Elliot Rodger's Dad Meets With Richard Martinez, Plans To Push For Gun Control
A week after a 22-year-old college student went on a stabbing-and-shooting rampage in the oceanside community of Isla Vista, California, two grieving parents have come together to form an unlikely alliance. After making several televised pleas, Richard Martinez met with the father of Elliot Rodger over the weekend in a private meeting. Martinez's son, Christopher, was a 20-year-old University of California, Santa Barbara student who was killed in the May 23 rampage that left six dead and 13 others injured.
Martinez sat down with Peter Rodger, a Los Angeles-based film director, outside of the public eye so they could learn how to "work together" to prevent future tragedies. "This was a private conversation between grieving fathers who have reached common ground," Martinez told The New York Daily News following Sunday's meeting.
Although details of the meeting have yet to be disclosed, Martinez added that he and Peter Rodger have devised "a plan" to prevent gun violence. Since the deadly May 23 incident, Martinez has been an outspoken advocate for tighter gun control laws. In recent televised statements, he's urged politicians to cross party lines to enact stricter gun regulation and stand up to multimillion-dollar gun lobby the National Rifle Association.
"Where is the leadership?" Martinez asked CNN last week. "Where [are] the friggin' politicians that will stand up and say, 'We need to do this. We're gonna do something'? Those gutless bastards did nothing."
Details continue to emerge about the mental state of shooter Elliot Rodger, as well as the precautionary measures taken by his parents. According to The New York Times, Peter and Elliot's mother, Chin, had been worried about their son's emotional instability since he was a young child. An affidavit filed in 1999 described Elliot as a "high-functioning autistic child" who needed more child support care. Simon Astaire, a close friend of the family now acting as its spokesperson, has also described Elliot as shy, withdrawn and "the loneliest person I'd ever seen."
The night of May 23, Chin Rodger received a frantic email from Elliot's therapist. The email contained Elliot's 137-page manifesto, which detailed his gruesome plans of "slaughtering" sorority members and the men who dated them. Chin and Peter raced to Santa Barbara from their homes in Los Angeles, but arrived after their son had already killed six people and taken his own life.
In a statement read by Astaire on the "Today" show, the Rodger family said:
It is now our responsibility to do everything we can to help avoid this happening to any other family. Not only to avoid more innocence destroyed, but also to identify and deal with the mental issues that drove our son to do what he did.