Many of you have seen the images from Saturday’s protests calling for sensible gun legislation in the USA as “March for Our Lives” events were held in cities all across the USA along with solidarity marches in cities world-wide.

The protests, which saw hundreds of thousands of marchers take to the streets of Washington, D. C. alone, were largely organized by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a young white male gunman using an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle killed 17 students and wounded 17 others on February 14, 2018.

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Anti-NRA banner at the March for our Lives

Student activism

Following this mass shooting, a group of students from the school decided they would turn their collective grief into action and immediately began pressuring lawmakers in Florida to enact sensible gun-control legislation with the aim of stopping such deadly incidents from happening again in the future.

Florida’s state legislature rejected the students’ call to ban assault-style rifles but did pass a bill that banned the sale of bump stocks and raised the age for purchasing a gun to 21 from 18. The legislation was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott on March 9 and was immediately challenged in a lawsuit filed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) which stated that the new law violated the 2nd Amendment rights of 18 to 21-year-olds to buy and possess such weapons.

Rick Santorum’s comments on the protests

Responding to the students’ activism on Sunday’s CNN “State of the Union” segment, Rick Santorum, the former GOP governor of Pennsylvania, a CNN commentator and one of the GOP presidential candidates in the 2016 election, said,

“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.”

Even on a day when the notoriously vocal NRA was mostly absent from comment, Santorum used his favored media position to criticize the heroic efforts of a group of bright, socially aware young people who’ve been through a traumatic experience they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Even more telling, however, is that with his words Santorum trivialized the deaths of not only the 17 young people who were killed in February in Parkland, but the hundreds of others that have been gunned down on school campuses across the USA from the Columbine High School massacre where 13 were killed and 21 were wounded in 1999 to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, where in 2012 a gunman murdered 20 young children and 6 teachers.

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A 6-year-old carries a protest sign in the March for Our Lives

Santorum’s words surely stung like a knife being plunged into the hearts of every mass shooting survivor, their families and loving friends.

When I was in high school, we were taught the basics of CPR as part of our health and physical education classes. So, yes Mr. Santorum, teaching CPR is a useful skill for everyone, but to state that learning CPR is the answer to the epidemic of mass shootings in the USA is ridiculous!

So, Commentor Santorum, in response to your words trivalizing the deaths of bright young people across our country, I present you with the “Asshole of the Day” award! How long is it going to take you to apologize for such insensitive and unhelpful remarks?

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Sobering message on a poster at the March for Our Lives

The reach of the NRA

I’d say the former Pennsylvania governor is more concerned about keeping the door open for NRA contributions as a future candidate for the US Presidency than he is about the safety of children in schools across the USA. How selfish and how very much like many politicians (and politician wannabes) these days.

In the 2016 US elections, the NRA contributed at least $55 million to candidates, more than double the $22 million given to favored candidates in 2012.

Who does the NRA represent? According to William Vizzard, a professor of criminal justice at California State University, they “started out as a grassroots organization and became an industry organization.”

This means that instead of simply representing the 2nd Amendment rights of America’s private citizens, they are also fundamentally working as the marketing department for weapons manufacturers such as Bushmaster, Browning and Smith and Wesson.

Is this what a representative democracy should look like? We can no longer apply that term to the USA when large corporations give untold sums to political candidates based on a lie—that they’re protecting constitutional rights while they’re instead supporting the bottom line of the very corporations that produce these killing machines.

I agree with many who say that Washington, D. C. is basically a repository for those who’ve $sold$ their souls to the devil, and I’m quite aware that corporate contributions to candidates running for public office in the US have for decades had a significant effect on the outcomes of our elections.

But personally speaking, I believe the NRA represents a far darker part of our culture and humanity, one that many obviously choose to ignore as they continue their support for the manufacturers of killing machines.

That American citizens have allowed their government to devolve to this level of candidate bribery is of course shameful, but to have a national government that will not take a stand against corporations and organizations that benefit from the deaths and suffering of our younger generation is unforgivable!

I for one, fully support the brave young survivors of the recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman High School as they continue on their mission to bring common sense to America’s gun laws!

peace~henry

Photo credits: CNN and Twitter

 

 

Posted by Henry Lewis

Unconventional artist, writer, videographer and teacher. Personal Quote: It isn't easy being me ;-)

12 Comments

  1. Thank you for these important words. May similar words be repeated throughout our land. I marched yesterday to end gun violence and to support these wonderful young people who have inspired the entire country.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Cindy. I know you are dedicated to the cause of ending gun violence. Thank you for using your feet and expressing your voice in one of the marches on Saturday!

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  2. If Rick Santorum found himself in a town filled with zombies 🧟‍♂️, he wouldn’t have to worry about having his brains 🧠 eaten since he doesn’t have any.

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  3. Spoken like a true NRA whore, Mr. Santorum. Let’s be reactive, not proactive.
    You’re right; his remarks spit right in the face of every victim of gun violence.

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    1. I’m truly hoping this might be a turning point for citizen involvement in pushing for more common sense gun laws in the USA. Thanks for reading and sharing your comments!

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  4. If it wasn’t for the fact that he is incapable of achieving a bigger platform, Santorum might retire that asshole of the day award.

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    1. I agree Ken. I think Santorum is merely taking a page out of Trump’s play book in an effort to appeal to the lowest common demonstrator–Trump’s core supporters.

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  5. Santorium’s comments made me think of the Civil Rights movement, when the Southern politicians used to say things and you’d go, “Did you really say that? I mean, really?” Amazing, what must be going on inside a human being for that kind of thing to come out of their mouth.

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    1. Hi Kevin-thanks for commenting. I’m still shocked by how mindless Santorum’s comments were, as if he was saying that the uninjured students in Parkland could somehow have lessened the tragedy if they’d only been prepared to administer CPR to victims. To follow his line of reasoning we should also be sure all students are trained in combat techniques so they’ll be fearless enough to give CPR while the bullets are still flying.

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  6. Henry, I deeply appreciate any and all commentary that observes the absolute evil of the current situation in the USA, as regards the instruments of violence promoted by the weapons manufacturers. Thank you so very much for choosing to write about this, especially in such a powerful way.

    It is quite telling that the most widely popular television shows in the USA are extremely violent, focused on shooting and blowing up everything possible. Using movies and television to manipulate the masses is a powerful tool, one that has been used by governments for many decades. To glorify violence cannot be allowed to continue.

    When the government is representing the needs of weapons manufacturers over the welfare of the voting public, it seem unconscionable that the public would not rise up to put a stop to this. This brings to mind the situation in 1930’s Germany. Would the mass destruction of humans and property in WW2 not have occurred if the people of Germany had risen up in protest against Hitler? OK, I know that might sound too simplistic. There was a complex socio-politico-economic scenario that led up to Hitler’s rise in power. The very scary thing is that right now it is easy to see that there are a number of similarities happening. What is nearly impossible to understand is how nearly half the voters in the USA are not able to see this. My hope is that there will be increasing pressure from all of the voters to rise up against the tide that is threatening to destroy all in its wake.

    I have posted a link to this article on my Facebook wall. I hope everyone else does the same. Thanks again for contributing to the fight against violence. xoxoxoxoxoxo

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  7. Thanks Carolyn for taking the time to share your insights into the current wave of violence and hate-speech that’s been sweeping across the USA. I too hope the majority of US voters, who didn’t (and still don’t) support a Trump presidency, will rise up and say ‘enough’, and that the country can then move toward healing some of the deep wounds that have been opened. Thanks again for all your support and for adding greatly to this discussion!

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