In response to the recent school shooting in Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin stated that the “root cause” of gun violence is a “cultural problem,” and he does not think that gun control will contribute to the solution. As one who spent years doing root cause analyses, I would like to point out to the governor that there are “root causes” and also “contributing causes.” Both must be considered if one is to effectively deal with the problem.
To apply the governor’s thinking to a well-known example, it is like saying that the “root cause” of the Titanic disaster was the speed of the ship through a known iceberg field and that the contributing fact, that there were insufficient lifeboats, had nothing to do with the tragic loss of life.
Yes, I suspect the governor is correct in that our violence-laden culture is at the root of many of our problems, but the evidence is overwhelming that effective gun control regulations will reduce gun violence. Therefore it is correct to say, in this context, that a significant contributing cause of gun violence in our society is the failure of politicians to stand with courage against the gun lobby.