Monday, January 17, 2011

Mothers and Sons

If you have a loved one who earns his or her living as a firefighter, a soldier or a law enforcement enforcer, then you know that there is no such as a normal day. There are days that you hope - for the one you love - have both an uneventful beginning and a happy ending. Sadly, for some families, the blissful ennui of one day rolling into the next, comes to a tragic, horrible end. It takes but one day to ruin the streak. It takes but one moment to change a life. Or to end one.

On Friday afternoon, Lakewood Township Police Officer Christopher Matlosz was killed in the line of duty. Officer Matlosz was murdered while in his patrol vehicle, allegedly by a 19 year-old man named Jahmell Crockam. Officer Matlosz had apparently stopped Crockam - a pedestrian - to ask him a question or two and while being questioned Crockam is alleged to have shot Officer Matlosz three times at close range.

Prior to Friday afternoon this had not been the best of times for Officer Matlosz's family. His father killed himself several months ago. Yet for the young police officer - 27 years old at the time of his death - things had taken a turn for the better. He had become engaged to be married. A 2012 wedding had been planned.

It was not too terribly long before dinner time on Friday in Lakewood Township that Jahmell Crockam took the life of Officer Matlosz. It was early Sunday morning in Camden - some seventy miles away from Lakewood Township - when a task force comprised of local police, New Jersey State Police and the Fugitive Task Force of the United States Marshal's Service captured Crockam. With laudable efficiency - and no loss of life - a coordinated effort by law enforcement agencies of various sizes and levels put an end to Crockam's fugitive status.

Catching the bad guy does not make it all better of course for the ones who have suffered irreparable harm. Officer Matlosz's mother still must steel herself for the worst thing that a parent ever has to do. She has to prepare to bury her son. While we all may wish that it was not true, we know it is when she says, "I'm glad they caught him. But it doesn't bring my son back."

Nothing can. Nothing will. And that is of course the most tragic part of this whole terrible story.


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