Anthony Borges photographed by Richard Avedon
The Massacre at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida happened a year ago. Nikolas Cruz, a former student at the school, arrived with an AR-15 and shot seventeen students and staff dead and injured another seventeen people. This was the largest school massacre (so far) in American history. Anthony Borges saved the lives of 20 people by blocking the door to a classroom with his body preventing Cruz from getting in. He was shot 5 times and lived to tell about it. Anthony Borges posed shirtless for photographer Richard Avedon showing his surgery scars and colostomy bag.
We decided over 5 years ago with the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that keeping our rights to guns, violence, and mayhem was worth the sacrifice of other people’s children. Despite all the government teevee propaganda about menacing hordes of brown people, Muslim terrorists, and thuggish black folk, almost all the mass shooters since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 were young white men (and straight white men). Nikolas Cruz who shot Borges identifies as white. I can think of only one exception, and that was the Virginia Tech killer Seung-Hui Cho who was Korean. The Las Vegas killer Stephen Paddock was a rich white man. Some of these white men massacred people to start a “race war” or to make a point about white supremacy; Dylan Roof, Wade Michael Page, and Robert Gregory Bowers come to mind. Racist mass murder to provoke “race war” is Charles Manson’s grotesque legacy to our time. Anthony Borges and the people he saved are miraculous living testimony to courage and basic decency that knows no borders.
In Florida and in most of the rest of the country, it’s still easier and more legal for an 18 year old to buy an AR-15 -- the mass killer’s weapon of choice – than it is to buy beer or vote. The world would have been a lot happier if Nikolas Cruz decided to drown his anger and sorrow in an illegal six pack of beer instead of taking it out on everyone with a legal AR-15.