March 25, 2018

Santorum on CNN: Students should learn CPR instead of crusading for gun control

Gun Control Rick Santorum
03252018_CNN_Santorum_CNN Source/CNN "State of the Union"

Appearing on CNN's "State of the Union" program on Sunday, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a Republican, suggested students would be better served by learning how to revive wounded people in future shootings instead of asking lawmakers “to solve their problems.”

A day after hundreds of thousands of young people rallied across America for gun control, Pennsylvania Republican Rick Santorum said their time would be better spent learning CPR.

Santorum, the former U.S. senator and presidential candidate, said Sunday that students concerned about gun violence in their schools should learn how to revive wounded people instead of asking lawmakers “to solve their problems.”


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Santorum's remarks on CNN’s “State of the Union" came less than 24 hours after an estimated 200,000 people took part in the student-led March For Our Lives in Washington to say "Enough is Enough" and demanding stricter gun control laws. There were concurrent student rallies in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago and other cities across the nation.

“How about kids, instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem," he said, "do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations where there is a violent shooter.”

Program host Brianna Keilar noted that the students took action – by organizing the march. A gunman killed 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14.

Santorum was dismissive.

“They took action to ask someone to pass a law. They didn’t take action to say how do I, as an individual, deal with this problem? How am I going to do something about stopping bullying within my own community? What am I going to do to actually help respond to a shooter?” he said.

According to Huffington Post, the daughter of a woman killed in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, quickly condemned Santorum's remarks.

“Rick Santorum’s words are an insult to the kids of Parkland, my family and to the countless others who have had loved ones taken by gun violence,” said Erica Lafferty, whose mother, Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, a principal who died trying to protect her students, in a statement released by gun violence prevention organization, Everytown for Gun Safety.

In a recruitment Facebook post Saturday, the NRA mocked the student protests.

"Today’s protests aren’t spontaneous," the post read. "Gun-hating billionaires and Hollywood elites are manipulating and exploiting children as part of their plan to DESTROY the Second Amendment and strip us of our right to defend ourselves and our loved ones."

Current Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, offered a different view of the rallying students, via Twitter:

And in Rome, Pope Francis in his Palm Sunday homily on the 35th World Youth Day, exhorted young people not to be quieted.

“There are many ways to silence young people and make them invisible," Francis said. "Many ways to anesthetize them, to make them keep quiet, ask nothing, question nothing. There are many ways to sedate them, to keep them from getting involved, to make their dreams flat and dreary, petty and plaintive.”

"It is up to you not to keep quiet," he said. "Even if others keep quiet, if we older people and leaders – so often corrupt – keep quiet, if the whole world keeps quiet and loses its joy, I ask you: Will you cry out?"

Social media also lit up in response, with people taking Santorum to task for the inanity of his comments: