Ever since CNN contributor Rick Santorum said that students should be learning CPR instead of seeking gun control, I've been counting down the days until someone would emerge and get him together. And on March 26, it finally happened. The Parkland students' response to Rick Santorum's CPR comment is everything I could've ever hoped to hear — and then some.
Since the Feb. 14 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which resulted in the deaths of 17 people, calls for stricter gun laws have dramatically increased. Hundreds of thousands of students, teachers, parents and others have even participated in major anti-gun violence rallies, such as March For Our Lives, in an effort to demand new gun legislation and safer school measures. But during CNN's State of the Union discussion on March 25, Santorum, a former U.S. senator, suggested that instead of focusing on gun control, students should learn CPR in order to combat school violence.
Obviously, 1) CPR doesn't help cure a gunshot wound, and 2) aside from that, kids should be focused on schoolwork — not finding ways to accept and normalize school shootings by taking CPR classes as a safety precaution. So of course, when asked during CNN's New Day segment on March 26 what they would say to Santorum's comments, Parkland students David Hogg and his sister Lauren weren't having it.
“I just think it’s completely absurd that he’s even thinking about teaching us CPR when with we’re having gun violence all across America and even in our schools,” Lauren said. “The fact that he’s saying CPR when my friends are dying on my floor and nothing is being done about it is just horrible. I think he’s just using it as a distraction to get their attention away from guns.”
Hogg piggybacked off his sister's comments, adding, “At the end of the day, if you take a bullet from an AR-15 to the head, no amount of CPR is going to save you, because you’re dead.”
Whew. You'd think one would know not to mess with the Parkland students. They will come for you with straight facts.
Both were referring to a statement that Santorum made during Sunday's discussion.
The former senator advised students to stop "looking to someone else to solve their problem" and take up preventative measures like CPR to solve school violence instead of advocating for gun control.
“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 where there is a violent shooter and you can actually respond to that?” Santorum said.
His comments came at a very sensitive time in our country — just a day after March For Our Lives, which, aside from an anti-gun violence rally, was also a vigil for those who lost their lives in school shootings. (A march which, by the way, was constructed because students got tired of "looking for someone else to solve their problem," which makes Santorum's comments even more cringeworthy.) Part of the event's mission statement reads,
March For Our Lives is created by, inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar.
NPR also reported that the event's organizers still have "several million dollars" left from their fundraising efforts for future lobbying and other activism — thanks to hefty contributions from people like George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey. Deena Katz, a producer and planner of the march said, "I know we've raised enough that these kids are gonna have several million dollars that they can start their fight after the march."
In just over a month, the Parkland students were able to organize a massive rally, gather several million dollars to continue their fight for reformed gun legislation and gracefully attack any criticism they've received along the way. Rick Santorum, I think they've got it down pat.