Essay: Crime And Responsibility

"I'm depraved on account I'm deprived."

-- West Side Story

Twelve years ago, Bonnie Garland, a pretty, upper-class Yale student, was murdered. Her estranged boyfriend went up to her bedroom one night and with a hammer cracked her head open "like a watermelon," as he put it. Murders are a dime a dozen in America. But the real story here, the real horror, chronicled in painful detail by Willard Gaylin (in The Killing of Bonnie Garland), was the aftermath: sympathy turned immediately from victim to murderer, a Mexican American recruited to Yale from the Los Angeles barrio. Within five weeks he...

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