How the Nury Martinez scandal strikes at the heart of Latino identity in the United States.
“A mother’s worst nightmare.” That’s how I began a conversation with a friend of mine a few months ago, before I heard any more details. He was referring to the kidnapping and eventual murder of his mother. As I read his words, my own worst nightmare became more real, and I thought again how my own mother’s experience sounded, and how that was going to affect me as I went on with the rest of my life. I wanted to warn her. I wanted to tell her how sorry I was for what had happened to her, and that I didn’t blame her at all for being a victim. I didn’t want to sound like I was putting her down, but I wanted a different reality. Instead I told her to trust that I, as a friend, would be there to protect her if things became dangerous.
I thought about the same scenario several times after reading about Nury Martinez. I realized how deeply my own lived experience shaped the way the tragedy played out. To be a victim of a crime like the murder of Nury Martinez would have been devastating, but to be an actual victim was different. I couldn’t bear to see her experience without being there to try to lessen the impact. Maybe I felt that way at first, but thinking back, the difference between being a victim and an actual victim of a crime, and the effect on my life as a result, are the same. To me, that makes Nury Martinez’s experience even more tragic than the death of my mother.
My journey to becoming a victim of the tragic events about to unfold in Orlando, Florida, has been, for the most part, very different than what the story of Nury Martinez’s case reveals. She is a victim of one of the worst crimes you can imagine: someone walking in the front door, who then gets into your house, does whatever they want, and kills you. This person could be a parent, a relative, a friend, a neighbor, anyone at all. When the truth comes out, what is your reality going to be?
The impact of the crimes in Orlando