Santa Barbara Shooting Victim’s Father Richard Martinez Shares His Grief, Takes Stand on Gun Violence

Richard Martinez’s son was killed in Friday’s shooting rampage.

ByABC News
May 27, 2014, 11:12 AM

May 27, 2014— -- Richard Martinez's 20-year-old son, Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, was one of six people killed in Friday's rampage in Santa Barbara, California. Richard Martinez addressed ABC News and other media outlets on Sunday. Read his full statement in his own words below on the loss of his son and on gun violence in America.

First, we wish the other families who lost their loved ones could be here today, including the Rodgers family. We all lost people we loved on Friday night. Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez was born December 23, 1993 in San Luis Obispo, California. His mother, Karen Michaels who's here today, was so tired after 18 hours of labor, was falling asleep between contractions. Karen was 44 years old.

He was our only child and he died Friday night. This morning I asked Christopher's grandmother what she would say if she could be here and she said, 'Chris was the most wonderful boy in the world, yes he was.' His cousin Jamie's here and loved Christopher very much and Christopher loved him like a brother and if he could say a couple words about Chris. ...

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Cousin Jamie Interlude: I'd just like to say that Chris was the most compassionate and gifted person and our family is devastated by this loss.

We appreciate Mr. Rodger's statement that he wanted to dedicate his life to making sure that this doesn't happen again and that's something that we share. He's a father and I'm a father. We both lost sons that we loved.

The gun lobby will no doubt characterize my statement yesterday at the police station as the rantings of a grief-stricken parent. Hannah Arendt in her book on violence points out that it's a bullsh*t argument. She observed that people can be both rational and emotional at the same time. Because I'm emotional, it doesn't mean that what I say is irrational. Nobody needs to own three semi-automatic handguns. It doesn't make sense. We don't let people have nuclear bombs in their basements. Why? Because it's too dangerous.

We don't think there's a magic cure for the problem of gun violence in America. The solution to the problem of gun violence in America, will take a lot of people working on different aspects of the problem: mental health, violence and the intimidation of women. Our son was killed, but we haven't lost sight of the fact that the shooter's anger was directed at young women. What happened has become another shameful part of a history of violence against women and needs to be addressed.

When people talk about their rights, they don't talk about the responsibilities. They don't talk about the responsibility to look out for other people. We all need to look out for each other's children.

David Cullen, who researched and wrote about the Columbine tragedy, has suggested two solutions to this kind of violence. First, drastically limit the use of the killer's name. Second, don't show the killer's face and videos. Using the killer's name and image plays into the killer's desires and encourages others to seek the same kind of attention.

We need to understand why Chris died, so that we can do something about it, but the media needs to understand ...The media needs to do their job in a way that doesn't give angry people who are thinking about violence what they want.