My only child, Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, is dead – shot and killed May 23, 2014, in Isla Vista, California – 20 years old. Chris: kind, generous, smart and funny – easygoing unless it was a competition, and then he was fiercely competitive. He’s dead, and we will never be the same. For us, life has completely changed. They say you get over it, but I can’t. I don’t want to. For me, getting over it would betray Chris.
Nothing that I thought was important before Chris was killed is important to me now. The only thing that’s important to me now is the work that we do to stop gun violence. Now when I read or hear of another American gun violence tragedy, I think of the families and remember. I remember hearing about the first responders at the Pulse night club. When they entered the club, they heard cell phones ringing next to dead bodies. Loved ones calling to find out if they were OK. That was us that night when Chris died. We were calling, and his phone was ringing there beside his dead body. Too many have died – shot and killed – not one more.