It's a tragedy that the cycle of repeated crimes met with increasingly harsh law enforcement has put citizens in urban war zones and the police on a collision course with each other. The reasons for it go deep, deep into our society: racism without a doubt, but there are other factors. My thoughts go back to the findings shared by psychologist James Garbarino in his book Lost Boys. The remedies he suggests to break the cycle are many, reaching far beyond improving community relations between cops and urban Black residents. The boys in question face a cradle-to-grave problem most whites can’t possibly understand. But one of the teenage prisoners Garbarino interviewed put it this way: “If you grew up like I did, you’d be just like me.” Personally, I don’t think my imagination can stretch that far.
In Response to: General Letters About the Magazine