The kids were struggling,
Late 60s in the Bronx was rough.
Poverty, turf wars, a failing city, heroin,
Each something to steal youth from the young, so the kids
Stole, they rumbled, they vandalized, they shot up, and
Then they got caught.

The system called them malcontents,
Foresaw their futures as career criminals,
And using the force of the justice system
Called on these young men who lived in one failed system
To choose between two failing options
Provided by a system theoretically based on fairness.

Before the bench,
With officers of the court
Sworn to the protection of all within the confines of the law,
These young me were given the choice;
Jail or Vietnam.
Was there a rationale in this rehabilitation
Or was this just a flip of the correctional coin?

Should they have put them out there to kill,
So what if they get killed in the process, right?
Perhaps they should have been put in programs
That gave them the skills to survive the Bronx in those hardest of times.
Maybe the powerful sect in the five boroughs should have been better to their people.
Maybe America should have dropped dollars on opportunities at home,
Instead of bombs on the homes of Southeast Asia.

Just saying…

{Courtesy of the NYT: 6/7/16}

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