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WE MUST REACH OUT TO CHILDREN AT RISK

Many people are struggling to make sense of the recent torture and murder of a Buffalo teenager, and are trying to find some motive for this brutal and horrific act. It seems to be beyond our collective ability to reasonably comprehend.

Some understanding may come from the realization that there is indeed a subculture of at-risk youth. Although no excuses can be made for the suspects' actions, let this serve as a tragic wake-up call for society to place a priority on our "lost" young people. The cumulative impact of abuse, neglect, family dysfunction and delinquency is devastating and can create "children without a conscience" who are often unable to bond, lack true remorse and are often detached and desensitized to essential human connections.

It is everyone's responsibility to reach out to youth, and find ways to connect with, nurture and guide our children and turn the tide of a lost generation. As one who has worked with at-risk youth for 11 years, this young man's death pains me personally and professionally. But it also serves to reinforce our need to reach out and "save" our children.

CHRIS BLASK

Lancaster

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