I acknowledged that we all want, to some extent, the approval of our peers, myself included. Then I reminded Nathaniel of the grim stories he'd shared earlier in the school year of murdered or imprisoned friends or relatives. He had it covered, he assured me. I coaxed him to see his role in sowing destruction and grief on the very block where he'd grown up. "It was already like that before I come up," he answered. Finally, I said, "Look, God forbid any harm should come to you, Nathaniel, but let me ask you, if it did, what would you want people to remember about you?"