Ending up here, with thousands of kids imprisoned for life, was by no means inevitable, or even predictable, when we look back in our nation's history. For much of the last two centuries, very few would have accepted the idea that the legal system should treat children exactly like adults, or that a child who breaks the law, even egregiously so, is unredeemable.
It seems not to matter that, like so many veterans of other ugly wars, the young people who experienced the brutal Drug War had only become soldiers in the first place because of a "poverty draft." It also seems irrelevant to most that the longer these young conscripts to the Drug War lived with its brutality, the more violent they themselves became.
"Doctors pulled the bullets out, patched me up and sent me back to the same neighborhood where I was shot. No one hugged me. No one counseled me. No one told me that I would be okay." If that emergency room treating Senghur had been trauma-informed, could he have been provided with the attention he may have needed and not have perpetuated the cycle of violence by eventually killing another man?