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Rick Santorum Claims That School Shooters ‘Come From Broken Homes Without Dads’

The former Pennsylvania Senator said a lack of involved fathers is the real reason behind America's mass shootings.

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Nearly two weeks removed from the horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and people are still trying to make sense of such an unimaginable tragedy. Many are grappling with the causes of America’s mass shooting epidemic and proposing solutions to curb the violence. Some are demanding states implement stricter gun control measures, others want to arm teachers. One person, former Republican Senator and current CNN contributor Rick Santorum, thinks the problem starts at home. Specifically, that many of these mass shooters “come from broken homes without dads.”

“That is not something we’re talking about and that is the commonality,” Santorum said on CNN. “We want to talk about things we can work together on? How about working together to try to see what we can do to get more dads involved in the lives of the kids.”

Santorum said that there is a gun control “debate that we need to have,” but felt the first topic to discuss is the decline of the family in the United States. According to CNN, Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old who murdered 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was adopted by Roger and Lynda Cruz at a young age but lost his adopted father to a heart attack when he was five-years-old. Other than using Cruz as an example, however, Santorum neglected to provide any data or studies that linked mass shooters to broken homes or single-parent families.

Those familiar with Santorum’s political career were not surprised by his claim. As a devout Catholic and a leading conservative politician, Santorum has long centered his politics around the importance of family. And while the former Senator is certainly not wrong to support the idea of dads playing a more active and loving role in the life of kids, implying that this is the underlying cause of mass shootings is both misinformed and irresponsible. It feeds an unproven narrative while taking focus away from the discussions we actually should be having.