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