Whew! This well-done story about the gang-related killing of Jesús Romero-Garcia dredeged up many feelings ("Blue on Blue," Dec. 6)! Jesús was a Sunny Brae student of mine. Despite making some obviously self-destructive choices by eighth grade, he was indeed a sweet boy, and bright. I remember his original, funny and thoughtful insights.
I also taught Lulu in fourth grade, when she first arrived in California — another very bright, optimistic and ambitious child.
My heart breaks again for the Romero-Garcias and the whole community dysfunction that contributes to such a tragedy. I'm hopeful that caring research and effective intervention can diminish the appeal of this path for our precious children.
Lynn Scott Jones, Arcata
I read the article "Blue On Blue" which appeared in the Dec. 6 issue of the Journal with serious but depressing interest. The most important thing expressed in the article as far as I was concerned was the deep need of minority teenagers to have some place to belong. At present this is a serious void in our society and we pay a big price for it in crime and delinquency.
4-H Clubs, boys and girls teen groups, youth church groups, police pal groups, after-school clubs and other such organizations meet the sense of belonging to something, partially. But generally speaking, minorities don't identify with these organizations. Gang members feel strongly that members have their backs and will protect them. Many of these kids feel like outcasts in a white society and they belong to groups that share the same values and cultural identity that they do. If it wasn't for the violence, gangs meet a real need for a sense of belonging and identity among disadvantaged youth.
Lacking this sense, I think the kids feel a sharp sense of nothingness and will often seek destructive paths to fill this vacuum. Being bad is at least an identity and more respected among certain groups than being good.
I hope the adult members of society who are really concerned about our youth will recognize that a sense of belonging is important to young people and will do more to relieve this emptiness.
Fred Mazie, Eureka