As Heartbroken UCSB Father Speaks Out, Sandy Hook Father Lends Support
byKaitlin StanfordMay 27, 2014
In the wake of last Friday's tragic shooting spree at University of California Santa Barbara, one of the victim's fathers has come forward with a plea for harsher gun laws in a sharp, clear message: "Not one more person should have to die because of this ridiculous situation."
They are the words of Richard Martinez, the father of 20-year-old Chris Michaels-Martinez, who was gunned down May 23 during Elliott Rodgers' now-infamous rampage.
As he stood addressing his son's former classmates at a podium in Harder Stadium Tuesday, Martinez shared a story from his son's childhood, when he was knocked down during a football scrimmage. “He stopped, put one foot on the ground and walked, determined, into the line,” Martinez said as he addressed the student body. “That’s the kind of kid Chris was.”
Martinez, a lawyer, has been pretty vocal in the days since his son's violent death, appearing on the local news and voicing his outrage that the government is just not doing enough to stop the growing epidemic of gun violence. "I can't tell you how angry I am," he told CNN, through tears. "It's just awful. No parent should have to go through this."
But if anyone understands the grief and the outrage Martinez is going through right now, it's Mark Barden, who lost his 7-year-old son, Daniel, in the Newtown, Conn., massacres. Barden recently wrote an open letter to Martinez on Facebook, noting that they are “a family born from the horrible circumstance of losing a child to gun violence.”
Barden's post came after watching Martinez's tear-filled interview on CNN, and his strong words for the politicians he feels have not done enough to protect our children.
“We have not met, but you are now part of our extended family,” Barden wrote on Sandy Hook Promise, the Facebook page he runs. “It is not a family we chose, but (it’s) ... one that’s only growing each day. You will find your own path down this difficult road. But know that we are here for you and all of you who have been touched by this tragedy. Together we can and will build a safer world for all our children.”
You can read the rest of Barden's heartfelt message to Martinez here.