“Too many have died.” Richard Martinez, his voice raw with grief, yelled those words at the world during a press conference. His son Christopher was murdered on Friday during a mass shooting, along with six others. While speaking to the media, Christoper’s father spoke about what a “really great kid” Chris was, and stated “You don’t think it’ll happen to your child until it does.” Richard Martinez told the world Christopher’s death has left his family “lost and broken.”
The “it” to which Richard Martinez was referring is gun violence. Too many have died, too many parents visit their children’s graves on birthdays and Christmas, too many families have an empty chair at the dining room table. And Richard Martinez knows who’s to blame for the slaughter of our children:
Why did Chris die. Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris’s right to live?
Too many have died. And we are partly to blame, we who will post and write and wring our hands for a few days, then go back to being apathetic. This is how it always works. Sandy Hook should have been it. At that point, society, politicians, the government should have recognized too many have died, stood up and said “Enough.” But that didn’t happen. The Manchin Toomey bill, a weak, pathetic attempt at coddling gun extremists while trying to appear as if Washington took this seriously, failed. After the bill was defeated in the Senate, Pat Toomey said this:
I did what I thought was the right thing for our country. I sought out a compromise position that I thought could move the ball forward on an important matter of public safety. We have a lot of other very important issues to deal with such as getting the economy back on track, dealing with the debt ceiling and creating more jobs for Pennsylvanians.
See how it works? The bill, which on its own was a huge victory for the NRA, fails, and one of the two men who wrote it gives up. Too many have died, but apparently not enough to mean anything.
On the morning of December 14, 2012, twenty children were murdered. Those children still believed in Santa Claus, most of them did not have all their adult teeth, they were learning to read, perhaps learning cursive. They were little kids. Six teachers were killed, trying to protect their young students from death. Their parents dropped them off at Sandy Hook Elementary for another day of school, their teachers greeted them with smiles, and no one except one man knew what the day would bring. What did we do? When too many died that day? Shannon Watts used her grief and her frustration to start Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America. The NRA was silent for a week, then Wayne LaPierre held a press conference where he refused to accept questions, and gave what may be the most horrible, awful, hypocritical, paranoid speech in the NRA’s history.
Too many died in Aurora, Colorado, too, but what happened? Larry Pratt visited Alex Jones’ program. and the two of them discussed how the Aurora massacre was a “false flag” operation, waged by the Obama administration. After Jovan Belcher murdered Kassandra Perkins, the mother of his child, then shot himself, Wayne LaPierre mused:
The one thing missing in that equation is that woman owning a gun so she could have saved her life from that murderer.
Too many have died, but not enough for people like Wayne LaPierre. Not enough for Larry Pratt, or Alex Jones, or Open Carry Texas, or the NRA. How many is enough? After the Sandy Hook massacre, the editors of The National Review penned a stunningly shallow and repugnant “response,” which was addressed by Dean Byers at Politico:
Deconstruct that caveat: “We doubt that something like this is possible, in a way consistent with the principle and the fact of the Second Amendment.” Or, preventing more tragedies might be possible, but it is not possible unless you repeal the Second Amendment, which you cannot do. Thus, therefore, ergo: The tragedy in Newtown, Conn., is a price that is paid for protection of the Second Amendment.
Gun extremists believe too many is not enough to have a meaningful discussion about gun violence. This is the price we pay, you see, for “freedom.” Their freedom, not yours, not your children’s, not Christopher Martinez. Theirs. Their right to own as many guns as they want, to shoot wherever they want, to carry semi-automatic rifles into a Chili’s, is more important than Richard Martinez’s right to hold his son. Their right to pay homage to the killer of twenty little children by rushing out and buying the same weapon he used, trumps the Newtown parents whose souls died that horrible day.
Yes, too many have died. And thanks to “craven and irresponsible politicians and the NRA,” too many will continue to die. We need representatives who will stand up to gun bullies, to the gun lobby, and say:
Stop this madness, we don’t have to live like this! Too many have died! We should say to ourselves not one more!
Those were the last words Richard Martinez spoke before he walked away from the microphones. His pain was tangible, it came through the screen, and punched you in the stomach. His son is dead, his family, broken. Too many have died. How many must die before we stand up and say not one more?