I am a prisoner of Richard Martinez’s haunting words at the brief press conference last Saturday where he poured out his heart about the senseless death of his son Chris who was murdered last Friday in Santa Barbara, California. I cannot escape his emotional words. Choking with grief, consumed with rage, he passionately asked why his son had to die for nothing. Christopher Martinez and five others killed by a gun obsessed, volatile and deranged classmate, were all students at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Chris was 20 years old.
At the press conference his father said, “Chris was a really great kid. 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’s right to live? When will this insanity stop? When will enough people say, ‘Stop this madness!’ Too many have died. We should say to ourselves, ‘Not one more!’”
It is obvious in watching the press conference that Mr. Martinez loved his son. You can spot great parents. They carry an aura of reverence for their children, and all children. When they speak of their son or daughter they display an eager affection that is palpable. They are seized with a love they cannot contain.
This was clearly evident in Richard Martinez. His fury, the agony in his words, the crushing weight of the loss of his son, was felt in everything he said. Only someone possessed of immense love reacts with such ferocious sorrow.
Mass shootings with multiple deaths are happening in this country with monotonous frequency. The slaughter so far has no effect on us as a people. Gun enthusiasts, the National Rifle Association, greedy conscienceless politicians, and angry fanatics consumed with violence, have their way in all of this. Their push for more guns knows no limits. Now they freely carry them into restaurants. And we as a people allow it. As voters, as supporters of these insane gun laws, or, no gun laws at all, we perpetuate these beastly killings. As voters who continue to keep or put into office hapless, corrupt, stingy, ignorant, narcissistic self-indulgent politicians who cater to the gun industry, who lick the boots of the NRA, who pad their pockets with gun lobbyist kickbacks and campaign money, who worship at the altar of violence and call it freedom, we are responsible for the deaths of these bright young people.
I am so tired of hearing about protecting the Second Amendment to the Constitution. What a bunch of nonsense. When will intelligent people put an end to this blather by supporting politicians who fight for laws that responsibly regulate the ownership and use of firearms?
Back in 1991, former Chief Justice Warren Burger, a staunch conservative, was asked about the NRA’s massive efforts to oppose gun laws because of Second Amendment rights. Burger said, “That argument has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud—I repeat, fraud—on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”
I hope Chris Martinez’s pointless and violent murder, along with the other students shot and killed last Friday, will not be just sighed at, yawned over, and forgotten by an apathetic public unmoved by this outrage.
The love of country, love of family, love of human life demands that we find ways to stop this and make necessary changes in gun laws, mental health resources, and police training before we lose another child, young adult, or other human life to mindless mass violence.
© 2014 Timothy Moody