A Bright Life Cut Short
Who Was David Castro?
David was the nicest kid you could meet. Not the nicest kid out of 7 billion people. Just as nice a person as you could meet in your lifetime.
More than anything, David was kind. He adopted stray cats and loved on his dogs. He reached out to friends when they struggled with stuff he struggled with--divorced parents, depression, awkwardness. He helped friends with homework. He was the friend you wish you had at any age. Always giving more than he asked for in return.
He was so awkward that it pained me. He didn’t like himself and could point out every physical feature on his body that made him undesirable. He was so conscious of every misstep he ever made. He once left a conversation that was going without saying goodbye and called the host to apologize for the social grace infraction.
He was intellectually curious. He read Why Nations Fail because he wanted to apply that knowledge in the future and thought it would make him a better citizen. He wanted to study energy so that he could come up with a solution to global warming and the energy crisis.
He was smart. He will be qualified to be a National Merit Scholar Finalist when that list comes out this year. He saw math in his head in a way that made me jealous. He refused to cheat or tolerate those who did. He even chastised someone close to him for downloading a video on torrent. Even if everyone else did that, he didn’t. Didn’t judge them for it, just refused to do it himself.
He loved band and percussion more than anything. Nothing made him happier than things related to band. It broke his heart to lose his band director and percussion director in back-to-back years. He accepted it and was happy for them, but sad. Then he decided to do something about it and take on additional leadership. He met with the new percussion director at the first available time in the summer. He didn’t complain. He worked to solve problems. That’s David. Well, that was David.
Despite all of his talents and gifts, he had very little self confidence. He got bullied by kids who he had considered friends and got rejected by girls he had crushes on. He was normal. Painfully normal.
His life got cut short just as he was beginning to figure it out. Just as he was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel that we told him was there. Just as he started to accept that he was a good kid and that he was likable. That cruel fact compounds the tragedy. He never knew that he was okay.
A movie director who killed a character like David would have to answer for it. The cruelty of that act would have people leaving the theater unsure where to turn their anger. “Why would you do that?” they’d ask. “It’s nihilistic and cruel to do that.” Parents would tell their children, “It’s okay. It’s just a movie.” You’d at least know that the actor in the movie got paid and walked away safe. Well, David didn’t.
I’ve come to understand I will not find answers to my simple questions. The rest of my days will be haunted by his absence.
I do know one thing--David didn’t deserve to die in the manner that he did. His killer killed him without reason and without remorse. He should be held accountable for taking this light out of our universe. We will spend the rest of my life getting justice for my son and helping others navigate their personal hellscapes as a voice of suffering and bereavement. We will burn with both sorrow and anger until the day we see David again.
- Paul Castro, David's Dad