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POINT/COUNTERPOINT: Now I, too, know the pain of senseless gun violence

I am writing in response to your editorial regarding gun violence in your Friday, June 13 issue for which I thank you.

I lost my nephew, Christopher Michaels-Martinez in the senseless shooting on 5/23/14 at the IV Deli. Chris was finishing his sophomore year at the University of California Santa Barbara and was going to attend his junior year at Queen Mary College University in London. Christopher was bright, sensitive, energetic and a source of pride to his family. Chris had a promising life that was snuffed out on that day that left his family broken.

The family held a memorial service for Chris on Saturday, June 7 in San Luis Obispo. We came home on Sunday, June 8 only to hear about another deadly shooting of two police officers and an innocent bystander in Las Vegas, then on Tuesday, a deadly shooting at a high school in Oregon. What were these victims doing to cause this violence? Absolutely nothing! Just going about their lives, “stopping to eat, chatting with friends about the three-day weekend, etc.”

I am writing this on Father’s day thinking of how his father is feeling on this day that he would have spent with Chris. You see, Richard Martinez will never be celebrating this day again. Chris was his only child. The other six parents – including the father of the shooter – will never celebrate with those children. The fathers of all the other children killed in the last two years will not either. Other friends and fellow students may never totally get over this tragedy, not to mention the other thirteen injured.

I don’t ever want to see my step-sister, step-mom or Christopher’s dad ever have to go through such agonizing pain again. Our family and friends were cheated of a wonderful son, grandson, nephew or dear friend, and I am so angry!

This is not just about gun control. This is about mental illness too. I also do not feel that it is the fault of the police officers. You see, again, this is where we protect the criminals and not the victims. The parents notified the authorities of their son’s instability, but since the son was calm and collected when they confronted him at his residence, the police couldn’t just go in and search his room without a warrant, because of the law. Why? I’ll tell you why. “Because of his rights.” Victims HAVE no rights!! Where were all the rights for Chris and the other victims? Gun control is NOT taking your rights away UNLESS you are a convicted felon or a mentally ill person who could hurt someone or kill someone when they are not in their right mind.

So all you gun right advocates, pray that you don’t have a loved one who is innocently going on with his or her daily routine get violently mowed down by some sicko just because they happen to be in the wrong place at the right time. All of you politicians, how about listening to the majority of people that do or DON’T vote for you in the next election? Try walking in the shoes of the citizens who have lost loved ones to violence and do something for them and cut the ‘Party’ rhetoric and listen to US.

In this same issue there was an article about “bullying.” The child that was being bullied by two other students went to two teachers, the principal, the vice-principal and a guidance counselor. No one did anything to stop this and the child decided to defend himself and got into a physical altercation. Both students were suspended. The mother of the “victim” has filed a lawsuit for $100,000 in damages. Good for her. Bullying should not be tolerated in any way, shape or form! These teachers and administrators may have to blame themselves some day when one of these bullies ends up killing some innocent people who were “just going on with their lives.”

At this point, I would like to quote Chris’ father: “NOT ONE MORE!”

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