Growing Up With Street Violence

TNC reacts to a first degree murder verdict for a 15-year-old. Derrion Albert was part of a group who beat another kid to death:

My sense of this is that most kids would like to walk to school in peace, but somewhere around fifth grade or so, the corruption reaches out and taints them. ... Your first forays into direct violence may be only defensive or retaliatory, but this quickly spirals into offensive violence, so as to burnish your rep. The hood is a galaxy of competing powers, and to be born there is to be drafted into your nation's Army. To spend time lamenting your citizenship, to be less then zealous in defense of your country, is to be unpatriotic, to invite charges of treason, with predictable penalties. And even this formulation makes it all sound too neat, too rational. We are, after all, ultimately talking about children, and thus people vulnerable to the worst impulses.