But the value of human life should not be contingent on the poor or good life choices made by an individual crime victim. Without question, those who join gangs or feel compelled to join the world of illegal drug sales have made poor choices, and they must surely understand that the world of which they are a part devalues individual lives in service of a culture of retribution, loyalty and greed. They must take responsibility for the choices they make. But we are not free from partial or indirect responsibility for their decisions. The absence of steady, well-paying jobs and of quality education that properly prepares young people for meaningful work; the lack of affordable housing; the proliferation of city policies that have led to the concentration of poverty in pockets all over Baltimore; and the lack of support afforded to working families in the form of safe, accessible public transportation and economic development all rest at the doorstep of the "everyday citizens" of Baltimore. Any effort to distance ourselves from the tragedy of 235 lost lives of mostly young people is misplaced.