When Alice Oaks' older son was shot to death in Baltimore in 2008, she said her goodbye at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. He lay there, a tube still in his mouth, and it seemed to her that his body was glowing. She felt numb. She bent over and kissed him softly on the forehead and the cheek.
Then, this past May, driving home from a seafood dinner, she got a phone call that her other child, also a son, had been shot dead. She screamed and beat her hands on the steering wheel, so hysterical that she stopped the car in the middle of the road.
"Not my only son," she cried out over and over. "Not again."
Her words could be a refrain for Baltimore, which...