North said. “If that means five metal detectors getting in and out of the high school, you get five metal detectors.”

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Although many gun control activists and some Parkland shooting survivors were quick to demonize the NRA in the wake of these two shootings, North said he believes that “what we are doing right now with the National Rifle Association is trying to make sure that kids are protected without taking away the rights of law-abiding citizens. And that’s all it’s about.”

Although Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) called for an assault-style weapons ban after the Parkland shooter used an AR-15, he admitted Sunday on “State of the Union” that the Santa Fe shooter didn’t use a “military-style weapon” to carry out his carnage.

“I don’t think there’s a single piece of legislation, but there’s a series of actions” Congress could take, Warner said. “Are there things we can do that would improve the safety of our schools? Absolutely.”

“But please, for those folks that I work with in Congress, take a moment and let your position evolve,” Warner added. “I mean, there are ways that we can put reasonable restraints without dramatically interfering with people’s Second Amendment rights.”

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.