In Honor of the Victims of the San Bernardino Attackby Representative Norma J. Torres
Posted on 2015-12-08
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Mrs. TORRES. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate the tragic
shooting in San Bernardino last week and to recognize and honor the
victims who lost their lives.
Despite the increasing frequency with which these kinds of events seem to occur, we never expect them to happen in our community. But this December 2nd, that is exactly what happened and tragedy hit home.
I knew the Inland Regional Center well and represented the city of San Bernardino during my time in the State Senate. And on this tragic day, five individuals who lived in cities I represent were taken from this world.
Isaac Amanios was a Fontana resident who came to this country from Eritrea looking for a better life for his children. He was described as an amazing father, brother, an amazing everything.
Sierra Clayborn, a UC Riverside graduate, previously lived in Ontario. Those who knew her say she was energetic, thoughtful, and always smiling, and she loved what she called her blooming career in public and environmental health.
Larry Daniel Kaufman, a resident of Rialto, considered himself a free spirit, loved horror movies, and talked to everyone he met.
Yvette Velasco was 27 and a Fontana resident who was full of life and loved by all who knew her. Those close to her say she embodied intelligence and ambition.
And Benetta Bettadal of Rialto was a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona, also in my district. She came to the United States fleeing Islamic extremism and the persecution of Christians following the Iranian revolution. In a horrible twist of fate, she lost her life at the hands of the same kind of extremism that brought her to this country.
Isaac, Sierra, Larry, Yvette, Benetta. These were our neighbors. They could have been our children, our loved ones, or our friends. As our community begins to heal, we owe it to them and to the other nine victims to ask ourselves how to best honor the vibrant lives that were taken from us much too soon.
Mr. Speaker, far too many communities have felt the pain that the San Bernardino and Inland Empire community is facing right now. Far too many Americans have lost loved ones in similar acts of violence. It is now up to us in Congress to use this tragedy as a catalyst for a serious, productive, and respectful dialogue on the actions we can and must take to prevent this kind of tragedy from ever happening again. Inaction is inexcusable and an affront to the lives lost on that tragic day.