Editor’s note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of ProgressiveLiberal.net.
Anthony Borges is a hero. That much is clear.
According to a report by The Root, Borges barricaded a door to stop a deranged gunman from killing his classmates:
“On Feb. 14, as a gunman wandered the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 15-year-old Anthony Borges was trapped in a classroom with 20 other people. As the gunman came upon the classroom and began shooting, Anthony barricaded the door with his body, preventing the shooter from entering. Everyone in that room survived, including Anthony, who was shot five times during the course of the encounter.”
A hospital later treated him for injuries sustained during the ordeal and released him.
He has shown commendable bravery and some have even argued that he deserves governmental recognition for it.
ANTHONY BORGES. After 6 weeks, the young hero is still recovering from 5 gun shot wounds, but is finally home. An exclusive video will come out after his lung injury fully recovers. We thank him for his courage, please donate down below! #StoriesUntold pic.twitter.com/kbtM7DGlXP
— Stories Untold (@StoriesUntoldUS) April 4, 2018
But is that really where we want to leave it?
As students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas have made epically clear in the aftermath of the shooting, they’re quite over feelings.
They soundly reject our evidently ineffective supplications to God to do something about gun violence for us. It’s easy to lionize Borges, to make him a gold standard. But perhaps a better show of our admiration for him than governmental recognition of his sacrifice would be creating a society in which he wasn’t asked to make it.
Feeling bad and sending thoughts and prayers is not cutting it, so neither is feeling good.
Please just push for universal background checks… I’m sick of thoughts and prayers followed by in action.
If you really cared about saving lives we would be taking steps to improve this broken system. https://t.co/NVAfdNMGL1
— Matt Deitsch (@MattxRed) April 4, 2018
Too often, we find ourselves too caught up in laudatory rituals to notice a lack of substance. We praise the dedication of our teachers when they pay out-of-pocket for school supplies. We fawn over the hard-working nature of the immigrant who works 16 hours a day to feed their family.
We cry with inspiration at the story of a 15-year-old boy that chose, to his knowledge, certain death to save his classmates.
Nothing about this story is inspiring – it’s an indictment of the system.
However, we rarely challenge the system that creates these problems, and rarely engage ourselves in ameliorating them, content to exalt the individual besieged by these converging and damaging societal forces while offering absolutely no respite from them.
A truly harrowing thought is that if Borges returns to the same district with little progress or change made, there’s no reason to believe he couldn’t be asked to make that exact same sacrifice again.
Anthony Borges is indeed a hero. But it’s our job to make sure he doesn’t have to be.
If you’d like to donate to Anthony’s GoFundMe page, you can do so here.
Image provided via YouTube screenshot.