While I’ve been on the road, there was a tragedy in my adopted hometown of Los Angeles. As you know, 23-year old John Zawahri set a house on fire with his father and brother in it and then forced himself into a car and shot at people as his hostage drove him to Santa Monica College before he jumped out and was killed by police on campus. Six people, including the shooter, died.
Driving past Santa Monica College and the very spots where he murdered these innocent people is part of my almost daily Los Angeles life. Hearing the news from across the country made it all even more surreal. I know it won’t really sink in until the next time I’m driving around there.
When things like this happen — and they seem to be happening almost every day now —I’m filled with a sense of fear, anxiety and sadness, but also a certain amount of fatalism: I may as well take all the risks I want because at any moment some crazed gunman could take me out or something equally random could occur. Yes, I know it sounds morbid and I realize the chances of it happening are unlikely, but it somehow, in a weird way, is freeing.
Two of the people killed on Friday were a father and daughter who were guilty of nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Carlos Navarro Franco and his daughter Marcela were shot by Zawahri as 68-year old Carlos, a groundskeeper at SMC, was driving his 26-year old daughter to campus, where she planned to attend summer school. She was studying to be a psychologist. Carlos’s son had died two years earlier in a car accident.
Santa Monica College is raising money to pay for Carlos and Marcela Franco’s funerals. May Carlos and Marcela rest in peace.