Skip to content

how many more times?

May 27, 2014

It baffles me why the news media commonly refers to Elliot Rodger’s You Tube video as a rant.  He simply states his plans to kill as many women as he can with a chilling flatness.  To me, the interview of Richard Martinez, father of Chris Martinez — Rodger’s sixth murder victim — is a rant of righteous rage.  He cries and yells and calls out politicians for not doing their job.

Jude and I are following the Santa Barbara tragedy with keen interest.  She earned her doctorate at UCSB and has shared many fond memories of her time there.  She is especially fond of Isla Vista, a legendary party spot, where Rodger did the bulk of his damage.

But, most important to us, it’s where her son Jin was attending until June of last year.  Jin had really blossomed at the school.  He had made a lot of friends there.  When the spring semester ended last year, he developed severe separation anxiety.  He returned to the Bay Area and committed suicide.

Through that experience we “met” some of his friends through Facebook.  As the news of Rodger’s rampage broke, Jude contacted two of them to see if Jin’s group was alright.  They are all intact physically, but the weight of this trauma will likely impact them the rest of their lives.

“It is still very upsetting,” one friend posted, “and I actually thought of Jin when I was trying to fall asleep last night because I know he would have made us all feel safe and even cheer us up a bit.”

Jude had had contact with one of Jin’s UCSB friends just before the shooting spree.  Most of them will be graduating next month, as Jin would have.  To honour him, they will be wearing pins with his name.  We will be sent two of them.

As the UCSB calamity unfolded on the West Coast, three people were killed in two separate shootings in Myrtle Beach, S.C.  All this on a holiday weekend to honour those Americans who died violently at war.

We all know the drill: after each mass murder, someone like Richard Martinez will call for stricter gun control; some pundit will say “this time is different”; the NRA will scream “FREEDOM!”; the politicians will harrumph-harrumph and we’ll wait to repeat the cycle in another month or so.

How many more times?  I have no idea, but I got an inkling of the depth of the problem last night talking to a friend from Kansas.  He had just been to a farm auction.  Some of the equipment went cheap.  A collection of 35 shovels sold for $40.  But all the guns went for well over the list prices.

“Do you know why?”, my friend asked.

“Fear of Obamacare?”, I ventured.

“No,” he explained, “anyone can buy firearms at a sale here, no questions asked, no paper issued.”

What a long, strange trip this will be.


  1. Gordon permalink
    May 27, 2014 2:57 pm

    Or, as I heard somewhere in the social media today, “After one failed shoe bombing, we all took our shoes off at airports. After 31 school shootings, we’ve changed nothing about gun regulations.” And then there’s the alleged statement by Joe the Plumber, which sounds sadly credible, about people’s dead kids not trumping his constitutional rights. Long, strange trip indeed.

  2. Inveterate Teacher permalink
    June 12, 2014 11:43 am

    Love and healing vibes to you and Jude and Nathan here at the one-year anniversary of Jin’s death. His friends wearing honorary Jin-pins is thoughtful; hope it brings comfort.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: