The distraught father of one of the University of California, Santa Barbara, shooting victims — who blamed his son's death on the inability of lawmakers to act in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School — got a special message from a father of one of the Newtown, Conn., victims welcoming him to an unwanted club.
"Dear Richard Martinez," the letter posted by Mark Barden to the Sandy Hook Promise Facebook page begins. "We have not met, but you are now part of our extended family. It is not a family we chose, but a family born from the horrible circumstance of losing a child to gun violence — one that’s only growing each day."
Martinez says his 20-year-old son, Christopher, was killed in Friday's massacre in Isla Vista, Calif.; Barden's 7-year-old son, Daniel, was killed in the 2012 massacre in Newtown.
"My heart breaks for you because I know just a little about the long road ahead of you," Barden continues. "We have reached out to you privately but publicly we wanted to say to you and those feeling the sorrow, anger and frustration of this [week's] shooting, you are not alone. It has helped me, and some of the other family members who lost children and family at Sandy Hook Elementary, to come together and advocate for common sense solutions to expanding programs for mental wellness and gun safety solutions.
"You will find your own path down this difficult road," the letter adds. "But know that we are here for you and all of you who have been touched by this tragedy. Together we can and will build a safer world for all our children."
In an emotional interview with CNN on Monday, Martinez railed against the National Rifle Association and U.S. Congress for their inaction following the Newtown school shootings.
"My kid died because nobody responded to what occurred at Sandy Hook," Martinez said. "Those parents lost little kids. It's bad enough that I lost my 20-year-old, but I had 20 years with my son. That's all I will ever have, but those people lost their children at 6 and 7 years old. How do you think they feel? And who's talking to them now? Who's doing anything for them now?"
In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday, Martinez said that members of Congress have reached out to him to express their sympathy but that he doesn't want to hear it.
"Don't call me and tell me you're sorry about my son's death," Martinez said. "I don't want to hear it from you. ... I don't care if you're sorry about my son's death. You go back to Congress, and you do something."