Richard Martinez, a grieving father whose only child was killed in the Santa Barbara, Calif. College rampage doesnt want to hear from President Barack Obama or any of the politicians who have been calling him.
Martinez, a former Army cop who is now a criminal defense lawyer in California, wants only to talk to the father of the troubled young man who caused the carnage.
Ive been told that the shooters father has said he wanted to devote his life to making sure that doesnt happen again. I share that with him, the grieving Martinez told reporters in the aftermath of the weekend tragedy.
Hes a father. Im a father. He loved his son. I love my son. His son died. My son died.
Martinez, 60, made those comments on Saturday the morning after the massacre when he interrupted a Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Office news conference to voice his concern about the latest of mass shootings that have terrorized the nation.
Richard Martinez says he wants to enlist Hollywood director Peter Rodger in a joint crusade to change gun laws in hopes of preventing another mass shooting like the one in Santa Barbara that have destroyed countless families in America.
Rodgers 22-year-old son Elliott killed six people before shooting himself Friday night.
Among his victims was Christopher Michaels-Martinez, 20, an English major at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and planned to go to London next year and to law school after graduation.
As bad as I feel about this, at least people come up to me and say, Im so sorry for you,? Martinez said. Who will say that to them (the Rodger family)? No one is going to say that to them.
Christopher Michaels-Martinez was the last of six victims allegedly killed by Elliot Rodger before the suspected shooter took his own life. Michaels-Martinez was getting a sandwich at a deli when he was shot.
We are tough people, Martinez said.,
He and his sons mother, Caryn Johnson Michaels, a deputy district attorney in San Luis Obispo, separated when Christopher was young.
I talked to him about 45 minutes before he died, Martinez told reporters of his son. Our family has a message for every parent out there: You dont think itll happen to your child until it does.
Chris was a really great kid, his father said. Ask anyone who knew him. His death has left our family lost and broken.
Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris right to live? When will this insanity stop?
When will enough people say, Stop this madness. We do not have to live like this. Too many people have died. We should say to ourselves, ‘not one more.
Neither Rodger, an assistant director on the blockbuster film The Hunger Games, nor his attorney responded to a request for comment.
But Martinez said he is intent on recruiting him for what he knows will be an uphill battle against the powerful gun lobby and its politicians to change gun laws in the country.
Have we learned nothing? These things are going to continue until somebody does something, Martinez said Monday in an interview with CNN. So where the hell is the leadership? Where the hell are these people we elect to congress that we spend so much money on?
These people are getting rich sitting in Congress, and what do they do? They don’t take care of our kids. My kid died because nobody responded to what happened at Sandy Hook.
Martinez said he wasnt angry at the killers family nor the mental health system or the law enforcement officials, who in April visited Elliot Rodgers apartment after his family became concerned about dark, brooding videos he had posted on social media.
What angers him, Martinez said, is the publics willingness to accept mass murder as a way of life in the country and the National Rifle Association for always defending the groups position on automatic and semiautomatic weapons after every mass murder incident involving firearms.
Elliot Rodger, had three semi-automatic handguns he used in the shooting.
Im angry with the leadership of the NRA who always want to characterize this as if its a lone madman, he says. That its an act of nature we have to tolerate. I am angered by how they have worked to normalize this.
I understand this is a complicated problem. I have friends who are in the NRA. I grew up on a farm. I hunted. I killed animals. I understand guns.
But assault rifles and semiautomatic weapons? There is no need for those except in war.
Martinez told CNN it is time for the families of victims to take over the crusade to change the countrys gun laws from the politicians.
It is outrageous. It’s outrageous that no mater how many people die from gun violence everyday in this country, that our politicians are too cowardly to stand up and fight against a lobby that is really not nearly as powerful as we are led to believe, he said.
And the most heartbreaking thing of all is that after we are finished lamenting this latest shooting, and after our memories start to fade, we will all go back to our lives as if it never happened until the nextterrible massacre occurs, and you know it will, which angers us enough to yet again speak out and demand that something be done to stop the violence.