I was looking for a parking space when I came across this humdinger in a parking lot.
Since the car predates me, naturally I took a walk around it for a closer, curious look.
In red, on the rear windshield a message was written: “BE Kind End The Violence Love For Lily.” A heart was used as the dot above the letter “I” in the name. I had to scroll through news of the day to connect my dots. Only a few hours before I took this picture, a funeral had taken place for a little girl whose untimely death shocked and saddened us here in Albuquerque. Hundreds of people attended the burial service and many cars drove along the funeral procession route to where she was laid to rest. I believe this car was driven in that procession.
If you wish to avoid tears or anger, skip over the rest of the text and jump to the photograph at the bottom of the post. The sad and unfortunate story of the recent road rage incident that involved fatal gun violence follows in the passage below.
OK. If you are still here with me, now I’ll summarize the event that ended the life of a precious 4 year-old girl in Albuquerque and sent New Mexico’s largest city into mourning. The news of the tragic, fatal traffic incident was widespread. Every news outlet across the state covered this; national press and international outlets covered it, too. Nevertheless, since this occurred, so many recent shocking events around the world have taken place. One can fathom how this would cease to hold prominence in collective consciousness:
On Tuesday, October 20, 2015 an Albuquerque father named Alan Garcia was driving his pickup truck westbound on Interstate-40. In the vehicle with him was his 7 year-old son Isaac, and 4 year-old daughter, Lilly. An aggressive driver forced Garcia out of his lane. The two drivers exchanged heated words. In an act of road rage, the aggressor pulled out a gun and shot four rounds into Garcia’s car. Garcia heard the shots. He then heard his son say, “she’s bleeding,” meaning his sister had been shot. The car, out of which the gun was shot, sped away on the highway. A frantic Garcia pulled over to the median to offer his daughter first aid. At least one bullet struck the little girl in the head. A bystander called 911. A Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputy spotted the disabled vehicle and stopped to help. Garcia placed his daughter over his truck tailgate and tried to administer first aid. Two nurses happened to drive by and also stopped at the scene. They took over life-saving efforts until the ambulance arrived to rush Lilly to the UNM Hospital. The father collapsed when the ambulance arrived. Despite the efforts to save her life, Lilly later died of her injuries. An anonymous call to the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) lead to an arrest on Wednesday afternoon of suspect 32 year-old Tony Torrez. The suspect claimed that Garcia had tried to run him off the road. He confessed to firing his gun on the family as they traveled on the freeway. Police say Torrez was charged with Murder, Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon, Assault with Murder, the Intent to Commit a Violent Felony, Shooting at or from a Motor Vehicle, Child Abuse, Child Abuse Resulting in Death and Tampering in Evidence. His bail was set at $650,000. An internet fundraiser was set up, “In Honor and Memory of Lilly,” with a goal of raising $10K to help her family. At the time I share this post and donation link, more than $80,000.00 has been raised. It’s an outpouring from places far and wide. If you have the inner strength to look at the face of this child, visit the link. There you, too, can make a donation or share a condolence note to the family.
No amount of money can bring back this innocent, beautiful child whose full name was Iliana “Lilly” Rose Garcia. According to the obituary that was published in the Albuquerque Journal newspaper from Oct. 24 to Oct. 26, 2015:
“Iliana had just completed her second day of school at Duranes Preschool before she was tragically taken away from us. Lilly enjoyed singing, dancing, talking with everyone and made friends everywhere she went. ”
Newspapers indicated that APD records show that Torrez had a disturbing arrest record over the last 10 years with charges that ranged from assault to child abuse and kidnapping.
I saw this car on the same day as Lilly’s funeral.
After taking in the solemn message on the rear car window I noticed more writing on the same vehicle. The writing was placed above the once-upon-a-time trunk lock. It broadcasts another sad, secondary statement about disturbing conditions in American society: the pervasiveness of illiteracy.
Sigh. I told you it was a humdinger.
Taken in context with the messages written on the car and the reason for the message, the impetus presented itself to air my opinion: EDUCATION is the way to avoid many of society’s atrocities [excessive violence, terrorism, illiteracy].
To refocus the post on photography, I want to close with an additional opinion: a good photograph can survive on technical merits alone, however, a photograph that provokes a feeling or engagement within the mind of the viewer is even better. When a photograph causes the viewer to interact with his or her senses, when it evokes a reaction, it is an effective medium. Sometimes what we capture is beautiful, disarming, amusing or comical. Sometimes what we capture is challenging, difficult, or infuriating. Sometimes it vexes; sometimes it satisfies. But hopefully the image moves us.
I promise that my next post will share something colorful and cheerful.
My condolences to the family of Iliana “Lilly” Rose Garcia. May she rest in peace.