On Thursday, June 1st, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin provided the solution to one of America’s biggest problems: gun violence. Why is gun violence one of our biggest problems, you ask? Well, consider briefly just a few statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
- From 2011-2015, the annual average of gun deaths in the U.S. was 33,880; the daily average was 93.
- For every one person killed with guns, two more are injured.
- America’s gun homicide rate is more than 25 times the average of other high-income countries.
- Black men are 14 times more likely than non-Hispanic white men to be shot and killed with guns.
- When a gun is present in a situation of domestic violence, it increases the risk the woman will be killed fivefold.
So now that we are all in agreement that something needs to be done to reverse this trend, let us consider Governor Bevin’s proposed solution. Bevin announced that his anti-violence plan will involve encouraging prayer-groups to patrol certain blocks in the West End area of Louisville several days a week, every week for a year. The groups will consist of three to 10 people, and will commence nightly at 7 p.m., according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. The groups will make their way through the city streets, praying as they walk.
“I’m going to ask you to walk that block, do it at the same time every single week,” Bevin said. “I’m going to ask you to stick with your block all year.”
GASP! What brilliance! Give this man a gold star! Why didn’t the rest of us think of that? Why hasn’t Congress mandated prayer groups in every city? And the Brady Campaign … why, they have been seeking solutions to gun violence since 1974! Here I have been advocating for stricter gun laws, for a ban on assault-type weapons, for an end to the NRA … and all along, I missed the simple solution that was right under my nose!
The reason Congress, President Obama, President Bush, the Brady Campaign and others, as well as myself never considered Bevin’s idea is because … it is without a doubt the stupidest, most asinine idea anybody has ever proposed for reducing and preventing gun violence!
First … we have a tenet built into our Constitution that calls for ‘separation of church and state’. Ours is a secular government and for any government official to recommend religion as a government-backed solution to a national problem is wrong.
Second … dozens of major religions are followed in the U.S. Which religion should these wandering groups be? Jain? Rastafarian? Sikh? Christian? Jewish? Which? Not to mention that there are a number of agnostics and atheists, as well as secularists who are equal citizens.
Third … and most important … what the Sam Heck good is that going to do??? The man who gets mad at his wife for cooking his steak too well done and in a moment of rage pulls a gun … is he going to run out the front door and try to find one of those roving cults to talk him out of it? The drug addict that needs money for a fix and decides to rob a convenience store … is he likely to be swayed by a group of people spouting religion? No, no and no.
Even people who are very religious are shaking their heads over this one. As one commenter put it, it is akin to teaching abstinence to reduce teen pregnancy. Citizens and religious leaders alike walked out of the governor’s meeting early and in disgust. One attendee, Reverend Clay Calloway, left saying, “The only thing I wish was present was a barf bag in front of my seat so I could throw up.” Another, Joe Phelps, called it a ‘political ploy’, and said, “I believe in prayer. That’s not the answer here and for him to reduce the problems of violence to getting people to go pray for a block is an embarrassment to Christianity.”
Since Governor Bevin said he did not necessarily intend this ‘project’ to receive state funding, it appears to me that it is, indeed, a mere political ploy. Kentucky is a part of ‘Bible belt’ America, and perhaps Bevin hoped to win brownie points among all those white evangelicals, but the bottom line is that his proposal belongs in the trash and they should actually dock his pay for wasting his time on such rubbish.
Let us be perfectly clear about something. People walking the streets chanting their prayers will not likely stop even one single murder. The only thing that is going to reduce gun violence significantly is to reduce the number of guns in the hands of citizens. PERIOD. The United States has the highest per capita gun fatality rate in the western world for one reason only: it has virtually no gun regulation. Mentally ill people can legally carry concealed weapons. Almost anybody over the age of 18 can purchase a firearm. Even a convicted felon can purchase a gun in certain venues. This is madness!
An interesting, unrelated story about Bevin … in 2014 he ran against Mitch McConnell for U.S. Senate. During that campaign, he attended and spoke at a pro-cockfighting rally in Corbin, Kentucky. When criticized for it, he claimed that he did not realize what the event was. Tell you something about the man?
And for the record, Bevin is not the only one in a state government who is delusional. In Pennsylvania, for example, a bill is under consideration to make gun owners a protected class of citizens! The bill, if passed, would no longer allow employers to forbid gun owners from having their guns with them while at work, although it may be limited to outdoor areas. And a new law in Georgia will make it legal to carry concealed firearms to university-sponsored tailgating events.
I must ask, as I have asked so many times in the past … what is this bizarre fascination with a piece of steel that people are willing to sacrifice human life, even the lives of their families, to keep a cold piece of steel under their shirt. I will not ever understand … I do not wish to understand.