Skip to content

Ode to Diana Tomas

December 13, 2007

A path not meant to be taken
A dead end with no way out.

Indiscriminate bullets
Discriminating poverty
Hatred born on the backs of apathy and despair.

Running from the arms that bore you up
Running into the arms of temptation
Running away to never return.

Neglected and Ignored
Intervention without resolution.
Promise without hope.

Yours is the face of our ignorance
Yours is the face of our failure.

A million weeping mothers will never bring you back
And the sun will rise tomorrow
upon another pair of dead wings in this city of angels.

diana

Diana Tomas was a 14 year-old girl who lived here in Los Angeles; in the Virgil Village / Rampart neighborhood. She attended Virgil Middle School. She was shot by a possible stray, or intentional bullet in the head on the afternoon of Sunday, December 2nd. She died.

Her mother had reported her missing the same day, and only found her on her deathbed after hearing about a shooting involving a woman in the neighborhood. Only today did the LA times publish this story. Instead, letting it linger for days in their excellently compiled Homicide Blog, written by Jill Levoy. David Markland and commentators at blogging.la on Monday point out how this story was being ignored by mainstream media in favor of filling hours of coverage the water main that ruined Eddie Van Halen’s Coldwater Canyon pool.

Diana’s death shows how terribly apathetic we as a society can be. How, despite all our abilities to do the right thing, we fail, and a girl dies for nothing, and is almost forgotten by the world.

Diana could have lived next door to me, she could have gone to Burbank Middle School, she could have been one of my students. But she will never be, I will never meet her, but somehow I think I know her: Troubled youth running from a bad home situation, tempted and influenced by her peers, looking for a shortcut to something more satisfying. Lost, young, and dumb. I see these students everyday. And everyday, I hope I can save them from what happened to Diana.

Was her murder inevitable? Did she have it coming? She had hardly been to school in recent weeks, she ran away from home often, and sported a tattoo at the illicit age of 14. She was likely running from something, likely running with bad people, she was likely headed literally down the wrong path when she died.

As anyone who works with children knows, Diana’s is the face we fear seeing in the news.  Countless hours working on weaving this massive social-service safety net, knowing all too well, that inevitably the children that you are involved with will fall though it.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Ramon Herrera permalink
    December 19, 2007 9:12 pm

    On December 13, 2007, ABC7’s local news reported that a 14 year
    old girl, Diana Tomas, was gunned down on Sunday, December 2, 2007,
    died in the hospital on Wednesday afternoon. Her mother reported her
    missing on Sunday, but the connection to the girl gunned down and the
    missing fourteen year old was not made until yesterday afternoon.
    This is when the mother was notified. The girl died as soon as her
    mother was at her bedside. She was shot on Sunday afternoon almost
    at the exact location my aunt committed suicide three decades ago,
    off the Benton Way bridge on the 101 Hollywood Freeway. This hit
    home for many reasons, one I already mentioned, another is I have
    four daughters (two being around this poor victim’s age), and my
    other reasons are locked in factors evolving from being raised in the
    Ghettos of Los Angeles. Ghetto areas all around Los Angeles are full
    of gangs, drugs, prostitution, and all the other dynamics that are
    associated with people in low social economic neighborhoods. Crimes
    like these are a common occurance in these areas mainly because of
    the personalities that are passed on generation after generation by
    the people who feel helpless to rise above the poverty level.
    “Poverty should be defined psychologically in terms of those
    whose place in society is such that they are internal exiles who,
    almost inevitably, develop attitudes of defeat and pessimism and who
    are therefore excluded from taking advantages of new opportunities”
    (Harrington 12). Michael Harrinton’s piece, “A Definition of
    Poverty,” not only defines poverty, but he explains some of the
    personality that evolves from poverty. My work in the non-profit
    world involves working with youths of families from Ghetto areas of
    Los Angeles County. I always ask the same question, “who do you know
    that has a college education,” and the answer is almost always, “no
    one, sir.” When they come into my program, Los Angeles Young
    Marines, it’s usually because their parents feel this is their last
    hope. When I listen to the new enrollees, recruits talk, it is
    always about who got beat-up, who’s having sex with who, and who got
    kicked out of school. Keep in mind, the mean age of the program is
    thirteen. Their world revolves around the helplessness of the
    Ghetto. The parents of these recruits are usually under
    investigation by Child Services, and they also feel helpless.
    Victims like Diana Tomas are many in the Ghettos of Los Angeles, and
    they go unnoticed.
    One cannot help wonder that if Diana was reported missing
    from a Beverly Hills family, her picture would have been on the
    evening news that very day. But, this was the Rampart Division of
    Ghetto L.A.. There are Diana’s being reported missing everyday.
    Will her parents blame themselves for not being able to better
    provide for Diana, or subjecting her to this neighborhood of crime?
    When mom and dad go to work to make just enough to pay the rent and
    put food on the table, will they not wonder if their work has any
    meaning, or is because they had to work such long hours away from
    home that little Diana was taken from them. Unfortunately, this
    tragedy will feed into their helplessness, and cause further
    psychological harm to them, their family, extended family, and the
    ghetto.
    Harrington also wrote in his piece, “Poverty should be
    defined absolutely, in terms of what man and society could be. As
    long as America is less than its potential, the nation as a whole is
    impoverished by that fact. As long as there is the other America, we
    are, all of us, poorer because of it” (Harrington 13). In 2003, I
    attended a national conference for Young Marines Inc. in Biloxi,
    Mississippi where a New Orleans Police captain gave a workshop on
    gangs and drugs in America. According to this police captain, drugs
    and gangs in America stemmed from the Ghettos of Los Angeles. If
    this is true, and let us say it is for the “sake of argument,” then
    Harrington is on key, when he suggests that there cannot be two
    America’s, because what happens in one America will by in effect
    affect the other America if not by shame, then by cause.
    Yes, no secret here: People of low social economic
    backgrounds develop personalities different than those of privileged
    backgrounds, and from the perspective of the poor, privilege is
    anything that pays the rent, affords food, education, and security.
    They are mean and bitter. The young ones just don’t know enough to
    explain it; they simply express it by criminal behavior, but they
    are “MAD.’ Unfortunately, their anger is misguided toward each
    other. America needs to embrace all of her children and care for
    them equally, or one “one rotten apple, will spoil the bunch.” In
    an end note, when America provides for her children, then she can
    adopt and stretch her arms abroad; plus, then, and only then, can she
    be an example to other nations

  2. father robin permalink
    January 7, 2008 6:08 pm

    Horrible. day by day the humanity is turning out to be more of animal like than with praticing human qualities. It is my persoanl experience as a human right actiivist sometimes I wonder where are we all go. I realy cry for this little Bful girl. I contempt this very act. the murderers must be sholt …………… Also I take this oppurtuiniet to console the parents and all her associates. God Bless you all. Kepp patience God will ahower His blessings upon you .
    Fr. Robin Sahaya

  3. April 23, 2008 10:28 pm

    This is very hurtful and very unexpected and expected at the same time the girl,Diana was my classmate we werent friends , however we would talk occasionally. She was a very independant girl and she wasnt afraid to stand her ground . She was a smart girl but she didnt know that. She skipped school often and had the wrong friends, it was likely that she was headed doewn the wrong path but you just dont expect it because 14year ols are not supposed to DIE!!!!!!!! However thats not how the world works. The last conversation Ihad with her was about a song named “Im gonna put you to Bed” little did she know that god was about to put her to bed.

  4. MIGUEL permalink
    September 1, 2009 1:43 am

    DAM I KNEW HER WHEN WE WERE JUST IN ELEMENTRY..SHE DID KICKED IT WITH THE WRONG PEOPLE..BUT DAM THAT DAY WHEN SHE WAS MISSING WE NEVER THOUGHT THAT SHE WAS THE GIRL THAT GOT SHOT UP THE STREET THIS REALY SUCKS MAN..MISS U DIANA TOMAS..R.I.P..WE ALL MISS U HERE AT THE HOOD

    • LORENA permalink
      December 17, 2009 11:00 pm

      U USED TO GO TO ROSEMONT TOO ??

  5. lorena permalink
    December 17, 2009 10:59 pm

    WOW WHEN I HEARD THIS GURL GOT KILLED DAT WAS SAD I KNEW HER I USED TO LIVE IN DA SAME STREET AND I ATTENDED TO THE SAME SCHOOL AS HER SO IT WAS REALLY SAD TO FING OUT ABOUT HER DEAD !! =[

Trackbacks

  1. AnnaM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,859 other followers

%d bloggers like this: