Newtown Father's Heartfelt Letter To UCSB Dad: You Are Not Alone

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

The father of a UC Santa Barbara shooting victim, Richard Martinez, has been forthright about the need for gun reform in the wake of his son’s death.

Mark Barden, the father of 7-year-old Daniel Barden who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, has written a heartwrenching open letter to Martinez. The letter, posted Tuesday to a Newtown non-profit Facebook page called “Sandy Hook Promise,” asks Martinez to “know that we are here for you and all of you who have been touched by this tragedy.”

Dear Richard Martinez,

We have not met, but you are now part of our extended family. 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. My heart breaks for you because I know just a little about the long road ahead of you. We have reached out to you privately but publicly we wanted to say to you and those feeling the sorrow, anger and frustration of this weeks' shooting, you are not alone. It has helped me, and some of the other family members who lost children and family at Sandy Hook Elementary, to come together and advocate for common sense solutions to expanding programs for mental wellness and gun safety solutions. 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.

With deepest sympathy, Mark Barden

“I drove past the Newtown/Sandy Hook exit on I-84 last weekend, on a trip to and from New Hampshire, and I was in tears both times,” a Facebook user commented. “I CANNOT BELIEVE this country has not yet addressed the issues of sensible gun safety and mentally ill domestic terrorists who seem to have easy access to weapons. It is a disgrace.”

Martinez’s son Chris was only 20 years old when he was gunned down at a Santa Barbara deli on Friday. His father's sentiments echo that of the families of the Newtown shooting victims.

"Where is the leadership? Where is the friggin' politicians that will stand up and say, 'We need to do this. We're gonna do something,'" Martinez told CNN. "Those gutless bastards did nothing. And my son died because of it. And it's outrageous. Absolutely outrageous."

"Today, I’m going to ask every person I can find to send a postcard to every politician they can think of with three words on it: Not one more,” Martinez told the Washington Post on Tuesday morning. "People are looking for something to do. I’m asking people to stand up for something. Enough is enough.”

The Post’s Chris Cillizza says there is nothing that Martinez can do to move Americans to act in favor of gun control.

“The simple fact is that tragedies involving guns do not move the political needle — whether you are talking about public opinion or the actions of politicians — in any meaningful way,” Cillizza concludes.

Despite an increase in mass shootings, especially school shootings, since 1990, fewer and fewer people advocate for stricter gun laws.

“As you can see, the numbers of those advocating for ‘more strict’ gun laws have dwindled steadily over the past two decades,” he writes.

Sources: Mediaite, CNN, Washington Post