This past Saturday, March 24, hundreds of thousands of people across the world marched in solidarity to advocate for gun control in America. The “March for Our Lives” rallies took place in over 450 cities across the world, with at least 1.2 million supporters, and have continued to be plastered across the front pages of newsstands and at the top of every social media outlet since Saturday. Since the event, many world leaders have stepped up to commend and encourage the youth leaders that have been the driving force behind the movement. However, large acts of solidarity often cause people to show their true colors, and along with the support there has been harsh criticism of the student activists as well as their mission.
One of the most publicized comments against the March for Our Lives came from former Republican senator, Rick Santorum. The politician was quoted saying live in an interview for State of the Union on CNN, “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.” This comment is not only inaccurate, but it degrades the entire purpose for the March for Our Lives rallies. Not to mention, it causes Santorum to look like an inarticulate, uncompassionate enabler of gun violence. Of course, many have responded to Santorum’s comments saying just that.
One of the first responses that Santorum was faced with after making these remarks were from the medical community. More specifically, he faced backlash from medical professionals explaining that “CPR does not save people who are bleeding to death from AR-15 wounds.” Not only are Santorum’s comments insensitive, but they are just flat out inaccurate. CPR is not best used to help victims that have heavy bleeding or gunshot wounds, it should be used when they are in some sort of cardiac distress. One trauma surgeon, Joseph Sakran, tweeted a response following Santorum’s comments saying, “Victims that go into cardiac arrest after #GunViolence are Bleeding to Death. CPR is NOT effective in this situation.” While this point may not be the most important argument against Santorum’s comments, it is worth noting that his assertion is just flat-out wrong and would do nothing to help deal with a violent shooter.
As a Trauma Surgeon & survivor of gun violence, it is critical to clear up the false perception set by @RickSantorum.
— Joseph Sakran (@JosephSakran) March 25, 2018
Clearly, Santorum’s point in making these comments was not to give an alternate – albeit incorrect – solution, but to criticize and attack the young activists leading this movement. These leaders have earned a huge following, and created a massive movement to evoke change in the current political system. In brushing them off and telling them to go find another way to solve this massive issue, Santorum is minimizing the achievements these students have made in progressing with new legislation. Unfortunately for Santorum, this reaction only leaves the impression that he is scared of what these activists can accomplish. While the government has been at a stalemate when it comes to the debate for harsher gun control, the recent increase in activism since the shooting in Parkland, Florida has definitely brought the issue back into the spotlight. Now, with immense amounts of attention being put on these rallies and the leaders of this movement, it seems that change is imminent, with the arguments against harsher gun control constantly falling apart. Santorum’s weak attempt to discredit the rallies and propose an alternate solution only serves to make him appear afraid for potential changes, and ignorant to real solutions regarding gun violence.
Young people are the future of this country and we should be encouraging their activism and involvement in our country’s legislation, rather than scolding them and giving false alternative ‘solutions’. March for Our Lives is a strong movement that is destined to make change within our government, whether Rick Santorum or other clueless politicians, want it to or not. Instead of being afraid of this change and standing against changes in gun control policies, we need to welcome a safer future for our country’s students and continue to encourage the change that March for Our Lives is trying to bring.
Emma Hungaski is the associate opinion editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.