Given the sense of stress and fear over the last few days, the quotes below have been sticking in my mind. Consider these comments:

I’m very much afraid that I might be
the next victim because innocent people
are being killed because they’re in the
way of the situation.

– Rhona L.

I’m afraid I’ll be the next victim because
I never know what would happen. Just like a
lot of these deaths, I could just be an innocent
bystander and an attack could start and I could
be the one to get killed.

– Michelle B.

You don’t know your own fate. Even though I’m
not a member of a gang or a drug group and I don’t
possess a gun, and even try to stay out of conflicts
with other people, that doesn’t say, “Well, yeah,
I’m safe.” I may be an innocent bystander or a victim
of revenge. So I’m not safe.

– Donna H.

I am not afraid, because the way I see it is that if
it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen. You can never
stop it.

– Anthony P.

Yes, I’m afraid, but if it comes and I see it coming,
I’ll definitely protect myself. The reason I’m afraid
is that I will have a big decision – either I kill or
I will be killed and it frightens me.

– Leacroft T.

I know five people who have been killed and no
reason … I had to go to five funerals one
after the other … Sometimes I wish I could
just isolate myself from society but I can’t
so I just have to face it.

– Gillian C.

These comments were not collected in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks or the recent Anthrax exposures. These are excerpts from the journal entries of students in an English class I taught at a high school in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn in 1992.

–from Nextdraft, 10.17.2001