By Nelson Santana
November 2, 2018
Borges used his body as a human shield to protect his classmates
Some accounts note how Borges saved at least 20 lives
This hero, was 15 at the time of the shooting, yet he does not view himself as a hero
His GoFundme page raised $906,256
Born in the United States, Borges grew up in Venezuela
Borges’ life was transformed on that tragic day
Earlier this week New York magazine published a photo essay on the survivors of school shootings across the United States.
On February 14, 2018, 19-year-old gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 students and staff members. Contrary to the views of lobbyists, gun companies, and politicians who benefit from it all, gun violence is a major public health problem in the United States.
On that tragic day, a fifteen-year-old made the life-changing decision to save several lives when he used his body as a shield to protect his classmates from the gunman’s bullets.
Notwithstanding, Borges is one of the victims featured in the New York magazine essay and his compelling image serves as the issue’s cover.
Since the incident, most of the focus has been on the victims, however, this magazine essay sheds light on the victims who survived the tragedy.
Anthony Borges is the Latino hero who saved lives in the Parkland Shooting and unfortunately will remain scarred for the remainder of his life. In addition to the scars on his body, Borges also wears a colostomy bag.
In his account as published on New York, Borges notes:
I was in the hospital for like two months. I wasn’t bored – the pain wouldn’t
let me get distracted. It was all over my body, not just where I’d been shot.
Imagine that somebody stabbed you with a knife and wouldn’t take it out,
would just push it in.
The physical therapy is helping a lot. A lot of the exercises are like the things
you do before a soccer game. Still, I can’t feel my left foot. I’ve gotten
skinnier, and when I stand up, I have trouble breathing. The goal is just to
be able to move my entire body normally. I can’t run, and I want to run. I’m
doing homeschooling now. I’m not sure when I’ll go back to school. I don’t
want to; I don’t feel safe. I don’t talk about it with anybody — I get really
upset. I can’t talk about it with my friends. I did what I had to do – that’s
why I don’t like being called a hero. I want people to remember what
happened as a miracle, from God.
Shot five times, Borges was one of the people who survived the shooting, yet his body was nonetheless transformed for the rest of his life. As noted in his account, Borges is homeschooled and does not feel safe in a school environment. He provides several metaphors and powerful imagery. He is not only physically scarred, but also mentally scarred. His body is not only in pain the areas he was shot, but also throughout: from head to toe as though he were being stabbed with a knife that does not retract but that continues to be pushed further and further into his body.
Borges has lost weight, has difficulty breathing, and is unable to speak with his friends about the tragedy. He believes in God and notes that he does not like to be called a hero. However, a hero he is because he was willing to sacrifice himself to protect others from the gunman that claimed 17 lives.
The Parkland shooting has been politicized by the media, pundits, artists, and elected officials alike. Two of the more visible victims of the shooting who quickly became staples of conservative savagery are Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg. In fact, conservative politicians and their media counterparts—including Fox News—have mounted vicious campaigns to discredit these shooting victims who are working diligently to change gun legislation.
In one example, Congressman Steve King (Iowa) vilified Gonzalez by attacking her via a Facebook post:
This is how you look when you claim Cuban heritage yet don’t speak Spanish and ignore the fact that your ancestors fled the island when the dictatorship turned Cuba into a prison camp, after removing all weapons from its citizens; hence their right to self defense.
Hogg and Gonzalez have been part of the recent mobilizations against gun lobbying in the United States and similar to their fair share of critiques, also have found countless allies and supporters. Professor of Spanish and U.S. Latina/o literature at Mount Holyoke College, Alberto Sandoval-Sánchez penned a poem in honor of Gonzalez.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham attacked Hogg in March, salivating that Hogg had been “Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it. (Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA...totally predictable given acceptance rates.)” In a rebuttal, Hogg asked for a boycott of advertisers, and soon after 11 companies boycotted The Ingraham Angle.
By reading through the photo essay by New York magazine, many of the victims have Latino/a / Hispanic surnames. Yes, there are Olson and Dworet, but there are also Fuentes and Borges. Bullets do not discriminate and shooting victims comprise of all backgrounds.
At the moment, Trump has issued a war against asylum seekers from Latin America to rally his anti-immigrant base. As noted by the media, he and his wife, Melania, did pay a hospital visit to Parkland shooting victims. However, did he acknowledge the heroism of Borges or even highlight his Latino / Hispanic background? No, and never will, because in his purview, Latinos / Hispanics cannot be heroes. Hopefully, the powerful image of Borges’ scars can help to humanize Latino/as / Hispanics in the United States—a nation Latino/as / Hispanics have shaped!