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Students Should Learn CPR Instead Of Seeking Gun Control, According To Rick Santorum

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The issue of stricter gun legislation has dominated news headlines ever since the mass shooting that took 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, 2018. Students took action following the tragedy, and they advocated for an end to gun violence and mass shootings in schools and communities when they took to the streets with March For Our Lives on Saturday, March 24 in Washington D.C. (with sibling marches all across the country). On Sunday, March 25, CNN contributor Rick Santorum suggested that students should learn CPR instead of seeking gun control to solve the problem of school gun violence.

The topic of the March For Our Lives came up during a discussion on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday morning, and Republican former Senator Rick Santorum shared his thoughts about the protest. He said that the March For Our Lives was an example of "kids" who are "looking to someone else to solve their problem," per the official transcript of Sunday's show. Santorum further suggested that students should instead take "CPR classes."

The show's anchor, Brianna Keilar, questioned the validity of his statement when she asked how organizing a demonstration like March For Our Lives was "looking to other people," and Santorum replied, "Yes, they took action to ask someone to pass a law."

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I might be mistaken, but my understanding is that members of Congress are public servants who are there to protect and help their constituents who voted them into office. Of course, I wouldn't expect them to take consideration of unreasonable requests, but American students asking to be free from gun violence in their classrooms seems like a pretty reasonable request.

According to the mission statement on the March For Our Lives website, the "mission and focus" of the group is "to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues."

Some individuals on Twitter had similarly shocked reactions to the suggestion from Santorum that simply learning CPR and taking actions to prevent gun violence only on their own (without the help of the Congress and the government) would be the best course of action for students.

"I just watched Rick Santorum say kids should stop looking for other people to solve their problems ... America, OMG, you've lost the plot."

"Are you freaking kidding me?!"

"I can hardly believe Rick Santorum just suggested on CNN that students learn CPR as an alternative to pushing for gun control."

Not only did people question why the students shouldn't get help from Congress on passing gun legislation to protect them, they also questioned how learning CPR could help prevent the horrific events of a mass school shooting.

"What kind of CPR could have been used to save them?"

Santorum had a few more thoughts about the plea from students for stricter gun legislation so that there will never again be a mass school shooting in the United States. He said, "They didn't take action to say, 'How do I as an individual deal with this problem?'" Santorum shared he believes the students aren't doing anything to help themselves by "protesting and saying, 'Oh, someone else needs to pass a law to protect me.'"

I don't want to get into the business of reading too much into what someone says, but it almost seems like Santorum is flat-out saying that Congress is not here to protect these students when he criticizes them as only relying on "a law to protect me."

CNN commentator Van Jones interrupted at that moment to share that he believes students should be focused and on learning (and not how to deal with an active shooter) when they are in school. Jones said,

I've got a kid who's going to be in high school next year, and I want him focused on algebra and other stuff. If his main way to survive high school is learning CPR so when his friend gets shot, that, to me, we've gone too far.

Jones ended by saying he's "proud of these kids," and he believes that Santorum is also "proud of these kids, too." Santorum agreed, but he also added more detail about why he thinks the students should find solutions on their own. Santorum said,

"I'm proud of them, but I think everyone should be responsible and deal with the problems that we have to confront in our lives ... phony gun laws don't solve these problems."

By referring to gun legislation as "phony gun laws," Santorum completely dismissed the students' plea for stricter gun control to protect them from gun violence in their schools. On its face, Santorum's suggestions of learning CPR and taking individual actions to prevent gun violence do not appear to be the solution either.

Thankfully, the brave survivors of the Parkland shooting have been using their voices to advocate for themselves and their fellow Americans, and this country is finally seeing a reaction to a mass shooting that involves real conversation about the possibility of enacting stricter gun legislation. Comments like Santorum's suggestion to learn CPR serve to derail the cause, but after the turnout of nearly 800,000 people at the March For Our Lives in Washington D.C. alone, I don't the think the push for stricter gun legislation is going anywhere but forward.