Dead Kids

By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  June 15, 2010

Other responses, which get trotted out when media attention comes, tend to be even less attuned to the neighborhood realities. In the past, that has included attacks on "Stop Snitchin' " clothing. Since the Fomby-Davis murder, the Boston Police Department (BPD) has distributed fliers with pictures of 10 alleged troublemakers to avoid, while top BPD brass — and Mayor Tom Menino himself — have publicly scolded city residents for not coming forward with information about recent shootings and other violence.

Those approaches are unlikely to be helpful, says Harding. The realities of the affected neighborhoods make it very difficult — and dangerous — to help authorities.

But attempts to address the socioeconomic roots also likely will fail, unless people growing up in these areas feel safe enough to conduct their lives without worry.

As Harding's book shows, boys growing up in much of Boston feel they have good reason to order their lives around the fear of violence — a belief reinforced by the latest brutal slaying of one of their peers.

To read the "Talking Politics" blog, go to David S. Bernstein can be reached at

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