Political commentator and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum suggested to the students protesting for gun control legislation to take CPR classes and prepare for other active shooting scenarios. Veuer’s Maria Mercedes Galuppo has more.
Former U.S. senator Rick Santorum on Sunday dismissed efforts by young survivors of last month’s Florida school shooting to change gun laws, saying they should instead learn CPR and work on halting bullying.
Santorum was a guest on CNN’s State of the Union one day after March for Our Lives rallies across the nation and around the world drew hundreds of thousands of protesters demanding safer schools and tighter gun laws.
“How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations that when there is a violent shooter that you can actually respond to that,” Santorum
A startled Van Jones, a liberal CNN commentator, said he had a son who was about to start high school.
“If his main way to survive high school is learning CPR so when his friends get shot … that to me, we’ve gone too far,” Jones said. “I’m proud of these kids. I know you’re proud of these kids too.”
Santorum quickly agreed that he was proud of the young leaders, but just as quickly went back on the attack.
“I think everyone should be responsible and deal with the problems that we have to confront in our lives,” Santorum said. “And ignoring those problems and saying ‘They’re not going to come to me,’ and saying some phony gun law is gonna solve it. Phony gun laws don’t solve these problems.”
Dissenters were quick to pounce on social media.
“As a surgeon, I’ve operated on gunshot victims who’ve had bullets tear through their intestines, cut through their spinal cord, and pulverize their kidneys and liver,” tweeted surgeon and health care columnist Eugene Gu. “Rick Santorum telling kids to shut up and take CPR classes is simply unconscionable.”
Trauma surgeon Joseph Sakran tweeted that he felt compelled to correct a “false perception” Santorum may have conveyed.
“Victims that go into cardiac arrest after #GunViolence are Bleeding to Death. CPR is NOT effective in this situation,” Sakran tweeted.
Tweeted Canadian Bruce Anderson: “I just watched Rick Santorum say kids should stop looking for other people to solve their problems, and do things like learn CPR. America, OMG, you’ve lost the plot.”
The “kids” that are drawing praise include Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Jaclyn Corin, Cameron Kasky and a few other student leaders from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. They responded to Santorum mostly by retweeting comments from the surgeons and others.
Their school was the scene of a deadly Valentine’s Day rampage by a former student armed with a semiautomatic rifle. The students, energized by the tragedy, organized a nationwide walkout of students from schools earlier this month. They also led Saturday’s March for Our Lives events.
They have been pressing for safer schools, lobbying for more restrictive gun laws and demanding a ban on assault weapons like the one that killed 17 students and staff at their school.
Santorum seemed unimpressed by the efforts.
“They took action to ask someone to pass a law,” Santorum said. “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?'”
That would have been more valuable, Santorum said, than “protesting and saying, ‘Oh, someone else needs to pass a law to protect me.'”
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