THE VIRGIN ISLANDS: Panic Among the Continentals

The travel brochures describe the Virgin Islands as an "unspoiled paradise."

If they once were, they are no longer.

The tourists still flock in—some 1,300,000 a year—to swim at Pelican Cove beach and go shopping at Spar-key's, Maison Charles or the Queen's Quarter Boutique. But among the white American "continentals" who make up perhaps a quarter of the three islands' 95,000 year-round residents, there is such fear of robbery and assault that many have armed themselves with guns and talk of fleeing to the mainland.

Last week one outbreak of violence came to a stormy conclusion. A jury of one white and...

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