Richard Martinez is comforted by his brother, Alan, as he talks to media outside the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Headquarters, May 24, 2014.
Photo by Jae C. Hong/AP

Dad after shooting: ‘Where the hell is the leadership?’


The father of one of the California shooting victims eviscerated politicians for not enacting stricter gun laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting.

“Have we learned nothing? These things are going to continue until somebody does something,” Richard Martinez said in an interview with CNN Sunday flagged by Talking Points Memo. “So where the hell is the leadership?”

Martinez’s son, Christopher, was among the six shot and killed Saturday at the University of California Santa Barbara during a deadly rampage by disturbed student Elliot Rodger. The 22-year-old shooter was being treated by “multiple” medical and psychiatric specialists, the family’s lawyer said Saturday. 

“Where the hell are these people we elect to Congress that we spend so much money on? These people are getting rich sitting in Congress, and what do they do? They don’t take care of our kids. My kid died because nobody responded to what occurred at Sandy Hook.”

In the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, the White House, Democrats, and gun control advocates mobilized in hopes of enacting stricter background checks and gun laws, but saw their efforts scuttled in the Senate by Republicans backed by the powerful pro-gun lobby, particularly the National Rifle Association which lobbied extensively against the bill.

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“We’re all proud to be Americans. But what kind of message does it send to the world when we have such a rudderless bunch of idiots in government?” Martinez said on CNN. “I can’t tell you how angry I am. It’s just awful, and no parent should have to go through this.”

Martinez first slammed political forces for his son’s death on Sunday in an emotional press conference.

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“Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the N.R.A.,” he said. “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.”

On CNN, Martinez pointed out how little has changed since Newtown shooter Adam Lanza shot 20 young students, six educators, his mother, and himself.

“Those parents lost little kids. I had 20 years with my son. That’s all I’ll ever have,” he said. “But those people lost their children at 6 and 7 years old. How do you think they feel? And who’s talking to them now, who’s doing anything for them now? Who is standing up for those kids that died back then in an elementary school? Why wasn’t something done? It’s outrageous.”

Many of the family members of victims of the Newtown shooting have become advocates of gun control legislation.

“I wish I could be in my room and grieve alone and just cry, but I know that I have to fight for my sister,” Carlee Soto told last year. “As painful as it is, grieving in public, I have to do it.”

Soto’s big sister, Victoria, was a teacher in the Sandy Hook Elementary School. According to some of the students she saved, she died protecting her first-grade students.

“Until we see change come upon us, we’re not going anywhere,” Soto said.

Gun Policy, Gun Violence and Newtown

Dad after shooting: ‘Where the hell is the leadership?’