“NOT ONE MORE”
Politics are personal these days. No one embodies that more than Richard Martinez, who turned from his son’s bullet-ridden body with a firestorm of grief and rage, with an eloquence that came from the deepest caverns of his heart, to face America and demand that the madness of gun violence be stopped.
“Chris died because of craven irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris’ right to live?” He then followed his emotional news conference with his own war cry: “Not One More!”
Uncharacteristically, the NRA has — so far — been silent after this latest massacre in Santa Barbara. Maybe they’re huddled together trying to figure out a justification for the 3 semi-automatic weapons and 400 rounds of ammunition that Elliot Rodger was able to get legally. Maybe they’ve run out of new ways to spin this to their advantage since the massacres just keep happening…although I doubt the NRA will ever run out of horrific rationalizations. Mr. Martinez told a Congressman who called to express sympathy for his loss that he didn’t want his sympathy — he wanted him to do something.
There was a time when politics weren’t personal. People had cordial disagreements about policies and candidates. These days, the issues are too big, too vital, too emotional to be anything other than terribly personal. I have to admit that I have no idea how to have a conversation with someone who denies climate change, or who wants to deny women autonomy over their own bodies. I knew someone recently who quite calmly said that all Muslims believe in violence — I avoid that individual like the plague now. And then there is the gun issue. As young bodies are retrieved from scenes of unimaginable horror, there are those who still claim the only problem is that there aren’t enough guns in the right hands.
I would like one of those people to stand in front of Richard Martinez, to feel the fury and the anguish of his grief, and dare to propose that there should be more guns, not fewer. Thousands of people who gathered to mourn the victims of this latest shooting took up the cry of Not One More. Maybe this time so many in this country will take up that cry that the gun lobby will just be a whimper in the distance.