I am deeply saddened and angered by the recent events at Virginia Tech University. I am saddened by the enormity of the grief caused by the worse massacre in the history of the United States. I am angered by the media's fascination with the bloody murderer whose name I refuse to acknowledge.
I cannot even watch television anymore. I long ago stopped watching the news because of the tremendous bias in the reporting. Sometimes I am even embarrassed to admit I was once a journalist. But even when you're watching regular programming, you cannot escape the image of the man who took so many innocent lives, flashing on your screen posing with his guns like an action hero. That's exactly what he wanted. He wanted his moment of fame. He wanted to show the world the power he never really had. But why are we indulging him? Why are we letting our children see his repulsive face?
I would much rather see the faces and names of the victims whose lives were so merciless taken by a selfish, cruel, excuse of a man. Someone who in Spanish would be called a "gi??apo humano", a wretched human in the worse sense of the word.
So let me do my little contribution by remembering an honoring three of those victims:
Juan Ramon Ortiz was only 26 years old. He was a handsome Puerto Rican who was teaching a class as part of his graduate program in Civil Engineering. His father says he was the joy of his life, a wonderful son who decorated their house every Christmas and played with him Salsa music every weekend. Juan Ramon's family will never be the same without him.
Daniel Perez Cueva (pictured) was 21. He was murdered as he sat in a French class. His father Flavio Perez still lives in their native Peru and will be issued a humanitarian visa so he can attend his son's funeral.
Professor Liviiu Librescu was 76 years old and had survived the horrors of the Holocaust. This Israeli lecturer had taught at Virginia Tech for 20 years. His son says his father's murder has left a deep wound in his heart, but yet he walks with his head just a little higher, filled with pride for the heroism displayed by his dad. The Librescu family has received several e-mails from students describing how the professor blocked the door to his classroom with his own body, enabling others to jump out the window and escape to safety.
And of course there were others: Leslie Sherman, Lauren McCain, Austin Cloyd, Brian Bluhm, Rachel Hill, Christopher James Bishop, Partahi Lumbantoruan, Michael Pohle, Julia Pryde, Matthew G. Gwaltney, Minel Panchal, Henry J. Lee, Nicole White, Waleed Mohammed Shaalan, Daniel O'Neal, Matthew G. La Porte, Jarrett L. Lane, Jocelyne Couture-Nowak, Maxine Turner, Erin Peterson, Jeremy Herbstritt, Caitlin Hammaren, Ross Alameddine, Mary Karen Read, Emily Jane Hilscher, Reema Samaha, Kevin Granata, Ryan Clark, G.V. Loganathan. May they all rest in peace.
Edie J. Adler:
Edie J. Adler is a writer and regular contributor to LatinoLA. She lives in the San Fernando Valley with her husband Neal.