Some thoughts on the exchange of letters concerning the Nathaniel Abraham case. I can't say that I agree with the two respondents. It must be comforting to live in a world of absolute identity, where everything is equal to itself, with no contradiction. War is war. Drug use is drug use. And, of course, murder is murder. While it is saddening and gut wrenching to read about, let alone witness, such acts, it is very easy to turn off one's brain and ignore the social reality behind this and many other similar horrors. After all, it's not as though the shooting in Pontiac is an isolated incident! Children killing children is an almost daily occurrence in this country. Why is that?
As a teacher in an inner-city school system, I hear parents and teachers talking all the time about such shootings. In passing conversation, people will remark about 'babies killing babies' or 'babies having babies.' Such phrases are commonplace, and reveal a popular perception that both children are victims. I know some potential 'Nathaniel Abrahams' myself, at-risk kids languishing in a poorly funded, incompetently run school system. I think the person who asked that Mr. Roberts step into the shoes of the victim's parents, should do so himself. He might be surprised by what he finds.
An exchange over the Nathaniel Abraham case
[18 July 1998]
The case of Nathaniel Abraham: background to the prosecution of a child for murder
[2 July 1998]