My vote is always for mercy, particularly where the youth are concerned (“Motherless Child,” 10/6). The haves of America have it so well that we often do not realize what agony and terror are faced by the have-nots, every day of their lives—and the abysmally poor education most of these street youth get is tantamount to attempted murder by neglect, which makes our social order itself at least as liable for many crimes as the perpetrators, driven by economic and social desperation to desperate acts!

We drive them to desperation, because of our attitudes, our economics, or our apathy, and then we act surprised if they respond to things in an extreme way! (My God, how arrogant we as a society have become!)

This story is a tragedy, and a particularly cruel one. For at least one frightened and abused young lady, this American Dream of ours has become a nightmare. I do not see that the young man involved was charged with a thing—yet, where was he? If she is guilty of attempted murder, then he is also guilty of attempted murder—by neglect—and not just of the baby, but also of the young lady, his mate! Or does that idea not fit into the concepts of the image-makers of Hollywood (who seem to be creating the male mentality these days)?

I want to give kudos to Ayesha Morris for writing this; she did a wonderful job. It was a sorrow that it was there to be written and that it is not the first and will not be the last of this sort of tragedy. And it is a sorrow that in the majority of these cases, the answer the social order will give is to compound the tragedy by brutal prosecution and subsequent social neglect (similar to the very social neglect that led the person to desperation in the first place).

Throw them in jail and forget about it—the great conservative solution to everything!

Thanks for printing the story. This is a major part of the reason for

your existence.

Eugene, Ore.