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Monday, September 25, 2006


Today, for a moment, I felt honest fear.

The men were making loud conversation. They talked about the pitfalls of jail, about running from police, about a comrade who had dismembered a man in his bathtub. They were on their way to court. One man was emphatic and unhinged; he ranted over the others.

He was on the edge and I wondered for a moment if this was the moment he'd tip; hold up a crowded bus and injure indiscriminately. I was both afraid and embarrassed of my fear.

The boy next to me was snub-nosed and blond, from the neck up a farmer's son. His slight arms were covered with scars and tattoos. He tried to contribute to the conversation, eager to belong but largely ignored.

I was ashamed to find some reassurance in sitting next to him, a man of my own race.