Joe The Plumber, the 40-year-old conservative activist and onetime congressional candidate, on Tuesday told the parents of college students murdered in Friday’s horrific Isla Vista, California, killing spree their “dead kids” do not “trump” his gun rights.
“It’s a tragedy,” wrote Joe The Plumber. “I am sorry you lost your child. I myself have a son and daughter and the one thing I never want to go through, is what you are going through now. But: As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.”
Joe The Plumber, whose actual name is Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, skyrocketed to national prominence in 2008 after his televised argument with then-presidential candidate Barack Obama in which he criticized Obama’s tax policies.
But Joe The Plumber then went on to become an outspoken advocate for numerous causes championed by the conservative movement, including gun rights. He has previously stated that lack of gun rights is what the led to the Holocaust, as well as the Armenian genocide.
In the open letter, Wurzelbacher also refers to Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old gunman, as an “Obama voter.”
“We still have the Right to Bear Arms and I intend to continue to speak out for that right, and against those who would restrict it,” Joe the Plumber wrote, “even in the face of this horrible incident by this sad and insane individual. I almost said ‘Obama Voter’ but I’m waiting for it to be official.”
So far, no evidence has emerged as to Rodger’s political preferences, or if he even voted at all in the 2012 election, the sole presidential election in which he would have been eligible to vote.
Joe The Plumber was also critical of Richard Martinez, the father of slain student Christopher Martinez, 20, gunned down by Rodger as he entered a convenience store. Richard Martinez has since offered impassioned pleas for tougher gun control legislation.
“Why did Chris die?” the slain student’s father said. “Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris’s right to live? When will this insanity stop?”
Though Joe The Plumber did offer that “There are no critical words for a grieving father,” he went on to address Martinez directly, instructing the heartbroken dad to “back off and stop playing into the hands of the folks who merely capitalize on these horrific events for their own political ends.”
Politicians who advocate gun control, “don’t care about your family or your dead children at all. They sound like they do, whereas I sound uncaring and like I say, harsh. Don’t be fooled – I care about your family and mine,” Wurzelbacher wrote.
“I cannot begin to imagine the pain you are going through, having had your child taken away from you,” concluded Joe The Plumber in his open letter. “However, any feelings you have toward my rights being taken away from me, lose those.”