In the days since UC Santa Barbara student Christopher Michaels-Martinez was killed, along with five others, by Elliot Rodger, his father Richard Martinez is turning his grief into rallying cries. From his initial statement blaming “craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA” to yesterday’s impassioned call for gun control at the school’s memorial service, Martinez has become the face and the voice of the tragedy. In solidarity, Mark Barden, whose 7-year-old son was killed in the Newtown massacre at Sandy Hook, has gone public with an open letter of support.
“We have not met, but you are now part of our extended family,” Barden wrote on Facebook. “It is not a family we chose, but a family born from the horrible circumstance of losing a child to gun violence — one that’s only growing each day.”
“When will this insanity stop?” Martinez asked over the weekend. “When will enough people say, ‘Stop this madness!’ Too many have died. We should say to ourselves, ‘Not one more!’”
He repeated the phrase, which has since become a hashtag and trending topic, at Tuesday’s memorial, cautioning, “I don’t want anyone to think I represent all of the families,” but insisting, “It’s intolerable. Not one more person should have to die because of this ridiculous situation.” As Martinez raised his arm in the air as a cue, the crowd shouted — “loud enough to hear in Washington, D.C.,” he commanded — “Not one more!”