I heard Chris’s dad. He’s right.

Richard Martinez addresses the media (Image: The New Yorker)

Christopher Michael-Martinez was one of those killed in the University of California Santa Barbara shooting on May 23. The next day his angry grief-stricken father, Richard, said to the media:

“Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the N.R.A. 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; we don’t have to live like this?’ Too many have died. We should say to ourselves: not one more.”

Please, please read The New Yorker’s “Christopher Michael-Martinez’s father gets it right” and you’ll understand why I agree, why any rational person should agree. The author, Adam Gopnik, explains it so much better than I could or ever have; I’m only posting this to echo his words:

Yes, I heard Chris’s dad. He’s right.

 



Categories: Culture, guns, Law, Politics

26 replies

  1. http://stvrsnbrgr.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/white-hot-anger/ This is someone who’s in my personal community, Susan – and as you see, he felt (and does still, I am perfectly sure) as you do.

  2. I heard Chris’s dad too PT. He is right. Absolutely!

  3. I heard him when he first spoke – before it was discovered the killer also stabbed 3 roommates to death and used his car to run over others.
    As the police said, he had no criminal/mental health record. So the gun buy was legal. And the police did not have “cause” to search his home and decided he was calm and not a threat.
    This was a very disturbed young man – his family knew he was dangerous. They did take some steps – more and more is coming out
    I don’t know CA law about mental commitment. Here a parent or guardian can sign commitment papers and the “child” no matter his age will be taken in for observation/hold/commitment (depends on order/history/actions) by authorities.
    I know parents who have done this with adult children to protect them from themselves. I know parents who have done this because the “child” was a growing danger. Families must step up and do the right thing – even if the child will hate them for it. Society must be protected.
    Once non voluntarily committed, there is a mental health record even if that individual is released. Legal gun purchases are blocked. (but the gangs/drug cartels have a ready stolen gun supply and consider gun sales a great future business)
    Maybe mental health laws need to be updated as well as gun legislation (with strict rules about purchasing and storing of weapons) reviewed.
    I know many of you want to ban guns, but research shows that isn’t complete answer. (Chicago. Aurora: No guns allowed there…)
    We must defuse violence as a problem solving method. Violence and gun should not be idolized and considered a mark of macho or glorified by music and media.
    Explosive anger must be addressed and redirected. Violence by celebrities/sport figures must be condemned.
    I also say some of you are luck never to live through terror and fear every moment of your life of someone determined to do you terrible harm – for years and years. So you cannot understand this. Please. Be don’t take away the only defense some have against violent ones. This isn’t a political statement – only a plea for a small chance of survival.
    So some of us agree about the horror, but not to the one size fits all solution.
    Respectfully, agree to disagree – and desperately wish such violence be ended.

    • Of course we must do more about mental health, mental illness, etc. But at best that’s an imperfect, partial solution. Even this shooter’s longtime therapist did not perceive the danger. And certainly I would not expect the police to become mental health experts. But there are so many things we can do to limit and control access to guns and ammunition that stop far short of removing all guns from our society, so much more we could be doing that we are not doing.

      • But there are so many things we can do to limit and control access to guns and ammunition that stop far short of removing all guns from our society, so much more we could be doing that we are not doing.

        What do you think can be done that isn’t being done?

        • Background checks for every sale, no matter what, with much stricter laws about who can purchase them in the first place. Higher minimum age requirement to purchase. Much heavier penalties for any crime committed with a gun. No assault-style weapons sales to civilians. (If that’s too vague, then no automatic or semiautomatic weapons.) Strictly limited magazine sizes. No online sales of guns or ammunition. Ban police- or military- grade ammunition. Hell, just don’t sell any ammunition anywhere! Destroy any gun used in the commission of a crime or obtained or possessed illegally. Limits on number of guns one person can own. Limits on how often one can purchase a gun. Bans on all guns in public places and places of business. Deport any non-citizen with a gun. No carry permits without strict requirements, testing, and proof of need. More at “Tighter gun laws: If not now, when?

          Surely you don’t think we’re already doing all we can. If it weren’t for the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment, we wouldn’t have a gun problem.

      • Actually one of his therapists did warn his parents. If the mom had shown the police that manifesto she got in the mail Friday – or showed them the video of him wanting to stab her in the neck – or the other videos, would they have had all they needed to investigate? Sounds like terroristic threats to me – they have taken others into custody for less violent/detailed threats.
        DC is gridlocked. The current best and fasted hope is improving state laws. Better than doing nothing while DC postures and wrings hands.
        That kid could have been a nephew – mid 30’s who descended into late onset schizophrenia which strikes late HS/early college. His mom refused to recognize and just kept insisting he could behave if he wanted. No. He can’t. He became big, delusional and increasing violent – she paid for an apt as they were afraid to have him at home (you’d be surprised how many do this). Finally after several incidents with police she sign commitment papers. He has been in and out of hospitals more times than you have fingers on one hand. Currently he is drugged into almost a coma and lives with her and step father. Bio. dad refuses to have anything to do with him. Brother moved and left no contact info as the kid stayed with his family for a while and terrified wife and small children. Sister in law does her best to keep him medicated, but she is in poor health and aging. What this kid needs is a group home with professionals. Those are available if you have money. I’ve been told if he shows up (we moved and he may or may not know where), to call 911, put my back against the wall and remember he is not the cute little child we all adored.
        And he’s not even the really really scary one I worry about (although the story is very similar – but the family has much much more money and hopes he stays in the cute house in the trendy area they bought for him. Nice kid in school, but a switch flipped somewhere and he’s a real monster with grudges….8 retraining orders in multiple states)
        Unless we address the explosive anger (last week a father upset his son was arrested for killing a kid at a grad. party, jumped in his car and drove though the crowd of friends, neighbors, party goers circling 4 times trying to hit people until police stopped him – now they are father and son in jail for deadly weapon charges)
        Unless we give some sort of place families can go with kids they know are dangerous and get real help – innocent people will continue to die.
        If they can’t get a gun they will get a rock, a bat, a high heel, a car….it’s all in the papers everyday
        Acceptance of violence as a solution. People are going to have to say enough.
        Your response was thoughtful and well done. I do appreciate it

        • You illustrate vividly the problems we have with recognizing and dealing with mental and emotional problems in our society and why we need to work much, much harder on many fronts to address those problems. But the many difficulties also illustrate why simply finding better solutions for mental health issues cannot be our only approach to gun violence, as the gun lobby so often suggests. We’ve got to make guns much less accessible to those with mental or emotional problems. And because it is often so difficult to identify those people before a tragedy occurs, that means we must make guns less accessible in our society as a whole. Sure, they may get a rock, a bat, or a car instead. But those items were not designed specifically to kill and are not as efficient for rapid, mass killing. Individuals intent on mass killing choose guns.

          • If they have a mental health record, they can’t buy. It’s the law. It would have stopped that kid of legally getting a gun
            Parents/families must gut it up and get dangerous individuals on record even if it’s an embarasment or the kid says they will hate them forever. They have a duty to protect to the innocents even if their own ego takes a hit

            • That’s why the best mental health system in the world won’t stop the gun violence. Guns are too easy to get.

            • Yep, the druggies have plenty to sell or trade. Best place to locate a gun for sale? High schools.
              We really need to work with Pre-K -3rd graders. Train them to shout really loud “Guns are dangerous. Put it down” whenever they see one. Followed by “Always assume guns are loaded!” followed by “Never point a gun at a person or living thing” It becomes automatic reflex. It can easily be done. Practice it daily then weekly. Even with water guns or play guns (all kids have seen real ones in movies…part of the problem perhaps)
              We did a behavior conditioning research project with 3 yr olds. Little kids spill milk and just stare at the growing puddle. But if guided to all shout “Pick it the glass. Pick the glass up” when a glass spills, the spilling child is prompted to do the action he needs to do. Then all shout “It’s OK. Everyone spills”, “I’ll help you clean up”.
              Automatic responses that linger and are utilized long term.
              Freaked a mom out who was there for Mother’s Day Tea and tipped a cup over. All the kids immediately chanted “pick up the glass….” when she didn’t move fast enough out of shock, a kid righted it and another mopped up the spill while saying “It’s OK. Everyone spills.” Hear kid in that project went on to do that the next year in their class and others picked it up from them. (Skinner was right?)
              Possibility?
              We have to try something. Not content to wait for politicians while they decide who will vote for them

            • Oh, that’s a wonderful idea. Instill the reactions early. Have the kids reinforcing each other with the proper response. Peer pressure, etc. Seems to me it could work. Certainly couldn’t hurt, although how do they practice the proper reactions to guns without at least a mock gun in the classroom? Certainly I think it could be more effective than suspending a child for pointing a finger gun at school.

            • Seriously. Those phrases are what every adult everywhere shouted at kids constantly. Another thing schools must pick up as parents aren’t doing it for whatever reason.
              Pictures of guns perhaps?
              Stupid “elaborate for show of concern” reaction with that kid’s suspension…if they show bad judgement in this, why trust those adults with other things? No wonder kids are stressed.

  4. Oh, I’m angry. Livid. Sick to death of these gun-nut yahoos. Sick to death of people dying because some freakish, paranoid, jackasses want to make up for their lack of length and girth by owning an arsenal of weapons no sane and rational person would want to own in the first place. Sick to death of DEATH. You wanna be a man? SAVE lives, instead of playing with things designed to TAKE them.

  5. The second amendment is a prohibition against government interfering with a persons inherent right to defense a force initiated by others.

    The second amendment DOES NOT prohibit government from interfering with a person who initiates coercive force by any means.

    Advocates on both sides of this debate would do well to understand the difference.

    • “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

      Where does it say anything about who initiates the force? Sounds to me like you’re citing libertarian doctrine, not the Constitution.

      • It says, the government is prohibited from interfering with the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

        It DOES NOT say that the government is prohibited from actions against people with arms who use arms unlawfully.

        The genesis of all unlawful actions is rooted in the INITIATION of coercive force. Force is only legal when it is used as a defense, reaction, restitution or response to a previously initiated coercive force.

        The first ten amendments are a partial list of actions prohibited to government, but they do not prohibit the government from actions against people use attempt to extend rights to a point where they initiate violence.

        There is no natural right to harm someone who hasn’t previously initiated violence against them.

        People who believe that the government has an indiscriminate right to infringe on the peoples right to keep and bear arms should attempt to remove that prohibition – just as people who believe the congress has a right to abridge the peoples right to free speech, or religion, or its absence should attempt to remove that prohibition.

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“I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope.” ~ Cornel West

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