Newtown Parent Reaches out to Santa Barbara Victim's Father: 'You Are Not Alone'

9:08 AM PST 05/29/2014 by Hilary Lewis
AP Photo/Richard Drew
Mark Barden

Mark Barden offers Richard Martinez the support of an extended family of people who lost a child to gun violence.

The father of one of the victims of the 2012 Newtown, Conn. school shooting is offering his support to the father of one of the people killed during last week's Santa Barbara shooting spree.

Mark Barden posted a letter to Richard Martinez, whose son Christopher was fatally shot in Santa Barbara, on a Facebook page set up for a non-profit created from the Newtown massacre. The elder Martinez has been speaking out since the incident, pushing for new gun-control laws.

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In his letter, Barden, who notes that he's reached out to Martinez personally, offers the support of other families who've lost a child to gun violence.

"We have not met, but you are now part of our extended family," Barden writes. "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. My heart breaks for you because I know just a little about the long road ahead of you."

On behalf of all of the members of that family, Barden writes, "We wanted to say to you and those feeling the sorrow, anger and frustration of this weeks' shooting, you are not alone."

Barden writes that it helped him and other parents of Newtown victims to join forces to advocate for expanding programs dealing with mental wellness and gun safety.

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He adds, "You will find your own path down this difficult road. 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."

Newtown non-profit Sandy Hook Promise urges people to pledge to "join other parents to encourage and support sensible solutions that help prevent gun violence in our communities and our country."

An bill to enact stricter gun laws in the wake of Newtown failed to pass Congress last year.

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