Posted on February 26, 2019
by Steve Janowick
Sadly, this letter to you is written posthumously, as you left this mortal plane ten days ago. I never met you or knew of you during your 34 years on this earth. The first time you came into my consciousness was the day after you were murdered. I had just paid for my coffee and was headed out the door of my local convenience store. I was in my usual morning daze when I saw the newspaper headline in my periphery. And, after I read it, I stopped dead in my tracks and inhaled deeply from the sudden, emotion-induced, loss of breath.
I could only get through the first couple paragraphs before those emotions became visible on my face. I read that you were shot and killed. I read that you died while on your job as a delivery driver. I read that you were engaged and the father of a young son. And, I read that the assailants were witnessed running from the scene and are still at large. My anger was so palpable and seething at this point that I knee-jerked out a loud cuss word-and I could feel all the eyes on me as I left the store.
I tried to go about the rest of my day, and the rest of my week, but I couldn’t get you out of my mind. Why was I so emotionally invested in you and your demise? There are hundreds of murders in and around Baltimore every year. Why was yours affecting me like this? You weren’t anyone special. You didn’t live an extraordinary life. You were a regular Joe. A working stiff. Just a dude trying to get by. Just a guy hoping to provide a decent life for himself and his family. Hoping to go to bed each night with a smile on your face and a little peace in your heart.
Then I realized…You were me!
And every other man I know. That’s why I couldn’t stop thinking about you. It could have just as easily been me on the barrel end of that gun that Sunday evening. It could have been my 20-year old son, who also delivers food part time-like you did. You embodied the everyman, Tim. The man trying his best every day to do the right thing. The man who made his mistakes in life but owned up to them. The man who had the right kinds of priorities. The man who took care of his own business. The man whose heart and soul were tested daily by life’s perpetual beat down. And the man who did it all with zero applause. Zero fanfare. The man who flew under the radar.
And because you were who you were, your story, your life, has been buried with you. Relegated to the back pages. Pushed into the subconscious. I didn’t see or hear a single mention of you or your murder on any of the national cable outlets. I don’t recall any politicians or leaders demanding justice on your behalf. There were no marches down the street in your name. No candlelight vigils and television cameras. Why? Because you, and your murder, didn’t fit the narrative. You weren’t part of the agenda being propagated today. You were merely collateral damage. You were just unfortunate. You were unlucky. In the wrong place at the wrong time. You were a statistic.
To them, Tim! To them.
To us, you are a man to be remembered. A man to be looked up to. A man to be celebrated. You did not die in vain in our eyes. You died trying to provide for your family. And that makes you a hero! You died with your dignity intact. You died with honor. You died being a decent, honest man! You died owning a legacy that your fiancé can be proud of and your young son can emulate.
You died a good man, Tim.
And I swear to all that is holy that you, and other victims who’ve met similar fates, will never be forgotten. We will hold those in power accountable until your murderers are apprehended and brought to justice! Until your family gets the closure they deserve. And until you can rest in peace.
I never met you or knew you, Tim, but I want to thank you, regardless. For helping me reaffirm my appreciation for the gifts of life and family, I want to thank you!
Timothy Wayne Youngquist
To help support Tim’s family please visit his GoFundMe page.
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