Father of University of California Shooting Victim Speaks Out

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Click on image to view video at YouTube.com

I was sent a video recently by MoveOn.org that moved me to tears. In it, the father of a victim of the shooting rampage at the University of California, Santa Barbara was interviewed. Please watch it.

About the interview (from MoveOn.org):

A shooting near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus killed six and injured many more. Watch this gut-wrenching video of Richard Martinez, whose son was killed in the UC Santa Barbara mass shooting. We want to get this video in front of every staffer on Capitol Hill in Washington, and every state legislator around the country.

In the midst of his overwhelming grief, Mr. Martinez has the courage, the strength, and the moral clarity to call out our national leaders for their total failure to take action to stop gun violence.

Gun violence in this country is an epidemic. And unbelievably, it’s actually getting worse. It seems that almost everyday there is another shooting, the most recent being in Las Vegas just this past Sunday, June 8th.

From LATimes.com:

Jerad Miller and his wife, Amanda, fatally shot two police officers eating lunch in a pizzeria in Las Vegas on Sunday.

They left a swastika insignia on the body of one police officer and covered the two bodies with a Gadsden flag — a yellow banner with a coiled snake above the words “Don’t Tread on Me.” Then they stormed into a nearby Wal-Mart as Jerad Miller shouted an anti-government message, and Amanda Miller killed a man who confronted them, police said. The couple died inside the Wal-Mart as law enforcement closed in. Police say Amanda, 22, shot her husband several times before turning the gun on herself.

These acts are beyond senseless, and it’s difficult to understand why a couple would kill two police officers, then themselves, in order to perhaps send some warped, misguided message to the world.

Just as senseless is our government’s response to each of these events. Many believed that the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was the tipping point in which the US government would finally start to reassess it’s policies on gun regulation. But alas, that never quite happened, as the National Rifle Association and its allies quickly thwarted almost every attempt made to reign in the availability and bullet capacity of guns.

MoveOn.org hopes that when politicians are sent the video of the father’s interview, they’ll watch it and be confronted with the immorality of their inaction and start reconsidering their current positions on gun control legislation.

I hope so, too, for the sake of each and every past and future victim of guns.

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6 thoughts on “Father of University of California Shooting Victim Speaks Out

  1. Gun violence in the U.S. is getting worse… a lot worse. I’ve had much to say on this topic, with more to come. Pew Research just released a new study showing how politically polarized America has become. I believe the polarization has gone beyond the political realm and into the heart of our culture. Radical right-wing ideology is fueling an aggressive gun culture that is acting out due to stressful economic conditions since the 2008 financial crisis, and demographic changes which threaten the historical status of white privilege. Add to that the rapid social acceptance of gay marriage, which is driving Christian fundamentalists insane, and you have an intensely volatile mix.

    The other day, President Obama said this epidemic of gun violence wasn’t a mental health problem. While I agree (and support) sensible gun control measures would reduce the number of casualties, there is a far larger problem going on here. Americans are stressed out. People can’t afford higher education. They can’t find decent paying jobs or rewarding careers. They’re worried about their children’s future. It’s all getting to be too much to take, and the ruling wealthy establishment is dishonestly telling them nothing is wrong. If these trends continue, some sort of social upheaval is – inevitably – a mathematical certainty.

    • When you say social upheaval, do you mean violent actions? I can’t see that happening in this country on a large scale (like the Arab Spring) since it happens so rarely here. I don’t really know what kind of upheaval Americans are willing to start- it’s taken long enough for even peaceful protesting, and that’s been happening on a very small scale. The closest we’ve gotten to anything big and out-of-hand was Occupy Wallstreet. I say we need more of that, but with WAY more people. Violent resistance, like that of the Black Panthers, only results in the govt villifying participants and cracking down on the movement. I don’t know how much more it will take, though, for people to start another Occupy Wallstreet event. I’d totally be on board with one if one were organized. Ideally, there’d be several.

      • Well, I saw violent social upheaval up-close-and-personal in the late 1960’s over the Vietnam War. The Establishment cracked down on us too (remember the Kent State massacre in 1970?). But, we prevailed in the end.

        There were other violent social upheavals in our history such as the Whiskey Rebellion, the prolonged battle to suppress Labor Movement, the Bonus Army march in 1932, and of course the Confederate secession of 1861. These events happened not because Americans were “willing to start” them, but because they had exhausted all other options and their backs were against the wall. The reaction is like that of a cornered animal which strikes out when no retreat is possible.

        The Bundy Ranch militia is currently on the precipice. That’s why the federal government is leaving them alone. They’re trying to avoid bloodshed.

        Nowadays, Americans have a hard time believing this could happen today. They should read Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 classic, “It Can’t Happen Here” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Can%27t_Happen_Here). The sad truth is that it can happen again, and it most likely will happen again if the economic stress associated with the worsening social stratification in the U.S. gets worse.

        In a sociological sense, the relationship between stress and violence is a mathematical equation.

        • I see what you mean. Have you read the book “Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict” by Chenoweth and Stephan? I heard about it while reading an article in Scientific American Magazine in which the authors argued that non-violence works better than violence in creating change, and had statistics to support their claims. I plan to read it over the summer- I’d like to know more details on how they came to that conclusion. It may also have some good advice for people like us who are trying to change things.

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