Beyond politics, and beyond some of the terribly trivial stuff our politicians pay attention to, this is as brutally sad and tragic an article as any you'll read today. This month. This year. Next year.
The inmates who spoke to The Chronicle hoped that their stories would dissuade younger generations from following in their footsteps. Their stories, and those told in the court files, show that Oakland killers share many characteristics.
They are young. Most killed before their 25th birthday.
A majority grew up without a father - he was either murdered, incarcerated or abandoned his children.
Mom is typically absent, too, either because she's working several jobs for minimum wage or because she's also lost to the streets through drugs, prostitution or prison.
Many of the convicted killers were quasi-homeless in grade school, moving every 90 days on eviction cycles, or bouncing between friends' and relatives' homes, where they slept on recliners and couches and floors.
Inside the home is pure chaos. Typically, they live with a third-generation relative, an elderly grandmother or aunt, who also opens her home to several other wayward relatives. They all pile into one home, bringing their boyfriends and girlfriends and their children. There's no particular person in charge, no house rules, and people come and go.
Often it's in these houses where young boys first learn how to hold a gun, how to break a rock of cocaine into dime and nickel bags for sale.