Related: Education, Living, Social Issues

Another Empty Desk



Oscar Fuentes won’t be in class today.   Who will notice?

One more child is dead in D.C., gunned down through the door of his own home.   Who is paying attention?   The Redskins won, so all’s right with the world, right?  Not.

Interestingly, only 10 comments have appeared so far on the Washington Post story about the Saturday night murder of Oscar Fuentes in his apartment at 1400 Columbia Road, an address many of us pass by frequently on our way to trendy restaurants in Adams Morgan or shopping in the new hip urban corner just a block away.   Stunningly, but not surprising, three of the ten comments blame the family for living at this address, and blame the neighborhood for failing to report the thugs.   One of the comments goes so far as to call for the removal of public housing in the Columbia Heights neighborhood so that “finally we’ll have a community on par with Takoma Park…”  Shameful.

Where is the outrage when a child is murdered?  Mention Dan Snyder in this town and the airwaves crackle with rage.   Raise the subject of health care reform and people take to the streets.   Suggest that there’s a legitimate religious interest in limiting the same-sex marriage bill and the crowd mounting the ramparts is huge.

Where are the legions marching for Oscar Fuentes and all of the children gunned down in street violence in the capital of the most powerful nation on earth?

Oh, sure, the public officials and media show up, and the teddy bears pile up in the kind of sad streetside memorial that appears too often on our local streets.    All too soon, the klieg lights dim, the politicos move on, and the memorials melt into tatters soon swept away.

A city that spends several hundred thousand dollars taking care of the mayor’s bicycle when he travels can surely find the money, the time, and — most necessary — the willpower to pay more attention to the grievous conditions in which too many children live every single day in this city.    Our political leaders are ardently focused on education reform, which is necessary, but the rhetoric of education reform currently dismisses as irrelevant the conditions in which children live.

Oscar Fuentes won’t be in class today.   Who will notice?

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4 Responses to Another Empty Desk

  1. LISA SHAH says:

    It is very sad what happened to Oscar Fuentes. He didn’t deserve to die or does any child. There is too much violence and especially gun violence today. It isn’t safe anymore even in your own home or to let your kids run outside freely. I am deeply sorry for Oscar Fuentes family and hope that they can one day find peace. I will not forget about Oscar Fuentes.

  2. Elissa Bernal says:

    I find this story very tragic, and I can only pray that I don’t go through something like this in my lifetime. I actually grew up in Columbia Heights a block away from Oscar. When I was 6 years old my father and I were walking into our building when we got robbed at gunpoint. It was one of the most traumatic events of my life. Soon after we moved into the suburbs of Maryland. I think about how Oscar will not have a chance. It is sad that Oscar had to lose his life for nothing. It is even more tragic that this story will soon be forgotten. I wont forget! I am grateful to attend a school where the President cares about our community. President McGuire, thank you caring!

  3. Annie A. Osorio Perez says:

    Sadly, a week or two from now, Oscar Fuentes will no longer be in the evening news. Society is too caught up on the latest sports scores, materialism, and other frivolous things. Why does someone have to die, a child in this case, to have working locks and doors? This the United States of America and especially being in the nations capital, human beings should not have to live in apartments where you fear for your life! I hope Oscar’s family can one day find peace and that this hell they are living right now, won’t have to happen to another family.

  4. Susan M Solomon says:

    For this and many other reasons, I am proud to be a part of Trinity Washington University. Pat McQuire is a remarkable leader! As a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in D.C., I have worked so hard, yet against so much “indifference”, to help the children and mothers who suffer unspeakable injustices. Yet, in one article, Pat captured the essences of the problem! I felt renewed and strengthened knowing there are others who “see” reality.
    I have forwarded her blog to my doctoral colleagues in the hopes of spreading the seed of a “new perspective” on what is important in our global community! May God continue to bless Trinity Washington University with her leadership and mentorship. AND may the student who are blessed to be under her tutelage go forth from Trinity Washington University and make a difference locally, nationally, and globally.

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email: