Trying to make sense from the senseless
By MYRIAM MARQUEZ
There are times when nothing you can say will change what has happened, when promises of a better day or heartfelt condolences whispered to the grieving seem inconsequential to a family's tragedy, a community's loss.
There are times one can only scream to the wind, look up to the heavens and plead to one's Creator: Why, why, WHY?
And then doubt everything one has been told to believe since childhood, that there is a God who loves you, a God who has a plan, a God whose kingdom is yours if you live by the Golden Rule.
Thursday was one of those days when evil turned the rule bloody red.
A beautiful, mild and sunny South Florida winter's day that left two of Miami-Dade's finest on the ground and nothing we can say or do can change that final act.
A day that every father and mother, wife and husband, son or daughter, fears will come whenever their loved one walks out the door armed to serve and protect.
Amanda Lynn Haworth's father feared for her life from the day she told him more than 23 years ago that she wanted to be a cop. The 44-year-old mother rose to detective in an elite team working with the U.S. Marshals Service to nab the most violent fugitives on the lam.
Evil stole Haworth from her 13-year-old son. He won't have his sweet mother to cheer him on at his Weston Red Hawks games, to teach him to drive, watch him graduate, give him advice about how to treat a woman.
Evil snatched Roger Castillo, 41, from his wife and fellow officer Debbie and their three sons, ages 14, 11 and 9.
They won't have Dad to toss the football to them at their Miramar cul-de-sac, to share the canoe on the lake behind their house, to teach them to be men of strength and character.
Why, why, WHY?
Why do evil things happen? Why would a loving God allow a punk with a rap sheet five pages long and wanted for murder to kill two officers as they tried to arrest him at his mother's Liberty City duplex?
We try to make sense of the senseless all the time -- when a mentally deranged man sprays 30 rounds into a Tucson crowd, killing six, including a 9-year-old girl and a judge, and injures a congresswoman and 13 others. When a little girl named Sherdavia Jenkins dies in Liberty City while playing outside -- collateral damage in a gang war replete with assault weapons. When a police-involved shooting results in the death of an innocent man.
We demand justice. Call for changing gun laws. Question why judges hand short sentences to bad people or why prosecutors don't pursue tougher charges against criminals like Johnny Simms, little more than 23 years old yet having spent almost half his life in the revolving door of our overwhelmed and underfunded justice system.
His tattoos tell a story. Flames and a gun as art. Words and numbers to his short life's puzzle: ``10-20-life,'' ``savage.''
What created him? There are so many layers, so many angles, so few answers.
And there are heroes.
Oscar Plasencia, one of the four officers who had gone to arrest Simms, ran back around the duplex during the firefight that Simms started when his mother opened the door to police.
Under fire, Plasencia managed to shoot Simms by the front door.
Neighbors say Simms begged his mother to not watch him die.
And she screamed to the wind.