Richard Martinez, whose only son was slain in a mass murder in Isla Vista last month, met with the father of his son’s killer this weekend.
Martinez shared very little about the meeting between himself and Hollywood director Peter Rodger, father of 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and injured 13 others before taking his own life on May 23.
Martinez, who had expressed interest in meeting Peter Rodger days after the tragedy, said that they planned on issuing a joint statement soon.
A local memorial service for his son, Christopher Michaels-Martinez, a San Luis Obispo High School graduate, will be held June 7. The public will be invited, but Martinez said he wasn’t prepared to release the specific details Monday morning.
Martinez told KEYT-TV he met Rodger, at a Santa Barbara coffee shop on Sunday. He called it a “private conversation between grieving fathers” but said they reached common ground and plan to work together.
Martinez, who has gained national and international attention since his son’s death by pleading for help in ending gun violence, has moved a nation with the slogan, “Not One More.”
The phrase has gone viral on Twitter and other social media outlets.
“I had someone ask me: What does it feel like to get 20,000 people to yell at the raise of your hand?” Martinez said. “It means nothing to me … absolutely nothing, unless as a result they do something. Otherwise it is entertainment. I entertained them, but if they didn’t do anything when they left, I failed.”
The morning after Martinez’s poignant speech at a UC Santa Barbara memorial, he asked someone at hotel where he was staying how often people were using the phrase.
“I was disappointed when they told me it was only 3,000,” Martinez said. “I checked back in at lunch and it was 17,000, then by dinner 28 million. Then I was happy.”
Martinez said that the last he heard there have been 68 million tweets with the hashtag #NotOneMore and more than 1 million postcards sent to legislators asking for change.
He is backing legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, whose district includes Napa and Vallejo, chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. On May 30, Thompson introduced the “Promoting Healthy Minds for Safer Communities Act of 2014,” which aims to reduce and prevent gun violence.
According to Thompson’s webpage, the legislation provides resources for mental health crisis intervention services; closes the gaps in current federal gun policy by clarifying and expanding existing federal prohibitors; provides states with the tools needed to strengthen and enforce gun violence prevention laws; and improves records reporting into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
“I talked to him yesterday,” said Martinez. “I am committed to do whatever it takes to get that through.”
He said he not yet had time to review the legislation that U.S. Rep. Lois Capps, who represents the Santa Barbara district where his son was killed, has proposed.
“It has only been 10 days,” Martinez said.