We label them "victims."
We reduce them to statistics.
And far too many of us are quick to use them as fodder to foster a political agenda of choice.
In the aftermath of any tragedy, it is human nature to ask why, and to offer solutions to prevent a reoccurrence.
It is human courtesy to allow the families of the fallen to mourn, and to bury, their loves ones first.
For before they became "victims," before they became "statistics," they were just ... us: moms and dads, daughters and sons, wives and husbands, lovers and friends.
That's the tragedy within a tragedy, the collateral damage of the injured-in-heart left behind long after headlines highlight other stories and opportunist politicians and politicos move on to other situations they can exploit.
Today, let us pause in thought or prayer for the 53 wounded at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
Today, let us pause to remember the 49 who died there, and offer condolences to those they left behind.
The names of the wounded are not yet known except to those who love them.
The names of the dead have been shared.
The youngest was 18. The oldest, 50. Most were in their 20s. All were just out for a night of music and dancing among family or friends. They are:
- Stanley Almodovar III, 23
- Amanda Alvear, 25
- Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26
- Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33
- Antonio Davon Brown, 29
- Darryl Roman Burt II, 29
- Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28
- Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
- Luis Daniel Conde, 39
- Cory James Connell, 21
- Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25
- Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32
- Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31
- Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
- Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26
- Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22
- Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22
- Paul Terrell Henry, 41
- Frank Hernandez, 27
- Miguel Angel Honorato, 30
- Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
- Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19
- Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30
- Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25
- Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32
- Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
- Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49
- Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25
- Kimberly Morris, 37
- Akyra Monet Murray, 18
- Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20
- Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25
- Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36
- Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
- Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35
- Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25
- Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27
- Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35
- Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24
- Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24
- Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34
- Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33
- Martin Benitez Torres, 33
- Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24
- Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
- Luis S. Vielma, 22
- Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50
- Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37
- Jerald Arthur Wright, 31
The Human Rights Campaign has compiled photos to go with the names, as well as short bios of each, beginning with Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, a two-time cancer survivor and mom of 11 who was enjoying a night of dancing with one of her sons, and concluding with Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, a visual merchandiser, or display designer, for Forever 21, a clothing retailer.
The people-behind-the-names vignettes may be found on the Human Rights Campaign Facebook page.
Rest in peace.
- Breeze Newspapers