The Richard Martinez NRA Rant Firestorm: Why Angry Gun-Rights Commenters Are Wrong

Richard Martinez's harrowing speech about his son's death in the Santa Barbara shooting, including his impassioned plea for "not one more" gun death, has launched impassioned debate and a petition to instate stronger gun policy. It's a stirring video that's important, if difficult, to watch.

But while many have rallied behind Martinez, others have challenged him using arguments commonly trotted out by gun rights activists—it's people who kill, not guns; guns could've prevented the tragedy if used in self-defense; etc. We thought we'd take a moment to address some of these comments swirling around the YouTube stratosphere.


A valiant effort but these kinds of bleeding heart mindless sheep will never understand. It's as if they believe even if everything was somehow banned a person couldn't be murdered by a rock or fists. —DRajtify

OK, first thing's first. Let's try and curb our mouth-frothing disdain for whatever party (red, blue or otherwise) that we typically love to hate in the wake of this tragedy. As a city, a college, a society and a nation, we're all reeling from the Santa Barbara shooting. It reminds us—regardless of weapon—what disturbed humans are capable of. And that's chilling.

Moving on to additional more-than-dubious claims here: insisting that a grieving father who is urging tighter restrains on gun control is a "mindless sheep" is quite the leap in logic. No one, and I mean no one, has made the argument that people will simply magically stop dying if guns were restricted or even banned. But I think we can all agree that while the list of "weapons" is innumerable—rocks, fists, teeth, feet, a baseball bat—guns are one of the easiest ways to take multiple lives, fast. At the risk of getting a little gritty here, when someone attacks with a rock or a fist, the person being attacked has a much better chance at surviving the attack than someone riddled with metal schrapnel entering their body at 1,700 mph.

Murder is always going to happen until we decimate the earth. (We'd probably slaughter each other on Mars, too.) The point is to make this heinous act as difficult to achieve as humanly possible.


Blaming the guns...blaming the NRA...Good lord....HOW ABOUT THE FUCKING MANIAC THAT DID IT? —JerrytheBaum

No one's exonerating Elliot Rodger of his sickening crime or his maniac-ness. The evidence that he was not only in therapy, but calmly discussing his death plans with his therapist and was able to convince police that he was A-OK while stocking his apartment with weapons, reeks of textbook psychopathic behavior.

Why, we must ask, can someone so openly suffering from a mental disorder stroll into a shop and buy guns? One could argue that Rodger truly isn't the one to blame here (sorry Jerry). Rodger's brain was decidedly in need of help, and it told him to go out and buy a gun to punish those that had "rejected" him. Is that a rational thought? Something that you or I would consider a viable solution? No. But until we have legislation in place that prevents that slice of psychopathic society—it could be as simple as a psychological examination prior to gun purchase—from legally purchasing firearms to satiate the sickness inside them, WE are the ones to blame.


The gun made it easier for him to kill? Tell that to the families of the 3 victims he stabbed to death. —Rob Thomas

Thomas is right that Rodger also killed with a knife, and it makes sense to bring this point up. But it is much easier—by definition—to kill with a gun than a knife. While people's arms are only 3 or 4 feet long, you can shoot somebody from hundreds of meters away. Also, unless we're talking about a massive butcher's cleaver or something (which we're not), it's pretty damn rare to hear of a death induced by "one stab wound." People stab again and again and again, and they have to be thisclose to their victim. The gun made it much easier and much faster for Elliot to kill multiple people on the street. At best you could only kill two people at once wielding a knife in two hands. With guns however? The slaughtering options are endless.

Also? This situation shouldn't be reduced to some sorrow competition; no parents' grief is greater than another's standing over the grave of their child.


If Richard Martinez had bought his son a gun and taught him how to use it to defend his life, he might still be alive today...What about your son's right to life?  What about the rest of our right to defend our lives against the kind of people that murdered your son?  THOSE PEOPLE EXIST!!!!  —charlie brown

We sincerely hope this guy doesn't go out and buy his other children and wife a gun for their protection. There's a reason the Wild West was called "Wild" and there's a reason we've all evolved far beyond those days of dying in the dusty dirt. You really want a society where everyone carries around firearms? What if Martinez's son opened up at Rodger and successfully killed him, but mowed down four others in the crossfire? I doubt most of America would line up for that vigilante justice vision either.

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