Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Cuban At Virginia Tech

We all live at the pleasure and mercy of one another. This fact was proved 32 different times at Virginia Tech this week, although it is hardly a proposition that requires additional proof. Among the victims few or none had any connection to their killer other than their attendance at the school. Those who did know him personally do not appear to be much baffled by his acts but actually admit to having sensed that something like this would happen given his erratic personality and twisted homocidal fantasies which he had hitherto confined to his writing assignments. Of course, we must wonder how much of this prescience predated the attack. When someone defines himself as quickly and definitively as he did, there is a temptation on the part of the people who knew him best to view all previous acts in light of this defining act. Hindsight is always perfect and human vanity too prone to credit itself with a clairvoyance which would have been impressive if it had managed to join all the dots prior to the attack and prevented it. I suspect, however, that there will be a lot of joining of dots now at other U.S. universities as a result of this tragedy. This will no doubt lead to the star chambre treatment for any and all disaffected English majors. Well, in any case, they are the ones probably most needing of a reality check.

There was in fact nothing particularly deep about the killer's disaffection. In his suicide note, he rambles about rich kids and girls. The obvious conclusion is that there were two things that this "loner" didn't get much of at college: money and pussy. Could it all be that simple? Surely such an epic tragedy demands a more complex and abstract explanation; surely anything else is a profanation of the dead. Still, such does appear to be the explanation and no amount of analyses will show otherwise.These tragic deaths are and will remain sensesless because the perpetrator was himself senseless.

In a picture gallery of the victims of the Val Tech massacre my attention came to rest immediately on Juan Ramon Ortiz, 26, a graduate student in civil engineering who had recently married another Val Tech student. He looked exactly like any young male member of my family, by which I mean to say that he looked Cuban. To verify whether he was in fact Cuban (we are everywhere and certainly we are in Virginia) I googled his name with "Virginia Tech" and found the only reference to him to be the MySpace page of someone of that name who was Panamanian. I do not think it is the same person because this Juan Ramon Ortiz doesn't resemble my nephews and cousins. But I was struck by something this Ortiz wrote on his MySpace page on March 31, a little essay entitled "The Bliss of Being Alive:"

The Bliss of Being Alive
Current mood: accomplished

Shit it have been 3 months of this fuckin year!!.... Where i have been ? .... I´m headed to develope projects at work and to do something productive with my free time doing high wall descending .... and I need a break (jajaj). A few days ago I watched The Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith ....Wadda kind of movie. I realized that my life it´s just a bliss. That real event-based movie tells about the first days of determined Chris Gardner and how he did work it out alone with his 5 y.o. son in the early 80´s. sleeping in community shelters and even in a subway bathroom while he was decided to be an succesful stockbroker agent doing an unpaid internship in a San Francisco´s Dean Witter stock security firm. Every time i remember that man i just about to pull out a teardrop. That man is my new hero. He had real problems. Right now He is doing the best Stockbrokers Company in US and even South Africa.... Fuck man have no excuses!!...

If you watch that movie (realizing that its an a real life-based movie) and still thinks that your life sux........please be kind with all of us, and blow your fucking brain out!!!!

See Ya!


tocororo_frikki said...

mr t I feel very sad and outraged myself as a young man,worker and a student I could relate to mr ortiz search for happiness and financial security, you should read the link the way good job blogging!

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


It's not the first time that my Cuban radar has failed me, but always when it has failed, it was because I mistook a Puerto Rican for a Cuban. They are the one people on earth who are the most like us, and, I consider them, along with Dominicans, our only real brothers in Latin America. The rest are cousins, at best (and many only cousins-in-law).

It was the dream of Betances, Martí and Luperón — indeed, the central tenet in their political cosmology — to establish a "Greater Caribbean Confederation" composed of our three republics. The legacy of these great men shall not have been fully redeemed until the political unity of our peoples is a fact.

It is, I think, notable that after the death of Juan Ramon Ortiz, all the other Puerto Rican students at Virginia Tech were requested by their parents to return to the island to continue their studies there and all complied. This would have been the identical response of the Cubans (if we had an island to return to).

tocororo_frikki said...

I agreed

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